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Going Beyond Judgment

Whatever you're judging in the other person is their story and conditioning, not the essence of who they are.

How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:

  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.

1. Obscuring Our Ability to Relate

"The story is what happened and remembering or talking about what happened. That's fine, but it cannot be a substitute for something deeper that is more important, and that is the actual connection between us beyond words and concepts.

When I look at you, if I only look at you through our story, that would be very limiting, even if it's a nice story.

Of course, the stories that are not nice get stuck in the mind much more than the nice stories. Nice stories are okay: "He's a nice person, he's so helpful..." Then finally, after two minutes, the mind doesn't say anymore. But if he's an obnoxious person the mind can think about it for hours.

So the stories are fine as long as we're not confined to the stories and so that, in the actual moment of interacting, there is another dimension present.

Let's just imagine that we met a couple of years ago and we had an unpleasant interaction. Then, if we only remembered our story, that would totally obscure our ability to relate to each other. There would be further unpleasantness added to what's already there, which would be stuff in your mind and stuff in my mind. And that stuff tends to proliferate - it produces more and more of the same kind of thoughts."

~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: The Power of Stories


This is what we do. We look at one another through our stories of each other. Without realizing it, we allow the story of what happened in the past to dictate the future, thereby closing doors and possibilities for something new to emerge.

Consider the people in your life and any relationships which have been stuck in their surrounding stories. Realize that you no longer need to be confined by these stories.

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2. Pure Attention Versus Egoic Intention

"If there's a negative story in your past with that person, it's even more important to be present with them. To look at another human being the transcendent dimension needs to be there - even as you remember the story.

So, how does that happen? It happens by practicing, at first, and then it becomes second nature to you. Practicing when a person talks to you, or you're looking them - not to think while you look.

How do you do that? Use the inner body as an anchor while you're looking. Feel the aliveness - that's one way of being present - and then you become the spacious awareness.

This is the greatest gift you can give another human being - pure attention, and then there's no longer any egoic intention: "What can you do for me?" or, "What did you do to me last year that you shouldn't have done?" or, "What does she want from me?" - all kinds of stories that interfere with true relationship."

~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: The Power of Stories


Eckhart reminds us that, "To look at another human being the transcendent dimension needs to be there - even as you remember the story." So, this is not about forgetting the story - what happened, happened - but we are called to transcend the story and look at one another in a different way, a new way.

Consider the people you interact with on a regular basis and how you may have become comfortable with relating on a superficial level.

Practice looking at them with undivided attention (don't try not to think - just ignore the mental narrative when it appears). "Use the inner body as an anchor" to help you do this. If you find your attention wandering off, or you start formulating your reply while they're still speaking, notice the anchor of your breathing, or become conscious of your body in some way. In this way, you can remain with them and practice giving them your pure attention.

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3. Judging the Conditioning

"Thinking is habitual and obsessive for many people. They think that, if they stop thinking, they die or they'll have no idea what's going on anymore. They feel totally lost if they can't interpret every moment.

And there's this obsessive need, also, to interpret every person that they meet and immediately formulate opinions. They're all just reflections of your past conditing, in many cases totally unreal.

In some cases, there may be some correlation between what you're looking at and what you're judging, but whatever you're judging in the other person is the story and the conditioning of the other person, never the essence of who that being is."

~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: The Power of Stories


"When you pronounce judgment upon someone, you confuse those conditioned mind patterns with who they are. To do that is in itself a deeply conditioned and unconscious pattern.

You give them a conceptual identity, and that false identity becomes a prison not only for the other person but also for yourself.

To let go of judgment does not mean that you don't see what they do. It means that you recognize their behavior as a form of conditioning, and you see it and accept it as that. You don't construct an identity out of it for that person.

That liberates you as well as the other person from the identification with conditioning, with form, with mind. The ego then no longer runs your relationships."

~Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks


How liberating it is to see that we've been judging the conditioning of others! This is like realizing that the story we've been upset about is just a movie, projected onto a screen. There's no real substance there to be bothered about. Conditioning implies unconsciousness. How can we blame someone who is acting unconsciously?

Consider the people for whom you feel some resentment. Can you "recognize their behavior as a form of conditioning"? Do you see how not recognizing that keeps you both in a conceptual prison of false identity?

Only by seeing this do you have a choice - to keep things as they are or release the judgment that holds the key to the lock of perception.

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4. Through the Eyes of a Dog

"As I look at you and you look at me, I can sense and feel that you experience, you realize, right now, what I'm talking about. There is the presence in you.

You are not judging me and this is a wonderful gift. The other person feels liberated because, intuitively, they know they are not being judged.

Now, usually, you don't get that from human beings. You only get it from your dog. That's why it's so lovely to look into the eyes of a dog. It's so heartwarming because the Beingness speaks through, unobscured by mental stuff. The Beingness speaks through the eyes of a dog and, by looking into its eyes, you feel very alert.

There's something about looking into the eyes of a dog. For a moment it frees you from your mind and you can sense the Beingness.

You may not know this, but the reason why people love looking into the eyes of a dog, or touching the dog, is they realize their own Beingness more, because there's a consciousness in the dog. What you love in the dog, and in another human being, is its consciousness.

When you look into the dog's eyes, the consciousness shines through and, by acknowledging that, it arises in you. That is the function of animals living with humans. It's a spiritual function that they have."

~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: The Power of Stories


Eckhart said that he sensed "the presence" in the woman who was interviewing him. Have you ever sensed "the presence" in someone? Have you experienced that liberating, non-judgmental energy?

Consider the spiritual function of animals that live with us. Be sensitive to the consciousness that shines through them, allowing it to spark the light of awareness in you.

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5. The Dance of Two Dimensions

"There are always two dimensions in you. There is the personal dimension - mental formations, emotional formations, feelings, the limited self - and there is the spacious Being Self. The two are conducting a dance.

And so the mastery of life is to have both active - to acknowledge the world of form, the world of stories, the world of personalities and the physical world but, at the same time, not to be trapped and confined only in that dimension; to also have what I sometimes call space consciousness - to know yourself also and more essentially as the space for it all. Sometimes it's called stillness - whatever pointer you want to use.

Let's say you are this room and you want to know yourself. Let's say the ceiling, the floor and the walls are your physical body, and the content of this room is the content of your mind - the mental and emotional accumulations.

Now, most people only know themselves as that, so this room then knows itself only as the ceiling, the floor, the walls, the furniture and all the stuff in the room. If I ask the room, "Is there more to you than the stuff that is in here and the walls, the ceiling, etc?" The room would say, "No, that's me."

The room has overlooked that, essentially, it is space. The essence of this room is not what's in it. The essence of this room is what enables the stuff to be in it. It's the space. And if the room discovered its essence identity as space, that would be awakening."

~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: The Power of Stories


At some point we will come to the conclusion that there is more to life than the physical and psychological realms. We will see that there is more to the room than its structure and contents. We will know ourselves as the space in which all things happen.

We can know this deeper dimension of ourselves sooner rather than later. It doesn't require any special effort or ability and we don't need to wait until we're on our deathbed. It can be found in the stillness of simply being.

Notice the dance of two dimensions within you as you operate in the world of form, yet have your Being rooted and grounded in the formless, spiritual dimension.

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6. Knowing Through Thought Versus Knowing Through Stillness

"To know another human being in their essence, you don't really need to know anything about them - their past, their history, their story.

We confuse knowing about with a deeper knowing that is non-conceptual. Knowing about and knowing are totally different modalities. One is concerned with form, the other with the formless. One operates through thought, the other through stillness.

Knowing about is helpful for practical purposes. On that level, we cannot do without it. When it is the predominant modality in relationships, however, it becomes very limiting, even destructive.

Thoughts and concepts create an artificial barrier, a separation between human beings. Your interactions are then not rooted in Being, but become mind-based.

Without the conceptual barriers, love is naturally present in all human interactions."

~Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks


When the veils are lifted and we can see that our human interactions have become mind-based, with no real foundation, we realize that we don't have to try so hard to fix our relationships.

Dropping our conceptual barriers dissolves the illusion of separation and spontaneously brings us into the experience of ever-present Love.

As usual, thoughts may arise along the lines of, "Ah, but I can't just drop the barriers," or "it's difficult not to feel separation with so and so." Don't give these thoughts your attention by believing them. Feeling discouraged about your relationships doesn't help.

Instead, keep reading the quotes with openness in your Being and allow them to spark awareness in you. They will guide you into the truth of life. Trust the wisdom within.

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