Is it possible to love someone and at the same time judge or condemn them for something? Maybe they are not doing what you would do or have asked, i.e., teens getting home late; a partner over-spending or not spending on the right things; children or grandchildren acting out or being annoying.
There are irritations in our lives, but who is annoyed? Identify the part of your mind that is upset. It is the part that is impatient, judgmental and angry — demanding punishment. Yes parents need to discipline children, but it can be done with love, calmly, and without anger or blame.
The ego mind judges and demands discipline — but it is not your identity. You are much more than that.
The goal of a peaceful life unfolds when we re-train the mind and withdraw belief from the ego's schemes. In doing so, we discover our true identity. It amounts to changing your mind and accepting the love that you are. The ego tries to cover up the love. But you know, at some level, it is there and it is you. We gradually come to recognize that the love has been there all along.
If we listen to the ego's voice, we will never love unconditionally. The ego's way of loving amounts to manipulation to get its way or in giving to get. (What's in it for me?) Challenge yourself to watch its gyrations and observe it but don't believe, listen or follow it. Just look and laugh!
Even something as innocent as going to lunch or dinner and seeing someone the ego judges as "different": maybe it's their annoying clothes, their voice or the way they chew food. It is an ego-centric judgment, and it is 100 percent separation. That person could be someone you have longed to meet (a favorite author or a professor of quantum physics) if you only knew! The ego does not know anything. Judgment separates us into lonely boxes. Even a "good" judgment, for example, "what beautiful hair she has," which really means I do not have hair like that and so we are different and not alike. We have separate bodies and the ego enjoys to comparisons. The trump card is you have a mind that chooses to listen or ignore thoughts of separation. And if you judge yourself gently, let the thought go, as guilt is also an ego trap.
Imagine what it feels like to be deeply accepted, loved, stress free and calmly guilt free. Feel that within; give it to yourself, and you will give it to others. If you condemn, you also can be condemned. Whatever you do to others can and will be used against you. Condemn and you are a prisoner of guilt; but love and you are free of it. We feel guilty when we attack. Love sweeps all ego beliefs away with a gentle hand of compassion.
Believe in your worthiness and disengage from the ego's games of criticism. Love is within and not found out there in the world. Go within and think of someone who has loved you unconditionally. If you cannot identify anyone, then entertain the thought of an all-loving creator; Yahweh, Allah, Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna or God (or your dog) beaming love at you like a laser beam. Feeling it, it is yours. Recognize it is your inheritance. You are no longer lost. Love found you. Hear the inner voice telling you of your identity: a loving mind choosing love.
Everyone is included in the same identity of oneness.
Wear that identity into the world. Look at the upsets mentioned earlier with that love. There is a blessed relief that washes over us when we realize our oneness with everyone and all things. All bitter struggles — the distractions and loneliness — they all end when we refuse thoughts of separation. Be a love finder, not a fault finder, and pure joy will fill your mind and peace prevails.
Sally McKirgan facilitates the Inner Peace column. Articles on various aspects of Inner Peace are welcome from Rogue Valley residents. Send 600- to 700-word articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.