a difficult person

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a difficult person

Postby sattva » Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:23 pm

i wrote this in the Theravadan Dharma Wheel forum but thought i would post this here as well"

Any ideas on ways to approach developing loving-kindness and compassion for someone you don't like and who doesn't seem to have any redeeming qualities? Part of the problem is that this person is so insincere and perhaps also a pathological liar that it is difficult to know if he is ever being straight up. Normally, i would focus on some good qualities a person has and do metta meditation with the person as the "enemy", but i am having a difficult time with this one.

Thanks for the input in advance.
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Re: a difficult person

Postby BFS » Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:05 pm

"Contemplate that person's buddha nature. It is there, and it is a superior object of attention. One that will be helpful to the mind."

Jeffrey Hopkins - The Tantric Distinction
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Re: a difficult person

Postby ground » Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:08 am

We use e.g. the following meditations/contemplations:

If trouble occurs in this life with some beings it is just due to our own bad actions and karma accumulated since beginningless time. All challenging situations are just meant to foster practice and to support our way to perfect enlightenment. Thus "difficult" beings actually are very kind.


1.
the drawbacks of lacking even-mindedness towards neutral beings, dear friends and enemies (above all it is the cause of samsara)
-> Generate even-mindedness (always specific persons to be applied before generalization is cultivated!)
2.
cultivation of the recognition that all beings - dear friends, neutral beings and enemies - have been our mothers innumerable times (always specific persons to be applied before generalization is cultivated)
3.
cultivation of the thought of the kindness of our mother in this life and transfer this thought to all beings - dear friends, neutral beings and enemies (always specific persons to be applied before generalization is cultivated)

If trouble occurs in this life with some beings it is just due to our own bad actions and karma accumulated since beginningless time.


4.
Meditate on repaying their kindness

5.
Cultivate love (to all beings that have been your mothers innumerable times)

6.
Cultivate compassion (for all beings that have been your mothers innumerable times)

7.
cultivate altruistic attitude

8.
cultivate altruistic aspiration to highest enlightenment



Kind regards
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Re: a difficult person

Postby tatpurusa » Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:31 pm

namaste sattva,

Here is the way I try to practice in such situtations:

Try not to judge that person.

If you cannot avoid doing so, ask yourself who is judging.
This leads you to the sense, concept, thought of me, or I.

Observe how this concept of *me* arises from the judgment of that person.
Just observe, try not to analyse or judge the arising of the "I" thought.

Meditate on the empty nature of this "I".

Then try to abide in the very moment of here an now, percieving it along with everything
that it includes without the distance to it created by the arising of the "I" thought.

Dedicate the merit of this practice to the person you had difficulty with, for the sake of his happiness
and liberation.

metta
tp
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Dorje Shedrub » Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:55 pm

Years ago there was a person that I could actually say that I hated, which is rare for me. I could not even do loving kindness meditation for him right off. I kept practicing loving kindness meditation starting with loved ones and going through the process to various people I found difficult, and eventually forced myself to include this person. I did not try to find any redeeming qualities, but neither did I focus on what he had done to me. I merely practiced the loving kindness meditation towards him as a sentient being. I probably was not so sincere at first, but it did become easier and it was the only thing that helped me to get rid of my hatred for him (and this was when I was a Christian).

Best wishes - I now have another person that is being quite difficult, and I need to start the whole process over again!
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Luke » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:53 pm

Wow, everyone has posted some really great answers.

I have my own problems right now with not one person, but with a whole roomful of 9th graders! Ugh, not pretty...not pretty...(Bad karma multiplies quickly when one is a teacher, I think.)

I haven't seen my lama in a long time. I think I'll see him this weekend and see if things improve.

Good luck with your difficult person, Sattva. I already gave you my suggestions on Dhammawheel.

:anjali:
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Re: a difficult person

Postby muni » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:30 pm

Dorje Shedrub wrote:Years ago there was a person that I could actually say that I hated, which is rare for me.

Best wishes - I now have another person that is being quite difficult, and I need to start the whole process over again!
Lol.
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Re: a difficult person

Postby muni » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:54 pm

Patience development will help us.

As when we cultivate anger, protest, sadness, aversion; this will only harm ourself and this will not touch the mind of the so seen "outer enemy".
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:22 am

sattva wrote:i wrote this in the Theravadan Dharma Wheel forum but thought i would post this here as well"

Any ideas on ways to approach developing loving-kindness and compassion for someone you don't like and who doesn't seem to have any redeeming qualities? Part of the problem is that this person is so insincere and perhaps also a pathological liar that it is difficult to know if he is ever being straight up. Normally, i would focus on some good qualities a person has and do metta meditation with the person as the "enemy", but i am having a difficult time with this one.

Thanks for the input in advance.

'Lo Sattva :smile:

When I see 'horrible' people I think of them as they would have been when they were new born babes. That reminds me that they were pure and untainted, once at least.

From there I simply ponder upon what may have happened to them since.

Mileage may vary but I find that helps.
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Ogyen » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:50 pm

I've been wondering about this myself but in a bit of a different context. What I've been doing is exchanging myself for them. I imagine what events in life could have happened that could have made me the way this person is, and when I think about the rejections, the fear, the sadness, the loneliness that drives someone to use deceit to obtain validation instead of honesty (I think of the times I felt I needed to lie because I didn't feel strong enough to use the "ugly" truth), I think of how much suffering must be behind the need for attention/validation and how hard it is to feel so trapped in my own needs. (We've all experienced this in some form at some time, right?) It's easier for me after I do this exchanging myself for them practice to feel so much kinder towards them because I realize if my life had been just a bit different I could have been them and not who I am today. Our experiences shape so much of our perceptions reinforcing our delusions about what will make us suffer less, so I try to REALLY think about how it must have felt to that person having had experiences no one might even know about. Or if I know what the person has experienced in their life and have any kind of closeness to know private information, I think of how hard it must have been to be constantly rejected by a narcissistic parent or get bullied in high school, or get rejected by a boy/girl when they put themselves out there, get molested by someone he/she trusted, or how hard it must have been to start needing to lie where it felt like being honest and being direct wasn't good enough. That's a lot of pain... All that can be good practice for realizing that our self is a tenuous construct and it wouldn't be very hard to just put in the right conditions to make us feel that we NEED to rely on lies and delusions/attachments to make ourselves feel better and then just visualize the prison my own perception has built like invisible bars that are part of me and limit how I act because it's all I see and I don't know where the lies end and I begin... this might help you sympathize with their suffering... I don't even know this person, and I already feel all that anguish just thinking about it, lurking under the "pathological lying" there is a small insecure shaky child who just wants to be loved.

However, if they are actively seeking to harm you, sympathize from a distance. :thumbsup:

Just my two cents... :heart:
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Re: a difficult person

Postby msmedusa » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:12 am

I have a small insecure shaky child in my home.He is lurking under the guise of a strappy six foot snarling seventeen year old.

At first glance he appears unkempt, uncommunicative and cold. If you take a second , deeper look you will see that he exudes misery and pain from every pore. That most of the time he is close to tears. He doesnt lie, but he has his own particular patterns of behaviour that give away his need for love and validation.

He is my son and he is hurting. I cant fix it, I am his mother and I should be able to , but I can't. All I can do is to understand that his behaviour is the manifestation of his pain,and help him get up each time the person that he loves knocks him down.

He is the small insecure shaky child of his father who was also a small insecure shaky child. The victim of a victim. But no one in the outside world knows this, and he isnt able to tell them.

Medusa





[quote][/quote]
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Re: a difficult person

Postby ground » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:50 am

OgyenChodzom wrote:I've been wondering about this myself but in a bit of a different context. What I've been doing is exchanging myself for them. I imagine what events in life could have happened that could have made me the way this person is, and when I think about the rejections, the fear, the sadness, the loneliness that drives someone to use deceit to obtain validation instead of honesty (I think of the times I felt I needed to lie because I didn't feel strong enough to use the "ugly" truth), I think of how much suffering must be behind the need for attention/validation and how hard it is to feel so trapped in my own needs. (We've all experienced this in some form at some time, right?) It's easier for me after I do this exchanging myself for them practice to feel so much kinder towards them because I realize if my life had been just a bit different I could have been them and not who I am today. Our experiences shape so much of our perceptions reinforcing our delusions about what will make us suffer less, so I try to REALLY think about how it must have felt to that person having had experiences no one might even know about. Or if I know what the person has experienced in their life and have any kind of closeness to know private information, I think of how hard it must have been to be constantly rejected by a narcissistic parent or get bullied in high school, or get rejected by a boy/girl when they put themselves out there, get molested by someone he/she trusted, or how hard it must have been to start needing to lie where it felt like being honest and being direct wasn't good enough. That's a lot of pain... All that can be good practice for realizing that our self is a tenuous construct and it wouldn't be very hard to just put in the right conditions to make us feel that we NEED to rely on lies and delusions/attachments to make ourselves feel better and then just visualize the prison my own perception has built like invisible bars that are part of me and limit how I act because it's all I see and I don't know where the lies end and I begin... this might help you sympathize with their suffering... I don't even know this person, and I already feel all that anguish just thinking about it, lurking under the "pathological lying" there is a small insecure shaky child who just wants to be loved.

However, if they are actively seeking to harm you, sympathize from a distance. :thumbsup:

Just my two cents... :heart:


I very much like your posting, Ogyen. But one aspect I would like to mention explicitely, because you when compare, i.e. mentally "exchange yourself with those others" you keep referring to "my life", "their life" (in the singular) without getting explicit about that: It is all about karma. Please do not get me wrong that does not attenuate or go against anything you are saying but imo this adds an important aspect. Everything we are experiencing we experience due to causes and conditions: Our experiencing of our parents, of our friends and enemies, our experiencing of being accepted or rejected ...

Kind regards
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Laurazen » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:32 am

All of these answers are so good. I know this contribution is so minor.

But my experience has been that the more than someone has wronged or harmed me, the greater and deeper my compassion for that person has run when I really consider the situation. And I'm talking serious harm.

No matter what s/he has done to you, his/her own suffering for the harmful or horrific actions will be far more than they would imagine, I think. For that reason, I generate sorrow and compassion for him/her with some ease these days. Simply because I know what it is to suffer.

It's not easy to do, I think. But if it's felt in the heart and mind, it's genuine and true. That's good for both you and the difficult person. The more you practice this the easier it is to do. And eventually it's like it's a part of you, that your heart goes out to those who act badly. It doesn't mean that you act as a punching bag for others or some sort of doormat, but you can feel the empathy needed to tolerate their actions and generate metta and compassion.

I hope that helps sattva. But please, more than anything please take these wise advices from others here under consideration. I'm merely pointing out a direction for the heart, that's all. And as I said, it takes practice and a lot of repetition at generating empathy. Not sympathy, but empathy. To imagine the suffering s/he is creating with such actions and temporarily walk in those shoes.

Be well :)
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Clueless Git » Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:49 am

OgyenChodzom wrote:.. I don't even know this person, and I already feel all that anguish just thinking about it, lurking under the "pathological lying" there is a small insecure shaky child who just wants to be loved.

'Lo Ogyen :)

I liked that post of yours very much too :thumbsup:

A little story for you ..

A freind on another forum mentioned, in passing, that her husband had been a counsellor but had found it hard to cope with the job and had given it up.

I asked her "why so?".

She told me that her hubbie had tired of writing off case after case with the 'counsellor speak' that "the clients need is for constant positive affirmation".

I asked what "constant positive affirmation" means in English.

She said "it means that the only problem they actualy have is that they feel that no one loves them"
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Ogyen » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:47 pm

TMingyur wrote:I very much like your posting, Ogyen. But one aspect I would like to mention explicitely, because you when compare, i.e. mentally "exchange yourself with those others" you keep referring to "my life", "their life" (in the singular) without getting explicit about that: It is all about karma. Please do not get me wrong that does not attenuate or go against anything you are saying but imo this adds an important aspect. Everything we are experiencing we experience due to causes and conditions: Our experiencing of our parents, of our friends and enemies, our experiencing of being accepted or rejected ...

Kind regards


TMingyur, thank you for responding to the concept! Although I didn't really refer to it explicitly, I had it implied in my own mind.. oops. IT IS all about karma. That is absolutely a great dimension to add into (my) consideration the concept I was trying to express. You are completely right as well that I DO keep referring to "my life" "their life" - FYI in my current experience it is still dual though at times the wall of my separations thin, I'm nowhere near that advanced... my personal usage of the terms is only to reflect my current level of understanding. So you understood me well, I'm still at a very beginner's stage. :anjali:
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Re: a difficult person

Postby ground » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:26 am

OgyenChodzom wrote:... I'm still at a very beginner's stage. :anjali:


C'mon ... ;)
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Ogyen » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:48 am

TMingyur wrote:
OgyenChodzom wrote:... I'm still at a very beginner's stage. :anjali:


C'mon ... ;)


I only took refuge three weeks ago! Gimme a break... :juggling:
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"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy
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Re: a difficult person

Postby ground » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:17 am

OgyenChodzom wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
OgyenChodzom wrote:... I'm still at a very beginner's stage. :anjali:


C'mon ... ;)


I only took refuge three weeks ago! Gimme a break... :juggling:


I assumed you were being too "political dharma correct"

Kind regards
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Re: a difficult person

Postby Ogyen » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:06 am

TMingyur wrote:I assumed you were being too "political dharma correct"


Oh! :lol: No. I'm really ACTUALLY a beginner. :reading: Learning everything I can (there's a lot to learn and yet there is very little, and there is both a lot to learn and very little to learn and there is neither a lot to learn nor a little to learn - Nyingma-student-brain-overflow)

I didn't realize there was dharmic "political correctness" ... how odd! But I guess the Buddhist political correctness would be odd...

Ok, that definitely sounded a lot funnier in my head than how it turned out to read.
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"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy
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Re: a difficult person

Postby muni » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:30 am

OgyenChodzom wrote:
TMingyur wrote:I assumed you were being too "political dharma correct"


Oh! :lol: No. I'm really ACTUALLY a beginner. :reading: Learning everything I can (there's a lot to learn and yet there is very little, and there is both a lot to learn and very little to learn and there is neither a lot to learn nor a little to learn - Nyingma-student-brain-overflow)

I didn't realize there was dharmic "political correctness" ... how odd! But I guess the Buddhist political correctness would be odd...

Ok, that definitely sounded a lot funnier in my head than how it turned out to read.



The more one knows, the more there is humble attitude and it is clear; there is no "me - knowing" other than in illusion, as there is no one who need to prove something.

In exchanging self-other, the "knowing me" fades.

A wise one is like a beginner each moment (no clasification), by heart and mind for each and everyone.
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