How can I be here now when I have to decide whether he’s hot/not, right/wrong, good/bad…? Here’s what the Quaklics say:
I spent a recent weekend at a nearby Catholic retreat center. They hosted a men’s retreat on mindfulness and I signed on.
Although I don’t experience the church as a safe place for a gay man, this specific retreat center has served as a haven for me in my coming out journey.
Throughout the retreat, much was made of the idea of practicing nonjudgment.
If one is to stay present to the moment and not get caught up in mental gymnastics and be drug away by chains of thought, it helps to be aware of the thoughts that arise, to greet them, and not get caught up in them . . . . Judging them or judging oneself for having them is a sure way to get entangled. As they say in recovery programs, “what you resist persists.” It takes energy to fight against thoughts and feelings, to label them as bad and arm wrestle them to submission each time they appear. This gives them pride of place and a stronger foothold.
I remember going to a gay reparative therapist and complaining of my same-sex attractions when I looked at attractive men. “Stop looking at them,” he said. “Stop thinking about them.”
This was less then helpful advice.
My experience says if I’m bothered by something, I’m better off increasing my awareness, finding out why I’m feeling bothered, discern what message is there for me. If I determine health lies in not becoming caught up in the situation, I can use the breathing-into-the-moment techniques I learned this past weekend to recognize the situation, accept that it’s there, let it be without judgment, let it go and return my awareness to the Now.
Manleben writes about growing up in a colour-blind world, then watching the tint of his skin become THE defining factor about him in some people’s minds. Jeez. How common a thing in the USA, and how off-base, how arrogant, how ignorant. Something similar happens with lgbt people. How is this thing of judging people based on their sexual identity helpful? Better we as a society could simply grow in awareness of our own feelings and reactions, notice these, embrace them in nonjudgmental fashion, and move on with the business of living our own lives.
What persons or issues bring up instantaneous judgments in me?
For action (or if your Catholic, for penance):
Take in a long slow breath. Bring to mind a person, topic or situation on which you stand ready to pronounce strong positive or negative judgment. As you exhale long and slow, imagine breathing out those feelings of judgment. In this moment, for an instant, practice what it is to let go of judgment.
Photo by David Shankbone at flick.com