As we have seen in my article ‘You Are Totally Responsible‘, you are where you are today because of the choices you have made in your life until now.
Most of these choices are unconscious choices. We respond to situations based on past experience. We respond to people based on our past experience of them.
If we meet someone who has been unpleasant to us in the past, we carry that hurt into the present and this rules out the possibility of having a pleasant experience on this occasion. We do not experience the present moment. Our responses are governed by past experiences. We are living in the past, and cannot experience this NOW moment. We prejudge the present moment. (Notice that the word prejudge is from the same root as the word prejudice)
At all times, try to be aware of your response to every situation. If you feel annoyance, anger, frustration or any other negative emotion,
try to accept that you can choose to experience a different, more positive emotion.
Nobody can make you angry, YOU make you angry. It is a choice, and you can choose to respond differently.
Become aware of how you are reacting. The very process of being aware will bring about change without you having to do anything. By being aware, you will realise that you have choices. You will begin to change. After all, if you’re not aware, you won’t change.
Don’t Judge Anything
In the article on judgement, we realised that we can never see the whole picture. Our judgement is always unreliable.
Instead of experiencing the present moment, we evaluate our experiences. We compare them with our expectations or our standards. But these expectations and standards are from the past. They were laid down when we had previous similar experiences, which were probably based on previous judgements of earlier experiences, and so on.
So, instead of experiencing the present moment, we are judging it, based on past experience. This means that we are not experiencing the NOW.
We are not truly alive, because to be alive is to experience the NOW, because THAT IS ALL THERE IS.
We often do this out of fear. It is scary to really experience the NOW moment. It is easier to judge based on the past than to actually experience WHAT IS. It is often easier to judge than to really live the present experience, whether that experience is good, bad or indifferent. (Note that these are also judgements)
Let each moment be as it is, without judging it to be good, bad, right or wrong, or that it should be different. Just be a witness; observe the flow of life; remember, this is just a play; you are merely an actor. Be in the audience; watch the play; be aware that the real you is not involved.
This real you can be likened to a cinema screen.
On it can be projected a comedy, a horror movie, a romance, anything. But the screen is not affected. You are also the projector as well as the screen.
The ‘real you’ has been described thus:
“Water cannot wet it; wind cannot dry it; flames cannot burn it, weapons cannot cleave it. It is eternal, fulfilled, and joyous, just in the act of BEING.”
It accepts, without judgement. Therefore it cannot suffer, because all suffering is caused by judgement. If we judge any experience to be bad, we suffer. If we can accept WHAT IS, without judging it to be good, bad or indifferent, then our suffering ceases, because we are just experiencing the flow of life.
Above all, don’t judge some of your judgements to be good or bad. They are all a reference to the past, and as such, avoid experiencing the present moment.
You can only experience the present moment, as it happens. You can’t think about it. The very act of thinking about an experience means that the moment has passed. So, stop thinking that you are experiencing, just experience, just feel.
Our very likes and dislikes are judgements, based on past experience. By not judging, we can have a new experience. We will find that many of our likes and dislikes are no longer valid. They dominate our minds and our lives. They prevent us from seeing things as they really are. They stop us seeing WHAT IS.
‘What is’ is all there is.
Everything else is illusion.