Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Judge Not, Lest You Be Judged

I was on my way to work this morning, stopped at a stop light, when a woman stepped into the crosswalk talking up a storm. She was by herself, and she wasn't holding a phone to her ear. I knew that wasn't necessarily proof she was talking to herself--Bluetooth headsets are all the rage these days--but I wondered just the same if she was mentally stable. By the time the light had turned green, I was sure she must have been talking into an ear piece that I couldn't see. She was dressed nicely, after all, clearly on her way to work. Right?

Probably, but it didn't take me long before I had convinced myself I was being too quick to judge. I've been reading Eckhart Tolle's The New Earth and listening to the Oprah webcasts over the last few weeks and I could hear Tolle's voice in my ear: "That's your ego. " I knew what I should do--recognize my judgment as part of my ego and release it, without judging myself for the thoughts. But I couldn't. I was ashamed by my behavior. Just because she was dressed well didn't mean she was mentally stable. And if she had been dressed in dirty rags, would that have made a "crazy" judgment anymore acceptable?

Who am I to determine, based on a 5 second glance through my windshield (or my rose-colored glasses, for that matter), who someone is, where she's from and what she's been going through? I'm trying to let it go, to practice presence and know that I am not my thoughts and judgments. I want to move past them. I don't want to hold onto them anymore, not the ones against others and not the ones against myself.

"The first step is becoming aware of these thoughts," Tolle would say. I hope he's right.

If you're interested, I've got a totally unrelated post up over at Damsels In Success--Lessons from the Networking Trenches.


patresa hartman said...

oh,i hear you, ms. ami. i hear you. it's a real pretzel-bend, isn't it? trying to accept and correct behavior at the same time? to love self and improve self, simultaneously? to live in the now and contemplate now without wavering back or forth? oy.

Ami said...

P - It's good to know I'm not alone. After I published this post I thought, "Is anyone going to understand a word I just wrote?" It all seems so confused and "hokey". But it's where I am right now. In the middle of, as you said, this big pretzel-bend.

nejyerf said...

you know.... i did something very similar the other day when a truck showed up at our warehouse to make a delivery.

the driver got out of the truck and he was all long straggley hair and tattooed and immediately i thought to myself. "oh he's a tough, hard bitten, whiskey drinking, man". and and for a fleeting second i felt a bit nervous being in the warehouse alone with him.

then we started talking and he was a nice as could be. and i felt deeply ashamed that i had judged him so harshly, even for just a few seconds.

we are all just works in progress. trying to be the best self we can be.

34 Years said...

I'll admit I'm quick to judge, but I've learned to keep it to myself. It's human nature.

Makes you wonder what people think about you :) At some point in my life I've:

- fallen down repeatedly, completely ass-wasted, on a beach full of parents/kids who watched my husband try to reel me in

- appeared competent and smart in front of co-workers and VIP's

- tailgated, cut off and bitched at people while driving

So, depending on which scenario you witnessed, I'm either A) a foolish idiot lush with a boyfriend who deserves something better, B) a fantastic coworker with her life in order, C) a total road-bitch who must be bitter over something to act so, you know, bitchy.

NoRegrets said...

Very good, grasshopper.

I tagged you.

Ami said...

nejyerf - Yes, works in progress. It's always the "in progress" part that trips me up. Sometimes (OK, most of the time) I'm too worried about the destination to enjoy the journey.

34 Years - It's always interesting look at ourselves from the same perspective that we see others and realize how silly we're being to judge based on appearance alone.

Noregrets - Why thank you, master. :)

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