“The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not your mind—the thinker. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.”
— Eckart Tolle, The Power of Now
I was walking—no, sleepwalking—in the mall one day when I became aware that I was doing a whole lot of judging. I judged people on how they looked, how they walked, how they treated their children . . . the list is infinite.
In the past, I would have been critical with myself for that sort of thing. Ironically, self-criticism is an act of judgement, too. How is that okay?
I would have become guilt’s hostage for the duration of my walk.
Not anymore. I’ve come to understand that judging is a natural function of the brain.
In truth, it wasn’t me doing the judging, it was my brain. As long as we have a brain, we’ll be inclined to judge. Why? Our brains are wired to compare, evaluate and critique. So the tendency to judge is hardwired—innate. It’s an activity our brains do constantly and automatically. We compare yesterday’s weather with today’s, we decide if it’s a good idea to cross an intersection. We determine whether it’s safe to approach a stranger standing on the corner, or a barking dog. Should I eat that purple-ish food or not?
The judging function of our brains is connected to our survival instinct. Without it, we would be handicapped in our ability to navigate the world we live in.
So with all that said, the goal isn’t to stop judging. We can’t. Believing we can, merely sets us up for lots of self-punishment. The realistic goal is to commandeer it. Take over. It’s akin to tending to a small child. We monitor where she is going and what she is doing. When she’s headed in the wrong direction we say “There, there now. We’re not going that way.” She doesn’t need to be punished, only redirected.
In other words, we need to disidentify with the brain. Our true self is the one observing the mental voice.
With that in mind, let’s rewind, shall we . . . ?
I was walking in the mall one day when I noticed that my brain was doing a whole lot of judging. It commented on how people looked, how they walked and how they behaved. I chalked it up to a brain operating in default-mode. This objective observation allowed me to redirect that brain: a higher level of consciousness was activated and those judgments — toward others and myself— were immediately replaced with acceptance and compassion. Nice, huh?
This post was actually inspired by someone who wrote about her own discoveries about judging. You can find her here. And by the way, you’ll find that she has a very attractive spirit. 🙂
(c) Salee Reese 2016