This is the first of the seven attitudes that Jon-Kabat-Zinn believes are the basis for mindfulness. We have all heard of being judgemental, but what does being non-judging mean?
It is part of the definition of mindfulness itself:
“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.”
So what is non-judging?
Definition: Not getting caught up in our ideas and opinions, likes and dislikes.
There is an inner critic who lives inside my head rent-free and is one loud and obnoxious bugger. He has something to say about everything, and I mean everything, I do and say. From the way I drive to work in the morning to how many pieces of fruit I consume in a day, from the way I talk to my children and family to my writing and blogging. Literally, everything I do, say and life through.
What is the purpose of that inner critic we all have inside of us? I have no idea of its source, point or reason. Suffice to say, that sometimes it completely consumes every thought I have.
Part of Mindfulness practice is the art of being non-judging to yourself and also to others. When you start to do a formal meditation practice, say a breathing exercise, as soon as you start, your mind will wander. I can guarantee it. Now, you can let that inner critic say those words of “you are failing at this” or you can accept that these things happen and by being non-judging, return to the breath.
Jon Kabat-Zinn writes, “When you find the mind judging, you don’t have to stop it from doing that, and it would be unwise to try. All that is required is to be aware of it happening. No need to judge the judging and make matters even more complicated for yourself.”
So what are some of the key tips that will help you be more non-judging?
- Take the stance of an impartial witness to your own experience.
- Notice the stream of judging mind .. good / bad / neutral… do not try to stop it but just being aware of it.
- When you are with others, accept the moment by moment events, try not to judge others; instead, accept them as themselves.
How do you practice non-judging?
To practice non-judging, try going through a day paying attention to how often you judge everything that comes into your experience moment to moment. What feeling does this judging mechanism evoke in you? Anger? Fear? Jealousy? What is it like to simply experience and observe something without clinging to it, or wanting to push it away? The Buddha taught that this very process of craving things to be a certain way or to not be a certain way is at the root of our suffering. See for yourself if this rings true as you observe the judging process. Also, notice if you are judging yourself for judging! Judging the judge, judging the judge!
The video where Jon describes the Non-Judging attitude can be viewed here:
I leave you with the following quote.
“If you want to forget something or someone, never hate it, or never hate him/her. Everything and everyone that you hate is engraved upon your heart; if you want to let go of something, if you want to forget, you cannot hate.”