“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend”
– Henri Bergson
In the morning, they looked through their window at their neighbour, as she hung her clothes on the line.
“Look how dirty her clothes are”, she told her husband, “Maybe I should go and teach her how to wash, or maybe she needs a new soap”. Her husband said nothing.
Whenever they saw the neighbour hanging her clothes in the sun and wind, the wife again talked about her neighbour’s dirty clothes and the husband again said nothing.
One day, the wife looked at the clothesline and was surprised to see clean clothes.
“Look”, she told her husband, “The neighbour’s clothes are so clean. Someone must have taught her how to wash.”
“No,” answered her husband, “I got up early this morning to clean our window.”
And this is how life is. It all depends on the cleanliness of our window.
For most of us, the word “judgment” has bad connotations. It is almost equivalent to criticism. We associate it with laws, trials and with sentences – with power. There are judgmental people; there is a judge in court and even a “judgment day”.
In the personal growth process, we aim to solve the puzzle of our right to judge. Are we allowed to judge? Is it good for us? How to live with the label of being “judgmental”?
When judgment is the weighing of evidence and feelings in order to make a choice, the real question is “Can we be non-judgmental”?
We live in a world full of different people, who face different choices and makes many different decisions to us. With so many people pulling us to different directions and so many options, choosing is a great challenge. Most people do not feel they have a choice, and do not realize that even not choosing is a choice. We choose all the time, every second of our lives. We choose to think, choose to believe and choose to feel. With endless options out there, distinguishing right from wrong is a basic tool to experience life. In that sense, judgment is equivalent to learning more than to criticism. It is a survival tool without which we could not have survived the Stone Age.
Clearing Our Vision
But it is not what we see that will determine our judgment, but what we use in order to see. Do we look at the evidence with anger, jealousy and frustration or do we look with understanding, acceptance and love?
When discussing judgment, we are like optometrists. We make decisions based on what we see, but we question whether what we see is the real things or not. What is real? What is more real? Is it the blurry flower we see with short sighted eyes or the clear flower with the glasses? What do we do when we cannot see clearly? Do we change the flower or change the lenses? Sometimes, only cleaning an existing lens can be enough.
In life coaching, instead of waiting for the circumstances to change and fit our eye sight to them, the coach will prescribe new lenses and teach the clients how to take care of them. Instead of allowing circumstance to take over their life and determine their attitude, they change their attitude and allow the circumstances to change effortlessly. This allows them to shift from a victim and past-oriented mentality into an action going-forward mindset. That is power!
“Men are lenses trough which we read our own minds”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the June 2005 article about “bettering ourselves”, we brought Michael Jackson’s song, “The man in the mirror” to encourage our readers to make the world a better place by taking baby steps, starting by looking at the mirror. Our mirror is the window of the heart. Our mirror has the ability to bounce our reflection back and help us make decisions. Whether we like what we see or not depends on the “glasses” we use. When we look with anger, frustration and fear, our judgment will be cluttered and we might look fat, ugly and old. When we look with understanding, acceptance and love, our judgment will be clear and we might look fit, healthy and young. Clean windows and mirrors are essential for experiencing life fully. After all, it is all perception.
“They are all walking mirrors”
– Reflections, Ronit Baras (soon to be published)
And to answer the question of how to change the reflection, try to imagine yourself putting much effort and energy into trying to change what you see in the mirror by trying to fix the mirror and ignoring the source. Many people feel drained and exhausted trying to change things they are not happy about in their life, when they try to change the mirror instead of changing the perception of themselves. It is those who do not see the difference between criticism and judgment, those who cannot see the correlation between the window and the clothes on the clothesline who suffer answering this question. You are the source!
October is a good reflection time for us, with so many of us celebrating our birthdays (Happy birthday to us all!) and making a new wish list for the following year. I wish you all clean windows and happy mirrors to experience the world around you with love.
“We need to make sure our windows are clean before looking at others.
We need to make sure our hearts are clean before criticizing others.
We need to start by cleaning our own mirrors and changing the source.
So we can see life with our heart through any dirty window.
So we can experience happiness through all obstacles.
So we can see love everywhere”
– Ronit Baras
Congratulation to all our clients who mastered the art of “window cleaning” and are an inspiration to us in their pursuit of a healthy, wealthy and happy life.
Thanks to Susan Segal for her wonderful window photos from around the world.
I wish you all great spring cleaning (it is spring in Australia),