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Examining the Judging Mind

“Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

Week Thirty Two

A judging mind is reactive and asks such questions as:

• What is wrong with this person, the situation, or me?
• What do I need to do to stay in control?
• Who is to blame: whose fault is it?
• How can I win and get the result I was looking for?
• How can I look good?

Release yourself from this categorizing and comparison that brings judgment. Allow yourself to understand nothing.

For one week, during waking hours, every couple of hours (or at a frequency that makes sense to you such as every time you take a cup of drink or go to the restroom) write down the specific thoughts you were having at that moment. Record as much detail as you can. It requires checking in with your stream of consciousness repeatedly during the day. You can set the frequency. You can also set the number of days you do it for. The more entries you make the easier your interpretation will be. However, this is a commitment that may be challenging given your other priorities so set a realistic target that does not overwhelm you. Support yourself with reminders or even an alarm on your phone.

At the end of the week, look at the thought habits you have noted and reflect on these questions:

1) What patterns, repetitions or themes do you notice in your thoughts (if any)?

2) How do your thoughts serve you? What do you appreciate about the thoughts you had?

3) How do your thoughts limit you?

4) Which of these thoughts are true?

5) If you could choose your thoughts, what changes would you make? You might find it useful here to rewrite your thoughts from a positive perspective, incorporating what you have learned or are appreciative of.

6) How do your thoughts inform you about what you were feeling and experiencing?

7) What difference (if any) would practicing beginners mind have? That is – experiencing things with fresh eyes, as if for the first time.

By collecting this data about what goes through your mind on a daily basis you gain a more accurate picture of when you are in judgment. This exercise also reveals potential opportunities for taking an alternative viewpoint, easing up on being so hard on yourself or on others, and being ok with what is. The thoughts and feelings you have carry the weight of meaning that you allow. It is up to you whether this is something or nothing. If it is meaningless it can have no power.