Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Judgment and Freedom

John A. Sandford

“I don’t like that man.  I must get to know him better.”

Abraham Lincoln

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find you yourself have altered."

Nelson Mandela

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”


Okay.  Here I go again.  Another blog to write with no idea about what I’m going to say.  The closer I get to the finish line, the harder this seems.  That’s they way it goes.  So there are only two choices – I write or I don’t write.  What else is there?  So I’m going to write.  And I’m going to keep writing until an idea comes to me.  That’s all I can do.
I had an interesting thing happen today.  I had to drop my car off for an oil change.  There’s a Starbucks one mile down the road and I usually walk to it when I’m getting my car fixed.  It’s not the nicest looking part of town.  The street is filled with pawn shops, gun stores liquor stores, and cheap restaurants.  Many of the people look like they’re struggling financially.  Several of them are smoking and I’m pretty sure one or two of them are drinking.  Going through this part of town or areas like this usually depresses me.  I’ve never been sure why.
Today, however, something different happened.  As I walked down the street, noticing nothing had changed, I suddenly realize something had changed – me.  I wasn’t bothered by what I was seeing.  I looked at one fellow, overweight, longish gray hair and wearing a white t-shirt and smoking a cigarette, and instead of my usual sadness, I felt something different.  Compassion?  Love?  Acceptance?  I’m not sure what I was feeling.  All I can describe is what I was not feeling.   I wasn’t feeling sadness and I wasn’t feeling I wasn’t feeling any sense of judgment. 
On my radio show yesterday ( , I mentioned that in order to work through our negative feelings we have to identify and acknowledge them first.  I don’t think I ever did either when walking through areas like this.  But I was definitely being judgmental.  I wasn’t thinking I was better than the people there; I was thinking I had done better than them.  I judged them to have not reached their full potential.  And, I think, behind every judgment is fear. 
So what was I afraid of?  Well, the judgment we judge others with is the fate we fear will be ours as well.  And often it is.  I realized today that one of my biggest fears, if not the biggest, is the fear of not reaching my fullest potential.  This scares me more than rats or roller coasters, two things I hate. 
The problem with fear is that it’s not a good motivator.  It might work for a while, but it rarely engenders any lasting change.  It does the opposite actually.  It keeps me stuck.  It keeps me from moving forward.  I can’t get started much less keep going.  I can’t get started at all.  When I can lose fear, I gain freedom, freedom from judgment, freedom from hopelessness and freedom from stagnation. 

When I lose fear I not only gain freedom from, I gain freedom to
-       Create
-       Work
-       Dream
-       Build
-       Do
-       Be positive.
-       Be in my Purpose.

Today I felt this freedom.  Now I don’t know if all the writing I’m doing has helped change my judgments, but I think it’s helped.  If I keep focused on reaching my own potential, I don’t have as much time or energy to judge what other people are doing.  Byron Katie’s question in Loving What Is comes to mind.  “Who would you be without that thought?”
Who would I be without judgment?
Who would I be without fear?
I think I would be a much calmer and far more productive person.  I would be the person who would always Get Started and Keep Going.  And I would also enjoy those walks a lot more.