Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Revenge
Our Inner Conviction About How We Arrive at Peace and Rest
Think about it. Why do we want to change ourselves? To feel good, to feel better, to finally be at rest. Consider all the movies that focus on eliminating the bad guys or getting revenge. What happens when the hero finally kills the bad guy or puts him in jail? Peace and relaxation. But it is only at the end of the movie, in the last couple of minutes, that the hero can stop all his incessant activity and finally rest. The whole movie is about getting to the point where he can just let go and relax—put his feet up and drink a beer. Before that, he is obsessed with the enemy: “I have to get rid of him. I have to finish what I set out to do; otherwise, I can’t have any peace.” This is the perfect expression of our inner conviction about how we arrive at peace and rest. We see this engrained throughout human society. For example, when I listen to the news and hear about so many murders, rapes, and abuses, I notice that it’s often the family of the victim who is most emphatic that the person who committed the crime get the maximum punishment, even when that is the death penalty. The family members openly say, “We want satisfaction,” and the law supports that—society itself supports their position. ………..I always wonder why that is satisfying. Where is the satisfaction in killing somebody else or hurting them as much as possible?
The Unfolding Now, pg. 105
Revenge Gives You a Big Orgasm
Student: I’d like to understand the dynamics of what happens when you want to get revenge. It seems to feed on itself and that’s what blocks feeling the lack of support.
Almaas: Right. And it blocks the hurt, too. The anger and the hatred block the hurt, the feeling of the wound. And you have to feel the hurt and the wound to feel the absence of support. The hatred and the anger are a reaction which help you avoid dealing with the issues. There is almost always hurt or a feeling of powerlessness under the hatred. Anger gives you a kind of strength and hatred gives you a kind of power. You react with anger and hatred, so you don’t feel the sense of weakness and deflation. You can feel strong and powerful even though you are hurt. There are many movies where the hero’s only purpose in life is to get revenge; they are very popular movies. The old western movies are an example. The Indians come and kill the family, and then the dad goes out to find the ones who did it, and that gives meaning to his life. The story about the Count of Monte Cristo is the same. Hatred is the only thing left to fill the life of the person so the only thing that gives them meaning is revenge. Revenge gives you a big orgasm.
Diamond Heart Book Three, pg. 116
The Ego’s Attempt to Regain the Original State of Unity
Revenge is really the ego’s attempt to regain the original state of unity. It is a way of trying to get rid of the guilt and the pain through a convoluted line of reasoning that goes something like this: Someone hurts you, and the pain involves loss of the sense of unity. So you retaliate by hurting him or her in exactly the same way, in the belief that doing so will enable you to rid yourself of your own pain and restore the sense of unity. This is the rationale behind the Biblical phrase, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
Facets of Unity, pg. 95
The Revenge for Not Being Seen
Almaas: For some people revenge is also an attempt to make the other person see them. That is what you are calling enlightenment. You feel hurt because the person didn’t see you, so you want to make them see what they didn’t see before. You want to rub their face in the mud until they see, until they realize that you are better than they thought you were. And it might be true that you are better than they thought you were, but you are still trying to make them see it in a revengeful way. You are both getting your revenge and still wanting the support. Often the revenge for not being seen is that you want to hurt the other person or change them, so that they finally acknowledge that you’re right. Sometimes nothing short of that will be satisfying. You will do everything in your power to destroy the other person, so they will finally admit the truth. Admit the truth that they didn’t see who you were. But it’s still revenge. All these feelings are very deep in human beings. A person can be dying and still be involved in it.
Diamond Heart Book Three, pg. 117
The Usefulness of Enemies
This is where your enemies become useful. An enemy is useful here because an enemy exposes the fact that you don’t have your own inner support. By taking away your external support, your enemies show you the gap in yourself. They show you the hole in you. Now your enemy might be doing it because they want to teach you something, or they might be doing it because they hate you, or because they don’t care about you, or because they are ignorant. When someone cuts you down or undermines you or devalues you, your tendency is to feel hurt or rejected. But if you really feel the situation deeply, you will realize that you have lost your support, and you feel that you can’t maintain your reality. The usual reaction is tremendous rage and hatred toward that person and you want to get revenge. It is fine to see this. Such a reaction needs to be understood, experienced and integrated, but it won’t give you support. Support will come only when you experience the state of no support, which is not an easy state to experience. It is not easy because it is the state of feeling you don’t know what to do, don’t know what’s happening, haven’t got the slightest idea of what’s up or what’s down. You feel there’s no ground to stand on, no wall to lean against. You look around and there’s nothing to hold on to. You wonder how you can help yourself and you feel you can’t. That’s the state of no support.
Diamond Heart Book Three, pg. 110
Why, for Many People, Eros Becomes Abusive, Destructive, Insensitive
Our understanding of eros is that its true essence is beautiful and wonderful. But when the erotic expresses itself in destructive ways, then it is not solely erotic. It is vulgar and distorted; something else has been added to it. True eros is not separate from love, and by studying it in this teaching as divine eros, we are attempting to demonstrate that. There is only one eros and it is always truly divine, but we do not always experience it in its purity. We experience it mixed with our frustration, with our history, with our dissociation, with our anger or revenge or hurt, and so it comes out unclear and twisted. That is why, for many people, it becomes abusive, it becomes destructive, it becomes insensitive. This situation is similar to what we see when we observe most human beings. Our true nature as human beings is our spiritual nature, and it is pure and complete goodness, but you wouldn’t know that by looking around the world and studying the history of humanity. In fact, you’d wonder whether the theory of the goodness of human nature is valid. There is not much proof that it is; examples everywhere tend to demonstrate the opposite. But the nature of the erotic is also this pure and complete goodness. When we know eros for what it truly is, it will be expressed in beautiful ways, just like when a human being is really expressing his or her true nature.