In my last post on this platform, it was mentioned by me that considering the readership of my previous blogs, I concluded that my writings do not align well with the interests of the readers. Well, it was wrong conclusion and thanks to few members for correcting me. I stand corrected and will continue to share my thoughts here. It also led to some introspection and resulted in this blog.
In my journey to become mindful, a very common event during the day is act of judging. It encompasses each and every interaction – reading, writing, meeting someone, looking at someone, hearing someone. You get the drift.
A little reflection on the act of judging convinced me that it is not a source of free flow of thoughts and blocks the possibilities. Incidentally, I was also reading a book by Dr. Brian Weiss titled Many Lives, Many Masters. I paragraph in the book immediately caught my attention.
“…Wisdom is achieved very slowly. This is because intellectual knowledge, easily acquired, must be transformed into ‘emotional’, or subconscious, knowledge. Once transformed, the imprint is permanent. Behavioral practice is the necessary catalyst for reaction. Without action, the concept will wither and fade. Theoretical knowledge without practical application is not enough.”
Developing mindfulness led me to introspect as to what is at the core of judging and what are the triggers?
A judge in the court of law is the professional judge. A closer examination of the act of judging establishes that the key parameter in the judgement is “data” or “evidence” which can be also characterized as “data.” These data are benchmarked with the written laws and the outcome is the judgement pronounced.
My mind follows a similar process; however, the benchmarks are many and the mind prioritizes them in the order in which the benchmarking takes place. The first one is “Values”. Mind subconsciously analyzes the data received through all sensory organs. For example, while speaking to a total stranger, the mind is subconsciously processing the body language, the manner in which person is speaking, the tone, the language, the volume and alike and starts forming First Impressions. I have also observed that the contents are not so much given an attention by the mind. Of course, all this is happening subconsciously. If the “data” collected does not match the inherent “Values,” the outcome is negative, else otherwise.
The second layer of benchmark is my memory. Mind you, this too is happening subconsciously. The data received, including how the person responds and behaves is filtered through the memory and again the outcome is arrived at. Here, the memory, for example, has earlier experiences with results attached to them. The data from the person with whom interactions are taking place is compared with the data in memory and a conclusion is drawn. These, perhaps, can also be characterized as “Perceptions.”
Beliefs too are one of the filters in the process. Through observations of my own thinking as also others, it seems to me that we tend to align ourselves with the data that reinforces our beliefs. Thus, for example, if Covid-19 is extremely contagious is my belief, any data that augments this is accepted without due diligence. While on the other hand, even very authentic and credible data, which conveys otherwise, is looked by me with suspicion. Beliefs work on a different level when it comes to the process of judgement – they lead to an irreversible “Conclusions.”
So, what are some of the possible corrections and interventions for me to correct this rather compulsive behavior of “Judging?”
First and foremost is the need to be a mindful listener and reader. The information should be taken as it is without attaching anything to it. Have so far learnt and practicing Zen Meditation in Black Lotus App which has helped me in developing this practice (I realized it only now!). It has certainly made me more aware of my thought process which is the first step for me to take next step which is, to mindfully avoid judgmental tendencies. Secondly, have to be conscious if Judgement and Conclusions are considered only so, if I verbalize or write them, or share them in any other way. I may refrain from sharing but nevertheless, a Judgement has taken place!
Incidentally, are we not judging even when we pay a compliment to someone? Is it that if the pronouncement is within acceptable norms and aligns with the “Values” of the receiver, it becomes a compliment else it is “why are you judging?” Please share your thoughts.