The other day as I ran along the path, I felt an irritation in my shoe. I ignored it and kept running, just like I am prone to do in my daily life, ignore things until they become problematic. At some point it felt like I had a boulder in my shoe! This is a metaphor for a lot of my past life. Finally I acknowledged it, stopped and bent down to remove it. It was just a tiny little rock, actually more like a grain of sand. Laughing at myself for the discomfort it had affected in me, at my attempt to ignore it and then acknowledging it and making way for it, I suddenly thought of the Princess and the Pea where she was judged for her unsightly appearance, and had to prove her worthiness of being a ‘real’ princess before she was validated. Judgment was the lesson of the day for me, and one I have been working on for a long time, to include walking 500 miles across France and Northern Spain in an attempt to lighten the load of my judgments.
Attempting to see things as they really are without judgment is a daily exercise for most of us, as can be seen in the story of The Princess and the Pea. We so often judge a situation before we have any facts, and one could further question how might we know what fact is truth? In practice, there is a state of liberated judging called “upeksha”, which means non-attachment or equanimity. It means to be able to walk freely between attraction and aversion, likes and dislikes, praise and blame, without attaching to one side or another. However, one thing it clearly does not mean is to ignore when someone is doing harm to others.
Maintaining this equanimity can feel like hanging off the side of a cliff. On one side you are moralizing and on the other you are an enabler. Above all you must keep ego out of the equation. It takes practice, falling down and getting back up again and again. It takes stopping and acknowledging when there is a problem, and investigation. Once we remove the pebble or acknowledge the pea, peeling back the layers and doing the inner work then we can begin to sit in this place of “upeksha”, and along with the practice of love, compassion, and joy we can know how to heal the illnesses of anger, sorrow, insecurity, sadness, hatred, loneliness, and unhealthy attachments.
Whence thine eyes see equanimity in all things; this is peace.
~ Christine Horner