I wonder how often many of you, like me, judge others as better or worse than ourselves. I think I am guilty of semi unconsciously doing this a hundred times a day. Our sense perceptions of sight and sound can create immediate judgments on others that we observe around us. Poor people, homeless, mentally challenged, physically challenged, obese, anorexic, sloppy, pretty, dirty, vulgar. I’m sure this list could go on forever.
Now while I am becoming more and more aware of these constant, sometimes subtle, delusions and judgements, I was recently awakened to another one that I completely missed.
While working at my place of business, I was having a friendly conversation with one of the local police officers. The conversation was mostly general chit-chat about the neighborhood and other businesses. One of things that I brought-up to him was the increasing amount of gang and drug related activity going on in the area. I explained that the combination of that with the strong presence of homeless people has created a fairly unwholesome environment for families and children. The officer agreed, and then proceeded to tell me about how badly the gang types abuse most of the homeless population. Intimidating them, spitting and throwing things at them, and pushing them around until they finally leave the area in fear of their own safety.
The light went on for me immediately. Suddenly I saw the homeless population in a completely new way. My love and compassion swelled for them, and I realized that they, as much as anyone, deserve my love, compassion, and respect.
To add even more weight to this conversation, the officer informed me that one of the most visible and longtime homeless residents was formerly a police officer and firefighter before his life changed to the one that I see before me. Now, barely able to walk due to out-of-control diabetes, he spends his days sitting in the park panhandling for money for alcohol and bumming cigarettes. The officer agreed with me that his days are numbered and soon we will both see the ambulance arriving to carry him away.
As much as this may have helped awaken me to judgments, I quickly observed that my judgement of the hooligans was no different. These young people are also deserving of the same love, compassion and respect. All living beings are deserving of these, and it’s only be understanding this fully and deeply that any of us can hope to drop the separation. In truth, I know that there is none. It is only by way of our own ignorance and delusion that we fuel our ego. There is no us and them, no you or I, none better or worse.
Great compassion extends to all without judgement, dogma or discernment. And yes, I love you too.