Perhaps you’ve heard “The measure you give will be the measure you get”. It applies to a teaching of non-judgement. It dovetails well into the golden rule of “Treat others as you would want to be treated”. The aim of this notion is always outward. Not only is there an inherent good in simply making a decision, there’s an even higher good when desiring goodness for the other. Goodness is without judgement, doubt, fear, etc — and yet the exhort is seemingly directed to others only.
Perhaps I was late to the party on this notion, but the idea applies to yourself as well.
“DON’T JUDGE YOURSELF.” Is it really so strange? A similar and more common phrase that encapsulates this notion is “Don’t be so hard on yourself”. I think self-judgement has its place, but I take issue with the semantic. It’s a case of mere preference, but I use “self-evaluation”. In that same vain, we’re asked not to ‘judge’ others, but therein lies a vacuum. We have to resolve how we perceive or feel about someone, right? If not for our own safety at least.
Judgement implies an authoritative or entitled discernment of one’s character. There’s typically a kind of “corrective”, “righteous”, or “deterministic” tone featured with demonstrating judgement.
Evaluation neutrally, indifferent and without bias, finds resolve empirically based on one’s behavior.
Regarding evaluation, we can think of becoming little anthropologists. We observe and record the data. We then dryly look to the data to decide if it conflicts with our personal values. We then discern and decide if the kind of behavior, based on the data, agrees or disagrees with us. We can then be healthily dualistic in our thinking. It, the object or the issue, either stays or goes. From a practical standpoint, being binary promotes healthy evaluations and leads to healthier decision making.
To circle back, it likely better to EVALUATE ourselves/others and not JUDGE ourselves/others. Judgement, in most cases, tends towards shame, doubt, guilt, and cultivates fears to grow and casts unwanted shadows. Evaluation simply takes you back to the chalk board to reassess the formula.
the apartment, I lift my head from
reading and catch a glimpse of the water stain. the
ran her A/C all day till it coughed, died, and oozed its coolant through cracks
gathering just above my ceiling. that was the day you gave up
done searching, you
withdrew both hands
arms folded now. I turn away, moving like
world around now fresh
brushstrokes, oil, everything like the background of old storybook pages.
a water stain;
those late nights.
As the title plainly and painfully asserts, this is salvation: growing into yourself.
Perhaps your acquaintance with the word is lodged in some sort of Christian Evangelical rhetoric. If so, then salvation might mean that your “soul is saved”, so now your guaranteed entry into heaven. Sometimes we’ll preempt the concept with conditional words like “achieve” as in “You’ll achieve salvation IF…” Again, you may have been subject to an otherwise anemic idea of salvation.
Let’s look to the root of the word. Salvus, the original Latin, means whole, safe, healthy and uninjured. A branch word Salve, a verb, is likely used more in the medicinal context; it means to ease or sooth.
If salvation is a state of being, then I suggest that it is without condition. It is not the Nirvana achieved after you’ve purged yourself of desire through various life cycles. It is not utilitarian in that you spend most of your life looking for the right screwdriver for the right screw. It is not something we achieve after doing such and such. It is a process of understanding yourself through ‘fear and trembling’. To echo Thomas Merton’s lasting insight on the idea, “I can’t tell you who you are, and you can’t tell me who I am.”
Biology and virtue nudge us towards being ‘whole, safe, healthy and uninjured with ease and soothing’. We wish this on others and should therefore wish it upon ourselves. Salvation is an ‘end-of-the-day’ idea where it comes down to how YOU decide how to respond to fear and trembling; however, this shouldn’t be done alone. Understanding who you are is largely revealed in the context of fellowship. Allow others to honestly speak into your life. Be an honest voice to those as well.
Share in salvation. Revel in it. Learn, as I am, to thrive in it. It produces in you a growth unlike anything else found in this life. In it you get resilience, love and understanding.
from cave emerging slowly
saunters south feeling spring’s ice crush under paw. a day assembles into focus to creek to
dip and dunk and drink
replenishing the once massive grizzly hide. falls shadowed by rocks and redwood remember his youth splashing and eating and listening for mother’s call:
“you’ll be alone one day; sleeping when cold alone when old, but a soul unsold whose hide goes gray — but wise they’ll say. for he didn’t chase the sun till it burnt to none. instead he was still; a bear never too old or bored to play.”
forcing words out is like trying to push the river south. we
often do this. we’ve lost ourselves to industry, empire, and have fallen deep into the mythology of greatness. “people should soon forget that the river moves on its own and will credit me. I will be deified, I will be whole, I will then be great.” is this not madness incarnate? we must know that we seek to control most when
we anticipate suffering. is not suffering the complete loss of control? the river
means to only have you float on it. is love not the same? we try to control it and it goes wrong. Love requires that you only give it away and yet we
try to keep it. control it. instead of falling back and into
it, letting it take us where it means to. the Westerner knows little about surrender, knows little about yielding, and knows even less about about living outside of time. the very things we draw passion and inspiration from are timeless, and yet we operate as if everything has an expiration.
you’re not mine anymore, I gave you away to the silence of
life. silent because we no longer make the noise of plans, of arrangements, of mouths on skin, of prayers soft, of background music, of giggling, of silly animal sounds, of stirring spoons in morning coffees, of sleeping breathe and weeping eyes. my mansion of memories added another room, your room, that you haunt with side-glances, knowing smiles, and outbursts of laughter. But I gave you
away. you’re dangerously insatiable I could
not find it within me to meet the
need. And you’re worth every need, every want, every drop of passion that pours from your heart should fall into the right mouth.