President Obama has faced many difficult challenges in the first 100 days of office, including thinly disguised racial attacks at home, bitter opposition at his attempts to put the country on the right track after eight years of fiscal irresponsibility, as well as the proverbial 3am phone call after the direct attacks from Somali pirates.

The teabag protests showed how ugly and vicious people can be, as seen in some of the shockingly offensive tea party signs coming from a deep-seated resentment and hatred. For instance: The American Taxpayers Are The Jew’s For Obama’s Oven / Obama Loves Baby Killing / Barack Hussein Obama The New Face Of Hitler.

But is this a reason for them to be hated in return? As the Dalai Lama says, Normally, when we think about our enemy, we think about harming him. Instead, we can try to remember that the enemy is also a human being. He or she has the right to be happy, just as we do.

This also applies to the Somali pirates that menace the seas off the Horn of Africa. On the one hand we can see them as dangerous and threatening, which they are. But as we just saw on 20/20, they are raised in such great poverty and hardship that it causes them to behave as desperately as they do. Perhaps if you or I had been born into their situation we too would have become a pirate.

That does not mean to say that we should condone either the teabagger’s viciousness or the pirate’s attacks, but we can stand back to gain a bigger picture of what is going on. For both, in their own ways, portray anger at what they see as injustice, amid an attempt to claim what they regard as theirs: either a share of the tax money or a share of the world’s wealth.

We all want to be happy, but in ignorance we think that by hurling abuse or bullets at another we will find that happiness. For example, if I get rid of that black man in the white House then my problems will be solved, or if I take over that ship then I will be rich and all-powerful.

However, we can actually see our enemies as a benefit, for they reveal to us our blind spots. A friend supports and loves us unquestionably, whereas an enemy makes us confront our weaknesses and limitations, and to see what we may not realize we are avoiding. And, as the Dalai Lama says, our enemies also teach us great patience!

Your enemy is your friend, your friend is your enemy. Swami Sivananda

Ed remembers, when he was training in Yoga in India, that his teacher would say how your enemy shows you where you may not be loving yourself, are feeling insecure, are in denial, or even self-hating. For ultimately nothing and no one should be able to disturb your peace, unless you let them.

President Obama has proven that he is a thoughtful, and caring leader. In the past few weeks he has gone were no other president in modern times has, into the hearts of the people of the world. But there will always be those who challenge and even hate him. These are the ones he needs to bring close, as he has begun with Cuba and by reaching out to Chavez, Venezuela’s leftist leader, and in releasing the torture memos. He will learn more about himself from his enemies than he will from his supporters.

When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inward and examine ourselves. Confucius

We all have people who are difficult in our lives. If we carry resentful thoughts and feelings towards them then, like overweight luggage, they will weigh us down and disturb our peace. Below is a meditation we use when we have a negative situation with others. You can use it either when sitting quietly, or throughout the day if negative issues arise. It will calm your mind and heart.

Silently repeat: May I be well, May I be happy, May I be free of negative emotions. May they be well, May they be happy, May they be free of negative emotions.

How have you dealt with negative people? If you have any stories to share we would love to hear from you.

In joy

Ed and Deb Shapiro

Deb is the author of awared-winning: Your Body Speaks Your Mind

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