Accepting People's Nature

Even subtle aversion to others is a form of rejection. When we are aware of how we do this to each other, we naturally wish to stop. But how? How do we have a change of heart?

Here is one method. Consider this fact: we all have different natures. We are born with different characteristics. A vivid example is people with Asperger’s Syndrome. Those with Asperger’s may be quite intelligent yet lack empathy. They do not pick up social cues very well, and therefore do not connect easily with others. That is their nature. That might be hard on us, but it’s clearly not their fault. What happens within us in their presence?

There are many more commonplace examples.

I know someone who is extremely orderly. Everything must go as planned. I don’t like that. So, here is the practice: I picture her as a 2-3 year old, and as someone who came here with an exacting nature. It’s just the way she is. As I imagine this, I find myself melting, smiling upon her in my mind. If I do this every time I catch myself being judgmental, it won’t be long before negativity has vanished.

We tend to reject others because they are not what we want them to be. We value or devalue them based on our needs. Yet everyone is different. Can we accept that? Can we have good will toward people as they are?

To practice, focus on one person who you don’t particularly like. Not a major conflict; we are working with something more subtle. Imagine them as a small child, with their unique nature. See them as they are. With your mind’s eye, behold them. What happens? You may focus this way on a few others in your life. See if it’s an effective approach for you–to see the origin of their tendencies as their innate, God given, nature.

We must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.
~Ellie Wiesel

From New Rain Online Series: Purification from Negativity — February 2022

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