Janet and I have been talking in our teacher-pupil meetings about a tendency we both have to find fault and to be critical and judgmental. It wasn’t pleasant to expose this tendency, but by the end of our discussion, we were both laughing at ourselves and feeling determined to put an end to ourselves as judges!
As a result of this, both of us have developed practices that we are using as antidotes to criticism. We have been using them before going into all sorts of meetings: Course classes and discussion groups, teacher-pupil sessions, business meetings, get-togethers with friends, doctor’s appointments. We also have been using them whenever we have unloving thoughts towards anyone.
Here’s what I’ve been using for my practice, sometimes saying the whole prayer, sometimes parts, depending on the person and the situation:
Loving God, heal my mind about ________________.
Let me see him with vision instead of judgment. (T-20.V.4:7)
Let me know him as I know myself [as Your beloved Son, created by you forever pure and holy as Yourself]. (T-5.In.3:8; Lesson 276)
Let me see him sinless. (T-20.VII.9:1-2)
Let me teach him his perfect guiltlessness. (T-14.III.7:3)
Let me take him where he is and welcome him––as You do! (M-26.4:10)
When I repeat these lines before going into any encounter, in person or not, I am filled with a sense of love and gratitude for the person or persons I’m thinking about. Saying these lines seem to put me in a peaceful loving place, which I carry with me as I go into the meeting and throughout the meeting.
Here’s what Janet has been using. It was inspired by Bill’s “another way” speech to Helen and their subsequent joining:
Let me remember that peace, not conflict, is the better choice always.
Let me cooperate rather than compete.
Let me seek the positive instead of finding fault.
Help me to be patient, gentle and forgiving.
And, above all, let me be determined to follow not my way but Yours.
Of the next practice she says, “Most days I’m reflecting on/practicing the following whether I have a meeting or not”:
Would it be possible for me to hate you, ___________________, if I were like you?
Could I attack you if I realized I journey with you to a goal that is the same?
Would I not help you to reach it in every way I could, if your attainment of it were perceived as mine? (all from T-24.I.6:1-3)
I thought I had the answer to correct behaviour.
But I was mistaken.
Help me undo my limiting beliefs, dear God.
You take us where we are and welcome us. (M-26.4:10)
Let me do the same.
What we both realized through this was that we didn’t need to spend a lot of time trying to figure out and analyze our critical tendency. What we needed, foremost, was the desire to stop being critical. Then we needed to be vigilant and recognize when we are being critical and apply one of our practices. So far, it’s really working!
I hope that these practices will be helpful to you. If––by chance :)––you have this same tendency and have a favourite practice, please share it with us here.