Be

What Judgment Means

Q

Often times, when we occupy the space of “I’m right and you’re wrong,” it keeps us from seeing our own responsibility in matters. When we judge others’ foibles and personality traits, what does it really say about us? What can we do to identify and get rid of judgment in ourselves and in our lives?

A

It is easy to judge others and find fault in them; it is sometimes even enjoyable.

Yet in reality, if our aim is to draw greater blessings and fulfillment into our lives, it is one of the most dangerous things we can do.

When we judge others we often think that we are simply making an observation, and that this action or thought will not affect us. However this is not the case. When we judge others we are awakening and connecting ourselves to a force of judgment.

It is like trying to throw mud at someone—we might or might not hit them but we are definitely tainted by the mud.

And by acting in this way we don’t necessarily affect the other person, but we most definitely draw the energy of judgment and lack into ourselves.

I am often asked, “We know that there are no coincidences, but why, then, do we see faults in others if it is wrong to judge people?” The kabbalists teach that as easy as it is to see shortcomings in others, it is almost impossible for an individual to truly find and assess his or her own faults. In order to change and grow we need to be able to know what it is about ourselves that we need to transform. Yet if we are never completely capable of seeing our own faults, how will we change?

In order to assist us, the Creator created endless mirrors for each of us that allow us to clearly see what we have to change. These mirrors are all the people that are in our lives every day. Every fault we see in another person is an indication that we have an aspect of that issue within ourselves.

In fact, the reality is that the only reason we are being shown these flaws in others is to realize that they also exist within ourselves.

How silly is it then that we often disregard this and focus on what is wrong with other people?

The kabbalists use a simple story to illustrate this lesson. A man spends all of his day in a coal mine and his entire body and face are filthy. As he arrives home he sees a mirror his wife has bought. He looks at the mirror and sees that his reflection is dirty, so he takes a rag and starts cleaning the mirror. He tries and tries with all his might but his face still remains dirty. Of course this man is acting foolishly, as it is not a problem with the mirror but rather his own filth. This is how we usually behave—we see a reflection of our less-than-perfect traits in others, and rather than realizing that we are seeing this in order to change and perfect ourselves, we stay focused on the faulty mirror.

If we truly integrate this understanding into our lives, the next time we feel the urge to judge others we will instead look inward and find how we too possess the fault we see and forget about judging anyone. By acting in this way we protect ourselves from drawing the energy of judgment and lack into our lives. And most importantly, we gain a clear direction for own transformation and growth.

—Michael Berg is a Kabbalah scholar and author. He is co-Director of The Kabbalah Centre. His latest book is What God Meant.

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