Monday, July 4, 2016



The pickup truck parked at the side of the road was blocking part of the driving lane. He parked right on the hilltop, making it impossible to see if it was safe to move over to the other lane to get by him. "What a jerk."

One of the women on a yoga retreat left her shoes right inside the door, where people would trip over them. Every time. "How inconsiderate."

Judgement can happen fast.

When I caught myself judging the shoe-lady, I stopped in my tracks. I'd intended to be aware of how judgement rises when I was away, so it was the perfect time to ask myself how I could approach this in a non-judgemental way

Judgement is personal. It's about the person, their character, personality or motivations. Yet, when it comes right down to it, I'm not qualified to judge anyone. Non-judgement, on the other hand, is just observation. Nothing added. Just-the-facts.

Judgement: "How inconsiderate." Non-judgement: "These shoes are in the doorway. I'll have to watch where I step."

But that was hard. I really, really wanted to move my thinking into, "I shouldn't have to step over someone else's shoes."

Judgement slips in when we think we are entitled to something: an easy pathway into the lodge, respect, love, affection, peace and quiet, an open road. It's built on a sense of entitlement. Sneaky thing, judgement.

This doesn't seem like big stuff, but it affects us in deep ways that can really mess up our ability to communicate well or develop better relationships not just with the one we judge but ourselves too. I belittle us all.

I will never be able to control what someone thinks or how they act. It's like trying to stop the wind. To release myself it's not enough to decide not to judge, I have to take action. I have to act on just-the-facts. For the shoes in the doorway: step over them or move them aside. For the pickup at the side of the road, slow right down, perhaps even stop until I can see if the way is clear.

Life will always give me shoes and blocked lanes. How I respond to them is up to me.

It can be tricky to see judgement when it rises. I imagine I judge others in ways I have yet to discover. Yet I don't mind the practice. I find it interesting to see how the dynamics change when I can turn judgement into just-the-facts, and conversely, how the dynamics play out when I can't.

My sister gave me a great analogy that helps:
Think about a cat sleeping in the most comfortable place in the house. Then the dog comes in, disrupting its sleep and comfort. What will the cat do? It'll get up and move to the second most comfortable place in the house and go back to sleep. Just-the-facts, leading to taking care of its own needs.

“Love is the absence of judgment.” -- The Dalai Lama
"A person who judges gets it wrong, becomes confused and is defeated." -- Pope Francis