"To separate what we like from what we dislike is the disease of the mind." -- Sosan, On Believing in Mind

"This famous quote suggests that the pain and loss we experience in relationships has nothing to do with the other person, it is a disease lodged within our own mind. We cause this suffering by separating what we like from what we dislike, by constantly judging and condemning others, by refusing our love if a person doesn't make the grade.

"To separate what we like from what we dislike kills all relationships both with others and with ourselves. This basic tenet of Zen is a profound instruction both for meditation and relationships in everyday life."

We love one and hate another, we choose him and reject her. We admire the rich and step over the homeless. We look up at the masters, and down at beginning students. We sit in judgment upon all of life, never stopping to ask ourselves, Who are we to judge anyone? Who made us judge and jury? Can we truly be so arrogant to judge and reject this immense world that has been given to us to love? Has it been given to us to dispose of it harshly? Or has it been given to tend? In order to feed our hearts, which are always so hungry, we must turn this usual way of behaving around one hundred and eighty degrees. This is an everyday life koan that should be dwelt upon daily.

When we meet with someone noisy, rude or unpleasant, this is a wonderful opportunity. Rather than push the person aside, it is the perfect time to practice — do not separate what you like from what you dislike. Accept that person and be with him fully, just as he is. Become aware if you are sitting in judgment, and if so, stop it. Reject your own negative thoughts — do not reject others.