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Seeing Other People As Human Beings Rather Than Labels
Seeing Other People As Human Beings Rather Than Labels. With this meditation practice, it allows the mind to objectively see other people as human beings.
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People Are People
Mindfulness is not just a quality you bring to your own body and mind;
it’s also possible to tune in to those around us with mindfulness.
This is called external mindfulness, and it is an important part of practice.
When you see another person, do you see them as a three-dimensional being?
Or do you label them as “checkout clerk,” “soccer mom,” or “annoying coworker”?
With practice, you can train the mind to objectively see other people as humans—
just like you.
Engage in this exercise when you are in the presence of other people.
You can spend a few minutes with this practice at work, in the grocery store, or sitting on a park bench.
It works best to start with people you don’t know that much about, so I recommend a public place.
As you practice, take it up a notch by applying this to your loved ones.
When you see someone else, notice the label the mind habitually gives that person.
Notice if you find the person attractive, what their job or role is, or any other snap judgments.
Don’t force anything down or deny the presence of these thoughts—
your mind is designed to categorize and label things, and we all judge other people.
Just notice whatever is present.
Begin to observe this person with beginner’s mind, as if you’ve never seen a person before.
Start to see them as a living, breathing, and feeling being.
Recognize that this person has friends, a job, a place they need to be in five minutes, and so on.
This person loves people and has people who love them.
Bring awareness to this person’s possible experience.
Like you, they have hopes, dreams, fears, sorrows, regrets, and joy.
You don’t need to know this person’s whole life story to be sure that they are subject to pleasant and unpleasant emotional experiences.
End your practice with this person by offering a single phrase of loving-kindness, such as “May you be happy today.”
You can continue this practice with other people you run into during your day.
Take just a few moments to reflect, recognize, and offer a phrase of loving-kindness.
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