I have not been a very religious person for the past few years and even though I like to incorporate stories and spiritual philosophy in my class when i teach yoga, I have generally veered away from anything religion related.
That being said, I still believe in God. And these days, I find myself thinking more about what that belief means to me.
I’m not sure why I was struck by this particular passage in Carl Jung’s book, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga. This passage provided some interesting food for thought. Not necessarily because it is about God, but for its insight on our relationship with hatred.
I was once asked a philosophical question by a Hindu: “Does a man who loves God need more or fewer incarnations to reach his final salvation than a man who hates God?” Now, what would you answer? I gave it up naturally. And he said: “A man who loves God will need seven incarnations to become perfect, and a man who hates God only three, because he certainly will think of him and cling to him very much more than the man who loves God.
I like the perspective on hate that Jung presents. Hate, we are taught, drives wars, separation, killing, and many other negative imbalances in the world.
But as Jung explains with this story, hate can be an important, even necessary cementing factor in bringing togetherness.
Fear, on the other hand, especially its original greek word Phobos, is a separating factor that divides indivuduals from each other and even from their higher selves.
Going back to hate and finding oneness with God, I can also see it as being true.
When one is consumed with hate, the object of that hatred can fill your every thought. It can turn into an obsession that swallows your whole being.
Interestingly, the modern world brushes aside love too easily. Why do we need holidays to remind us to tell our mothers we love them? Why are there so many self-help books teaching us how to tell our partners that we love and appreciate them?
Love is supposed to unite us but these days it seems to make us push the ones we love further away. Even God.
I am still in the process of reading this chapter of the book but my personal yogic lesson learned is to understand my hate.
Hate, or any emotion for that matter, does not have to be a force for separation and destruction. Instead, it can be a catalyst for growth and understanding. And yes, may even lead you on a quicker path to salvation than one who loves God.
How to incorporate this lesson into my off-the-mat yoga practice? Accept hate as one of the many beautiful emotions that i have. But dont just feel it. Embrace it and, taking from Ana Forrest’s teachings, stalk it. Find it’s root cause in my personal history. Understand my hatred and be at peace with it.
I’m not saying hate is a good relationship to have with god, and I dont think Jung is either. But I agree that understanding hate can bring about togetherness if we shift our relationship with this very strong emotion.
We all have personal journeys towards our higher selves and god. While we mosyly hear of love and light, i challenge myself to recognize and honour every person’s journey (and my own) and true and valid even if it is via hate.
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