In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I.33
Patanjali here makes it very clear how we are to set our minds vis-à-vis our relationships that we may find the highest outcome for ourselves and our feelings in the world. When we find a happy situation, we are to cultivate feelings of friendliness. When we find someone who is unhappy, we are to meet them with karuna, compassion. When we come upon a virtuous person, we are to bring to that interaction a sense of delight, of supreme goodwill. And when we encounter the vicious or wicked–apunya, literally ‘without virtue or merit–we are to practice indifference or neutrality.
In this way we learn to have a peaceful mind. We learn where our point of control is. We learn that the mind will go where we ask it to go, if we have a better option than the one that habitually we maybe have taken.
When someone offends, we find the one thing about him or her that is not offensive. In my letter to the man who wanted a punch, I praised his commitment to his children and the way in which I have seen him show up for them. I did not make this up. It is true. And by shining a light on that truth, I am able to be indifferent toward the other truths that would have him be my enemy.
Today I will find one good thing about someone who seems to want to make my life miserable, who seems to want to make me unhappy, or who seems not to care one way or the other about my well-being, even though they should. I will find that one thing, and when my mind tells me how ‘bad’ they are being toward me, I will remind myself of that one good thing and I will seek a sense of neutrality toward them.