Each moment of life is full of the unexpected. We don’t know from one moment to the next what will happen, how we will respond or what will be presented for us to journey. One moment we are the teacher and the next the student. Impermanence is the dance. I was reminded this week about the uncertainty of the moment. What surfaced for me were situations regarding judgement and compassion, so I thought that I would explore these topics in this week’s blog.
We are conditioned from an early age to make judgements. Our parents encourage us to discern between the things we like and dislike. Early choices about food, toys and clothing are judgements we are asked to make. Our childhood is highly influenced by our parents, friends and events that establish unconscious conditioning. Our ability to make judgements quickly increases as we age. When meeting someone new for the first time, we can often form instant thoughts of like and dislike. First impressions of others begin to form judgements about the other person. We may develop opinions about others surrounding their appearance, interests, friendships or relationships. In some cases, we make up stories about others because of the perceived actions they take. For example, we may think that a colleague is overly accommodating to the boss to get a promotion when this may not be case at all. Our limiting perspectives of the world and others colours our view of things and creates judgements both positive and negative.
For most of us, we tend to have a lot of judgements about ourselves. We are either too short, too fat, too tall or too skinny. We criticize ourselves for not being smart enough or not exercising enough. In many instances, our judgements have become so conditioned that we don’t even know when we are judging ourselves. We go along in our lives limiting ourselves with our thoughts, never questioning the words running through our mind. Remember that words lead to thoughts that lead to feelings in which we create our reality. Our unconscious judgements create a reality for us that is based upon a limited perspective. Becoming aware of our personal judgements can help to free us from our limiting beliefs. Removing the judgements we place upon ourselves opens the possibility of experiencing the full divine being that we are in each moment. Where do we begin to relinquish judgements about ourselves and others? It is by having compassion for oneself.
Compassion must begin with the self. We must be loving and kind to ourselves, forgiving our perceived imperfections. Each of us is perfectly imperfect. Where you find yourself is exactly where you need to be. As my teacher used to say “you couldn’t be more appropriate if you tried.” Throughout our lifetime, we will journey many things. A life lived with loving kindness and compassion towards oneself is a life filled with bliss. Discovering who we are and accepting ourselves as loving, divine beings is a truthful experience.
Being compassionate for ourselves allows us to be compassionate towards others. As the old saying goes “one cannot get water from an empty well.” Similarly, you cannot be compassionate towards others until you have journeyed yourself and feel compassion inwardly. Each of us journeys our life in the best way we possibly can. We may know the circumstances of another life but we cannot experience what another has journeyed. Each life is different and unique. However, when we are able to find compassion for ourselves as we journey life, we are also able to feel compassion for another. Through our own insight into our life journeys with compassion, we are able to tap into loving kindness. Remember that in reality there truly is no other. Each of us is a reflection of each other, so having compassion for another is also about having compassion for oneself. Judging another is judging oneself. Our journeys are not so different.
However, having compassion for oneself or another is not about indulgence either. When we have created intense periods of suffering for ourselves, such as exemplified by periods of self-pity, there are times that we may indulge in these moments thinking that we are being compassionate. We may even seek out others who will have sympathy for our experience thinking that we are finding compassion. However, compassion is not about allowing ourselves or others to indulge in our own suffering. Sometimes the most compassionate thing is to call out one’s unconsciousness. We would never want to see another suffer, why would we allow ourselves to suffer unnecessarily. Bringing indulgences to one’s consciousness is one of the greatest forms of compassion. This is not always an easy task but one that can create great liberation. It is like pulling off a band-aid. It is better to rip it off quickly than to slow pull it off. Being compassionate for ourselves or another may sometimes require us to be direct in order to diminish suffering.
During this week I would encourage you to be observant of the judgements you place upon yourself and others. Be observant of the judgements you place upon yourself? Notice what judgements you make about other people. Be aware of the words, thoughts and feelings you create around judgement. In doing so, don’t judge your judgements. Be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Notice the level of compassion you have for others. When are you less compassionate?
May compassion fill your being
May you experience loving kindness
May we see ourselves in the reflection of others