If I want to know whether I am good at something, at par with a certain height, achieved a certain level, or how far do I have to go to arrive at a goal, I would have to compare my being somewhere with something, or someone to ascertain it. Even if I choose not to use something or someone as comparison, I would have reflect back from where I had been at one point of time in my life, and compare with where I am at this moment to assess whether I have become better, improved or grown. Am I not also a ‘someone’ or a ‘somebody’? If this is true, isn’t that too, a comparison with someone, only in this case, is with myself?
In order to compare, judgment is needed. And judgment, is no other than defining other people in accordance with our terms of perception and ideas, inevitably leading to an already unconscious definition or judgment of myself.
Another way to look at this is the concept of duality – where in simplest term, you would have to know sadness to know what happiness is. Though that is a mind state comparison, let’s look at a level of form comparison for example’s sake, someone has to be last in class, in order for the first in class to claim his prize, no? So even if the last in class has obtained 7As in his exams, and yet is the last in class, he is labeled and defined as ‘not such a bright child afterall’. They all require some form of judgments.
The truth is that I have never left anywhere as long as I am still within the swing range of the pendulum from one end to another. Take for example, if I decide that I am good, then I must have left badness; and how would I know that I have left badness unless there is someone there to show me that I am better than another (as in, my judgment of this other person being bad or worse than me), or I would have a set of ideas or perception to tick off in a list to ascertain that I have left badness. Whatever it is, I am still within the range, in a string of measurement; and to measure would mean that even if I am good for now, I could or might be bad for later – as in, the future. It would be like climbing a never-ending ladder, or walking on a path that never ends, asking occasionally, “Am I there yet?” And in the whole process of it, I leave not any judgment towards others or myself.
I am here, why be there? And if I am appreciating where I fully am right here right now, I am good for now, just as I was good then, and will be good later; wherever I am. There is no comparison with any other because there is no one to compare with. What I would term as good, may be a not-good-enough for another; and what I term as a not-good-enough point, might be a darn good place to be for another. There is absolutely no basis for comparison at all! As and when I start to compare, which would require me to have a set of definitive ideas to define others and myself, I am back at square one – haven’t gone anywhere, not arriving anywhere. It is an illusion to think that I am better off today than before or anyone at all. So if I need not compare, judgment need not arise too. The ideas cease to function when I am where I am; which is here; acknowledging and appreciating the Now.
Having said that, we can’t really escape from comparison except to be right here and now. Byron Katie says, God, is What is; and What is, is Reality. I cannot be any better, or any worst off now because this is all that I am, right here, right now. When I start to compare with another, I already start to label others delusionarily to satisfy the ego’s insatiable thirst to be special or unique – as if I am not already special or unique, being with what I am, right here and now. When we start to define, label or to crudely put it, judge others or ourselves, we either have to put others or ourselves up on the pedestal or down from eye level, enhancing already the existing separation further. Either way, we give away our own sense of self unconsciously and unlovingly. When we don’t love ourselves, seriously, where are we but back at where we were again – opps, is that a judgment, too? Yes, a judgment of self. Do you now see we run around amok in circles, not going anywhere except being pulled by the nose like a bull?
The “I” is always trying to survive and stand out in this dream that we deem so real. We fail to recognize that this is where we are and what we have now and is already the most loving place to be. When I was in Hong Kong, a friend and I took a tram to the peak, arrived there for less than 3 minutes and then took another tram, thinking there was another peak to arrive at before exploring and appreciating where we already were, when in fact, that very second tram that we boarded was actually the tram downhill. My friend said, “shucks, we arrived and didn’t know it; so now we have to go down and go up again.”
Isn’t that true about how we keep thriving ahead, not fully appreciating ourselves at where we are already? And yet, in that appreciation, the gentleness that accompanies lures us to flow along, elevating us to a higher level without our needing to do anything, except to appreciate ourselves for where and what we are here and now. No one else needs to be included in it, you see. There is only me, and me alone. We have already heard – the journey is ours alone to travel, and each is as unique as any sea shell you’d find in the sea? Have you ever come across two sea shells that looks-a-like? Some may look similar, yet different in its own way. And that is what we are, each a unique gem in our own stance, in our own appreciative space.