Today I meditated in front of a mirror. Half way through the meditation, I opened my eyes to look at myself. I paid attention to the first thought that came to my mind: “I need to pluck my eyebrows..” The second thought was “my skin looks tired and discoloured”. After that, it was “my hair is frizzy... My posture is slouchy… Is that a wrinkle?! OK WOW, STOP!” In a split second, my mind found five things to judge myself about.
We judge ourselves more harshly than we do anything or anyone else. We are the first layer that the judgement filter goes through. It’s the frontline and it gets hit the hardest. After that, it’s usually our parents, our families, our friends and colleagues, and then there’s the rest of the world.
A judgement is not always a bad thing. It’s simply a decision we make about how we feel about something. If I pick up a book and look at the title and cover, I make a judgement about whether or not I would enjoy reading it. Insert famous quote “never judge a book by its cover”, yes, well, easier said than done!
But I encountered a moment earlier in the week, which I will share with you now.
It was my niece’s first birthday. I video called my brother to wish her a virtual happy birthday. I saw her beautiful face on the screen, her parents proudly putting up a few balloons and I thought "what a precious moment this is". A year ago today she came into this world. This one year, while so much has happened around the world, and while everyone was experiencing something like never before, she was experiencing the first year of her life. What a precious moment, what a precious year.
I took a deep breath in and said “Thank you!”
What makes a moment precious? In the story I just described, it’s quite clear.
But something precious is happening in every moment, every single day.
Why do we decide that one moment is precious and another is not? Why do we judge each moment itself? Why do we judge time? And what good does that do; to “judge time”? Time doesn’t care if I spend my energy and focus on judging it. Time just flows onward, ever constantly, ever consistently, forward. And I just sit here, judging it.
“Please, wait a moment”
What a phrase this is. So often I hear it but never think to break it down. Wait… in the moment. Take a breath and be in the moment.
Time is a funny thing. It’s the thing we crave and hate the most. We can’t stop it and we can’t slow it down, but what we can do is feel it.
How can we feel time?
What does it mean to feel something?
When I hold my lover in my arms, I can feel him there with me, tangibly, physically, feel him.
When I feel happy, I feel it in my body, in my face, in my heart, in my energy. Even the space around me feels happy.
Feeling time is like feeling the space around me. The more present I am, the more I feel time. So much so that when I’m really present, when I’m really in the moment and taking life in fully, like the moment watching my niece on the screen, time seems to stop completely. I have caught up with it and am now moving with it in unison. If only for a short while, and then I get distracted by my ongoing life and judgements of my mind and time slips away again. Knowing it’s there, but not feeling it.
Imagine holding your loved one in your arms and not actually feeling them?
Many of us can’t touch our loved ones right now, so let’s take a moment to appreciate how precious that is, let’s not take that for granted.
And while we’re at it, let’s not take our warm homes for granted. Some of us don’t have this privilege and are faced with a dangerous and unforgiving winter.
Let’s also remember our friends, who support us and love us in all our craziness!
Our pets, who love us unconditionally, and who depend on us! Let us show them the love and respect they deserve.
Every single moment is precious. Every smile, every touch, every “I love you”.
And let’s not take for granted our breaths. Our Time. Our life.
The moment we release judgement, we see clearly that which is in front of us. That which is exactly how it’s meant to be, perfectly imperfect. If we don’t judge others, if we don’t judge ourselves, and if we don’t judge time, then what we get is a million precious moments.
"Love is the absence of judgement" -Dalai Lama