For this week, the attitude of mindfulness is non-judging. It is important in mindfulness to be aware of the automatic judgments that we have about our experience. If I should be focused on my breath, then every time that my mind wanders, as it is apt to do, I judge myself for being distracted. Letting go of judgement, over and over again, tends to parallel the return to attention on the breath, over and over again.
Non-judging allows us to let go of our agendas, distorted perceptions; to see things how they really are. Instead of getting caught up in reactions to the internal events that we experience in meditation, we can take a broader view. If I train myself to just notice; notice that I am judging myself for being particularly distracted today, notice that I am getting irritated with the cat for choosing now to snuggle in my lap and purr at 98 decibels, or notice that I feel anxious about all I have to do today, I can then treat myself with compassion.
One of the dialectics of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is that a person is doing the best that they can with the skills that they are given, and they can be more skillful and do better. Non-judgment is an important attitude in the pursuit of this dialectic. As we start to recognize areas in our lives that we could be more effective, we can easily get distracted by the should, could, needs. I should be more…, I could be more…, I need to… This critical, judgmental tone carries into other areas of our lives. Practicing non-judgment can lead us to treating ourselves and others with compassion.
Take a breath on this day before Independence and practice noticing the automatic judgments you have.