I have two Zen Masters. One is an eighty year old Korean monk who understands enlightenment, the other is my eight year old daughter who is just herself. I learn from both of them. I try to teach my daughter. I rarely get immediate results.
Over the past two days, I have been watching my daughter fight with her cousins. They have also played together nicely, but the nice quickly deteriorates into rage, torment and sadness. It is so hard to help them understand the benefits of being nice.
Yesterday, it started with a game of badminton. Keeping score made one side feel good and the other feel bad. Part of feeling good for the one child, definitely involved making the other child feel bad. When these situations arise, everything they do and say comes from a dark place and is intended to hurt the other person. They are acting out their pain. The verbal barbs soon escalated into a shove. In a flash, the racquets were taken up as weapons and I sent them do their corners to cool down. All parties were angry, sad, faultless, blameless, and wronged.
My daughter believes, that she is the only one I ever punish. Although all of the children received the same reprimand, she only felt the one she received. When she notices her cousins getting reprimands, she feels glee. There is no connection between that feeling and the one she had when she was in trouble.
When the pain passes, they play beautifully together again. Nothing happened. There is no apparent lingering affect of the full on war that was waging five minutes earlier. I learn from this.
My Zen master tells me to meditate, help others, create harmony. I try. It takes time.