May you practice your yoga on this day free of judgement. May your relationship with Life on this day be free of judgement. May it be filled with contentment and acceptance. May it be strengthened with genuine surrender into what Is.

Most, if not all, of us were born into a world of judgement. In some cases it may have started with our parents before we were even born, perhaps as they dealt with the unexpected news our mother was pregnant. Already the judgement begins… “do we want this baby, will it be a good thing?“; “He is always wanting to have sex, and now look where it’s got us…“; “How could this happen to us, we’re not ready for a baby…“, and similar such thoughts may represent some of those that passed through our parents’ minds and emotional world after we were conceived.

PunishmentOf course not all babies are an unpleasant surprise. Many parents experience a predominance of joy at the news, and rejoice when they discover a child is on the way. When the child is born, however, it enters into a world that is bent on increasingly assessing its worth, its intelligence, skills, behaviour, etc. It often starts with judgements about our weight, height, eye color, gender, etc. Later comes the manipulation through judgement as our parents try to get us to behave in the way they judge to be “right”. “Be a good boy, Johnny“; “You are such a naughty girl, you’re not getting any ice cream tonight.” “Be a good boy and eat up your vegetables, otherwise you won’t get to watch your favorite TV program after dinner...”. These are just a few examples of the kinds of statements I have heard coming from the mouths and minds of otherwise well-meaning parents. All of this is a form of judgement, and judgement is ultimately an attack on our fellow Man. It divides, and division creates the illusion of separation. For a child such division can eventual establish a deep seated sense of being wrong or not enough, and a feeling of guilt and or shame may also develop.

EducationMuch of our so-called education is really a form of indoctrination based on judgement. For example, the history we are taught about the world is not a neutral and honest perspective of the past. Rather it is biased and judgement based. Everything we are taught in school is relative knowledge, complete disconnected from the Absolute. That in itself trains children to judge the world around them through a relative perspective on that world. Also the way we are assessed as students is another form of judgement. We are judged for our perceived level of performance, scholastic ability, athletic ability, and so on. I saw so many children during my years of schooling who were emotionally, mentally, and spiritually immobilised by their fear of judgement and possible reprimand on the athletics field, in the swimming pool, or in the classroom.

As adults all of this programing is for the most part a forgotten story hidden in the archives of our past. At least at a conscious level that may be the case. In the subconscious mind these programs do not simply go away. Unless we have actively cleared the past, for all of us our so-called “past” is as alive today as it was 20 years ago. What’s more, when these programs are active we tend to involuntarily bring them into just about all that we do. Of course, our yoga and spiritual practice is no exception.19th Century justice - Victorian Crime and Punishment

Have you ever judged your level of flexibility, or judged your perceived level of health, judged how energetic you do or don’t feel during a particular yoga practice session? Have you ever been in a yoga class and noticed yourself looking at someone else in the room and comparing yourself with them? Comparing in this way is another form of judgement. Have you seen the yoga teacher go deep into some asana and then had a critical thought about either you, or them, or both in reaction to you’re not being able to go as deep? Or perhaps you saw yourself in a mirror on the wall and had a judgemental thought about the way you look, your weight, the size of your thighs or buttocks?

What about meditation? Where can judgement come up in meditation? Is your meditation practice fresh and based on what is arising here and now? Do you sit in a fresh state of mind, or does judgement enter into your experience of meditation? Some of us judge the fact the mind is so busy. We might judge ourselves for not staying focused, for drifting off, for falling asleep, or for feeling strong emotions that may arise during meditation. Perhaps we react in judgement to the environment around us, the noises inside the house, the voices in the adjacent room, and so forth.

Even in reading these words, some will judge themselves for judging! “Oh, but I do nearly all the things mentioned in the above statements… gosh, I am so judgemental! That’s so bad…

Anyone familiar with my perspective—familiar with Hṛdaya Yoga—knows I do not invest energy into the relative illusions of “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong”. Such thoughts are not natural. We are not born with these concepts. They are the result of misguided education, religion, and other sources of “learning”. Walk out into a jungle or a high mountain top in its natural state, and name one thing that in such a natural environment that is innately bad or good. There is no such thing. You will see nothing right and not one thing wrong. It simply is as it is, and inherent to that Is-ness is a certain ineffable perfection.

Yogi on Meditation.I invite you to refrain from judging yourself based on anything you have read here. Drop any sense of guilt or shame, breath, feel, be aware, be alert, be attentive. Judgement is not required for such alertness and attention, it only detracts from it. That detraction is not wrong or bad, it is simply not based on reality. Enlightenment is the deep-seated realisation and direct experience of That which is real, at the absolute level and even at a relative level. What we are, in essence and in truth, is real. Our yoga practice is about surrendering and letting go of that which is not real. Participating in the reality of our breath, the reality of our body, the reality of our mind. There is no attainment in this. No-thing is achieve. Rather there is simply containment of and relationship with what Is. By emptying out that which is not real, Reality remains. You contain that. You are that. Breathe. Observe. Witness. Participate in that Perfection, and enjoy.

The more we engage in our spiritual practice free of judgement—in a way surrendered into the reality of now—the more it becomes our natural disposition. Actually, it already is our natural disposition, but our society and upbringing has trained us to be unnatural. We often become as synthetic as the many objects we buy and consume, the plastics, the genetically modified foods, and so on. Our natural disposition is accepting, receptive, and it moves into action from the Wisdom of that receptivity. To bring judgement into our spiritual practice will only give great strength to the dysfunctional traits of our persona or ego-mind.

May you practice your yoga on this day free of judgement. May your relationship with Life on this day be free of judgement. May it be filled with contentment and acceptance. May it be strengthened with genuine surrender into what Is.

Bonsai Moon