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JUDGEMENT DAY…. every day

♦his hair is too long ♦ that garden needs some work ♦ her makeup is on a bit thick ♦ those children need to be quieter ♦ her skirt is too short ♦ that baby should have been dressed more warmly ♦ that lawn needs mowing ♦they paid too much money for that car ♦ I would never shop there ♦ I wouldn’t live in this neighbourhood ♦ they are not eating very healthy food ♦ it’s too late for those children to be outside ♦ that should not be in a child’s lunchbox ♦ that outfit is out of style ♦ she should lose some weight ♦ he could use a little exercise ♦ I would never behave that way ♦ she talks too much ♦ they are too strict with their children ♦that plant needs to be watered ♦ those children are out of control ♦ he doesn’t work hard enough ♦ that colour doesn’t look good ♦ she sure doesn’t need to be eating ice cream ♦he doesn’t earn enough money ♦ she is not very attractive ♦ what a terrible actor ♦ he’s not good at his job ♦ they are always late for dinner♦

Do you recognize yourself here? Have you thought or said anything like this recently……today?

I am surprised at how often in just a single day, we find ourselves sitting in judgement of others; others that we don’t even know. We judge our family, our friends, the stranger at the bank, on the street, in the grocery line.

What is it in us that allows us to feel that it is our place to even comment, that we are somehow in a position to pass judgement. And, why is it that by judging others, in some small way, we feel better about ourselves; justified in our own skin. How can diminishing someone else help us feel more adequate about ourselves? If we believe that we are all truly equal, that we are not above anyone else, then what makes us qualified or entitled to criticize or judge?

I believe that some of it comes from fear and insecurity and most of it comes from ego. And none of it comes from a place of love.

We teach our children that it’s wrong, and yet we begin each day with our own judgement. We start out by judging ourselves; we second guess our outfits, we criticize our children’s breakfast choice, we think twice about how prepared we are for work; we doubt our capabilities. And then just when we feel confident enough to walk out the door, or into the meeting, or to face the crowd, we enter into a world of judgement.

Eckhart Tolle (author of The Power of Now, and A New Earth) in response to someone asking about being judgemental shared his wisdom “You are not a judgmental person. Your mind does what it has been conditioned to do, that’s all. The most important thing is that you are already aware of what your mind is doing. A truly judgmental person is someone who doesn’t know he/she is judgmental. They are so identified with their mind that they completely believe in every thought (judgment) that comes into their head.

AWARENESS is the key. Most judgmental thoughts are of a negative kind, of course. So notice as much as you can your negative thoughts (about other people, individuals or groups, yourself, a place, a situation you find yourself in, something that is happening but “shouldn’t” etc.) Notice the mind’s tendency to find fault with people and situations, to complain, to pronounce righteous judgment.

Gradually, the dimension of awareness will grow and those mental habits will weaken. Negativity is a dreadful burden to live with. It tends to be reflected back to you through negative situations and people and prevents your life from unfolding with ease. But don’t try to suppress your judgments. Have compassion with your mind. A judgment is harmless if you immediately recognize it as such and don’t completely believe in it anymore. Then, gradually, awareness dissolves the judgmental mind. Yes, it is possible to live without judgment. Becoming friendly with the present moment is the key.”

I think we need to start checking our ego at the door, to start leaning into a more compassionate way of seeing and being in the world. Everyone has a story and perhaps if we spent more time listening and loving, we would hear and appreciate more, becoming more present as Eckhart suggests.

So here’s a challenge for you for tomorrow.

Start your day at home without judgement; by not judging yourself, your children, your partner, your mother. And then once outside in the world, see how long you can go without becoming critical, cynical, and judging others, thinking you are somehow a little better, smarter, thinner, luckier, …start to look at people for who they really are, unique individuals, just like you. Think about becoming more compassionate with yourself and others and see how that might fit into a situation or circumstance, how it might change the lens through which you look at your world, and at others.

We are all ENOUGH. Let’s start honouring each other, celebrating our unique and amazing differences instead of pointing them out or trying to change them. Perhaps then our children will start their day with an open heart instead of a narrow mind.

**These two books are recommended by me and Eckhart Tolle – A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are, by Byron Katie and The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz.