"The mind is a tricky creature. So why do we do it? Why do we escape? Why do we not just face our fears? Why do we not then dig into what it is that causes us to escape? You say something to me that makes me say, hey do not judge me, you should live in the present moment, you are associating with things from the past or projecting things onto me. Well, what is it that is making me think or say that? That is for each of us to figure out."The first thing that jumps out to me is something I read several years ago. It was probably Eastern in origin, and asked if an eye could see itself. The analogy asks if a mind can "think of itself". I have a feeling I've written this before... but here it is anyway. I think we find ourselves not facing our fears because we (often) attempt to get an eye to see itself. We attempt to make our mind think itself. This puts us in a loop from which little escapes. The mis-remembered past and mis-represented future fill our visions. The present moment becomes a dead space instead of a place of potential.
What is the answer? The answer is in the analogy of the eye. An eye cannot see itself, but it can view a reflection of itself in a mirror. While it still cannot see itself, the eye does see a representation of itself. The trueness of the representation is only based on the quality of the mirror. The mind works in a similar way. We are constantly "judging" our environment. I like to call it pattern matching. We see something, compare it to what we know, and form a representation of our environment. Some judgments are benign. A flower is judged as being yellow. Some judgments are less benign. A spouse is judged as being inattentive.
The incredible irony is that the judgments/pattern recognition only tells us about ourselves, and the clarity of the representation is based on the quality of the "mirror" we are working with. We cannot recognize a yellow flower in a room with no light. We cannot discern a mate’s motivation based on minimal information. That said, we do have a choice about the mirrors in our lives. A light can be turned on to see the flower, and a mate can be asked about what’s going on. More information results in better judgments.
Have you ever been in a fun house? The warped mirrors reflect back on each other, causing a deformed image to become even more deformed. Dysfunctional relationships are like a fun house, but less fun. The poor quality of the judgments reflect back to each other, resulting in a "reality" that bears little resemblance to what is "really" there.
What to do? Take responsibility for the choice and management of the mirrors in your life. If someone really bugs you, don’t get into a fun house scenario. Instead isolate the mirror of the judgment and REALLY look at what behavior/belief/habit/shortcoming is being mirrored by the person. It is yours. Those things that bug us most about people are those things that are most in our own shadows. Just as the eye cannot see itself, we have a very tough time seeing our shadows. It is only by the blessed interaction with people do we see those things in ourselves. Working with shadow is a whole other topic, but the shorthand of it is that the integration of shadow removes the mind from it’s loops of past and future, and hence we are brought into the present. We no longer respond to the mirrors of others, and don’t participate in "fun house" scenarios. People are welcome to judge/perceive us all they want because they are seeing themselves, not us. There is such incredible freedom in this thought.