“When you go into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees… and some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens and some of them are – whatever. And you look at the tree, and you just – allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is, you sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way, and you don’t get all emotional about it, you just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that, and you’re constantly saying, “You’re too this,” or “I’m too this,” or – that judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees, which means appreciating them just the way they are.” Ram Dass (Richard Alpert 4/6/31-12/22/19)
When our judgements are allowed to become what we believe is true, as far from the truth as they might be, it is then that the heart becomes restless. Fostered judgements are the enemy of community. Agitation replaces peace. When embraced as truth, they block vision. Self-judgement breeds shame, grief, remorse, isolation, hatred, rage, fear and hopelessness.
When judging another, it is the same judgement we will often find in our own heart if we look long enough, deep enough and hard enough.
Or honest enough.
Once found inside our own hearts, we have a choice to make.
We can deny it…. and with that denial we can push back and bury all the pain of seeing it in ourselves. And continue on with all that keeps us at war.
With ourselves and with one another.
Or, we can embrace it. Resistant at first- stiff with unbelief- but stay with it. Ask your Creator for the compassion to see yourself through the eyes of His Heart. This work is not easy nor will it produce instant results. But if done with a sincere and open heart, those same judgements will soon be seen for what they are…. fear. Lies that create separation from those around us and from ourselves. The whispered lies that keep us disconnected from our soul and unable to love our neighbor…. or ourselves.
Aren’t we called to love our neighbor as ourselves?
When I can see and accept- and not only accept but embrace- the thing in myself that repulses me in another, I am free. Because we finally see there is nothing to hide from. We are all the same. We each have the same capacity to be goodness and light…. or the other. And none of us is purely one or the other. We’re a mixed bag hopefully with the desire to move in the direction of our best and highest version of self.
I have struggled with the perceptions and judgements of being a misfit and outsider my entire life. As a result, I have adjusted my life to these misguided beliefs. I stopped participating in life where I thought I would be judged. I am a person of solitude and the natural world but we humans are not meant to live as islands. True joy and happiness come from serving others- not ourselves. The happiness that “attaining” something brings, whether it be a person, place or thing is temporary. Soon, we’ll need another fix. The cycle will be unending.
I recently gave up another drug- nicotine vaping. I’ve used nicotine since I was 12 years old to distract and bury all sorts of emotions. Mostly grief and sadness but even happy emotions needed to be quelled by smoking, as well. It was as if my heart couldn’t handle any feeling too big.
Smoking was a way to not feel.
It’s been quite a ride these past couple of weeks. One morning I woke from a dream about my ex-husband who, by the way, is a dear friend these days. We were divorcing and the emotions of abandonment, grief and sadness were there as if it was happening now…. we’ve been divorced for 10 years.
As unpleasant as it was to feel that stuff, I took it as a good sign. The remnants of what I was incapable of feeling then are coming to the surface. I believe these bits and pieces of me that were not able to be felt will continue for some time…
….but I sense a clearing.
I think I see a rainbow.
Thanks be to God.
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears.Psalm 34: 4,6 NLT