Observing and Judging

I am a bit confused today as I write. Recently, I was confronted regarding a habit I have and I got a little defensive. You see, there is a longstanding habit of being a keen observer of nature and behaviors and then considering what I observe. During considering, I appreciate, I learn, I question, and I “Judge.” So this blog is designed to “J.J.” or Justify Judging. Are you laughing or are you Judging? Well, both would be correct in this case.

As I admitted, I am an above average observer. Notice the Judgement. Most of the time, I can find most of my way into being “present” and noticing the surroundings and the behaviors in my surroundings. Sure, everybody “notices” and everybody misses things but I catch a lot in my observations. (A Judgement.) Since I am a “visual” person, I take in a lot of information and experience through viewing what goes on around me. As I process these images, I put them into context and look for anything unusual and out of the ordinary so I can “note” this and possibly figure out what is going on AND then maybe learn something new. As you can see, this is NOT unique to me or uncommon. BUT, and there is a But, I do not just accept what I discover, I analyze and then record my thoughts and feelings about this experience. Yes, I judge it…

Lets’ look at some examples. It is Spring, as I write. New growth is happening. Green leaves are blossoming. Beautiful flowers begin to bloom. My heart sings with this new growth and abundance of budding new life. Or, at the end of a Summer day, I look into the Western sky in late afternoon and I observe a glorious colorful sunset. Yellow, and orange, and pink as the sun begins to set behind the far Western horizon. Again, my heart sings with the Divine beauty created. Heck, I might even take out my smart phone and take pictures. I might even want to share this beautiful creation with other people so I post this sunset on social media. Now, J.J. kicks in… The green leaves are budding from a tree. Did I judge the tree? Yes. I decided that the leaves were green and the bark of the tree was shades of brown. It may be an agreed upon fact that the leaves are green and the bark is brown but am I OK in thinking this? Is this an observation or a JUDGEMENT? The beautiful blossoming flower was spectacular but unusual. Was it natural or an invasive species about to procreate in our natural world and negatively affect our native vegetation? And, the glorious colorful sunset was it colored by smoke or smog or other pollutions in our atmosphere or just a bit of dust? And, what am I supposed to do or think about these possibilities? Is it a “Fact” or a “Judgement?”

Likewise, if I am walking in a store or down the street and I observe an adult beating a dog or a child and I feel uncomfortable with what I see, what do I do? What do I do with my Judgement? Maybe the child or the dog like being beaten and the adult is just making them feel good. I have no idea what is really going on with these people or dogs. Perhaps if I had perfect equanimity and acceptance, I could view this incident without any judgement but I AM HUMAN and I can not view this scene without responding in some level of judgement.

My friend said that my long term habit of judging perhaps came from my past insecurities and that I should examine my past, get resolution, and move beyond my judgement. Personally, I take this as a Judgement but this comment is worth examining. When I was a very young child there were adults hovering around me to guide and to protect me. To teach me and to protect me, these adults said “NO” do not touch that fire (hot appliance) or electrical plug. They were right as in correct. Because, when I put the bobby pin in the electrical outlet the shock and my little legs straightening out sent me across the room. But, these adults sometimes judged my behaviors and later I had to compensate for my insecurities and some aspects of my self image which grew out my interactions with adults. As an observer, I learned that there were certain things to be aware of and certain people to be careful around. To this day, I do not like large crowds of drunk people. Is this an unnecessary judgement? Maybe…

My son is a keen observer. His son is a keen observer. I joyfully J.J. (Justify Judgement) by wondering whether they learned this from me or is it this just passed down in our DNA code. They watch and learn. They make decisions from what they observe. They learn stuff. But, there are levels of judgement which exist in our world that are based on fear, insecurity, anger, generational beliefs and lies which I can not accept or attempt to justify. This is a blindness of prejudice and closed thinking which I judge in other people as less than ideal. I draw the line in the sand regarding many judgements. Yes, I judge the judgements which seem to offer tolerance to racism, sexism, and religious or philosophical intolerance. Yes, I am intolerant of intolerance. Most of the time, I give people the “benefit of the doubt” when I first meet them unless they are engaged in abhorrent behaviors or activities. And, this bad habit proves that I am judgmental. I do not always wait for an explanation or excuse for intolerant behavior.

I labelled the witnessed behavior as bad or abhorrent. I did not remain in equanimity. I did not accept the behavior. So, I know I have a long way to go to move into full enlightenment. I am a human living in a human and imperfect incarnation, struggling with my challenges. But, more often than not, I take responsibility for my behaviors and my judgements. I am not a victim or unconscious about my role in what runs past my eyes as I observe the drama of life. AND, I am looking to lead with love and acceptance, though it is not always possible for me to carry this out… This is:… My challenge & My dilemma.

With all of this said regarding my relationship with being judgmental, I am still confused regarding where I am headed with my learnings from this human challenge. Will I someday be unemotional and accepting of all human behaviors and all relationship interactions or will I still discern whether actions witnessed feel right or wrong? Will I act upon my feelings? Will I be judged for my judging? And, will I care if I am judged or judge myself for being judgmental? (A lot of J’s in these past few sentences.) I will continue to be an observer and vigilantly watch the miracles of life unfold around me. No promises regarding my reactions to what I witness…

I am self-confident enough to know how bone headed I am. (And, that is another Judgement.)

Thank you for your time and consideration as a witness to my confusion.

Are YOU Out of Step with the World?

Born out of frustration, I find that I am out of step with the world. Are You? Yup, what I see on the media both TV and Social Media creates a visceral response. My confusion and that weird uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach makes me feel like I am NOT in step with what is going on in my world. I do not “get” politics, conspiracy theories, celebrities who are whining, and the All Powerful Drive for Financial Success, at the expense of selflessness and higher consciousness. Yes, MY judgmental thinking is at again like a dog with a bone… I see and feel like my culture, my country, and my strongest beliefs in a “caring” society are just descending into the pit of selfish individualism where the belief seems to be, “what I want, I SHOULD get” and lying and bullying are accepted, condoned and even encouraged.

What is my Spiritual lesson? If I was fully spiritually conscious, I would have Equanimity in the face of what I perceive as injustice. I would accept that this is simply another brutal drama which I must be a part of and to watch play out. Perhaps, I would be more “fully present” and find acceptance for Fascism and power hungry politicians holding on to power at the expense of selflessness and cultural support for all citizens. Perhaps, I could find humor in the perverted sources of disinformation or different truths which are shared by highly influential media outlets where there can be no truth or fact checking for certain politicians or some celebrities, all of whom have personal gains to be made by creating or passing along false information to the cult followers who can not fact check for themselves… Convenient fact distortions (“alternative truths.”)

So, my conclusion is that it is not YOU or the Media or the Politicians or the Cult Leaders who are Out of Step with reality, it is me… Yes, I do not get the fun and profits which come from distorted facts and greedy lifestyles. My goal is to find Joy in the concentration camp like Viktor Frankl did in World War II. But, it is fun to yell at the TV. It is energetic to scream into the storm. This elevates me and my perspective to demonstrate righteous indignation in the face of self perceived injustice. This could be viewed as a “SitCom” if it did not seem to be so dangerous to our world. But, I could laugh at our disintegrating society as lots of others in the world are doing. A “good laugh” at our culture wallowing in our own political garbage. If it does not kill us it will make us stronger. And, if it does kill us, we get to move on to the next incarnated drama…

Tilting at Windmills are me and the man from La Mancha… But, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” I have not knowingly lied to you, Even through my wildest days. I held the Promise…

This message is brought to you out of frustration with the direction our culture is traveling. Selfishness and bullying can NEVER be justified at the expense of consciousness and supporting the fragile people in our society. But, I am not a billionaire with money and power grabbing as a life goal. I do not make any excuses for my attitude but I do hope to find equanimity and less judgement, some day… And, I am sorry for stoking the fires of frustration as I vent my emotions.

Please bear in mind, that living consciously is a role model for changing our culture. For me, it is frustratingly slow. I speak my mind and feel like I spitting into the wind but I am acting in some fashion and not totally sitting on the sidelines. You must find your way to react to bullying in our culture. You can fight it or just join in the act of bullying anyone you think you can intimidate. You have your own path toward consciousness and must find your own way. Since you are Perfect in Spirit and a Miracle, you will travel the path most appropriate for you. God’s speed!

In fact, YOU are not out of step with our culture. Your steps are leading you into the challenges you are here to learn from… You are a Blessing!

Thanks for your time and consideration. Your insights and experiences are unique and a blessing, so please share these…

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

Who’s Driving the Bus?

Yes, my friend and mentor, Rodger Ruge, posed this question in response to the distracting and competing thoughts running through my mind in these drama filled days. In the forefront of my thoughts, “Who is driving the Bus?” Which part of my consciousness is in control of my current emotions and thoughts? It is awesome to have all the various possible perspectives but it can be tiring, even exhausting, to let the anxious, fear filled parts of me direct my thoughts and then behaviors. It is actually comforting to gain a small amount of distance by considering which part of me is reacting to external events as reported by the drama filled media or my wild imagination. Yes, I can control how I choose to react.

I am responsible for whether I want to get sucked down the “rabbit hole.” (Sorry, to give rabbits and their holes this negative connotation.) Rodger reports that he can request the various possible reactors from within his consciousness to step forward and to state their case. BUT, he then has to decide whose advice or reactivity to take as he steps forward to walk in our world. Should fear and anxiety control his behavior and response OR will he allow feelings and thoughts of love and higher consciousness create his reactions. He, and YOU, are responsible for how we chose to behave. (A lot of pronouns in the previous sentence…)

So, take a breath. Attempt to be more “present” and then explore, most consciously, your options. How to think, How to feel, How you behave AND what are you here to learn from this situation. Yup, you can test out your responses and your reactions before you move to your behaviors… You are most conscious when you can feel the full gamut of possibilities while remaining in a state of equanimity… At least, that is what I tell myself is possible if I can keep from making my normal knee-jerk reactions of my behaviors… Oh, I have a long way to go with this less judgement filled equanimity stuff. So, one step at a time.

First know that I am responsible for my reactions/thoughts/behaviors. I check to see who is driving my reactive bus ride. Determine which behavior or thought will be the course of actions I will be responsible for taking. AND, remember that I do NOT have to get sucked in to the drama that has set me off in this consideration. When possible, perhaps I can even find the joy or the wisdom from this lesson in this Earthly incarnation… Choose your reaction or thought with less of a knee jerk response. Yup, you can try some new way to respond to the current drama…

Since I have chosen to be incarnated as a human, I find that I am imperfect with much to learn and to test out discovered wisdom. SO, I will choose to make many mistakes from which I will learn, and then, benefit from experiencing. I will forget to stop and to consider “who” (which part of me) is driving the bus and I will learn from the traveling adventure. When I look around to connect with the other souls who share my space (and experience,) I may not know who is driving their bus but will find some appreciation for the interaction we will share. For they are perfect souls in their imperfections as well. Awareness and consciousness will bring me to the gifts of living this incarnation and will benefit all of the Universal consciousness.

A Human Consideration: Today, in 2021, we are influenced by media and others who are “Yelling” to get our attention. Fear mongering is a great way to set off the “fire alarms” of anxiety to gain and then hold our attention. This is used to distract us and to sell the “drama” the media or politicians or the whoever’s so they can control our fear filled thoughts and so Drive Our Bus… Please, attempt to NOT be manipulated. Do some research or shut off the loud angry screamers for part of your day so you can rebalance yourself and better determine who is Driving Your Bus!

Thank you again to Rodger Ruge for sharing his found wisdom. And, buckle up for our ride, whether smooth or bumpy, through life. There are miracles to experience and find the joy of gratitude for being blessed and guided along the way…

YOU are a Miracle. So, thank you for participating in this wisdom sharing.

Thanks for your time and consideration. Your insights and experiences are unique and a blessing, so please share these…

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

All Events are Perfectly Neutral!

Are you ever “Triggered” by the events which you find in the world? Do you react and disagree with the actions taken by other people? Of course you do. You are human and most humans judge the events which you witness. However, there is another way to respond to the events which can “Trigger” you. There is a practice in Mindfulness which comes from Buddhism called observing in “Equanimity.” My understanding of this principle of practiced Mindfulness entails observing each experience in a nonjudgemental state of mind and emotion. Not easy for me or most humans in my culture! To be Neutral may mean not getting caught up in the “Drama” of a viewed life experience. This does not mean you approve of what is happening but perhaps you can be neutral in your reaction.

Wow, that is easier said than done. Perhaps, instead of jumping into judgement and a possible disagreement, you can ask a question, to yourself or possibly out loud, What has happened in your life to lead you (the person or event which triggered you) to this behavior or way of acting in this world? What can you learn to increase your consciousness to better serve in this situation? How can you Love the person who triggers you without agreeing with their behavior? When you are challenged by a person or an event ask, what am I supposed to be learning and can I find gratitude for this difficult learning? Life in this incarnation is not supposed to be a “walk in the park.” It is supposed to be a challenge to strengthen you and to develop your consciousness. (Yuck! I struggle with getting beat up by life just so I can learn a lesson, but that IS why I am here.) There is a reason the Divine Spirit offers you the opportunity to grow through these difficult events and experiences.

Be Mindful! You never know when the perfect person or event will be offered as you next best chance to find equanimity and balance without getting sucked into or triggered by the dramas which constantly flies around the Earthly plane.

AND, if you happen to react in emotion or anger or fear to an event do not beat yourself up. Say, “Wow,” and continue to learn from this reaction. Awareness of your reactivity is half the battle. Changing your response, over time and with practice, is the goal… Thanks! You are amazing. Your struggle is a beauty to behold. Go share it!

So all events are neutral but the filters by which these events are experienced makes people respond as people do. And, you can not control the way other people respond. That is “what makes horse races,” as my father might say.

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

BTW (By the Way), this lesson described above is MY constant challenge… I get triggered and then I laugh at myself for getting caught up in the drama… I am far from having this mastered… ALL Events are Neutral!

Basic Mindfulness Part 2: Living in a Mindful Way

Being Mindful has been a question for me. After my three day Mindfulness retreat, I am more Mindful about the things I have not been mindful about. What the heck does that mean…??? Well, read a bit further.

I learned at the retreat what I think I already knew but had not learned how this feels or how to incorporate being more mindful into my habit driven lifestyle. No surprise, the key to being more mindful is to be aware and “present” by paying attention to your breath. Again no surprise, I learned that being more mindful works better when I focus on only one thing at a time. For example, drive focused without other distractions. (More examples to follow.) This focusing on one thing at a time is kind of challenging in our 24/7, multi-tasking world, but it certainly makes sense.

We practiced slower walking and breathing, awareness and appreciation of nature, and more meditations. The first two key ingredients to being more mindful (with 10 listed) where 1. to be aware of myself and my environment and 2. was to view each activity in your day with “Beginners Mind” and the feeling of wonderment. I liked these first two a lot. In fact, I really enjoyed all 10 ingredients in the book we used as a text but found number 6 a bit more challenging for me to fully appreciate and understand, let alone to practice. Number 6 was to live in “Equanimity.” I can barely spell Equanimity let alone know how to practice it. After consultation with my retreat group, its leader Chau Yoder (who is amazing) and my special Guru spiritual consultant, Paula Forget, I believe I am much closer to knowing what this is all about.

Equanimity is a very important, but a challenging (for me,) part of the Mindfulness life. This term refers to being able to look at and appreciate experiences in your life without getting caught in the “drama” of the experience. Paula Forget suggested that I look at each experience from the higher perspective of a “spiritual being” caught in a mortal body. As I look from a higher perspective, I may not “judge” the event, individual or experience but just see, perhaps feel it, as a neutral activity that can be curious and interesting. When I am successful, I may even feel empathy and appreciation for the circumstances which have lead to this experience and more fully understand my “lesson” or “challenge” from my participation. Even if this lesson is painful, which as a human I will feel, I can still feel appreciation for what I can learn from this challenge on my pilgrimage through life. This detachment does NOT mean you do not care or feel the physical or emotional pain. It means that you are not locked up without finding the higher perspective regarding how to celebrate (?) this difficult challenge.

One more example and an exercise you can attempt… Hold a tangerine. Look at it fully. Appreciate the work of people who delivered this fruit to you and the forces of nature which allowed this fruit to grow. Feel the tangerine. Scratch the peel and smell the tangerine. Slowly and carefully peel the tangerine, perhaps keeping the peel in one piece. Pull the first section out slowly and place this in your mouth. Breathe! Feel the tangerine section in your mouth. Move it around with your tongue. Press it against your teeth or slowly take a bite. Breathe! Taste the sweetness. Appreciate the sun and forces which developed the sugar of this fruit. Slowly swallow the first section and then slowly repeat this for as much of this tangerine as you wish. If you were not distracted and were focused upon this exercise, attempt this at your next meal… Try to not speak for 10 minutes while you eat… Be mindful. Breathe slowly. Appreciate.

Full List of 10 Qualities of Mindfulness are:
These are Pages 18-20 of Laurie Cameron’s book: “The Mindful Day, Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm and Joy From Morning to Evening.”

1. Awareness
2. Beginners Mind
3. Acceptance
4. Insight
5. Impermanence (Life is temporary and so are all the challenges…)
6. Equanimity
7. Interconnection
8. Compassion
9. Gratitude
10. Joy

Special thanks to Chau Yoder for these helpful acronyms:

Consider C.A.R.E. when dealing with life’s experiences
C. Compassion
A. Appreciation
R. Respect
E. Equanimity

To Assist you with this, try P.B.S.
P. Pause
B. Breathe
S. Smile

One more tip for dealing with a situation which “Triggers” you. R.A.I.N.
R. Recognize
A. Allow
I. Investigate with Kindness
N. Nurture (Yourself and the Appreciation of this Challenge)

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog