Saturday, April 9, 2011


“Nothing hurts like indifference”, our teacher had once told us while teaching Shakespeare. These words have stayed with me through the years. I believed in them. You may love or hate a person with a passion but they are still emotions ruled by the heart and by doing so you give control to that person. He or she can still affect you; they have a power over you. But when indifference comes into play you become devoid of any emotions, the object of your indifference ceases to exist in your world – he is frustrated, he is insecure, he feels helpless because no matter what he does or say has any effect on you. He doesn’t matter to you anymore. Imagine his impotency! He may dance around stark naked in front of you for all you care!

But today I question this. Are we truly devoid of feelings when we become indifferent? I think not. Indifference always stems from hurt, anger, resentment, helplessness and frustration. These negative emotions are suppressed when we become indifferent towards a person but they do not really go away. They lie dormant somewhere deep within us only to manifest themselves in another situation.  You may no longer have those negative feelings towards that particular person but sooner or later they raise their ugly head. So we don’t really heal then, do we? And as we move on we carry these emotions with us as baggage. We may enjoy the feeling of power we have when we see the other person grovel and make futile efforts to get our attention but it is only a temporary thing. It is only a façade, this sense of pleasure which is almost sadistic because as we move on thinking we are free, we are not. We are not at peace; we are unhappy; we still haven’t found the joy, love and peace that are within all of us, that is us, our true essence.

I have tried indifference many times but except for that short term sense of victory that I have overcome pain and will find happiness, I am back to square one feeling miserable and dissatisfied. I still carry pain with me and often break down. By being indifferent all we do is push our negativity to one corner. All the hurt and pain caused by a person does not leave us if we become indifferent to him or her. It is only a reaction to the pain and hurt caused. Even the line “Nothing hurts like indifference” is negative. “Hurt”? Why? Just because you are hurt so hurt back? Will that give us peace? No it won’t. It hasn’t given me so far! Eckhart Tolle very simply explains what is true power in the following lines.

“Somebody says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way, you become invulnerable. You can still tell that person that his or behavior is unacceptable, if that is what you choose to do. But that person no longer has the power to control your inner state. You are then in your power – not in someone else’s, nor are you run by your mind.” (The Power of NOW)

Forgiveness, surrender, non resistance, yielding, acceptance are words used again and again by our spiritual masters. They may seem like words only for the weak but they are not. They have tremendous power and it takes immense courage to practice them.


  1. real indifference is devoid of any feeling. what you are talking about is "trying to be indifferent" :)

  2. “Somebody says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way, you become invulnerable. You can still tell that person that his or behavior is unacceptable, if that is what you choose to do. But that person no longer has the power to control your inner state. You are then in your power – not in someone else’s, nor are you run by your mind.” (The Power of NOW).........Loved this part.Great post :D

  3. Indifference to a situation or thought or comment is being non answerable to the self! and to others. has a feeling or sense of "Not my problem so am going to dump it on others"
    Showing no responsibility or emotions what so ever. This indifference hurts and does not help in strengthening any relationships with the self or with others.

  4. ..great post.. :)
    ..rather den drowning oneself into a sea of negativity..its better to conquer d demons within..slaying n butchering dem...n float on d ocean of positive thoughts.. :)

  5. @Nilanjana being indifferent can be devoid of feelings for that particular person, or the situation but the negativity is always there lurking. to be totally free of negative emotions you have to be able to forgive

  6. Abhisek thank you. There is great power in non resistance

  7. Yes Savira how true. Thank you for your inspirational comment

  8. Rigzin you are right. We should be able to confront our demons and vanquish them. Thank you for visiting and commenting

  9. Hello Rimly,

    This post is very insightful and I believe that you are spot on. I am now in an indifferance game on two fronts. I have been seeing it playout in different ways and begin to see my role in keeping these pattern productions in play. There have been times in my life when I have touched to a deeper strength and wisdom and changed my part of the constellation in the drama.

    Yes, I too also believe that all forgiveness comes down to self-forgiveness and once done, we no longer recruit players in our dramas, although the other players are not victims but have a need and recurring role that completes the drama and keeps it in place.

    Yes, kindness,forgiveness, non-resistance are not for the weak as numerous Prophets and Saints worldwide have proclaimed for countless centuries in their efforts to teach us a way out of our miseries. It is the accumulation of centuries of knowledge and insight. It is easy to be mean and careless and can be a tough, hard work of battlings with oneself and one's own internal weaknesses and darkness if own is to live in a responsible, mature manner and not blame others on one's troubles.

    Thanks for your candidness and your insightful and touching essay.

    My kind and warm regards,

  10. I think indifference is used as a defense and sometimes as an attack. I have found myself doing both and it's not pretty. It does hurt being on the receiving it and giving it. So I am now just apathetic LOL

    Loved it as always

  11. Hi Mike I think all of us have gone through this and unless we are honest and confront our weaknesses we will keep enacting this drama, in the process only hurting ourselves. Thank you for your insightful comment.

  12. Bang on A. Indifference is a reaction to pain and hurt and unless we remove these negativity from our lives we will keep letting them control our lives. Thank you for your comment.

  13. Excellent post,Rimly...I wish I could follow this,its extremely difficult for me to remove negativity from me...and being indifferent...and who gets hurt..all the time its me..thanks a lot Rimly..for making me think.

  14. a great post as usual..Our emotions rule our physical health.. I believe that.. and indifference is negativity I think any negative thoughts can be unhealthy .. do I ever have them..yes but not as much as I use to..I work at it everyday

  15. This post strikes me at the moment. Sometimes because of my shyness, I always get the reputation of being aloof.... Perhaps of some unhealthy feelings that I have inside. But I always try to work at then as much as possible....

    Thanks for sharing Rimly.:)

  16. I often find myself using indifference in my daily life as a way to strike back at others. When I feel insulted or slighted in the least then that person is ignored and treated as an outcast but deep down I understand those feelings are harmful to me and they do no one any good. Indifference must go!!!

  17. one of the things that scares me is indifference... i'd often refer to our body and ask what if one day one part of it becomes indifferent... the whole system is affected... the way it does in our society...

    it's anesthesia and it makes us numb and calloused... without life... without blood...without passion...

    again, i speak of inner freedom... once we realize our true dignity... who we are at our core... what we are made of... who we are made for... then no word could ever be hurtful... nothing could make us lose our peace...

    "Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing frighten you,
    All things pass away:
    God never changes.
    Patience obtains all things.
    He who has God
    Finds he lacks nothing;
    God alone suffices."---st. teresa of avila

  18. This is a word I have not thought about for a long time. Today you had me thinking. For me the word "indifference" goes along with emotion. These emotions are normally hurt and rejection. You cannot walk away from it and have to deal with it at some stage otherwise "indifference" will turn into anger and resentment.

  19. Alpana you have to let go of negativity. I am glad it made you think. I got so used to pain that it became me. I am trying to confront it and give it control to take over.

  20. @Jim thank you. I work at it too, not to let negatives thoughts get the better of me
    @Jorie that is not indifference only shyness. I can imagine people misunderstanding that for indifference
    @David you have to let go of it. Indifference only hurts you

  21. Thank you Melissa. If only the world was more enlightened....

  22. Yes Nelieta indifference will get us nowhere.

  23. its very hard to flow the feeling of indifference free. patience becomes almost fragile and we just think of our conduct to over power the pain caused by it. but what we gain is too unstable and again gets preoccupied with sorrow and grief.

    the only solution towards uplifting ourselves is follow the path of enlightenment and hold HIS hand till the end.

  24. Rimly,
    By the way I love love your name! indifference is a state I get to when I am done ranting and raving, pleading and cajoling. I become indifferent when I can no longer make head way of something I perceive as unchangeable. At that point I have just got to let it go.

  25. really good read!

    Just letting you know I have stopped by.


  26. My conception of the word "indifference " is marked by the suffering of my people (Jewish), mainly in Europe and the former Soviet Union and the story told by our sages of the past. So, I'm suspect to be sure of being right.

    I think the indifference arises when no there is concern for another, what is different or not fit for you, that does not fit in the lifestyle. Indifference is intolerance, no love, no respect, it is selfishness, is barbarism.

    The forgiveness, the surrender, non resistance, the yielding, really are noble acts.

  27. Anytime I read a post that addresses the subject of forgiveness, I add my favorite quote:
    "In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die"
    Good word Rimly. ~ Love and blessings

  28. Rimly - I think indifference cannot be a feeling you consciously generate. One either feels indifferent towards something or reacts one way or the other. For the subject indifference is hurting but for the person who is being indifferent - he does not even know it. In fact does not even care to know. I wish though that it was a feeling one could bring on towards a person - so many things would have been simpler that way. Love your writing as usual - always so much to learn here.

  29. Rimly, everyone has pretty much said what I would have said, so I won't repeat it. Excellent post and look forward to your next one:)

  30. @Sancheeta it is true it is very hard to get ri of negativity but it is not impossible. Thank you coming by and commenting
    @Jess thank you. Somebody likes my name! This is a first timer. But seriously thank you.
    @Karina lovely to see you here and commenting. Thank you
    @Isha you are so right. People have become indifferent towards other's suffering and are capable of the most inhuman acts. I have read so much about the Jews and their suffering, it used to make me so angry. Today all I can say that we rise above all this and become conscious of the goodness that is in all of us
    @Debra so true. Not forgiving can be so cruel. Thank you for visiting.
    @Kriti hello goddess, settle down and lets get in touch. Great to see you here and commenting despite trying to settle down
    @Mary thank you so much

  31. Loved the post Rimly.It gives us so much to think about and how we deal with people/situations in our lives!! wonderfully written!!

  32. Rimly i always believe that one requires immense strength and courage to be able to forgive and turn the other cheek. people believe they must retaliate or else they'd be considered weak, thats because forgiving seems like you're taking the easy way out. But in our heart we know that inspite of all the hurt we have forgiven. I believe that nature has its way of balancing out things , if someone hurts you , he has upset the balance and nature will right that , you do not have to take the step of retaliating , if you do you are again creating disharmony . I believe in this , but i know how difficult it is to practice this virtue. when hurt , forgiveness is sometimes the last thing on our mind .

  33. Ruchi thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Visited your blog too. Lovely.

  34. Frane you are so right. I too believe everything balances out in this life. We need to just go on doing our duty and things are taken care of on its own. Thank you for your insightful comment