Why is non-judgment an important practice? Non-judgemental approach means to make a conscious effort not to be critical of the actions or thoughts of others. The practice of non-judgment is essential to purify and deprogram the mind just like by eating clean, healthy food, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine we can detoxify the physical body. There is a distinction between judgment and discernment. Discernment simply is perceiving the way things are. Judgment is what we add to discernment of how things or people are and how we think they ought to be. So, in judgment, there’s an element of dissatisfaction with the way things are and a desire to have things be the way we want them to be. Left to itself, the brain will automatically judge things as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, important or unimportant, urgent or non-urgent and so on. This happens so fast that our experiences are automatically colored right when we get to them. Practicing non-judgement is to silence the mind by stopping the constant flow of thoughts analysing and evaluating everything and everyone we meet, ourselves included. When the mind is clear, we can see new possibilities, transcend perceived limits, and live a life of greater ease, joy and love. The key here is to bring awareness to the moments of our lives. Be aware when the brain is automatically judging a situation or a person, and we can pause and get some perspective. In this way we create a sort of “space” between ourselves and the thought so that we’re not so caught up in it. Labeling judgements as judgements can be useful. When we notice ourselves judging we can just say the word “judging” quietly to ourselves. When we name our experience we again create a small gap that gives us a sense of freedom. Was this judgment just something that popped in my mind? Is there another way I can see this? A practice of non-judgment helps us to avoid a lot of the suffering we experience on a daily basis. Some kinds of judgment are both good and necessarily practical. What I have tried to highlight are those kinds of judgment that are founded on either hatred, prejudice, rigid categorization, unsubstantiated generalization, or any act of making a ‘final judgment’ that closes the heart to another living being. It is not easy to reserve judgement and no one is entirely able to do so, but it is something we can strive for and put into practise as diligently as possible.
Practice moment to moment non-judgemental awareness