Monday, January 4, 2010

Lessons in judgment

With the spinning of my emotional whirlpool lately, I have asked for spiritual assistance in seeing things differently.

Because judgments are made based on perception, and perception comes from experience, I've learned that I really don't know nor can I do anything about what is going on in my life. All that I can do, which many of you have reminded me, is decide how it will affect me. Or... if it will affect me at all.

A Course in Miracles has a wonderful workbook with 365 lessons for every day of the year. The first few lessons are enough to make me stop and think:

Lesson 1: Nothing I see means anything.

Lesson 2: I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me.

Lesson 3: I do not understand anything that I see.

The first few lessons do nothing more than help me to understand that my judgments are not reality. Think about it:

Everything I see is really nothing. The meaning of what I see comes purely from my experiential history with it. A cup sitting in front of me is a cup. I call it a cup because somewhere, sometime, someone told me that it was a cup and that I am to drink out of it.

When I look at the cup in front of me, I think tea. I want tea. Others may think coffee. Someone else may think soup. Someone else may see something else entirely. Perhaps the cup reminds them of taking a pottery class as a child. Perhaps the cup reminds them of an angry fight they witnessed where dishes were thrown.

All of us have different perceptions of the same thing.

We put our own stories on everything!!

Therefore, which one is real? What is the reality of that cup? Do I really understand what it is?

So, I'm left asking to see these situations in my life by what they truly are. I am willing to give up my judgments of them. They look like something painful to me but to someone else, they are not painful at all. Or maybe they are. Perhaps they're excruciating.

But somewhere, somehow, the people involved in these situations feel that their very life depends on what they are doing. Otherwise, they wouldn't be doing it.

My judgment doesn't matter. If my judgment of these situations were to become something that my life depended on, then I would be giving much power to something that has nothing to do with me.

A Course in Miracles asks: Would you rather be right or happy?

Would I rather give all of my power to my judgment of this situation, demanding that my judgment and my assessment of their actions be the correct one? Or would I prefer peace, a return to the calm observer in this and every situation?

I would rather be happy and at peace.

Therefore, it is time to take the power back. I must love them - my sister, my friend - through these things. I must trust that they have their own lessons to learn and paths to tread. I must set boundaries of how I will or won't be involved. I must save my judgments and my opinions.

I must remember that my life does not depend on the actions of other people. My life depends on me.

"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitudes we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark, that causes extraordinary results."
~ in a card from PT-Law Mom that stays on my fridge and taken from the book, The Resiliency Advantage by Al Siebert


  1. This post goes very well with mine today - at least many of my thoughts on the subject are similar to what you expressed so well here.

    I agree that how we react, think and feel in response to situations are unique to all of us based on our own experiences AND that it's important to examine these feelings as well as set appropriate boundaries.

    Sorry you've been experiencing some tough stuff lately (just caught up with your last post too) and hope writing about it all helps you feel more at peace with it. Sounds like you are getting there.


  2. Love this post.

    I am battling with my relationship with my mom - I know its her issues but I battle to not let her actions and words affect my behaviour!!!

    It is a hard lesson though!

  3. So deep. So true! For years I have embraced the question about whether I want to be right or happy. I'm finally in a place where happy wins every time. Guess I'm finally learning and growing into the woman I want to be.

    Can't wait to see what happens next for all of us!

    Thinking of you.

  4. "My life depends on me."

    Such a good lesson for all of us. :)

  5. I just read a book that basically said this exact thing. When other people look at me and I assume they are judging, they are really seeing me the way they know and I can't control it. Everything in life is based on how each individual person sees things based on what they know. how they were raised, etc...
    Not sure I explained it very well, but I got it!

  6. It does all come down to choices, which has been my mantra of late. We make the choice to see the cup in the way we see it, even if previous experience defines it as such for us. I choose to either let my previous point of view define, or let the expectations go and redefine. It is all a choice.

    What a wonderful post. I enjoy Course in Miracles as well--I wish I had a group to gather with and discuss it like you do. I think I'd get even more out of it.

    Be well, T.

  7. When I spent three days at a seminar given by the Dalai Lama, I struggled mightily with the concept that nothing has meaning. Or, everything has no meaning. But once you get it, life makes so much more sense.

  8. Sounds like an interesting lesson. I am just doing what I can to live in the moment. Better to enjoy it now than worry about having missed it later.


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