One of the most unusual aspects of spiritual practice, when compared to mainstream culture, is the perspectives on enemies. You hear this difference in Jesus' radical command to love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you; and it is present in Buddhist teachings that remind us that we are more closely related to our enemies than the surface of things suggests. Psychology goes so far as to say that we may be drawn to enemies precisely because we cannot face our own darkness. “Enemies ‘need’ each other to dispose of their accumulated, disowned, psychological toxins," writes Sam Keen in Faces of the Enemy. "We form a hate bond, an ‘adversarial symbiosis,’ an integrated system that guarantees that neither of us will be faced with our own shadow.”

If we are to have a healthy family, a healthy community, a healthy democracy, a healthy world, then, we need to take a long look at the nature of animosity and what we can each do from our end to replace it with kindness, hospitality, openness, and compassion. The spiritual practices, articles, blogs, book excerpts and recommendations, film reviews, poems, prayers, quotes, teaching stories, and related material in this topic give substantial food for thought. Taken as a whole, these various angles of approach help us face not only external conflicts but also inner enemies like arrogance, fear, and ingratitude.

We can each do more to heal the conflicts in the world than we realize, and these pages offer an abundance of good methods.