Pouring rain filled our skies, our gutters, our roads. A real wintery blustery day from above. Huge pellets of water crashed into our windows and slid down in a hurry. I was fascinated by the different views I encountered from the many people I spoke with today. Some were put off, some were happy, some were annoyed. Most everyone had a comment, myself included.
It struck me that we all experience our days through our own personal filter. It was the same weather for everyone but their own thoughts or mental talk eg “This is a good day because I feel the heat and am glad the cold is here” or “ I am freezing so I can’t wait for winter to be over and I’m especially not enjoying today”. What happens as we filter our days through the sieve of our own experiences and desires? Why not just sit in the experience and ‘be’. Why not cease to judge? Why not say “hello day I greet and accept whatever you offer me minute to minute”. This way we flow with what comes, the rain, the heat, the wind, the pain, the sadness, the joy, the laughter, the tears and we allow ourselves the possibility of experiencing something in a new and different way, rather than based on past experience. Adopting this approach means we are really living, not just experiencing through the filter of our judgement, there is just our true self in non-judgemental mode being grateful for life in whatever its form.
This approach is even more important as we encounter people and these days we are always meeting people from totally different backgrounds and cultures, whether in our home towns or in our travels. (see travel photos). On our trip to China, we experienced huge differences on a daily basis…how and where people live, their food, the crowding, their temples and palaces, their language, their culture, the way they conduct business…..it was a daily trip away from our comfort zone or what we were used to but that was the fantastic part, that it was so different. If we bring the past experience and judgement to any situation, then we can totally miss the experience and/or the individual and the chance of a real connection with the person or place.
In the photo above we were invited into a private home of middle class Chinese ( I tell you this so you have an idea of the standard of living which is called middle class in China). As we entered their home from a gateway in a wall, food was hanging up, being dried in their front entrance, just hanging off the stair rails. This was a very different site to what we are used to when we visit and we share a meal with people from the ‘West’!!!’ However, ‘everything was different and nothing was different…. it was a warm and welcoming moment with great food and apart from the language barrier we were just ‘brothers and sisters’ sitting down to share a meal. Our host had been a chef for the Chinese President and his food was a delight.
Moving on from my China experience I ask the question, what if the last time you met a particular person, they seemed very cold and remote, how would you feel and respond when they cross your path again…..are you are already set against them, have made your mind up that they are not your kind of person? What if there was a very good reason for their reaction at the time and it had nothing to do with you? Perhaps they had been verbally abused by their husband and the upset and lack of self worth at the time had caused them to appear cold because they had been buried in hurt and pain and did not want to show any vulnerability. Perhaps they were experiencing enormous physical pain. Perhaps they had just had terrible news. If we were able to flow with the now and not bring the mental chatter of the past experience into the present, then we could offer a totally open and vulnerable heart to this person who may be in need of it. Let’s try to be less judgemental and dismissive. I remember at a dinner, I attended a long time ago, I was in converstaion with a few people, one of whom was a teacher, sitting on the other side of the table. She constantly lost the thread of the conversation and seemed to not follow at all. Sadly, I remember thinking I was glad she wasn’t teaching my child as she did not seem with it at all and I mentally questioned her competance. I so wished I had not judged her in that moment. It remains a moment I regret. As it turned out, I continued the conversation with her and later she told me she had a significant loss of hearing. MMM who’s the incompetant one now???? And who felt really awful for the rest of the night? It taught me a big lesson. We don’t know people stories, or what makes them the way they are so we shouldn’t judge, we should just love and accept (unless one is actually at risk of harm and then one should remove oneself from the relationship).
Thankyou for reading. Live well and have a great day (or night) Leanne