I invite you to pause for a moment and ask yourself: How many times today or yesterday did you judge yourself or others? How caught up were you in your own or other people’s words, actions or behaviours? How much energy did you give to those stories and behaviours?
It’s highly likely that you have admitted to yourself that you were not free of judgement. Whether it is someone cutting you off in traffic, a co-worker annoying you, the baby that won’t stop crying or your spouse not understanding your needs… we all get frustrated with life sometimes. We get frustrated, because we judge.
Judgement is a matter of the ego, never of yourself or the Self.
You may not relate when I speak about the Self, especially when it has a capital S. And that is ok.
You might refer to the same idea as god, spirit, soul, light, universe, core… or whatever works for you. A description that nails it for me personally is the very centre of my being.
In yoga philosophy, the centre of being is referred to as Purusha or Atman:
Atman is the nature and substance of who we are. Buried beneath baggage from our past and fears about the future is Atman. Atman is far beyond our episodes of sickness and health; it is transcendent of jobs, relationships, and social status. It is our True Self. – Darren Main
Finding a glimpse of this is the most invaluable asset I ever have ever discovered – and I will continue to discover.
Sometimes people ask me ‘how I am so happy?’ or ‘how I keep my sense of wonder?’. I am not always happy, of course. It would be great if I could claim that, but I cannot. However, I have come to know myself as something other than the crazy stories, feelings and emotions that my mind is presenting to me.
The feelings are the same, but I know they will pass. I understand they are a stress release of my system and they will leave my body. In fact, according to science, feelings and/or emotions will leave our body after 90 seconds and everything after is what we choose to do with them. Isn’t that crazy?
As a student and teacher, I have seen playing this out a lot on that yoga mat.
In the early years of my practice, I would hide in the back of the room myself because I thought I was not good or flexible enough. To date, this is one of the most common excuses I hear why people choose not to come to a yoga class.
I have also seen many injuries because students listened to their judgemental ego rather than their body. I have seen students push themselves to places further than their body was willing and ready to go to.
Because judgement leads to comparison and when the ego gets in the way we want to measure up.
There never is a reason or need for that.
One of the strongest practices I recently had was lying in reversed Mountain Brook Pose for 30 minutes. Go figure.
The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgement. – Jiddu Krishnamurti
It’s never our job to judge. As I said before, accepting the truth of this will move us into something other than ego-based thinking and acting.
Meanwhile, be kind to yourself and others.
Seek compassion over judgement. Let someone ‘off the hook’ who did you wrong, knowing that the person did the best they could at the time. Start with that guy (…how judgemental) who cut you off in traffic.
Try to find comfort in knowing that you and others are less than perfect.
When you find yourself in judgement about yourself or another person, ask yourself:
And then make a commitment to pause. Make space for silence and an answer within that silence.
As always, I hope it goes well for you this week. Please get in touch if you have any questions.