Today in large group process, a class in which I participate at Naropa University, many of the thirty six group members expressed concerns, naming anxiety, fear, and thus resistance, as barriers to open expression of feelings and experiences within the group. Emotional safety within a group such as this largely depends on one’s beliefs about how they will be held in the minds of the others present. Will they be judged or criticized? More importantly to some, will they be heard and understood?
The need to be heard and respected when we speak from our hearts is common to all of us, I believe. It occurred to me today that when others judge me for what I have spoken, the only true impact is when it compounds self judgment. If I do not judge myself, no problem. And how could I point at someone else to judge them, if I do not judge myself? The contemplation gives deeper meaning to two sayings which come to mind: “It takes one to know one.” and “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
I think there is great value in the ability to be critical, to offer insight to others through critical thought, without judgment. Differing viewpoints can collide and produce brilliance and clarity for their speakers and listeners when allowed to do so in a space free from personal judgment. Is this possible? Have you ever experienced such conflict, uncoupled from trauma and personal prejudice? If not, I wonder why. I think it offers the highest form of education and a view of creation – the appearance of some thing that is the direct result of opposing forces colliding, yet is none of those forces, but is something altogether new. Hope, possibility and potentiality all reside here. Maybe nothing else is happening, except for that, in every moment and at the subtlest levels. Our control is minimal, if any. What do you think?