Respecting life in every form seems easy. I do not kill, I do not abuse people or animals, I am trying to save the planet…
This approach is entirely valid, but we can go even further. Having put a stop to worry, having learned to transform our anger into positive action, having followed steps 1 (acceptance), 2 (comprehension), 3 (indifference), 4 (compassion) and 5 (love) on the road to forgiveness, having understood the value of honesty with ourselves and others, having practiced gratitude, we are ready to live the Wholeness, the Unity with every living thing. We are ready to recognize that we are all made “with the same material” and we all have the same potential for personal development given the right opportunities or, for some, creating them ourselves. We are ready to recognize that everyone has a “role” to play or “mission” to accomplish in this life so as to promote collective consciousness to higher levels of existence.
Some “blatant” attitudes that show complete lack of respect for life in its every form, such as intolerance, nationalism, racism, homophobia, etc., are “easy” to discern and “stay away from” being the “civilized and cultivated” people that we are. We also train and educate our children to accept diversity, so, we can complacently say to ourselves: “I do not belong to this category of people!” and sleep with a clear conscience.
However, there is a form of lack of respect for life in every form that is so common, so widespread, so “acceptable,” so treacherous that it does not even cross our minds that we actually do it. Judgement.
Judgement is part of our everyday life. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, we begin to judge and classify all our experiences, encounters, situations, people, etc. into positive or negative, good or bad, beautiful or ugly etc.
How can we be so sure? Life is so unpredictable and everything is so volatile, so subjective. We even change over the years. Thanks to new knowledge and experience, we are not the same people we were 10 years ago. How can we judge whether something is good or bad?
The story of the old Chinese farmer and his horse by Lao Tzu is an excellent example of why we should never judge.
The first thing we have to do is understand the difference between judgement and an opinion. For example, every time we say, “This book is good” or “This book is bad” we form a judgment. On the other hand, when we say “I like this book” or “I do not like this book,” we express our opinion. In this way, life becomes much easier for us and for those around us. Nobody takes anything personally any more!
This rule can be applied literally to all aspects of our lives. Everything that we perceive is just a subjective view of the world based on partial, therefore limited, information that we can get from our environment. Our physiology does not allow us to have an overall picture of things because of the limitations of our sensory organs and our brain, which is trained to process only a small amount of information from what is actually going on around us. Without being able to see the whole picture, we are inevitably lead to wrong conclusions, to judgement…
No one can escape our judgement… Not even ourselves … We are our own worst judges and, as a result, we are constantly haunted by feelings of shame and guilt.
Only by accepting reality and ourselves without judgment, accepting who we are at that particular moment on our path to evolution, can we change and become better people. Judging others or ourselves is merely an attempt to impose our opinion so that we (falsely) feel in control of a situation, which is certainly not realistic nor is it fair.
Not judging does not mean passively accepting everything that happens and becoming fatalists. We have every right to have our own views. We have every right to choose the experiences and the people we want in our lives, and we can do that now because we are judging less and we are observing more.
Observation, when impartial, does not imply judgment. On the other hand, judgment will always take sides and will let our prejudices lead us to wrong behaviors and conclusions.
Thanks to our growing ability to observe, we can better understand how the Universe works and the universal law of cause and effect.
This way, we can live in harmony with ourselves, with others and with the universe.
*The state of forming a complete and harmonious whole; unity