A Monthly Meditation evening comtemplation
Thoughts in all their guises - we not only give thoughts our attention, we believe them. We create whole story-lines - judgements and beliefs around them. I'm not talking here about analysing and assessing - this is something we need to do but judging every experience as good, bad or indifferent. There will always be an element of judging because there will always be thought but as we watch our thoughts we can watch our judgements. Observe them, like we observe how we talk to ourselves - tone of voice, words used - we do the same with our judgement thoughts.
If someone turns up later than they say they will and we judge them 'thoughtless', or "He's always late" - notice the thought and pause. There might be a good reason for the lateness - we don't know what is going on in other people's lives (and most of the time it's none of our business). Be kind. It doesn't mean you are a pushover, it may be that you need to speak to the person if it is always happening, or perhap make a mental note to add a certain amount of time onto their suggested hour.
We can often judge ourselves harshly, as well as others, when we get lost in the unnecessary running commentary of thought. Life will continue irrespective so judging things - people, events - does not add to our lives, in fact it often has the opposite effect. It may make us feel superior, justified in our 'me, me, me' preoccupation but not for long and that's because this is not natural to who we really are. In mindfulness we talk about needing to be true to ourselves, kind to ourselves - feeling all that arises and falls, not picking and choosing, which only results in tension, dis-ease. Noticing judgements - how we do it, when we do it, discovering all we can from this is a true kindness. Let the judgements thin out with all the other unhelpful thoughts. When they do come, like with any thought, notice and acknowledge them perhaps even congratulate yourself for noticing. The thoughts feel so real. Judgement feels like all opinions, as though they are 'mine' and if we are not observing then hey presto! we'll be back in the stories of 'me, me, me'. It is important to also maybe ask yourself 'is this really my problem/my business'? The way someone dresses, wears their hair, has tattoos or not, their address or career choice - what does any of this mean? What is their relevance to our existence? Yet still we make judgements on these matters and like so many thought patterns they are habitual.
We also concern ourselves with people judging us. What others think of us is none of our business either. During the 8 week course we look at noticing how we speak to others, the expectation, judgement and pre-conceived ideas. Giving judgement the same space we give any thought or sensation - to come and go - whether it be us feeling judged or us doing the judging, is being true, being compassionate - to ourselves and others. Judgement is another type of defence mechanism to protect 'me, me, me'. But the more time we spend in the present, the more our awareness expands, we realise there is nothing, no-one to protect. We don't need to point out how others are lacking when we aren't! Instead we are considerate, respectful - once again, to ourselves and others.
Life is life, things happen. Rather than aiming blame at ourselves and others we should discover the gems this life event is offering us. When we start with blame how far do we go back? Dragging up old stories from the past is unhelpful. We lash out because we feel scared, out of control. But life is constantly showing us that it is simply living, and in that way we have no control. These are opportunities where life is calling on us to increase our awareness. Anger and blame come from us believing that life shouldn't be like this, shouldn't happen in any way other than how we want it to and as we know this is the cause of our self-suffering and futile - the alleviation of which is our aim.
Author: Samantha Hall
Artwork also produced by me.
If you would like to receive these posts directly by email please submit your details by clicking the button below