Sunday morning my daughter woke me up at 2:30 am. My husband and I were then up until about 4:30 where he went back to sleep and I didn’t. By about 6:30 I had decided that even though he was sleeping on the couch, I was going to unroll Mamba and practice anyways. This is a big deal to me. Practicing in front of a baby is one thing but in front of your husband who has never done yoga in his life…this is another. It was interesting to me that I felt so exposed, he was sleeping and I was fully clothed yet I felt stripped down beyond naked. I have done yoga in front of hundreds of people, why was he such a big deal? The fear of being judged. I know that sounds crazy because you would expect that those that love you judge you less but when you expose yourself to several strangers you rarely have to hear what they think or how they feel, whereas usually the people who love you are willing to give their feedback.
I often say that those who judge, feel judged themselves. Many years ago I read a book by Lama Surya Das, it could have been “Awakening the Buddha Within” but I’m not sure. In there he describes watching the mind judging as you walk around in the world, even something like “look at what she’s wearing.” When you start to observe yourself judging others it can be a rude awakening. When we consider that we need to be responsible for the energy we put into the universe, if we are putting out judgement, we need to be prepared to receive it.
I feel like many of us grow up feeling judged and this turns us into judging adults. We can be hard on others but also very hard on ourselves. If you have a hard time watching your thoughts in regards to others all you have to do is observe how you talk to yourself. I often catch myself looking in the mirror being critical and unforgiving. This can also happen while you practice. I have eliminated most of the negative self talk out of my practice because when I’m on my mat I can really tap into the divine that resides within, the piece of myself that is connected to everything, my oneness. This goes back to the quote on the first day of this blog about coming out of the dream of imperfection. All you have to do is look at a baby and realize that at the very kernel of who we are, we are all perfect.
This doesn’t mean that all your behaviour is justified. A remembering of perfection means that we have to start acting from this place of oneness, of unity and divinity and this is where we need to practice. This requires a shedding of what we have learned from society, from our families, and from our friends about who and what we are and listening on the soul level. Yoga helps us to listen on the soul level and have this remembering.
I have also often said that the best place to start practicing these very esoteric ideas is in a physical, tangible format. So you can begin to practice non-judgement by watching how you speak to yourself during the day, or if you are a yogi, while you are practicing. Begin to criticize less and congratulate more. Notice where you need to clean up your thinking and then see if you can extend this outside yourself to others. Be responsible for the energy you are putting out into the universe and know that change begins with you, right here, right now.