Love Those Who Have Harmed You
Fred Luskin mentioned that even though religion teaches us to love those who have harmed us, he found it particularly challenging to design workshops centered around this idea. For example, Jesus says (Matthew 5:44--45) “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” And Buddha says, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
One technique for developing compassion for your aggressors is to practice Mettā (loving-kindness) meditation. Sit quietly with eyes closed, say the following sentences in your mind and develop the corresponding feelings:
* May I be at peace.
* May my loved and cherished ones be at peace.
* May those I have never met be at peace.
* May those I have hurt, knowingly or unknowingly, be at peace.
* May those who have hurt me, knowingly or unknowingly, be at peace.
* May everybody be at peace.
A couple of points to take away from the meditation above. It is easier to forgive others if we first forgive ourselves. In other words, cleansing ourselves of blame is easier if we first cleanse ourselves of guilt. Also, the phrase 'knowingly or unknowingly' is important: many times, others have hurt us and we have hurt others unknowingly!
Loving-kindness meditation is also taught at 10-day Vipassanā courses by S N Goenka. Their meditation technique is similar to the one described above. However, we are asked to practice this meditation only if our mind is really calm, without an iota of negativity.