During a brief glance out of my kitchen window this morning I immediately noticed that the sky was grey and a light rain was falling. There was a sharp contrast visible in the dull light between the thriving, green grass and other plants that had moved closer toward their Winter dormancy. My mind anchored on the thought that I had become increasingly misanthropic over the recent months. Through continuing reflection I came to realize the likely cause of the shift in my previous outlook on humanity. A thought crystallized in my mind and I recognized that every day, I am an unwitting recipient of countless messages designed to shape my thoughts from buying habits to voting preferences. We live in an age where it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible to tune out undesired messaging.
I continued pondering along the same thought-path and it occurred to me that although many of the messages were birthed as an outcome of complex marketing strategy, the messages were actually simplistic at their core; a binary of ones and zeros that represented buy or don’t buy, good or bad. Yes, messaging attempted to shape my attitudes and actions. However, at their core many messages pushed me into making hasty judgements in the absence of complete information. With this realization I felt that my thought train had entered the station and not yet come to a complete stop.
Personal judgements represent an alignment and focus of our individual power. We are in fact represented by our judgements as they daisy-chain to create a concrete history of our character, of who we are as individual entities. I wondered, if I was placed to account for my history of judgements, like a politician before their public voting record, what would my history of judgements say about me? Would my self reflection clearly demonstrate that I maintain emotional intelligence, while gathering available facts, before making balanced judgements? And if so, are the judgements that I ultimately make in concert with the Wiccan Rede?
My ego would like me to proudly proclaim that I am fair in my judgements and always in line with the Rede. Of course I’m factual and balanced in my judgements; I’m me! Hasty, cutting and emotionally immature decision making is a nasty indulgence carried out by the weak. I’m a good guy! The inner me, the authentic and self-honest me realizes that I’m fallible, very fallible. I must admit to feeling some shame in knowing that I certainly do jump to conclusions or cast unfair judgements about others on occasion despite my best efforts.
There is comfort in my self admission and not from my ego. The understanding of self is a critical component in becoming a better being for oneself and the world. And so in celebration of the upcoming New Year, I pledge to remember that life is complex for all of us. I will endeavor to refrain from making hasty, nasty judgements about others because of something that I was told about them by trusted friends or by the media. I will do my best to remember that we are all prone to making mistakes as we travel our interwoven paths. That daily life can emulate meditation in that thoughts can pass through me without my acting on impulses to grasp for them, pull them into being and inevitably cast judgements. Judgements that are by their nature accompanied by harmful, negative energy. This is my Samhain self challenge.
I wonder how many others who subscribe to any similar belief about doing no harm are willing to travel the same path of self exploration and take their personal version of the Wiccan Self Challenge?
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