We cannot know anyone else’s experience. Ever. What we think or feel or ‘know’ another is experiencing is our own assumption, our own opinion, nothing more – our own dream of their dream, a dream within another dream. A recursive dream. We can witness their behaviour, we can see how they act and talk, we can ‘read’ their body language, we can listen to their stories, we can make intelligent assumptions, and have gut reactions, but we surely must have the humility to always admit that we can ever, ever, ever know for sure what they are going through, what they are feeling, and we are only ever left with our own experience, our own intuition and assumptions, our own dream of their dream, our own criteria and judgements. Nobody is the authority on anyone else’s experience, and when we wake up from this mirage, we can truly meet the one in front of us as they actually are, not as we judge them to be or want them to be. It’s ‘staying out of conclusions’ as I often put it, and it’s a deep resting in the intimacy of own experience.
We can never truly judge another, we can never really proclaim that anyone else is ‘enlightened’ or not, or judge ‘how far’ they have progressed in their ‘evolution’, or know how ‘free from suffering’ they are, or how ‘clearly’ they see things, for it would all be our own dream, our own opinion, our own unmet ‘stuff’, projected. How quickly we come to conclusions about ‘others’, and then hold onto those conclusions as if they were The Truth. The mind loves to compare, to judge how ‘awake’ someone is compared to something called ‘me’, to proclaim itself enlightened and see others as less so. Judgement – or rather, taking judgement to be fact – is the mechanics of non-acceptance, plain and simple. The mind is a comparison mechanism, and just because we see ourselves as spiritually ‘awake’ doesn’t mean the mechanism has been disabled. The judgement and comparison mechanism is infinitely creative and will find new and subtle ways to operate. Woe betide the one who proclaims and judges themselves as ‘spiritually finished’, and free from suffering, and free from ‘me’, and then judges others as less so. Oh, the irony!
And yet, who we are watches all of this, watches the comparison and judgement mechanism, never judging any of it, unable to judge, and unable to judge judgement as ‘bad’ (what a judgement!), silently resting in the background, its feet up on the cosmic sofa, secretly smiling to itself as all the human judgement and non-judgement and talk about judgement plays itself out, as conclusions are held and conclusions are released, as we judge others as less or more than ourselves, as superior or inferior, and forget that we are only ever humanly judging and not receiving privileged secrets of the universe through our awakened antennae. We are human, all too human, no matter how divine we are.
Who we truly are is always deeply at peace, beyond conclusions, and always enjoying the play of humanity on its cosmic television screen – including the advertisements. Relatively, we may find ourselves judging others, comparing ourselves, thinking we are more ‘awake’ than others, judging our God or our Teaching or even ourselves as the One and Only, and relatively speaking, this may be something for us to look at, to be curious about, to explore, to be aware of, no matter how ‘awakened’ we think we are. How are we separating ourselves from ‘others’, even though there are no ‘others’? Yet ultimately, who we truly are allows all of it, holds all of it, the judgement and the lack of it in the moment, holds all of this astonishing human drama in the palm of its hand, wraps it in a forgiving embrace, loves it to death, quite literally, and this is the wonderful paradox of existence, the ever changing and the never changing at all, the dance of the Beloved. And when even that judgement falls away…