The Difficulty of Practicing Non-Judgement

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I’ve taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test several times in my life, and every time I score higher on judging than I do on perceiving. If remember correctly, I’m an ESTJ (extraverted-sensing-thinking-judging). Recently, through my daily practice of meditation and self reflection, I’ve noticed that I am indeed a judgemental person. Everything I see and do has to be weighed, analyzed, compared, labelled.

It’s not my fault. Evolution crafted the human mind this way. The cerebral cortex is an engine of abstract thought and judgement, and without it our primitive ancestors would not have survived and we would not be here today. The cognitive abilities of the human mind are limitless, powerful, and expansive. Our judgemental mind a crucial part of that.

But there is something to be said for the cause of not judging so much. When we constantly exercise judgement on other people and the world around us, it taxes our psychological resources causing stress and occupying headspace. Every ounce of stress we expose ourselves to depletes our minds, so stress management is something that everyone must learn at some point in their lives.

We can save ourselves from an enormous amount of cognitive strain by letting go of our judgemental minds, and just letting things be. During my daily meditations thoughts always come up, memories and plans, feelings and premonitions, but when these things emerge I try not to appraise them, but let them skitter across the void of my consciousness until they fade away and are forgotten again.

Time and again, I’m teaching myself to let go of the things that trouble me by reserving judgement. In my everyday life there are things everywhere demanding my attention, temping my judgemental sense, and it’s difficult not to place judgement on these things. I catch myself judging people and immediately stop myself, telling myself “stop judging people,” and focus on the present moment and whatever it is I’m currently doing. All throughout the day I’m shutting off the judgemental part of my brain so I can live more harmoniously in the world.

If everyone could learn to turn off their judgey-brains every now and then, we would live in a much more peaceful and accepting world. We are training against our own evolution to do this, but the benefits of reduced stress and an increased lightness of being are worth the effort.

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