Do Judgments Offer Comfort to Us????


Sampaloc Lake
Sampaloc Lake (Photo credit: Storm Crypt)

People generally do not hesitate to freely discuss how others look and behave – fat, skinny, beautiful, ordinary, ugly, tall, short, gay, normal, abnormal etc, etc, and the list goes on…judging from physical to mental to emotional to social and even spiritual attributes – constantly eyed, compared, judged and compartmentalized.

We don’t feel comfortable unless we put everyone into neatly classified and categorized little pigeon holes and derive images based on those compartments.  We hold people to those images and get confused if they don’t fit in that, day after day, not realising nor remembering that people including ourselves, change on a daily basis.

Why do we do that?  Intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously, with or without malice, we constantly weigh and counter weigh our interactions with each other.  Why?

Is it because we create our own identity through those comparisons?  “I am not THAT fat, I am MORE beautiful than her (often it is the opposite), I DON’T get angry like him, I will NEVER behave like that” – on and on it goes.  We try to establish ourselves in some kind of a pecking order and either feel elated that we are NOT like the negativity we observe or feel dejected that we can NEVER be like the positive or beautiful…

Not a day goes by without comparisons.  Judgments and criticisms  constantly plague people’s minds and make them feel inferior or superior.  All this happens within split seconds and often judgments are passed as observations. In those observations, we make a point of saying without saying that I am better or worse than that.

Expressed observations also are judgments only without the lace of criticism or ridicule.  Our identity primarily stems from comparison and belonging.  Without saying it loud, we form tribes based on our likes and dislikes.

Is it possible not to do that?  Is it possible to have a mind so clear as a lake on a windless, summer morning – clear, shiny, bright and still – the occasional breeze of thought gently rippling over the surface and settling immediately into its own stillness?  Is it possible to have a mind like that?

YES, IT IS POSSIBLE…

When the occasional ripple of thought does not become a rip or a whirlpool, yes, the mind can be clear and still.  When thoughts entering are not acted on or reacted to, they quickly settle to the bottom into the debris of the lake bed.

A stone of judgment thrown into the mind’s lake will sink and stir the debris.  But the only way the lake gets polluted is if the winds of emotions continue to hit the surface of the lake and keep the stone swirling and does not give a chance to settle the stirred debris.  We cannot get rid of the stone/s.  Stones enter into a lake, let them and see that they sink to the bottom rapidly.  Dont’ try to dig them out.

Let thoughts enter and settle in. We don’t need to keep digging the thoughts out with statements like – “I shouldn’t, I mustn’t, I couldn’t” or statements/expressions like – “How could she/he/they/it”, or even thoughts like”How could I”…

These ‘should’s, musts, could’s’ are the strong currents that keep the stones from sinking.

So, how can we not do that?

Recognize the fact that judgments do not offer comfort.  They are divisive and keep us separate from each other.  Judgments are directly proportional to separatist attitudes.

We are the various branches of the one tree.  Lord Krishna said – “I have separated myself from myself, so I can experience myself”.  We all came from the one source and return back to the same source.  The brief sojourn we face on this earth is the colorful manifestation of that one source separated from itself into tiny fragments – complete and incomplete at the same time.  How can a fragment judge another fragment which is part of the same whole?  The whole cannot be formed unless the fragments join together like a jig saw puzzle.  The picture is incomplete even if one piece is destroyed.

We know this intellectually and yet fail to practice as we fall prey to the rampantly prevailing contemporary competition – a monologue that bombards us with a message that we can only be complete if we are better than..something or somebody. This is filtered from individuals through to the countries even with lightening speed and velocity.  We get sucked into this without realizing. It takes all our efforts to extricate ourselves from that message and reach deep within to the comfort offered by that Source which whispers gently – “YOU ARE ENOUGH AS YOU ARE”

How do we listen to that whisper?

Regular Meditation and deep breathing are a couple of practices that would help us to listen to that whisper and allow it to take over.  Meditation increases the Gamma Brain wave activity which is nature’s best anti-depressant.  Gamma Brain Waves are associated with ‘feelings of blessings’ and high Gamma Brain wave activity equals naturally happier, calmer and more at peace people.

As we become more at peace we stop judging ourselves, therefore others and a feeling of oneness grows.

This feeling of oneness and unity is what offers comfort as we grow as a community.  Judgments NEVER offer comfort….

What do you think? Drop a comment here..Would love to hear from you

Until next week

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

“Are We Separate From Each Other – Truly??”


The duck-rabbit, made famous by Wittgenstein
(The duck-rabbit, made famous by Wittgenstein – Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I get jealous when I come across people who live or seem to live life with full of enthusiasm and excitement.  I am sure there are people who feel similarly of  me and the way I live my life.

We live a life of comparisons most of the time.  Why do we feel this way? Why do we always think that somebody else has it all together?  The proverbial ‘Grass is greener on the other side’ – we tend to live that at one time or another, some more than others.

And yet the highest spiritual truth is as Thich Nhat Hanh says – “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness”.  Illusion is called “Maya” in Sanskrit and that is what we all are immersed in and are journeying to get out of, some more advanced on the path and others at the very beginning of the trail, nevertheless, all on the same path.

The root cause for the feelings of desire, anger, greed, attachment, envy and jealousy – the 6 inner enemies,  is the feeling of separateness that rises through comparisons of ‘better than’, ‘more than’, ‘happier than’, etc. etc.,

If I recognise the ‘Oneness’ then the enthusiasm in one or the beauty in the other should not be the causes for disturbances in me.  I should be able to recognise those qualities in others as an extension of mine.

But it is not easy to do that -why?  Why do I forget the ‘Oneness’ and repeatedly strengthen the ‘illusion of separateness’?

When I operate from the realm of the 5 senses that constantly reiterate and reinforce good and bad, beauty and ugly, when those senses remind me of my physical boundaries, that is when I get rooted in the separateness as boundaries become solid.

Is it possible to blur the boundaries so the spectrum of colors are seen in the distinct edges?  Is it possible to train the vision to see the Oneness?

If I soften my eyes and perhaps even squint a little as if I am trying to see a hidden picutre in an optical illusion, an image within the image, then the edges soften and get blurry and before I know I can hold both pictures in my vision – the visible and the hidden, both clear at the same time.

Softening the vision is one way of seeing past the solid edges and recognising the inner core.      That can only happen when I soften the vision on myself and not hold my edges solidly – meaning when I blur my vision towards myself so the hidden and the outer coexist without judgment, when I love myself for who I am, when I soften towards myself, only then can I fully and completely soften towards the others and those soft edges in me and the other happily come together in a dance of celebration and I am awake from my illusion of separateness.

Just softening the vision will not be enough to do the trick completely.  Vision should be softened accompanied by a word or a phrase that triggers images of Love.  That can be any word or phrase – from “beauty” to “love” to “compassion” to “kind” or even specific names and images of Holy Beings who walked this earth or are walking now – like “Jesus”, “Buddha”, “Allah”, “Rama” etc.,  This is a concept recommended as a spiritual practice in all faiths.  Hinduism calls it “Nama Smarana”, Islam calls it “Zikr” and Christianity recommends the practice of Rosary.  The reasoning behind this spiritual practice is that the  word and/or image evokes the same qualities within us.

When we take time to soften the vision and evoke an image through the word whilst interacting with each others, it will be impossible to treat the others with contempt, or unkindness.  Judgments drop like autumn leaves.  The image evoked through the word will be powerful enough to help us ignore the hard outer edges and concentrate on the soft glimmering inner image that tantalizes us initally but fully becomes visible through practice – like the ‘optical illusion’ once the hidden is visible, we cannot seem to see the original image.

For me the practice of saying “Swami” (the name of a Form that is beloved to me) every time I come across somebody works.  Even the minor random judgments that pass through the mind stop as the mind questions me ‘would I be thinking that if it was really Swami in front of me’ and the judgment stops as mind surrenders to the rising silence filled with love.

It works beautifully, but I have to remember to do it.

Yes, we forget to do the practice.  But the only way to continue is to pick up where we left off every time we remember, without judgment, guilt or blame.  Those feelings are the liquid nitrogen that freeze the solid edges of separateness and it takes a lot of warm waters of love to thaw.  AS soon as the cold vapors of negativity are sensed and felt, we need to remember to blow the warm breeze of positive soothing words and images. Only that kindness has the capacity to thaw the solidity of separateness.

Awakening from the illusion of separateness comes with practice and unless we are willing to do that we will continue to live in the world of ‘me & you’, ‘us & them’, separate and suffering.

So, what would work for you if you were to decide to awaken from the illusion of separateness?

Leave your comments as I am interested to know.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari