ESOTERIC TENETS HUMAN SHORTCOMINGS Criticism and suspicion by Aart Jurriaanse“As one knows more, one judges less”. The wise man is not quick in expressing his opinion; he recognizes that the objective appearance of a subject, or that which is expressed or explained in words, is so often deceptive, emotionally distorted, and not at all a true reflection of what the inner vision would reveal.Criticism is a faculty of the lower mind, is always destructive, and is capable of inflicting pain and wounds. It should be realized that no true disciple can make any headway on the Path as long as others are thus deliberately being hurt.There should be close collaboration between disciples, yet at the same time man should retain his own individuality, pursue his own way, and leave his brother to work out his own salvation. It is only human to consider one’s own point of view to be the correct one, and this is exactly where the trouble lies. If others do not conform to our way of thinking, then the inclination is to start criticizing and negating their attitude and actions. It should be remembered, however, that man can never really grasp the complete truth, and that what he observes is merely one of the facets of a greater whole, and it is quite possible that when his neighbour deals with the same fundamental truth he will approach it from a somewhat different angle and may consequently become aware of quite another version, and with just as much justification. Under such circumstances the two interpretations may differ radically, but meanwhile both may represent correct versions of the same truth -- or both may even be incorrect, or at least distorted. Disciples should learn to recognize the many ways, the many methods and the widely differing techniques, all aiming towards the same goal.Non-interferenceTherefore, cultivate an attitude of non-interference and a refusal to criticize and correct your fellow worker. Carry on with your own responsibilities and let your co-worker find his own way -- but with your full help and support where you can do so constructively and without interference. This may sound contradictory, but the true disciple will be able to understand and practise the finer distinction. Although a strong standpoint should be taken against any form of destructive criticism, a clear distinction should none the less be drawn between criticism and the ability to retain a proper sense of balance and proportion, and to subject circumstances to analysis according to their merits, based on all the facts that are at one’s disposal.Elimination of criticism will therefore not mean a lack of discrimination and an inability to see error or failure where it does occur. No -- falsity, impurity, insincerity and weaknesses of whatever nature should be recognized for what they are, but the subsequent reaction should not be one of condemnation -- on the contrary, it should merely serve to evoke a spirit of loving helpfulness. A clear distinction should therefore be drawn between true analytical insight and criticism which is often based on a sense of personal superiority and a love of fault finding. True insight and loving criticism will on the other hand be supported by understanding and constructive aid.A critical spirit is always conducive to glamour, and there are but few who are immune to this danger. The most effective procedure to counter this natural inclination is to mould all thoughts, words and actions of the daily life on goodwill and kindness. This may sound a simple precept, but to succeed will require consecrated attention and should be practised all day and every day, until it becomes a habit and is applied automatically.People are seldom seen as they really are, because we are inclined only to see them through the field of illusion with which our criticism has surrounded them, and which will inevitably distort their true appearance.Suspicion is merely a perverted form of criticism, and represents that ugly and poisonous glamour where criticism has been directed at another without its being founded on sufficient evidence.The power wielded by suspicion may be curtailed and then eliminated by correct mental training: (a) Assume the attitude of the ‘onlooker’, regarding life and its happenings without displaying undue emotion, with acceptance, and with ‘divine indifference’. Observe all men and their activities through the eyes of the soul -- that is, with love and impartiality. (b) Give every individual all possible support by contributing love and understanding, but otherwise leave him free to live his own life, to shoulder his own responsibilities, and thus to gain his own experiences, which will allow his soul to develop and advance on the Path of Life. (c) The aspirant should concentrate his energies on his own life of service. If this is done effectively, it will leave no time to blight the lives of others by vile and often unfounded suspicion. Live to let live. So often criticism and suspicion are nothing but a reflection of our own shortcomings. By focusing our unconsciously troubled thoughts on these defects, we end up by visualizing them in others, suspecting them of being motivated by these failings. This may be cured by subjecting the personality to careful self-analysis -- by standing apart from the personality and observing its motivations through the clear and unprejudiced light of the soul.‘Loving understanding’Leaders of men, whether of groups, communities or nations, are particularly subject to criticism by those they are leading and serving. This refers to the genuine leaders whose primary objective it is to serve the interests of those they represent or those who have been placed under their charge. Such leaders should constantly be supported by the energy of ‘loving understanding’, but instead they are so often badly handicapped by criticism accentuating all their imperfections. Such criticism oft results in seriously crippling the leader’s effective service. So often this criticism is rooted in jealousy, thwarted ambition or pride of intellect. It is so easy to sit in judgement of the leader and to criticize him with regard to action or non-action for which the critic does not carry the responsibility, and neither is he, as a rule, fully aware of all the relevant facts and their implications. Such destructive criticism is harmful to both the critic and the criticized leader.Group leaders are often subjected to streams of poisonous thought, to idle gossip of a destructive nature, and to jealousies, hates and frustrated ambitions of members who would like to see the leader superseded. As may be expected this must have an adverse effect on the leader, and might produce both physical and emotional effects; the more evolved the leader the greater will be his sensitivity, and the more acute will be the pain and suffering that is inflicted. All the leader can do in such circumstances is to withdraw within himself, to guard against all signs of bitterness and self-pity which will be inclined to arise, and with loving understanding to wait for the time when the members will come to their senses, arrive at clearer insight, and will learn to co-operate with a spirit of goodwill.Group members should also realize that criticism of any kind can only create disturbed relationships within the ranks of the group, thereby undermining the effectiveness of the group as a whole, delaying the progress of the work and enervating its quality.
Aart Jurriaanse, wrote a number of compilations from the books of Alice A. Bailey. Among these are: Of Life and other worlds; Prophecies; Ponder on this; Serving Humanity; The Soul; The Quality of Life; and he is also the author of Bridges which is a Commentary on these teachings.
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