Make it a spiritual practice to consciously connect with someone who is the "other." Start with someone in your extended family or circle of acquaintances. Maybe it's someone whose political or religious views differ from yours. If there is antagonism, remember that you resent the antagonism, not the antagonist. The individual's behavior or opinions might seem unacceptable, but the person's being is sacred and divine. Remind yourself that just keeping this discernment in your heart, between behavior and being, has the power to shift heaven and earth.

Start by meditating in silence about that person and sending light flowing from your heart to her heart. Tell yourself that you are transmitting light to that person's soul, not to her personality. Speak to her in your meditation. Express your intention to connect on a human level. Pray for guidance.

When you feel ready, take the initiative in your wakeful state, little by little, to connect with the other, maybe by opening a conversation with her. Be sincere and humble. Your essential goal is simply to connect on a human level. Send light from your soul to her soul in the conscious state. If you feel awkward initially, please persist. Sufi teachers say that with this tried-and-true technique, there is the promise of doors opening up, literally and metaphorically.

Walking This Practice into the World

Daily, witness yourself in your dealing with others. Allow your awareness to be like a compassionate sun gently shining on your awkwardness and preconceptions. Allow yourself, as the Sufis say, to be like melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.

Jamal Rahman in Finding Peace through Spiritual Practice: The Interfaith Amigos' Guide to Personal, Social and Environmental Healing by Don Mackenzie, Ted Falcon, Jamal Rahman