Parents: ignore judging Looks or Comments – you know your Child best! – 23 Feb 16

I yesterday wrote that one should not judge people from a glimpse that one happens to see from their lives. Especially as parents, one can often be at the receiving of such quick and unnecessary judgement. This can make anybody over-conscious about his decisions in raising their children.

It is quite natural: your toddler throws a temper-tantrum in a supermarket. You know what you are supposed to do according to countless parenting-advice-books: react calm, let him or her scream and continue about your business. Once the child has calmed down, you can talk about it. Nevertheless there is this one nagging feeling inside of you: oh no, what is everyone going to say? You feel guilty as though it is your fault that your child just had this meltdown. You see other people looking at you and you feel ashamed.

There are enough people who actually judge. Who look at a child misbehaving and straight away blame the parents, not thinking that it might just be that child’s worst day! They don’t consider what may have happened just before the outburst!

After that, there are people who somehow feel entitled to judge on parental decisions of other couples: they comment on children sleeping in the bed or even bedroom of their parents, they disapprove of nursing children for more than a certain time that seems appropriate to them, others disapprove of bottle feeding, regardless the reasons for it and some even have problems with the choice of clothes of some parents!

As long as those children are not yours and their actions don’t directly influence you, why do you even bother to create your judgement? You don’t know what is behind that and really, it is in most cases not your business. You make a parent feel bad – which is by the way not helping the child’s behavior either!

For the parents, I would like to say you should not mind other people as much. Be confident about your decisions and let your child as well as the surrounding see that, too. Sometimes you anyway feel guilty or embarrassed for no reason at all. Often, you imagine other thinking more than they actually do – and that makes you insecure.

You are the one who sees your children the whole day long, not the person who just walks by. Not the other patients in the doctor’s waiting room. You know whether your child has deserved a chocolate in the morning and you decide whether you get the best sleep with your baby in your bed or in a separate bed!

Parenting teaches you bigger confidence in your own decisions and helps you grow up in this way: you don’t need to care about other people’s judgement anymore!

Be careful with judging others – they may do the same with you! – 22 Feb 16

Don’t you sometimes think that we judge others too easily? That we decide to have a certain opinion about them simply based on seeing them for a very short time, acting in a certain situation? Do you realize you are sometimes judged the same way?

I am someone who says we need judgement. Yes, we do need to judge what is right or wrong, good or bad otherwise we will never in life be able to take decisions. Judgement on others however, should always be handled differently! You may have to judge quickly on whether you want to go way A or way B but when meeting another person, you are not in a rush and may not ever need to make a final judgement at all!

See, we usually get to know a glimpse of a person in our daily life. Unless you spend a lot of time with the other one, there is no way you can really understand where he or she is coming from, why they act the way they do and what they are thinking about.

So you go through your life, catching glimpses of other people’s lives. Some of us right away make our judgement: the woman in the business suit is money-focused. The man with his two children is a good father. The old lady with a bag full of empty bottles is a heavy drinker. But how do we really know?

Life is not black and white. Circumstances lead to actions, many colours paint a picture. Your way does not always have to be the right one. Maybe for you, maybe not for others around you! You may feel good the way you live but there can be others who want to live differently and just because you wouldn’t enjoy that, they may very well do!

By judging, we try to categorize the world and put it in a system that it actually doesn’t fit in. We don’t realize that in the consequence we sometimes react in a negative way on others which is completely uncalled for. We may even prevent positive things from happening to us by doing this quick judgement.

Keep an open mind. This will help you incredibly while trying not to judge others. Remember that there may be other circumstances than what you see right away. And even if you don’t approve – the other one is free to think and act differently, isn’t he? Many times, it won’t even affect you in any way, so you can let it go instead of reacting to the difference.

I think it would help most of us to take all these points into consideration when meeting other people. Be open for each other and anything new that comes your way!

Don’t make fast judgments about another Culture – get to know it first! – 29 May 13

We have made a lot of experiences with guests at the Ashram and of course, in the same way as I describe them here on my blog, there are guests who write blogs and they write about what they have seen and done in India. We often connect with them through social media – or are even connected before they arrive at the Ashram – so we read there, too, what they share with their friends. Sometimes I feel like telling the writers that they should travel a bit longer, live in India for some time, learn the language and live among Indians instead of surrounding yourself with other foreigners.

Why am I saying this? I have seen so often that people come to India for two months, four weeks or even only two weeks and then write an article with advice saying ‘If you come to India you have to do this…’ or ‘Indians are like this…’. They give very strong statements not about their particular situation or experience. They generalize whatever they have seen and tell everyone that this is India.

Let me give you an example: in one blog I read a woman saying ‘Touching each other, even in friendship is a taboo in India! Nobody hugs each other, physical contact of any kind does not take place!’ I was so surprised to read such lines and wondered how she, in the time that she spent in India and especially at the Ashram, could have missed that people walk arm in arm, that they don’t hesitate placing a hand on each other’s shoulders and that especially friends are quite physical with each other? Yes, men and women in marriageable age don’t usually hug and touch each other very much, that is true. Particularly in friendships though, among men and among women, people are very close, also physically. This lady had just seen a small part of India and did obviously not look very closely – but she makes a statement about the whole of India, pitying everyone in the country for a lack of human touch which only exists in her mind.

While this woman described a negative impression of India, another blog writer surprised me when he rushed to a conclusion that was overly positive for this country. Yes, in India people live in joint families with their parents, aunts, cousins and other family members. It is a wonderful concept that I support and believe is right. At the Ashram, too, you have an example of a community that lives well together, without fights and tension that western people often expect to be unavoidable. That does not mean however what this writer assumed: ‘All over India there are families living in peace and harmony. They love each other, don’t fight for their parents’ money and property and manage to share it all unconditionally!’ Unfortunately not everything looks that bright in India either! Families have conflicts, just like everywhere and in many it is exactly that, money and inheritance, that lets them break apart. We are witnessing a trend towards separate homes right now – something this man might have found out in a talk with us but hardly just by watching the surrounding, as nobody shows their family problems to a stranger…

It is good that people tell of their experiences honestly and freely. Others get an impression of what India is like and may want to come, too. Just don’t jump to conclusions for an entire country, a whole culture and a complete society. What you have seen is only a small frame of a huge country with uncountable facets of life!

Do not Decide before how the Future will be – 27 Jan 09

The last two days I wrote about judging others and today a woman came for a healing session who also talked about this. When I asked her for what she would like to have healing she said that she wanted to change her thinking. “I realize myself that I have stereotyped thinking. I notice that I often judge others before I really get to know them. I just hear their voice or I see them and then I do not really give them a chance.”

I told her that it is already great that she realizes this. This is the first step. I think I have written about this subject before, too. Many people have a pre-decided mind. It can be for persons, for places but also for situations. Imagine someone tells you of a new restaurant and tells you the name. You do not like the name and maybe you didn’t like the restaurant which was in the same house before and you immediately think that the new restaurant cannot be good.

One day a friend of mine said ‘I don’t like mushrooms’ and he put them aside on his plate. When I asked him if he had ever tried mushrooms he said ‘No, never.’ How can he know that he doesn’t like it if he never tasted? Or someone invites you to a meeting in a café and you imagine that if you go there you will only stand around and it will be horribly boring. So you set your mind and don’t go there. Or you go there and are in a bad mood because you knew before it would be boring. But maybe you just cannot enjoy it because you decided before that you would not like it. You cannot be open and have fun or accept the situation as it is because your mind was set before. And in this way you keep yourself from having fun, from enjoying, from being happy.

The woman who was with me today had seen this and she knows already that you need to work on yourself to get rid of this thinking. Be open and accept the things as they come. Then you can really enjoy.

Belonging to a Group for Security and Identity – 26 Jan 09

Yesterday I wrote that people who feel that they are being judged upon start judging others. In schools you can see that children and teenagers make certain groups, according to interests. There are some who like to do sports and others who prefer sciences and like to spend their time reading. And the people of these groups often dislike each other. Decisions are made in the group and according to what the group thinks.

This is very normal and you can see this tendency not only in children or teenagers. When they grow up and choose a profession, there is a group of people with the same profession. Then there are groups according to what they like to do in their free time. People want to belong somewhere. When they are in a group they have a feeling of security. If it is a group of friends or a community, a group of people gives security. Spiritual people are a group on its own and like in every group there is always competition and jealousy. When a person’s interest and path changes, the person also changes groups.

We make these groups but actually everybody has to walk his own way. A famous poet, Tagore, wrote a very famous poem about it which is called ‘Ekala Chalo Re’ which means ‘Walk Alone’. Everybody comes to this world alone and leaves again alone.

In India we also have the saying that Sadhus, spiritual persons, don’t make groups. They take their own responsibility without relying on others or thinking about other people’s judgment. This is why I am not interested in any group and do not find myself belonging to any group and don’t want to make any group.

Today Roger and Mady dropped us in Erkelenz and said goodbye to us with eyes full of tears. But we will see them again in three weeks as they are coming to India with us. The week in Erkelenz started with a Darshan this evening. Before that we ate a great dinner which Carolin had cooked for us. I am so impressed by her cooking skills. She is only eleven years old and even though I know that she always watched me cooking when I was here I am amazed that this German girl prepared a full Ayurvedic dinner on her own. And it was very tasty!