The chatter of the mind is as endless as it is useless. The constant thinking, assessing and analyzing serves no purpose but to give a sense of identity to the ego. Depending on how far you are from your true nature, the voice in your head can be overwhelming and powerful. It can be far too easy to get caught up in the incessant, circular thought patterns that we mistakenly believe to be our real identity. With all this energy spent in our mind, exactly what are we all thinking about? If we could categorize the uncontrolled thoughts running through our heads, a good percentage of them would be about comparisons and judgments of our self and others.
Why do we compare ourselves to others? The ego always needs to perceive itself as “better than” something or someone else. It will continuously scan the environment to assess where it fits in…is it better or worse? The comparisons can be of almost anything: status, physical appearance, material possessions, intellect or education. Or they can be even more nonsensical such as who pays less in rent, who has the most friends on Facebook or who stayed out later last Friday night.
Judgments are simply misinformed, often negative opinions of others, that establish someone as right and the other as wrong. Most times, it is the ego that deems itself as the standard that everyone is not living up to. Some judgments are easy to identify – we may judge the homeless begging for money or the clothes someone wears to a party as unflattering and unfashionable. But other judgments can be more difficult to detect. They are found when we refuse to sympathize with someone’s situation or when we get upset with a friend’s behavior. When we judge others for how they spend their money, the quality of their relationships with others or how they choose to spend their free time, we are declaring that we are right and they are wrong.
We judge because our ego feels threatened. It does not want others to find success, live in unconventional ways or challenge the status quo. We rationalize these criticisms as personal preferences or opinions, but they are subtle declarative statements the ego uses to maintain its self-perceived importance and superiority.
Sometimes the judgments are turned inwards when the threatened ego feels inferior to another. We can become our own worst critic and self-deprecating thought patterns keep us from authentically connecting with others. When we judge ourselves as worse than someone else (or better than another), it means that we believe our self worth to be dependent on another people. It is a pointer to a belief that you alone are not enough and the ego needs other people to create and justify it’s own identity.
The anecdote to the endless comparing and judging is through presence and awareness. It is found in a way of being that could be described as simple, unaffected humanity. It is simple in that all you need to do is be aware. Place your awareness on your thoughts and gently letting them pass by. Be aware of the mental judging and criticizing of others and let them go. And place your attention on all of the comparisons you make of others that never really amount to anything.
Be unaffected. Unaffected is achieved by releasing all judgments and letting others be as they are. Remember, it is not the action, status or material possession of another that affects us but rather our reaction to it. Our reaction not only defines us, but it impacts our physical, mental and vital bodies. Lastly, be the humanity you seek in the world. Let your perception of the world be colored with compassion and empathy. Know your worth and look for the worthiness in others. Simple, unaffected humanity is a way to be in this world that gives rise and space for all others, including you, to live in gentle peace.