Dear Integral Meditators,
How can we integrate the practice of non-judgment into our life in a way that really makes a difference? The article below explores this theme…
In the spirit of the journey,
Recall a time when you were with a person with whom you did not feel judged. By not feeling judged I mean that you felt as if you were in a safe space with them. You could be who you were without being rejected; even if you felt who you were at that time was not particularly nice, or when you had judged yourself to be ‘bad’, ‘nasty’, ‘sad’, a ‘loser’ and so on….The non-judgmental space that this person created for you was warm, it felt like you were still appreciated and cared for even though you were imperfect, upset or afraid.
Once you have spent a little time remembering in this way, now see if you can create that safe, non-judgmental space for yourself in this moment. See if you can gently extend unconditional warmth and caring toward all parts of yourself, suspending all the normal judgments that you would normally instinctively impose upon yourself. This non-judgmental space has two qualities:
- Firstly, there is the detached quality of non-judgment, kind of like an objective, third person experience
- Secondly there is the friendliness, warmth and curiosity arising from paying attention to and being interested in yourself
These two qualities combine to create the warmth of non-judgmental-ness.
In mindfulness, there is often a lot of emphasis placed upon the practice of non-judgment. When we do this, sometimes we mistake this to mean that we observe ourself or others with complete detachment, with the human warmth and curiosity removed. Good mindful non-judgment however asks that we retain our human sensitivity and vulnerability when practising non-judgment. It is this retention of warmth and humanity that gives mindful non-judgment much of its healing power, enabling it to act as a gently dynamic healing force in our relationship to ourself, other people and our world.
Not judging the judgment
When we first start to practice mindful non-judgment, we will often catch ourselves making judgments before we can ‘stop’ the value assessment being made. Our mind is often impulsive in this way. When this happens, rather than being discouraged, we can simply practice not-judging-the-fact-that-we-have-made-a-judgment (!) This ‘not judging the judgment’ is an important stage in nurturing our non-judgmental ability, letting it develop gradually its own time, without us feeling unnecessary pressure.
Why not try setting some time aside on a regular basis to:
- Create that warm, curious, aware space within yourself
- Practice non-judgment about yourself within that space and,
- Gradually extend that warm non-judgment to others in your life as you go about your day. If we can do it with ourself we will find we can do it with others more easily!
© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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
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