In our world today, the concept of passion is the one most often confused with true love. I still maintain that passion is not quite the same as love, but is in fact a way of expressing it. Passion has a positive and negative form, as all the expressions of emotion do. In its positive expression it is what we most commonly refer to as love; although I feel that the word “adoration” is more appropriate. Passion can also be expressed negatively. Hatred is most definitely a passionate experience, but it is not at all the same as adoration.
Hatred is passion expressed in anger. When we feel hatred for something we react in one of two ways. We either retreat into ourselves and avoid the object of our hatred at all costs. Or we begin to plot and connive against the object of our hatred in an attempt to harm it. Both of these forms are the selfish form of passion. They are selfish because we feel justified in our hatred.
Hatred always comes from love. Let us use an example of hatred that is relatively benign. Many people hate certain foods, such as mushrooms. This hatred derives first from a love of food and pleasant flavours. When we first start trying new foods we are very passionate about exploring new flavours. When we encounter one that displeases us we begin to hate it. Now we retreat into ourselves, avoiding that food for the rest of our lives. But many people begin to realize as they age that their palates change. People who hated mushrooms start to realize that there are many types of mushrooms, all of which taste different. They start by experimenting with one type and realize it isn’t quite as bad as they remember it. All of a sudden, they like mushrooms again. They rarely begin to become passionate about mushrooms, but they are able to appreciate them and leave their position of hatred. This is a story that is familiar to many of us. How does this example apply to the rest of our passions?
Passions do not arrive from logic. They arrive from powerful emotions which create false assumptions. We don’t hate mushrooms for any logical reason. Often we don’t even actually hate the taste of mushrooms, we simply hate the idea of them. I know many people who will tell you how much they enjoyed a meal until they find out that there were mushrooms pureed into the sauce. All of a sudden their face screws up and they start to think to themselves that they obviously did not like that meal. Even though they just said aloud that they did. Hatred arrives when our passions cloud our judgment. The emotional response takes over and logic is no longer allowed to have access.
Hatred expresses itself in more than just benign situations, however. When we point our hatred at an individual it is generally because we feel they have done us some sort of harm. Whether they have spread rumours about us, or physically hurt us, or told us we are unintelligent; it matters little. The end result is that in our emotional response to their offensive behaviour we begin to hate them. The thing about hatred is it has a tendency to breed vengeance. Vengeance is a selfish act. It comes from the expectation that we are justified in hurting others because they have hurt us. So once we have decided to hate someone, we often go out of our way to begin spreading rumours about them, getting into physical fights with them, and insulting their character. When we do this, there is really only one scenario that will present itself. The object of our hatred will continue to act negatively towards us. Because now they hate us too.
Hatred is cyclical. When we live in hatred, we take every offense as an excuse to hate, which causes us to become vengeful, which creates hate in those around us. There is another version of this cycle, which is a little more personal. When we live in hatred, we also begin to avoid anything associated with the object of our hate, this causes us to have a lowered understanding of the object of our hate, which causes us to retreat deeper in hate. Either way, hate creates more hate. But hate is a selfish act. Hatred implies a lack of knowledge and a large number of assumptions. These assumptions are always very selfish in nature because they cause us to justify our hatred.
Passion also has a positive expression; adoration. Adoration is not really the healthy version of passion, though. Health comes from balance, and adoration is not very balanced. Adoration is putting the object of your passion on a pedestal. When we do this we are still making assumptions about the object of our passion. This time the assumption is that the object of our passion can do no wrong. This causes us to defend them and stand behind them no matter what they do. This could be a positive thing if it were coming from a position of compassion. But in this case it is not quite the same as compassion and ultimately leads to a negative expression of passion. When we blindly support our passions, we support them in health and woundedness. When we support the object of our passions wounded emotions, we only perpetuate those wounded emotions in both ourselves and the object of our passion. Adoration is the opposite of hatred, but it is not its healthy expression.
A mother adores her child and feels they can do no wrong. So when her child comes home from a fight in the schoolyard the mother quickly runs to her child and cleans them up. All the while she reassures them that this is not their fault and that the other child is a terrible thing for doing this to their baby. The mother does not ask how the fight started. She does not want to hear that her adorable little child might have started that fight. But what if the child did start the fight? Now their mother is reinforcing in them that this was ok. The mother is reinforcing hatred in their child through their blind adoration. If the mother knew that she was actually harming her child, she would probably be horrified. But adoration is just as wounded as hatred. So she will not see that she is in fact harming her child. She will instead begin to hate the child that hurt her child. Adoration creates hatred.
Now let us look at things from the child’s perspective. The child knows that they started the fight. When their mother showers them with adoration and tells them it was not their fault, they do not begin to adore their mother. They begin to disrespect their mother for her ignorance. They see that they are now able to get away with pretty much anything. So they will try to get away with everything. They are already living in hatred, which is a wounded emotion. Now the child knows they can manipulate their mother. Manipulation is a form of vengeance, because it is assuming that a person is receiving what they deserve. When the child begins to manipulate their mothers adoration, they are in fact living in hatred. The mother’s adoration has caused her child to hate her and treat her with no respect. Adoration does not create adoration; it creates hatred.
Balanced passions come from a position of gratitude. When we live in adoration we are being selfish, because we are refusing to see the truth of the object of our passions. Balanced passion is living in true love, because it is living with an understanding that the object of our passion is not perfect. When we live in adoration we look at the object of our passions and see only what we can get from them. The mother’s personal pride in her motherhood is at stake when her child makes a mistake. She is unwilling to see her child’s faults, not because her child is perfect, but because she is selfish and refuses to admit that her parenting might not be perfect. When we live in balanced passions we look at the object of our passions and see only what we can give to them. This is the position of gratitude. We are grateful to have our passion in our life, so we only want to see it succeed. But in order to succeed our passion must first falter and make mistakes. When we live in balanced passions we live in a position of knowledge. The only assumption we have now is that when the object of our passion makes a mistake we are there to offer it guidance, in order that it does not repeat the mistake.
We still adore our passion. But we adore it with an understanding that it is not perfect. It is this understanding that balances our passions. It also balances hatred. If we understand that the object of our hatred is not perfect we will be less likely to be offended by it. Therefore we will not engage in vengeance or retreat from it. When we live in balanced passions we start to see that everything is deserving of our adoration. Within limits. Nobody is perfect, but if we feel they are deserving of our love then we will want to help them grow. This means being patient when they make mistakes. Soon we will come to realize that the things we feel are deserving of our love make just as many mistakes as everyone else. All of sudden everyone appears to be deserving of our love.
Adoration and hatred are two forms of a wounded emotion. They are not really that different, because they result in the same thing; hatred. Hatred breeds hatred through vengeance, while adoration breeds hatred through a continued loss of respect. Either way, hatred and adoration are selfish because we look at the object of our passion and only try to see what they are giving to us.
True passion is balanced and is a healthy emotion. Balanced passions are cyclical. When we live in true passion, we see that the object of our passion is not perfect, which causes us to love them more, which creates a feeling of supportiveness, which in turns causes us to realize that all souls are deserving of our love. Balanced passions could be called love. When we live in love we look at the object of our passions and try to see what we can give to them. This is the grateful form of passion. We are grateful to have our passion in our life, so we try only to help it grow. This in turn creates gratitude in the object of our passion. Balanced passions create true love.
|A Spirit of Receiving|