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The strength and non-duality of non-judging

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The times are many that I have referred to certain opposing witnesses by the acronym LSOS (lying sack of sh*t) and those trying my patience or boundaries as POW’s (piece of work). That is judging. Where does judging get us other than to throw us off track from our path, into a state of weakening attachment? Who wants to hear us talking that way?

We do not judge earthquakes, rabid dogs, nor even physical diseases, although many judge the weather (as in “The weather is sh*tty”). We judge people all the time. Recently, I was in a state of bliss with my son at a Subway restaurant during our recent vacation, only to ask myself how to remain in that state of bliss as I let myself be annoyed by a customer who I felt was unnecessarily bothering the sandwich maker with the minutest micromanagement of the process, right down to letting the chipotle mayonnaise soak into the bread and assuring that he had a layer of three tomato slices. I caught myself, recognizing that I was not helping me, my son, nor anyone else to lose this state of bliss. Dealing with retail customers will inevitably bring annoyances — as I learned firsthand years ago — and this man was not berating nor putting anyone down, but instead was acting on his own motivations trying to micromanage the sandwich-making process. I refocused my attention on my son, and returned to my state of bliss.

Good enough. How about being on a sea of calm and then walking by an unavoidable gantlet of cigarette smokers when entering or exiting a building? I have numerous times resisted the temptation to drill into the smokers about why they cannot have the good sense to stand further from the building entrance so as to not torture non-smokers with their stink and to stink up our hair and clothes in the process. Does it help me or anyone else for me to have anything but compassion and non-judgment for these smokers and the micromanaging Subway customer? I could waste my time wondering whether the smokers standing near the entrance do not care, are not aware of the stink they exhale (unlikely unaware with today’s many signs not to smoke within fifty feet of a building entrance), want to congregate near their fellow smokers, are being selfish for their own convenience or time, or are acting out of an outcast mentality, for instance. I would just be wasting my time with such ponderings versus having compassion for them and to realize that my walking past their smoke is a temporary annoyance that pales in comparison to the days when smoking abounded even inside buildings, and to remember that I disagree with laws telling private business owners and land owners where and when people may or may not smoke on their property. That needs to be the choice of the businesses and land owners themselves.

I could waste my time wondering whether the Subway customer is lonely, unaware, suffering, or caught up in utter ecstasy over his imagination in developing his ultimate sandwich. That would just be a waste of time. Not only was my only option to show him compassion, but my giving him compassion versus an evil eye or sharp tongue could have spelled the difference between the bliss he possibly experienced in eating or sharing his two sandwiches versus the heartburn and heartache he might have experienced had I said anything negative to him.

What about the man who slammed his horn behind me when I waited for the close-approaching ambulance to pass by, on our way to a great hike on the Billy Goat Trail? Would my flipping him the bird, walking over to his car, or shaking my head have changed his behavior at all for future similar situations, or just have led him to dig in his heels, go deeper into impatience or anger that might next express itself to others, or go into a tirade, whether or not meant as a face-saving device?

I can go outside on a gorgeous weekend morning to practice taijiquan only to get caught by the nastiest bug bites. I can park my bike after a great ride, at the health food store only to get assaulted by the stink of an overflowing sewer system by the bike rack. I can be delighted at grabbing the last seats to a great concert only to be assaulted by stench from the person sitting next to me. To judge the situation, the moment, myself or others in any circumstances is regression from living a fulfilled and powerful life in the present moment.

The same goes for when I face judges, prosecutors and opposing witnesses who exceed the depths of low behavior even for their own reputations and track records. All of us are at our strongest when we set our own agendas for how we feel, rather than letting ourselves get thrown off track by smelling the stinkiest skunk, real or proverbial, on our day’s path. A tidalwave loses its strength if it slows its momentum, as does a river. We are most powerful and persuasive when we are like powerfully flowing rivers or momentous hurricanes, with nothing that can stop nor damper us. Once people know that we are full of powerfully boundless optimism and capability, they will be less likely to waste their energy trying to sidetrack us.

I still get challenged, of course, with the proverbial daily skunks in the road. I thank my teacher Ram Dass, among others, for reminding me further not to judge myself
nor others. That is bliss.

1 Comment

  1. Cheryl Abram on April 21, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I really love what you’ve done here. I, too, am allowing more of me into my work in program evaluation.