Often we’re tempted to put our mindshare into how others are flawed. We get ourselves wrapped up in how they are foolish, dumb, going astray, making no sense, insecure or simply bad people. And we take it upon ourselves to point that shit out…sometimes to them directly, but often simply among fellow gossip mongers…and feel some emotional release in the process.
They could be those figuring out their way towards light, or simply those who are operating on levels we don’t quite understand with our frameworks.
But also simply those who have a different position. Those who have a different path or ideologies. Those of another religious or political affiliation. Even those on the opposing side of a courtroom or debate.
But as our self-awareness develops, it’s clearer and clearer that focusing on the problems of others, even if encouraged by our job or institutions, is simply a distraction from coming to terms with our own shit.
And there’s a lot of shit within each and every one of us…the ugliness runs deep.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”Jesus Christ – Matthew 7:3
There’s a purpose and place to intervene in the lives of others, if it means preventing them from directly and/or immediately harming themselves or others. And there’s deep value in freely sharing our insights and experiences with each other. That’s how we grow.
That goes without saying. In these situations, we’re helping each other by seeing their inherent goodness.
However, any deviation of our mind towards complaining, bemoaning, or belittling others for their shit, rather than working through the shit from within us, saps our own extremely precious, limited focus.
Every snide remark, every sarcastic put-down, every crude insult. It works even more insidiously. Every subtle brush-off, every change of subject, every time we present ourselves as more high than someone else.
If realizing our true nature, or simply becoming a better human being, is our priority, then our focus can’t be squandered.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.Jesus Christ – Matthew 7:5
The funny thing is, we really aren’t in a position to see another. We’re too blinded by our own shit. Very few, if any of us, can truly see another for another. We just aren’t that clear. Thus, we’re all in this together. It’s lifetime work for us to piece-by-piece pick out from within us.
But this is just a reminder that our focus, squarely, in order to best help ourselves, and to best help others, is to keep our attention steadfastly focused on the moment-to-moment process of growth within us.
By working from within ourselves, others naturally benefit. But by focusing on the faults of others, no one benefits.
We might come to find that what’s within us is the same as what’s within others. Moments of reckoning in store for all of us no doubt.
And that might have us either take heed and pave a long, arduous road to salvation by realizing others as ourselves…or ignore as too much ‘effort’, rest in complacency, put all blame on others, and slip and slide towards damnation.