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Tag: releasing judgment

Six reasons to meditate

Meditation

Every so often, I’ll be listening to a recitation of problems and I’ll say, “You know, I think meditation could really help with that.” And then I’ll get a list of reasons why the person I’m talking to can’t possibly meditate. (These are all real reasons.)

  • Their dog has dementia and wants to go outside every five minutes. (A five-minute meditation practice is perfectly valid.)
  • The apartment’s too noisy–someone’s car alarm is always going off. (It’s completely possible to meditate no matter the background noise–leaf blowers, fireworks, a thunderstorm. I do try to choose a quieter time if I can. No doubt every apartment complex, dorm, or other communal living space has its quieter times.)
  • Physical issues make sitting in the ‘proper’ position too painful. (My view is that the proper position is the one that allows you to meditate comfortably for the amount of time that yields the benefit you’re looking for. Insight meditation also recommends being comfortable. I once attended a day-long meditation retreat, and found that the grouchy monk running the retreat and I had different views on this. As I made myself comfortable, he shot me looks, and finally explained how wrong it was to do so–that if a fly, for example, lands on your nose while you’re meditating, you should simply allow it to sit there for as long as it likes. I was very comfortable with never returning to that meditation center. I believe a real spiritual leader won’t judge you, and neither should you judge yourself, if you decide that being comfortable while you meditate is right for you.)
  • They’ve tried it, but clearly have no talent for meditation, as they just can’t stop thinking no matter how hard they try. (There are a lucky few who have a natural talent for meditation–the rest of us get to get good at it the hard way, which starts off in exactly this way. As someone to whom a few things have come easily, I think it’s a salutary experience to keep working at something worthwhile despite no immediate signs of genius. I have read–and I believe this–that meditating with your mind running 100 miles an hour is still practice.)

So there are the excuses. If you haven’t yet committed to a meditation practice, here are a few reasons to meditate based on my own experience, that I hope will speak to you.

  1. Meditation is great for releasing what’s bothering you. When I’m feeling upset, I often try to make time to meditate ahead of schedule (typically after breakfast and before my shower in the morning, and before bed at night). Inevitably anything I’m upset or excited about will cross my mind as I meditate. When it does, I visualize packing several symbols of whatever it is into a helium balloon, and cutting the string.
  2. Meditation is also great practice for releasing judgment of yourself and the need to be perfect. It soon becomes apparent that thoughts enter your mind, that’s what they do, and it’s OK. Perfection, whatever that might be, isn’t possible, but awareness and recognition of what’s happening is. You simply recognize the thoughts, release them, and move on–nothing else is necessary. This works in real life, too–you notice something has gone off the rails a bit, take corrective action, and just keep moving.
  3. Once you’ve meditated for awhile, not only does ‘monkey mind’ rarely happen during meditation, but my experience has been that it fades considerably all the rest of the time too. I used to actually try to drum up thoughts in quiet moments, asking myself, ‘OK, what’s next?’ I don’t do that anymore, and there are nice quiet spaces in my mind pretty much all the time. Peace, in other words. Calm. Serenity.
  4. I find that meditating before bed generally puts me in the perfect frame of mind for sleep. Good sleep is pretty much impossible to overvalue.
  5. When I meditate, I’ve found that I’m much more patient and tolerant. It’s not unusual now for people to thank me for my patience. I’m not sure that happened even once in all the years I didn’t meditate.
  6. Studies have shown that violent crime decreases in the surrounding area when people meditate regularly. I love that a practice intended to benefit me and my own life, in combination with the practice of others I both know and don’t know, raises the vibration of our neighborhoods and cities such that harmful violence is prevented, and lives that could have been painfully disrupted or even ended, never are. Together, we can bring that about.

If you meditate, what benefits have you experienced?

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I made today, Meditation.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

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How not to judge

Willing

A couple of experiences yesterday clearly reminded me how little I like being judged. You know how when you’re on a diet, you start noticing foods that are unnecessarily caloric? I think it may be similar when you’ve released a lot of negativity and judgment … when you run into it, it really starts to stand out in stark relief. It makes you uncomfortable, and it’s clear that it has no value or really, useful purpose.

I was on my way to a friend’s alumni association crawfish boil, stopped at a light, when a woman gestured to me to roll down my window. Generally when people do this, it’s to convey some kind of useful or at least well-intentioned information, like that one of my tires is low.

This time was a bit different. Based on my bumper stickers (“Hope, not fear”) left from the 2008 election cycle, she inquired about my support for the President, and then yelled, “I just wanted to see what stupid looked like!” She then closed her window quite promptly, clearly uninterested in (or perhaps afraid of) my thoughts on her thoughts. I shook my head and muttered to myself that I hadn’t wanted to see what ignorant looked like.

When I arrived at the event, even before I could park my car, I immediately noticed great enthusiasm for wearing the school colors of purple and gold. My friend hadn’t said anything about this, but since purple is one of my favorite colors, I happened to be wearing purple shoes, eyeshadow, lipgloss, and (known only to myself–and now you!) purple underwear. This, it turned out, was insufficient, and others at the table (also alumni of other schools, but unlike me, forewarned) let me know of their superiority in wearing the school colors. Ah, joy.

In the back of my mind for probably months now, I’ve been thinking about how I want to renew my own commitment to eliminating judgment from my life. These experiences were catalysts in helping me decide that the time to do that is now.

I grew up in a family and a church that absolutely prized judgment of others. Though my family read the Bible through each year, Jesus’s words “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1) seemed to register with no one. I remember puzzling over them, trying to imagine what that meant, how that would work.

I became really interested in releasing judgment from my life about 7 years ago when I read Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention (published in 2004). He mentions briefly the work of the late Dr. David R. Hawkins, who measured various vibrations, such as those of documents, books, people, and so on. Dr Hawkins’ work indicated that higher vibrations are very powerful, and that one person vibrating at a higher level can balance the negativity of many lower-vibrating people. I found this idea quite exciting, but there was just one problem. I knew I didn’t meet the criteria for the first level. This is what I read …

    • One individual who lives and vibrates to the energy of optimism and a willingness to be nonjudgmental of others will counterbalance the negativity of  90,000 individuals who calibrate at the lower weakening levels [which basically consist of fear and lack of integrity].
    • One individual who lives and vibrates to the energy of pure love and reverence for all of life will counterbalance the negativity of 750,000 individuals who calibrate at the lower weakening levels.
    • One individual who lives and vibrates to the energy of illumination, bliss, and infinite peace will counterbalance the negativity of 10 million people who calibrate at the lower weakening levels (approximately 22 such sages are alive today).
    • One individual who lives and vibrates to the energy of grace, pure spirit beyond the body, in a world of nonduality or complete oneness, will counterbalance the negativity of 70 million people who calibrate at the lower weakening levels (approximately 10 such sages are alive today).

Here are two compelling statistics offered by Dr. Hawkins in his 29-year study of the hidden determinants of human behavior:

    1. One single avatar living at the highest level of consciousness in this period of history to whom the title Lord is appropriate, such as Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, and Lord Jesus Christ, would counterbalance the collective negativity of all of mankind in today’s world.
    2. The negativity of the entire human population would self-destruct were it not for the counteracting effects of these higher energy fields.

As I read this, I felt I was doing fairly well on the optimism front, but I knew very well I wasn’t nonjudgmental. But I was willing to try.

I started writing in my journal every day my intention to be willing to be in non-judgment of others. I found that this really made a profound difference in my life.

I really love the “willing” part of this statement, by the way. It seems to open up a space where–just like thoughts during meditation–judgment may come up, and then you can meet it with the willingness to release it and be in non-judgment. And as with thoughts during meditation, with practice, judgments become much less frequent.

In my view, releasing judgment doesn’t mean that you’re not aware of what’s really happening … that you don’t understand it, that you don’t know when you’re dealing with someone who’s as trustworthy as a rattlesnake. My interpretation of non-judgment is that you do notice all of these things, and act accordingly–you just don’t feel the need to judge them. Two common responses of mine when judgment comes up is, “We’re all doing our best” (which is so often true) and “No one asked me to judge.” This is also quite true. No one with any moral authority has invited me to judge anyone else–nor will they.

Now I want to take this practice to the next level. I’m not sure yet exactly how I’m going to do that, but I’ve decided that when judgment comes up, I’m going to reiterate my intention then and there …

I want to be willing to be in non-judgment of others.

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I made today, Willingness to be in non-judgment + personal Witness. This could probably also be considered a Waterbearer card. The water and water jug are meant to represent the life-giving nature of creating a higher vibration.

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