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Inner Peace: The good, the bad and the spiritual

“Nothing is either good or bad, only thinking makes it so”

— Shakespeare

Jessica was running late for work that September morning. She jumped in her car and sped off to the office going over all the things she had to do that day.

Traffic was heavier than usual that morning. Jessica entered the approaching intersection just as the traffic light turned yellow. Yes! She exclaimed, gaining a few minutes on her trip. Then she heard a loud crunch and realized she’d been hit by a car coming through the intersection. Her mind went black.

When she woke up in her hospital bed she tried to piece together in her mind where she was and how she got there. A few moments later the doctor walked in. He asked how she was feeling and how much she could remember. She started to recall every detail, then remembered she better call to tell her boss. Jessica then asked herself why such a bad thing would happen. This is not like her. The doctor said “relax” and explained that she was all right, she suffered a mild concussion, but they would keep her overnight.

Jessica was frantic to call the office and her son to explain the accident she was in. The doctor, about to leave, said “you work downtown at the Trade Center don’t you?” Jessica applied in the affirmative. The doctor turned on the television and Jessica saw images of the twin towers in New York just as the first one collapsed. “Oh my God” she cried, trying to catch her breath. “I work in that building on the 23rd floor!”

The doctor said, “It looks like that car accident was a blessing in disguise.”

Jessica's story was typical of dozens of people who were either late or didn't go to work at the Twin Towers on 9/11.

So was Jessica’s accident a good or a bad thing? Our society has this habit of labeling everything good or bad, right or wrong. It is ingrained in us as a fabric of our religion, culture and society. But labeling everything good or bad or right or wrong is in itself a judgment.

Our propensity to judge things comes from the Judeo-Christian ethic found mainly in the Hebrew testament. The idea of a judgmental, moody, and wrathful anthropomorphic god still permeates our culture.

In the Christian Testament we find Jeshua ben Joseph telling the story of the prodigal son. In this allegory, the Father celebrates the returning son. Instead of condemning him for his sins, he is welcomed for the lessons he has learned.

We are taught the ideas of right and wrong and good and bad. These ideas and practices are useful for us humans experiencing the physical existence to get along with each other. Yes, we need laws and the consequences they bring. But what we don't need is the religious, personal, and self-judgmental-condemnation.

If in the “Big Picture” we realize we are here to lean lessons and live our lives that way, instead of living a life in fear that we will be punished eternally for our misdeeds, would our life not be freer and more expressive? Would we not learn that when we are not in alignment with the God-Universe, we feel separation, loneliness and unworthiness? Just take a look at those who have done deeds that are not in alignment with the God-self. This is why there is so much suffering and misery in the world. We suffer when we go against the very nature of who we are.

On the other hand, when we do not condemn others or ourselves and live a life without judgment, we are happier and live in joy.

Releasing judgment does not mean that we do not have preferences and choice; indeed, we actually have more when not being bound by our judgments. When we welcome the son home and ask “what have you learned?” we have released judgment. This is something we must do in order to truly find and live in inner peace.

Jim Hatton is the author of “A Spiritual Masters Guide to Life,” which is available at spiritualmaster.com. Send 600- to 700-word articles to Sally McKirgan at innerpeaceforyou@live.com.