The Buddha once said, “Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”
There have been many variations on this concept throughout time. People have preached these words from pulpits, soap boxes and street corners worldwide. But for my daily practice, the words are much more personal.
Recently, I had a conversation with my best friend. She reminded me that a year ago, I sent her on a journey, much like the journey Elizabeth Gilbert takes in “Eat, Pray, Love,” except she stayed in town. I asked her to pick three areas of her life that needed more love and to take four months focusing on each one.
I knew that by the time she was done, she would have set new habits of self-love that would last.
Forgetting this a year later, I was sitting with her at a picnic table outside a Sonic, sucking on a grape slushie, when I poured out my self-hate in the form of guilt and judgment. She listened intently, then flashed a smile. You know that smile; it is the smile of a friend who is getting ready to hit you with the Big One, the profound statement that will shake your foundation to its core.
She did just that. She told me it was time to take my own “Eat, Pray, Love” journey. After remembering how transformed she had become, I agreed that she might be right. She had gone inward to her truth of herself, that she was lovable, energetic, compassionate and kind.
And I looked forward to the same, where I could do kind things for myself because I love myself. I looked forward to feeling peaceful and loving, like all of those times I walked into my parents’ or grandparents’ houses, eagerly accepting hugs and accolades of my existence. This was once called home, where the love and acceptance already happened; that is where I am going to.
As I continue my daily practice, the daily activities are different. But one thing remains the same. I spend a little time closing my eyes and going back to that house where I knew so much love and I walk in, smell the sweet aroma and wrap my arms around myself and say, “I am so glad you are here! I love you! Welcome home!”
Diane Sodders of Kansas City, Kan., also known as Indira Grace, is one of 13 Faith Walk writers for The Star. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.