I saw a post on Facebook the other day. It created what turned out to be an avalanche of feelings in me: joy, gratitude, sadness and no small amount of grief. Here’s the photo:
I first experienced joy because I realized what I was seeing was the advancement of women, that the President’s wife could dress appropriately for traveling and not have to be a Barbie doll to please the populace. And that is where the gratitude came from as well, gratitude that today, as a woman, I can dress as I please, go where I wish, vote and pretty much do what I want, within the boundaries of the law. Then I read the comments underneath the photo. And here is where the sadness and grief came: not one of the women who commented praised the President’s wife for dressing as the rest of do when traveling. They all judged her: they said she didn’t care, that she lacked self respect, and that she was setting a very bad example for young women in this country.
I know that it’s an election year. I also know that this election in particular is characterized by tremendous polarization. Is it just me, or have the personal attacks and lies and propaganda, from all parties, descended to an all new low?
As a licensed spiritual coach and a ministerial student, I am trained to see the good in everyone and everything. I do not approach a situation, or a client, or anything else, with a diagnosis of there being something wrong. I approach it (or at least that is what I strive for) seeing the good, and if I can’t see the good, I first go within and see what within me is preventing me from seeing the good, and then I do my spiritual work to see the good in myself and in others. I also know that fear makes people judgmental, and it makes them do and say things they wouldn’t ordinarily do or say. And I know that there is a lot of fear floating around the consciousness of the populace these days. So in my spiritual practices I address my own fear, and then do my work for the fearfulness of society.
So, in the case of Michelle Obama “dressing down” for an airplane flight, I say good for her. For the people judging her because of the way she dressed for an airplane flight, they are included in my daily spiritual practices.
What does this have to do with spirituality, which is the subject of this blog? Everything. Fear keeps us lonely and bereft of the gifts that a connection with Spirit brings, it severs the connection, or prevents it from being formed. Fear is the giant boogeyman of all things spiritual. Judgment of another person by what they wear, or the color of their skin, or their gender, or even their sexual preference, is fear based. All judgment is fear based. When we judge another, we are saying we are afraid. Perhaps another person’s sexual preference is somehow threatening to us, or perhaps judging someone else for what they are wearing makes us feel better about ourselves. Or perhaps judgment allows us to somehow feel secure. I don’t know. What I do know is that when I negatively judge another, I am the one who feels the pain from that judgement.
These days I am striving for no judgement at all, neither good nor bad. It simply is. Like the farmer, whose son brought home horses, broke his leg riding the horses, then didn’t get drafted because he had a broken leg, the farmer, through it all, refused to judge any of those happenings as good or bad, they simply were.
I feel better when I don’t judge. How about you?