I woke up today to a clear blue sky full of cumulonimbus clouds. I entered a vipassina meditation. I wrote guided meditations. I completed my newest episode of Ask Teal, and sent my son off to play at a playground. And just like that, I encountered the reflection of a lingering shadow within me. Since people first discovered my “abilities”, I have found myself in the inquisition all over again in this life. As a child, I was haunted by the perpetual perception that people wished to extinguish me. And it was not that it felt worse than it actually was. Many people did want me to die, as people often do when they feel powerless enough to something that they cannot conceive of peace with you alive.
I have stopped reading the death threats that I receive. Instead, they are placed into a folder incase they are needed for workshop security’s sake. But hatred has a way of reaching me when its image is needed for my progression. Today hatred calls me to the practice of understanding. Laced with the bite of irony, the original painting of mine called “integrity” was purchased by a group of people in the Czech Republic and publicly burnt in accordance with what they thought was right. It was burnt because they think I am satanic and because they also think I am a disguised reptilian. The burning is a symbolic message that I am not welcome here. It is an attempt to protect people from me and from what I create. I figured that aside from the obvious internal process that will be taking place within me to revisit the buried parts of myself that still feel singled out and hated, this would be a perfect time to talk about hatred.
Hatred is the act of willfully misunderstanding. And it has not yet solved a single 'problem' in the world today. Instead it has created most of them. Anger is not the fuel for hate. Fear is the fuel for hate. When we hate, we have to be brave enough to ask what it is that we fear. So today, in order to understand this action, I went looking for the two-sided answer to explain the fear inherent in this circumstance. People do not fear what someone is or isn’t. They fear the way that other people make them feel. Upon reflection, I find that I may represent a great many powerless feelings that lie dormant within someone’s being. Perhaps the people who burnt this painting have felt powerless to money and feel that charging (what is by their standards) a large sum of money, means that like a mosquito, I intend to drain people of their resources or deny them the healing they need because they lack the money. Maybe they feel powerless to those who have power, but whom do not have their best interest at heart. I imagine that if I did not yet know what I know about this world, and I became convinced that someone had negative intentions for being here, I would fight against them and gain my sense of self-esteem from that rebellion. If I had felt devoid of a place to belong, I could at least feel united in the effort against something. Fear breeds misunderstanding and misunderstanding leads to an inflexible mind that wishes to free itself at any and all costs. It makes perfect sense. Anyone in that exact same position would do the exact same thing. The only reason you think you would not do the exact same thing, is because you are applying what you know, coming from a much deeper understanding to the situation at hand.
I used to think that the world was a psychopathic place, void of empathy and ill intentioned. It was only in the ripening of my spiritual practice that I discovered that behind every single action lies a positive intention. All hateful acts are misguided attempts to carry out a positive intention. People murder people so that they can feel better. People drop bombs on each other so that they can feel free. People burn flags (or in this case paintings) to purify the world of what they fear is evil. This hateful act is a distorted attempt to maintain goodness. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is not the case, because there is no hell waiting for anyone after this life. But the road to suffering, just like the road to wellbeing, is paved with intentions. The road to well being is paved with questioned intentions. And the road to suffering is paved with unquestioned intentions.
What scares me about this situation is the feeling of not being able to explain myself and my intentions. This is the feeling that people have when they are charged with crimes that they did not commit. This is the madness that stains you when you feel as if your pleas are falling on deaf ears. To be at the mercy of someone who has already made up their mind about you is a kind of powerlessness that too many people have had to experience over the course of history. It is frightening to be misunderstood. As ironic as it is that integrity was the painting that they chose to burn, it is equally ironic, that the hater and the hated share this same sensation of powerlessness to each other. Sometimes I think my ego could drive me crazy trying to desperately explain itself to people who misunderstand my actions and motives. And sometimes it feels like it cannot win. The ego slips into despair when it is unable to escape pain at the hands of someone who is unwilling to understand. People, who have already made up their mind about you, are deaf to hearing any excuses. Every single thing you say and do will be woven and spun against you, because it creates a missing sense of security for those who are scared. It provides us with cognitive closure when we take information that is provided to us, and mold it to fit in with our already existing beliefs. If we begin to use new information to dismantle our existing beliefs, we wander into the land of uncertainty. And there, we may just drown. Without a life vest, with no sight of solid land, we may be sucked beneath the waves of confusion and change. We may have to admit that we were ‘wrong’.
If we hate, we need to cradle our hate like the crying child that it is. If we fear, then there is something within us that is desperate for love and understanding. It is my wish that hatred is not met with hatred. Hatred does not absolve someone from hatred; instead it condemns them to the prison of it. Hatred narrows the scope of our own soul. It cuts us off from ourselves. And in such a painful condition, a person is capable of anything. Let us all remember that hatred is revenge for being caused to fear. For our own sakes, let us meet fear with understanding. For our own sakes, let our desires, friendship, joy, equanimity and love unite us more so than a common hate for something. And may we always seek to understand. Understanding extinguishes hate and fear alike. I have learned something over the course of my lives. And the thing that I have learned is this… The moment that I come to understand those that I hate and those that I call my enemy enough to defeat them entirely, is the moment that I come to understand them enough to love them and thus no longer desire to defeat them.