Sunday, October 2, 2011

Do Not Judge "Others"

"Abbot Joseph asked Abbot Pastor: Tell me how I can become a monk? The elder replied: If you want to have rest here in this life and also in the next, in every conflict with another say: Who am I? And judge no one."
 -- Thomas Merton --
("The Wisdom of the Desert")

"Judge not, lest ye be judged," we are advised (Matthew 7:1). In the spiritual life, to judge is to separate ourselves from everyone and everything, to invite the perception of duality and separation into our lives. Once we sit in judgment on another, we become our own judge. And not just our own judge, but also our own jury, jailer and hangman. Thus the wisdom of the desert father to "judge no one," lest we judge ourselves into a spiritual corner from which we cannot escape.

If we ask just who we are, irrespective of the situation we find ourselves in, we are forced to confront the question of whether we are again identified with the narrow self of the individual ego, or whether we are identified with the broader depth of our authentic Being. If we are inspired, we shall see that there really is no clear differentiation between our self and others, that we are all part of "the Kingdom of God" which is within us, and that there is no "other" to judge. Thus ask, "Who am I? And do not judge others."

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