November 12, 2008

How To Hug a Porcupine - Loving Kindness

I've talked about passive-aggressive people before. Sending them loving-kindness has helped a lot in my recovery in dealing with people who hurt others in indirect ways in order to make themselves feel better and control their world. By sending them loving-kindness, I take myself out of their grip, wish them peace, and then move forward. Well, usually.

But sometimes, it feels like I'm hugging a porcupine.

The problem with hugging a porcupine, is that giving love to him hurts. My initial reaction is to run away or fight. When being threatened by quills, it's hard to be loving.

Perhaps, being poked a little is a short-term price we can pay for long term benefit. Think of how much a porcupine can hurt me I'd get if I fought it. And how much pain I'd feel if I try to push the porcupine away as it moves around me. This produces far more pain and suffering than if I welcome the porcupine, love it, and let it be as prickly as it wants to be. By loving it, it only hurts me a little, and then I'm able to forgive and move on.

By hugging a porcupine, I define how much hurt I receive. I'm showing it I'm not afraid. And when I'm done hugging it, I have less fear of it attacking me. There is no desire to fight it. No desire to run away from the quills.

I'll never be able to get rid of the quills on a passive aggressive personality. And I will never be able to keep them out of my life entirely. But perhaps by deciding on a different approach, and a different perspective, I can make my life easier, and even possibly reduce the porcupine's suffering by not letting their ways take control of me too.

I can't change them. Perhaps one day, I will no longer be angered by them, or feel manipulated, my Buddha nature will shine, and I'll only feel loving kindness towards them and wish them less suffering.

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