For two days I have been in the grips of judgment. At the time, it didn’t present easily or loudly. In other words, it was hard for me to know that’s what I was doing to myself and those around me.
I know that there is a lot of talk about how ego derails spiritual growth, and I suppose in its most basic form, what I’ve been experiencing is simply a temper tantrum of Ego. But I think there is something else at work.
The main question, or koan, is this: Can I be truly spiritual if there are situations or people in my awareness that I simply do not like? How do I rectify not liking something with loving all?
But then I think about someone I’ve known whom I love but don’t like from time to time. Pick a person. My kid, my boss, on and on it goes. To say that others do not effect me is a lie. They do. How others act and speak and the choices they make, these effect me.
I really wish it didn’t feel bad when I witness someone being willfully mean, but it does. It fills me with a peculiar sense of outrage, of pity and of resentment. I hate it.
It really just saddens and freaks me out when I have to work with someone who can’t give eye contact, won’t talk, ignores the people they are there to serve, and refuses to help others.
What about that behavior is attractive?
And what is there to like about those actions?
And how am I to reconcile my expectations, my behavior with another’s?
This is the knot I have been trying to untie the last two days.
Can I love myself when I feel no love toward another?
Is it ok to have an opinion about someone else’s behavior? Is it ok to not like another’s behavior?
And I don’t have the answer to that. I simply don’t. It was big enough to even figure out what was making me feel so awful.
But this afternoon a thought hit me like a two by four. What if discernment is the same thing as judgment without a value judgment attached.
Forgiveness is the road home. Those angry and confused feelings I get are not there to torture me, but to lead me home. Wake me up. Help me to gain more understanding and compassion for myself and those around me.
Forgiveness is the act of seeing Self in Other, and Other in Self, God in Self and Self in God. Life, living, seen from this vantage point is a much different experience as when lived from the lower perspective.
If I can see beyond the closed behavior and meanness, all I see is someone who is hurting. Hurting people create pain in others. Pain begets pain. Joy begets joy. And someone who is hurting needs the MOST tenderness, not the least. I know this to be true for myself, and I use this as a yardstick. So being kind is the best way to react to unkindnesses.
However, it is not easy to give love to the unloving. When I am my most unloving, I am firmly entrenched in the belief that I am unlovable.
But then, I think about some of the outrageous things I see people do to themselves and to others, and it’s hard to just love. I want to smack some sense into people. Smack some tenderness into them. And it doesn’t work that way.
So, if I am discerning my co-workers as closed, energetically shut down or defended, unfriendly or even a little hostile, these are still in the “observations” category, and it’s very funny, but my body isn’t reacting to what I am remembering, the last shift I worked with someone just like my description. These are objective observations, and I am not attached to them.
But I can move one step to the left or right, and I am in CRAZYLAND. I can begin to think this:
“This person is so closed and angry, he has no business working with the mentally ill.”
“This guy could suck the joy out of Christmas Eve.”
“If you don’t want to be here, please, just don’t show up. We’d all be better off.”
This is just adding a value judgment to an observation.
And it’s the value judgments that drive me insane.
Anytime my head starts a thought with, “I hate that because ____” I am in judgment. I am in Ego. My Little Mind is talking.
And sometimes that’s all I can hear.
And it gets old.
The only way to let myself off the hook is to let myself off the hook. What am I unwilling to give myself permission to think or feel?
That some people are bad. Lost. Unsaveable.
Is that TRUE?
No, it’s not true.
The truth is, each and every one of us is a giant light being having a narrowed, physical experience in a 3 dimensional system of being. The mean person is playing a ROLE. They are making choices IN THE MOMENT that may be completely opposite tomorrow. No one is lost.
The fear I have around them being lost, the anger I feel toward to unkind… well, it’s a reflection of what I don’t want to accept within myself, that I am not 100% enlightened, and sometimes I can be just as mean as a snake… but that doesn’t mean that I am a bad person. It means I made a decision. I acted. Maybe it was wrong. Maybe it was right. But there it is. Let’s move on.
So this is my world.
I don’t know if others do their work this way. But I seem to be “given” a homework assignment, something to trouble and tease and bug me, and my world demonstrates the core principles being taught, actors assume their position, and the show begins.
At the end of the day, the only sin is a refusal to love one’s Self. It is the only thing that creates pain, I think.
So I guess I will give myself permission to discern, self-correct when I slip into judgment, and allow myself to do this as best I can.