April 20

Indifference to Evil


By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and disregard for the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.

translated by Swami Satchidananda


The mind becomes clear and serene when the qualities of the heart are cultivated: friendliness towards the joyful, compassion towards the suffering, happiness towards the pure and impartiality towards the impure.

translated by Alistair Shearer


Sutra 1.33, Yoga Sutra of Patanjali


The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is a massive ancient Vedic work that addresses every area of consideration in the field of Yoga. The individual sutras are not ideas or hypotheses as to the way things may work; rather they are suggestions as to how one may practice Yoga in every aspect of one's life.


Yoga = union


How do we practice union in our life?


Through love would be the most common answer. Love everything always is what was written here a few days ago.


But how can I love something or someone that to me seems 'impure,' or perhaps even 'wicked'?


Maharishi Patanjali gives clear instruction above. Clearly we never are meant to stand in judgment of anything or anyone. This does not mean, however, that we are meant not to be discerning. If we discern someone as fitting into the category of what we may term 'difficult to love,' we simply let them be. 'Disregard' and 'impartiality' are the terms used above. The actual Sanskrit word used by Patanjali is UPEKSHANAM, meaning 'equanimity; indifference; disregard.'


Each of these words is a subtly different way of describing the same thing: to no longer spend our attention on this other person.


We are not meant to make a mood about love for someone who is behaving poorly, or evilly. We are not meant to pretend to love someone for whom we can't find love. 


We are meant to disengage. We are meant to pay attention to ourselves and our own experience in consciousness, rather than to an aspect of consciousness over which we have no control.


Does this mean to ignore evil in the world? Of course not. If we can affect a situation in which someone is being harmed, by all means it is our responsibility to do so. But after the fact? What good is done by our negative judgment? Sending vibes across a room toward someone we have judged as evil does nothing but fill our own experience of consciousness with the energy of hatred. Nothing possibly can be gained from it. 


In the realm of consciousness, we have two points of power. The first is intention. Our intention is to love, when and however we can. The second is attention. To give our attention to anything is to enliven that thing. That person. When we practice indifference, we are cutting off the flow of our consciousness to this person, thereby taking away part of their 'funding.' And like an unwatered weed, the affect of their wickedness on us will wither, and to at least some degree, perhaps even the wickedness itself will be lessened.


Today I will practice letting go my judgment of all the people I have determined are bad, those in my day to day life, and those on the world stage, even if I cannot find a way of understanding them. I will release them from my consciousness and practice indifference. And when I think of them anyway, I simply will let go the thought and return my attention to the Now and enjoy my place in it.


 Sunset, El Matador State Beach, Malibu, CA


All original material copyright � 2013 Jeff Kober 

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