Non-Judgement

+ scales of justice June 11 Muse 10539380_sA while back, my frustration level with something I was involved in began to rise to a level of indignation that was unhealthy and counterproductive. When my feelings worsened and became righteous indignation – a quality I think of as “frustration on steroids,” I knew I was reaching a dangerous point. I was steeped in negativity – mad at the people involved, mad at myself for not being able to relax and let it go. I was using up a lot of energy for no particular reason or productive outcome. And, I was about as far from the spiritual quality of non-judgment as I could get!

Non-judgment is a new quality for me to cultivate, and not an easy one to learn. While I know it’s a vital and important part of a spiritual life, I admit to some confusion and conflict about it. What is non-judgment? What does it ask of me? Does it require me to stop having opinions? I’ve spent a good bit of my life suppressing some of my feelings – especially the “less attractive” ones like anger, disappointment, and unhappiness and have only lately learned how to be present to and able to express them. Am I supposed to bottle all that back up? Does non-judgment mean not having a critical sense?

As I contemplate it, it doesn’t seem like non-judgment means not having feelings about someone or something. As evolving souls on a spiritual path, we are meant to feel, see, be aware, have preferences. We grow through the process of discerning and making choices about what is right for us. Having feelings and preferences is not what keeps us from the spiritual stance of non-judgment, how we co-exist with and respond to those feelings is what can get in our way. When our response involves negative energy and results in meting out punishment of some sort, we risk expending a lot of energy uselessly, losing our equanimity, sometimes even damaging ourselves and others.

And the damage of judgment goes both directions – outward to others and inward to ourselves. Being judgmental of others, or of ourselves, is helpful to neither the one judging nor to the one being judged.

What, then, do we do with our feelings and responses? In my novice experimentation with non-judgment, I’m finding that this quality helps me neutrally observe and gently disengage from the impulse to reprimand or punish. It reminds me to separate the action from the one who acts. It helps me think from an Essence, Unlimited Self place – a consciousness that knows right from wrong. Our Essence holds the energetic coding for Right Thought and Action, though, unfortunately, we are not always tapped into that consciousness.

Essence holds the vibration of non-judgment, so, when we are looking for guidance, we can try asking Essence what to do and see what emerges. There’s an acronym being used in some circles, “WWJD?” – what would Jesus do? If that’s helpful to you, use it by all means. For myself, I’ve substituted Essence or Unlimited Self: What would Essence, Unlimited Self, do?

Unlimited Self, in contrast to Limited Self, brings an expanded, richer vibrational perspective. It is grounded in love, not in hate or fear. Limited self, on the other hand, sees limits, lack, views something or someone as not good enough. It judges and finds wanting. Unlimited Self observes, watches, discerns without measuring and comparing one against the other from a good-enough/not good-enough viewpoint . Unlimited Self knows the best choice, and if we listen for it, we can take its counsel. The choice is clear, the path marked. We follow the way that brings the highest good. We don’t judge or punish, we just choose better the next time.

As I worked to resolve my feelings and judgmental stance in the situation that was eroding my energy and causing me righteous indignation, I found it helpful to ask my Unlimited Self how to move forward. One practical suggestion I got from this process was to simply limit the amount of time I spent with that situation by stepping away, by thinking and talking about something else for awhile. Another tactic was, when I noticed myself churning up about it, to take a few deep breaths and hold the words, “neutrality, non-judgment” as a mantra. I stopped and looked out at the horizon for an unlimited view, inviting an unlimited perspective into this relatively small situation in my life. I tried to release my cranky emotions while staying grounded in “just the facts, ma’am.” And, did I mention I took a few deep breaths? Gradually, the feelings calmed and I was less overtaken by my emotions. I made some peace with the situation, and even felt lighthearted enough to say, “Oh well!” and let it go.

And, lastly, I reminded myself of what a friend had suggested in our conversation about non-judgment, “Hold your efforts at non-judgment with non-judgment!” In other words, don’t be hard on yourself as you learn about this energy. Cultivating this neutral, loving position is a lifelong practice. Let’s be gentle with ourselves as we try – that’s non-judgment.

 

 

 

 

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