Fighting Hate From Within

I may have mentioned before that I’ve been receiving the Pump newsletter from Arnold Schwarzenegger. He sucked me in with the phrase “a positive corner of the Internet.” Don’t know about you, but I could use more positivity.

People who study these things have told us that anger often comes from insecurities and fear. Hate, also, has deep roots within our own emotional construction. Here is a story from Arnold from a recent event.

Last week, I had an event at the Schwarzenegger Institute at USC on fighting the rising hate we’ve seen all over the world. We had a panel about how to communicate to pull people away from a path of hate, and a former neo-Nazi who now helps other extremists out of their movements shared his perspective. Something he shared stuck with me, and I wanted to share it with all of you. Because it is wisdom that can help anyone — not just people who are consumed by hate. He said that the further he got away from his old beliefs, the more he realized that in the days when he carried that hateful flag and shouted racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, the person he really hated was himself. He believes he was projecting that hate onto other groups because it was a lot harder to turn inward and work on his own insecurities. 

Many of us meditate hoping for experiences and visions of the divine. The meditative experience that most influenced me was when I was shown every form of evil and sin revealing that these are all buried within me. The realization that I was capable of all sin (see the first chapters of Paul’s Letter to the Romans for example) provided insights and tools for dealing with that. And the empathy for others who also struggle with that same whether they know it or not. It, by the way, is a life-long struggle. Just like the realization of this man quoted above. 

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