Non-judgement is developing awareness of our natural tendency to make quick judgments about things classifying them into right or wrong, good or bad, fair or unfair based on believes, cultural conditioning, social contexts, and the moments’ moods. Left unchecked, this tendency leads to a black and white perception of reality making us unreceptive to any other shades and colors life has to offer. By practicing non-judgment, we become aware of our tendencies so that when judgment arises within us we can make a conscious choice to reassess the situation from a higher perspective and gain a fuller insight into the nature of the matter.
To explore non-judgement there is an important distinction we must make between ‘judgement’ and ‘discernment’. It is important to know how to discern what is good for us and what is not (understanding the difference between safety and danger for example). But when we make judgements, we run the risk of oversimplifying, making assumptions, and unfairly relegating things or people into one-dimensional boxes, leaving no room for important nuances.
When the voice of judgement is running the show – in one’s inner narrative and in conversation with others – we live in a kind of poverty. Our existence can become small and limited, with little room for growth.
When we do not have a strong, empowered, and authentic inner sense of self, many of us grasp at a sense of identity by placing ourselves in opposition to things. We create an identity built on top of walls piled high with judgements about all of the things we disagree with, or that we are against.
This is a way that our small ego protects itself when we are feeling insecure. It is a defense mechanism designed to keep us in a place where we do not have to face our vulnerabilities or fears.
When we proclaim that something is ‘bad’, it is an out from having to actually engage with it. This can also be a means of masquerading power. To make ourselves appear to be bigger than something we do not understand means that we don’t have to admit our ignorance on the subject, to others or to ourselves. Which results in a lost opportunity for learning and growth.
Now, there’s nothing inherently bad about observing and acknowledging the differences in things and situations and acting accordingly. It is a very important skill to have for our well-being. Discernment helps us to make informed decisions and honour healthy boundaries for ourselves and those around us. The difference between making judgements, versus discernments, is the place from which the decision is being made.
When we are making a judgement we are forming an opinion without having the full picture, using our pre-formed notions to fill in the gaps in our understanding of the thing/person/situation in front of us. Unchecked biases or assumptions are hallmarks of judgement.
Discernment on the other hand, requires a nuanced understanding of the matter at hand. It means that there is a depth of perception, without assumptions. There is intellectual integrity involved along the process, i.e. it is an informed decision and not a flippant one.
At Interfusion we embrace the value of non-judgement. And in the space of non-judgement discernment is an important skill to cultivate. However the two are not mutually exclusive – meaning that you can engage with non-judgement without having to discern for yourself an opinion or arrive at a conclusion about anything.
Non-judgement requires openness and humility. It does not mean you have to engage in anything you don’t resonate with, but it does mean that you refuse to make assumptions behind the closed doors of your mind.
When paired with curiosity non-judgement can lead to spectacular things! It opens doors to new experiences, perspectives, and growth. It allows for an open space in which we can play and learn without restrictive limitations and unfair biases.
Upholding the value and practice of non-judgement can benefit the experiences of both our external and internal worlds. Sometimes the things we judge most harshly are not external to us, but within ourselves.
Be kind to yourself, my friends. Do not assume that you will fail at something you have never tried. Resist the urge to limit yourself to avoid the risk of humiliation, especially when it means missing an opportunity to grow. Do not shy away from new experiences or shut down new perspectives without engaging first with curiosity and openness. Utilize your faculty of discernment and make healthy decisions to live a balanced life.
And if you ever catch yourself making a judgement about someone or something because you are trying to uphold an image of yourself, check yourself. Check your assumptions, your insecurities and fears, and re-engage with integrity and courage.
Breathe deep and open your hearts our dear warriors of light!
What you don’t know may bring you just what you needed.
I check my bias and assumptions.
I choose to make disernments over judgements.
I am open, I am curious, I am free.