Letting Go of Views and Judgements

posted in: Dharma Topics | 0

June 24, 2021, 7:00 to 8:45 pm
Silver Spring, Maryland, community online on Thursday evening
June 25, 2021, 7:00 to 8:45 pm
Open to all online on Friday evening

Dear Still Water Friends,​​

The second of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing reads:

Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We are committed to learning and practicing nonattachment from views and being open to others’ insights and experiences in order to benefit from the collective wisdom. Insight is revealed through the practice of compassionate listening, deep looking, and letting go of notions rather than through the accumulation of intellectual knowledge. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.

This training has helped me process recent experiences that I had with my family. I just returned to my home in Maryland from North Carolina after spending most of the pandemic with my daughter and her family helping to care for my grandchildren. Being in pandemic lockdown together was an opportunity for us all to push the pause button on life as we had known it and really be present with each other. In October 2020, two major family life events happened almost simultaneously. On October 23, my second grandson, Liam, was born and on October 26, my mother, Donna McKinney, passed away. Her passing happened suddenly — before I could get to her in Montana to say good bye. Throughout the year, being away from my home in Maryland and with family members in North Carolina and Montana, the theme of letting go of views and judgements surfaced often in such things as naming the baby, how often I thought he should eat, and what shoes I thought my disabled sister should wear for her back problems.I noticed in observing my relationships with others that there seemed to be a lot of things I have an opinion about that don’t really matter. I often caught myself judging needlessly. I realized that Judging and offering my unwanted opinions are a distraction from showing how much I really care and love my family and friends. I started to catch myself when judgements arose and asked myself if this was any of my business. If it doesn’t really concern me, can I let it be and let go of my attachment to my opinion in order to be more loving and to listen more deeply?

My mediation practice, my teachers, and my sangha are always with me. Practicing the second of the Fourteen Trainings, I am better able to let go of judgement and attachment to my opinions and be present for love.

This Thursday and Friday evenings, after our meditation, we will explore our experiences with letting go of judgements and attachments to our opinions as they relate to family members.

I am curious about your responses to these three questions:

  • How did the pandemic affect your relationships with loved ones?
  • Did you notice judgements coming up with family and friends?
  • Were there teachings or meditation practices that helped you be more present and loving with others during the pandemic?

Looking forward to our time together on Thursday and Friday evenings.

An excerpt on nondiscrimination by Thich Nhat Hanh is below.


Shawna Donaldson

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Darkness Becomes Light
From The Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh

Do not turn your mind into a battlefield. Do not have a war there; for all your feelings—joy, sorrow, anger, hatred—are part of yourself. Awareness is like an elder brother or sister, gentle and attentive, who is there to guide and enlighten. It is a tolerant and lucid presence, never violent or discriminating. It is there to recognize and identify thoughts and feelings, not to judge them as good or bad, or place them into opposing camps in order to fight with each other. Opposition between good and bad is often compared to light and dark, but if we look at it in a different way, we will see that when light shines, darkness does not disappear. It doesn’t leave; it merges with the light. It becomes the light.A while ago I invited my guest to smile. To meditate does not mean to fight with a problem. To meditate means to observe. Your smile proves it. It proves that you are being gentle with yourself, that the sun of awareness is shining in you, that you have control of your situation. You are yourself, and you have acquired some peace. It is this peace that makes a child love to be near you.

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