“We have the freedom to know the experience, without judging the experience”
Knowing Judgement, (commentary)
That same spirit of naming can be brought to the aversion we call judgment. So many of us judge ourselves and others harshly, yet have little understanding of the whole judging process.
With meditative attention, we can observe how judgment arises as a thought, a series of words in the mind. When we don’t get caught up in the story line, we can learn from it a great deal about both suffering and freedom in our life. For many people judgment is a main theme and their life, and a painful one. Their response to most situations is to see what’s wrong with it, and in their spiritual practice the demon of judgment continues to be strong.
Naming Judgment, (practice)
How can we work with the pain of judging? If we try to get rid of it by saying, “Oh, I shouldn’t be judging,” what is that? It’s just another judgment.
- Instead, acknowledge the judgment as it arises.
- Allow it to come and go.
- Sometimes it helps to give it a name.
- If your judgment reminds you have someone from the past, try saying:
- “Thank you, Mom” or “Thank you, Dad” etc.
- Judgments are simply a prerecorded tape that plays through the mind over and over again.
- Try to have a sense of humor come about your judgments — this will keep them in perspective relative to the rest of your life.
To understand the judging mind, we need to touch it with the forgiving heart.
If it’s really difficult to get in touch with it, try the following exercise. Sit quietly for an hour and see how many judgments arise. Count each one. Someone walks in the door. “I don’t like them. Judgment twenty-two. I don’t like what they’re wearing either. Judgment twenty-three. Gee, I’m getting good at finding all these judgments. Oh, twenty-four.” We can stand a very fruitful hour meditating, just understanding the judging mind.
To become conscious, we must fully allow each difficult state we have rejected — the judging mind, the desiring mind, the fearful mind — to come and tell us it’s story until we know them all and can let them back into our heart.
In this process of dealing with the demons, we need a container of awareness, compassion, and wisdom, a still point in the midst of the movement of mind.
As we accepted the impersonal and habitual nature of the demons, we can see the gold they conceal. We may notice directly how aversion and judgment arise from a deep longing for justice or strength, or from the clarity and discriminating wisdom that cuts through the illusions of the world. When we know the demons for what they are, they release their other powers and we find clarity without judgment and justice without hatred. Through the heart felt attention, the pain of anger and hate can lead us to a deep awakening of compassion and forgiveness.
When we feel anger toward someone, we can consider that he or she is a being just like us, someone who has also faced much suffering in life. If we had experienced the same circumstances and history of suffering as the other person, might we not act in the same way?
So we allow ourselves to feel compassion, to feel his or her suffering. This is not just the papering over of anger:
- it is a deep movement of the heart,
- a willingness to go the beyond the conditions of a particular point of view.
“In this way our anger and judgment, can lead us to the true powers of clarity and love we seek.”
Source, A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
Adapted by, G Ross Clark