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Messages & Writings - Dave Moreno

Why Judge or Justify the Past?


David R. Moreno

Dec. 26, 2008

As we grow and evolve as humans – be it spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and or physically, there comes a point where we create change in our life in order to alter the current course.  This change may be as simple as a conscious decision and it may be as complex as a sequence of events that may seem catastrophic, tragic or extreme causing what is to fall apart in order for what is next to take place.

Regardless of the manner in which we implement change in our lives, it is a natural and necessary component for self mastery and realization.  Our ego detests change consequently we adopt a fear of change and as a result so many of us continue in the same old patterns over and over.  The fear of change is a burden even to those who think they welcome change and often this fear is what leads us to create circumstances and conditions in our life that seem to sabotage the status quo bringing forth changes in a dramatic way.  This is the most common method used to bring about change and the reason it is so popular is that it appeases both the ego as well as the higher self’s need to evolve. However, the part that appeals to the ego is based in the drama surrounding the change and if not kept in check or eliminated altogether, this drama will lead to negative and spiritually inhibiting situations such as nasty arguments, conflictive divorces, hurt feelings through thoughtless remarks, etc.

The fact is, change is the one constant that can be counted on in life and is the very vehicle that we need to reach our goal of self mastery and self realization.  Ultimately, once the drama is peeled away, change boils down to one thing – choice.  So, in order to bring about the change we need in life, be it thought patterns, habits, addictions, beliefs, relationships, living conditions, environment, profession, or anything else imaginable, in the end it is all brought about by one simple, heartfelt choice.

At this point it is important to note that there is no benefit in labeling our choices as good and bad, right or wrong because in the end the choices we make are exactly what we want or need at the time. While choices have the potential to evolve us or inhibit our evolution, that is not an area for judgment – not by ourselves or by others.  This may seem to fly in the face of convention but bear with me.  When we make a choice and we begin to live the consequential effects of that choice, we may think at the time that they are “good” or “bad” and we tend to judge our self based on a very limited and frankly ignorant frame of reference.  As time goes by, we may see that the consequential effects of that choice played out perfectly in the grander scheme of things as is usually if not always the case.

Does this mean that we have no responsibility for our choices and they will all work out perfectly – of course not.  It means that we will live the consequential effects of our choices regardless of how we process those effects.  This places the responsibility of evaluating our choices nicely in our lap and that cannot be avoided.  Will they work out perfectly in the end – YES, IF we again choose to see the positive side that exists in everything - including life’s more difficult lessons.

This illustrates why the approach of choices through drama is less desirable than a clear conscious choice.  When we allow ourselves to implement change through sabotage of what is, or through drama, we are in a spiritually lower plane that is shared with our ego.  The ego has never had a self realizing or mastering effect and in fact the ego’s job is exactly the opposite. Our ego is the entity that gives life and expression to our dark side (a subject for another time). 

While we understand that conscious choice is preferable to passive change or a more subversive approach, the fact remains that change is alive and well and inevitable.

Throughout our life, we have all made choices that we feel were good ones and others that we regret or worse yet we judge as bad choices.  The problem with labeling our choices in the past is several fold and until we learn to move beyond this tendency, we will find ourselves stuck in a very ugly pool of guilt and self punishment. And if we think all of our choices were “good” ones, happily speeding us along the flower laden path to righteousness, we probably think we urinate honey and defecate marshmallows as well.  The fact is that reality just is, and every choice has as much potential for light as it does for dark and the determining factor is the intent behind what we choose.

For example: “I dedicate my life to Christ and to serve my fellow men” was the commitment and choice point of a gentleman many years ago that would seem to be a very “good” choice and yet in the name of Christ this man – a Spanish Inquisitor – tortured and killed hundreds of innocent people because they believed differently than he did.  My point is that everything has potential for light as well as darkness so nobody can judge a choice – only live it based on the side we want to nurture.

As we move through life, we will find that it is much simpler when we get to the point where we make conscious, thought out choices rather than allowing the more passive self sabotage ego based option to push forth or worse yet to react to life only when life “happens” to us – which is where 90% of humanity blissfully resides. However, every choice we have ever made is what has made us who we are right this very moment. They have defined our situation in life, our job, our relationships, their quality, our possessions, our hobbies and everything about us as it is right now.

As humans we have a very compelling tendency or egoic need to judge, label and consequently mentally reward or punish ourselves for our choices in the past. This guilt we feel when we resurrect past scenarios that have played out as a result of past choices is pretty much a waste of emotion.  If we can agree that the past is gone and therefore no longer exists, the future is not here yet so it doesn’t exist either and all that really matters is right now because it is the only thing that exists – then we will readily see that by beating our self up or judging our self for past choices is only doing one thing – robbing us of everything we have.  Think about it, if nothing exists but the now, and we are spending our now beating our self up for something that no longer exists, we are sacrificing everything that is to be somewhere that is no longer.  Does it really make sense to do that?

Along the same lines is rehashing or refusing to let go of things that have happened to us that we feel are unjust, unfair or evil.  In the end, everything in the past is gone, it is over and done and no matter how much we complain, re-live it, judge it, justify it or condemn it, the only thing we gain is the buildup of bile and toxic substances as well as thoughts in our mind and body.  NOTHING can come from a refusal to let go of the past regardless what that past may be because it is no longer there.  What is the point of holding on to something that is no longer there?  That is our ego in all its glory and nothing more.

At a young age, I was given many opportunities professionally and socially that included a great deal of responsibility and a certain status. I expounded on these starting new businesses, moving up the ranks of my religion etc.  When the time came to choose differently, I held on to this past citing it, referring to it and clinging to it as part of my identity because I judged my position at the time against what it was and deemed it as less than what it had been before.   This deep subconscious judgment had me clinging to an image of a time long gone by and very subtly looking down at where I was, based on a very limited scope of qualifiers or gauges.  What a waste of time! And we all do it in one way or another. Past relationships, jobs, positions, etc. In my case, I saw the difference in terms of income and social status but conveniently overlooked the fact that I was a far kinder, gentler and more loving person. I was in a positive and uplifting relationship and I was moving towards what I really wanted many times faster than before.  In the end, when I was finally able to let go of this false identity based in the void of the past, I discovered that who I am now is the sum of my choices and the experience of their natural consequences.  If I want it to be different, all I have to do is choose differently and move onward.  That choice point is in the now – not the past, not the future and if we are present when making our choices, we will be much happier with them than if we make them based in a time that doesn’t exist.   

What about the lessons of the past? Don’t they have value? Shouldn’t we study the past to glean lessons so we can improve our future? The simple answer is NO.  Before I lose you on this, let me explain – as we make choices, the consequences are inevitable and automatic, the lessons are EXPERIENCED as we live the consequences. Our life EXPERIENCE is not lost, it is imprinted in our very cells. Our analysis of things past is tainted by our very limited understanding of our own divine nature and until we understand that, we will tend to judge ourselves.  By making our choices in the present and detached from the past, we have the benefit of untainted experience to draw from and a clear concept of where we are, where we want to be and how we will most effectively get there. This is because we are not burdened by a skewed perception of something unreal and nonexistent – in fact we are allowing the now, the experiential sum of our past to objectively proceed with choices that will bring powerful and beautiful consequences to our life that will be conducive to self realization.

Another aspect to this is the tendency we have to justify the past.  This is usually the step that follows our judgment and is invariably as futile in terms of personal evolution.

Justification to our self or others of past choices or events is another waste of energy, emotion and the sacred now.  Whatever took place in the past is over and done – it is what it is or better stated was what it was.  We can dress a turd in silk but a turd it remains, we can bathe beauty in mud but beauty remains.  Choices that we wish we had made differently cannot be undone by justifying them. In fact, the dark side of the choice is drawn out by justification and its dark effect poisons our life while we deaden the effect through the narcotic of the justification itself.

For example, many years ago, I felt a need to change the direction of my life and I knew it would be a dramatic change as it meant a change from a relationship that was not healthy and a religion that no longer served me.  I lived with the turmoil of the less direct approach and opted for the longer more dramatic approach of sabotage.  The effects of the consequences were of course more dramatic for my children and everyone else involved – especially myself.  In the end, the changes came about and eventually things moved in the direction I foresaw as what I needed for my personal evolution.  However, the drama associated with the circumstances leading up to the changes, excommunication, adultery, divorce, heartache, etc. could easily have been mitigated had I had the clarity and courage to just choose differently and proceed accordingly in a strait forward way.  But I didn’t and the drama as I clung to it, drew me into it more and more invoking a judgment and in order to feel right with myself a justification – I would have committed suicide had I stayed, we were wrong for each other, everyone is better off this way, I was blinded by dogma, etc. And while these things may or may not be true, they are attachments to something that no longer exists and consequently don’t matter anymore.  By justifying the past, I was clinging to it and giving power to the dark side of my choices.  When I was able to release the past, the beauty of the light side of my choices (independent of the drama created in the moment at the time) was evident and the personally evolving aspects surged to the forefront changing my reality by being in and appreciating the now as merely the sum of the past but dependent entirely on my next choice which has the power to change it all.

That brings us to the next reason that judgment and justification of the past is a waste of energy and the now.  Every choice we make has the potential to completely alter the effects of past choices and we don’t have the ability to know how or to what degree in the moment or through analysis no matter how clear we think we are.  The important thing is to choose based on the now and hopefully on bringing more light to our life and we will inevitably enjoy the consequences and their effect in our life.

Itrs Just a Cow - its Just a Painting


Farm life and the quiet slower pace of country living has a therapeutic effect on the mind, the body and the soul. There is something to be said about going to bed sore and truly tired from chores where you are in direct contact with the earth, and many of the odd creatures that not only grace the planet but also enhance our existence in so many ways. Rach and I are not true farmers and we don’t live on a “working farm” but it is a farm all the same. We have the traditional barnyard animals and a few on the more exotic side of the spectrum and in true Barbequian fashion, everyone gets along for the most part. It seems like every week we add a new member to our little community and with each addition come many lessons. One of the toughest lessons is that there seems to be a prevailing lack of respect for farm animals – probably because most view them as a commodity instead of a life, but with each interaction, the lack of respect is saddening to me. Two weeks ago, we picked up our sweet Norma Jane – a 2 week old Jersey Holstein mix. The place was a transfer lot where the calves are taken from the auction to be readied and shipped to California to the feed lot to be pumped full of hormone laden feed to accelerate their growth so they can be bred and start producing milk. The stench was unbearable and the calves were covered in feces, fed with a bottle that is shoved in a hole and propped in place so the 750 head can be kept alive before transport every week. Pulled from their mothers at birth and given artificial colostrums if they are females and left hungry, bellowing and frightened to be shipped to the rendering plant as hot dog filler if they have the misfortune of being born male. As we drove away with our new baby in tow, we rode in silence but the pain of the harsh reality of the life of livestock weighed heavy on our hearts. The redeeming factor was that beautiful big eyed innocent being that was spared a life of hell she will never know riding to her new home in Barbequia. Last week, we picked up Esmie-Lu a runt York/Hampshire mix pig that at 2 and a half months only weighs about 30 lbs when her siblings weigh 75. “I can’t waste time and money on a runt so if you want her she is $40.00 if you don’t she is fertilizer” was the matter of fact position of the otherwise nice lady that posted her on Craigslist. Yesterday we drove to Kelso, WA about an hour and a half away to pick up Nanny Belle, a 4 year old Alpine Boer mix goat that had been tethered by her rear foot for so long that it wore off the hair and skin exposing her bone. Her hoofs were so long they curled upwards and she was so thin you could put your index finger to your thumb around her spine. The vet said she wouldn’t live but the people that rescued her from “we are gonna use her for target practice if you don’t want her” understood the secret to true farming. When they turned her over to us, she had a severe limp, a bone where she once had a foot, but her udder had dropped, her ribs were not exposed and while she has a long way to go, she is alive and she is the sweetest soul you will ever meet. I find it ironic that without exception, the people that somehow justify their position and attitude towards these creatures all profess a religious affiliation and some wear it on their sleeve or the back of their truck in the form of a fish. If I recall – and I do – Jesus surrounded himself with children and animals. He taught a very single theme that shone through in every parable and in his life example and that theme is love and respect. He made it very clear that he had come to supersede the mosaic law of an “eye for an eye” and the barbaric law of sacrifice with the law of love. Jesus taught that we should be gentle as a lamb if we are to enter into the kingdom of God. So how do we justify killing for sport, abusing, neglecting, or even tormenting or bullying the weaker just because we can? How can we possibly justify a belief in Christ, or being “Christian” when we kill for lust of blood, torment and abuse for profit, neglect and allow to emaciate because we are too lazy to care for and bully or torment a creature because we can? Is that REALLY what Jesus would do? We are all hypocrites in some form or fashion, but we claim to be the superior species because we have a brain that reasons, we have opposing thumbs and we use tools. If we are so superior and smart, why can we not make the correlation between the way we treat animals and the very Christianity we so obsessively profess? A very profound Cherokee proverb says “A lack of respect for living breathing things will soon lead to a lack of respect for human beings” As those who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus, how do we cling to the Mosaic barbarism while parading little fish on our mini vans? If we think we are so smart and superior why can we not see that love and respect is lost for ones self when it is not shown to everything around us – not just fellow believers. All of creation has a purpose and while some may be to provide sustenance in the chain, we only disrespect ourselves as well as our God when we fail to respect God’s creations. A cow can go to a feed lot to produce milk without being kicked and abused on its way. While I wish there were a better option, a bull calf can be given colostrums at birth and allowed 24 hours with its mother before being shipped to the Oscar Meyer plant and it can be treated with respect along the way. A runt pig can be given away to any number of rescue organizations or family farms that will treat it with respect – even if it ends up on the table in the end. It doesn’t have to live in misery and shit because it happens to be small. An unwanted goat can be given to any number of people as well where it will not have to be subjected to starvation and torture before it ends its days. And the family dog or cat that was invited into our homes as a pet can be treated with respect and cared for or given to someone who will. To do otherwise, is the epitome of tyranny and a blatant “kiss my ass God” as we parade our arrogance and lack of self respect through the way we treat everyone and everything around us. Think about it. If you gave someone a gift, lets say you painted them an oil painting of the view of the mountains from their back yard for their birthday. Several weeks later you notice the painting in their basement leaned against the wall with a urine spot where Fido made his mark on the canvass. – How would you feel? Wouldn’t you think that if they did not want it, they could at least give it to someone that did? Wouldn’t you feel hurt that something you made and gave in a spirit of love was so easily thrown aside? Maybe it wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but you gave it in love. How would you feel to see that gift so blatantly disrespected? I don’t subscribe to the theory that God is an angry god or that he can be offended by our actions because that would be weakness not Godliness. However, I cant help but see no difference in the attitude and the lack of respect between the painting scenario and our treatment of ANY of God’s creations that are given in a spirit of love to enhance our existence. One of the Principal tenets of our church is that all life is sacred and regardless of denomination or religious affiliation, we can all agree that one of the many common threads we share is that respect for one’s creation shows respect for the creator. A Barbequian proverb says: “I am not better than any living thing. However, because I have been given a larger brain, I have a greater responsibility.” My hope is that we give thought and prayerful meditation to these things and search for the inner strength to act accordingly. May we always focus on and celebrate that which we share in common and be open to bridging that which we happen to not as we help each other in our individual quests for self realization. Amen. Rev. David R. Moreno Sunday April 19, 2009