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( A repost from my blog dated July 21, 2008.)

I realized only recently how easily I dismiss my own misgivings. The major misgivings I tone down, telling myself inside, "Nay-it's not that bad-get over it." In no time, I forgive myself. It is so easy to fool myself that that is being compassionate to myself when actually it is a spiritually unhealthy suppression of healthy conscience. When roles are reversed, our attitudes often reverse. When someone lets us down in some way, we might magnify this misgiving and hang on to it, grumbling and cursing them inside. Forgiving, not to say forgetting, becomes hard. It seems that he who forgives himself the easiest is sometimes one who forgives others the hardest. This twisted attitude pivots upon the ego. It makes us too quick to judge others and too slow to check ourselves. The path to perfection would be to give ourselves no excuses when we go wrong while keeping an open mind, "giving reasonable excuses" to why others go wrong.

This reminds me of the often quoted "Look not at the deeds left done and undone by others; but look at the deeds left done and undone by oneself." This means holding a mirror to oneself, constantly reflecting on one's conduct; not holding it out to face others all the time to show them their misgivings. I feel that there is much meaning in this verse because we are already too often unmindful to check our own thoughts, words and deeds. The more time you spend having your vigilant eye on others, passing unconstructive judgment of contempt, the more you are not being mindful of yourself. There are few ways to go off track so easily.

If we already have trouble holding just one single pure thought, how can we keep holding impure thoughts about others? So do we keep quiet when others are "obviously wrong?" Not necessarily, the moment someone else presents before us a misgiving, we should reflect whether we make the same mistake before correcting him. And any "correction" should be apt and constructive, compassionately offered with no hatred or grudge. Remember-no one is faultless. It is the continual seeing of faults in others, missing one's own, that become a fault in itself.

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