21-21-21 Judgement or Discernment

Judgement or Discernment

Judgement  – A formation of an authoritative personal opinion.

Discernment – Stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate, without a personal judgement. Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is the ground for wisdom and freedom, and the protector of compassion and love.

Buddhism Now – “Judging mind” has nothing to do with what we might call ‘discerning mind’. Compulsiveness is at the heart, at the core of, ‘judging mind’; and this compulsive quality is a big hindrance to the act of understanding. Some things are judged as “good,” so we grasp for more, and cling to what we have. Other things are judged as “bad,” so we hide, resist, and run away from them. And everything else? That’s judged as “neutral,” so for the most part, we ignore it entirely

We become dependent on the judging mind, this is addiction. And, since it has to do with the fundamental intoxicants, wanting, not wanting and ignoring, it is a very deep addiction. That’s why it takes patience, trust and perseverance to expose the judging mind. With mindfulness, paying attention, our judgements gradually stand out as a powerful form of suffering which we have been passionately cultivating. Gradually, we start perceiving in a very distinct way the cutting character, the separation and the suffering which is conveyed by the judging mind.

Judging mind is very fixed, rigid, whereas ‘discerning mind’ has flexibility; it has the capacity for intuition, which means, in this example, the capacity to see beyond the falseness – to see, for instance, the confusion and the suffering which is behind that falseness. If the vision is fixed, it is rigid; we just keep hammering away at how false that person is, full stop. The sterility of the judging mind stands opposite the creativity of the discerning mind.

Many have had the experience of judging themselves harshly due to their past addiction and  actions. We have taken steps to properly deal with the past and move forward. This is not easy but has wonderful results when we can drop our addiction of mis-judging ourselves. Many have negative judgements about themselves from their past. Parents were not supportive or were negative. School and social interactions can scar us if we believe in the superficial judgements from others. We may now see that those harmful experiences were not important in retrospect, but it did ill affect us then, and we can still feel the sting. We need to bring our discipline of willingness to work toward a better, happier life into another dimension. Let’s look at judgements, about ourselves and others ,which isolate us from our spiritual center. Let’s keep going and growing, or we end up standing still, looking around in confusion.   

When judgements start arising, if we are mindful, we can replace them with a metta phrase. At the beginning it may feel artificial, but as time goes by, it doesn’t feel artificial any more. We then begin to wonder how we could have indulged so much in the opposite, and we find, sometimes, that replacing judging with metta is a deeply natural thing to do. Finally, we begin to honor our real nature, and the judgements become artificial. From the moment we realize that this is suffering, and suffering doesn’t belong to us, is not who we are, we begin freeing ourselves. A metta phrase can be whatever is from the heart about compassion and kindness. “May my heart remain open” for example. Or even, “Not my business.”

Here’s a modest proposal: Vow that for the rest of the day, you won’t judge your friends and you won’t judge any strangers you happen to see. It’s entirely possible you won’t make it past a few minutes without judging someone! Pay attention as you walk down the street, how many judgements do you make automatically? The weather, the car, the clothes, music, the dog-off leash, how busy it is. Are you pre-judging what will happen when you get to your destination?

How many times do you think or say, they shouldn’t, or what they need to do is….

Consider the cold rainy day. It could be seen, judged as — well crap, I need to cancel this thing and I can’t go to that thing, damn, this sucks. Or, Ah, I will need to reschedule a couple of things, and will have time to do those indoor chores I have put off. One is a futile exercise in frustration all about me, me, me. The other is realistic and brings a sense of dealing with reality properly, it feels peaceful and accepting. Those who feel entitled and superior are lonely.

We feel good about “judging” some things that seem really bad. A murderer, many different forms of violence. We can condemn some harmful actions without a personal judgement. To understand an action has caused suffering, and to work on our compassion for the ill affected and the one who caused the suffering and the people in their life that now also suffer. We may not be able to discern what pain and suffering someone may be in when they preform a terrible act. We do not condone the act that caused suffering, but we can aspire to take what heart-felt action is possible to help the world move forward in a healthier way. Discernment does not negate responsibility, but it does keep us from being too high and mighty and removing ourselves from compassion.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn reminds us, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.”

The last part of that definition, non-judgment, means letting go of the automatic judgments that arise in your mind with every experience you have. Non-judgement isn’t about stopping judgments from ever arising—that’s impossible. It’s the nature of the mind to judge.

Instead, it’s about changing your relationship to your judgments. Knowing that they’re temporary thoughts, and you don’t need to be swept away by them just because they arise in your mind. Judging can bring a sense of superiority and entitlement, which the ego is very happy to promote and further into more judgements. Discernment will permit a clearer, truer picture, and bring a sense of peace and connection.

You are your best teacher, when you pay attention.

Ask  – is this really my business, do I need to take an action?
Or am I just being petty and entitled?

You always have enough, and enough is a feast.

“Be curious, not judgmental.” – Walt Whitman

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.
Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com