I wrote most of this on Thursday, March 17, which was St. Patrick’s Day, but did not finish. Then I was in a wedding this past weekend with lots of festivities along with friends and family in town until last night. So please pardon the delay. And please know that I still love myself. We can be so hard on ourselves, can’t we?? Well, not anymore! Not with gentle and loving practice, anyway. Here we go…
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Most people think of wearing green and drinking when they think of this holiday. Then there’s the legend that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland in the fifth century. Then you learn that there never were any snakes in Ireland. So maybe it refers to converting pagans to Christianity or something like that. But when I think about driving away snakes, I think about… our judgments! More specifically, I think about not judging our judgments. Okay, this might be a stretch to connect it to St. Patrick’s Day, but as I sat down to write something today, it all just flowed. So we will go with it. Plus, this topic alone can change your life 🙂
Let’s go ahead and get to the point. We all judge a tremendous amount. We judge everything. We judge people, places, things, events, etc. as being good, bad, pretty, ugly, nice, not nice, rich, poor, healthy, sick, and too much of this or that. You get the idea. This stuff is going on all the time in our heads, and then it comes out in our words and actions. And we judge ourselves as well… a TON. The result of all this is that we usually end up feeling less than stellar at some point. So where do we begin? By first seeing our judgments and then not judging them. Let’s repeat that so it’ll be super clear – we start to get out of this mess by first seeing our judgments and then not judging them. Wow.
You see, we’ve been judging everything for so long that it’s totally automatic by now. Which reminds me, I wrote a blog post several years ago entitled, Am I Qualified To Judge? I just checked the date and it was November 27, 2012. So I guess the world didn’t end after all… Let’s all have a hearty laugh. HAHAHAHAHA!!! By the way, there’s a post from October of that year called 2012. In it, I predicted that the world would indeed not end. I should’ve bought a lottery ticket that day because man, I was on a roll. Back to the story…
So we have been conditioned to be judgment machines. These judgy thoughts just pop right in. Then what happens is that we judge ourselves for having these thoughts. “I’m such a bad person!!” So we’re judging all day long and then crucifying ourselves for it, all day long. Consciously and unconsciously. Ouch! What recipe for not feeling good. Well, there’s good news: your judgments are actually innocent. Nobody hears the stuff in your hear and nobody cares about it. It’s really not a big deal. Unless you give it that power, of course. And that’s actually a choice. Hallelujah! Other people do hear your words and see your actions that come from these judgments, though, so let’s begin to break the cycle. And we will do this by first seeing the judgments and then blessing them. Releasing them. Noting right then and there that you are breaking the cycle. You aren’t guilty; what you are is simply conditioned. So we are going to do some unconditioning.
Think about a spigot on the side of a house that hasn’t been turned on for ten years. When you turn it on, do you think clean water will be coming through? Nope. There will be lots of rust and sediment. But what’s pushing it through? The same source of clean water that’s coming through all the other spigots and faucets that are working just fine. So just let the dirty stuff run through for a while and then eventually the clean water will appear. When we take this attitude of just watching our judgments and asking our wisdom/common sense about them, one by one, then we begin to see that the whole thing is not a big deal. And after a while, it’s like the chatterbox gives up. Or it at least chills out quite a bit.
An awesome teacher of mine, John Mark Stroud (www.onewhowakes.org), tells the story about how his teacher had him go to a shopping mall, sit down, and love everyone that walked by. A shopping mall? Really?? This is Judgment City! Every flavor of freak is there, and I say that with total love. Just sayin. Okay, maybe “every flavor of human” would be a better way to say that. Anyway, his teacher knew this, so the whole point was to flush up all of these ridiculous judgments. “He’s fat. She’s ugly. Look at that outfit! He or she looks like they have money, or don’t have money. You act like that in public??” You get the picture. And one by one, he would simply watch each judgment with innocence and send love to each person instead, noting that they are free to look or act however they want, just as you and I are. I’ve done this some, though not in a mall. And sometimes some real zingers pop in! I can’t tell you the relief when you see that it’s all okay, though. It’s all okay. You can even tell yourself, “Wow, that was a really mean one!” It’s not like I’m trying to be a jerk; they just pop right in. But when you just observe them rather than judge them, they pop right out. And you are still in a state of innocence. Wow – there’s real power there.
So give this a shot. Start to see all of these judgments and note that this is nothing more than innocent conditioning, and it’s on the way out. There’s a book that I always recommend called Somebody Should Have Told Us by Jack Pransky. In it, he says that it’s not our thoughts that get us into trouble but rather our thoughts about those thoughts. I love that. And this is exactly what I’m saying – the judgments pop right in, but they pop right out as well. There’s no parking lot for thoughts, unless we sit there and do a bunch more thinking about them. Otherwise there are gone, and we see that nothing really happened. And I’m not a bad person. And I can still love myself and send love to another if I feel the desire to. But we’re pulling the plug on this whole game of judging our judgments, and you’ll see in time how huge this really is. Huge! So happy practicing, and as always, let me know if I can help.