I was up early this morning. I was awakened by the rumbles of thunder which accompanied a passing storm. I love thunderstorms, well the sound of the thunder to be exact. I grabbed my Kindle and returned to the book I had been reading.
My mind, during the early morning hours often runs rampant with thoughts. Those thoughts don’t control me. They’re ideas which I find don’t come to me at any other time of the day. This is the time of day when I feel most alive. Henceforth why I keep a Moleskine pocket notebook with me at all times. It sits with a pen on my nightstand, ready to capture the thoughts which often accompany a late night visit to the bathroom.
This morning I grabbed my phone and did a cursory check of my email. I stumbled upon this quote from Seth Godin. I love Seth’s writing as it is straightforward. He says what needs to be said in few words. His books echo this needed simplicity.
Here is that story. “Pema Chodron’s story has stuck with me for a decade: At a meditation retreat, the guy sitting near her kept making an annoying clicking sound. Again and again, she was jolted from her practice because he kept clicking his tongue. During the break, as she gathered up her courage to tell him that he was ruining the day for her and for everyone else, she realized that in fact, it was a nearby radiator that was causing the clicking. Suddenly, the fact that it was an inanimate object changed everything for her. It wasn’t about her any longer. It wasn’t intentional or selfish. It was simply a radiator. The rest of the day was fine, because it was simply a radiator. My biggest takeaway is that the key leap wasn’t in discovering that the sounds came from a radiator. The lesson is that acting like it comes from a radiator completely solves the problem. Sometimes (often, usually), it’s not about us. It’s simply weather.”
Before I was ever introduced to Pema and her writing, I recall making a judgement when I was a young boy. My father looked at me and immediately disputed my judgement saying to me, “You have no idea what’s going on in that persons life.” It’s another take on the old saying about “walking a mile in a man’s shoes.”
I love this way of looking at life. After all we only know what we know. Unfortunately many of us lead our lives believing we know it all. We have the answer to every question despite not knowing the question(s). We make judgments based on our beliefs and believe those judgments to be correct.
My mindfulness practice has helped me keep this assessment in check. As a therapist and as a human being the need to not judge is a necessity. When I find myself beginning to form the thoughts which are the roots of a judgement, I am reminded of the importance to pull those weeds before they are given the opportunity to take over the garden.