parenting, spirituality

Case dismissed; non-judgemental thinking

Non-judgement - a post from AnAccidentalAnarchist.com

Please preside as judge and juror of thisย familiar scene from life. A scene that we can all probably relate to and yet something that is quite revealing of ourselves.

The scene begins at around 9:30am on a weekday morning, it was a really warm day for southern England in July (around 30 degrees), the day had a spotless blue sky, it was school summer holidays and the coffee shop was near the coast. The object of this scene was a parent sat at a table in a local coffee shop, a man who looked in his early thirties. A man who was seemingly buried in his iPad. He had two young children with him, a girl of probably 8 years and a boy around 6 years. Like him, they were also buried in technology watching some YouTube video. They did not really talk much or engage.

A judgement seemed fairly obvious to me and my gavel fell sharply as I made my verdict, ‘What a bad and dysfunctional family they must be.’ But wait! The man was me, I was the parent and they were my kids, and we are far from dysfunctional.

This occasion got me thinking about how quick we make judgements of others, how quick I am to judge and that if I had witnessed myself in similar circumstances, then perhaps I would have judged myself poorly. Perhaps I was being overly sensitive, but a few people queuing casually glanced at me and my offspring with cold looks of disapproval. We were definitely disheveled, unbrushed hair and dressed in shorts and t-shirts, me included.

The reality was, we were camping in a nearby eco-ish campsite, secluded in the woods, we had no internet nor power for technology. I confess to needed a morning coffee, of that I am guilty, so this coffee shop served a dual purpose of letting me have my coffee and my darlings could have 45 minutes on their beloved DanDTM or clumsy ninja before we had our full day of activity. We were having a wonderful family time, just the three of us. We had been to a theme park and made campfire food the day before; as Londoners it was great for them to experience the rawness of camping a bit wild. The day in question we were going to an adventure centre then the beach. All rare experiences for my big city dwellers. These 45 minutes were but a brief moment and a tiny piece of civilisation for us all.

So the reality was very far from the perception. For all the world we must have looked dysfunctional, on a gorgeous day, away in a pretty town, a parent and two children, lost in technology. On a bad day, I might have made that judgement myself.

What I took from this little moment was that I should not judge people too quickly. I should probably not judge at all as its nearly impossible to know a thing from a brief encounter. All I can really know from meeting a situation is my prejudice and preconceptions about the situation, never the situation as it is. Giving time and space might allow the situation to reveal itself but more than likely it will just pass away and I will be left none the wiser about the nature of the situation. So, since I cannot accurately judge what I cannot know I will make more of an effort not to judge things so fast, but to let them unfold if the choose or simply blow away in the wind as a mystery.

So why not join me with a goal to practice non-judgement a little more? It involves putting our judgemental thoughts aside in a situation and finding a peaceful spaciousness to just witness events. Even if it’s just once or twice a day, it’s a little practice towards a more open and objectively real world.

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  1. I absolutely love this story. All too often I find judgement creeping up when I may not know the context of a situation, thank you for the reminder.

    • Apologies for the long delay, I had an RSI injury that kept me away from technology for a while. Thank-you so much for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚ I am trying too, and perhaps, you did not judge my long response to your comment too harshly ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Peace and love

  2. Robynbird

    This post struck a chord in me. I think we’re all so quick to decide what is and isn’t the way we think it should be. Without all the information, we can’t possibly judge the situation. I’m working every day to be more mindful about the way I view the world.
    Thank you! <3

    • Apologies for the long delay, I had an RSI injury that kept me away from technology for a while. Thank-you so much for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚ I am trying too, and perhaps, you did not judge my long response to your comment too harshly ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I am still working on myself everyday too, trying not to judge is a big part of that.

      Peace

  3. This story so resonates with me. I wish that I had suspended judgment much earlier in my life. I have learned that the energy you project out in the world is the energy that comes back to you. And since that realization, I have lived a much happier life.

    • That’s really nice to hear. Let me apologise for the long delay in responding to this email. I was away from technology for a while with injury and am just feeling comfortable enough to get back to things. I appreciate you sharing you experience as we all move along an evolution towards something more enlightened. Peace! love!

  4. R P Moye

    “So what’s to celebrate
    What of worth then
    Gathered from the years?

    That it’s not what you see
    It’s the way that you view it
    It’s not what you do
    It’s the why that you do it
    It’s not what you’ve lived
    But the way you lived through it
    And that’s what really counts

    That you should neither judge nor aggravate
    The turmoil that surrounds you
    And everything is already perfect
    Whether you like it or not”

    – Ben Naga

    • Very beautiful. Thank-you for sharing. Apologise for the long delay in responding, I have had an injury that kept me away from technology, back now, don;t judge me too harshly please ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi. Wonderful share. My favorite bit: All I can really know from meeting a situation is my prejudice and preconceptions about the situation.

    Great reminder.

    • That’s very touching of you to mention. I read you comment a while ago, however had an injury that made it hard to use technology for long. Picking up the pieces now and returning the love people show in making comments. Thank-you again, ๐Ÿ™‚ Namaste!

  6. A long time ago, I heard a preacher talk about judging people by their appearance.
    In his presentation, the preacher asks what you would do if you passed a disheveled, dirty, homeless wino who asked you for money.
    Would you think “That person will just spend it on booze. It’s wasted money and contributing to this person’s problems.”?
    Would you think: “We have systems in place to help the indigent. This person will be helped.”?
    Would you think: “People that want to work and take care of themselves will. Some people won’t work, and I shouldn’t feel guilty that they’ve chosen this path.”?

    Then the preacher says: “What if that person was Jesus and you didn’t know it? Jesus who has come to Earth and chooses to look like a homeless wino?
    It’s not up to you to decide if this person is worthy. It is your Christian duty to help them if you can. It’s not up to you to determine if this person is important, a savior or a king. The king and the wino and you are all God’s children, and judgement has no place in a world of love and peace.”

    Seek peace,

    Paz

    • I’m not a Christian as such, although many Christian beliefs resonate with me, just as many beliefs from other philosophies and religions. However, amen, is an apt description to the words you have written. Thank you for sharing, thank you for provoking thought.

    • Thank-you. I read this comment laid up in bed a few weeks back, could not respond until recently as I had an injury that prevented computer use for any period of time. Thank-you for sharing your wisdom!

  7. Sweet story. I would imagine your kids didn’t mind how you all appeared that morning but were more pleased about tech time.

    Perhaps we judge ourselves the hardest?

    • Absolutely! They loved that 45 minutes in the morning, almost as much as the rest of the day. It was however lovely counter to the bustle and activity that was to follow. And yes, I can certainly judge myself quite hard times, as can many people think. Namaste

  8. Hi! I enjoyed your post about the the act of being judgmental; using your own situation from a third-person perspective in order to make your point. ๐Ÿ™‚
    It’s been many years since I vowed to drop that judgmental quality, and I have found that it has served me far better. As you say, let things unfold and clarify, if they will, or else blow away and remain a mystery. I have heard it said that when one is being judgmental, it reveals more about oneself than about the person or situation being judged.

    • Yes! It was reflection of how I might on occasion look down my nose at others or perhaps judge them far too quickly and with far too little information.

  9. Simon,

    You are onto something my friend.

    A couple of years ago I was passed on the highway by a white SUV (I think?) moving really fast (but not wild) weaving through traffic and I offered the almost obligatory look of disdain and maybe disgust when I was passed. Since my wife and children were in the van with me I did what I could to cover my less-than-hospitable facial and under-my-breath response. It wasn’t to hide, but more a desire not to pollute my family member’s lives with my vinegar. A quick glance toward my wife and in the rear view mirror certified my attempted ruse was unsuccessful. I was had. Then something outside of myself presented my mind with…

    “Maybe he is rushing his wife to the hospital for the birth of their baby?”

    Maybe he is rushing to the hospital to make a final love-gift to a dying parent?

    At this point I repeated those thoughts and others to my family. We all agreed we should not judge because like you, we did not and could not know the whole picture. We drove on a happier group and offered a collective prayer for that driver’s safety and well-wishing that there would be enough time to complete his journey.

    Thanks for the visit here and on my weblog. I will look forward to returning for a little “anarchy,” eh?

    Take care.

    • Thank you for sharing that story that’s a wonderful response to manifest in such a situation. Thank you for visiting and commenting. It’s love to engage with like-minded people.

  10. I really love your blog, Simon! Thank you for liking my blog so that I could then discover yours!!

  11. “Judge not lest ye be judged.”
    I think some jolly Boddhisatva said that. Or something like it.

  12. I loved this article. As the mother of a son with autism, I am frequently on the receiving end of judgment. I can handle the judgment because you become tough. It is the kindness that breaks me. Thx for your thoughts.

  13. I loved your post! We all are the same as human beings . We are also different because our perception is different. When we can see and accept that difference, we respect each other as human beings. Judgement could not exist anymore! Thank you!

    • Let’s hope we get there! I am optimistic that despite everything we see in this world, we can evolve and create a peaceful loving world. Maybe not in my lifetime but in some lifetime perhaps. We are all doing our bit. <3

  14. Lovely illustration of non judgement. I practise non judgement on news items and world events.

    • That is a really good idea, I have not tried that and often find myself dismissing news that is dogmatic or bigotry, I could suspend judgement for sure. I could try to avoid finding evidence to fit my prejudices too ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Sometimes “guilty as charged.” I find that trying to be of service to others helps alleviate the tendency to judge. It leaves less time and opportunities to sit in judgement.

  16. It happens all the time and in such a variety of ways. For example, a co-worker of mine was in charge of giving another co-worker a bottle of wine for her birthday (something our great boss provides). The recipient worked the later shift so my co-worker let her know she could find the bottle on her desk when she came in. However, as situations changed during the day, my co-worker was not able to leave the bottle there, and tried calling the person to let her know. No luck. The next day, the birthday girl would not even speak to my co-worker because she had not left the bottle. She never even gave her a chance to explain why it was not possible to leave it that night. There were good reasons, but a judgment was made without hearing the facts. Sad, so sad.

    Highway driving has taught me real lessons in holding back judgment. It is so quick to think someone is a real jerk, when maybe they have a wife in the car about to deliver a baby, and so driving in and out between cars in rush hour traffic is the only way to get her to the hospital on time. Who am I to judge. Maybe the person is a jerk, or maybe they are a person with a real need to get somewhere and fast. Now I just pray for God to help them with whichever it is.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Thanks for sharing those stories Moriah. I caught myself today feeling agitated when barged (totally unknown) in a supermarket, slowed my agitation down and reflected on how they were probably just engrossed in what they were doing, not particularly trying to get in the way. how silly I can be ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Today I will judge nothing that occurs
    And as I judge nothing that occurs I will create silence in my mid
    And as I create silence in my mind I will communicate with the cosmic mind that is running and orchestrating the machinery of the universe
    The cosmic mind whispers to us in the silent spaces between our thoughts.

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder to see ourselves in others and to give compassion rather than judgment.

  18. Loved this. Thank for visiting my blog and ‘liking’.

  19. Kristin

    Great post, thank you for it!

  20. Love is unconditional. Life should be as well. Although rules are needed, otherwise called laws, to keep order, we must allow for interpretation that does not harm another. Set it free and live loudly.

  21. Loved your insight and the message! I will try to be less quick to pass judgement. I think we do it so often because it’s so easy to make snap judgements, and we don’t have the time to know others’ real stories. Maybe our judging feeds our desire to feel superior.

  22. Thanks Simon for liking my blog so I would be introduced to you and your sweet family.
    Judgment is a time-worn problem and we all find ourselves in this mix of; “I shouldn’t but I do.” Time to do what Jesus would do: stop and inquire within yourself and ask…if I could walk with Jesus along the Emmaus road with Him what would he reveal to me about myself. He told them they were foolish…and judgment is foolish for only God is the true Judge and Jury. How foolish of us to entertain those qualities in ourself and yet we do…we fail miserably and that is why Jesus came. He came to forgive us over and over for that very sin we commit so thoughtlessly. That is why the Apostle John wrote to his beloved flock: ” if we confess our sins, he (that is Jesus) is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousnessBut if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness If we confess our sins, and further “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” That is our “ouch” and one we best pay attention to. OMGosh ..I so needed this reminder today! Thanks a bunch.
    Thanks again for stopping by and liking my “Christmas Blog: the Empty Manger”…I was encouraged! May you be as well.

  23. I have seen people judging parents. Even people who have never been parents do not mind judging parents. Personally, there are a lot of times when I catch and try to stop myself judging others, but I am always filled with awe when parenthood comes into question. Hats off to you, for the wonderful post and for everything you do for you children.

  24. I am a first-born, type A, perfect melancholy personality person. I was born to observe, analyze and make judgments. Working as a nurse, it was necessary for me to make judgments based on my observations. So NOT being judgmental is VERY difficult for me! Since it comes to me naturally, I don’t always realize that I am doing it. I know that being judgmental can cause problems so I am trying really hard to work on correcting that aspect of me. I like your comment about not being able to judge those things that we cannot know, so just let it go. Blessings

  25. I once had a couple of friends who idolized “Beveis & Butthead”. And sure enough, every one but they were lame, gay, or stupid. My sister married a man who taught her the same trick. Put everyone down to feel better about yourself. I think most people look at others as competition. To me competition is an excuse to be absolutely shitty towards another and get away with it. Thank you for reading my rants and ramblings. My kids are obsessed with Youtube also. I just try to keep them from watching the really disturbing vids. But we engage with each other too. Everyone needs some time to themselves once in a while. I know I do or I would have the peace to explore my mind, and follow wondering thoughts.

  26. smudge

    a lovely reminder that we all dwell in a fallible existence. as much as we demand justice, we also hope for grace and mercy. let us be the ones to show grace and mercy in the face of injustice, en route to peace and sustainable joy – that is my simple hope…

  27. Hi Simon Thanks for stopping by!

    What an interesting and timely story. Today I found myself judging my co- workers (because they were passing judgement on a customer rather harshly) and I was playing the devil’s advocate to give the customer benefit of the doubt but at the same time I was judging them for being so judgemental (Man that’s a mouthful!) and then my co-workers was adamant that I should agree with them on their judgement of said customer… it was all a bit sad…

  28. Leslie

    We’re definitely all guilty of this. I always have to remind myself that everyone is on their own path and everything is unfolding exactly as it’s supposed to. Your pieces are very thoughtful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Liked the post. Honest.

  30. Thank you for sharing your story, and reminding us of how easily we might judge others, but we actually don’t know anything about what we are judging.
    My best wishes for you and your family! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Elen, my life is a work in progress and a labour of love that will never be finished. I am trying to practice non-judgement, and perhaps thankfully the world gives us many opportunities to practice. I recall a wise Buddhist master once saying that “the most difficult people in life are the greatest teachers”, tolerance, non-judgement, compassion, etc. If I struggle sometimes with right thoughts, I can at least practice right speech and actions. Namaste!

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