― J. Krishnamurti
we open or close our minds right now.”
Growing up immersed in a society that is highly judgmental, most of us have been deeply conditioned to experience our lives in terms of good/bad, right/wrong, should be/shouldn't be. In fact, our ego sense, with its perceived separation and isolation from "the other" is maintained by the thoughts, opinions, and various mind states that emerge from this conditioning. Even in its mild form of liking/disliking, Judgment Mind can generate thoughts and feelings that serve to separate us from the peaceful, calm, and caring Presence we have access to in every moment.
Instead, what emerged was a relaxed, open, clear, warm, expansive quality of consciousness, -- and a sense of wonder. A boundless sense peace and a warm-hearted appreciation permeated my breath and body.
2. Examine your own approach to Practice.
Don't set up your own "mine field" of unrealistic expectations. We are literally creatures of habit. Our conditioned patterns were set in place long ago. Much of who we think we are is just a habit.
Patience and Persistence are both the means -- and the ends -- of Practice. There is a quality of consciousness accessible to all, experienced by most of us already in special moments (oftentimes without noticing it). Cultivating a more consistent connection to that aspect of mind will take commitment, time, and what one of my teachers called "effortless effort".
Relax -- and keep Practicing.
3. Just Take Notice.
The "noting practice" taught by various schools of Buddhism as part of Shamatha Meditation can be a useful means of identifying and releasing moments of Judgment Mind. Generally used in conjunction with Mindfulness of Breathing, this technique calls for us to make the mental note "thinking" when we notice that our attention has been drawn from a primary focus on the sensation of breathing into the realm of thought.
Noticing the quality of
that mental note, your inner monologue's "tone of voice", can indicate
the presence of
Judgment Mind. Is the voice (or voices) harsh, carping, frustrated, whinny? If so, take
the opportunity to pause and take a deep breath -- and perhaps note the flavor of that energy, then simply repeat the
note, "thinking"with greater kindness and compassion for yourself --
and all sentient beings.
The Bottom Line?
Thankfully, we have the capacity to determine, in part, the nature of that change. Every day is Judgment Day -- or not. With Practice, we do have a choice in the matter -- moment to moment.
The bottom line?
We don't have to stay stuck in the same conditioned rut. Instead, Life can be a Groove!