Wicked, Wicked, Wicked Indifference

Yoga teaches us to practice indifference to the wicked. Sometimes, it seems easy. Sometimes, it’s difficult. Then there are those times when you wonder, “Who made this rule up anyway?”.

The reality is, our friend karma continues its path of beauty and destruction. How we react to these gradients of “wicked” determines how our path will go.

It is easier – not easy, but easier – to look at “wicked” in three varying degrees: The three wickeds. Discerning which category our hurt falls in allows us to focus on particular ideal – or mantra if you will – to get through the irritation and pain of the wicked.

The Wicked in the Window

The wicked in the window don’t really affect you. You see someone not hold a door. You overhear a conversation. You see a guy cut someone off way up ahead.

Our irritation with the wicked in the window is our own judgmental nature. We look at others and say “they should be more x“. We’re irritated that they’re not. But, in the end, it doesn’t truly affect our day. We’re just borrowing trouble by letting their actions affect us in any way – because they truly don’t.

For the wicked in the window, it’s simply a matter of reminding ourselves that we, too, are not perfect. That sometimes we screw up. Sometimes, we unknowingly have limited knowledge and say ludicrous things based on it (read anything on this site! 🙂 ). We are often in a hurry as well.

“But for the grace of God, go I”

When we remove the filter of self-focus and look at the whole, the wicked in the window are only reflections of ourselves when we are not at our best.

This one action does not define the wicked in the window.

Wicked this way comes

The wicked that comes close fills the next realm. These people directly affect your day. The guy that sweeps into the parking spot you’ve been waiting for. The boss that fires you for no reason. The ex that reaches out just to insult you.

On my path, I find indifference to the wicked to be intellectually easy, but practice to be hard. It’s the middle class that gets me. It’s that “you’re just being a jerk.” It’s close enough to home not to easily brush aside, yet far enough away for our basic instinctual love to take over and compensate.

The wicked that make things personal can be tough to stomach, that’s for sure. But, the up side is twofold. A. They’re really easy to spot and identify. You just hurt me. B. The key to forgiving is our own compassion.

When someone does something hurtful, they are always in one of two camps. Those that don’t realize they’re being hurtful and those that are acting because they are hurt. Neither of these camps is “justified” in being hurtful, but it’s hard to continue being mad at someone if they didn’t see you (we’re not perfect either). It’s also a little harder to be mad at someone when you realize they are in pain.

That’s our compassion kicking in! When we realize the wicked that directly affect us are simply at broken and hurt points in their life, we can take a deep breath, be grateful for our blessings, and continue on with our day – maybe even wishing them some blessings as well.

Wicked heart

Our heart is the strongest muscle in the body, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get hurt. And when it does, it’s a strong hurt! When someone you love hurts you, a flurry of emotions roll in.

Anger. Confusion. Fear. You name it!

A very wise friend of mine once told me, “we don’t always handle a situation the way we think we will.”

When love is in the mix, we are confused. We really want to handle the situation in a certain way. I mean, we love the person, so we try to find some way to get what we need AND not hurt the other person. We’re just not capable of both at the same time – and something breaks.

It’s us. We break.

And with that break comes actions, decisions, and words that come out of a place of utter unknown – trying to keep two opposing things impossibly together.

Those with a “wicked heart” feel the same way. They’re trying to do what they need, trying not to hurt you, and just screwing it all up! Who hasn’t been there? Knowing they are simply handling a situation very poorly, unbecoming of the love you know them to have, makes the hurt a little less personal – and ultimately a little more palatable.

Once again, we are capable of compassion. That compassion leads the way to healing ourselves.


Maybe these solutions aren’t indifference, but the more we are able to smooth over the hurt and move on with forgiveness, the closer we get to indifference. That’d be nice, huh?

Almost indifferent,

Unbranded Stu
Photo by MrHicks46


  1. What do I do with the “evil that results *from* indifference”? It hurts Me, it hurts You, who I care deeply for, and it hurts millions of other people, and the fabric of the community…

    • Karen,

      General indifference to the world at large is a really tough thing to wrap our heads around. How do we gently remind the community what the word community actually means… and that the good of the whole is greater than the good of one member? Tough, tough question.

      Your comment also touches on one of the downsides – the dark yogic underbelly if you will – that I’m beginning to see more and more: Using teachings as an excuse to be anything but what the teachings are about.


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