I was reading the above article and it got me thinking. There are a lot of people who confuse the nonjudgmental-ism of Unconditional Love with not thinking critically, not looking for or seeing the problems and drawbacks of a thing. And there are plenty of people, lacking in maturity and scruples, who will gladly reinforce that mistake.
The sad, tired refrain of those who are being selfish, immature, and disrespectful towards others is “Treat me with respect”. There are those who are blind or uncaring towards those that they hurt and who respond to attempts to protect ones-self as selfish. There are those deep in the grip of ego, in the grip of projection, who will convince themselves, and seemingly sincerely believe, that you are in the wrong in trying to get them to back off and leave you alone. They see the attempts to protect yourself, which admittedly are often not very respectful, as more important than whether they did something to hurting you in the first place.
I have had entirely too much personal experience with this.
Part of awakening, part of enlightenment, part of the ongoing and beautiful path of personal growth and maturity, is critical thinking. We have to think. We have to look closely. We have to examine our own thoughts and the thoughts of others.
Part of the process of spiritual awakening is tuning in to, awakening, discovering and allowing the genius within. The more we focus on meditation, the more we start to notice, the more we feel, the more we perceive. We tune into creativity and intelligence within us. We get out of our old patterns of thought and feeling and look closer, look deeper, see more.
You will see ugliness as part of the path. You will see things in others that you don’t like. You will see things in yourself that you don’t like.
That’s good. It’s important. See. Think. Analyze. Make different, better choices based on a more mature perspective. You need this. We all need this.
Nonjudgmental-ism is something different than not criticizing. It’s something different than choosing to let go of or choosing to ignore problems. Nonjudgmental-ism says, “Immature or immature makes no difference. You’re a human being. You’re a child of God. You are worthy of love, of kindness, of compassion, of joy, of peace, of freedom. Your level of maturity is secondary and far less important than your Divine Nature. Whatever your level of maturity, you have value. Whatever your level of maturity, you have creative potential. Whatever your level of maturity, we are all connected, part of the whole, part of the universe and no part is any more or less a part. In choosing love for you, I choose love of life itself; because you are a part of life, just as I am.”
Those who are in the grip of ego want you to place them above you. They want you to treat them as superior. Unconditional Love doesn’t really believe in superior and inferior. That said, practical differences are practical differences. A hammer may not be better or worse than a screwdriver; but I’m not going to try to hammer a nail with a screwdriver.
Part of the process of awakening is disillusionment. Part of the process is forgiveness, compassion and acceptance of what is regardless of differences. Loving the immature means that you respond to their immaturity differently, not that you don’t see immaturity.
Compassion for the immature inspires pity. You can see the suffering that their immaturity causes them. You want to lift them up. You want to inspire them. You want them to understand so they stop hurting others (sometimes you) and themselves. You want peace and love and joy for them and you know their thoughts, their beliefs, their assumptions, and their actions are keeping them from these things.
Sometimes, they’ll lash out at you to protect their worthless beliefs. Sometimes, they’ll put you down and try to tear you down to make themselves feel better about doing things that they know deep down are wrong, are stupid, are (for lack of a better word) wicked or evil.
This is desperately sad and painful for everyone involved. It’s terribly sad and terribly stupid.
It’s easy when confronted by this to become angry. And, God knows, I’m not somehow above this. But, it’s in how we choose to respond that our power lies. We can choose to love our enemies and bless those that curse us. We can choose to pray for those who do despicable things. We can choose compassion and pity instead of indulging in wrathfulness and vindictiveness.
We may still feel anger. Our instincts are still our instincts. But, through time and diligence in this practice, we break free from our instincts. We take more control of our minds and our lives.
But, none of this means you don’t think stupid shit is stupid shit. It just means that you recognize that the self, the soul, the mind itself, is not the ego. No one is their state. We were all babies at one point and we’ve all grown and changed since then. The state of immaturity is not who someone is. It is not their true nature, it is a state that they pass through as part of the process of learning and growing.
There’s a lot of value in reading critical accounts of things. One, you never know what you’ll discover. Often critical thinkers offer deep and penetrating insight into life’s challenges and problems. We can often learn a great deal from examining someone’s critiques. Whether you’re Buddhist or not, there is probably a lot that you can relate to in the author’s critique of Theravada Buddhism. The challenges and problems he refers to crop up to some extent or another in every organized religion. It’s east to get swept up in ritual and tradition and miss the heart and soul of the message.
Also, I know some who make the mistake of putting Buddhism on a pedestal when compared to Christianity. In both cases, what matters is the heart and soul of the teachers message. What matters is choosing love, compassion, integrity and wisdom. And, in both cases, the institutionalization of the teachings, brings in the drawbacks inherent in human institutions. Dogma throttles the search for truth.
But, it can help in our growth, seeing that these things are endemic to all institutions and not simply the ones that we’re most familiar with. We all have room to grow. There are always challenges. There are always mistakes. Those who are wise acknowledge and learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others.
We all live with the consequences of our choices. Some of us are a bit better at seeing what those really are.
God bless you brothers and sisters. God bless you whoever and wherever you are. God bless you if you’re wise and God bless you if you’re an idiot. These states are far less important than we imagine them to be. What matters is love. What matters is the spirit within you, the creative intelligence, the potential you have to learn and grow. What matters is your heart, whether you listen to it or not. What matters is the beautiful light of love which is your true nature.
That Light is in all of us. It’s the Truth of who we are.
That Light is in the strong and the weak, the wise and the foolish, the mature and the immature, the helpful and the selfish. The Light is what’s real. The Light is what endures. The Light is what matters most.
Only Love is real.
In Love, Always,