How to Turn Judgement into Joy !
Everyone at some point knows what its like to feel judged or on the receiving end of manipulation, gossip – but do we know how to be accountable or help others be accountable for this behaviour?
Turns out Mindfulness can help us with how to handle difficult people
Before I give you three great steps to sharpen your practice and cultivate the Pillar of Mindfulness of Non Judgement on and off the yoga mat or meditation cushion How to manage your eNeRGy by turning Judgement into Joy (below) a few things to contemplate first:
There are many ways to practice Non Judgement on and off the yoga mat or meditation cushion
Needless to say there are many ways to identify judgement when it is happening identifying the flip side of the Pillars of Mindfulness can be a useful way to let the dark bring us to the light
After all the first step to change is always awareness
I think it was Einstein who said something along the lines of “A problem cannot be solved with the same consciousness that created it”
Giving ourselves a rest from our own opinions on the yoga mat or meditation cushion is a great way to let the practice of yoga which means “to yoke” or the harnessing of the mind reveal itself.
Giving ourselves a rest from our own judgements can start with noticing the attitude you start your practice with. As you stand in your mountain pose , tadasana : Can you commit as best as you can to ‘not’ imposing your own expectations on how you think your body should move? Can you delay drawing conclusions about yourself or others because of how you don’t move like other people in the class?
Although breaking the cycle from our habitual ‘comparing ourselves to others’ , or to how our body was last time we practiced , this vow of Non Judgement , this whole hearted intention can be a valuable and very healing part of the process. Remembering that setting an intention is not dependent on the end result , its being sincere in your commitment that is the transforming part of the practice.
All of the Pillars of Mindfulness start first and foremost with ourselves and there’s no safer laboratory for self exploration than on the yoga mat and meditation cushion.
Time in silence where there is only you, your breath, your body and ah oh your thoughts! (shit you mean I have to be aware of my thoughts to? and what! include them as part of the practice? Isn’t yoga and meditation suppose to help me get rid of my thoughts? Especially the shit ones?
Yes, it’s a myth that stopping thoughts is the point of mindfulness meditation or any meditation for that matter. Mindfulness invites us to be inclusive of all that is happening right now, without judgement and instead with a sense of kindness and curiosity (as taught by great teachers such as Thicht Nhat Hann, John Kabat Zin etc)
Learning more about the Pillars of Mindfulness , especially Non Judgement, can be confronting as the very nature of the Pillars themselves invites us to look at the nature of the mind (which makes sense if the point of yoga is to ‘harness’ it)
Although this is difficult , if we can cultivate this quality of mind where we see thoughts arise and note them as ‘interesting mental events’ without the need to draw conclusions about them or elaborate on them, we can create space. Practicing this deliberately strengthens the mind because we free up valuable territory that previously held tension and this tension can be dissolved through awareness itself. But! this does require patience and a willingness to trust, in that very moment that strong emotions from highly charged thoughts do pass.
Mindfulness can often be translated into ‘heartfulness’ or ‘to remember truth’ (from the pali word Sati) . How can we live with our whole heart if we don’t give our ‘Self’ the space first to ‘notice’ the reality of how things really are?.
As we move through our yoga poses, we start to free up tension in our body. After all they say we store our issues in our tissues.
One thing that can create a lot of ‘tension’ in our daily lives is judgement and guess what ‘judgement’ has a shit load of cousins or ‘familiar guests in our mind’ like :
Defensiveness, Gossip, Righteousness, Manipulation, Power, Control, Bullying , ’Thinking you know it all’ Basically ‘To much ‘i’, or ‘them versus me’ and we lose sight of the “we” otherwise known as “community”
Regardless of if you are the one doing it or on the receiving end of it “Judgement” or its many cousins , will , without a doubt create tension in yourself and others.
Our body does not wish to be burdened by the heavy weight of judgement , our tissues don’t operate well with that type of load, nor does our brain.
During my time as a nurse caring for people with chronic dis-ease the constant links showing up between the mind state patients carried (the stories of ‘other’ and unfinished ‘business’ ) and what this was causing in their physical body was undeniably part of what was making them sick. I too have experienced this in my own life.
Here’s an experiment you can do for yourself to begin to take accountability for your own health and healing!
Next time you find yourself or others gossiping (aka talking about people when they are not there) notice the presence of how many judgements there are generally closely backed by some sort of an emotion, often a flavour of blame or “I wouldn’t have done that”
(and yes its generally at this point that you want to stop reading this – yep we have all said and done it) because we all have bouts of mindlessness generated by fear usually
Treat this like a curious science experiment for example : Watch what happens in your own body and the way that you breath when you are involved in some way in these forms of gossip type conversations or ‘blame games’ In my experience I notice the shortening, jagged or holding patterns in the breath and the body. The eyes are not relaxed , nor is the jaw or the tongue . Generally the presentation is the opposite of what can be described as mindful state , that is for example
A Relaxed Open Spacious Awareness
When the mind is highjacked to the point it has its nose in someone else’s business , or is being on the defensive and making others ‘wrong’ , the body senses it and contracts. The body realises if the mind is literally some place else then it cannot adequately take care of the body! . Thus instead of ‘union’ between the mind and body there is disconnect ! A breakdown in the partnership if you like.
The body and the breath when it holds tension is its way of letting you know something is not quite right ! That is why the yoga mat is such a perfect companion for us to discover who we are, how we are , how we relate to our bodies and life as it unfolds.
One great question to ask when you find yourself going into or another going into gossip , even if they are a close friend :
Ask – “Do I want to participate in adding fuel to the drama and create issues in my own tissues and be part of what’s causing issues in their tissues?
Do I want to facilitate chronic disease that comes from constant judging or do I want to transform it into joy and be at ease ?” every time you catch your own mind in judgement on your yoga mat or meditation cushion you have had a win. The victory of awareness is healing because we’ve paid attention to the mind and how it effects the way we are feeling.
Engaging in these ‘Red Zone’ mindsets especially when there are more than one in this mind state creates the perfect environment for disease . If you do this repeatedly it becomes chronic. The most important relationship that you have (because it is the only thing that will be there with you until the very end )- is the relationship you have with your body ! There for if you are not faithful to that partnership , there is a price the body will pay for it.
So before I leave you with a three step practice to take you through the stages of Mindfulness Practice of Turning Judgement into Joy :
Here is a great poem shared by Lee who teaches for Yoga NRG and is doing the Level 1 Mindfulness Teacher Training Program (Thanks Lee!) This is a beautiful contemplation meditation to soften our brittle tendencies to be on the defensive often through lack of ‘understanding’
When You Know A Fellow by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)
When you get to know a fellow, know his joys and know his cares,
When you’ve come to understand him and the burdens that he bears,
When you’ve learned the fight he’s making and the troubles in his way,
Then you find that he is different than you thought him yesterday.
You find his faults are trivial and there’s not so much to blame
In the brother that you jeered at when you only knew his name.
You are quick to see the blemish in the distant neighbour’s style,
You can point to all his errors and may sneer at him the while,
And your prejudices fatten and your hates more violent grow
As you talk about the failures of the man you do not know,
But when drawn a little closer, and your hands and shoulders touch,
You find the traits you hated really don’t amount to much.
When you get to know a fellow, know his every mood and whim,
You being to find the texture of the splendid side of him;
You begin to understand him, and you cease to scoff and sneer;
For with understanding always prejudices disappear.
You begin to find his virtues and his faults you cease to tell,
For you seldom hate a fellow when you know him very well.
When next you start in sneering and your phrases turn to blame,
Know more of him you censure than his business and his name;
For it’s likely that acquaintance would your prejudice dispel
And you’d really come to like him if you know him very well.
When you get to know a fellow and you understand his ways,
Then his faults won’t really matter, for you’ll find a lot to praise.
(Such a brilliant poem!)
So next time you notice yourself or others
STEP 1 – BE ACCOUNTABLE !
Sure you don’t have to judge yourself or others for judging , letting yourself off the hook is kind but it does not mean to lack accountability !!!
STEP 2 – Manage your eNeRGy
Use the N.R.G process to
: Notice & Respond with Grace
We all know its not that easy right so here is a little more help with the how to
Notice – notice whats going on inside you and around you
a) How you Respond , the response in your body + breath
Check – is it a reaction or a conscious response ?
Here’s a hint : reactions are not ‘chosen’ states !
Tense, Judgemental, ‘Narrow minded’, = Reaction
Generally because we are scared and often ‘unaware’ of what we are actually doing = mindless
b) Recognise how things change over time when you practice the ROSA method
Relaxed Open Spacious Awareness = mindful response
Grace – Can you be at ease with what ever you are noticing ? (Practice Practice Practice)
If not find a teacher or surround yourself with people that wish to practice too, on or off the yoga mat , mindfulness is up to you!
A poem from my own practice to leave you with
TURNING JUDGEMENT INTO JOY
Right , wrong , who’s to know?
Can you practice being okay with judgement
For they do not know
Let your eyelids be gentle
As you take a deep breath in
Notice what you see coming up from within
Eye gaze softly, without trying to hard
Begin to see clearly , through the facade
At the same time loosening the grip
Creating space instead
A gap between the lips
Mind like clear blue sky , an empty feeling in the head
Follow the breath in from the nose
Notice how deep, how far down it goes
Then slowly breath out , setting the upper palate free
Let it go
You can do it
So you can
Non judgement is no easy task
Why should I forgive one may ask
This form of meditation is a sign of self respect
Remembering life is not fair , nor is it perfect
On our yoga mat we start to learn
Tension is temporary unless we feed it
Instead, start to discern
Trust that you can sit with it
Rather than try and get it out
Through gossip, judgement or blame
They are pretty much all the same
Make a conscious choice
Through practice you can turn
Judgement into JOY!
ps and on some days you just need to walk the dog, go for a surf and enjoy a beer 😉
Mindful Warrior Yoga Class Series available for DOWNLOAD TO YOUR DEVICE with bonus sequence charts With Tammy Williams (Founder of Yoga NRG + Mindfulness Training Australia ) click here to purchase