Becoming Judgment Proof

The brain is a thinking machine. Each day, tens of thousands of thoughts emerge from the gray matter, many of them the same thoughts that surfaced the day before, and the day before. Picture a mirror with lighted thoughts around the perimeter, endlessly receding into the past.

While much of the activity of the brain is important and consequential, a whole lot of thinking is “mental chatter,” the momentary arising of judgments, criticisms, doubts, evaluations, and comparisons that have little to do with the needs of the moment, or, reality, for that matter. They are the thoughts that if you were distracted from having, you probably wouldn’t miss them and you might even be better off for it, along with those in your midst.

In the language of mindfulness, many of these thoughts are called “judgments.” They serve to make you feel better (and sometimes worse) than others. They can fill the mind, create feelings of urgency, superiority, and inferiority, and they build on themselves.

All this serves to keep you feeling separate and apart from others, on edge, and continually in search of . . . .

Mindfulness -- with its orientation on seeing these judgments as they arise -- is one method of achieving a clarity of mind that penetrates through to the insubstantial core of these thoughts, allowing them to dissipate with this insight.

As this happens, you become judgment proof. That is to say that you will continue to have judgments -- the brain is pesky in this way -- but because you see them arise with insight, you do not identify with them and they tend to move on, liberating you from their insistent (and persuasive) clutches.