While on a vacation trip to a scenic pilgrimage destination a while back , I was fortunate to witness this intriguing conversation between a couple where the husband would daily whine to his wife that their neighbours were so filthy, so unheigenic as their clothes hanging on the dryer in their balcony were always soiled and unclean. They were always full of dirt. He would use abusive words to address them. On the sixth day, the husband suddenly exclaimed, "Finally good sense has prevailed on my neighbours. Look at how spic and span the clothes are today!". To this, the wife replied, "Dear, all these days it was not the neighbours who were dirty, but today I cleaned our window which wasn't cleaned since several months". From this, we realize that it is not the other person who is at fault but it is the window of our eyes which is soiled, which is imperfect, which is faulty. Before pointing fingers at others, before judging others, we need to look within our ownselves and clean the dust accumulated on our souls.
It is part of our daily staple, when we come across people constructing judgements or passing comments about some third person merely based on their perceptions or hearsay or solely based on outward appearance, speech, mannerisms, behaviour, which is more often than not derogatory and offensive. On close observation, we would fathom that this kind of fault finding behaviour is mostly done sub-consciously in a bid to express our own supremacy over others and exhibit that we are better than someone else. This habit of continual criticism is detrimental for our own mental and physical well-being as it contaminates our consciousness and degrades our thoughts which in turn manifests in inappropriate external behaviour. There are times when based on a downloaded version if a third person, we stereotype people and start focusing only on the bad in them, rather than giving importance to the good qualities. Being in association of such people not only fills our hearts with ill-feelings but leaves a sour taste due to contentions.
On diagnosing our addiction to this chronic disease of fault-finding, we need to immediately take remedial measures to cure this before it spreads, settles deeper into our system and takes control of our hearts and minds.
The five fold process of uprooting the weed of fault finding is as follows:
1. The very first step is focus on the positive traits/ good in others and make a conscious effort to choose not to see the bad. Rather we must magnify their good qualities, appreciate and encourage them.
2. As soon as we acknowledge this, the next step is to be aware of the effects of meditating on others' faults. Being cognizant about the cardinal principle that by associating with the fault of others, it severely affects us and gives shelter to these faults within us.
3. Next step is to uplift others by correcting and rectifying the mistakes. However before getting into this sensitive aspect we need to ask 4 questions - Am I the right person to correct? Do I have the right motive to correct? Do I know the right way to present the corrective feedback? Is this the right time?
4. Leave certain things to God or Krishna, when they are beyond our control. Instead of trying to fix them on our own, we must let God take charge and do the needful, as and when He thinks appropriate.
5. We must learn to tolerate others and understand that no conditioned living entity is perfect, everybody has their weaknesses including us. So we should practice the art of overlooking trivial aspects, become tolerant, humble and respect every soul.
Therefore through mutual understanding, we must comprehend that we all have our shortcomings, idiosyncrasies, meditate on the positive characteristics, express our appreciation, overlook small things and before forming opinions, perceiving others faults and committing offences against others, always conduct the Triple filter test : Is it true or false? Is it good or bad? Is it beneficial or harmful for us? This is the key to overcoming the sore addiction of constant criticism, finding faults and permanently uprooting the roots of expressing this negative vice so that we can live in harmony and eternal peace.