Thursday, April 23, 2009

Judgment

Our lives are full of judgment. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the time we lay our heads down to sleep at night.

We look in the mirror and think, "I'm having a bad hair day", or "Gee, I'm looking old today". And then throughout our day, we are filled with judgment after judgment. "I should have done this" or "He shouldn't have done that", "They were wrong", or "That was bad".

We judge other people all the time thinking that they should be different than they are, they should treat us differently or act this way or that. We get together with our friends and talk about other people - what they wear, how they behave, how they look, what they said. Some days it is one judgment after another, filling our minds, actions and hearts.

Judgments are really just assumptions that we make based on our own beliefs. A woman could feel absolutely secure in her relationship with her husband one minute, then the next minute open his briefcase and find two Valentine's cards and suddenly she is filled with doubt and hurt and anger. But what has changed in that moment? Nothing is any different than it was a few moments earlier. And yet she has made an assumption that has lead to a judgment of what the situation is. This judgment has caused her enormous suffering and yet nothing has really changed in her life.

In placing judgment on others we are really judging ourselves. When we judge someone else, it is because we have a belief that is being challenged by another person's actions or words and the ego tells us in the form of a thought that we must defend our belief. The defense comes in the form of judgment of another based on our own belief.

If we believe that we are not good enough, we will constantly be finding others who are worse than we are so that we can feel better about ourselves. But in judging the other person, we are in fact, judging ourselves.

The moment that we look at a situation or person and say, "It shouldn’t be that way," we are judging. And the moment we judge we are moving into suffering. Suffering takes us away from peace.

If we can be aware of the times when we judge people, situations or things or even ourselves, we can look inside and find what belief is feeding this judgment. What belief needs this judgment to stay alive? When we recognize this we can then let go of the belief and free ourselves from judgment.

The absence of judgment we find acceptance. Once we put judgment aside, let go of the belief that feeds it, we can relax into a state of acceptance of what is. And in this place of acceptance we let go of suffering and find peace.

This week try to be aware of any time you place a judgment on yourself, someone else or a situation. See how many times judgment comes up in your daily life. And when you have a few minutes, take a look at some of those judgments and see if you can relate them to your beliefs and your attachment to those beliefs. Feel the emotion that is caused by this belief and then let the belief go, knowing that it has served you well but is no longer needed.

Have a wonderful week of acceptance.

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