Criticism and Intention

From: What to Do about Christmas?
Full Transcript

Student: How about when something really is imposed from the outside, such as judgments and criticisms are going to be coming my way, and I’m not really sure about how to have an intention about that. 
Ken: Ah, when judgments and criticisms come your way. Well I think one can have an intention. It can vary. One very common intention is, I’m going to disregard this.

But another, possibly more fruitful one, is: what can I learn here? In my own experience, whenever somebody fires some criticism or judgment at me, which happens quite frequently, one of the things that I’ve found very useful is: there must be something I have done that has led this criticism to come.

Now it doesn’t mean to say that I’m a hundred percent responsible. I don’t mean that for an instant. In some cases I may well be. But that’s not an a priori assumption. But there’s some reason that this person is focusing their criticism on me. And it may be because at one time I spoke in a certain voice which reminded them of their critical father. Something like that. It maybe a very small bit on my part.

And so what I try to do in situations where I am being criticized is, what can I learn from this? What was my part in it? And I look at it that way. And that way, whenever criticism comes I don’t regard it as a negative. Now I don’t know whether that applies to you or not, but possibly.

Student: It’s from my mother and I don’t understand where it comes from except that maybe I’m an extension of her and her self-criticism.

Ken: Now instead of trying to figure it all out, why don’t you make your intention to be in the experience of being criticized. Just to be right in that experience. Because it sounds like this has happened a few times before. Right? And you are still buying into it. I mean — you know who you are. Are you this terrible person?

Student: [Unclear]


Ken: That’s up to you! You know. So, just work with what we were discussing at the beginning. You know, just be right in the experience.

Student: Okay.

Ken: And see what happens there.

Student: I can make that the intent.

Ken: You can make that the intention, yes.

Student: Okay that will work.

Ken: Okay, very good.