21 Nov Peace is Discernment
I have felt inspired to talk about judgement. I also feel whilst in this reflective space to talk about inspiration and what it is. I will start with inspiration first.
I can only assume I’ve had inspiration all my life but it really came into my awareness when I started to awaken spiritually. Inspiration is not just a positive thought, it is a feeling that is insistent or comes from sudden insight with a feeling of knowing. I feel it most strongly when I felt inspired to write poetry. I would get the feeling I must write. Sometimes it was at 4 am in the morning other times in the morning or afternoon. Particularly at night, I didn’t want to get up and write but I felt I must as I didn’t want to lose the feeling or wisdom. I don’t know what I will write, I just have this feeling that inspires me to start. As I write the words come with feeling. It is not automatic writing or anything like that but often for me, it is starting with a blank slate with no idea of what I will write. It formulates itself. I remember after writing poetry for a few years getting inspired to write a poem. It seemed familiar, so I looked through my poetry and I found it completing another poem, it was in this moment I felt it had a life of its own. I found that a very interesting thought. An aliveness within creativity. So when I get inspired it is insistent and a desire to action of some sort. It could even be to go back and give money, or perhaps to make a point to talk to the person next to me or to write to someone. it get it with cooking too, so it is pretty versatile. I believe everyone has inspiration and I do feel it is the higher self, somehow connecting to a collective unconsciousness, as Carl Jung would put it. It is not easy to describe, but I felt to at least give an introduction on it. So my blog for today will be about judgement and discernment.
Judgement in my view is central to conflict and division in the world today. The churches or religious institutions through various teachers instructed people to not judge, yet very few truly examine themselves and adopt an attitude of non judgement. This is to be honest, as in truth, we really do not know the reality for other people, nor do we know the purpose of whatever they are saying or doing or indeed not doing.
A simple way of defining judgement is to contrast with discernment. If I am to judge a cup, I can say it is a ugly cup or it is a beautiful cup, so I can like the cup or not. If I am in a energy of discernment I will describe the cup – it is this size, this colour, it has a handle and has water in it. It is a simple looking without projecting any emotions of right/wrong, like/dislike, good/bad. It is simply observing what is. In the world today and in our individual lives we are judging thousands of times a day. Many do not even realise they are constantly in a state of judgement, deciding if they like someone or something or not. The news is a really good example of judgement. You can hear the subtle judgements in evaluating murders, wars, the accused, there are signals of good or bad being given all the time. Yet in truth we do not know the reality of what is being judged. As a result of judgement people divide into opinion groups, they look for like minded people to reinforce their views or only read or expose themselves to information that supports their world view. In my observation of life I found few who are open to changing their views, or deliberating looking for other information to just check if their opinion is valid or enjoy being challenged. Even fewer that invite the possibility of being wrong. This by the way is the sign of intelligence, if you entertain the possibility you are wrong, you open your mind immediately to other possibilities. This makes space for new ideas. If you are not open to knew ideas you may not be seeking truth, just seeking to be right, I judgement that you know. This righteousness is the cause of much personal conflict and interpersonal conflict and on the global stage is more devastating as more people can become demonized by unquestioned beliefs. To seek for truth is to open the window to new ideas and move away from judgement. To be aware there may be something you do not know, allows you to be flexible and non judgemental.
Discernment is a positive quality of perceiving to develop. As you learn to simply observed, as a neutral 3rd party. Just watch the drama’s unfold in front of you. Your thought process is to observe not to conclude on right or wrong. Perhaps discerning if this serves you as you check in with your emotions. The emotions are a good barometer to assist in discernment. Moreover, emotions that have not been suppressed are very healthy and good guides to navigate life. If people have been taught to suppress emotions such as anger, envy, fear, love, and grief then these important feelers for life become distorted. For example, if you suppress anger and teach children they can’t show it, it can develop into chronic depression or rage, that is violence turned inwardly or outwardly. Healthy anger is just saying no thank you without abuse. Envy if suppressed turns into jealousy. In its natural state envy is positive, it is simply a wish or to try again, it is aspirational. Fear if suppressed becomes panic and when expressed in a healthy way protects the body, is built in caution and a expression of self love in its protection. Love when repressed becomes possessiveness, in its natural state it is open and accepting. Distorted emotions feed into judgement and project unowned negativity onto other people. The church may be a good example as they promote ‘thou shall not judge’. The issue with pedophilia is highly emotive and painful for many people. It has sent shock waves through the catholic church and Christian community. The desire to judge would be very intense. However, in light of this discussion the challenge is to not judge the priests involved. This does not mean you have no view or remain silent, it means you may investigate what is the cause of this behaviour. You may find ideas about sexuality and suppression as the cause of distorted sexual preferences. I feel this is the real debate although I may be wrong, but I would start investigating there. I feel it is a message that sexuality needs to be explored. The suppression of it, denial of it, and perception that it is somehow dirty or impure needs to be questioned. Sexuality is natural and when distorted turns into rape and sexual deviancy. In the energy of discernment, you see without judgement, from a space of love assist others. The feeling is to heal the problem and create new ways of seeing sexuality in healthy ways. To help those priests engaged in this activity face their actions in a way that deepens empathy for the children they affected and learning to love themselves so they can understand the true essence of love. To find ways to love children that are healthy and healing, to help them see the child within themselves . That would be my perspective. As Stephen Covey the US Management Consultant said in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, ‘Seek first to understand then to be understood.’ Or from a conflict resolution perspective ‘Do not hate the person, solve the problem.’ When people enter the blame game the solutioin disappears from the raidar as blaming vents anger and creates an focus on punishment. This does not solve anything or lead by example what love would do next.
Another important point with judgement is that it can be either appearing in a positive or negative guise. For example we may include or exclude people overtly or covertly. It may be unspoken where some are accepted some are not. I find as a woman I am mostly accepted, I often wonder if I was unattractive or with a disability would I be excluded. Most probably. I experience positive discrimination a lot. When people learn I am a clown and into peace, they immediately accept me, if I was a secretary what would be the reaction? I remember an experience I had at the new Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. Canberra is the capital. I happened across a two day conference on a Civil Society with the central theme of inclusivity. I met a friend there who was a speaker the next day. I jokingly said I should come as a clown and see if they accept me. This lady was speaking about Gandhi and she said why don’t you. So I thought ok. I turned up, I was told by security I was a POI, person of interest, had to laugh at that, as a clown that is usually the case. So I turned up as a clown the next day. Most of the attendees at this conference were Lawyers interested in civil rights or lecturers, some were from NGO’s (non government) and civil society organisations. I had to laugh as mostly the women accepted me and laughed but I found some of the men veering away or ignoring me, refusing to engage. That was fear and it reflected as exclusivity. It was a way to see that many people are speaking but not integrating these ideals of a civil society that is inclusive in their lives. This is where the real change starts and it is to self observe. Anyone can write an impressive paper or conduct research but the reality rests in our own awareness and actions. In many areas I find people talk but do not live what they say they believe. I found this so in the peace movement, they were angry mostly, I felt very alone in my promotion of peace as a clown. Some were afraid of clowns too which made loving them quite challenging. Peace, inclusivity, acceptance, non judgement can only arise when you practice it in your own life. Thus, to create a peaceful world, you have to be the change you wish to see. For example if you wish people not to judge you then you have to stop judging other people.
A way to see this new form of thinking is to understand that we are here to express ourselves not to influence others. Influence may be an unwitting by-product, but in my world view you are simply here to communicate your truth without denying others. The way I describe truth to children is like a mirror ball, it has tiny square mirrors that reflect back. Each mirror represents a person reflecting their truth in the world. When you look into a mirror ball you cannot see yourself as the mirrors distort your reflection, as does different truths make it difficult to see your self. However, if you get one mirror, I usually use a nice fluffy love mirror, I ask kids to look into the mirror and they only see themselves, they only know their own truth. Thus it is important to know your truth but understanding the world is full of different truths which can be confusing. There doesn’t have to be right and wrong, just discernment of what you resonate with. Not to condemn other truths but to note that truth has many perspectives and is predominantly a mirror to you. As you get older and hopefully wiser you begin to know that truth changes as you grow and expand your awareness through different experiences and insights.
When I was young I used to listen to other peoples opinions, I didn’t have the experience to make up my own mind. So I was easy to influence. As I asked more questions of people, I started to discover my own truth as I found myself resonating from personal experience with a worldview or not. When I don’t resonate, I don’t call the other wrong, for them it may be true, it is not for me to judge. I simply decide if it reflects my truth or not or perhaps it enlarges on it or I may simply decide that is a higher truth than mine and discard mine. For example when I apply for a job, I can’t tailor my c.v. to get the job. I have to speak the truth about who I am, so the employer can make a decision based on what she/he wants. I changed the male/female for fun then. I like doing that. Anyway back to my example. If someone asks me a question about spirituality, sometimes this is not easy to talk about as it is an entirely different cosmology, how do you even touch on something so enormous and complex and reduce it to language that other people can understand. I don’t mind if they challenge me or disagree. I don’t assume that I know more or that one day they will get what I know, my perception is, we know what we are meant to know. It is not for me to judge the path of the other. They may have to go through certain experiences with the awareness they have, if it was broader, then they wouldn’t need the experiences. So what I am showing here is another worldview that enables a position of discernment. Whether my worldview is judged right or wrong, doesn’t matter to me, I am expressing in this present moment what I feel to be true. For now that is so, it may change in the future, I don’t know.
So as I grow in my awareness I realise there is much I do not know. I find myself trying to be exceptionally aware when I look at governments, wars, security intelligence agencies and those perceived as causing problems in the outside world. It is easy to fall into a perception of judgement. For example I wrote about the Pinochet years and also commented on Pol Pot’s Cambodia. These are extremely sensitive and painful topics. My knowledge is book learning it is not personal experience. Although visiting these sites does connect me on one level to these events. Whilst I can say I would not want to harm another soul to get what I want, I am not in the shoes of people who make those decisions nor have I been raised in the same conditions. I am not in their awareness and ultimately I do not know what the outcome of the events will catalyse. Peace has often been catalysed by war. The opposites in life often reveal the other. You can visualise yin/yang. For example terrible violence drives people to seek for peace. Perhaps the value of peace is really desired as the opposite is untenable to live through and lessons and new visions learned. We are on a constant learning journey in this life and every person is challenged in life by disappointments and emotional challenges that make us question life more deeply and this is what prompts change. Pain has a habit of forcing you to look at something directly rather than run in the other direction, you have to solve it for the pain to disappear. It is also a sign that we are out of alignment with truth. Always when we face reality as it is we feel peace.
I will talk about reality as all of this relates to judgement, discernment and emotions. We are taught to face reality, particularly in an argument. Or maybe someone says get real. These are judgements, or another imposing their opinion to force you to agree to their version of reality. How does this person know their reality is yours. The way to discern reality rather than judge it is to accept what is happening right now as it is, in a space of discernment. Just simply observe. If reaction comes up, something within you is fighting the reality or a past hurt is rising up to defend you or a belief. Defence is the first step in war and as Byron Katie says (www.thework.com) all war should be on paper. It is worth having a look at Katie’s work as this describes to you how to reach truth and not fight with reality as it is. It is a spiritual perspective which asserts that this is a spiritual world and the events that occur are neutral. It goes further and says what causes us pain is how we interpret those events. The events in themselves do not hurt us, it is what we carry from the experience in our minds. For example holocaust experiencers may be still reliving the fear of the Holocaust many years later. Yet the reality is the event is not taking place now. We are reliving the trauma over and over, therefore we are creating a war within. This is very important to note. We often hold onto past hurts or unforgiveness of others, as we cannot move past the facts as we perceive it, they shouldn’t have done that, or said that or whatever. Judgement creates separation or division, love leaves the room at this point. You cannot love unconditionally when in judgement. Deciding right/wrong, good/bad, as soon as you go there you separate yourself from the other and make them the ‘other’ or the ‘evil one’ or you label them as ‘selfish’, ‘cruel’ etc. I have done this and I see the futility in it. It makes me feel disappointed in life, or bitter and I can stay in that unforgiveness for a long time if I really believe my thoughts. Thankfully as a research analyst I have had the privilege of being with groups of people to determine their viewpoints and always when you enter into dialogue, with the right intent, you find out more about others than you knew. We have different personalities, different rationality, different ways of recalling an event, different fears, so our whole reaction to a situation differs. So it is impossible to impose on someone ‘you must think like me’. Which many people do and they end up distancing themselves rather than learning from the difference and creating unity through shared understanding. With good communication skills you can discover the depth of people, whilst they may not think like you, they have different strengths and weaknesses, you will always learn more about yourself, them and the world, if you are open. This is what discernment does, it suspends judgements and simply looks. When I am a researcher in a focus group I cannot bring judgement to the discussion. My inner feeling is always to gather the divergent views and gain a sense of what on balance is being said by the group. If it is diverse then when I write the report I describe it as diverse. I am not there to say you are right or wrong in your judgement about solar panels or fossil fuels, I am here to simply hear you and give you a voice and report back how people see things. I am so glad I had this discipline, it has helped me in many oppositional discussions whereby I have just simply taught myself to hear their truth and respect that. This is democracy in action, this is truly learning from the reality that shows up around me. I could be wrong in my view then I miss this pearl of wisdom. So if like juggler I throw the balls up in the air, don’t make a decision and really listen if I am the other person. This is love.
Judgement can also show itself in the silent treatment. I’ve personally experienced this and I would say it is the most difficult bridge to cross. Or the hardest cross to bear. It is also a test in non judgement. The silent treatment is a way of disarming the other. If a person doesn’t want to speak to you, has made a negative judgement about you, they will put up a wall and refuse to communciate. For some they don’t know how to communicate, for others you have tapped some vulnerable point and they are not letting you in, for others it is a power struggle and they will refuse to speak to force you to go away or in some cases suicide. Silence used in this way activates a pain centre in the brain which is equivalent to physical violence, the person feels under attack but they feel they have no defence because the other will not speak out what the issue is. So you suffer and the anger directed at the other becomes turned inwardly as shame, remorse, guilt, self blame and so on. However, in truth the other has no power over you, they are a powerless person seeking power through this technique. To judge this would be to call them cruel, which I have done, call them selfish, again I’ve done this and this separates you from them, distancing you from solving the problem. I am coming into an understanding that discernment, a simply observation of the other and a sense of love for them, regardless of how the treatment feels is to lead by example and practice unconditional love. I have done this as well and I have learned so much. For me silent treatment forced me inward and whilst I experienced pain, I also experienced great love for the other and myself. Not in a space of enjoying the pain, but in a discernment which was a choice to love unconditionally despite how the other treats you. It was my first practice in Satyagraha which Gandhi devised. Satyagraha is holding onto truth and ahimsa is nonviolence or love. I practiced this approach in an positive energy that sought understanding. I became more negative when I insisted on resolution to the problem from the other. The other was unwilling, so I was fighting the reality of what is. The reality is ‘I am not answering you’. That may change in the future, but for the present moment that is the reality. As I fight it I hurt myself, I feel rejected, unresolved and alone. In reality I am none of these things, but I am choosing to judge the situation, therefore I feel pain. When I move into discernment by observing what is actually happening, am I rejected really, no only love is withheld. I learned that from a poem I wrote. No one rejects anyone, they just withhold love. Love is not in a romantic sense, it is simply loving another human being. When you love yourself loving others is easy. Most people withhold love and this creates a sense of pain in the other, unless they are in discernment and they see it as it is, but it has nothing to do with their worthiness to receive love. It is the other having difficulty giving love.
Creating a peaceful world is about strength not power.. Strength is the alignment of values within that produces discernment and joining with others no matter how divergent they are. Strength sees what is in common, sees the middle ground, looks for language that bridges the gap, offers forgiveness, sets the goal as peace within and peace between. This is the true power that children are not taught. They are not taught that love is the greatest power, for if you can love someone who is unkind, uncaring, cruel, you can surely change the world. These are the teachers that come to test us, for you have to find the real strength in understanding, compassion and awareness. This is why values are power, nothing else is power. Forcing others through fear is weakness and instills behaviours that conform and attitudes that become deceitful to avoid detection. When love becomes the teacher, then allowance, acceptance and respect become the pathways. A person is freed to speak openly and honestly, to assert their own power and to find the path that reflects their purpose. When we teach with love we empower people to find their true purpose and we unlock a creativity and talent which transforms the world. When they say love is the answer they are correct. Love is discernment, love is the highest emotion and the central emotion of humanity, it is the one that forgives and inspires. If you want to create a better world, or indeed a amazing world, teach only love and live in discernment.
The consciousness of the world will change in the future and the new path will be a wise path, where we see the other as ourselves. We will learn to love ourselves and within that the world will shift from a fear based consciousness to a love based consciousness. Can you imagine what that will look like. Those of religious orientation speak of heaven on earth. This is the true manifestation of love in reality. For only love is real.