State of No-judgment

The idea of operating from the state of no-judgment was introduced to me through a course at New Equations in 2005. We all talked about being judgmental and being judged frequently. But what does operating from the state of no-judgment really means? What does it look like?

I had no idea what this no-judgment nonsense mean at all when I first encountered it. I was thoroughly confused. I have to admit that I still do not know entirely what it means, and never mind about mastering the skill! I feel it is one of those “peeling the onion” experience (like peeling an onion, you learn a bit/layer at a time). My last posting/learning regarding my mom is exactly one of those learning that revealed itself when I peeled away a layer of this onion of life!

Today, I gather that when operating from a state of judgment means you see things as they are without adding any of your idea why or what it is about. Basically, see things as “it is what it is” and STOP there. For example, say a friend who normal gives you a Christmas present every year, suddenly stopped doing so. The truth is this person stops giving you present because this is what you see and it is a fact. But most of us go one step (or a few more) further. We begin to wonder why and then we start making stories about them and ourselves. Stories that can us lead to believe that they are cheap, inconsiderate, broke, snotty and we are unworthy; bad; greedy and  deserve not to receive anything. These negative judgments start to colour how we look at ourselves and them. Their sole purpose is to separate and place s distance between us.

At my very first New Equations  retreat, before the notion of no-judgment was introduced to me, I was paired with a roommate that is sensitive to snoring and I tend to make noise when I sleep. I have learned to wear earplugs when I need to share a room with another person. This person was a well seasoned no-judgment participant at the retreat. The next morning, he mentioned that he could not sleep well because of my snoring and before I began to launch into any justification of my nocturnal action, he immediately said,” No judgment please”. I did not know what it meant. I felt being cut off and on top of that he moved to another room. Guess what happened next? I began to beat up and judge myself. I was so preoccupied with the task that it took me away from being fully present at a good part of  the retreat and I was not able to form any sort of relationship with this participant.

Being judgmental takes me away from experiencing happiness. It causes me to make up a bunch of negative stories which prevent me to enjoy the situation, thing or company of a person. I am NEVER happy when I am in a judgmental mood. When I find myself in the company of judgmental folks, we would immediately begin a hay ride of complaining and bitching about other people and what is worst is we make ourselves to believe that we are having a good time.

Being non-judgmental is not easy. We have been brought up and conditioned to judge. Most if not all of us have no idea how to function daily without judging anyone, anything. It takes you years to become who you are. It is really unrealistic to think that you can change everything around just like that. One baby step at a time. Be aware when you judge and see where you are going to go with it. You have the choice.

Most important of all, be KIND and patient with yourself when you begin your no-judgment training!

I am happy.

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Judgment vs happiness

I had a huge epiphany. I added judgment to my list of things that stops me from getting in touch with happiness.

I was made to believe that we are most happy when we do things that are of high value to us and it does not serve our happiness if we do things out of guilt…… and that is, ahem, in the perfect world. In real life, we often face situations or events that we dread or cannot avoid. These  could be family gatherings such as re-unions/Christmases/weddings, visiting parents/in-laws and office functions etc. These are some situations that could be challenging for some of us to be with.

“I cannot stand the weekend lunches with my parents but I have to go because I have to,” you may ask yourself. “What can I do?”

My mom is pushing 90 and lives half way around the world. For the last 10 years, I have been visiting her at least once a year and sometimes, twice. Like most people’s mother, I love my mom but I can only be in her company for so long. My mom pushes all my buttons. The earlier visits were difficult. I had to go because “she is old; she will only live so long; and I only have one mother” – familiar guilt? I used to show up and “disappear”and I did my “duty.” And I was not happy.

As a matter of fact, I have just returned after spending 10 days visiting my mom….and I usually do a one week visit.  Because of my mother’s increasing loss of strength, she was more house bound than ever. She still complained and pushed my buttons. But, these 10 days were some of the best times I have spent with her. What changed? It is very obvious that she is getting old. I decided that I needed to treasure my time with her. In order to treasure her, I need to find some value being with her. And in order for this value thing to happen, I need to change my perspective of her, being with her. How?

I first dropped my judgments of her. One judgment is, “My mom is the world’s biggest victim”. She constantly complained about how and who had done her wrong and how they ruined her life. I just focused on her action without judgment – my mom complains. I stopped trying to fix her and allowed her to complain. I tuned out when I needed to. When it got too much, I distracted her the some way that you would distract a child. I changed the topic. When I got stronger again to be non-judgmental of her, I allowed her to be.

I realized that as long as I stayed out of judgment, I started to get in touch with her spirit. And it was being with her spirit that I found the joy and happiness of being with her. It is not easy to stay in  no-judgment with her as a matter of fact, with anything, any one. I flipped in and out. It is like anything, it takes practice. Toward the end of my visit with my mother, I suddenly found myself reluctant to leave. I did not want to leave her. The last time I felt this way was when I was getting ready home for Canada at the age of 15 and that was before I had any judgment of my mother. She was then just “mom”.

Now, I have only left her for 10 days and I could not wait to see her August for her 90th birthday. As a matter of fact, I want to jump on the plane and fly to her now. My love of my mother grew.

My mom had presented me a huge learning. When I stop judging, the acceptance follows.

Being judgmental prevents me from being in touch with happiness.

My mom