No One is Good or Evil - Just Patterned - Grasshopper
People who are judged Right or Wrong, Good or Bad, Sinner or Saint, all come from the same family tree. The behavioral differences they display are determined by the conditioning they collect.
For over a quarter of a century my professional focus has been helping people recondition themselves from habits and patterns that are interfering with the quality of their life. The amazing thing I've discovered is how easy it is to explain how we got to be who we are. The most difficult piece is finding the internal resources to act on the information and put a solution in place.
Any parent can relate to how easy it is to see the solution. I raised 3 sons and am helping raise my grandson. Having been a younger me once, it's easy for me to see the best door for them to walk through. I also know the one that will slam in their face. Parceling out that guidance isn't enough.
Patterns don't pay attention to experienced, sage advice. You need to go deeper and get them to go deeper.
Problems arise when we label someone as their behavior. It never works and it keeps you both on the surface level. When we evaluate another, we are appraising their patterns - their personal collection of ways of thinking, acting and behaving. This is not who they truly are, but if we don't have that awareness, we label them as their conditioning and we both stay stuck.
Patterns have exterior manifestations that are as varied as the sea's surface on any given day - stormy, calm, small waves, large waves, choppy, etc. Deep beneath the surface is the essence of the sea - not affected by surface shortcomings. This depth is the calm place where who we really are lives.
Labels are limiting whether you label yourself or another. Everyone can remember the axiom about first impressions being lasting. When we get a label in our head, it affixes itself with Gorilla Glue. When we label ourselves as our patterns, or label the patterns of another as being who they are, we limit the amount of a connection we can have with that person or with our deeper self. The labeling process keeps us isolated from our source with abundant, internal, judgemental chit-chat, and as a result we impoverish our communication with ourselves and others.
Not only do sticky patterns keep us from finding personal solutions to our challenges, they prevent us from interacting with certain others due to the prejudice of conditioning.
This is not a suggestion to go looking for people with ne'er-do-well patterns and hang out. You will run into enough of those folks in the course of everyday life. This is more a suggestion to get curious about what's beneath the surface when interacting with people who exhibit patterns you don't prefer. You may well find a treasure on the ocean floor - one that would never have been discovered unless you set your own prejudicial patterns aside.
The Persian poet Rumi had great insight on this practice when he wrote:
"Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there."
One of life's greatest treasures is other people. They provide the sand that helps us produce our pearl. If you don't go deep enough with them, you'll never find the oyster bed of opportunity.
So whether you are struggling with your own collection of patterns or those of another, the answer is always the same. Make a visit to where all the answers are - the depth of your being - your quiet source - where labels come unglued and you find the resources to effectuate change.
Change on the surface has the lasting effect of a pep rally. All long-term change happens in the depth of who you are. Mind made noise keeps you from getting there and keeps you stuck on the surface.
Develop the practice of noticing your judgements of yourself or others - good/bad, right/wrong, sinner/saint. The more often you notice the labels, the less often they come around. This noticing practice helps quiet your mind and gives you access to your depth.
Going deep in the oyster rich ocean . . . I wonder if that's how the entrance to heaven became known as the "Pearly Gates."
All the best,
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