“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday today, this week’s challenge is aligned with being aware of our own personal discriminations. It is bringing awareness to those thoughts that pop up when we see someone or something and suddenly, we make a judgment about the person or the situation. Even if we consider ourselves loving and compassionate, we may still have some lingering discriminations that seemingly pop out of nowhere. As you go through your week, bring awareness to your thoughts of judgment on a person or a situation and notice how you cannot be neutral, kind or compassionate with what you see.
This exercise is not just about race, but it is also about seeing a poor person and making a judgment, seeing a person dressed in designer clothes and driving an expensive car and judging it or judging those who have all the techno gadgets and those who do not. Also, be aware of little, small judgments you make here and there. They can be small but remember no matter how small they are they are still coming out of your mind. Anytime we are not neutral, understanding or kind about a person or a situation we are most likely judging it according to what we think we are seeing.
This week is about bringing awareness to how quickly we can judge others and how we believe our stories because they come out of our mind. When you find yourself judging another, ask yourself:
Is what I think to be the truth? Who said it is?
Is my perception true and accurate?
Take a few minutes to do some inner reflection.
Ask yourself, have others ever seen me inaccurately or perceived me
incorrectly because they misunderstood me.
Ask yourself, how did I feel to be misunderstood
The next step is bringing your awareness to your heart center. Feel your
heart softening and say to yourself “If I have been misunderstood
then I also can misunderstand. I can forgive others for misunderstanding
me and I forgive myself for misunderstanding you. We all can be
misunderstood and suffer because of it. I will remember that we all
can suffer in this way. I let go and open my heart to be kinder
and more compassionate towards myself and others.”
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Deeper Meaning: This practice in mindfulness is called “equanimity.” Remembering that we are human beings and as human beings we all make mistakes. Understanding that things not only happen to me, but they also happen to others, i.e., judgments, misunderstandings, angry words, intolerances, impatience and yes also ignorance. Knowing that if I have experienced it, so have others. In this understanding we can let our hearts soften and let go of the stories we continually tell ourselves. With this practice of equanimity, we are constantly reminded that we are not alone in having this physical experience on this earth. We all make mistakes, not just the other person but I too can and have made the same mistakes. I would like to be forgiven and so do others.