Sunday, January 24, 2010

Listening and Observing without Judging

~*~ Pre-pre-post: I'll continue the series of my favorite classes in a couple of days, ka khairee. ~*~

~*~ Pre-post: A very informal post, but I'll work on it when I'm in a writing mood -- AND will make it longer and more Qrratugai-like too. ;) I just had to let this out desperately. You understand. ~*~

There’s so much we can learn from others, even if we don’t understand them at all, if we only try to listen to them without judging them, if we only try to observe what they do without deciding if it’s wrong or right. When we judge someone else’s actions, views, or thoughts as bad, we’re giving ourselves the right to decide that our views and actions are better than theirs and that we are the rightly-guided ones and they aren’t. I’m over 100% sure that everyone does this – I’m sure I’m not generalizing. There’s always something we think we know that other people don’t know, and often, we feel the need to “correct” those who aren't "rightly-guided." It may be your typical Muslim who is SO sure that because he’s on the right path, he is obligated and honored to guide everyone else, or your typical outsider who comes to your land and decides that you’re oppressed and he is liberated enough to liberate you as well and put you in the exact same spot that he’s in – though you live in two extremely different environments – or just you yourself when you are perfectly sure that your opinions are actually facts, that what you have to say is more important than what someone eels has to say, or that because you know certain secrets of religion/culture/etc. and someone eels doesn’t know it, that other person is worth less than you.

It seems to me as though the moment we see someone who’s different from us, we feel like this world is in danger because, oh my God, we’re so dissimilar! But is it really? I’m learning that perhaps we need to pause more often when we meet new people, or even if we’re with old friends or acquaintances whose thoughts don’t parallel ours, maybe even contradict ours. Perhaps we need to utilize some of our spare time and reflect on our own thinking style. Is it possible that we are not the only right people on earth? Is it possible that we are probably even wrong in certain things? Is it possible that what works for us may not work for other people? Is it possible that we can befriend people from all spheres of life and not just from those of our own?

I’m going to try this, observing and listening without judging. Maybe I’ll learn something that can benefit me and/or people I care about; maybe if I take my time and try to understand other people’s thinking, they may reciprocate and try to understand mine as well. Maybe all the religions and cultures and those "weird" rituals people cherish in every part of the world will start making enough sense to me for me to appreciate them as much as I appreciate my own. If others did the same, maybe none of us would claim the right to decide who is on the “correct path” path, whose rituals are “barbaric” or “stupid,” or why a certain religious system or way of life is better than another one. My start is going to be communicating with people in such a way that they do not feel the need to *defend* themselves but will only make sincere attempts in helping me understand their thinking, behavior, and practices. There’s nothing wrong with our explaining ourselves to others, but the moment we feel as if we have to defend ourselves, then something’s wrong – with either or both parties involved.

So! Let’s try to listen without judging, acknowledging and appreciating the fact that everyone has reasons for why they are the way they are, and whether we agree with those reasons or not, they are just as legitimate as the reasons you and I have for our own beliefs/actions. Who knows, we might discover we have some important things in common.


  1. I was at a 2-day workshop a couple of weeks ago and the 'task' that we came away with was a class pact to not use ANY kind of put down for 24 hours. No negativity - even when we were being challenged, the idea was to put out positive energy and remain chin up.

    Anyway, it wasn't as easy in practice - trying to be completely PUT DOWN free for 24 hours, is, ahem, a challenge.

  2. LOL! 24 hours! My God! Yeah, it's quite a challenge. But I guess once you become conscious of what you do, say, and think, it may get a little easier -- or you'd hope it does.


Dare to opine :)

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