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.
Therefore, 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
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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