In Taigu's talks about Sweeping, he comments about how once you begin practice, the real work begins because then you start to become more aware of what trouble's your thoughts are creating.
Last night I went to a drug store and upon entering I encountered a very strange looking woman who obviously had some congenital health issues. I was taken aback ( my normal everyday reaction from habit), and then I quickly softened my gaze realizing the way I was looking was rude. She saw me and in that instant our minds where one, and yet far from ONE. She looked away and continued on with a companion. I don't know her, she doesn't know me, and yet in that interaction which took milliseconds we had both created separation. I had summed her up as strange, she had summed me up as mean and we had both summed each other up to someone we didn't like on some level. The difference now, for me, is that I am more aware of these milliseconds. This poor woman has obviously endured a lifetime of "looks", and in my millisecond of mental habit I created suffering and separation. And yet through practice I am more aware of these moments, and more aware of the self in others. Such a small mistake, and yet such a profound one.
I would like to offer Metta to all those, who through no fault of their own, are feeling outcast, judged and unloved based on their outward appearance.