Culture

I tried not to judge

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Criticism, mockeries, comparisons ... We spend our time judging. Situations, others, ourselves. Most often to reassure us and to escape reality. Our journalist tried to put non-judgment into practice, a principle at the heart of most spiritual traditions.

Flavia Mazelin Salvi

The idea has come to an editorial conference, in the course of the exchanges on the book The Year I lived according to the Bible of A. J. Jacobs (Actes Sud, "Babel", 2010). Put into practice everyday spiritual principles? Attractive. But risky, to look at it more closely. Difficult indeed to avoid two major pitfalls: the proselytism or actor's number, picturesque but not very sincere. And then, an idea took shape: why not try to practice non-judgment, a principle of life advocated by most spiritual traditions? Between gently mocking chuckles and encouragement, I was designated for a new mission: the spiritual test bench! Stop judging, criticizing, and caring detachment of others, situations, and myself. The objective could at first sight seem accessible. Non-judgment requires not only control of speech and thoughts, but also stability of emotions and acceptance of reality as it is, satisfactory or not. Striving to keep these points of reference in mind, I am preparing to begin a "zero judgment" week. First spotlight on a sensitive area: another.

What if it was fear?

"This persistent need to eliminate others from judgment is alerting us to a reality that we are not inclined to take into account: have we gone to the end of our fear of others?" writes the Protestant theologian Lytta Basset in "I do not judge anyone", the Gospel beyond morality (Albin Michel, "Living Spirituality", 2003). From the outset, the link between the judgment on others and the fear that it inspires us seems to me a little tenuous. Criticism usually strikes someone who is considered less talented or less competent than oneself. Anyway, the other, it seems to me, does not particularly scare me. Determined to play the game, I go to the monthly meeting of the reading circle to which I belong. This is good, a new recruit is presented to us. First glance, first judgment. I find it a bit cold, a bit imbued with itself. During the evening, contrite, I will discover, shy and passionate ... The watch turns, interventions follow one another, and my judgments too. They fuse in my head, to the point that I am troubled.Gestures, voice, flow, relevance of the choice of books ... I realize that I pass all the sieve of my personal criteria! At mid-evening, I decide to really listen to what is said, to get into the vision and sensitivity of the other. It's magic, my little parasitic voices are finally silenced. Available, concentrated, I discover the richness of the difference of sensibilities and points of view of each one. And above all, I perceive their emotion, their desire to do well, their passion. This closeness that touches me and sends me back to my own vulnerability definitely silenced (for the evening anyway) my inner judge.

When we separate, happy with this moment of joyful sharing, I take full measure of the difficulty of accepting otherness, and also of the impossibility in which we put the judgment to really listen to the other. to be present at his word. I think back to Lytta Basset's sentence. If there is a metaphor for murder, I must have reasons to unwittingly wish to eliminate others. Neutralize it to better deploy my wings and fly over the mass? The explanation is not very rewarding. After an analysis, many personal development courses and a regular practice of meditation, would I still be there, to struggle with oedipal ghosts and an ego on the lookout? Difficult to dismiss the hypothesis. Nevertheless, the mission "non-judgment" acts on me like a shot of kyosaku, this flat stick used during the zazen meditation, that one is administered on the shoulder and that brings us brutally in the reality, to the here and now. My awareness is acute.

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