365 Days to a Better You – Day 40

Love = (Forgiveness – Judgement)

It’s Day 40. I hope you don’t feel like you’re wandering in the proverbial wilderness. I hope some pieces are coming together for you and that you are seeing some real benefit and progress.

In Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

I begin with these verses today, not to push a single world view. I begin with them as easy cultural reference to the power and the importance of non-judgement. Notice that there’s no fine print. There are no exclusions, exceptions, or disclaimers. Even if someone is a horrible human being and makes you really, really angry, judge not for the same harsh standard will be applied to you.

This is not verse condoning poor behavior or saying that there’s no karma in the world for it. This is wisdom directed right at you and me; right at our pronounced tendency to judge. We judge humanity as a whole, we judge our family, friends, and people we know only because they just cut us off in traffic. Most critically, we judge ourselves. We judge once, ten times, a thousand times a day. Stop!

The more we judge, the more we will be judged. The more we judge, the more negative energy clings to us and follows us around all day. Catch yourself sometime in that moment of judging or mean-tweeting someone. How do you feel? When I’m in that space, I feel like I almost literally need a shower to wash that negative energy off of me. As with hatred, the first victim of judging is the judger.

Let it go. Stop judging so much beginning with you. That’s really where all judgement stems from. We tend to lash out at the world for the things we hold against ourselves.

Forgiveness is the great cleanser. So much so that there’s a ton of truth in that equation at the top of this article. The level of love we are capable of feeling is an exact ratio of our forgiveness to our judgement. The more judgement there is in the equation, the heavier and more negatively we see ourselves and the world around us. The more forgiveness we practice, the more love we can feel, absorb, and share.

Here’s a simple practice you can do to magnify forgiveness in your life. It’s based on the Metta (Loving-Kindness) meditation from Buddhism – something I’m sure we’ll eventually get to in our 365-day journey.

  1. Sit quietly and begin with you.
  2. Say to yourself, “I forgive myself for the things I hold against me. I release and I let go.” (repeat as many times as you need to feel the forgiveness flowing through you.)
  3. Choose someone you love or someone you have strong positive feelings for. Say to yourself, “I forgive (name) for the things I hold against him/her. I release and I let go.” (repeat until you feel it)
  4. Move on to someone you feel neutral about. Say to yourself, “I forgive (name) for the things I hold against him/her. I release and I let go.” (repeat until you feel it)
  5. It gets more challenging. Choose someone you have moderately negative feeling towards. Say to yourself, “I forgive (name) for the things I hold against him/her. I release and I let go.” (repeat until you feel it)
  6. This is the most challenging, but you’re now running deep in forgiveness. Choose someone you despise. Say to yourself, “I forgive (name) for the things I hold against him/her. I release and I let go.” (repeat until you feel it)
  7. Now visualize humanity as a whole. Say to yourself, “I forgive humanity for the things I hold against humanity I release and I let go.” (repeat until you feel it)
  8. Visualize All of Existence.  Say to yourself, “I forgive All of Existence for the things I hold against it. I release and I let go.” (repeat until you feel it)
  9. Sit for a few moments and feel the forgiveness flowing through you. All is forgiven from you to the furthest galaxy.

Remember, forgiveness is about condoning or excusing the behavior of others. It’s about healing yourself. The same is true of judging less. It doesn’t mean you don’t see pain, suffering, and corruption in the world. It means you stop judging it so you can start doing something about it.

I recognize there are some people reading this who are resisting it. “You don’t understand, Ray. This person did X to me.” I’d only lovingly repeat, this process is not about absolving them, it’s about freeing you.

I’ll leave you with this today. There’s a wonderful quote probably wrongly attributed to Mark Twain. “Forgiveness Is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

That’s a profound statement on the power of forgiveness.

Have an inspired day!
Ray

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