Love Your Enemies

Kathryn Drury Wagner

How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier

By Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman

Hay House

As the elevator door closed in my face, I felt my blood pressure rise. Didn’t those two men notice me pushing a giant stroller? How rude! Then I thought back to the times I’ve struggled to find the right button to keep an elevator open, only to miss letting someone in. Maybe that’s what happened with the men. I felt compassion instead of annoyance.

That little moment came courtesy of reading Love Your Enemies, by Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman, which encourages what Thurman calls our “heroic potential” in overcoming our instinctive urge toward anger. The authors are writing from a Buddhist perspective: Salzberg is a founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and a well-known meditation teacher and author. Thurman is a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and an advocate for Buddhist studies around the world. Love Your Enemies comes from a workshop the two have been teaching together for seven years.

The authors examine four kinds of enemies: outer (situations that frustrate us or people who get in our way); inner (our own anger and fear); the secret enemy (our preoccupation with ourselves); and the supersecret enemy (a deep sense that we are unworthy of true happiness). Each chapter helps the reader identify and dismantle the causes of anger, transforming us into happier, more peaceful creatures. Salzberg and Thurman provide masterful insights, creating a book you immediately want to read again to process it even more fully. 

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