How do you practice when you just don’t like somebody?

A student writes:

What do you do when you really don’t like somebody? I know it’s not very Dharmic, but I just can’t seem to change my view. The person hadn’t even done anything to me, I just can’t stand the sight of them.

Lama Shenpen responds:

Interesting question. It might be that they remind us of ourselves or something we carry with us in our being that we are rejecting and don’t want to look at. It may be that we are intuiting something negative in them that we need to avoid and keep away from – it might be a valid intuition.

It might possibly be a karmic thing, nothing to do with this life at all. It could be that they remind us of someone and we cannot disassociate our negative feelings when we see that person.

The question is though, how to relate to that?  I find in situations like that it is important to keep strongly aware of what is going on inside me and respecting that, while maintaining as friendly relations as I can. Not pushing myself into a false position, being gentle and resourcing myself – physically as well as mentally. I try to keep out of the head and the energy well down in the body so I feel grounded and free to move and change as need be.

Then what I find really helps whenever that negative feeling comes up, is to to access my true Heart Wish or intention, which is to be loving and make pranidhanas. At first it feels impossible or false but as I go on I realise I do really want us to have a good relationship now and in all future lives and I am truly sorry for anything I did that brought this present situation about (possibly in past lives).

 I can be really genuine in my wish for better connection and relationship – for ease and peace and connection – while still feeling I am not there yet – and cannot even imagine it sometimes.

Lama Shenpen Hookham

Become a student of Lama Shenpen – Join the Awakened Heart Sangha:

Lama Shenpen’s students are members of the Awakened Heart Sangha and are all engaging in the Living the Awakened Heart Training – the structured, comprehensive, supported, distance learning programme in Buddhist meditation, reflection and insight. The training that begins with Discovering the Heart of Buddhism and is open to all, brings the profound Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings to a Western audience in an experiential, accessible way, through spiral learning. Find out more and how to join the Awakened Heart Sangha and start your journey to discover the heart of Buddhism and meditation at