>In 2001, when President Bush first met Russian President Vladimir Putin, he was quoted as saying, “I was able to get a sense of his [Putin’s] soul…” thereby determining that Putin was a “good” man. Since then their relationship has taken many turns, not all in the direction “good” men might proceed. Most recently, the two have been posturing and exchanging less than friendly and certainly not “soulful” remarks.
This wouldn’t be the first time world leaders, whom we once deemed good men and allies, turned out to be something other…although it might have been the first time our judgment was openly and simplistically based upon a reading of one’s soul.
This turn of events between Bush and Putin brings to light a quality we all share in our more mundane, daily lives and one which could benefit from some introspection. It’s our tendency to judge others and thereby make them “good” or “bad” when, in reality, at any given moment we are all just doing the best we can based upon the state of our consciousness and our beliefs.
I know that I have spent a lifetime trying to overcome my tendency to judge everyone and everything. All judgment ever got me was separation and distance. It took me the greater part of 50 years to realize that judging sets ups barriers to connection, harmony and intimacy. Since we as human creatures have an intrinsic need for all three, it couldn’t be more counterproductive than to judge (and thereby distance) the very people with whom we’re hoping to connect.
do it in our political dialog where Republicans and Democrats
judge each other and fortify an “us” against “them” mentality. We do it in the name of G-d and if the consequences weren’t so disastrous, it would actually be funny. Imagine, in the name of the One Creator, the single Source of all that is, we divide (and too often conquer) claiming as the basis for our actions that “our way” is the better way. And it really doesn’t matter whether it’s the Crusades or the Taliban. In the end its the same capitulation to judgment with the same unproductive result.
So what can we do? More specifically, what can you do?
In mystical Judaism there’s a belief that when you arise each day and set out on your way, there is an angel who goes before you proclaiming “Behold, the image and likeness of G-d.” Beautiful, isn’t it? Well, that’s half of the belief. The other half is that proceeding in front of every other human being is also their angel, proclaiming “Behold, the image and likeness of G-d.”
Perhaps today you could suspend judgment and simply see and hear your own angel, and everyone else’s as well. It might also be helpful to remember that you’re doing the best you can, based upon where your consciousness is and what you believe. And so is everyone else.
If President Bush had simply seen the image and likeness of G-d in Vladimir Putin, he might not have had to spend the next 6 years changing his mind about him.