I’ve been thinking about judgment lately. Judgment and perception and projection, to be precise. Why do we judge? Because we don’t know, because we don’t understand, and because we are afraid.
What don’t we know? That which we judge.
So what do we do about this?
First, I feel that if we could, each of us, be aware that how I view reality, how you view reality, how each of us views reality in each moment, is a culmination of each of our different and unique lifetime of experience.
(The concept of Pratītyasamutpāda or “Dependent Airising” from Buddhist teachings)
This means, what we think is real is only a PERCEPTION of what is real. And perhaps that is what the ancient teachings mean by saying this world is only illusion.
What I see before me is only my perception of what I see before me. If I can be aware of this truth, then I also can recognize when I am judging another. I can also can recognize when I am projecting that another is judging.
When I say “they are judging,” it is because I feel judged. I don’t actually know what they are doing or not doing (unless they tell me), so I can only PERCEIVE that they are judging because I am feeling judged. And perhaps what is ACTUALLY happening, is that I am JUDGING them as judging, because it is me doing the judging. So then, this is only a PROJECTION.
See, we are each of us the center of our own universe. And in life, we bump Shoulders with other centers of their own universe. And in between is an interaction. And that interaction can cause friction, or it can be smooth, depending on each of our unique lifetime of experience coming together in this moment (Dependent Arising).
The more aware I am of my perceptions and the more aware I am that the other person’s perceptions may be different than mine, the more easeful that interaction can be. When I am unaware, the more friction is caused between the two.
It seems that awareness makes the difference. There is no way around perceiving reality, it’s what we do. There also isn’t really any way around projecting, it’s how we seek to understand another’s experience (ex: “You must be so hot sitting in the sun!” This statement, true or not, is a projection of my experience of sitting in the sun onto the other person.) But if I am aware of my perceptions then I remain open curious interested. And there is so much joy involved in being open, curious and interested in learning about another person’s experience of this moment. Judgment, never enters the conversation.
Kristen is a certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist and Life Mentor. She offers online and in-person healing sessions. She lives and teaches in Denver, Colorado