Judgment is Easy – May 19 2020

I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

It is so easy to sit in judgment of the people around us, especially those we see day after day. At work, at school, in our church or synagogue, our local coffee shop. And now, when we’re walking/driving. Who’s wearing a mask, who isn’t. Who’s staying far enough away or not. Or they locals? All these selfish, self-involved, self-centered people, in my life without my permission.

 

A Course in Miracles says that all forgiveness is self-forgiveness. Then perhaps it’s also true that all judgment is self-judgment.

 

To be in judgment is to be identified with the ego, and identified with the ego is to shut one’s self off from the Higher Self, from God. It is to be alone against the world.

 

The ego’s job is to separate itself from the whole of the world and then to judge everything as to whether it is in the ego’s favor or not, whether it will add to the ego’s power or not. And if the ego is having an uncomfortable day, it is a guarantee that it will be chattering on about the shortcomings of everyone it encounters.

 

And what this means for us is discomfort. Listen to a negative litany from anyone, for any length of time. It’s painfully uncomfortable. This is what happens in our own mind when we allow the voice of the ego to run unchallenged. We are guaranteeing our own discomfort, which in turn will cause us to see even more negativity in the world and the people around us, which will make us even more judgmental.

 

What I pay attention to grows. When I am seeing only the negative, I am growing the negative until it becomes all I can see.

 

We can come out of judgment any time we choose. 

  • First, have the desire to do so. 
  • Second, spend time each day in meditation – connecting with the experience of Self that is beyond the ego. 
  • Third, pay attention to the thinking so that when it moves in the direction of judgment, notice, then make the effort to turn it around. No matter how someone is behaving, there is always a way to see her as someone worthy of our love. This person was once someone’s baby. This person is a child of God. This person is capable of evolution, just as am I.

 

There once was a man who got involved in an altercation in the parking lot outside a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Another man was yelling at him, calling him names, obviously having a bad day. Finally the first man threw a punch, putting the other fellow down.

 

People were appalled. Gossip and judgment ensued. How could this happen? Isn’t this supposed to be a spiritual program? I thought these alcoholics were supposedly taking responsibility, changing their lives, becoming better people. What a hypocrite. Etc.

 

Then one of the old timers quietly said to the others, “You know, that guy did time for attempted murder. I’d say throwing only one punch  is quite an improvement.”

 

As a human myself, it’s a guarantee that I will behave poorly at some point, that I will be selfish and step on someone’s toes. When I do, I want to have been practicing stepping out of judgment with you, so that maybe I will be able to do the same with myself.

 

Today when I find myself thinking judgmentally of someone – even if it’s my ex-wife, even if it’s the boss that fired me – I will remember one thing that person has done that shows they have a heart, and if I cannot find that one thing, I will remind myself of one thing from that person’s history to help explain why they might be so frightened in the world, and I will forgive them their humanness.

Ashley on fire escape, tintype, Downtown Photo Collective, Los Angeles, CA

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