Hate, Love, and Un-Hate: The Common Cold and Enlightenment

If you ever want to experience awakening, you will, sooner or later, need to address the issue of hate and love. I don’t want to get too philosophical here, so let’s give a simple example. Since I’m experiencing a head cold right now, let’s take a careful look at a common aliment and see what it can offer us.

Your nose is all stuffed up. You have a scratchy throat and you feel just terrible. It appears natural to not like (hate or resist) these symptoms. But when we hate anything we are also doing our best to maintain separation and thus we sustain the illusion of the separate self.

Now we could pretend to love the painful feelings of the body, but anytime we insist on living an untruth we are, again, sustaining the illusion of the separate self, because we are asserting something as true, when, on another level, we know to be false. We are just fooling ourselves and working to be spiritual.

There is a response, however, that conforms with the awakened self. This is not a technique. All clever strategies must fail because they are just tricks. Rather we need to discover what is true and painful conditions present us with an outstanding opportunity to understand what the ego dominated self experiences as an obstacle. Because the truth shows that there is no separation in the universe, we correct the positions of love or hate by simply “un” hating the symptoms. When we “un” hate, our relationship with the painful feelings of the body conform to the awakened state. In other words, we are living the truth of the sensation. Resistance sustains separation. Unhating heals separation.

The awakened self is the realization that the light of awareness is instantly revealed in the ‘manifestation’ of every object and sensation and thought in the universe. There is absolutely no separate self that can be found. The universe is awareness and we are that awareness. This is why when we posit hate or love to anything that happens in our life we are asserting a subject – object duality. The illusory self, which can be motivated by an endless range of reasons and stories divides the universe into the three categories of good, bad, and indifferent depending on how they appear to accord one one’s personal agenda.

But when we “un” hate everything that arises as painful, we realize that everything is just right as it is, even if it manifests as pain. It is not natural to enjoy suffering, but suffering is an inevitable aspect of consciousness and will, sooner or later, inform awareness with its existence. The more we resist it through hate and non-acceptance, the longer we will sustain the illusion of the separate self. If we try to love pain, then we are asserting a positive judgment on to top of a negative judgement. This is just phony spiritualism.

We cannot escape pain, but we can ‘use’ pain to open ourselves to the possibility of awakening. We remove a powerful obstacle when we realize the secret of unhating something. Unhating can be realized in any situation with which the illusory self would prefer to resist or play games with (love what is unlovable).

Ultimately, what we truly resist is our own selves. We seek to disown ourselves from ourselves!

We can apply exactly the same approach to the energy cluster that we sense, in awareness, as our own selves. We “un” hate that as well. We can become friends with ourselves. Did not the Buddha say that the self is suffering? It is suffering as long as we resist this self. Thus the key to happiness is to “un” hate our sense of ourselves as an aspect within the field of awareness. We will discover, as we “un” hate what we resist, that this is the path of enduring peace and contentment.

The power of unhating is very great. It is a doorway to the Authentic Self.


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  1. #1 by Kris on October 10, 2010 - 9:17 pm

    Being on the tail end of a tenacious cold myself, I found this timely. I was certainly not enjoying my various discomforts, nor was I cursing them beyond the things one might say in passing conversations about “How are you?” if being honest vs putting on a good face. I do like to grumble/protest now and then, but that’s a style of delivery (personality quirk) in communication and not reflective of what I perceive (meaning I do not take myself seriously or “suffer” over this).

    Its the simple yet powerful notion of pain vs suffering.

    A cold is a cold, my opinions/beliefs/ideas beyond that do not change it, they can only distort what is perceived. That sort of distortion/delusion itself generating any suffering and thereby more likely amplifying perceptions of actual pain. Huge waste of energy (denial of reality), and a diversion of resources from healing, which likely increases/prolongs any actual pain involved.

    Life will have it’s various pains – large and small – and these are largely unavoidable/part of life. Suffering is a whole different matter and such self generated/amplified pain conception on to of direct perception is completely optional.

    This difference can be one of the first things to fall/first way to come to see mind for what it is. At least Buddha seems to have thought so, since his whole teaching centers on this. All delusions/hindrances operate the same way, but little day to day pains are great places to catch “me” playing these games, offering glimpses that may get some to examine the rest of their constructs, right up to the big (more direct?) Davita questions like “Who am I?”

    Or maybe some get “lucky” and don’t have to muck around through all that for decades. Traditional seeking methods often being dualistic boat loads of suffering unto themselves (rife with things to both hook/unhook us). Sort of like one big long spiritual illness one can endure, or suffer – to varying result. The cause is the cure as it were.

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