Observe, without Judgement
In a yoga class about nine years ago, I remember stretching trying to touch my toes and hearing the teacher say, "remember to observe without judgment, notice how far you can go, but don't judge your flexibility."
This was such a foreign idea to me. Observe without judgement?!?! Everything I did came with a judgement of myself! Isn't that how you improve??
But, it felt like permission to let myself off the hook in a loving way. Hearing that instruction felt like a relief and an invitation into a new way of living. The rest of the yoga class I pondered this thought. And I'm still thinking about it nine years later.
It was a powerful shift to learn to observe myself without judgment. I started enjoying yoga, instead of feeling inferior to the flexibility of others. I would notice I could go a little further. I would notice that some days are better than others. I would notice that others could do the poses beautifully. But, the judgement of myself was starting to dissolve.
Then, I started applying it to other areas of my life. What a liberating feeling it was to notice something without adding an editorial thought. Just observe, notice, but not judge.
It was like a free pass in life. I didn't have to be judge and jury. I didn't have to make a conclusion. I didn't have to have an opinion. I could observe, but stop there and release any further judgement. This was a powerful lesson to me. And I hope you find it helpful too.
Observe, without Judgement
Become the observer of your judgements. Notice when you are judging yourself and others. Notice things without making a judgement of those things. Notice people without making a judgment of them. Stop yourself between the noticing and the judging.
Ask yourself to think about these phrases so that you become aware of your subtle judgments throughout the day. Once aware, you can choose to observe without judgment.
First thing in the morning:
a common observation of myself is ________________
which leads to the judgment _______________________
Now I can observe this quality without this judgement.
a common observation of other drivers is _____________
which leads to the judgement ________________________
Now I can observe other drivers without judgement.
a common observation of my coworkers is _______________
and leads to a judgement that they ____________________
Now I can observe my coworkers without judgment.
an observation I make about the people I live with is __________
which leads to a judgement of ____________________________
Now I can observe them without judgment.
As I reflect on my day:
an observation I often make of myself is _________________
and I judge myself as ________________________________
Now I can observe my day without judgement.
Mother Teresa said, "If you judge people you have no time to love them."
That quote can apply to loving others and loving ourselves.
The intention of these weekly emails is that you practice one thing each week to begin to be kinder to yourself which allows you to show greater love to others. Becoming the observer rather than the judge leads to a more peaceful existence, for you and those around you.
Judgement indicates a separation between: you and others, you and God, you and your soul. We are all human and in this lifetime together. As we dissolve our judgments we feel more connected. As we show compassion to ourselves, we are more likely to show compassion to others. As we grow in compassion, we are more apt to notice the presence of God.
And, just in case this practice has you judging yourself as a judgey person....remember not to judge your judgement with judgment. Observe your thoughts and behaviors and then move forward toward what you want them to be. This is inner work we each have to do every day. And that is why it is called a practice.
Sending you love!