Sunday, April 21, 2013

Terror in Boston: Why Do I Love To Hate Haters?

As the recent events unfolded over the past week in Boston, I told myself I wanted to stay abreast of the news – but it was much more than that. I was mesmerized. I was fascinated. I was becoming obsessed. I could go through the day with periodic reports over NPR.  But once I “gave in” and actually sat down in our TV room, I couldn’t move. The media teasers kept me glued there. Who was black-hat? White-hat? Were they the ones? If so, why were they doing this heinous thing? What was it the two young men hated so much that they were propelled to create homemade, people-maiming devices? When is this upcoming news conference going to occur?
Also, listening to the reporting of other news outlets, who were disseminating false and incomplete information, made me almost as angry. What was going on with Fox News and CNN? It seemed that they relished every opportunity they had to report suspicions that the “persons of interest” were dark-skinned or looked like they might be mid-eastern. Then the commentators took over and continued their personal drivel as if the “dark-skinned” or “mid-eastern” aspects were indisputable facts. From then on, the comments were all about mid-easterners, Muslims, radical Islamists. Subtext: Why would anyone hate America so? We’re God’s gift to the world, aren’t we?
What were the motives of these commentators? Were they simply trying to garner continued viewing interest? Were they trying to fulminate some sort of racial distrust and hatred in order to keep folks tuned in? As a result, incorrect folks were identified. Unhelpful racial fears were aroused. Distrust, fear, anger, hate. This seemed to be the aim of the broadcast.
Yet, I couldn’t tear myself away.
Finally, I asked myself the real question: Don, what’s really going on inside you? Where is this fascination coming from? Where was my mind taking me?
At first I thought it was my sense of righteous indignation that had been awakened. But it was more than that. I was enjoying hating the haters – the young suspects, the fear-mongering commentators, so quick to jump to conclusions. In short, since I believed I was right, I was getting an emotional high from the drama I was creating.
After all, I was on the side of the righteous!
Catch the young men. Find out they were acting alone. Allow the truth to chastise CNN and Fox News for jumping to conclusions and violating their implied contract with the public – to provide professional journalistic standards in their reports to their audience.
I was hating the young men for what they did. I was hating the sloppy journalism that was fraught with sensationalism. I was right and justified in my hate.
Then it dawned on me. Bingo! I was no different than them. In hating the haters and judging the too-quick-to judgers I was simply doing the same thing. Except I believed I was right to think the way I was thinking.
Righteous anger. Inviolable perceptions. Confidence in my convictions. That mental state has proved to be a very dangerous place for me to be:
·        Still, after 26 years, righteous indignation fills me with twinges of a desire to drink. And most of the time my sense of righteous indignation comes from comparing my insides (and the values there I hold to be true) to someone else’s outsides (of course, assuming they couldn’t possibly have a varying value system).
·        The first 2 (of 365) daily lessons in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) assert the power of my ego: “Nothing I see…means anything;” and “I have given everything I see…all the meaning that it has for me.” Nothing my ego “sees” has anything at all to do with actual, divine reality.
AA has taught me that what is important is not my thoughts/actions but my motives. Sick thoughts will keep me sick as surely as sick actions will. ACIM teaches me that there is no real difference between thoughts and actions. To think hateful thoughts is powerful and will keep me from growing whether or not I act on them.
I understand the power of my ego. I understand the power of my perceptions. However, as my reactions/responses to the Boston terrorist attacks showed me, I have an exceptionally difficult time with my perceptions when I believe I am right.  
At least I began perceiving my error while it was occurring.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#3 April, 2013
Copyright, 2013

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