Good and Bad: Don't judge meditators
It wasn't until the last day that I was able to ask this man who meditated nearby me at the Myanmar meditation hall if I could take his picture. It's important to remember that we all walk different paths, especially when it comes to the ones in our minds. Photo: Isaac Stone Simonelli
ON THE sheet of rules at the Myanmar monastery it notes that we should not judge other people's practices, which makes me smile. I had come to the same understanding the day before.
Aroon is struggling. He seems to be struggling with the solitude, struggling with the routine.
I find myself wondering if this was something his father was making him do, as Aroon slept through the first meditation session and occasionally the second one. Of course, if I could speak with him, I would have a better idea, perhaps more understanding. But I'm not speaking.
Nonetheless, I realize that there is no need to judge his practice. We are all on paths. Those paths are different. And though one section of another person's path might remind us of a part of ours that we have already walked, it is only similar, it is not the same.
So I don't judge Aroon.
Maybe if I did this a couple years ago, I would be struggling also. I'd also be getting out my mobile and playing games on it or escaping to the library upstairs, I think.
I pause and rephrase the thought.
Perhaps two years from now I will be here and also struggling. Then again, maybe fifteen more days here and I will be struggling, I think, correcting my logic.
Often when we say “I'm not judging”, what we are saying is that we are not judging someones actions to be bad. Standing in the hallway, waiting to collect my alms for breakfast, it hits me as I read the sign: judging goes both ways.
When opening my eyes and changing position during meditation, I see those in front of me and beside me in utter peace, well sometimes. One round-faced monk, sitting near me on this particular day has a face as serene as the surface of the deepest of lakes, his legs folded up into a full lotus position, his hands, like Buddha's hands, held peacefully in his lap.
If I am not to judge other's practices, I should not judge that as good.
Opening my eyes one night – the lights are still on – Aroon is sitting there, back against the wall, feet out in front of him, his face incredibly serene.
“Good on you mate,” I think, smiling to myself.