One of the greatest limitations any of us could overcome is that of judgment, and it can also be one of the stickiest to get out of.
“Every judgment keeps anything that doesn’t match that judgment from showing up in your universe,” says Access founder and best-selling author Gary Douglas. “Every judgment is a nail in your coffin.”
Judgment is a sticky wicket indeed. One trap that the spiritually inclined and otherwise well-meaning seekers fall into is mis-identifying statements which are considered “negative” as judgments, while failing to perceive that “positive” statements can also be judgments.
Can there be such a thing as positive and negative without a judgment? If everything is just an interesting point of view, can anything be positive or negative? How easily we can fall into judging in our attempts not to judge!
How do you tell a judgment from an observation?
Often judgments can arise from a grain of observation of what is actually so. What turns them into a judgment is the intensity of emotion and feeling that is attached to that observation. One way to tell the difference is to notice if the statement feels light or heavy. If it feels light, it’s an observation or true; if it feels heavy or has a lot of emotion or force attached to it, it’s a judgment.
An example of an observation that tends to push people’s buttons intensely is the observation that someone is mean. The dictionary defines mean as “unwilling to give or share,” and “unkind, spiteful, or unfair.” People who are mean do exist. Don’t you know some? The person that might pick up the tip you left on the table as they exit the restaurant after you, or someone who would go out of their way to do something cruel or unkind to someone else just for the fun of it? To call those people mean is merely to describe their behavior. If you do it without a lot of emotion, then it is an observation.
Yet many—perhaps most—people have so much judgment of meanness itself that they assume it must be a judgment because it is so “negative.” Now even calling mean negative is a judgment. Acknowledging that a truly mean person is mean does not have to be a judgment.
Often such well-meaning folks try to hide behind the metaphysical adage, “there are no mean people, there are only mean behaviors.” Does that feel light to you? If it feels heavy, there’s a lie there. Difficult as it may be for you to understand, there are actually people who choose to be mean, simply because they can.
Why bother to ponder such un-pleasantries? Why not be like Scarlet O’Hara and think about it tomorrow? Won’t thinking about meanness attract meanness towards you? This reluctance to look without judgment at the maligned quality of meanness is exactly what Douglas was talking about when he states that any judgment you make limits what you can receive.
If you persist in judging meanness, you send a message to the universe, “No meanness allowed here.” Far from keeping meanness out of your life, sending that message to the universe will only ban it from your awareness. Keeping it out of your awareness will eventually show up as your being blind-sided by meanness—precisely because you told the universe you were unwilling to receive it. The universe honored your request, as usual—but your request might not have been in your best interest.
If, on the other hand, you were willing to receive meanness, then you would have the capacity to perceive it beforehand and make choices accordingly. Misconceptions about what receiving really means may be stopping you from doing this. Receiving does not mean you have to embrace or personify anything. It merely means you have to be willing to be aware of it and allow it to pass on through your universe without a point of view (or judgment!) of it.
What about positive statements? How can they be judgments? Just as easily as the negative ones! Remember, attaching a label of negative or positive to anything is itself judgment. Almost every statement, anything that doesn’t actually end in a question mark, is a judgment.
Take for example the conclusion that “So and so is my friend.” How could that possibly be a judgment? First of all, is it a question? It’s a judgment because it activates our own point of view that that person we conclude is our friend will act towards us as we would act towards our friends—in other words, that they will act according to our own definition of friend. (Definition by definition is a limitation, also!)
If we act from the judgment that someone is our friend, will we be able to know when they’re about to stab us in the back? We wouldn’t do that to our friends, so why would it even occur to us that they would do it to us? That judgment that they’re our friend is keeping us from being aware. Would we have more awareness and thus more choices if we were to live in the question instead, asking something like, “Who is this person going to show up as today?”
There is yet another trap we can fall into as we attempt to extricate ourselves from the bonds of limitation that judgment creates. In our eagerness to eliminate and avoid judgment and judging, we can become so hyper-sensitive that we cringe from every observation as if it were a judgment. We are so used to perceiving the entire world through the lenses of the judgment we learned from this reality that we see everything as a judgment, even as we try to get free of judgment. This can lead to misunderstanding of those few people who actually do not come from judgment.
If one of those people who doesn’t judge, who is truly observing, notes that someone is “mean,” or any other characteristic we don’t like or have judged as negative, we can become so hypersensitive to judgment that we actually believe an innocuous description of a behavior or state of being is also a judgment.
How might we break our chains and escape these multiple traps of judgment? A reminder that everything is just an interesting point of view is one way out of judgment. If nothing is weighty or significant, if no point of view matters, then the stickiness of judgment cannot catch you.
You can also notice if what’s being said feels heavy or light. A judgment is never a truth (now there’s a concept!) so anything that is a judgment must of necessity feel heavy to you. Most things said with much emotion are also judgments. (Might that mean emotion is a judgment? That’s a story for another day.) Something that feels light, not sticky, is true for you, in this 10 seconds anyway.
“Ah, what a curious web we weave when we use judgment to deceive.” And isn’t it always ourselves we’re deceiving most?