Ever tried watching a sport event with no commentary? When the commentary is good, it adds a depth of understanding and appreciation to what is going on. Occasionally you get really poor commentators that can make the best competitions dull, boring or at worst unbearable.
JUDGING OR EXPLORING
It often goes unnoticed but it is always there, whirring away behind the scenes – the constant judging. It is in our nature to assess and weigh things up. So below the level of awareness, we are always making judgements about pretty much everything:
I like this… I don’t like that
This is good… that is bad
I want this… I don’t want that
The commentary goes on all the time and about everything.
Being mindful shines a light on this tendency. Once we become aware of it, we can then choose to explore it instead. That thing that is bad, unliked or unwanted can be investigated with openness and curiosity. We can apply acceptance, letting-go beginner’s mind to the situation and simply become more aware of what is actually occurring.
THIS IS GOOD, THIS IS BAD
Sometimes we just want to tidy stuff away in boxes. We want things to be neat and tidy. But life just isn’t like that, it’s messy and it ‘s complicated. Noticing our tendency to be binary is the first step to choosing to live life greater discernment.
We slip into this good/bad judgments with people, places, music, films, you name it, we judge it. It can be particularly damaging when we apply it to people. It’s really easy to quickly weigh someone up by their clothes or accent and place them in a box labelled – not for me thanks!
But when we become more mindful of our judgments, we may find it easier to leave them aside and instead, get to know the person a little better.
I LIKE, I DON'T LIKE
Similar to the good Vs bad, we can slip into quick but distinct judgments. By doing so we can cut off the opportunity to approach many elements of life with openness.
The attitude of beginner’s mind helps us to see things as they are and not through the filters of our previous experiences. By approaching an experience as if it was the first time you had ever come accross it, you are able to assess it with a greater level of intelligence and reason.
We may have not enjoyed a certain experience earlier on in life, not because of the sensations involved but because of our beliefs about it at the time. Later on in life our perceptions may have changed but we close ourselves off from possibilities because of strong judgments.
So, here’s a great exercise… figure out something that you really don’t like and choose to explore it with openness and curiosity, really dropping into the sensory experince and discovering more about it. You may find you still don’t like what you didn’t like. But maybe, just maybe, you may find your extreme judgment needs to updated.
I WANT, I DON'T WANT
If we only ever got what we wanted, what would life really be like?
One of the challenges of being mindful is embracing everything that is, everything that is occurring right now, holding it in awareness and then trying not to judge it.
It’s not wrong to want things. We all desire to live a happy life and we associate that with certain emotions, possessions, achievements and events. We also desire good things for others too, good health, freedom, joy and love.
I personally believe the big challenge is being happy now. And I think the first step to being happy now is not the happy part but the now part.
I think it’s near impossible to be happy now if you don’t pay attention to now. Once you are paying attention to now, you may find now is pretty great.
A study was recently done where people who had terminal illnesses and were facing the end of their lives were asked what they wanted for the remainder of their time here. The majority answered: to spend time with loved ones and time in nature. Food for thought.