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Stop judging yourself, practice Mindfulness

 In Mindfulness

The human mind has a tendency to constantly judge everything it experiences

To stop judging oneself is only possible if one realizes both the judgment towards oneself and towards others because the two are very correlated. Whoever does not judge himself does not judge others either. And this is only possible if we deeply understand the automatic mechanism that triggers self-judgment.

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MENTAL POISONS: HOW TO RECOGNIZE THEM

Most people are so completely identified with the voice in their head, with that incessant flow of involuntary and compulsive thought and with the emotion that accompanies it, that we could define it as possessed by one’s own mind. Until we are completely unaware of it, we believe that the thinker is who we are. This is the egoic mind. The famous writer and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle calls it ego, because ‘there is a sense of self, of the I (the ego), in every thought, in every memory, in every interpretation, judgment, opinion, point of view, reaction, emotion. And, spiritually speaking, this is unawareness. “

Our thinking, the content of our mind, is obviously conditioned by the past, by the way we were brought up, by our culture, by the family situation and so on. The core of all our mental activity consists of repetitive thoughts and emotions, in reactive patterns with which we are strongly identified. This creates a real mental entity that feeds on what in the Zen – Buddhist tradition are called mental poisons, that is:

1 – Attachment: the tendency to always desire something different from this moment or the tendency to become attached to an idea, opinion, judgment of oneself and judgment of the other.

2 – Aversion: the tendency to oppose, to create resistance and to consider the life situation as an obstacle or an enemy.

3 – Confusion: when the mind is full of compulsive thoughts and we are so identified with them that we cannot let them go

How can we stop talking about ourselves if we are constantly identified with this incessant inner dialogue?

The only practice that can interrupt mental automatism and help stop judging oneself is the constant practice of awareness or Mindfulness. Read more about the practice of Mindfulness here

Let’s take an example:

Each negative judgment or thought strengthens our ego, while in the meantime it involves a negative feeling in the body, a tension and a modification to the natural rhythm of the breath and release of toxic substances in the body. The unpleasant sensation as such then becomes unconscious, buried by the illusory heroic feeling of being right.

To stop criticizing oneself, therefore, first of all it is of fundamental importance to recognize the judging activity every time it occurs and detach oneself from it, simply observing it, assuming the attitude of an impartial witness. When you notice that a judgment arises, you don’t try to repress it, judging it wrong, because that would simply complicate things.

The practice of Mindfulness involves a suspension of judgments and the simple observation of everything that presents itself to you, including judgmental thoughts.

The mind’s ability to observe and understand itself is called meta-cognition. According to Western psychology, it is precisely the meta-cognitive capacity that develops through the constant practice of meditation that makes it a useful technique for getting out of unconscious automatism and reducing states of tension, stress and suffering. In the meta-cognitive state, the thinking mind continues to be used when necessary, but in a much more focused and effective way than before. It is used above all for practical purposes, but one is free from involuntary inner dialogue, and within oneself there is peace, precisely because a distance has been created between the observer and the thinker in us.

Whenever we mentally attribute negative labels to others, whether while we are in front of them, and when we talk about them, or even thinking about them, even if we often don’t notice it, there is an emotion that goes with complaining and judging about them. others, and which gives even more energy to our ego: Resentment. To be resentful is to be bitter, indignant, offended, or hurt. We resent the greed of others, their dishonesty, their lack of integrity, what they are doing, what they have done in the past, what they say, what they failed to do, what they would or they shouldn’t have done.

Often everything that we perceive in others as a lack or an offense towards us is simply a mirror of our inner reality, it does not exist in the other but only in us. It is a misperception of the mind conditioned by the constant habit of struggling to feel superior or to be right.

NOT REACTING IS STRENGTH, NOT WEAKNESS

As Eckhart Tolle says in his book The New World, ‘One of the most effective ways to go beyond our ego, but also to dissolve the collective human ego, is precisely not reacting to the ego of others. When we are in a non-reactive state we realize that there is nothing personal and then we can recognize the behavior of the other as a motion of the ego, as an expression of human collective dysfunction. At this point there is no longer any compulsion to react. By not reacting to the ego, we can often allow the healthy aspect of the other to manifest. This is unconditional awareness opposing conditioning. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to take precautions to protect ourselves from very unaware people, and we can do so without considering them as enemies, assuming the attitude of an impartial witness. Our greatest protection is being conscious. The other becomes an enemy when we personalize the unawareness which is the ego. Not reacting is strength and not weakness. Another word for non-reaction is forgiveness. To forgive is to look beyond; look beyond the ego to that healthy part that is in every human being, in the essence of him or her. “

Whenever we are engaged in an interior monologue such as: ‘this shouldn’t happen; I don’t want to be here; I don’t want to do it; they treat me unfairly. ‘we are falling into the illusion of the ego and we are losing sight of the present moment, which is to say, life itself. As said before, what we can do to interrupt this automatic monologue and consequently stop judging ourselves is to try to pay attention to the voice in our head, perhaps right when it complains about something and understand that it is nothing else. other than a conditioned mindset, a thought. We are the awareness behind thought. By continuing this practice of self-observation during our daily lives, we gradually become more and more free from the ego, free from mental automatism. Through Mindfulness and meditation we can sharpen our attention and become observers of ourselves.

If you want to learn more about the technical specifications on how to stop judging yourself with mindfulness and meditation I talk about it here. 

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