Dear Integral Meditators,
In the spirit of non-judgment,
Honesty, Release and redirection -Three Levels of Non-Judgment
Within certain types of mindfulness and meditation practice a lot of emphasis is placed on the practice of non-judgment, that is to say observing what we are seeing or experiencing without making a snap value assesment about it. Here are three levels to consider in any practice of non-judgment that will afford a slightly deeper and more complete experience of it, as well as avoiding a few of the pitfalls that it is easy to make.
Stage one: Recognizing you have made a judgment
Before you let go of a judgment, you need to admit and acknowledge you have actually made a judgment. Spelling out judgments that make us uncomfortable is often not easy;
- I feel guilty because I am angry with my partner or child
- I have a racial or cultural prejudice against this person
- I’m scared and covering it by being aggressive
- I am jealous of my colleague and their success
If you try and jump to a non-judgmental space before this first stage, you can easily simply use the practice of non-judgment as a way of denying or repressing your judgments, which will actually decrease your capacity for self-awareness and your ability to release and transform your judgments.
You might call this stage honesty, as this stage entails looking nakedly at what is there and admitting what we see and find.
Stage two: Non-Judgment
Having fully acknowledged the judgments that you actually have, you can then spend time accepting and releasing the judgment:
- I accept and release my guilt for being angry with my partner
- I accept the reality of my cultural prejudice, and let it go
- I note and release my aggression and insecurity
- I note the jealousy that I experience toward my colleague, and whilst acknowledging and owning that feeling, I note that my deeper identity is not that feeling
You might call this stage release, as it involves the actual experience of letting go of the judgment.
Stage three: Better judgment
The experience of non-judgment is a very worthwhile experience in and of itself, and it can lead to some very relaxing states of mind in meditation (See my recent article on the Man or Woman of No Rank), but I believe that one of the main functions of practicing non-judgment is so that we can then replace our habitual and unconscious judgments withbetter conscious judgments. Better judgments come from questions such as:
- What is a better way to work with my anger toward my partner or child?
- What perspectives can help me I evolve beyond my cultural prejudice?
- Can I find a creative, non-destructive use for my insecurity?
- Can I care deeply about my own professional success without being automatically jealous of my colleague’s achievements?
You might call this stage redirection, as the practice of better judgment leads to the redirection of energy previously caught up in negative judgments into new and life-affirming directions.
As we move towards the new year, what are the judgments that you would like to practicehonesty, release and re-direction around in your life?
© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com