I learned a valuable lesson about judgment today. I’d been having a struggle with a business associate that kept repeating itself, despite all my efforts to overcome it. I thought the conflict existed because of our opposing styles: I take a direct approach, she’s evasive; I’m a communicator, she holds things in; I value honesty and forthrightness, she maneuvers covertly… etc.
I’d taken the time over many months, to try to understand her behaviors so I could reach compassion rather than get caught in a web of resentment. I could see so clearly the increased difficulties her behaviors were causing – not only between us, but in the rest of her life. I’d walked a fine line with knowing when to speak up and when to step in and take care of what needed to get done. And I had committed myself to praying for her happiness every single day, and sending her my light and love.
So when the same issue found yet another way to present itself this morning, I followed the trail of my discomfort to what was really bothering me about it, and I discovered the bond that kept our tug of war in play. Despite all my righteous efforts, I was still judging her. Even though my tendency to judge has diminished over the years from a river to a trickle, it was enough to trigger the harsher judgment she likely places on herself daily, and it overshadowed all else in our relationship except for the rare moments when we were both sane at the same time.
Now I could take the next step toward liberation. Because I was aware that the true meaning and gift of our connection was to reflect our judgment so that we could release it, I was able to let it go. It freed me to embrace her spirit in gratitude for such a profound lesson and, in that moment, the nature of our relationship was transformed. Even if she doesn’t exhibit any outward change, I can trust that change will come in some manner, because the pattern was interrupted with truth and replaced with love. The problem I’d been struggling with, became the path to my enlightenment.
We are quickly approaching the year-end holiday season, a time that holds the potential for unlimited triggering of the subconscious. Buddhist teacher and author, Pema Chodron, fondly refers to this as “shenpa” – a Buddhist term for getting hooked by all the people who trigger us – and the holidays are likened to a “shenpa party”. Given the intense period of global change and challenge also in our midst, it is clearly a call for us to step up as spiritual practitioners. As the year closes, what better gift can we give one another than to rid ourselves of the judgments that hinder our progress toward unity?
Here are some meditations that can help detox the mind. Pick one and use it for several days (or until you receive clarity), spending fifteen minutes or more in silent reflection. Make notes after each meditation of what comes up for you. Each mantra or statement can reveal your subconscious underpinnings and open the door to enlightenment. You can change the form of the question or statement to make it the most powerful for you. There are also some suggested practices. Even a few minutes a day spent on any one of these, will make a meaningful difference and a substantial contribution.
I let go of my attachment to my body (the physical).
Free me from all my resentments.
Release me from my fears.
Return me to the truth I came here to be.
Help me know unconditional love.
I am wiling to see. Show me the way.
Pray for someone’s happiness for 30 days (particularly those you are in conflict with).
Choose someone (personally or globally) who is suffering, and envision them free of that suffering.
Every day, consciously send light and love ahead of you – to everyone on your path.
Express your gratitude.
Express your love.