This week’s Card for Contemplation came from the Tarot of Transformation deck. Recently, I’ve found myself being more judgmental than usual. As I’ve witnessed myself doing this, I’ve been asked to look at myself. What is going on within me that I am unhappy with or unwilling to look at? The message was, “As you judge others, you judge yourself”. The write-up for this card talks about sin which is described as being “off the mark”.  So this card is asking us to go within and explore our own incongruences. What is going on in our inner world that makes us less compassionate in the outer world? Is there something that is off the mark in your life?

The way that we cultivate compassion, thereby lessening the voice of judgment, is to see ourselves and other people with greater clarity. This is the old adage of “walking a mile in the other person’s shoes.” People don’t just act randomly, they make choices based on the information, resources, and worldview that they have. When we try to understand their story and also look at our own, it is much easier to be compassionate. Compassion shouldn’t come from a place of force or act of will. It comes from an opening of our heart. When we understand that judgment of another comes from our judgment of self, we can practice being more loving in general.

A great technique to open the heart and cultivate compassion is the LovingKindness Meditation. The general premise is you start with sending loving and kind thoughts to yourself and then extend those feelings to an increasingly larger circle of people.

Beginning with yourself, you recite the following words. Repeat them until you feel them in your body and feel an opening of the heart.

May I be filled with lovingkindness.
May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I be well in body and mind.
May I be at ease and happy.

Then repeat the process, but this time holding another person in your thoughts. This can be done with as many people in your life that you would like to extend your heart and loving thoughts to. It is particularly helpful to do this with people who challenge you or those in your life that you often judge.

May you be filled with lovingkindness.
May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be at ease and happy.