Those of us who have committed to being more loving, spiritual or compassionate, may well believe our path requires a non-judgmental mindset. Personal development or spiritual growth teachings tell us that our criticisms of others are really reflections of our own fears and limitations, so what we observe in others tends to be more indicative of who WE are than THEY are. I remember first hearing the Native American saying that when we point the finger of blame at another, all other fingers point back at us (you can try that one now to check it out!) and how that landed as particularly significant in my quest to be a better and kinder person.
So I have tried hard… I mean really tried… to not criticise or condemn others for their actions. I have lots of empowering thoughts to keep me dedicated to my cause: “we can never know what someone else has experienced“, “never judge another until you have walked in their shoes“, or my favourite (and quite possibly the most patronising of them all) “everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available“!
But there has been a flaw in my intentions that has largely gone unnoticed, until recently.
Here is my confession.
I have continued to judge others even when I knew better. For that I apologise whole-heartedly.
Whilst our souls reject all ideas of judgment (how can there be any value judgments in a world of non-duality?), our ego loves any opportunity for establishing superiority. And now I can quite clearly see how I have been judging the judgers.
Let me offer an example as evidence:
Yesterday, I read a post in a business forum where I am an inactive member. I’m one of the watchers who absorbs information but doesn’t usually have much to offer on the topics. The post that caught my eye was from a young guy who was questioning the value of his membership in that group. The group is connected to a business course costing $6k so he was really clarifying whether his investment was worth it or if he could take what he had already learnt, fly solo and claim the 30-day money back guarantee.
In all honesty, his post was very short and was easy to interpret as a young whipper-snapper who thought he knew better and was asking for validation of his decision. Even if that had not been his intention, his post was certainly judged that way by many people. He received a wrath of indignation, “you shouldn’t have spent the money if you couldn’t afford it“, “you lack integrity to take the first module and run“, “you are conceited to think you can do it on your own” and so on. Some people have said they are offended by his post, others have quite viciously said he should leave because he is not wanted in the group. A couple of people did suggest he was cut some slack but the majority were going all out with their opinions on his fool-hardy ways!
The guy who wrote the post has eaten a huge dollop of humble pie and has apologised for being offensive, agreed with the comments that said he could have phrased it better and been really open about his financial situation…. but it hasn’t appeased the other members. There is little support for his attempted rectification.
So let me ask you, how are you feeling right now?
What came up for you as you read this report?
For me, as I waded through the thread of comments, I felt quite indignant. How could they treat someone young and new to the group so harshly? He’d only asked a question but it was being handled like treason. The rescuer in me was ready to throw on the shining armour, grab my steed and charge in to save the day. Isn’t that what a good spiritual person would do?
And then it hit me.
I was now standing in judgment of the judgers.
It reminded me of being a small child at school when a teacher hit me because I had smacked another child (Honestly, I was a nice kid really!) Here was the model of do as I say not as I do in action.
And here is me, criticising others for being judgmental. Such irony!
In truth, I no longer have the desire to be a non-judgemental person because I am trying to be spiritual or good. If you are familiar with my work, you’ll know that I hold firm on the idea that the pursuit of any type of goodness is a totally pointless exercise. My reason for bringing more awareness to my judgments is rather more simple, I intend to align more with my soul than my ego. I am sensing the direction in which I am turning to more fully understand who I am at a soul level.
And if you are wondering, the guy who wrote the post has handled it with grace and certainly didn’t need the rescuing I projected into the situation. He has my admiration for his honesty, authenticity and ability to rise above it all. And most of all he appeared, at least on the surface, to do something I struggled with. He refrained from judging the judgers.