Judging Without Guilt
Why is it that we humans spend most of our conscious moments thinking/judging/trying not to think or trying not to judge someone or some thing? I do not know the answer to this question and doubt that I ever will. Wow, I have just thought about something that I instantly judged! In the same sentence. When I am not busy fielding thoughts and making judgements or not doing these things, my heart jumps in and asks, "What about me?" It doesn't really ask; usually, it expresses by prodding me to cry, laugh, feel angry, etc. When I am in this mode, I am not "doing" anything; I am having feelings about a person, a thing, an event that may or may not happen, an event in the past that triggered my feeling or a tough decision I need to make. The outpouring of my feelings are responsive to instructions the mind tells the heart. These instructions are revealed when the mind searches for and finds the appropriate message to send to the heart.
When you read this, you relate to it and you're curious enough to read on to find out more. You have "judged" this to be worthy of reading. You love judging this because your judgement reflects your power to shape your reality. You have decided. This process is wonderful, is it not? You now feel something based on that which you have judged. That feeling is Joy of some type, for it resonates with you and rocks your soul. Now you just feel good. Your body relaxes as does your mind. Your now active heart beats to express your joy. It probably is released as Love energy. You are not thinking/wondering/asking "why, how", etc. Your heart is simply doing its thing and you are an open channel.
Ah, but what about those trying times - times when you feel separate from your Joy. You have lost a job, your partner/spouse leaves you. Or you cry when a dear one transitions. It seemed only yesterday when my friend Craig and I were hanging out at the Oriole game in Baltimore, reminiscing about the years we spent enjoying life. We would ride the public bus to school and back - sight singing Bach vocal scores while all the other students probably thought we were crazy. Most of the others were African Americans; we were Jewish Americans. One time, another student asked to see my "horns" (some people believed and probably still do that Jews have horns). I explained that I did not have any horns except my trumpet - he must have thought it was funny because he let me be after that. Or perhaps he knew something about the energy centers or the aura. Maybe he saw mine and it was the first time he saw one. Possibly he saw the auras of others and did not understand what he was seeing. Inadvertently, he judged his perception of who and what he thought I was. He did not "do" judgement to or at me; he questioned what he saw as a difference between the two of us.
My point is that judgements are inherent in all we do. My belief that the others thought Craig and I were crazy is my perception, not their belief necessarily. The student's belief that Jews have horns is a perception that he has about Jews. If it were true that only Jews have horns, and not other human beings, would this mean that Jews are "less than" or "more than" other humans, as if there are different species of human beings? No way can this be true. Could the idea of the horns indicate that Jews had them because they are some how connected with Satan, as if Satan is a real thing who is depicted as having horns? Impossible! The student was not seeing me as I am, it was a perception of who he believes I am based on something other than reality.
Back then, in the sixties, I did not drive a car. Dad died before I was fourteen and Mom did not drive so I walked, got rides and took public transportation. I did not get a license until after I was married and now, I drive everywhere. I used to be like many drivers - I'd yell or think explitive-based phrases, honk my horn and/or express degrees of anger and frustration as the "other" drivers drove me out of my mind. During the Covidcation, I began doing something a bit different; as the anger or hate thought began to rise in me, I pressed a pause button somewhere between my mind and my heart. I began to smile and instead of feeling hate or anger, I felt grateful for the pause. In that gratitude, words of forgiveness replaced the stuff I used to think and say.
As we become more aware of the process of judgement, we become more constructive in our judgement responses. Judgement is okay and necessary. The key to using this tool is the heart. With meditation practice, we can "slow down" the process of judging over time, thus making it easier to see what is real and what is perceived. Judgement becomes more measured and in line with your path towards your greater yet-to-be. Martin Buber, in "Tales of the Hasidim" (p. 130, Shocken Books, NY, NY 1991), says, "Let us love each other more and we shall have a feeling of spaciousness".