Today we ask that you question your stories about other people.

It is natural, when interacting with others, to create a kind of mental story about them — as if they are characters in a film.  You decide whether they are a friend or enemy.  You identify them as a particular kind of person.  Often you come up with all sorts of ideas about what they should or shouldn’t be doing with their lives.

Of course, if you stopped to really consider things, you would realize that your understanding of these other people is very limited.

Even with people you interact with constantly — you do not and cannot know them, as you do yourself.  (It is actually questionable that you even know yourself, but that is another matter.)

The problem that arises is, rather than interact with people as they are, you interact with your own mental projections of them.  The people in your life become fictionalized characters in your mind.  They may have a very active life in there — one that is not based on reality in any way.  Your projection may be vastly removed from the real person.

Take, for example, celebrities.  Many of you feel like you “know” celebrities because you see them on TV and in films, and because you read about their private lives via celebrity gossip.  If you were to meet a celebrity in person, you would feel familiar with them.  You might have all kinds of judgments about what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

Of course, what is any of this actually based on?  Nothing.  You do not know this celebrity at all.  You have heard stories about this person that may have no truth to them.  From these stories, you have created a projection.  The projection is not the person.  The projection exists in your mind.

Two different people may have two radically different projections of the same person.  This is often true in politics, where one person sees a political figure as a hero, and someone in the opposing party sees the same person as a villain.

Who is right?  The correct answer is: neither one.

Projecting can be quite dangerous.  Sometimes people create mental stories about other people that allow the process of dehumanization, or demonization.  Violence may follow.  Slavery and genocide may follow.

So please know that when you sit in judgment over other people and feel very certain of your rightness, you are engaging in a potentially harmful practice.

All of you have probably felt wrongfully judged by others at many points in your lives.  Perhaps you wanted to protest: “But that’s not really true!  You don’t know me!  You don’t understand my situation!”

This is what you can imagine every time you sit smugly judging someone else.  This person looks into your eyes and says: “You don’t really know me!  You don’t understand my situation!”

And here is something that is true on the deepest level of your reality:

The less you sit in judgment over others, the less you will be judged.

So if you dislike the experience of being judged, it is a very wise practice to refrain from judging others — even in your mind.  Especially in your mind.

You cannot ever truly know the heart and mind of another person.  Therefore it is best to be kind and gentle with others.  Don’t you appreciate it when other people are kind and gentle with you?