During my hike this morning, I walked by a mom and her two small children. The mom was taking some leaves, I think they were bay leaves from the tree and placing them in a paper bag. A stern, strong mental thought, a judgement came into my mind "she is not supposed to take plants from the park".
Another thought came softly behind it saying "be gentle with people".
I shook off the original thinking and judgement as not being mine, just something that we program somehow to automatically assess a situation and judge it without seeing the whole picture.
A few feet from the mom and her kids, I stopped under an oak tree to watch the woodpeckers fly back and forth hoping to get a good photo. I heard the mother say "It's time to pray, let's form a circle, do you remember the prayer, the words we say to thank the plant for giving us the medicine we need."
As I started taking photos of the birds in the trees, I could hear the family whispering a prayer in a language I couldn't place. After their prayers, I watched as the family started back on the trail heading towards the parking lot.
I wish a judging thought never entered my mind. I know that is not possible as I am human. I do know, I can let those kind of thoughts go and not act on them. And that for now is going to have to be good enough.