I am re-posting my blog from last year Christmas Eve. Feeling both nostalgic and concerned about what small things we can each do to make the world just a little bit better, it seemed like a good time to repeat this post. This time, I decided to add photos. I asked myself “what looks like peace?” when I went poking through my photos. I wish I had more portraits, but, turns out I’m a landscape photographer. Who knew?
All I Want for Christmas is World Peace
(originally posted December 24, 2011).
I would very much like to think of myself as a non-judgmental person. But then I catch myself saying something like, “that crazy person is so judgmental–s/he thinks s/he is better than everyone else” and realize this is a lesson I’ve yet to master.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Mother Theresa
Judgment riles me up, makes me feel righteous, justified, and even vengeful. It separates me into the “right” and leaves those I judge in the “wrong.” Having cast judgment, there is no need to listen or consider; all that can follow are proclamations.
Why do I judge? There are practical reasons to make judgments. For example, I choose to spell “judgment” with the standard American spelling instead of “judgement,” the standard British spelling. Which is preferable?
In my case, this simple choice hides a deeper judgment. I spell it “judgment” because I was taught that Americans who spell it “judgement” are ignorant. If someone were to comment that I misspelled “judgment,” I could point them to a dictionary and explain that this is the correct American spelling. I would be left feeling redeemed and, if I am painfully honest, even superior.
What I would not feel is connected to my fellow human being, negotiating the world together in harmony.
Love is the absence of judgment. The Dalai Lama
What would I lose in giving up my judgments? Clearly, my judgments benefit me in some way or I wouldn’t make them. Would I be less smart if I never judged someone else to be stupid? Would I be less hard working if I never judged anyone else to be lazy? Would I be less competent if I never judged someone else to be incompetent? Or do I make these judgments out of fear that I am what I judge? Is pointing at someone else and calling them names a way of separating myself from what I don’t want to be?
I would hate to be discounted because I made a mistake. What I would like is to be accepted for a flawed human being with the best of intentions. What I need is to be heard and understood without being called good or bad.
The moment that judgment stops through acceptance of what it is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace. Eckhart Tolle
And that, dear reader, is what I want for Christmas: love, joy, and peace. I arm myself with the awareness that I judge. I prepare myself to notice when I am judging. I know that with attention, I can create more space for love, joy, and peace. And in this gift to myself, I hope I can contribute just a little to a gift to the world:
World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion. The Dalai Lama