I have found many people do not spend their life living, but judging their human tendencies to cope a traumatic or overwhelming experience. Nothing positive comes from judging. It only drives us deeper into the dark.
When we label things “good” and “bad” we put a judgement on what we can do and can think. This does not allow us the ability to grow. We only remain stuck in this type of thinking. This only brings us chaos and turmoil, not peace and balance.
There is a difference between judging your thoughts and accepting your thoughts. You will have thoughts and feelings that feel uncomfortable. That is okay. Be with those feelings as painful as they are.
I have found the greatest breakthroughs I had in my healing journey is when I allowed myself to sit with my anger, sadness and grief rather than run away from it. When you approach your thoughts and feelings from this level you recognize that it is just energy flowing through your body and eventually it all passes. It always does.
When we judge our thoughts we judge ourselves and other people. If a person looks or acts a certain way it is because the are a “good” or a “bad” person rather than looking at them as a neutral human being who experiences all the same feelings as we do. The difference is how we choose to act on those feelings and thoughts. Do we act on them through a lens of love or hate? Do we see each other as one or do we separate ourselves because of the way we look, talk, dress and associate with?
What if for one day we became mindful of our judgement towards ourselves and others? We have been conditioned to judge so we cannot simply stop, but we can be mindful when we begin to have judging thoughts.
I find the more I allow myself to connect with people first rather than judge them it creates an openness of understanding that we are here to help, protect and love each other to our fullest ability.
A powerful story that comes to find happened two years ago while I was waiting for my bus to head back home. I was in the middle of downtown Orlando, a dangerous area, by myself as a young woman. I’ve never feared the darkness, but I am also very aware of the realities of a person with my demographics wandering alone in a dark park of town.
I found a seat outside near the bus stop and decided to write. A older man saw me and approached me asking what I was doing. I told him I wrote a blog on was working on some material. He asked if I wanted to write his story. I had never had someone ask me this before. “Yes, I would be honored” I said. We sat together and began to write. At first I couldn’t make sense of what he was telling me, but as he began to reveal himself I found himself wrestling with his past. He was a “bad” person he would say and someone like me shouldn’t be talking to him.
As we began to talk another man approached us. He was younger and dressed in baggy jeans, a long gold cross chain, a long white shirt and black shoes. For reference to this story he was African America. In the area I was in it would of made sense that I would immediately judge him as being someone “bad” having the potential to harm me, even though I knew nothing about him.
He asked me if I was okay. I was surprised by his question. “Yes I am doing okay. Thank you for asking.” The man sitting next to me became frustrated and wanted the other man to leave so we could continue writing together.
Then the man in the baggy jeans did something that changed me forever. He told the man sitting next me that he was sent to protect me. He was from South Carolina and he had come to make amends with a friend. He had a gun and if he didn’t to use it tonight to protect me he would. He was on the bus to go back home and he was called by what he called God to protect me. He had never had this happen to him and I could see this man’s energy shift from one of fear and anger to love and forgiveness.
I sat there still because I was so moved by his words. I could of made all of this judging assumptions about him, but I didn’t. It impacted me deeply.
As my bus pulled into the station I picked up my stuff, smiled at the man and I left never seeing him again. I may never see him again, but his life has changed me for the better. It opened me up to understand that we must take care of each other and see each other for human beings and not just “good” and “bad” people. The more we do not attach labels to one another the more we find that we can simply be human with one another: authentic and real.
When we allow our minds and hearts to open and expand we enter into a beautiful alchemy with ourselves and the world around us. Spend less time judging and more time living and breathing in the life around you filled with beauty and grace.
Here are the seven attitudinal foundations of the mindful practice that, according to Kabat-Zinn, constitute the major pillars of mindfulness practice.
Non-judging: Not getting caught up in our ideas and opinions, likes and dislikes.
Patience: An understanding and acceptance that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.
Beginner’s Mind: Seeing things with fresh eyes, with a clear and uncluttered mind.
Trust: Trusting in your intuition and your own authority.
Non-striving: Trying less and being more.
Acceptance: Coming to terms with things as they are.
Letting Go: Letting our experience be what it is.