What about you? Do you do what I do?
See, I’m asking you here to work on suspending judgment in order to be a mindful observer – get the facts, then make a decision. Help the world’s people out a little, hold on and think it through. That includes about you. I’m asking that. So, do I do it?
I’ve been the worst critic of myself; the worst judge. Now, being a critic is not a negative thing. In writing, you want a critic – someone with a keen eye who observes and comments, in order to help you improve. If you are that kind of critic of yourself, well good. I wasn’t.
When we keep that bitter gall pent up against ourselves, it comes out in other places, toward others. What you teach your brain, it does. It doesn’t distinguish, you do. Your mind does. You must teach your brain about that judgment thing.
We don’t want to live ‘anything goes’ lives devoid of conscience. We want to feel that ‘ouch’ and smarting feeling when we hurt someone with our words or actions. We want to be compassionate folk in our thoughts, words and actions. We want to be fair in our dealings with others. How to do it?
This is what I am practicing: In my meditation, I take my time to get quiet inside (you don’t have to throw all thought out of your mind, you can’t), And, I watch my thoughts. I watch my thought processes. I reframe them in the light of truth, as I can best define that in my experience. I observe where I have not been the person I am working toward. Rather than harshly condemning myself for my mistakes or missteps, I ask myself some questions: 1) How have my words or actions served to lessen suffering? 2) How have my words or actions promoted the transmission of knowledge for self and/or others? 3) How have my words or actions promoted goodwill? 4) If it has been necessary, how have my words or actions, respectfully, defended self or others?
If my thoughts, words, or actions have skipped the mindful observer’s approach and moved into mouth-over-mind-now-insert-foot mode, here’s an opportunity to train my brain toward better habits, toward leading the life I expect from myself. Begin the practice of humility. I need to say, “I’m sorry.” PERIOD. Unvarnished – just I’m sorry. Best said in person, if at all possible. But, say it. Know why you are saying it, so that you will make the changes necessary. We can put this into practice in all ares of our lives. Humility does not mean weakness. I think of it as the ability to withstand anything, and doing it truthfully. I think of it as encouraging strength. When you practice humility to the point that it is part of you, that’s an indomitable spirit. A person who accepts his/her imperfections is indomitable. A person who seeks to see his/her life truthfully is indomitable. You can handle the embarrassment of having to apologize. If you really don’t like that, that’s incentive to change. You don’t have to apologize so often that way.
You can’t make another sorry for what they may have thought, done or said to you. Don’t bother. Again, use your mindful observer. Consider the person, circumstances, and action first. Is this habitual on the part of this person? Then, perhaps it isn’t, at this time, a relationship to invest in. Is this what happens to all of us: Some days you’re the person who is the jerk, somedays the other guy is? If that’s it, you have some choices: You can let it go. Or, you can breathe, get calm, reason and speak. Say what you feel. You can do that respectfully. Then, breathe, calm, think and decide. You can change that decision, as you move on.
It isn’t about allowing people to treat you badly. My experience has been, when I have been the ‘mindful observer’ of myself, I seem to have had a shift in the relationships I attract. I feel more calm and happy, most of the time – even when things externally may not want to go along with that. I find myself less and less subject to external events. I find myself less and less worried by the ‘what ifs’. I believe I can handle what comes. It’s in there. I just need to be aware, to watch and know that I am able. You are, too.
So, what about you? What do you do?
Thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks to the bloggers out there who are making such positive contributions to themselves and others. Keep writing. Lilie