I'm not sure how to begin this but I think it's a mental avenue worth trying to explain. As I go through my daily life I try to practice thoughtfulness and being non-judgmental. It's not an easy exercise, and I don't always succeed, but I make a conscious effort to try.
I want to start by drawing a correlation between two things that may
seem completely separate. Most of us have embraced the notion that
people should be allowed to live their lives as they choose. We support
marriage equality, religious freedom, gender diversity, and alternative
These are all great things, even possibly a sign of an enlightened
shift in our social consciousness. What concerns me though, is that
we've overlooked the everyday judgements that we assign, as if those
assessments are any different than the judgements that were once placed
on those who fit into the above mentioned categories.
I'll use a simple example here to try make some sense of this. You're
driving in your car and someone cuts you off. You have to slam on your
breaks or swerve to avoid an accident. Either in your head, or possibly
out loud you say something like "look at that idiot! They need to learn
how to drive!"
In a matter of seconds you've accomplished a few things. You've
assigned a judgement. You've made an assumption. You've created
negativity for yourself, and most importantly, you've allowed your
emotion to govern your thinking.
Keep in mind, I'm not saying emotions are bad. I'm not saying you
should numb yourself to life, or agree with whatever another person
does. The important part here is being "reactionary" instead of
I don't think there's anything wrong with feeling angry, but if we
allow emotion to guide our reasoning, it tends to corrupt the data. Too,
this whole process of feeling, thinking and acting leads to situations
where rational decisions are forsaken due to the emotional overbalance.
You may be saying to yourself at this point, "There's nothing wrong
with me. I'm a good person. I would never hurt someone else. Just
because I get mad, or call someone stupid, that doesn't mean I'm a bad
I'm not here to debate good or bad. This isn't about morals or
ethics. I'm just trying to illustrate how useful introspection and
awareness can be. Further, I'm not ashamed to admit that societies
acceptance of judgment and emotional based thinking makes me fearful for
what our future might hold.
Public acts of violence have become an ever increasing trend. I'm not
convinced that weapons and "violence on tv" are the only causes for
such tragedies. All I can say, is that practicing being nonjudgmental
has changed my life in more ways than I can count.
Since I started this journey, I've become a more compassionate
person. Instead of viewing people who disagree with me, or live
differently than I choose to as enemies, I am constantly reminded that
they are struggling just like I am. I changed from being a nihilistic
person who'd given up on things ever getting any better, and became
someone who is passionate about trying to help others in whatever way I
The problem's that we're facing in this world are daunting. Together,
we as a species might have some hope of surviving, adapting, and
evolving, but being in a functional collective means letting go of our
separateness and judgment.
If we as individuals, try to make a genuine effort to foster love and
understanding, as opposed to judgment and cruelty, we might be able to
make a small change in the microcosm. While one small change may not
mean very much, thousands of small changes can be significant.
I encourage anyone who took the time to read this to challenge
yourself and try to practice being nonjudgmental for a month. At the
very least, test the theory and see what changes if any occur in the way
you view yourself and the world.
You may find that nothing happens. you might decide that these words
are nothing but the misguided ramblings of an old fool, but if you
invest the effort, at least you tried. You made a decision to do
something small in the hopes of making a difference.