Good Morning. I hope you had a GREAT weekend. Did you experience moments that “took your breath away”? I am certain that you did as life is truly magical; and when we look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, we discover it! “The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives.” (Louise Hay) Create a masterpiece😊
It is Monday. How fortunate you are to be present this day to continue to embark on your life’s journey. Remember, what you do today (and every day) is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. You are capable of amazing things; so be all that you can be!
Last week we delved into mindfulness through understanding the nine qualities present in mindfulness. Take a moment to reflect. How did it go for you? Were you present and awake to more moments than you have been in the past? Have you begun to experience the “bloom of each moment?” Did any of the nine qualities resonate with you last week? Did you experience any “aha moments”? It is important to remember that there is no goal or endpoint. Mindfulness is a way of being; not something that you “check off the list” once it is accomplished. Being awake to each of life’s moments is a life time’s journey. Congratulate yourself that you are receptive to focusing on living in the present moment and effecting the quality of your day. This is not so easy to do, but it is well worth it!
This week I want to hone in on one of the nine qualities of mindfulness, non-judging. This is an area that, at times, can be a challenge for me and an area that I am currently learning to dance with 😊. Remember, mindfulness is about paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment; non-judgmentally. Non-judging is about being aware of whatever comes up for you and suspending any judgment. It is about accepting your thoughts, experiences or mind states without judging or labeling them as good or bad; liking or disliking them. Doing this enables you to better to handle what is happening and act with much greater clarity in your life.
This can be very difficult to do because the mind is a judging machine. So often, when we have a thought, experience or are in a mind state that is uncomfortable, we immediately strive to change it. It is important to note that whatever state you are in is perfectly fine. There is no need to get somewhere else. Know that wherever you are is called “here”. You must treat it as a powerful stranger. So, what if you attempted to welcome these experiences, thoughts or mind states instead of fighting with or trying to change them? What if you decided to “dance with them”? What if you said, “I will weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether I like it or not.” (John Ruskin) In your life, sometimes the weather will be sunny and sometimes it will be stormy. Each season has a purpose and there is much you can learn from it. So, rest in the stillness of what is happening and just be.
Letting go of automatic judgments helps settle down the judging mind. Even if it is for a short while, non-judging takes a weight off your shoulders and allows you to truly experience the moment, the feeling, the situation. Practicing non-judgment helps you to see that there is no longer anything to be done about the present moment; you do not need to “do” something about every life experience. “Developing skill in facing and effectively handling the various ‘weather conditions’ in your life is what is meant by the art of conscious living.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn) Learning to “go with the flow” of where you are can help you realize that there is not another place you need to be.
Non-judgment is not about stopping judgments from ever arising; that is impossible. Instead, it is about changing your relationship to your judgments. By knowing that they are temporary thoughts, you no longer have to be swept away by them just because they arise in your mind.
Non-judgment matters and through cultivating this attitude you can experience some benefits:
Non-judgment opens you up to more of life’s beauty. When you remove judgment, you have the opportunity to see the beauty and wonder in every aspect of life. Any activity can be a wonderful, enriching experience if you take the time to pay attention to it.
Non-judgment helps you off the hedonistic treadmill. Much dissatisfaction can come from the endless quest for more. Letting go of thejudgment that what you have is not good enough enables you to appreciate the positive qualities of where you are now.
Non-judgment helps you cultivate a peaceful mind. Your judgments can be the source of stress about the “bad” things in your life or whatever might happen in your future. Letting go of judgment of “bad” frees you from suffering caused by interpreting things in this way.
Non-judgment helps you see more clearly. When reacting to your judgments, you are only seeing your interpretation of what is there.Letting go of these judgments can help you see things as they are or enables you to experience whatever is happening with fresh eyes.
Practicing non-judgment can be rewarding and liberating; but, how do you switch off automatic pilot and be aware that this is occurring? As you continue to cultivate your mindfulness practice, slow down, pause, are present and observe your own thinking, you will be more apt to notice when judgments arise. When this happens, recognize the thoughts you are having, notice how you are feeling and move forward with clarity, staying present to the current experience without judging it. The key here is to bring awareness and intentionality to the moments of your life.Practicing non-judgment can help you experience yourself and your life as it is, embracing it and learning from all you encounter without having to change it.
Have a great week. I hope you embrace the richness of each moment and experience of each mind state for the insight it brings. Mindfulness is the art of befriending yourself. By changing the inner attitude of your mind, you can change the outer aspect of your life.