There's a lot of talk out there about not judging your thoughts but I don't really understand what that looks and FEELS like. Can you help me understand this on a deeper level, please?
~ committed to going deeper
Dear committed to going deeper,
What a terrific question! - thank you. I can completely relate. Years ago, when I first heard, “just observe, don’t judge your thoughts”, I heard the words but I definitely didn’t connect or know what they really meant. It took me a long time to understand and connect with what this meant and I'm still learning more and more as I go along.
Judging means evaluating your thoughts on some level. It’s either a good thought or a bad thought. You are hooked into the thought and engaging it or you might even be trying to figure it out.
When you are judging your thoughts, it seems like you are a part of them and that they are legitimately true. You are taking on the thought as if it is you. For example, when I had an eating disorder I believed myself to be fat. I found tons of evidence that made this true for me. It was the lens I was looking through (judgment of what I thought was fat and what was not).
In judgment, you would feel an emotional charge in your body. You would feel stirred up in some way. Usually, I feel an electrical charge moving through my body, my throat feels blocked and my stomach is in knots. When you feel an emotional charge in your body, you can be certain that you are in judgment and invested in your thoughts.
When you are in non-judgment, the thoughts are still there but instead you are witnessing and watching your thoughts. “Oh there’s another thought. There it is again. Oh there it is. Oh, there you are again. Oh wow I’m judging myself judging the thoughts. Oh there it is.” You are witnessing what’s going on with your thoughts with compassion and understanding.
Let’s say you see a man walking into a building and you are behind him. Judging would be, “I don't like his hair, I bet he's a jerk, I don't like the way he looked at me, he didn't hold the door open for me - what a terrible man." You are making it about you, your beliefs, your values, your opinions, the way you view the world and you are buying into it. You believe whatever story you are telling yourself to be true. You may feel charged, triggered and/or plugged into the experience. You take this as your reality.
Non-judgment would be “hmmm I just had lots of thoughts about a man walking into a building". Hmmm isn’t that interesting. Hmmm I’ve noticed this tendency before. Hmm there it is”. When you are in non-judgment it feels more spacious, you feel more relaxed and at ease in your body. You create space between you and the thoughts with compassion and understanding.
The shift from I think he’s blah blah blah and criticizing his behaviour to I just had some thoughts about a man walking into a building. That’s the difference.
Moving from a place of judging your thoughts to non-judging is a process. It takes time. A lifetime of self-understanding and discovery. Be patient and gentle and you will be led deeper and deeper little step by little step.