Saturday, October 30, 2010

Judgment and the Overly Positive in the Spiritual Community

Several conversations over the past few days with some very wise souls got me to thinking and while I think, I tend to write because it helps me realize the full meaning of the topical lessons presenting themselves in my life. The post below is a train off thoughts I've been mulling over for a few days and a couple of themes have been brought out in so many situations with so many people I know. I touched on a few of them lightly here in my own way. In writing this article, if I sound frustrated, I honestly do not mean to be. In my own way, while I am being judgmental in the writing of this post, I do so in a space of love, compassion and understanding and wish to remind others who may be interested that there are times when we've gone too far or are incomplete with certain teachings we on at your own risk (smiles). I hope you enjoy or at least this provokes some thoughts. And, please feel free to share them with me! :)

And so, it goes....

While walking the spiritual path I have seen some amazing and wonderful things. I have experienced the highest of highs, pure joy and smiles. I have also experienced the lowest of lows, pure sadness and pain. That is the way of the spiritual path. It is not all wine and roses as some would have you believe. If you think, think, and think positive and bad things still happen around you, it is not because you are doing something wrong. It is because there are lessons you sought to learn in this lifetime for the enrichment of your soul and to assist with the enlightenment of others as you grow through life. Pretty simple huh?

I wish that you could see and experience the love I have been witness to when a soul group comes together and freely gives love and encouragement to the group just for the pure joy of giving with no expectation of receiving. I wish that you would never have to experience the dire disappointment of folks posing as light beings out to exercise their psychological drama on you. I have seen much on my spiritual journey. But then again, perhaps dealing with the darker aspects of the journey can be just as enriching as the lighter aspects. I guess it depends on what you do with what you learn.

I wish to turn to the darker side for a moment. And I speak of this not to tell a story of reinforcement of negativity but to shine a little light of awareness as you journey on your own spiritual path. Spiritual gatherings and communities here on Earth are made up of people. People who, for the most part, have similar paths or purpose, or so they think. However, people are people no matter what you do and where you are. The reality is, the ego exists and carries its wounded parts in sometimes underground fashion and manifests as passive-aggressive behavior, jealousy over the gifts possessed by others, harmful judgment for the purpose of exploiting one’s own wounds without realizing it and even envy. I’ve witnessed wise seeming souls unleash on others who make an inquiry, deviate from a speaker/writer’s position…I’ve seen people behave very poorly and use scripture to condemn others and I’ve seen people’s wounded egos trample on the hearts of those who really just wish to learn and understand. Its very difficult to watch and very painful to feel. It happens though. No matter how hard we try, we all have ego, we all have environmental psychology that shapes our view for good or ill and we all have lessons to learn even from the smallest of teachers no matter how much we think we have learned.

There are those who sincerely wish to uplift others in the spiritual community. They have been given much and understand that to keep some gifts flowing, they must be given away. There are those who gather followers like collecting nick knacks and they gauge their worth in life by how many followers they attract. There are those who use an influential position to minimize others. There are those who share words underground striking a balance in between somewhere. None of them are wholly good and none of them are wholly evil. Actions are actions and the results are mere consequences of actions taken. No matter what anyone does, there will be those on the sidelines very quick to judge and I might add with not one stitch of compassion, not one ounce of understanding and with all the ugliness that can live within man unleashed on another individual on the path for some self-righteous reason. Self-righteousness can be deadly. Not to over quote what has already been over quoted but have you ever read St. Mathew 7? It reads in part: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest though the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt though say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye: and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt though see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

We must be judgmental to a certain degree but it is how we judge that is the key. If you are very quick to take inventory of all around you in their wrong-doings but refuse to take inventory of all that is not right within you, you are merely a hypocrite escaping your own troubles and trials by focusing on someone else’s faults. If you judge and wish to bring a matter to someone’s attention, do so not with loathing and malice in your heart but with love, compassion, understanding and gentle (not brutal) sincere honesty. You may be making assumptions. You may not understand the situation. You also may see what’s wrong in others because of what is wrong or has been wrong in you. It’s important to pay attention to your motivation for bringing your judgment to another’s attention. Are you in a space of love, compassion and understanding meaning to help and assist? Or, do you wish merely to be right while making another smaller in your judgment? Self-righteousness can often backfire. None of us is any better than our brothers or sisters here. We all have our lessons to learn, honesty to entertain, have things within to fix and transform and understanding to gain. We must use discernment daily in order to choose what is really right for us and what is not right for us. We must use discernment in a healthy way in order to help us mature and grow here.

It’s easy to point the finger at others and tell them they are wrong. One thing I always remember is that when I point the finger at another and call them wrong, there are 3 fingers pointing back at no one else but me. So, the spiritual community is not unlike any other kind of community. There are those that are emotionally, psychologically and spiritually healthy and there are those who are not. There are those who are open to honest and sincere constructive criticism and there are those of us in denial. We’re no different than anyone else in any group, in any civilization in the world. It’s how we deal with what we see that brings us closer to our spirituality or builds a wall that separates us from true spirituality. It is up to us to discern what that is. It is up to us to make sure, as the Matthew verse indicates that we are taking care of our own stuff because without taking care of our own stuff, there is no way we can help others take care of their stuff. If what you say is not about instilling growth, hope or faith in someone else, bite your tongue before it bestows upon someone else an egotistical judgment designed to make you right at the expense of making someone else wrong. There is a danger here, always.

For myself, I’ve had folks come at with me screaming hellfire and brimstone is my ultimate destiny because I do not follow this or that spiritual path. I remind them that they were not assigned my personal gurus and if they do not like what they see in me, their thoughts and focus is within their control, they can change the channel and move on instead of making exorbitant efforts to convince me of my wrongness and their rightness. I’m human and am wrong about all sorts of things but the caring soul that comes to me with gentle honesty designed to help and enlighten rather than diminish and belittle will gain my ultimate respect…and in that moment, they would in fact become a beneficial teacher. So, the reality is, there is judgment in this world. I’ve said often that I try not to judge. That’s not really true. I strive not to judge in a way that is unhealthy and would never open my mouth until I’m certain I am in a space of love, compassion and understanding. If I am at all feeling ego-triggered with jealousy or envy, I will shut my mouth until I deal with my own stuff. But that’s me. I get to choose and if I don’t like what I see, I can change the channel—turn my focus away from what I don’t like or disagree with. It’s my prerogative.

Another challenge with the spiritual community and some motivational speakers in particular is that they unrealistically focus on just the positive without providing real and valid assistance in dealing with the negative. You just might manifest that brand new Ferrari but what if you crash it the next day, the accident is your fault and you’re about to lose everything—now what? How are you going to deal with that? Along with the conscious understanding of how to create and think positively, you must also be taught to deal with conflict and drama constructively. Drama and conflict can be truly wonderful guides but definitely they are not for the weak of constitution. Dramatic people exist all around us and for very good reason…how can we be drama free? Conflict occurs in every city, every day, every year. How can you be free of conflict? It does not go away by refusing to see it. You cannot be callus and think you have no hand in conflict coming at you or others…well, yeah you can but that isn’t solving the problem. Nothing is solved in your life by ignoring it.

Yes, we must work hard to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. No, we should not expect that in this life we will be drama and conflict free. Yes, we should strive to deal with drama and conflict in a healthy way for us. No, we should not beat ourselves up when our manifestation doesn’t work like we planned. Yes, we should be honest with ourselves and responsible when in an influential position. No, we should not accept negative thoughts that derail our own self love. Yes we should love unconditionally, starting with the self and that means setting boundaries with those we love if they are hurting us. No, we should not ignore behavior in ourselves that indicates we are wounded. We should deal with our stuff so that we can enjoy life. Yes, we should be there for others and try to bring others along as we journey. No, we should never put people down for difference in opinion, fight to be right at the expense of making someone else wrong. Yes, we should judge but do so lovingly. No we should not ignore the drama and conflict but trust that it has purpose, good purpose even if we cannot see it when it occurs.

The spiritual community where ever you find it is made up of fellow travelers. All are on different parts of the journey and some are on similar parts. Others will have tough life lessons that will take longer to learn and some will pick it up lightening quick. We should not envy or judge unkindly as we journey because when we do, that is what we will ultimately create for ourselves. My honest wish as I look out on the horizon at the spiritual community is that each finds his or her way to true emotional, psychological and spiritual healing so that they can live a happier and more meaning full life and as they transform the challenges and lessons that they learn, I pray they take 10 or more people along with them in a good way and so on, and so on. When you run across those that are just not your cup of tea, you can focus away from those people or “change the channel” with your thoughts. Its not always your job to fix everyone. Sometimes your only job is to fix you and find middle ground for dealing with conflict, joy, drama and happiness amongst your family, friends and the spiritual community. Much love, light and blessings to you all~!

Thanks IS and AD for the thought provoking conversations!

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