“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I suspect that most people are victims of hate. Wars happen because of hate. Your mental, emotional, and even physical balance is lost because of hate. Hate destroys joy and happiness.
Think about the last time you felt intense emotions of hate—for another person, for a group of people, or even for yourself. Just thinking about it will make you feel not so nice. Now, as you think about those feelings of hate, simply observe yourself.
Observe your mind, your thoughts, your body, your breath; observe how you feel in your gut. You will notice how they all go out of balance.
If someone were to do an experiment with you while you were feeling these emotions of hate, and plug up various monitors to you, they would observe how your blood pressure, your heart rate, your physical body, and your neurons were all going out of balance.
But we don’t need to do any of that because we can feel it. We don’t need scientific experiments to prove that hate affects every part of us.
And anything that affects us individually affects the whole world. Because the world is made of many more people like us. You and I aren’t different at all; we are both the same.
And whatever you see in the external world is a manifestation of our collective inner state. Whenever wars happen, they reflect the inner hate and anger within people. But can hate be destroyed with more hate?
Imagine a can of fuel has spilled and caught fire, and this fire threatens to burn an entire forest. Can you put this fire out by pouring more of the same fuel?
If you pour more of the same fuel, what will happen? The fire will keep becoming bigger and bigger until it consumes everything in its path.
What you need to do is find some other material. In the forest you can take some soil and use it to put out the fire. If there is a group of friends and they all take the soil and pour it over the fire, the fire will be put out faster.
The same applies to hate. Hate can’t be destroyed with more hate.
The only way to end wars or make peace with people who’ve hurt us or who hold opposing worldviews is to recognize that we are fundamentally all the same, and we need to work together for mutual growth and progress. The only way to resolve conflict is to become aware of our higher nature.
I’ll share an example from my own life.
My grandparents were very wealthy. They came from a region called Sindh, and for thousands of years my ancestors have been traders and travelers.
Maybe you’ve heard of the Indus Valley civilization.
They used to travel in caravans across the world to trade spices, dry fruits, gems, carpets, and handicrafts.
They had huge mansions, horses, gold, precious gems, and lots of material wealth. But one fine day, India was partitioned by the British into two countries—India and Pakistan.
Sindh, where they were living, became a part of Pakistan, and they were forced to leave everything and come to this side of India. They had to make a decision between continuing to practice their faith or holding onto their material wealth. They decided to continue practicing their faith.
When they came to India, with nothing, they were labeled as refugees. They had to live in camps where over 200 people shared a single toilet.
But even then, they understood the power of words and petitioned the government not to call them refugees but “displaced people.”
They were not looking for a handout or ‘refuge.’ They did not want people to feel sorry for them or treat them as victims.
Growing up, they made sure they didn’t teach us to hate anyone. They didn’t ask us to hate the British nor did they ask us to hate the people of Pakistan. Instead, they taught us to focus on learning and growing ourselves.
They taught us to be loving, to be compassionate, and to move ahead. This changed our perspective on so many things.
In fact, they taught us that the whole world was ours. We are not restricted by geography. They taught us to laugh and live life with gratitude every moment.
Today when I look back, I feel blessed and lucky that they didn’t teach me to hate. If they had, I would be stuck in a cycle of hate instead of moving ahead.
We all have energy; what matters is where we focus and use it.
Right now, set the intention to replace your hate with love, whether it’s hatred for someone else or for yourself.
Empathy, understanding, and forgiveness have immense power. The moment you try to understand or forgive you are no longer caught in the clutches of hate. Maybe someone wronged you, maybe you felt hurt at that moment, but that moment is gone. And there’s a good chance they didn’t mean to hurt you; they were just hurting inside and didn’t realize what they were doing.
The same is true for you. Instead of blaming or berating yourself for your mistakes and shortcomings, recognize that you’ve always done the best you could given your background, conditioning, and coping skills.
Self-hatred won’t change the things you’ve done in the past; it will just make you more likely to do things you’ll feel bad about. And hatred toward other people won’t change how they are; if anything, hateful words and actions will just inflame them more—but with understanding and kindness, we actually have a chance of learning and growing together.
Hate is like a chain; it binds you. The moment you forgive, you are cutting those chains to the past. You are free.
The moment you forgive, you create a chance for love to grow. Send love to everyone. Because love has the power to win any battle, even the one within.
And if this is hard for you, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself time to heal. Sometimes allowing yourself to be where you are is the most loving thing you can do for yourself. And that love for yourself can eventually expand to include love for the people who’ve hurt you (which doesn’t have to mean condoning their actions or allowing them to hurt you again).
One beautiful exercise is to consider everyone a part of yourself. Will you hate your left hand just because you love your right hand more? They are both part of you. Yes, sometimes your left hand might get hurt, but you won’t hate it.
You will, in fact, take better care of it. You will be more loving and attentive.
Similarly, if you look at everyone as a part of this single existence, it will be easier to look at them with love.
Everyone has an inner light, though sometimes you have to look a little harder to find it. It all starts with love.
Before I go, I want you to think of the most loving experience you have ever had. When did you feel immense love? This beautiful feeling of love that transcends all boundaries. Love that transcends all barriers.
Close your eyes and feel this love.
Then, when you feel it, observe yourself and notice how everything feels balanced and in a state of bliss.
Mentally, you will feel creative. Physically, you will feel this beautiful energy. And emotionally, you will feel nourished. That’s what love does to you.
The best glimpse into your own inner spirituality is through love.
The world needs a lot more love, and each one of us has the potential to create a more loving world by starting with ourselves.
That’s how we truly end hate—within ourselves and in the world: with love.