5 seconds or less
Today I saw a man. I instantly judged him, It took less than 5 seconds, I wasn’t even aware I was doing it until it had been done.
I was sitting upon a fence overlooking the city - coffee in hand, enjoying a break from my pre-work walk, when I saw a man approach along the paved path towards me.
The judgement was easier than blinking. Without even realizing I was making a judgement, it was there. What I assumed I knew of him based only on what I saw and in my subconscious knew to be true based on past teachings and limiting beliefs.
I sat on my perch, enjoying the city, and truthfully, I forgot the man was approaching as fast as I made my judgements. Then he spoke. “Amazing seat you got there!” He smiled as he passed by. I smiled back, joked about my incredible view and that was it. Our one and only interaction.
And I started to think, about my snap judgement, that was so quick, I wasn’t even aware I had made it.
I began to wonder who he is, on a soul level. Was he homeless? Was he successful? Did he have loved ones and a family? Where was he walking? Maybe his backpack was full of drugs, or maybe it was full of books. In our 5 second interaction I had felt his energy. Light and content. He was friendly and comfortable joking with a stranger. I could sense an ease about him, an ease he had with himself. A genuine ease. This was the first time I have ever recognized this in someone else, but did he recognize it in himself? How long did it take him to discover and lean into this ease. Maybe he has had it all his life, or maybe, he cried himself to sleep last night and it was just born this morning.
As his shape grew smaller and smaller blending in with the city surroundings, fading behind trees and houses, he was alone on the path, I was alone on the fence.
I had judged him based on looks and looks alone, without even realizing it. And I was so curious to know just a little bit more.
I realized I needed to write this down, I wanted to ponder and reflect on these thoughts. Since I didn’t have anything else with me I pulled out my phone, opened the notes and began typing. How quick we are to judge others and judge ourselves, when so few facts are known, and even then, how can we judge based off a story we are told? It can take more than a life time to truly know someone and thats only if they are open to sharing their soul, yet so so often we have complete judgements made within seconds without even saying a word or engaging.
I am clicking on my phone, digitally recording my mind for the future, when another person passes by on the path.
Ever so softly, I hear them say , “get off your phone and be in the moment”.
And then that moment is gone, they have passed by and left their judgement on me, witnessing but a moment of my time and nothing more, in 5 seconds or less.