This year I was dedicated to refining the difference between judgement and discernment. They really are poles apart. It’s a funny thing really, judgement gets a bad rap, as in ‘don’t be judgemental’ meaning in essence don’t be mean to others that are different from us, don’t be scared or fearful of others that aren’t the same. Discernment is when we take our gut instinct, and make a call. Discernment is employing our knowledge, experience and combining that with facts. It’s less about emotion. Discernment is vital. Judgement can be dropped.
I had a profound moment this year, gently complaining to my karate Sensei outside the dojo (you don’t really communicate within the dojo) that I felt due to my teaching commitments that I was ‘falling behind’ in karate. He replied calmly ‘falling behind what?’. To which I had to take a very long pause and sheepishly reply ‘well…myself I guess’ to which he tried very hard not to grin, and then said ‘and how is that you can you be falling behind yourself?’. It was one of those grasshopper moments that has stuck deeply with me. This is what we call an insight. A lightbulb moment. Now keep in mind in my my dojo, I am not only the only woman, I am also one of the youngest adults, and the only white belt, and by far the absolute worst, and most unruly at practising karate. So on a literal level, I wasn’t falling behind a single person. But on a more philosophical level, I was judging myself at something that needed no judgement. You can’t get ahead in karate, it’s a way of life. It’s a daily pursuit to live more in alignment, to be present, gentle and seek the way of nature. To be discerning and proactive and to never attack and always defend. Then there’s the punching and kicking and stuff, but it’s so much more than that.
I drove home, caked in sweat and buzzing from our little conversation, and really soaked in the fact that I had attempted a short cut. For me I realised that it is FAR easier to stop judging others, and to be more kind and compassionate and gentle, and in fact way harder to do the same with oneself. Within my attempted shortcut, I had in fact actually fuelled my ego a little bit, in congratulating myself on what a good job I was doing, being so less ‘judgemental’ when in actual fact I had just ramped up the judgement on myself. Towards myself, I really was at times a judgemental bitch. To the majority of everyone else, a really compassionate person. What a lesson!! An opportunity to grow beyond this.
Once I have awareness around something, I seriously can’t stop seeing it everywhere. It drives me slightly nutty. Once you realise you have a glitch in your minds operating system, it haunts. Like when you chip a tooth ever so slightly and it’s the only thing you can feel in your whole mouth, and you cannot stop running your tongue all over it. Once I shined a light on how much I was judging, mostly myself, it drove me batty. There’s really only one thing ever happening, and so it’s ludicrous to think that we can isolate a tendency, a response, an emotional glitch in only one area. If it’s happening somewhere, it’s usually happening everywhere. Shine a light on only one area and we miss everything else that sits quietly in the shadows.
So what I am now asking myself is this; where can I shine a light so bright that nothing can hide in the shadows?
A most importantly, whatever is happening within me, is being projected outside of me. So I must deal with ‘in here’ first and foremost, and not the other way around. That’s the trap the ego sets for us.
P.S. The single most important tool I have ever learnt in the art of figuring myself out, was a daily practice of meditation. The art of diving deeper than the minds daily BS and moving into something more profound, universal and creative. My daily practice creates a level of curiosity and intrigue and I have found my insights and light bulb moments have increased like crazy. If you’re interested in learning the meditation I practice, you can read more here.