As a society, we believe in right and wrong and in black and white. So, when we see something, we want to judge it as good or bad. Today, many would judge being in debt as bad and having $1 million as being good. It is what it is. When we place a label on financial health, we are actually robbing ourselves of peace and happiness in the moment. If we label $1 million as good and $5 million as great, then if we get $1 million then we will be happy for a moment and then wonder why we do not have $5 million, yet. If we never reach $1 million, then what do we feel? Are we not good enough to be wealthy? Money is what it is neither good, nor bad, nor right, nor wrong.
There is a fable about judgments that I always liked:
A farmer had a son who went for a journey and came back with a wild horse. Others exclaimed what a find to the farmer. The farmer said it is what it is, neither good nor bad. His son one day went riding and got bucked from the horse and broke his leg. Others exclaimed how disappointing to lose his son’s help in the fields. The farmer said it is what it is. A few weeks later, the military came around and enlisted many of the young men, yet left the farmer’s son due to his broken leg. Others exclaimed how fortunate. The farmer said it is what it is.
Life is about trusting (not judging) that if an event does not go your way is that it can be worked out which is easier said than done. A financial disaster will not ruin you forever yet it may seem like it. If you do not get one job, then another job is probably on its way. We learn in life that we can not always change the events (especially those in the past unless you have a time machine), yet we can change how we feel about them. The key is to take the judgments off of what we believe about the event. Even if we label something as good, there must be a bad, as well. For example, if we are a saver, what will happen if a disaster comes and wipes out our life’s savings (e.g., stock market crash or medical illness)? If we see ourselves as good because we saved, then how do we feel if we lose it all? The key for me is that money is money. If I had it once and lose it, then I can have it again. Yet, neither saving money nor spending money is good or bad, just is.
For example, we can get so worked up about having a car wreck or having an unexpected bill that it will deter us from achieving our goals because we judged the event as bad. Yet, in reality, events like these things happen. It is how we interpret them that are the key. One may ask wouldn’t the absent of judging something as good leave us feeling bland? No. As an exercise one morning (or even now), close your eyes for a few minutes and take a few deep breaths. Just concentrate on your breath and let go of all thoughts that may come up (e.g., meditate). If you can, do this outside while sitting, standing or lying down on the grass outside. What do you feel when you are not concentrating on your thoughts, your “to do list” and judgments? Peaceful? Calm or at ease? What I am learning is that our natural state is one of peace, joy and love. Yet, when we start to judge things, we bring in all the negative emotions as well.
To remove the effects of judgments, we need to learn instantaneous forgiveness. We may get upset for people who we perceive as taking advantage of us or hurting us in some way (e.g., a boss not giving us a promotion). The perception is that not getting a promotion will hurt us when in reality a better job may be on its way or the promotion may have lead us to working long hours and ruining our family life. In reality, we do not know what is around the corner. Yet, if we stay angry and resentful, we are just pushing away our future prosperity and peace.
For example, as a manager looking for new employees or as a coach helping people with their resumes and interview skills, I can tell who is angry at their current jobs. As a manager, this sent a red flag to me that they wanted to work for me not necessarily for the right reasons but more for getting away from their current situation. This red flag was if they are angry at their current job will they be angry in this job? Or, do they have the skills to stay even keel when things did not go their way?
For prosperity to work, we need move towards what we want (happiness, peace, joy, etc.) instead of running away from what we do not want (what we deem as bad). If we are running away from something, the situation is going to follow us.
Instantaneous forgiveness is about learning to let go of the judgment as quickly as possible. As a friend says, we are human thus we will judge, yet do not let the judgment affect how you treat others. This is about accepting credit card companies and your company (and boss) for who they are. A credit card company may charge you a high interest rate, yet do not let this affect how you deal with them (e.g., as the evil empire). They are just a company doing business. You will probably have more luck working out a payment plan if you recognize this instead of getting angry at them over the phone where they just want to hang up on you. You may initially dislike you boss when he does not give you the promotion you wanted, yet get back in there and see what you can do to change his mind the next time the promotion comes up.
At the end of your life, will not getting promoted or being in debt really define who you are? It is really our judgments on the events that affected our happiness and peace, more than the event itself.