Meditation and Revenge

February 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Why do we meditate?)

This article is about the relationship between meditation and the emotion or desire for revenge. This is the second in a series of articles started a couple of weeks ago about the relationship between meditation and various emotions, both positive and negative, that we experience as human beings.

What is revenge?

Revenge is generally thought of as returning a consequence, generally harsh or cruel, for some wrong, injury or insult that has been given. Often in the mind of the person performing the vengeful act, it is equated with some form of justice.

A person is either actually wronged or injured or perceives some wrong or injury and therefore some form of justice is required to balance things out.

In the case of some actual wrong or injury, expecially if serious, there are generally ways of reporting, intervention and help that stop the damage and judge the person who has acted wrongfully. Laws, courts, parents, teachers and other appropriate authority figures are needed for these cases.

In the case of emotional, verbal or more intangible types of damage the situation is more difficult. Often a person may be without recourse to correct the problem.

However, if the situation has been emotional or painful, we often react in anger and determine that we must somehow punish the person who acted to hurt us. Sometimes we feel this way because we are afraid that established mechanismas are too slow or won’t work, or sometimes we simply want to return the hurt ourselves.

What does meditation do?

It is difficult or impossible to meditate when one is angry. So the first thing that meditation does is to require us to calm down in order to be able to think clearly.

Meditation is also unsurpassed in its ability to calm our harts and minds. So if we are hurt instead of angry, meditation is a great soothing and calming balm for the heart.

That calmness and freedom from intense anger or deep sadness alone will give us a better perspective about what to do in the situation that has been thrust upon us.

In addition, the time spent in meditation will give us perspective about the consequences of any action that we might take for revenge.

We harm ourselves with excessive anger. Studies demonstrate that the chemicals released when we are very angry are damaging in dozens of ways to the body and brain.

We also harm ourselves if we act in foolish or irresponsible ways. We become no different that those who acted badly to hurt us in the first place. Nothing positive is achieved.

If we act in anger and do some act in revenge, then we sometimes have consequences of our own to face. At a minimum, we often feel later, that our action was too strong, inappropriate or otherwise different that what we truly expect from ourselves.

Meditation gives us the separation and time to weigh our motives, and choose our course wisely and in a way that we need not regret later.

This is not to say that those who hurt others should escape consequence. On the contrary, both law, justice and society have a right to have serious offences redressed. A person should take advantage of these means when necessary.

In cases where these means are not available or not applicable due to the nature of the problem the effects of Karma or ‘what goes around, comes around,’ will eventually set things right.

In either case, acting in our own rage and vengeful state harms us more than helps us, and certainly leaves a mark on our souls in addition to the mark of the wrong initially received.

Those who regularly meditate will have the habit and the presence of mind to thoughtfully consider a course of action when these situations arise.

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