Finding Total Freedom

finding-total-freedomMost of the great spiritual traditions teach us the way to total freedom is to love everyone unconditionally. The problem with this is that it’s really hard to do. It almost seems like it’s an impossible challenge.

I’m going to suggest that we back off of this a step and rather than beating yourself up over your inability to love everyone unconditionally you simply bless them.

Catholic writer and spiritual explorer, Thomas Merton wrote, “The saints are what they are not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everybody.”

As we aspire to total freedom part of the journey is about finding that ability to admire everyone else but not necessarily to admire what they do. People engage in all different types of behavior some of which we cannot condone which is why we need to make the distinction to not admire what people do but rather admire what they are.  Learn to appreciate their beautiful spirit and don’t get caught up in judgment.

In the Bible there is a passage Matthew 7.1 – 5, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For the judgment you pronounce you will be judged and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Many people read this quote and interpret it to mean that if we judge other people we will get some type of retribution from a Divine judge in Heaven. I look at this quote to mean when we judge someone we are setting up certain standards which are impossible to measure up to.

We need to distinguish between judging and evaluating. For example, teachers evaluate their students and coaches evaluate the talent of their players. However, judging is different because when we judge another person it has the implication of condemning them; it cuts other people out of our hearts.

There are two ways in which we judge:

1.    Resentment. People have something we don’t so we feel we deserve what they have and are somehow entitled to it but this doesn’t’ transfer one drop of their success or wealth to us. What it does is it fills our mind with negativity and ensures that we will never have success and happiness in our life.

2.    Taking joy in the suffering of others. There is a part of us that feels an inner joy when someone gets caught or brought down. It is one thing to appreciate that justice must be served, and that virtues and moral standards must be upheld but it’s another thing to take pleasure in someone else’s suffering.

In order to truly bless others you have to renounce resentment and joy in the suffering of others. Renounce, not suppress because letting your feelings come out is very important. If you suppress your feelings it is like trying to keep a lid on a pot of boiling water, the steam will come out somewhere.

Rather than suppress judgments notice and acknowledge when you find yourself judging other people. When you find yourself judging others just know that it is not winning strategy for a successful life.

When you learn to stop judging other people and instead just bless them, eventually you’ll be able to love everyone unconditionally and find total freedom in the process.

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