To be capable of embarrassment is the beginning of moral consciousness. 

Honor grows from qualms.

~ John Leonard, critic (1939-2008)

I read this quote this morning as I was feeling embarrassed and icky about what, I wasn’t quite sure. You know, that feeling you get when you feel like you’ve done something wrong and you would love to make it right if you could just figure out what you’ve done…

That lead me to thinking about judgment verses discernment, ego verses confidence, and all those other dichotomies that, all too often, overrun the boundaries of their opposite. (That is a lot of thinking for the first cup of coffee.) As I pondered and felt those things in my body, the question that rose to the top was, ‘What keeps the separation between the dichotomies?’

The answer was amazing simple. Happiness. As I allowed my emotions to move into joy, the confusion went away. The line between judgment and discernment became clear and clean. I realized that judgment, in its negative form, comes from fear. Fear has many faces including lack and putting other’s truths before our own.

We learn from both observation and action. Our brain figures things out both silently in thought and through discussion. We compare and contrast, that person’s experience to our own, that type of house to this, that spice to another – all good things to do. Where we fall into “icky” is when we judge another’s journey, choices and words. It is our intent and our own choice of words that cause the problems. We loose the compassion for ourselves and therefore, others.

Are we jealous of someone’s achievement or do we celebrate for him/her and use that success to motivate ourselves? Do we say that we hate celery because we do not like the taste or simply choose another vegetable? Do we offer an opinion of encouragement or make fun of someone? All of our own negative behavior come from feelings of inadequacy.

These things may sound very basic and they are. And, as we move along our journey of enlightenment, we go deeper into our programs and the negativity becomes more subtle and challenging to recognize. When we take the time to stop and pay attention, there is something for us to learn about ourselves. What I discovered is, that when I am happy with my life, I am not critical. When I feel icky or embarrassed, that is the key to taking the next big step in healing. And, standing up and taking responsibility for my issues always leads to greater happiness and brings honor.

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