Mediation Column: Meditate before passing judgment

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Judgment, though often referred to as a negative thought or verdict, is actually defined as a decision or conclusion resulting from considerate, sensible, logical thought or the end result of the process of such thinking. Judgment often gets its negative connotation when the information or thoughts that lead to its conclusion are based on prejudice, ignorance and/or a lack of intellect, knowledge or the disregard of human consideration. A lack of love. There is a lot of judging going on in the world around us. Perhaps you have been judgmental yourself on occasion. It’s not just an individual thing. Entire social systems, religions, countries, etc. spend a lot of time in the practice, especially when their religious, social or political ideas differ from others. We judge each other, perhaps more than we are aware of. We judge people by the clothes they wear, the way they speak, who and how they worship, their social status and education, etc. and, of course, most importantly, we judge each other by what we deem as right from wrong.

Self-judgment comes into play when we internalize our observations on ourselves, usually based on the same social thinking that we believe everyone else is judging us by. Theologians have some sayings, “Judge not, lest ye be judged” or, “Judge not that ye may not be judged.” If you look at the behavior, “meditate on it,” you will often find the negative judgments you put on others, you put on yourself as well, and suffering ensues. It is these behaviors that become the focus of the student of meditation.

It happens so often these days (it has always gone on), people judging each other by outward appearances. Defining right and wrong for each other based on our own life experiences, conditioning, mental programming, etc. Deciding how others should live or behave based on our concepts of human existence.

There is another level, self-judgment. The student sat with the teacher and proclaimed, “I have learned much. Meditation has set me free from so many of the workings of my mind. Especially those thoughts which have caused me great anxiety and anguish. Though the thoughts still come, their power is less and the duration of suffering from them has diminished. As I gain freedom from the negativity created by my thinking, I find included in the thoughts are judgments I make on myself for many things I have said and done when my level of consciousness was not where it is now.”

The teacher lovingly responded, “I understand you pass negative judgment on yourself as thoughts of the past lead you to remember times you were not so aware; asleep, you might say. I’ll remind you, thoughts of the past almost always lead to some sort of suffering, such as regret over things you have done or opportunities missed, loss, or the desire to have what you once cherished, etc. Now as you awaken, just as you would forgive and understand those who have not yet experienced the peace, love and joy which results from conscious awareness, you must allow yourself the same understanding. To judge the rain that floods the fields after rejoicing in the splendor of the flowers which bloom is a behavior of the mind, not the conscious self.”

A meditation on judgment, keep it in mind here and there when it comes to your awareness, or not. When meditating, be aware when your mind judges the thoughts that come to you. It’s OK. Be aware if you create conflict with the thinking. The idea is to observe the thought-stream. Aware of interruption, when judgments come, answer them if you must. Answer them knowing you are judging yourself at a time when you were asleep. You’re awake now. Then return your attention to the focus of your meditation and continue to observe the stream of thought.

It’s a new day. Your day! ••