The bible said “Judge not lest ye be judged” – which is pretty funny considering the whole book is chock full of judgement. Touch a football? check. Get a tattoo? check. Sell your daughter as a sex slave? Oh, no actually, that one’s ok.
*cough* I may be paraphrasing a little.
Growing up a Catholic, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the 10 commandments. Sure, don’t murder, don’t covet your neighbour’s wife’s ass, these all make sense. Frankly though? I think judgement is worse than all of them (except maybe the ass thing).
Because it’s insidious. It colours everything we think and do. It worsens our life in ways that are far reaching but not immediately apparent.
When Shakespeare said “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” this is what he was talking about. Judgement.
Oh, and did I mention it’s insidious as all hell?
Even as we try to run away from judgement, we pull it closer to us. “Judgement is bad? Ok, I won’t do that” – oh, wait, haven’t we just judged judgement?
It’s a tricky little bugger.
So, let’s break it down a bit.
Why would judging something as “bad” be a bad thing (ha ha, circular logic alert!)
For a start, it makes us feel crappy.
Test it out. Think about something you believe is truly evil, vile, disgusting, abhorrent. Rush Limbaugh? Fish fingers and custard? Christmas shopping?
Feel better? No, of course not.
Additionally, any time we judge actions, behaviours, words or personalities as deficient, we pull our energy away from those involved. We hold ourselves back. Our negative judgement limits us. We can’t be fully present, we can’t be fully loving.
Ok, so let’s say we choose to let go of negative judgement. Do we become a pollyanna? Should we just say “it’s all good, bro” (hair flick)?
Well, not quite.
The even more subtle issue here is this: judging something as positive is problematic too.
Let’s say we really like cake. Cake is great. Cake is always welcome. In other words, we’ve judged it as ‘good’.
- If cake goes away? We’ll get sad.
- If someone takes cake away from us, we’ll resent them.
- If we can’t get cake, we’ll be angry, disappointed or jealous.
- When we don’t have cake, we’ll lust, or be needy.
Huh. All that just coz we like cake?
Well, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying cake, while it’s here. Sure. However, you can start to see why Buddha said “Desire is the root of evil.”
Loving something is wanting more of it, hating it is wanting less of it. Two sides of the same “desire/wanting” coin.
Letting go of judgement takes us out of wanting.
If we love cake while it’s here, but love its absence as deeply, well, then we can remain calm & centred regardless of the cakiness of the situation.
Someone takes cake away from us, we can deeply enjoy our lack-of-cakeness… we’re becoming more svelte, we’re eating healthier, our cholesteral is dropping and boy howdy, if we have cake again we’re gonna really enjoy it.
There are so many benefits to not-cake.. provided we can stay in that place of not-judging.
Non judging is, in short, non attachment.
You know the old story. Farmer’s horse runs away – ohhh, terrible luck! Maybe. Next day it brings back a herd of wild horses – ohhh, great luck! Maybe. His son tries to tame one, falls off & breaks a leg – ohhh, terrible luck! Maybe. Everyone is conscripted for battle, except his broken-legged-son – ohhh, great luck! Maybe.
At the root of peace is non attachment. At the root of non attachment is the letting go of judgement.
Right. Practically speaking, how do we do this?
Ahh, it’s easier than you think. In fact, if you’ve read more than three posts on here you’ve probably already guessed. Uhh, unless the three were the one about horses, the one about snow and that post about cheese.
Just repeat to yourself “I love having cake” – and let go of all thoughts & feelings that arise, until you can say it and genuinely feel it.
If you’re a life-long cake abolitionist, this may take some time. That’s ok, no rush, there’ll be plenty of cake tomorrow.
Next, repeat to yourself the opposite “I love having no cake” (or whatever phrase resonates most strongly for you). Keep repeating that and letting go until you feel genuinely loving about your not-cakeness.
That’s all there is to it. As usual, love is the answer. Keep loving both sides till you feel great. When you feel great regardless, you’ll do so because you are no longer judging.
Oh, it works for non-cakey things too.