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Meet Hate With Love (expanded) – John Styn

“for every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”
– ralph waldo emerson


Attacking my sexuality was the main focus of the people who were flooding the HugNation chat room. But they also spewed racist & anti-Semitic comments.
Occasionally they even responded to what I was saying. That means they were actually listening. It is one thing to sic a bot on a chat room to ruin it. But to actually spend one’s own time in the service of being annoying? I find that baffling.

And to their credit, quite distracting.
Since HugNation is a live broadcast with a chat room, I try to follow chat as best I can to respond to comments and questions. The people who attend HugNation are usually AMAZING people who contribute immensely to the energy of the gathering. So I try to share the comments and quotes from the group that add to the day’s topic.
Does it impact the fluidity of the broadcast? Sure. But it also makes it much bigger than one pink haired guy ranting in his living room. It feels like a gathering.
Unfortunately yesterday’s gathering had some crashers. Apparently the link to our chat was published on some message board for juvenile trolls. I guess the advanced Trolls go after Scientology. The beginners attack smaller prey – like HugNation.
So as I spoke of love, they filled the chat with partially relevant attacks.
Should I have ignored them? Sure. Unfortunately the chat in its current form does not have the ability to Boot. I could have ignored the chat completely, but that would be like throwing the baby out with (extremely filthy) bathwater.
Before I knew it, the trolls had defined the topics of the day.
The first was: If something tastes bad, stop eating.
The world is filled with an infinite number of experiences. And the web is filled with an infinite amount of perspectives. We live in a time where we have access to so much. It is like we are let loose on the biggest banquet table in the universe.
It seems pretty obvious to me, that if you bite into something you don’t like, spit it out and move on.
If you are reading something you are bothered by, click elsewhere.

It is a bizarre type of insanity to bite into something you don’t like, and then continue eating while you yell insults at the chef.
Why not just find something you *do* like?
Why make your experience unpleasant by choice!?
I realize there is a part inside of us that enjoys the fight. We enjoy the righteousness of attack and dismissal. But this is a perfect example of the crap or cone* dilemma. Even if we convince ourselves that our anger is justified, we are still choosing to be in a state of anger. And when the conversation is done, we are left with the residue of the conflict.
I feel the instinct sometimes. I see a blog post or a comment that I simply MUST respond to.
I disagree so thoroughly with what I read I feel my blood start to boil.
And this is when I make a critical choice:
Do I set my mind into battle mode and settle into this debate?
Or do I acknowledge that this conversation does not serve me and click effortlessly away.
What is the best use of the next 10 minutes for me?
Will getting myself riled up and frustrated have any effect on this person I disagree with? Possibly, by I highly doubt it.

If someone pisses in your coffee. Do you drink it so that you can yell at them for how crappy they made it taste? Does that make you feel better? You still drank a cup of their piss!
Why not pass on the coffee and satisfy your thirst elsewhere?
It takes practice to do this.
It is much like a car crash. Are we served by slowing down and looking at the bloody wreckage? It delays our journey and fills our mind with thoughts of suffering. And yet, it is nearly impossible to look away.
But learning when to look away (or walk away, or click away) is a massive step on a journey to happier thoughts.
Yesterday, I could have done a better job at looking away from the chat room trolls. But seeing them intentionally spending an hour in a place that caused them so much bitterness was a powerful example to learn from, too.

The second lesson they helped us learn was much more difficult and cut to the root of what HugNation is all about.
HugNation is a weekly reminder that, no matter how you define yourself in the world, you are not your Ego identity. We all are the product of years of socialization and experiences. Our culture convinces us that we are Democrats or Raiders fans or Catholics or chat room bullies. But all of those identities are just our surface layers. Deep below that is our true essence. Deep down we are a core of love. We are manifestations of the divine.
And HugNation is a weekly reminder to see ourselves that way while we recognize that everyone else is, too. So as we deal with people who annoy us, get in our way, or flood our chat room, we can remember that we are dealing with the actions of their surface ego. It is this reminder that helps us avoid getting angry.
For me, this reminder is critical in allowing me to feel love for my neighbor – and my enemy. So as the anonymous trolls did their best to drag us into their shit, the chat room looked deep inside them and saw their pure glow.
As they tried to throw shit, they found themselves covered in it, while we remained clean. I know this is not your true self who is trying to disrupt.
I know this because I could see myself in their actions. I never did anything quite like this (there was no internet when I was young). But I did many things in my ignorance that were intentionally hurtful. Was that ME? No, it was a scared boy trying to fit in and feel less lost.
And all those people who annoy us in our daily lives – the guy who cut me off, the woman who screwed me at the office, the lying pundit on the news – they are all scared ego identities trying to feel less lost.
I forgive them. And I wish them good fortune as they seek their true peace.
As challenging as HugNation was, I am proud of myself and all the non-disruptive attendeees of the chat. It is not difficult to meet Love with Love. It is when we meet Hate with Love that we are agents of change.

(That being said, we are working on a more secure chat room for the future. No reason to dodge crap if you don’t have to!)
HugNation is every Tuesday at 1pm PST (chat.hugnation.com)

  • Kat

    Thanks. Let me know if you need any help. I have felt a bit disconnected from Hugnation for a bit due to not attending and taking care of alot of “must do”s for my health. I feel ready to get my hands all pink again! 🙂

  • Lexi

    “It is not difficult to meet Love with Love. It is when we meet Hate with Love that we are agents of change.”

    This is beautiful to end with and nice to meditate on. Thank you!

  • Destin Gerek

    John, you fuckin’ rock. Your responses were so right on. And your ability to maintain your center and your love throughout is impressive, for sure. Not just impressive. Inspiring. It is precisely in these moments of challenge that one’s inner character is shown for what it truly is. And yours is beautiful and full of love and compassion. Thank you.

  • Ray Guillette

    Thank you, I appreciate your message. Did your Grandfather pass on any teachings in this area?
    Best Wishes,

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