As spiritual aspirants and practitioners, many of those with whom we come into daily contact do not share our practice nor our world view. This is good news, in a sense, because whenever we encounter someone who is different, we each have something to offer the other. We have a unique point of view to share, and so do they.
However, sometimes we will encounter those whose personal pain, and negative mental habits, cause them to “share” this negativity with us. Rude comments, abusive language, wild accusations, lies, etc. find their way into our lives via people whose minds are untrained and undisciplined. It can be tempting to either let this negativity wound us, or to give it right back. Either choice allows negativity to win.
Rather than be sucked into darkness, it is important to develop sufficient presence of mind to hold onto Peace whenever it is challenged. I recently had the experience of reading an Instagram post of someone who posts a lot of positive abundance-mindset, success and money stuff. The post was something positive about former POTUS/FLOTUS, Barack and Michelle Obama. The responses to this particular post were full of vehement racist, homophobic, transphobic, ignorant, and generally hateful, preposterous comments.
I expressed surprise that a success-minded page would attract this level of cruelty which, of course, was followed by ridiculous commentary and personal attacks against me. Due to the lack of response from the original poster – either through positive commentary or blocking the abusive posters – I decided to stop following the individual. It is not their fault that hateful people follow them and post on their page. But it is their responsibility to manage the environment and keep it “on-brand.” Nevertheless, I got a practical lesson in compassion, and a chance to evaluate my inner response.
I recognized the jealousy and inner pain of the negative posters, which gave rise to such hateful comments. However, I refused to engage directly with them. I feel that, unless there is no other choice, or I am peacefully led by Spirit to respond, it is usually better to avoid engaging directly with such ignorance. I like the saying: “Don’t wrestle with pigs. You’ll get filthy and the pig will be happy.” Because association is important, I removed myself from the group. But I do feel bad for those people. It’s a shame that so many people chase money, but never learn that abundance and money are not the same things. But that’s a post for another day!
The key to maintaining peace of mind in the face of negativity, is to “pray without ceasing.” This means that a few minutes of meditation in the morning is not sufficient; a meditative mindset must be cultivated throughout the day as well. Whenever you are pulled into an anxious, angry, resentful direction, you must learn how to bring yourself – immediately and repeatedly – back to peace, joy, and equanimity. You can think of a poem that you’ve memorized, or imagine a beautiful landscape, or talk directly to the Goddess – whatever works for you. My method is to talk directly to the Goddess, which always brings me back to a higher frame of mind.
Sadly, there is pain and misery all around us. Many people walk around in a state of unconsciousness, anger, and low-grade depression. They truly believe that their success lies in their ability to be the first to beat out, manipulate, hurt, or conquer other human beings before they themselves are destroyed. Because we were not created for this, this kind of thinking leads only to further misery, anxiety, and depression.
When we encounter people who are burdened by their own limited perception, let us have compassion for them, while not compromising our own peace of mind. Let us share wisdom simply and without attachment, whether or not it is accepted or received. But let us also remove ourselves from toxic situations as quickly as possible so as not to be logs consumed in the fire of abuse and foolishness.
And, lastly, let us remember that there are many beautiful souls out there carrying their Light in various capacities. Do not be discouraged, thinking that you are alone and isolated. There only needs to be one candle to light up a dark room. Shine your Light with pride and joy!
Peace and love,