We will continue our exploration of the difficult person this week. I missed the discussion last week so some of this may or may not be a little duplicative.
I was thinking, we could divide the difficult person category into two types 1) the people we know personally and 2) the people we have opinions about but don’t know at all. There seems to be a difference around how I practice with this. When I practice Metta for “difficult people I know” I notice this need to like them or at least get over my aversion around them. There is a kind of “trying to fix or change the relationship”. I spend a lot of time coming back to simply experiencing Metta for the person just as they are and without my judgment about them. The more I am able to do this, the weaker my aversion gets as I become less attached to specific outcomes.
On the other hand, when I practice Metta for “difficult people don’t know but have strong opinion(s) about” I notice that my thinking is around convincing myself to accept their view and very little connection with them as a person. I spend a lot of time trying to see the person as simply a person. The more I am able to do this, the more human (with all of its frailties, limitations and delusions) they become as I become more present to my own reality.
Tomorrow I’d like to discuss your thoughts about this. Do you see a difference in this category? How do you practice with difficult people? Is it possible that practicing with difficult people at the end of Metta we are increasing Metta within us? What do you think?