“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau
The ways in which we become present and interact in our daily lives are simply the result of habits of thinking and practice. When we take steps to change those habits and practices we show up differently in life and life shows up differently for us.
We see life from our own perceptive based on our own habits and conditioning so changing just one habit will result in a greatly changed perspective on life. The habit to start shifting today is one of judgement. You may ask “but if I don’t point out the inferior parallel parking skills of my friend who’s going to do it”. Discernment is simply taking notice of how things are. So Joey uses the 30 point turn parking method. While judgment adds the implication that Joey’s parking compared to yours (here comes that ego) is contrasting and not meeting your approval. “Joey couldn’t park a smart car in a 20 foot space”.
So why not judge?
Judging quite simply makes us unhappy. We are clinging to our dissatisfaction in another and not allowing them to simply be. Think about this, there is no anger, no disappointment, no suffering until we choose to bring judgement in. When we are in more judgmental roles and periods of our lives things tend to fester and emotions run high. In fact the root of judgmental practices is often our own insecurities and fears. Our sense of ourselves and our own perfection feels threatened so we take action. Then those actions tend to hurt both other people and us. We know that hurt people, hurt people so the wave of negativity has the potential to grow even further.
How to shift to a practice of mercy.
Start by looking for the positive when you find judgment creeping in. What can you focus your mind on about this person or situation that is more positive? This can be a good way to short circuit the judgmental practice. Next you want to take a merciful approach to the situation. I call this the “think like a parent ” approach. If that person was your child (or even your own parent) how would you want others to treat, talk to and think about them? Take that route yourself then. We tend to be far more merciful with close family so looking at even a total stranger, in this light can help frame the mental practice of mercy. Next, try being more patient, seeing things from their perspective and ultimately helping. Judgment tends to simply harp on a problem while mercy solves it. There’s no time for judgment when you jump in and help. While the spirit and practice of judgement creates and maintains that contrasting line in the sand that divides you, mercy instead, leads toward reconciliation and unity.
When you look at all of this as a series of choices that then creates habits and ultimately your subconscious perspective you begin to see that the way out is really the same as the way in.