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spirituality

The Judgment / Love Switch

There isn’t anybody, as far as I can tell, about whom I don’t carry some form of judgment.

I discovered this earlier this year while I was on a retreat and as I looked around the room at a large group of people whom I know fairly well. Was this true? I tilted my head a little, like a German Shepherd trying to decipher a peculiarly new sound. Looking around, row by row, person by person, it indeed was true, I had a judgment about everybody, with seemingly nobody excluded. But I love some of these people, I argued to myself. I looked around the room again, row by row, person by person, and this is where it became interesting. Not only was it true that I loved some of the people, but I loved all of them.

I played with this for a long time, going back and forth between judgment and love, and came to realize that I have a switch which I can toggle back and forth. One moment judgment, the next love, the next judgment, the next love. I’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring and playing with this and the marvel that seems to be arising is that I actually have a choice as to the state of my mind when it comes to my relations with others. If I find myself feeling a judgment about someone, I can simply toggle that switch and love seems to naturally arise in its stead. Although this love can have many flavors – fondness, appreciation, empathy, feelings of kindness, all of them feel like they are part of a greater sense of love.

This judgment isn’t just a clear discernment, but rather is a subtle negativenon-judgment-sticker energetic, reflecting in some way a “faultiness” of the other. With most people it is very slight, but it’s still universally there if I look. I’m not fully sure what to make of this, but I am actually quite excited about it, not about the judgment per se but more so about the recognition that these judgments are simply a state of mind and are not necessarily reflective of an actual truth. Perhaps even more exciting is that there seems to be a practical intervention, a switch that I can flip as soon as I recognize that judgment is arising.

I’m not saying that judgment or love are the only options available, but there seems to be a direct toggle between the two, almost as if there is a universal equation where

judgment = the absence of love
love = the absence of judgment

We all have judgments which arise in our lives. But why? What purpose do these judgments serve? For me, I can only conjecture that there is a sense of safety/comfort in being separate from, distant from, other than. In some cases, perhaps some form of projection is at play. Whatever it is, it seems to have a protective function and I’m pleased to be learning that it is gloriously optional.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

Mother Teresa


One reply on “The Judgment / Love Switch”

That was really expressed well Ted! I find this to be so true that in any given moment we have a choice with everything. judgement separates us from ourselves and others. We have that the choice to respond or react..That’s a big dance! I like your toggle analogy too. I find when i practice a certain way i chose to be it keeps building a deeper receptacle so that my higher choice that I so prefer becomes more automatic. Anyhow thanks for sharing, I always appreciate your writings!

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