How to deal with Mean Spirited Behaviors
In a month where we might be experiencing and noticing polarizing behaviors, here’s some helpful tips for how to stay in your place of loving kindness.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you’re feeling really good, doing really well and life is good you might encounter a mean spirit who isn’t having it?
Or as the hip-hop song goes, “haters gonna hate.”
When we encounter mean spirited behaviors we’ve got to go deeper into our practices that keep us strong in peace of mind.
“Practically speaking, if all of your enemies were well, happy, and peaceful, they would not be your enemies. If they were free from problems, pain, suffering, affliction, neurosis, psychosis, paranoia, fear, tension, anxiety, etc., they would not be your enemies. The practical approach toward your enemies is to help them overcome their problems, so you can live in peace and happiness.” – Bhante Henepola Gunaratama, Mindfulness in Plain English, 94
In other words, by practicing loving kindness even toward people who are mean spirited, or that you don’t like, you help create a better, happier, more peaceful world for everyone.
You might be wondering, really? Why should I do this? Isn’t this just denial?
No it’s not. Why? Because when you’re encountering that sort of negative aspect of the human race you can’t really change it. It’s more than likely out of your control. So a healthier approach in my experience is to find a workable solution.
It’s a practice that takes you out of drama and into a safe space within.
You begin by feeling love and kindness for yourself, then direct these feelings outward—to family, to friends, to colleagues and acquaintances, and even to your enemies.
Here’s the written word:
• Settle into your meditation posture, for instance by sitting on the ground cross-legged. • Focus first on your breathing, counting each inhale and exhale, noticing the nature of the breaths (are they short or long, smooth or staccato?).
• Imagine a warmth emanating from your heart and filling your torso. You might imagine a bright light glowing within your body, growing brighter with every inhale. Or you might feel a ball of energy that steadily grows warmer. This is the bright warmth of loving kindness. Let yourself sit with it, as if basking in an internal sun.
• Repeat simple thoughts for focus, such as “May I be happy. May I be free from hatred. May I be free of problems. May I feel loved and accepted.” Essentially, you wish good things for yourself in this moment.
• Let this feeling of loving kindness emanate outward toward others. Visualize, say, your partner, your children, your parents. Imagine the light and warmth spreading out of your face and fingertips and reaching them.
• Again, you can repeat similar verses, “May they be happy. May they be free from hatred,” and so on. Wish them good things. Perhaps you’ve had a minor argument or misunderstanding recently. If you feel ready, forgive them and accept them as they are.
• Direct this feeling of loving kindness wherever you choose. Send it to people you’ve never met, to people who suffer from famine and war, to animals on the brink of extinction, to the entire world and all the life it sustains. You may send it even to your enemies (more on that below).
• Finish your meditation by returning to your breath. The meditation itself is simply about noticing yourself and others, accepting them as they are, loving them, and wishing good things for them.
Do not feel compelled at this moment to do or try to do anything. Just exist with a mindset of love and friendliness.
Once the meditation ends and you return to your daily activities, you may very well feel moved to apply these feelings of loving kindness in your actions.
Fostering love and acceptance in our minds and hearts often leads to outward changes in behavior that make the world a more tolerant place.
I wish you all the Love + Kindness you so richly deserve.
I wrote a book called ” A Heart of Gold.”
It’s about Loving Kindness and how to bring it into your daily life.
You can pick it up here on Amazon!
Starting January 1st, I’m offering a complimentary month of teachings
on loving kindness called PEACE OF MIND! Let’s kick off 2020!
New Year, New Decade, New Way of Being!
Peace of Mind will give you customized meditations,
a weekly contemplation, and daily encouragement.
It’s TOTALLY FREE! Sign up here.