I tripped over while doing a morning plod around the block last week! It was a rather spectacular fall which resulted in a lump on my forehead, graze on my knee, a black eye and sprained wrist!
This fall reminded how easy it is for me to slip into the whole blame/judgement habit, both of myself and others! I hit the concrete, let out some expletives and watched my funny mind go to all sorts of unhelpful places. Firstly, I looked for something or someone to blame! The curb, the dog, or my runners!! Then I turned on myself to give me a hard time for being clumsy, rushing and not being mindful! Was any of this true, kind necessary or helpful? NO! So, what did I need? What was a more helpful habit to replace this blame/criticism with? Kindness is the answer, it always helps. When I blame and criticise myself or others, I become a victim. However with kindness I empower understanding and positive change.
So with awareness, I stuck a spanner in the blame/criticism habit cog, the spanner or kindness! So I picked myself up told myself 'that can happen, and did'! I was very grateful I was not wearing my glasses and did not appear to have done any serious damage! A man appeared from a house opposite with his bowl of muesli. He had been having breakfast on his porch and had heard the fall and my expletives. He kindly asked if I needed help and offered me a drink.
I have found it interesting to think about the difference between judgement and discernment. As I understand it judgement is an opinion about a subject or situation based on the information you have. With judgement it is tricky to know whether we have the correction information about a situation or know the whole or true story. It is certainly not true that I am always clumsy, make mistakes, and am not mindful. So when I watched my mind go straight to blame and judgement when I fell I could question the truth and helpfulness of this habit. Judgement implies someone is at fault or to blame.
Discernment, on the other hand is based on a knowing or understanding. So we know or understand something as a result of some training in ethics, compassion and wisdom, which allows us to make a wise decision. And the wisest response is always kindness.
In Buddhism they talk of 'things to take up' and 'things to give up' in order to be a happier more positive force in the world. We require discernment to know what habits are helpful and what habits could to with a rejig.
When I notice this habit of blame and criticism of myself or others I try to remember ........