Who Made Us Judge and Jury?

Ever notice how many hours a day you spend judging others?
No? Well I can tell you, it is more than you realize. More than you would want to know, actually. Because when you really take a step back and notice just how horrid you can be when “judging” those around you, I can guarantee you will not like how you sound, or who you become while doing so.
I know this because I caught myself being quite nasty towards a random lady I saw walking into the gym this morning.
What ever happened to the concept of: “Don’t judge others, lest you be judged yourself.”
I have heard people say this all the time, and have in fact, repeated it to others and to myself may times before; but somehow the judgment has yet to cease and I think it ought to. Now. For good.
Because as I started to rip this poor woman (whom I had never met and of who I know absolutely nothing) to shreds in my twisted little brain, a little ping went off in my head. I say ping because really, there is no other way for me to describe it.
It felt sort of like when you were young and decided to talk smack about some poor soul to a bunch of your “friends” in order to look “cool” only to realize that the poor soul you were slandering was listening to every word you said about them.
And yes, I do realize this woman could not read my mind, but she did turn to look in my direction (having felt my dagger eyes on her no doubt) and as I averted my eyes from her (still passing judgment mind you) I realized I felt ashamed. I felt just as I would if she had heard every single thing I had to say about her. And I was so distraught.
It took a while for me to sit back and analyze the whole situation. In fact, it took exactly 90 minutes of self-practice and meditation as I went through the first series of Ashtanga this morning.
But by the time I was preparing to try headstand (away from the wall) once more, I noticed I had gone from passing judgment on a complete stranger, to passing judgment on myself. I was (in spite of all my conscious efforts not to do so) coming down on myself hard for being such a scardy cat and not being able to master this one pose after so many months of trying. And so, I realized what was going on. I had forgotten to love.
I had completely forgotten to love other people, to love myself, to love my practice, to love my good and bad sides, to love my little successes as much as my little failures, and to just open up to grace and let go so I could love.
Ironic, really, because I have been teaching with this very topic in mind (as Valentines day came and I decided to make this all encompassing love the key focus of my classes) So, I had preached it, but not completely digested it my-self.
Then it took all my strength not to judge myself for that too.
So, I let it all go. I let go of the fear, the anger, the frustration, and opened up to the possibility of love. And I practiced the pose, and was happy to find that I haven’t mastered it yet. Because I chose to be open to the love of the practice and the pose and had realized, I can still work on it! As long I haven’t “gotten” it, I can still work on it, and that was exciting to me because it means there will always be more for me to learn.
So, I finished my practice with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart, and then I remembered the poor lady I had torn to bits in my mind, and I sent a little loving prayer her way. Asking for her to be happy and peaceful and loved and prosperous always.
Then I went on with my day and noticed, as I listened to a talk show on the radio, how often we all do this. And how easy it was… no, not was, how easy it is for us all to judge one another.
We spend almost every hour of the day judging each other, being envious of one another, always coveting, and never being satisfied. Never simply allowing each and every human being to simply live, to simply be.
Think about it. How many people have you looked down upon because they don’t know how to dress (according to you and I guess to the fashion industry and the media in general)? How many people have you deemed “beneath” you? How many people have you criticized and made fun of because, if truth be told, they have made you feel inferior? How many people have you pushed away because they are different from you or have different beliefs? How many people have you tried to tear down in other people’s eyes so that you can look better and in some sick way, feel better about your own self? How much judgment are you passing on your own self? How often do you put your self down because you aren’t as good, bright, pretty, etc. as you “should” be?
Why can’t we let go of the judgment?
Who decided our word was the last authority regarding other people’s lives? (Often people we don’t even know)
What gives us the right to say someone is a loser, or beneath us, or any other kind of demeaning thing we can come up with? (and we can come up with a lot)
Quite clearly, we all have decided we are “better” than everyone else in the world. In fact, we have decided we are so superior; we are even too good for our own selves!
Are we really incapable of love? Are we not able to see that we are not to toss stones at one another or at our selves? How brainwashed are we? Did we ever leave high school? Is it all a big popularity contest? Does someone always have to be wrong? Does someone always have to be judged in order for us to live and feel “happy”?
No, I don’t think so. In fact, I know this is not true. We are all living creatures, we all deserve love and respect and if we are to be judged; it should be by a completely pure being only. It should be by God. Not by our human selves, which are so easily manipulated.
{Please note I am not speaking about judging a murderer or a thief in court. Obviously we are talking about other matters here, so please, do not misconstrue my words or miss their target}
So I will set a new goal for my self and be loving about it. I will make a sincere effort to stop this “judgment” career that I have chosen in my life, and I will be open to love.
Love of my-self, love of others, love of the smallest things and the biggest things. I will attempt to change the conversation in my head from one of judge and jury to one of mere being.
What do you think? Would you dare to take this journey as well?