A Needless Limit On Our Love.
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Let’s not waste any more of our precious and vanishing days with a needless limit on our love.
The evidence of our actions testifies to everyone looking for love. There are so many avenues and approaches to finding love and the understandings of what it is we’re looking for vary widely. Some seem to go right to the source and some look like surrogate substitutes for the real thing. Nearly everyone wants their relationships with family, friends and romantic partners to be a source of love. Why is it so difficult for these relationships to be a steady source of love? It’s complex. But let’s zero in on judgment.
When not seen with awareness, negative judgments, ““she is so _____, he’s always _____, they are all ________”, conjure up our heart’s closure. The power even a single thought has on perception is scary. There can be harmony, simpatico, vibrant energy or attraction mutually flowing, and bit by bit judgments accumulate and coagulate the juiciness between us and the other. What is truly going on with this judgmental mind? Does it serve a purpose for us?
Perhaps the function of judgment is akin to a mantra that shields the mind from having to embrace the nuanced, layered complexity of people. We need them to be the way we see them to be. Something depends on the certainty of the perception. What is it? We may feel our perceptions are objective because they come from observation of patterns of behavior over time. Is what we’re seeing really the only pattern or quality of being in a person? Why does this one, or that one, so starkly pop out?
Who we believe we are, where we see from, and all that is hidden from our view about someone— altogether these co-presence the perceptions we relate within. Judgment of others is often an echo of our shadow; we see in them what’s in us that we can’t yet see or accept about ourselves or human nature. How do we go about seeing what we can’t yet see?
Let’s call this judgmental activity the Outer Judge. Isn’t the Outer Judge a myopic, one trick pony? We are tricked by the Outer Judge’s seeing flaws and believing that the seen flaw is an objective fact rather than simply the Outer Judge’s myopia. It sees only flaws and can’t see the flaw in it’s seeing. Awareness practice isn’t deciding to simply focus on the positive. We can and do see uglinesses of human character, we can and do see shortcomings that don’t serve intimacy and creativity, we can and do see violence coming from limited perspectives and immature views. As students of awakening, we learn to see and be historyless presence. Being/seeing freshly, radically untethered from the dusty reference point of the past. And yet, tossing out the accumulated wisdom of our years and embodied intuition is not advisable. Are we ready to expand into a heart where raw perfection and human flaw can co-habitate snugly? Do we hear a call to awareness that can embrace this multi-perspectival dance?
Outer Judge is often the unconscious product of a particular mechanism of human cognition-- a feeling-perception-conception feedback machine. We hear and feel our thoughts and feelings, based in unconscious judgment, and feel them to be objective truth. We then react to our own reactive judgment. And we react to that reaction, ad infinitum. We are trapped in an endless echo-chamber of our own biased mind. It’s difficult to get perspective on these workings. It’s like a radio channel we’ve tuned into for so long we come to believe it’s the only station available to us, transmitting the ultimate gospel.
Suppose it is compassion filtered through confusion that underlies the compulsive criticism of people in our lives. Those we know and care about and those we think we know, sized up from a distance. From where springs this passion with which we assuredly and righteously see their course of improvement? We may be feeling the powerlessness we have about their undertaking generative change. We may be seeing ourselves in that despair. But we aren’t seeing the whole picture if a deficient being is all we can see.
When the Outer Judge is known thoroughly and understood intimately, there is an evolutionary emergence, the dawning of a new quality of awareness. Innocence, acceptance, intelligence and warmth converge as a mode of seeing that is simple and sober, yet extraordinary.
Outer Judge is only one of many outlooks available to us. We can dig into our depths and foreground the motivation to disinvest from this compulsive criticism. Let’s not waste any more of our precious and vanishing days with a needless limit on our love.