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.