August 16

Today's quotation:

When you are interested in other perspectives, it doesn’t imply, even slightly, that you’re advocating them.  I certainly wouldn’t choose a punk rock lifestyle or suggest it to anyone else.  At the same time, however, it’s really not my place to judge it, either.  One of the cardinal rules of joyful living is that judging others takes a great deal of energy and, without exception, pulls you away from where you want to be.

Richard Carlson

Today's Meditation:

I love trying to see the world through different people's eyes.  I like trying to understand their perspectives, trying to understand how someone else can enjoy this music that I dislike, how someone can support this politician I despise, how someone doesn't like this food that I love.  The diversity of this world is amazing, and we can only learn more about life and other people if we do our best to try to understand their perspectives.

When we judge, though, we close off all learning.  We make the claim that we already know all there is to know about something, and thus we're in a position to judge other people's actions and perspectives.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I may not have any tattoos and I may "know" that they're not a good thing to have, but where have I learned what I "know"?  And what gives me the right to judge other people who don't think the way I do simply because they've learned about life from sources other than mine?

I appreciate the fact that Richard talks about the relationship between judging other people and joyful living, making it very clear that the former is a definite obstacle to the latter.  While we may want to think that our judgment is legitimate and justified, the truth is that we keep ourselves from living a full life if we spend our time judging how others are living theirs.  Our purpose here is to live our lives, not to tell others how they should be living the lives they've been given.

It's important that we learn how to observe, not to judge.  This is a concept that can help us immensely to free ourselves from the negative emotions that result from judging others, as well as the conflict that inevitably arises when we judge someone else.  Our observations can help us to learn and grow and change, while our judgment keeps us stuck in the same old patterns, thoughts, and ideals.

Questions to consider:

How often do you judge other people?  What kinds of things do you tend to judge them about?

Why is it so easy for us to focus on judgment rather than on observation?

Are you someone who needs to judge others?  Why (or why not)?

For further thought:

When you feel offended, you're practicing judgment. . . What you may not realize is that when you judge another person, you do not define them.  You define yourself as someone who needs to judge others.

Wayne Dyer

more on judgment



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