There is an inherit mindfulness in wisdom…the quality of having good judgment…to reflect on our experiences and anticipate the impact of our actions. If we all possessed this quality, how would our world be different?
Consider when you observe something you venomously disagree with. What first comes to mind? A brash thought? Disgust? Concern? Angst? These are all judgments…reflections of our experiences weighted by our values. If we observe something that strays far from what we value we may have a negative…and possibly destructive…reaction to it. It is only natural to form an opinion, as we all have our own lens, built by our experiences, in which we view the world. But when we birth our destructive opinion to the world around us, we create prejudice.
When we create prejudice, we create barriers. We create an “us verses them” world. We construct arbitrary limits that define people as one of two types. We see people as either good or bad, having or not having, believe as we do or don’t. We must stop seeing…and judging…the world as part of one of these two groups. People are simply people, and capable of immeasurable kindness or cruelty. As I wrote weeks ago… There are no literal barriers that divide us from the next person, only invented ones. In the end we are all made up of the same things…of beating hearts, of heaving chests, of arms and passion to lift us up, of legs and will to carry us, and of stardust… But this is not so simple.
Do you believe we become what we think? If you dwell on negative behavior your actions will reflect them. And your actions are a reflection of who you are, as they form patterns to become your behavior. Even if we lock away our thoughts, our innocent omissions will seep out of our minds and into our manners. With discipline we can control the negative reactions of our biases. But are we able to resist the thoughts that create these biases…these judgments? This is the wrong question to ask, as we should never restrain our thoughts. The true discipline is not having these thoughts at all.
Do you believe it is possible to observe without judgment? To witness without forming an opinion, and simply absorb the moment for what it is worth? This is not the prevention of negative energy, or the encouragement of positive energy. It is simply the flow of energy.
Now consider again when we observe something we venomously disagree with. How easy it is for us to judge a stranger. But imagine if that stranger were our mother in a past life…how differently we would think? Because she is someone we are familiar with, someone we can show empathy towards…someone we understand because of the gifts they gave us when we were young.
Now finally, consider yet again when we observe something we venomously disagree with, but this time consider the perspective of the person committing that act. Regardless of how jaded with cruelty the person may be, see the person as exactly that…a person capable of pain. When you start to understand the pain of others, and the reasoning of their actions…no matter how flawed, no matter how lost…your once pungent thoughts may now be calmed. And perhaps they may be muted entirely.
This is not compliance of possibly cruel acts. But it is acceptance of a person as he or she is…and their pain. May we all show wisdom in the face of the things we disagree with, and acknowledge the pain of others.