It’s natural and common to have opinions and personal thoughts about everything going on and also natural to express our thoughts and opinions about everything occurring. It’s what defines us as individuals. Our egos need to do it. The problem lies in our belief in these thoughts and opinions as TRUTH. When we practice questioning our own opinions we begin to see the cost these beliefs have on us individually and as a whole. We are so caught up in our opinions and views of reality that we don’t see how limiting they are, how harmful they are, or how really unpleasant our judgments make our lives. We are truly living in a self created illusion.
We will judge anything and everything. We think this judgment is harmless. It’s not. Any time we criticize anything from a dance performance to human atrocities we suffer from it whether we realize it or not. We suffer because what we focus on expands. What we give energy to increases and is fueled by the quality of energy we are giving it. When we casually or passionately complain about the horrible things going on in the world in an attempt to express concern, effect change and educate others, we actually add more energy to and fuel what we are complaining about. I’m not saying we should never discuss situations or conditions that we would like to see change. I am saying, if we want to see something different, then focusing on the solution; visualizing, praying or doing anything that gives energy to what we would like to see rather than to the problem is the only way to effect change. We usually stop considerably short of solutions. The fact is, we love to complain! It’s what makes us feel important, smart, superior and right.
Something as simple and seemingly innocuous as criticizing a performance has it’s negative impact on the one doing the criticizing. I was listening to a group of people discussing a ballet I was scheduled to attend that same day. The comments ran something like this: “I didn’t think the two styles of dance fit together well.” Another said, “I wish the ballet would have been performed in a more classical style.” Later while I was actually watching the performance those comments I'd heard flashed through my mind. A laugh bubbled up. The dancers were doing truly amazing physical feats that the average person cannot do. I thought, how could anyone have found fault or wanted this to be any different. This performance delighted every part of me. Maybe I’m not as discriminating, but I’d certainly rather come away feeling delighted than disappointed. I realized the cost of that critical little voice inside us all that just loves to lessen our joy by asserting itself and claiming things aren't as good as they could be.
Until we begin to question our beliefs and opinions to see where they are coming from, we don’t even know we are being hijacked. We think our opinions and thoughts are valid, they are who we are. We can be so righteous and proud of these thoughts and opinions and dislike those who don’t share similar ones. In the name of trying to save the world or stop the war, we do more damage by our incessant rants and negative focus. I’m all for changing our patterns and habits to tread more lightly on our planet. I’m all for wars ending forever! But let’s not be fooled by our egos. The wars are happening inside our heads all the time, especially when we are talking about how horrible the wars are. We go to war with war. How can that help? It’s like hitting a child for hitting. The child may stop temporarily, but we are not teaching the child another way. The way to effect change is not in polarized, political warfare. Whenever an issue becomes politicized, we can bet it has been hijacked by the ego and we are most likely not going to come up with a solution because our pride is too attached to winning our way. Solutions are rarely even mentioned. We can’t ever really know why anything is happening or what anything really means in the Big Picture. We only know our opinions. It becomes a self-righteous game to give us each a stronger identity. We get so fooled by this game we are playing!
I have to admit here that my not so little, critical voice has definitely had its prominent place in me. I have suffered something fierce in the past as a result of believing my nasty judgments, opinions, complaints and viewpoints. Relationships have suffered, I’ve held myself back from doing things I would have loved to do out of fear of not doing it well enough. This critical voice has affected every part of my life in a restricting, harmful way, until I became aware of it.
Over the last 11 years, doing Byron Katie’s “Work” on issues that arise in my life that cause even the slightest bit of suffering, and through my discovery of the ancient Huna cleansing technique called Ho’oponopono, I have experienced an oh so gradual, but noticeable release of attachment to my thoughts, opinions and identifications. The feeling is a more accepting and enjoyable experience of whatever is occurring in my field of awareness and a more powerful, freeing feeling of being able to do something positive in any moment that fear, frustration, judgment or anxiety arises. I’m not as hijacked by my ego as I used to be and much more joyful. If I see something out of alignment with harmony occurring in my field of awareness, whether it be a slight irritation or something heart-wrenching, I question it, surrender to it or ask to be brought into alignment with TRUTH. We are living in a polarized world where the truth lie not in one side or the other, but the whole. We usually see only from our polarized point of view rather than from the vantage point of the Big Picture.
Now I find it almost painful to listen to complaints or judgments. I know so well what it does to me when I let the voice have its way with me. When I hear anyone complaining about the president, the war, the conditions in the world, in prisons, in schools, the violence on tv and in movies, the list can and does go on and on, I pull out one of my tools. I do the Ho’oponopono technique on the situation immediately. When I find myself judging another, I do the Byron Katie Work on my judgment. It is an immediate way to free myself from the damage this negative energy does to me and to the world at large. It makes me feel I am doing something positive rather than adding to the problem. I’m not batting 100% yet, but each time I catch that voice and turn my complaint either around or into looking toward a solution, I become a little bit more self aware and it gets a little easier to keep that critical voice in its place. It requires a paradigm shift.