Questions We’re Afraid to Ask – #11
If I were to look into the heart of my enemy, what would I find that is different than what is in my own?
The first thing that comes to mind is Jesus’ teachings on judging others.
“Judge not that you not be judged.”
In the same teaching he continued by saying . . .
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Several centuries before, the Buddha said . . .
It is easy to see the faults of others but difficult to see one’s own. A man winnows his neighbor’s faults like chaff but conceals his own as a cunning gambler conceal his die.
A Native American proverb teaches . . .
Don’t judge any man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.
I truly believe that at the heart of all these teachings is the idea that what we see in others is a mirror of our own selves, that the faults we see in others are the same faults we refuse to see in ourselves. The great 6th century BCE Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu said . . .
“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”
Could it be he understood that if we looked into the heart of our enemy we would see much of ourselves? On what basis do I judge and criticize those I don’t like or with whom I have major differences, even if I don’t consider them “my enemy”? Is there something about myself that I don’t like that I’m actually seeing in them, if only subconsciously? If I look deep within my own heart, will I not find something that I need to change? To quote the Buddha once more . . .
All fear violence, all are afraid of death. Seeing the similarity to oneself, one should not use violence or have it used.
We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think yours is the only path.
Nonduality teaches that we are all one and one with everything that exists, that there is no such thing in life as a subject and an object, a “you” versus “me”.
As author Jeff Foster says in his article, “What is Non-duality?”
Non-duality’ is actually a translation of the Sanskrit word ‘Advaita’, which simply means ‘not two’ and points to the essential oneness (wholeness, completeness, unity) of life, a wholeness which exists here and now,prior to any apparent separation. It’s a word that points to an intimacy, a love beyond words, right at the heart of present moment experience. It’s a word that points us back Home. And despite the compelling appearance of separation and diversity there is only one universal essence, one reality. Oneness is all there is – and we are included.
Perhaps if each of us were to take on this view, which I believe is at the true heart of every spiritual teaching, it would make it much easier to look into the heart of our so-called “enemy” and learn something about ourselves in the process.