When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying, “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are. — Ram Dass.
I haven’t quite developed Ram Dass’s way to avoid judging my neighbors, but avoiding judgment is an important work in progress for me. One way for me to remember to be less judgmental is to recall all the times I have been judged by others and I have resented it. Perhaps, an even better way is for me to remember my own harsh judgment of myself. We are often our own worst critics.
God teaches me every day to judge less, especially myself. He/she accepts us just the way we are, so should we.