Monday, March 8, 2010

Beware the Rash Judgment

A businessman passenger in a subway train was finding it difficult to read the day's newspaper as he was being bumped by two kids who kept running around. He looked around and finally saw the dad, who was just staring ahead, not minding what was happening. The businessman allowed a few more bumps from the kids, and apparently fed up, he approached the dad and said, "Hey, aren't you concerned that your kids are so unruly and rude? I've been trying to read the paper but they keep on bothering me. Don't you want them to be more disciplined and a bit more decent?" The dad looked at him and said, "I'm very sorry, I wasn't aware that they were bothering people. We just came from the hospital where their mom died of cancer this morning. I was lost deep in my thoughts."

How can we be sure that we have accurately assessed the situation, that our judgment is truly aligned with reality, especially after seeing the "evidences" of behavior right before our very eyes, or of "hard data" written down in a report, or of information authenticated by an expert? I don't think we ever can be sure.

Of course we have to handle the situation in front of us - but we can do so less harshly, in a non-judgmental manner, trying to be as neutral and objective as we can be, inspite our human limitations.

We can go beyond that, and adapt an advanced attitude, that of forgiving those who have wronged us and of deliberately practicing an attitude of loving-kindness. Thus, we contribute in a small way towards social peace, and in a bigger way towards our own inner peace, and the people we encounter.

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