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Can I Be Neutral, but Still Care?

By Dr. HariKirin

Contemplative paths encourage you to sit in neutrality, cultivate it, and take it into daily life. What does this mean to your everyday self? How can one live in a very polarized world, and stay neutral? Does it mean you are a frozen statue, serenely unfeeling? Not taking action?

No. When the neutral mind is encouraged, it finds its voice within you. When you spend time in contemplative practices of any tradition, you hear its voice. This is re-patterning the mind to listen to the soul. The mind is used to listening attentively to negative calls to action and expansive worry-chatter. This is exhausting and does not create conscious action.

Here is an example of conscious action. Young Ella Fitzgerald had been singing and dancing on the streets of Harlem in order to make ends meet. In November 1934, seventeen-year-old Fitzgerald debuted in her first Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. Legend has it, she was scheduled to dance. When it came time to take the stage, she stepped forward and said, "I am Ella Fitzgerald, and I am going to sing."

In retrospect, we see the pivotal moment in her young life. It was an announcement from the depths of her soul.

Your neutral mind is a close friend of your soul, your subtle body, and your deepest most heartfelt compassion. Yoga practice prepares the body to relax and meditate. All forms of meditation strengthen the neutral mind. Neutral compassion is not uncaring. It is the deepest form of compassion, sourced from the wellspring of the soul. Because the soul is infinite, compassion cannot flag. You simply have to keep visiting the source of inner strength, prioritize it, make time and space for it.

Under stressful times, it is important to keep this inner connection alive. People talk about self-care as burnout prevention. Yes, get your massage, your time with loved ones who make you laugh. Also, befriend your neutral mind. Listen to your own soul. This is the highest form of self-compassion, which begets compassionate action, for every soul.

Self care become soul-care. When the next pivotal moment arises in your life, you are ready.

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