I’ve judged you.
Ok, maybe not every single one of you who read this. But, I admit: I’ve judged people based on their appearance, their size, etc. I’m not proud of my actions. So why am I confessing my sins? Because recently, I learned something from them.
First, here’s a little background.
About five months ago, I found a church in SF that I LOVE called Canvas. It’s inspiring, the music is awesome, the sermons are applicable to daily life and I learn a lot (Public Service Announcement: they have videos of their sermons online if you ever want to watch one!) I’ve joined a Canvas Community Group that meets weekly to discuss the previous Sunday’s sermon, and a discussion one week reminded me of some pages I had kept out of “Give Us This Day” – a Catholic monthly prayer book I subscribed to a few years ago. I dug through my closet and found the page I was looking for … and then I found another page on an unrelated topic that caught my attention. In an article titled “Receiving a Blessed Consciousness,” the author, Fr. Donald Rolheiser, shares a parable. He says …
“There is a Buddhist parable that goes like this: One day a Buddha was sitting under a tree. A trim soldier walked by, noticed the Buddha’s fat, and said, ‘You look like a pig!’ The Buddha looked up calmly and said, ‘And you look like God!’ Taken aback, the soldier asked the Buddha, ‘Why do you say I look like God?’ The Buddha replied, ‘Because we don’t really see what’s outside of us. We see what’s inside us and project it out. I sit under this tree all day and I think about God, so that when I look out, that’s what I see. And you, you must be thinking about other things!'”
Fr. Rolheiser goes on to say, “There are wise axioms everywhere asserting that the way we see things is deeply colored by our own interiority. If this is true, then how we perceive others speaks volumes about what’s going on inside of us.” He also says, “Our harsh judgments of others say less about them than about us.”
“We see what’s inside us and project it out.”
My judgements of other people’s appearances stem from insecurities about my own. Now, if I catch myself thinking a not-so-nice thought about someone else, I try to stop myself and think about my “interiority.” I want what’s inside me to be love – love for my body, myself, and love for God – and therefore to project out that love to others.
I know some of my insecurities stem from worrying about what other people think about me. But if others are judging me or judging you, this article is a reminder to not let those judgements get under our skin. We must be like the Buddha and realize those judgements are a reflection of how that person views him/herself.