Sunday, April 22, 2012

From Judgement to Compassion

היום חמשה עשר יום שהם שני שבעות ויום אחד לעומר
Today is fifteen days, which is two weeks and one day of the omer
חסד שבתגארת
A day of loving kindness in a week of compassion

At services yesterday, I spoke about how the kabbalists viewed Rosh Chodesh, the start of each month, as a chance for renewal. We start with the darkness of the new moon which then grows to fullness. It's a good time to take a breath, and have a brief moment of teshuvah.

I grapple with the judgemental side of my personality. I am very hard on myself; if I'm going to do something, I'd better do it right -- whatever that means. That attitude can seep into my observations of what others are doing--or not doing, as the case may be. And when my thinking goes in that direction, I become unaware of other aspects of what is happening that need to be taken into account.

In the early years of my Makor Or practice I spent a lot of my contemplative time looking at my judgemental tendencies. Then in a Elul teaching session,  Norman talked about looking at teshuvah not as repentance, as it is often translated, but as a returning--closer to its meaning. Keep turning around whatever it is you are concentrating on and see what is on the other side.

It was when I looked at the other side of my judgement attitudes, I saw compassion. For if I didn't care, there would be nothing to be judgemental about. So if, when I'm feeling those judgemental thoughts inch up on me, I can focus on the why do I care, I might be able to find the compassion that lives on the other side. And if I can look at what is happening through the lens of that compassion, I can find a clearer way to help what ever the situation may be--it may be to help others, it may just help myself. It may be that I find a way to solve an issue; it may be I find a way to let an issue go. Either way would bring loving kindness into the mix.

No comments: