Practice Instructions: Judgment
Some practice instructions for working with judgment...
First and most importantly, the central work of identifying and healing judgement is getting crystal clear (through all of our various mind states and life situations) about the difference between judgement and discernment. What can make this challenging is that the exact same thought can be either! It is all in the felt-sense behind the thought. Some inquiries for this:
As I have the thought....
Is there a contraction in the somatic/bodily field?
Is there, even subtly, the beginning of a stress response?
Is there a narrowing of perception?
Is there a sense that I’m compartmentalizing or “walling off” from someone or something?
Is there a sense that I am objectifying or dehumanizing either myself or someone else?
Is there, even very subtly, a sense of cruelty/punishment toward self or other? Is there pleasure in that (be really honest about this)?
As we are looking more closely at the energy of judgement, we also want to develop confidence in the feeling of discernment. Discernment is simply another way of talking about thoughts of clarity, about intuitive insight that comes from asking clear questions and ruthlessly wanting to know the truth. With thoughts of discernment and clarity, we notice that....
They are clear.
They don’t engage in unnecessary conceptual elaboration.
They are not making an argument.
They are not defending a sense of self.
They do not leave conditioned or emotional residue in the body-mind.
The quality of the inner voice is “different” in some way from normal, conditioned thinking.
As we do this work, one thing almost all of us will notice is just how much judgement we have – about ourselves, about those around us, and about the world at large.
Noticing this is absolutely critical. Any sense that judgement is bad, or that you shouldn’t do it, just locks it in. We have to get real. No more pretending.
Part of unlocking and healing judgement is usually working with unprocessed anger (and sometimes rage). From our point of view, all of these are “unintegrated resources” – natural functions that have been distorted through social and developmental conditioning.
What is their true function?
To intuitively establish “no” whenever and wherever it is needed
To be able to find physical, emotional and mental boundaries with skill in different situations.
To trust the information we are getting about what is happening.
To trust that certain things are and are not okay for us.
We live in a culture where boundary violations of various sorts, starting early in life, are basically an epidemic. So, this work is going to touch most people in some way.
What this means in practice is that the anger behind judgement needs to be brought to the surface more consciously before the energy of judgment can really be worked on and released.
So, there is a little bit of an invitation to ham it up. In a responsible way that is not harming others, take some time to judge the shit out of other people and the world. Say what you really think! Tell them all the shit they are wrong about! Mobilize the energy consciously rather than allowing it to keep running things (undetected) under the surface.
Letting these deeper (and taboo) responses slowly come to the surface and complete allows anger and judgment to “take their right place” in the self as resources for navigating the world. Rather than anger being the “fall guy” of psycho-spiritual transformation, the reclaiming of anger and the seeing of its true purpose is probably one of the greatest gifts of the process.