I am the most easygoing of men. All I ask from life is a humble thatched cottage, so long as there's a good bed in it, and good victuals, fresh milk and butter, flowers outside my window, and a few beautiful trees at my doorway; and if the dear Lord cares to make my happiness complete, he might grant me the pleasure of seeing six or seven of my enemies hanging from these trees.
From the bottom of my compassionate heart, before they die I will forgive them all the wrongs they have visited on me in my lifetime - yes, a man ought to forgive his enemies, but not until he sees them hanging.
Heinrich Heine: Gedanken und Einfalle
I came across this passage last week and it seemed to capture perfectly the self-deception in which we enshroud our desire for revenge.
I suspect most of us feel considerable reluctance to expose our taste for getting even. And it's no wonder - we've been told since childhood to turn the other cheek and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
And yet . . . most of us seem compelled to extract our "just" deserts from those who have wronged us.
Of course, our stories of being wronged are . . . just stories. We invent them out of unseen intentions and motivations, and we take great delight in the story, telling it over and over, while ignoring the reality behind it.
This disjunction, if that's the word, provides an excellent place for self-study, the most difficult practice of all.