|The Last Judgement (detail), Michelangelo|
A typical pattern in our minds consists of processing problems, judgements, critics and complaints both toward oneself and others.
A useful healing practice in this respect is abstaining from, and releasing, judgement.
Spend a whole day avoiding all expressions and thoughts of complaint and judgement. Live a day accepting everything and everyone, without making any exception. It does not matter whether you truly feel like that or if you pretend. Simply do it as if you were an actor. Play with it.
Then continue the same practice every other day for 21 days. You do not necessarily have to take this up as your style of life. It can be just a strategy or game.
If you have spent most of your life criticising and blaming yourself or others, and this has not brought anything good to you, what do you have to lose if you avoid doing it just for one day or a week?
See what happens when you stop wasting your energy in search of faults and mistakes, and concentrate instead on the beauty and light that exists within and without you.
Always remember that what you see in others is what you choose to see.
The awareness of your ego to the errors of other egos is not the kind of practice that is required in spiritual work. To the ego it is perfectly all right to point out mistakes. Errors belong to the ego and correction of errors lies in the release of the ego.
“When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours. If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone. [...] Your brother’s errors are not of him, any more than yours are of you. Accept his errors as real, and you have attacked yourself. [...] Any attempt you make to correct a brother means that you believe correction by you is possible, and this can only be the arrogance of the ego. Correction is of God, Who does not know of arrogance”. (ACIM, Text, pp. 167-168)
When I first began the practice of abstaining from judgements, I realised that I didn’t really know anymore what to talk about with people. I became aware that the absolute majority of my conversation was based on judgement or complaint toward something or someone. It could be the government, the church, the neighbours, my work, my health, my friends, me.
Abstaining from judgement was therefore tantamount to being silent. It was amazing to notice that both in myself and others. It was also astonishing to discover how healing the effects of my abstention were.
When I stop criticising and judging others, accepting them as they are, without wanting them to be different, I begin to accept myself.
Often, the hardest and most cruel judgements are expressed indirectly through irony and jokes. It is a way to avoid the embarrassment of a fierce confrontation which, although it is not considered aggressive or offensive in conventional life, does not make any difference for the unconscious and emotional side. That side is simple and direct. There, my words are accepted as they are and do not have obscure implications.
The unconscious does not understand irony, nor does it have any sense of humour. It is incapable of seeing separation and totally alien to personal pronouns.
If I say something unpleasant about somebody, all that is acknowledged are just the unpleasant words, and, as there is no understanding of pronouns or jokes, they will be directed both to me, the other and everyone.
“You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment. When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely <because> you are judging them. All uncertainty comes from the belief that you are under the coercion of judgment. You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself. In the presence of knowledge all judgment is automatically suspended, and this is the process that enables recognition to replace perception.” (ACIM, T47)
The abstention from judgement becomes complete when I also avoid being involved in situations that provoke judgement, even if I don’t take part directly in the process. For this purpose it can be useful to shun the company of people who indulge in judgements and also to avoid reading newspapers, watching television and the like.
“I choose to see my brother’s sinlessness. Forgiveness is a choice. I never see my brother as he is, for that is far beyond perception. What I see in him is merely what I wish to see, because it stands for what I want to be the truth. It is to this alone that I respond, however much I seem to be impelled by outside happenings. I choose to see what I would look upon, and this I see, and only this. My brother’s sinlessness shows me that I would look upon my own. And I will see it, having chosen to behold my brother in its holy light”. (ACIM, Workbook, p. 470)
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