Judge Not..............

Judgment traps you within the limitations of

your comparisons. It inhibits freedom.

 -Willie Stargell

Something I have been struggling with for some time now, but lately it has become rather acute, is judgment.  At times I judge rather harshly.

Why do you judge so brutally?

One of my goals in this mindfully aware life is not to judge people, especially those I know nothing about.  Yet, I continually cast judgments.  It can be as simple as I don’t like a particular object to I don’t like a particular person.  I view both on an equal level.  A judgment is a judgment regardless of the severity.  I do it automatically, and at times it occurs so quickly that I follow that thought with other thoughts to justify why I don’t like something, or seeing something as “BAD.”  I have noticed that depending on my mood or level of rest the judgments will vary.  I have discovered that I must get the proper amount of sleep.  Which, for me, is about seven hours a night.  When I don’t, and I get fatigued, I have noticed that the judgments become much harsher.  When I get run down, I also notice that I turn those caustic thoughts upon myself with greater ease and get down on myself.  My shield against the negative thoughts gets lowered.   

Understanding Emptiness

If you have seen any of my presentations over the last year or so you may have heard “The Dog and the Pen” story.  For those who have not, let me summarize.  The idea is that if I see an object that writes with ink, I see a pen.  If I wave the pen in front of my dog, she will most likely want to start chewing it.  My dog does not see a pen, she sees a chew toy.  The question is who is right?  I think we are both right.  This leads to the concept that the pen isn’t coming from the pen.  It is coming from me.  If it were coming from the pen, my dog would see a pen and not a chew toy.  If it were coming from the pen, she would try to write a letter to me to tell me to take her on more walks. 

That quality is inherent in all things.  You can see things in a variety of ways.  You may ask, how is that possible.  It is possible because we project our mind or our views on objects, places, events, etc.  Therefore, everything is coming from you.  A pen or a chew toy does not project what it is. This is emptiness as described by the Buddhists.  You may have heard the saying “The world is not as it is, the world is as I am.”  When you understand the basics of emptiness, you begin to understand what that statement means.  Until I understood emptiness at least fundamentally that saying always escaped me.  I must be mindful to remember that others who don’t grasp that concept will be as misguided as I was for most of my life. 

They see the pen coming from the pen.  Not the correct view which is I project onto the pen what it is for me. 

 

Knowing This Why Do I Continue To Judge?

My immediate answer is I don’t know.  I don’t know why when I emphasize not judging things and others I continue to do so.  I think the solution to that challenge is to adjust my habits.  I need to continually remind myself that the pen is not coming from the pen.  The pen is coming from me.  When I see something or someone, I don’t like it has nothing to do with it or them.  It has everything to do with me.  I will remind myself of the great saying I heard a few years ago which originated from Confucius.  He said, “If you see a quality in another person that you admire, you should try to emulate that quality.  If you see something in another person that you don’t like, you should then check yourself.”  What you see in others that you don’t like is most likely a quality that you possess which presents a conflict between your conscious and unconscious mind.  Time and again I have found this to be the case. 

I am going to begin working into my morning routine a method to make a mental habit of remembering where the pen is coming from.  Time will tell, as it always does how successful I am. 

 

Until Next Week,

Rich Decker – Mindful Accord