There is one quality that is very useful to acquire when you need to defend yourself, and assert your own energies in the face of the ruthless demands of aggressive people, people who are constantly putting you down, people who are constantly putting their needs before your own… in fact, in the face of a world that seems overly aggressive and lacks any warmth and compassion.
This quality is…. Positive Indifference.
Now, at first glance, this quality doesn’t sound very spiritual, or even very appealing. Our minds initially lock on to the word indifference and so fail to understand how it could have any positive outcome or expression.
Indeed, from childhood the majority of our culture and conditioning is focused on teaching us not to be indifferent to others.
However, in his Yoga Sutras, the spiritual master Patanjali speaks about Positive Indifference in this way (1:33):
The mind becomes tranquil by cultivating attitudes of friendliness towards the happy, compassion towards the miserable, joy towards the virtuous and indifference towards the evil.
This initially comes across as a strange approach to take towards evil, because within our Western culture it is always assumed that you should challenge and fight evil. As Edmund Burke once said ‘All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’ To your average Westerner, indifference and doing nothing sounds pretty much like the same thing.
But in his book Yoga: The Science of the Soul – Volume 2, the mystic Osho explains that:
Don’t condemn evil.
The temptation is there; you would like to condemn even virtue. And Patanjali says don’t condemn evil. Why? He knows the inner dynamics of the mind: because if you too much condemn evil, you pay too much attention to evil, and by and by, you become attuned to it. If you say that “This is wrong, that is wrong,” you are paying too much attention to the wrong. You will become addicted to the wrong. If you pay too much attention to anything, you become hypnotized.
One of the amazing things about consciousness is that it becomes whatever it focuses upon, and so if you focus too much on evil then that is exactly what grows and expands. It’s a bit like hoping to put out a fire by pouring petrol over it and not water. You end up doing the exact opposite of what you intended.
This is similar to that famous story about Mother Teresa politely declining an invitation to go on a march against war, instead saying ‘If you are planning a march for peace then I will definitely turn up to support that.’ Sometimes it is better to work out what you are for, rather then what you are against, because it is this difference between a positive and negative focus which defines what will actually turn up in your life.
And in his commentaries on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Sri Swami Satchidananda says that:
We come across wicked people sometimes. We can’t deny that. So what should our attitude be? Indifference. “Well, some people are like that. Probably I was like that yesterday. Am I not a better person now? She will probably be all right tomorrow.” Don’t try to advise such people because wicked people seldom take advice. If you try to advise them you will lose your peace.
With Positive Indifference, it is not that you are unaware that a wrong has been done to you, just that you are not emotionally caught up in the wrong, and so you don’t need to bite back… which would eventually lead to further suffering… because the person you bite will want to bite you back… and so on, and so on.
It’s not that you condone the wrong, just that you also don’t forcefully condemn it. Because when you condone or condemn something, either way, it becomes lodged within your own mind, it’s something which your mind is continually returning to, like a mental itch it continually wants to scratch.
Sometimes you come across people who are still furious over some personal sleight which occurred 40 years ago, and which they can neither forgive nor forget. But the truth is, they have been the prisoner of this feeling for all that time, and it has dominated the direction of their life, which is just a waste of life and energy.
Now if someone attacks you with a brick, obviously you need to either run away or take the necessary actions to protect yourself… and it’s OK to warn others about the madman with the brick, so they can protect themselves and get out of the madman’s way as well.
But the real and lasting damage is often done inside… whenever we let our attacker get ‘inside our head’, and ‘mess with our mind’. When that happens our attacker has found a way of getting us to do his dirty work for him. We’re literally attacking ourselves on his behalf (brick or no brick).
One of the major insights from NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) is that we re-create our mental and emotional world from moment to moment each day, so if someone is in the grip of a fearful or traumatic past experience then it is because they are choosing to do so but on an unconscious level.
It’s a bit like someone visiting a website they don’t like, which disturbs them (and there are plenty of those kind on the Internet), but instead of just leaving, the person keeps hitting the refresh button hoping that each time the website will re-appear different, and so be more to their tastes and needs. But, in reality, each time the website re-appears exactly the same, with the same content, over and over again with each refresh.
The trick to healing isn’t to keep pressing your inner refresh button, over and over again, hoping to end up with something new and different. The trick is to stop viewing websites and content which make you feel unbalanced in some way, and instead start viewing content which inspires you, and which makes you happy and well-balanced.
And to do that, you need to become indifferent to the negative content which has been holding you in its sway, so allowing you to move on to more positive material and experiences. There are many examples of Richard Bandler, one of the co-founders of NLP, working with people who had been living in fear for 20 or 30 years, following some attack or other terrible experience, and teaching them how to step out of their past memories within the present moment. Literally, teaching them how to become indifferent to their past hurt and pain.
The great thing about using Positive Indifference is that these dodgy people and situations no longer prey on your mind, you literally stop thinking about them, you no longer give them the mental time of day… you just simply have better things to do with your time and energy.
And when that happens, all within in your mind, what power can they have over you?
Positive Indifference may not be able to stop a physical or psychic attacker in his tracks, but it can help you so their attack doesn’t lodge too deeply within your mind and system.
Audio Essence – Positive Indifference
Audio Satsang – Patanjali
And if you have a positive experience through listening to this Audio Essence, if it has taken you into a deeper and more expansive experience of your own inner being… then remember, you can come back to this webpage anytime in the future, anytime you want / need to repeat this same process. It’s that simple. This webpage provides you with a simple route into that natural feeling of joy and expansion within.
Practical Suggestions on Use:
- The more conscious attention that you can give to an Audio Essence, the deeper and more fulfilling your experience will be. It is possible to receive the benefits of an Audio Essencewhile listening to it in the background, but the more time and conscious focus you can devote to it, the more fulfillment you will gain from the experience.
- It is strongly advised that you do not listen to an Audio Essence while driving or performing tasks which require your undivided attention.
- Many people have found that listening to an Audio Essence using headphones greatly enhances their experience… although if you do not have headphones or earplugs, listening to it played on your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone will still prove equally as effective.
- The effectiveness of an Audio Essence is not dependent on the particular volume it is played at, in fact, it can be set at the minimum volume level where it is still audible to the listener and it will still be effective. When using an Audio Essence, therefore, select the volume level which is most comfortable for your experience at that time.
- If your internet connection is slow, it may be better to allow the Audio Essence to fully download on to your webpage first before you start to listen. To attempt to listen while it is still downloading may mean the Audio Essence pauses, and this may interrupt and disturb your experience.
(c) Brian Parsons October 2016