I heard a news story about a man who was arrested for fraud. He had been collecting disability for several years, claiming that he could barely walk and dress himself, but then posted pictures of himself on Facebook vacationing and living it up. He was busted.
My first thought upon hearing the story was, what an idiot. My second thought was noticing that I was judging the man’s intelligence for getting caught rather than judging his morality for committing fraud. Neither my first nor second thoughts were particularly Zen of me. A good Zen thought would have been feeling compassion for the man, who doesn’t know right from wrong and is facing a world of pain as he and his wife head to prison for fraud. What I did think was, what an idiot.
There is not really a good or bad Zen thought. A good Zen thought is no thought at all. All of the other thoughts that I had highlight how I habitually judge. I judge a stranger on the radio, I judge his intelligence, I judge his morality, I judge my judgement, I judge myself for making all the judgements, I judge the Zenness of my thinking. Judging, judging, judging, thinking, thinking, thinking. Zen, Zen, Zen.
My practice is to notice all of this going on. My practice is to create harmony. My practice is to notice when I don’t. My practice is to figure out what I am. When I think what an idiot, what an idiot I am. That is not so much of a judgement, it is an observation of a fleeting moment. That is Zen.