“Your power is in neutrality. The real power is in neutral, loving compassion for all things.”
This is a quote from the Rich Roll podcast, an episode of which I listened to on my morning walk today. I really like Rich Roll and his gorgeous wife Julie Piatt, they have a great message and I totally jive with their plant-based lifestyle. Jai ma!
Anyway, this quote really stuck with me. So much so that I paused, rewound as many times as it took to get it right (not easy to do with numb fingers on a brisk 7am power walk) and typed it into my iPhone (even harder with cold fingers). I felt these words to my core, as neutrality is a concept I’ve studied and practice regularly. But, in that early morning moment, it felt very important that I hear that quote…and I was not able to articulate why it felt so achingly important. So I downloaded it, and moved on, not puzzling on the “why” but certainly acknowledging it. Well, the answer to that “why” arrived tonight.
I received “hate mail” tonight, if I can even call it that. A painfully long letter from someone I don’t personally know but know of, who has developed at very real, very vivid and very emotional view of me. There wasn’t any hate involved, but loads of accusations and misrepresentations. And by loads I mean LOADS. Interestingly, unlike my old ways of always needing to express my Truth, be fully understood and “have the last word,” if you will, I’ve no inclination whatsoever of doing that. I have been utterly judged and misunderstood, and actually attacked, yet I feel bizarrely detached from it. I felt very neutral reading it. Perhaps because the accusations are nearly entirely false, so I almost view them as directed towards someone else. You can’t be speaking to me, is how I feel, because the person you are describing is not me.
The old Sara would need deeply to be seen for who I really, truly am. The old Sara couldn’t stand to be disliked. I spent way more time obsessing over the ones who didn’t see that I’m genuine, or who did and didn’t like me anyhow, and trying to get them to like me than I did appreciating the ones who naturally jived with my spirit. The Sara I’ve evolved into (the ever-evolving me, that is) came to a realization at some recent point along this journey, though. No matter what, there are always going to be people who don’t like, agree with or understand us. Despite what we say, despite the truth, despite reality, despite our intentions – those people will still be there. Let me say that one more time…
No matter what, there are always going to be people who don’t like, agree with or understand us. Despite what we say, despite the truth, despite reality, despite our intentions – those people will still be there!
And you know what? LET THEM BE THERE. They NEED to be there. It’s the nature of life! We could do everything right (which we likely won’t, Lord knows I make mistakes on a regular basis) and still, they will be there. Hissing at us from the sidelines. It’s just part of life’s rhythms, though. It simply is. Without them, what would the ones who do love us mean? Would the ones who “get” us, who understand, uplift, truly see and support us hold the same weight in our hearts? Perhaps. But you get where I’m heading with this. Duality. Here it is again…the nonexistent duality. The ones who love us and the ones who hate us are the same. It all just IS.
So I don’t bite. I don’t reply. I don’t even cling to the message, which I scanned with soft eyes, quickly and objectively once before closing it. I haven’t even deleted it, nor do I intend to read it again. I respect the words, the hurting soul who wrote them, I hold space for it (lightly, of course) and release it. What else is there to do when one is unliked, after all? The power is in neutrality.
Ah, yes, here it is. The Divine reason for Julie’s words reaching my cold little ears on this day of all days. The beautiful Universe really has some elaborate inner workings, never failing to dazzle me! A reminder not just of the power in neutrality, but of compassion.
Compassion is not oft the emotion that pops into one’s heart when one is verbally attacked. But such is the path of a yogi. Compassion leads to release, but neutrality protects from absorbing in the first place. So the two combined are potent. Not only is the negativity not absorbed – literally leaving one untouched – but the response is positive. Compassion. Compassion for all things.
I recently took a workshop with one of my master teachers, Lakshmi, and we discussed neutrality in depth (hence why Julie’s quote perked my attention in the first place). So the concept was on my mind more than usual today, and I’m so grateful for that. I felt it was a very timely reminder to recommit to a practice that is difficult (it’s SO not easy practicing neutrality! The mind wants desperately to latch on to thoughts, things, emotions…the Prakriti). So, tonight when I received that message, I felt super prepared (appreciative nod to the Uni for that one). Neutrality is twofold; a protective shield, and a vessel for compassion.
We can never control how people see us. People will see us as they will, and we must just keep speaking our Truth. Appreciate opposing views, utilize those who view us as adversaries as “mirrors;” allowing others to show us what they perceive to be our flaws, our faults, so we can then filter that information through our own reason. Our own common sense knows the truth. It’s never harmful to hear negative views if one knows one’s own truth. When another person’s words really sting and burn, sticking in the mind and hurting more than they should…it’s likely there’s some truth in what’s been said. Something that prickles deep down in the subconscious, something that likely bothers us about ourselves.
But when we truly react in indifference and feel nonattached to the words…it’s a good sign. When we can sort reasonably through what someone’s said, picking up bits here and there for consideration, in neither damnation nor denial…it’s a good sign. When you fully know that it’s your choice what you believe, that your reason and common sense are finely sharpened tools, perfect lenses through which to see the world and opposition…it’s a good sign.
There will always be adversity. It’s a law of nature. Adversity exists. When we remain rooted in neutrality and compassion, it is then that our power remains ours. Untouchable. It is through that conviction and dedication that we rise up.
The power is in neutrality.