From Judgement to Illumination
When it was first suggested that I formally talk at Sunday service for a congregation, many states away, I was surprised to say the least. As I sat contemplating why one should travel hundreds of miles for such a thing to occur, Jesus's life came to mind. Remember how his own family and neighbors in Nazareth wouldn't give him the time of day? "Oh, he's just the carpenter's son," they would say. I can almost hear the community now..."Bah! Jesus? I remember when he was learning to crawl!" or, "No way, what's so special about him? Sure he's sharp at his Talmud, but Joseph has a terrible time getting his nose out of books to work in the business. He doesn't treat his parents with respect. Remember that day he took off in Jerusalem? Mary and Joseph were worried sick." Can't you just see it? They limited their experience by closing their minds.
There is a great teaching in this story. If one closes one's mind and heart, limits possibilities, one may very well miss their teacher (whether it be an individual or a circumstance). It makes me chuckle when I hear people say: "I've been looking for a teacher" or "I'm going to India to find my Guru" or "I saw 'so and so' on T.V., so I know they have the answer." Your teachers are everywhere...everyone and everything...no single individual, no single thing has a corner on the ability to express Spirit in the moment. You can learn from your neighbor, you can learn from an illness, from a traffic jam, and a birthday party. You can learn from a dog, from a sunset, from a flood. The universe is a constant teaching experience. All you need do is stop judging.
When one stops judging, one leaves open the door to learning, to truth , to illumination. When one stops making close-ended and final statements, one leaves open the door to all sorts of possibilities and potentials. When one one stops judging, one sees as through different eyes. Every moment is a potential to learn and grow...every individual you encounter may be the catalyst needed for deeper awareness. Every circumstance has the potential of teaching you wisdom. This won't happen as long as you say, "I can't stand so-and-so," or "I never want to deal with such-and-such again in my life!" or "I wouldn't try that for the world." What do all these statements have in common? Each closes a potential teaching experience tight against what is perceived as negative. It's judgement.
Funny thing about judgement...one of the ten commandments actually... "Thou shall not judge." One would think that after a few thousand years we would understand what that means. Maybe we need to modernize the verbiage. .."Thou shall not limit." A limiting statement is:..."I can't stand so-and-so." The statement closes the door. Let's try ..."I wonder what it is about so-and-so I find so offensive." That's better; it opens the door to learning...not limiting; this perspective will lead to clarity. Being non-judgemental will not turn you into "Suzy Creamcheese" or "Willy Wimp." Being nonjudgemental leads to clarity. Clarity calls a spade a spade, but in "clarity" one can recognize the spade and not confuse it with a trowel. Recognition through clarity is discernment.
"Discernment" is a great word bandied about in metaphysical circles, but I wonder how many people have really stopped to think what it means? I often hear statements such as "So-and-so should be more discerning about the books they read." or the lectures they attend or the relationships they have. Isn't it great that "Spiritual" people can feel so special and all-seeing! Not only are these statements judgemental and limiting, they also demonstrate no discernment by the speaker. A lack of judgement, by unlimiting one, will lead to clarity...clarity leads to discernment...discernment leads to wisdom. In the statement "So-and-so should be more discerning about the books they read," more discernment and therefore wisdom would have been shown in saying: "So-and-so, in reading these books, is opening themselves to learn from experience. Perhaps it is not the path I would have chosen to learn from, but I bless them in their efforts." This is a nonjudgemental statement. It shows clarity, discernment, and wisdom, but it is also more. This statement rings with the vibration of love. When one is nonjudgemental, thereby realizing clarity and discernment and gaining wisdom, one automatically approaches the world, people, and events in a loving manner. We hear a lot about "loving one another," but it won't happen until we stop judging...stop limiting ourselves and our world. There are two more things that are gained when one stops judgeing: peace and the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Not a bad deal for just giving up limited perspectives!
So without further ado, here's an abridged recipe for illumination:
NOT JUDGING LEADS TO CLARITY...
CLARITY LEADS TO DISCERNMENT...
DISCERNMENT LEADS TO WISDOM...
WISDOM LEADS TO LOVE...
LOVE LEADS TO THAT PEACE THAT PASSETH UNDERSTANDING...
THE PEACE THAT PASSETH UNDERSTANDING LEADS TO LIVING IN A STATE OF GRACE!
So there you have it...my personal recipe for illumination. Feel free to proportion it to your taste!
Rev. Kythera Ann
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