Through the Buddhist practice of mind training we can learn to get at the root of the problem, "the attitude that cherishes our own welfare and benefit while remaining oblivious to the well-being of others." The enemy — unlike what the cultural shibboleth tells us — is not "the other" but inside us. The practice of putting the happiness of others before our own is greatly enhanced by patience and equanimity. The Dalai Lama's detachment does not make him indifferent to what is going on around him; rather it is the source of his compassion. Here is a profound explanation: "Although this person may behave negatively toward you and is your enemy in this life, he or she could have been your best friend or even your mother in a past life. By reflecting upon the fluctuating nature of one's relationships with others and also on the potential that exists in all sentient beings to be both friends and enemies, you can develop this even-mindedness or equanimity."

The next time you find yourself "other-ing" someone, take the time to find a place where you can sit in silence. Reflect on the fluctuating nature of human relationships generally, and your personal relationships. If you believe in past lives, consider the possible relationships you might have had with this other person in past lives. While holding both yourself and this other person in your awareness, also hold in your awareness the potentiality in every person to be both a friend and an enemy. When you feel complete with these reflections, commit to do your best to hold them in your awareness and to respond to this other person with equanimity the next time you encounter him or her.

Habib Todd Boerger, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, His Holiness the Dalai Lama in The Compassionate Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama