Observation and Evaluation

Here’s an old post that was very popular when first published. It’s very short, but the message is a powerful one.

After I hit the “publish” button, I’m outta here, headed to the lake for a long weekend of camping. I hope you guys have as good a time as I plan to!

Me: Hi Jamie!

Jamie: Hi! Your boy was here when I came in this morning.

Me: Ah!

Jamie: Yeah, we were talking about gays and lesbians and bisexuality.

Me: Good! Does he want to share something about that, maybe?

Jamie: What?

Me: Does he want to share anything on the topic?

Jamie: Yeah, well, I was sitting in the car, and there was a very passionate, beautiful speech on one of the talk shows, and I looked up and there he was. I was all teared up from this really moving speech.

Me (touched): Awww.

Jamie: And he asked, “Are you okay?” and I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he goes, “You wanna talk about it?” So, I said, ‘No, no, I was just listening.” And he goes, “The gays and lesbians?”

Me: Aw, you know he did that a lot with his friends. He’d always ask them, “Do you wanna talk about it” when they seemed to be struggling with something. In fact, I was looking at all of his Facebook messages months after he died, because I have his passcode and stuff, and he was always messaging them with phrases like, “Do you wanna talk” or “How can I help,” or “I’m here if you need a friend.”

Jamie (touched): Aw, really? God. (pause) Oh, that’s so sweet. And you know, he kind of followed me around for 20 minutes to make sure I was okay. He goes, “You’re right, it’s not fair. People need equality.”

Me: Yeah.

Jamie: And he goes, “It just comes down to people’s evaluations of other people.”

Me: Yeah. (Two “yeah’s” in a row. Sounding a little like Rain Man now.)

Jamie: And then we got into the topic of, uh, if people could observe the fact, there’d be a lot more happy emotions in life.

Me: What fact?

Jamie: There’s a difference between observation and evaluation. Most people evaluate something, but they think it’s there observation of it.

Me: Exactly! You know, we’re not here to judge. The universe does a good job at that.

Erik finally chimes in with a guffaw.

Me: Love is love is love is love as far as I’m concerned. Maybe that’s the main thing the LGBT population is here to teach us.

Jamie: That’s really cool what he said about the difference between observation and evaluation.

Me: It is! Good work, Erik! (Pause) Now for a REALLY deep subject—Lukas wants to know where his wallet is.

Jamie and Erik both laugh.

Okay, so I felt a little guilty that this was so short, so I’ll include my latest YouTube here:

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Elisa Medhus

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  • Patrick

    I’ll play contrarian; 3 questions.
    1. Evaluate vs observe vs judge; where do they begin, end or overlap?
    2. When does elimination of disagreement kick in?
    3. Wouldn’t that be thought control, so disagreement could be punished by the thought police?

  • T Diaz

    Have fun camping! I just got back from 10 days back East and had some Erik e-mail to catch up on!

  • Stephanie

    I want to let Dr. Medhus know that I am deeply impressed by her commitment to this project. I, too, lost a son by the same manner as Erik; in fact, long ago, I lost a female college roommate the same way. I did have communication with my son through someone who had the connection, as a result of a “near-death” experience; I wasn’t looking for it, actually, I hadn’t even thought of it. But we met by “happenstance” and it sort of went from there. He never charged me, and in fact I protected my identify to maintain some quality control (our contact was by internet). He simply reached out because I was open, I guess. He was able to give me amazing details, that there is no way he could have known (we were on opposite ends of the continent–REALLY opposite). We had numerous conversations, and I recall that the first one was much like your first ones with Erik–he kept apologizing and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to communicate, and the “medium” kept assuring him that we would do it again. After that, things lightened up. I kept transcripts of most of these conversations. Do I believe in the afterlife? I guess I would say, after WHAT? When I was still a young woman, I had a very profound experience that totally stood the way I saw things on end. There was an actual experience that happened, lasting about 10-15 minutes, which I won’t go into; of significance here is that during this time I apparently had a “download” (the best way I’ve ever heard it described) so that afterwards I just KNEW all this stuff. Of primary importance, I saw that we did not die–it was like this wonderful joke, I was walking on a cloud for months afterward. What doesn’t live can’t die! I saw that the personal identification system (the “ego” I guess) was like the designations we give to the states, imagining and acting as if they have shapes (boundaries), a name, a special flag, a personality–but really it’s just rocks and dirt and trees and all the physical stuff that’s there. If everyone died who knew about that “state”, and all the evidence of its existence were destroyed, it would be nothing. It would have disappeared, but it wouldn’t have “died” because it never really existed except in the imagination. And that’s the same with people (as we know them). It’s just a temporary identification system that is commonly agreed upon and utilized as a sort of method of organization. I “saw” (knew) much much more (and it was all good by the way, I kept thinking of Jesus talking about the “good news”). What has confused me ever since is that what I “saw” was this great spirit, I guess what we’re all calling Source, but there was this kind of recycling program. A little bit of the spirit would break off and join with physical matter (which was recycling quite independently), and then periodically it would rejoin the greater spirit and more “sparks” would fly off for their adventure in physicality. Once the piece returned to the whole, it was absorbed, and a new spark might fly off but it was not the same as the one that had returned. It was new every time. I saw this as an eternal “dance”, if you will. No sense complaining about it, it was just the way it was, and there is a profound sense of …gosh, I don’t know what, joy?…in letting down the barriers and melding with truth. It’s Home. It’s like the Ugly Duckling saying, “oh, so this is what I am.” But what I DIDN’T see was a process of reincarnation in the traditional sense, that is the “spark” going through a series of life experiences without simply returning and being absorbed back into the whole each time. This has confused me ever since, this process I hear about and read about of a single soul learning through different life experiences–a sort of continuing ego identification. I trust the knowledge that came directly to me (and yes, for those curious, I did have the overpowering embracing sense of love at that time). The knowledge that came has been my standard for evaluation ever since. But I am still holding this whole ego-reincarnation process aside, unclear how it all fits together in the Big Picture. Anyway, this experience happened nearly 40 years ago, at a time and place when I didn’t dare mention it. Of course, times have changed, as it must, like the flower unfolding. Ever since that time, it seems like I have lived with my foot in two different worlds, and although I lost much of the fear that constricted me previously, I have continued to have my share (or more) of struggles. I can’t balance the two–it’s either one or the other. That may be what they mean when they say you can’t serve two masters. Ironically, life has seemed to be more manageable when I followed my head, and very very challenging when I follow my heart. I feel often like I’m on ice floes in the middle of the Arctic, and of late my energy seems very very low. I also have a younger son (age 23 now) who was diagnosed with bipolar when he was 18, after five years of gradually increasing problems. It was so painful to watch him change from this 13-year-old star athlete, adorable boy with all kinds of friends, who even the adults admired, into this…well, you know the bipolar game. Right now I feel paralyzed as to how to help him. I also have other children and grandchildren who are functioning pretty well within their realms. I also am extremely empathetic (Google says that’s how its spelled) when I allow myself to leave the head (which, while very groovy in many ways–there I find all the little miracles and signs, comes with its own difficulties that send me fleeing back to my head, afraid to meditate or engage in the activities that bring it out). Anyway, at this time in my life, after retiring early and moving to try to provide a better environment for my son, I seem to be totally lost, without direction–unwilling to take up my profession again (yes, I had a professional job)–even though we need the money very much due to a variety of financial concerns. It’s like I can’t find anything that matters. I am not suicidal in the sense of causing direct harm to the body, but I do like the idea that we could learn to simply leave our bodies when our work is done, lay them aside like a well-used and comfortable suit of clothes, with all the respect due something that has served us well. Wow, what a long letter. But maybe it will help me being able to lay it all out, to help me see my way.

    Thanks again for all you do, you and your beautiful son and the lovely Jamie. And all the rest of your family, who we don’t see but whom I know are part of the big picture.

    • Patrick

      Great phrase, “…because it never really existed except in the
      imagination.” All existence begins and resides in the imagination. The “reality” surrounding us the illusion.

      • Stephanie

        Thank you, Patrick, for reading and understanding. You seem like you would be an interesting person to converse with.

    • M&M

      I love your insight, Stephanie. You and I seem to have had a lot of parallel personal experiences and insights, I can totally relate to so much of what you write. Thank you for sharing so openly, it is nice to feel such a strong connection to your words.

      I have been dealing with the challenge of figuring out how to live in what feels like two worlds at once, with all the changes I have gone through the last few years that changed my beliefs and my senses at a deep level. I want to live in my heart world so bad, that world is so much more loving and exciting, yet my mind keeps kicking in and bringing me back. I often feel that if I could disengage the thinking mind, the part that holds us in place by familiar thoughts, beliefs, judgments, reactions, etc, then I could really start to experience the things my heart longs to, but that pattern is hard to break.

      As you said so well, once you have expanded “knowing”, it’s impossible to go back to life as it was before. The challenge is in figuring out how to move forward and honor what you now know, while being around others who see things “the old way”.

      • Stephanie

        Hi, M & M. I still feel stuck at the mid-spot, even with my determination to make it across to this time to that “better” world of being what we were meant to be–seeing the synchronicity, staying centered in the body and the now, capable of perceiving the beauty in all things, not judging anyone or anything, just experiencing it. I realize it is only my own beliefs and thoughts holding me back. I don’t want to sound like a “Shill”, but my go-to-person for the last year or two has been Byron Katie, who is like Eckhart Tolle but with a real method of relieving ourselves of those thoughts. I find her amazing–not that she had the core experience she did, but that she was given a way to stay there. She has “The Work”, which you can get free on her website, and there are lots of youtube videos showing her at work to help figure out how to do it; I have gotten much relief, although you have to be ready to hit the next belief once you lay the previous one to rest.
        She is such a beautiful person that she IS her work personified.
        Thanks for writing. Hope to share again with you.

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