Judgment and the Law of Reflection

Today I wondered about Judgment. It is so darn pervasive in culture. Advertisements on how to be better, stronger, prettier, more this or that… It continues perpetually. Of course all of this implies that you aren’t “that” whatever “it” is yet, and you need to buy/acquire something something so you reach that of perfection if you see yourself as less than and are looking up to an imaginary ideal.

I am grateful that I gave up on trying to impress others or be the smartest, most attractive, etc., etc. years ago. I stopped wearing makeup more than ten years ago when I learned how toxic the chemicals were and didn’t see the point to the daily rituals of putting on a face and then taking it off at night.

Or, you see yourself already at the pinnacle and look down to others around you. This is the judgment I struggle with. It can be sneaky. The news is filled with horrific stories of someone hurting another or traumatizing another. I am guilty of saying, “Well at least I’m not as bad as that.” Or there’s a person who appears to weigh about five hundred pounds and I think, “Well at least I have more self control in what I eat.” You get the point.

Judgment is really a reflection of myself, of an aspect of myself that I am rejecting. When I judge someone for hurting another, there really is a part of myself I don’t want to acknowledge that hurts others, such as when I’m impatient with a telemarketer on the phone. When I judge the obese person, there’s something I don’t love completely about my own body size and and shape.

I asked Sri to come into my meditation and help me understand how I could break from judgment, starting with understanding what was at the root of judgment.

“Shame,” Sri told me, “Is at the root of judgment. Little programs run in your subconscious mind that tell you you’re not perfect. You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You’re not rich enough. You’re not disciplined enough. These programs rattle on day after day. You learned them when you were very young and they moved from the conscious to unconscious. There they sit running and humming along until you take the time and do the work to release yourself from the programs.”

I wondered about how pervasive even the word “Shame” permeates our language. Phrases like, “You aught to be ashamed…”, “Shame on you…”, “Shameful. Simply shameful,” are all part of our lexicon. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to completely remove shame from my being. And once I could remove all aspects of shame, I would see everyone and everything as connected and One.

Logically, I understand that if I am angry at someone for no apparent reason, it is really I am angry with a part of myself that the other is reflecting for me. I get that. If I am annoyed with someone cutting me off in traffic, it really means there’s a part of me that is impatient in life. Ding! Ding! Guilty as charged.

I asked Sri how I could remove the shame programs.

He thought about that for a few minutes as he closed his eyes and he very end of his tail swished ever so slightly. Then he spoke, and said simply, “Love. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Love the person you see in front of you who is reflecting a part of yourself that you don’t like.”

The golden rule of “treat others how you’d like to be treated” is a simplified component to the Law of Reflection.

Law of Reflection

I asked Sri to tell me about the law of reflection, and how it relates to judgment.

We are all One. Everything you see is you, is a reflection of you. If you respond harshly, it is a part of yourself you don’t want to see. If you respond joyfully, it is like sweet nectar or mango juices. If you respond in a neutral position, it is integrated into your being. Everyone you encounter reflects back to you some aspect of yourself. If you see someone who has harmed many, and you respond in anger, then there is a part of yourself which you have not fully integrated which can harm another. With that same person, if you respond in love, seeing the hurt infant within them that cries out in pain, you are on the way to wholeness.

“Look at everyone and every situation with love. Everything, no matter what the situation is love or is lacking in love and needs your expression of love and is a call to love. Love is the resolution of judgment.”

“This is much easier in theory than in practice,” I thought to myself. “It is so difficult to drop those old habits and suddenly love everyone and everything.”

“Start with small things. Love the person who cuts you off in traffic. Perhaps they are on the way to the hospital to see someone gravely ill. Or they received bad news and are in a fog of distraction. You never know what is going on inside. What they may need most in that moment is compassion. Do this with other little things which may have annoyed you. Send love and compassion. Soon it will become habit like reaching for a glass of water when you are thirsty instead of reaching for a soda.”

I thought about how I used to drink soda. At least one, and sometimes two cans a day. But I had shifted away from soda about ten years ago. There was a time when it was habit to go to my favorite vending machine and drink a soda about mid-afternoon. But I changed that habit and went to drinking water. At first it was difficult because I felt plain water lacked the excitement and taste of soda. But slowly, I found I craved water the more I drank it. Now water is my beverage of choice. It has been over four years now since I’ve had a soda and have absolutely no cravings for it.

So this is my homework now—to look with compassion on the small annoyances in life and then move up to bigger and bigger things, seeing love in all.

The journey continues.

Ripples and Distractions

I make shamanic meditation shawls. I also call them prayer shawls but they are much more than that. I knit them from reclaimed sweaters in natural fibers, and as I knit them, I meditate on a single word or phrase. Words like Peace, Forgiveness, Unity, and Balance were some of my most recent creations. I will write more about them another day.

Then I mostly give them away as gifts, although I also give them in exchange for energy, be it monetary or otherwise.

I feel such joy when I box them up and mail them to an unsuspecting person. And then, they post to Facebook or some other source to share with their friends and followers that they received the gift.

I am planting seeds of kindness in a world where kindness is felt by some to go the way of the dodo bird. This simple act of kindness, sending a shawl to another may stir up in them the desire to perform acts of kindness on others who then in turn reach out to still others.

We each create ripples in the pond of life. We touch the water with a toe or finger, and ripples go out away from us in greater and greater circles in all directions. Others send out ripples as well when they touch the pond and the ripples expand.

When their ripples and my ripples meet, the ripples don’t stop. The ripples keep extending outward, passing through the other. Then when the ripple hits a wall or edge of a pond, it bounces back the ripples return.

I noticed the other day at the YMCA pool the water was very calm as I was the only swimmer at that time (about 6:15am). The water was very still as I do the breast stroke in my laps. This stroke created very little disturbance in the water and it helped me get into a meditative state of breathing and movement. I glided through the water. A I glanced down at the bottom of the pool through my goggles, the bottom of the pool appeared quiet and clear.

A man entered the pool and started walking laps up and down the pool. As he walked, he created a little wake behind him. As I swam through his wake, I noticed his ripples just moved on by me and continued on the other side of me. Two women entered the pool on the other side of me and started to jump up and down doing exercises and aqua therapy movements. They created massive ripples and waves as they jumped. Again, I continue to make few waves or ripples. I glanced down at the bottom of the pool and saw their waves pulsing across the pool, going past me and continuing.

The walking man’s waves pulsed from the opposite direction towards theirs. The floor of the pool then had a series of wave patterns hitting in from opposite directions, making lots of interesting patterns. The stronger the movement around me, the greater the ripples, the darker the bottom of the pool became. You could say the light was being refracted from the movement and hitting the walls and ceiling instead.

So what does this image mean that I am seeing of the light refracting? When it’s just me alone in the pool, I am making few ripples and the light reaches the bottom of the pool and lights it up. When others come into the pool and make waves, the bottom of the pool darkens while the walls and ceiling external to the pool reflect the wave patterns and light.

So I sat in meditation a few minutes ago and pondered this. I drew the Druidic Othala symbol in front of me and imagined a beautiful bubble expanding in front of me and stepped into it with my mind. I waited.

Sri appeared in my inner sight and this is what I heard in my head:

“The calmer and more at peace you are, outside disturbances will just pass right through you and by you. You then are not caught up in their energy, their movements.

“The light was reflecting in all direction before and during and afterwards. The light was just restricted from reaching the bottom of the pool because of the movement. The movements are like distractions.”

That distracting voice in you head says, ‘Look over here at me! Notice me! Buy this! Get the latest technology! You just have to try this new found item in the store. You just need to click on this new YouTube video.’ Before you know it, hours will go by and you’ve been bombarded with distractions and the calm bottom of the pool has darkened.

“This doesn’t mean not to ever engage in these distractions. Moderation. Allow little bits and set a timer if you must to limit your on-line surfing and distractions.”

I asked myself, “So how dos this relate to my knitting the meditation shawls?” When I started this meditation, I thought about how joyful it felt to create and mail them and then observe the recipient receiving and wearing the shawl for the first time. I am making small ripples in humanity doing this.

Sri responded. “Yes, they are ripples. However, look more. The shawl recipient then put the shawl around their shoulders and become still. Even if only briefly, they stop scrolling through the Internet or texting. They stop thinking about all the million distractions of their day. They are drawn to the now of the present moment.

“They become centered even if for just a few minutes. They are able to see the bottom of the pool at these times. The bottom of the pool therefore is their heart center. It is that quiet space within.”

Sri continued. “So continue knitting and giving. This helps one person at a time who can then help others. It activates another person to see God within and lights up a part of them so they can reach others with their gifts.”

And with that I put the pen and paper down and started my day today. Knitting I on my agenda for later today. This adventure continues.

Rainy day

I woke up achy, tired, and lazy. I heard rain falling outside my window. I looked at my tablet and noticed I had slept in. It was 5:40am. I usually start my day at 5:00am with meditation and a little yoga. Today wasn’t going to be a swim day at the YMCA, either.

Today feels like a pause day. A day with few expectations. A day to watch the rain and listen to it hitting the leaves on the trees, the roof, and going down the gutter.

After I did a little chanting to calm my mind and be in a place of receptivity, I made myself ready to meditate and invite Sri in for a conversation. I sat cross legged on my yoga mat and pulled out a pen and paper.

A very dear friend and mentor taught me to clear my mind with saying “One” in my mind after I inhaled a long breath, and then saying “One” again in my mind after I exhaled all my breath. After about three long breaths, my mind felt pretty blank.

I then imagined forming a giant soap bubble suspended in the air in front of me. It glistened with all these swirling colors you find in bubble bath bubbles which are beautiful and mesmerizing. Then, I breathed in, imagining the breath coming in through the top of my head. When I breathed out, I imagined it coming out of my heart and expanding the bubble. I continued with this. After about ten breaths, the bubble before me in my imagination was large enough for me to sit in comfortably. I imagined myself moving into this bubble, and leaving my ego behind. There I sat in my God bubble.

I thought about calling in Sri to continue our discussion on competition, power, lack, scarcity, duality, fear, and many other things that churned up in me, but all I was pulled to at the moment was the rain. I wondered if I could talk to the rain instead today.

I said a little phrase I was taught to connect to anything. Here, I am connecting with the rain. “I am you, you are me, we are on eternally. Now I see what God sees.”

I imagined I was the rain, the cloud, falling, blessing, washing away a film of pollen that seemed to coat everything. I imagined as the rain I was blessing the gardens, trees, and lawns. I imagined birds singing and splashing in puddles created by the rain. I felt a calm, nurturing motherly love.

I imagined the rain falling, running in rivulets into a stream a short distance from my house. Then I imagined I was the rain and water that trickled into the stream, then was the water going down the stream over rocks and into the state park near my home. That park used to belong to a coal mining company, and soon after a tragic accident where several miners died, the land was donated to the city to become a park. It has seven trails and sits on over 270 acres. This park then is a ravine, or hollow, as folks back in my Midwest town would call it. The park is perfect for allowing the rain to cascade in dozens of tiny streams down to the main stream below.

I feel the rain is blessing the land, especially after the coal mining events and devastating major floods that happened the past 100+ years in the area. I imagine the rain today is full of love and wet kisses.

Now it’s time to snuggle up with a cat in a big chair and work on a knitting project as I continue to look at on the rain. Rainy days have their place.