As we become more aware we will notice our subtle reactions to people. We will notice, in part, how common it is to have negativity towards others. These are not big conflicts. It may be just a mild dislike, or a slight rolling of the eyeballs. With awareness we will see that in those moments our hearts harden somewhat and become cold. We will see that we emanate negativity into the atmosphere. In that state, our contribution to the heart of Existence is negativity. Whether we are “justified” or not makes no difference.

Before we are aware, this goes on automatically. As we become conscious, we can do something about it. We can take on the sacred practice of purification of our negativity. This is deep and challenging work. It is also thrilling and liberating. It is a key to growing a heart with wings, a heart lightened from the load of negativity!

To take up this practice we must be truthful with ourselves. And we must be kind with ourselves. Self-condemnation simply adds more negativity. A main cause of our intolerance is unhealed pain, and tender, unfulfilled needs. So, we approach our reactivity with self-compassion. Let us go through this purification so that we may stop blaming others for our pain.

To practice, simply be aware. Be aware of subtle negative reactions to people. It may be a stranger on the street whose body type or clothing you don’t like. A colleague in a meeting. Or someone who just happens to come into your mind. Notice the tendency of your mind to judge or to have aversion to others. It may be quite slight, quite subtle—the kind of moments you don’t ordinarily notice. Approach this as an observer of your mind, like a scientist. The first, all-important, step is awareness.

A friend of the Beloved is generous like the sea,
Whose favors bless every creature alike;
Affectionate like the sun,
Whose light is spread for everyone;
And who is hospitable like the earth,
Which is hospitable in exactly the same way towards all.

~Abu Khair

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

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