When I contemplated this painting for what it was teaching me, I was initially attracted by the bright colors and rich textures, but when I moved past the glitz, I saw that it reflected recent experiences of being judged and judging. As such, I welcomed the opportunity to move through the initial emotional reaction and its delusional nature to see the actual gifts.
I think I was triggered by the cluster of shapes on the left side being offset by the very organic, plant-like form on the right. This was indeed a sign of separateness. But it was the tightness of the cluster with the bright red on top that stopped me on my tracks. It implied righteousness-as when we angrily judge another who appears to have disappointed us.
I reached into my heart and touched my recent sting! Yet I knew that there is a choice in how we interpret judgments others make about us. If we allow our ego to sprint with the emotions, we all lose. If we step back and reflect, we may accept the judgment as a karmic gift; an opportunity to heal the situation the judgment revealed and grow by releasing what we learned from our subconscious.
And relationships hold the richest lessons. Our inter-beingness coupled with mindfulness provide the mirror we can use to notice what has come up for healing. This is a shared yet very individual opportunity; for we are each on our own personal journey to enlightenment.
When we are the ones who judge and notice it, we would be wise to remember that “whoever judges others digs a pit for themselves.” (Buddha) The moment we set ourselves apart from others through judgment, we plant seeds that will eventually blossom as negative experiences in the future.
When in the painting I looked more closely at the red drips in the middle of the cluster, it appears to purposely reach out to touch the separate one on the right. To me, it depicts very prescient life situations our society is grappling with. We not only dislike those we disagree with and judge them as incorrect; we work very hard to point out their wrongness, elevate our rightness and use our judgments to shame them into conforming. In the process, we forfeit our authenticity, neglect to see what is possible, relinquish self-trust and discernment and give up on inner peace.
A sixth Century Chinese Chan (Zen) text calls judgments, “the disease of the mind”.
Looking at all phenomena through the lenses of “like” and “dislike”, keeps us from seeing the whole picture, in other words, to practice discernment. When we encounter a life situation and examine it with a child’s demeanor, we are able to understand what has appeared and can make sound decisions. Acknowledging that we are upset or delighted and be willing to move freely between attraction and aversion, or praise and blame, without attaching to one view or another, helps us not only to be spiritually and emotionally richer; it does bring wholeness and peace.
And it is through wholeness that we find the peace of God, “which surpasses all understanding, and will guard our hearts and minds…” (Philippians 4:7)
Purchasing this painting will help you to understand the differences between judging and discerning, and will serve as a reminder of the choices you have when being judged or when you judge others, including yourself. It will teach you to trust Life. Additionally, its color palette will brighten any space!
To buy it, go to, Judgments