We go through our day judging our experiences, other people, ourselves: this is good, this is bad. If all goes well, most of it will be good, but more than we realize, we dislike certain experiences, things about people, about ourselves.
We “like” online comments by others, or pages on the Internet. We give a thumbs up or thumbs down to movies, to restaurant experiences, songs. It’s ingrained in our thinking processes.
What would it be like to drop all of that judging as good and bad?
What would it be like to simply experience something, without judgment?
Try it now: sit here in this moment, and don’t think about whether it is good or bad … just observe the sensations of the moment. Don’t think about those sensations, just experience them.
These sensations are just phenomena in the world, happening without any good or bad intention, just happening. They aren’t happening “to” us, nor are they there “for” us. They just happen, without thinking about us as the center of the universe.
What I’ve noticed, when I experience anger, frustration, disappointment … is that I am judging my experiences (and others, and myself) based on whether they are what I want, whether they are good for me or not. But why am I at the center of the universe? What about the other person? What about the rest of the universe? If I drop away my self-centeredness, I no longer have reason for frustration. The experiences are just happening, and have nothing to do with me. They are neither good nor bad, they’re just happening.
Now, I realize we can’t do this all the time — as humans, it’s part of our experience to judge. And that’s OK. I’m simply suggesting that, some of the time, we drop the judgment and just experience. Just see what that’s like. And be OK with that too.
Practing Non-Judgement was first published on Zen Habits on 5/15/15.