Beings do get hurt. There are people on this planet that actually take pleasure in hurting other people. I think Scott Peck in his Road Less Traveled said this best when he said, "There really are people, and institutions made up of people, who respond with hatred in the presence of goodness and would destroy the good insofar as it is in their power to do so." "They hate the light and instinctively will do anything to avoid it, including attempting to extinguish it. They will destroy the light in their own children and in all other beings subject to their power. Evil people hate the light because it reveals themselves to themselves. They hate goodness because it reveals their badness; they hate love because it reveals their laziness. They will destroy the light, the goodness, the love in order to avoid the pain of such selfawareness." Peck sees that truly evil people take an active rather than a passive path of avoidance of legitimate suffering. He says they will take "any action in their power to protect their own laziness and to preserve the integrity of their sick self. Rather than nurturing others, they will actually destroy others in this cause. If necessary they will even kill to escape the pain of their own spiritual growth."
It is easy to hurt most beings because the heart is vulnerable. And our bodies are just as vulnerable. It is even easy to hurt very strong beings but the difference is that they feel the hurt; they suffer, and get over it more quickly. But even the strongest being still has the capacity to feel and thus feel hurt, pain and suffering. In the Universe of Being all concepts of spirituality fade before the intense empathy of being. Yes we can justify our hurt meaning prolong it through obsessing with ourselves and going deep down into the pit of self-pity, but there are hurts like rape and child abuse that have no short cure. The mind cannot really understand this deep hurt and some people will even go as far as saying one cannot be hurt.
There is no changing the fact that we are feeling beings though there are many people so cut off from the heart center that they wonder what all the suffering is about. The heart center of our humanity is in disfavor and the thinking, cognitive and televisionized mind today dominates the collective field of consciousness. Sushil Yadav said "Man is making an attempt to make robots. Devoid of all painful emotions man has himself become a robot."
The worst examples show this common and deep tendency in humanity. For instance most serial killers are sociopaths. They are able to kill with moral impunity because they are unable to feel remorseful, incapable of empathy. They are manipulative, shrewd and crafty. Psychiatrists really haven’t a clue as to how to rehabilitate a sociopath. And it’s the same spiritually with our whole race. How do we rehabilitate humanity as a whole, how do we teach people how to care more and feel more? It is the uncaring that hurts our beings, the lack of heart, and the steel coldness of the mind that is always seeking power, dominance and control over the vulnerable heart. This is the whole aim of HeartHealth, to increase our feeling and caring nature. The mind does not know it but when the heart is confronted with the limits of its own uncaring nature, it responds naturally with more caring.The mind on the other hand normally responds with excuses and rationalizations, almost always defensive and blaming.
Peck’s definition of evil is useful for to the sociopath the more their victim suffers, the better they feel about themselves. They kill for the power, dominance, and control. They exalt in their victim’s suffering. Are we not doing the same unconsciously, on a much more subtle level, when we judge and harshly put down another? There are many things we say and do that can hurt others and this hurt does not have to be transmitted only physically.
Life is a comedy for those who "think" and a tragedy for those who feel.
– Horace Walpole
Some people say that that loving, appreciative, caring, and gentle feelings should be valued and hurt, blame, fear, anger, disappointment, betrayal, and even regret and remorse should be labeled ‘devastating, draining, deficit type thought/feeling complexes.’ To me this is just one more level of judgment and seems to come from a space devoid of empathy. These more painful types of feelings are draining if they are obsessed with, but all feelings and emotions have a message and a purpose. For most people the challenge is to feel the feelings, connect to the needs that are related to them, and find a way to express those feelings in the most creative way possible. The sociopath denies a person their rights and feelings unto death, the ‘normal’ person can deny a person their rights and feelings just by not listening and thus ignoring another persons feelings. And when we judge another person and their feelings we are adding insult to the injury.
Lets take the feeling of betrayal as an example. It can be one of the worst experiences a human can go through. It entails the total negation and betrayal of trust. It usually shatters our sense of reality and can devastate our life in broad terms. When we are betrayed by someone we deeply trusted our sense of reality comes under intense attack. There are people on this planet who do attack and betray others. When we have experiences with this ‘uncaring’ it can provoke some of the most powerful feelings and emotions in our life. This uncaring is a darkness that we have to deal with and confront when we are faced with it. Not an easy thing for anyone and takes qualities of the heart that go beyond love and appreciation. We need to employ the side of the heart that has courage and fortitude and ruthlessness of spirit. When we are betrayed we also have to deal with our own blindness to the darkness that betrayed us and this complicates the process of managing intense feelings and emotions. The betrayed person has to pick up the pieces of their life, learn, grow, and then move on. But this can be a long and difficult process and the greater the betrayal the deeper and more difficult the process.
To reduce a persons feeling of betrayal, their anger and the hurt to the level of simply a toxic emotion, that we need to shift past, is actually a belittlement and betrayal of the heart and of love. Totally evil people like the sociopath might have no insight into the horror of their actions. Those who manifest lesser evils might have some trace of guilt and remorse but the general nature of ‘evil’ is to not have consciousness of the effect that our actions have on the feelings and emotional world of others. To betray and to diminish feelings is the typical pathology of the mind cut off from the heart. Thus we could say that evil is simply a lack of lack of heart. People who stab others in the back are principally people with little capacity for empathy. Dan Goleman states this when he says, "A psychological fault line is common to rapists, child molesters, and many perpetrators of family violence alike: they are incapable of empathy. This inability to feel their victims pain allows then to tell themselves lies that encourage their crime." Anytime we reduce or diminish or degrade a persons feelings, even if its their anger, we are falling for the dark side of the force. Evil people do this in obvious hurtful ways, most of us do it in subtle ways, through our unwillingness or inability to listen which in and of itself reduces and degrades other peoples feelings.
There are actually people who really do believe that one person cannot hurt or "cause" another person to suffer (see chapter on Empathy Breaking Concepts) and thus they disallow feelings of betrayal as not something a person can feel but ‘only’ a symptom of how we are ‘interpreting’ the betrayer’s behavior. This attitude reflects on some basic lack of empathy and some deep lack of understanding of the human heart. Such philosophical and psychological perspectives champion the universe of individualism and see each and every one of us as separate from the whole and from each other. If we are separate then of course we can pretend that we cannot cause or effect things in others. But if we are all subtly connected through the hearts center of feelings it is another story completely.
The first moment of discovery of a betrayal comes as a shock. A wife founds out her husband has been cheating on her (meaning lying or not being truthful thus breaking the trust bond) and when such a person says "I feel deeply betrayed" we would know that they are talking about some exceptionally deep feelings. Saying "I feel betrayed" expresses a range of feelings from shock to rage, hurt to deep sadness, disheartened, perplexed, bewildered, and miserable all running together. We would not stop a person in such a moment and confront them with "Hey that’s not a feeling you are just interpreting the other persons behavior. So what needs of yours are not getting met in this situation?" If we had a heart and eyes to see we would feel their anguish. Hearts have empathy for the agony of others, the mind, on the other hand, pays attention to how imperfect a person is.
Most people, when they feel someone act aggressively against their being, have a difficult time expressing their vulnerable feelings of being hurt. What we normally do is hide the actual feelings of hurt by expressing a helpless rage. This kind of anger arises when we don’t know how to express our feelings. When we are attacked unjustly, something inside of us wants to tell the other that we are human, we are beings too, with feelings, and that to be attacked hurts, and this triggers our rage. This rage expresses our helplessness.
The rage really has a lot to do with the often impossibility of making such a communication. People like Marshal Rosenberg suggest a shift of attention away from an ‘attackers’ behavior, and our mentally framing them as such, and suggests directing our consciousness to such a persons unfulfilled needs. Elly Hillesum said once in facing a disgruntled Gestapo officer who was yelling at her, "I felt no indignation, rather a real compassion, and would have liked to ask, ‘did you have a very unhappy childhood, has your girlfriend let you down?" These are the thoughts of a saint, thoughts that unleash our compassion even in the most trying moments.
Of course all human behaviors and attitudes need to be seen on a continuum. Psychopaths are extreme versions of what is common in so many people. The lack of heart and the lack of empathy is a chronic epidemic in humankind. Psychopaths are notorious, for example, for being both charming and completely without remorse for even the most cruel and heartless acts. Writers who diminish feelings, who label and judge hurt, fear and anger seem to be treading on dangerous and uncompassionate ground and seem to be walking some of the same territory that the cruel have passed by. Such judgments smack of a pathological inability to feel for the hurt and pain of others that they themselves probably cause with little or no remorse.