How many times a day, do we criticize ourselves, or another? It’s all too easy to make a negative remark about things we don’t agree with, or that seem ignorant to us. Who here can deny that they have not made a comment, or at very least, a criticizing thought when baring whiteness to events like pollution, corruption, and racism, to name just a few.
As human beings, we have become so quick to criticize the actions of others. Personally, relocating to another country to begin a new life a few years ago, taught me that I was more fastened to my North American standards than I had thought. Experiencing how another culture functions on every level, from government, social structure and class, business practices, laws, holidays, religions, living conditions, language expressions, trends, and everything else imaginable, was a bigger spiritual exercise than I realized.
I’m not saying that we must all uproot and go live in another country to develop our empathy skills, but we can begin each day to silence the criticism, take a deep breath, and actually understand the actions of others from their perspective. When you look at someone who you think is doing something “wrong,” stop, and before you criticize them, ask yourself why he or she would do this. What have they learned from those around them to make them act this way? What aspects of their environment have brought them to feel this is an acceptable action? Why do they feel this is the correct thing to do, or at least, why have they justified this action in their own mind? There may or not be a clear answer every time in your mind, but the goal here is to replace criticism with empathy.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that you are agreeing with a racist, an industry polluting the earth, or a corrupt political figure for example. But what it does mean that you retain the spiritual maturity to view their actions from a higher plane of thought, a plane of thought that can understand their actions from their perspective. Realize too, that to criticize another verbally, often does nothing more than fuel the very actions you detest, and that this is more how a child would act toward a parent doing something out of their favor. We do not change the world through criticizing it. On the contrary, we make a tremendous impact when we empathize with everything in it, and demonstrate through our own actions, that real change is made by acceptance and passive corrections at the individual level.
Work with this daily spiritual practice constantly. Catch yourself before you speak out to criticize someone. Halt your thoughts, before they criticize the actions of others. Make the shift, not to justify, but to view, the issue from their perspective. Nourish your spiritual maturity each day, and choose to rise above the reactions of the naïve child who feels their way is the only thing that matters. Again, you need not agree with the actions of others, but to analyze just how he or she has come to do this thing you feel is wrong, is to momentarily over ride your own opinions, and ultimately master your emotional responses. This is of course, at core, a practice of neutral compassion, and it goes very deep into the base of most spiritual paths that we know today from Buddhism, to Hermeticism, to Catholicism and so forth.
I encourage you to take this daily challenge, and begin to understand and experience the world from an advanced spiritual perspective. This may be difficult as you begin, but know that by nourishing this practice, you are nourishing the very seeds of love needed to cultivate human evolution.
Affirmation: “I maintain a spiritual presence in neutral observations. I remain compassionate to others, and all things in spite of their seeming effects on my human emotions.”