Releasing Judgment

January 21, 2018


Judgment is an effort by our minds to make some sense of our world, but it always brings suffering. We constantly everything we see and come into contact with. We judge whether things are “bad” or “good" with such ease and frequency that we might believe that such evaluations of the external world are natural. And we do it even though we all recoil from the hot sting of another's judgment, of being seen as “bad” or "disliked."


We judge events as "bad," even though we have our blindspots and a very limited perspective on what is occurring. Zen Buddhists captured this long ago in a parable titled “Maybe”: In the story, a farmer’s horse runs away, and the neighbors tell him that this is “bad” luck. He responds, “Maybe.” His horse comes back, bringing with it three more wild horses, and when the neighbors tell him this is “good” fortune, he again responds, “Maybe.” The farmer’s son tries to ride of the wild horses, but falls off, breaking a leg, and his neighbors tell him that this is “bad” luck; his response remains the same. The next day, military officials come to his farm, seeking to draft his son into the army, but because his leg is broken, they pass him by. The neighbors say what “good” fortune this is, and the farmer responds, “Maybe.” The point is, of course, that we cannot fully appreciate the import and meaning of events in our lives from our limited viewpoint. Yet we are so very quickly to judge and evaluate, particularly when things are “bad.”


How many countless events in people’s lives have started out as tragedy only later to be regarded as the “greatest gift ever”? Suspend your judgments and trust that you cannot be truly harmed, that nothing “bad” is ever happening. It is all light, even when it is masquerading as darkness so that you can learn to see the light again.

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