This is, by far, the most challenging part of my practice, currently. And my life. Since forever.
My reaction is often swift, heavy-handed and, in my own distorted mind, is completely justified because it is based solely on principle. The principle according to me.
My yoga/ meditation practice shines a glaring light on this ingrained, reactionary habit. When I sit, the judgments come. When I don’t sit, they also come. When I label my thoughts, the judgments come. When I watch my breath…well, you get it.
Then when I enter the world outside my practice space and interact with other humans, the judgments are there just as swiftly and cause discord and conflict in my relationships. And this is true whether or not the judgments are even spoken aloud. The mere thoughts of judgment can create waves of reaction that spread.
My ability to quickly evaluate people and situations is actually quite helpful in my work. Reading a student’s expressions or evaluating a possible motive for errant behaviour is beneficial to the method of problem-solving I choose to implement with a student.
But, as soon as I create a story based on a judgment, then comes my undeniable attachment to that story. And the defensiveness when the story is challenged.
I genuinely wish to nurture a non-judgmental mind because the majority of my moments and my relationships are NOT about solving problems. At all. Nor are they about fixing what I see as the errant behaviour of others.
Oh to be soft and receptive enough to accept all beings I encounter with a touch of grace and humour. To see their quirks and oddities with curiosity and compassion, not instant judgment. To free myself from the tyranny of reaction.
Frustration, irritation and even some good old-fashioned anger are signs that I’m holding on to a story created by my judgement of how I think things are. This area needs sustained attention. Even if the judgment is based on principle. Even if I am right. Did I mention that I most often think I’m right?
I’m grateful for my practice. It encourages me (with all my oddities) to pause, take a breath, withhold judgement and befriend myself as a work in progress again and again and again. The “again and again and again” part IS the practice.
So today, I begin. Again. And again.