“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.”

Coretta Scott King

I had someone ask me recently if I hated them. This is a former friend who wronged me in an indescribable way.

‘Yes’ was my immediate thought. But I held my tongue. I didn’t know how to respond. Sometimes you need to consider hard words before you use them. Some words can cut so deeply, that the possibility of ever really saving that friendship may be over. So I swallowed it. And I tried to get past it, but the hate festered in my mind.

It got me thinking on the subject…what is hate? Why does it occur? Can you control it? I thought about Miyamoto Musashi. I thought about Hagakure. In the eyes of the great samurai what would they see? What would they think? How would they respond?

Hate to me is an all-encompassing feeling. It’s an overwhelming series of thoughts. It takes over your mind. It steers you to make decisions. It re-prioritizes your life. It manufactures dark thoughts. It produces nothing but negativity. It’s a focus on revenge. On anger. On wild schemes to achieve your view of justice.

For me, I don’t think there is any amount of meditation, practice of zen or martial arts, or practice of anything for that matter, that will stop those feelings from entering my mind when someone wrongs me or someone in my family. That is not controllable…for me. I am not wired that way.

In my control, is what I do with those feelings.

Do I really want to hate anybody or anything?

I thought about what happens to me when I hate someone. Hate takes truckloads of energy, thought, and activity. All negative. That anger is paralyzing to the rest of your life. After considering and understanding this, a great calm came over me. I realized I’ll never hate anyone, ever again.

I wish I knew the right thing to say at that moment when my friend asked me that, but I was at a loss for words. Building knowledge, to make decisions in 7 breaths, doesn’t happen overnight. If I get a similar moment back, my response will be this:

You are not worth my hatred. You are not even worth these words, but I will give them to you anyway, because you did ask the question and my angry feelings do need a place to go.

I don’t have the time to hate. I don’t have the inclination. Hate takes too much energy. Hate takes effort that I don’t want to put forth for something so negative. I would never attempt to climb and conquer a mountain as great as hate, for someone as small as you.

I wouldn’t even spend the energy to rear back with my sword and cut you down. I will simply slide out my blade and snip the fragile bond we have left between us. Then turn and walk away. Not watching you fall into the abyss that you keep trying to drag me into.

You are just not worth it.

No, is my official response. I do not hate you. I merely dismiss you from the rest of my life.