The Ugly of Good or Bad

My experiences as an adult force me to view the right or wrong paradigm as unfit to address the experience of nature and change. When I hike, I don’t want to see every plant and rock look the same, I don’t judge native or abundant plants as good nor dying, dormant pericytes as bad - instead, I appreciate the diversity and its interconnected constant change. I like translating this to human interactions, seeing each individual uniquely navigate their lives and the care they give to others. Within this, I noticed a pattern whereby concern heightens us on a hierarchy of finger waging judgements, whether at ourselves of others.

Let’s take it to the mat: If a judgment is made that the sensations of a yoga pose are good or bad, mental activation is made outside of the pose. Such thoughts might distract enough for one to lose the delicate balance of a pose or not feel into the right moment to come out of it. While releasing judgments is part of practicing asanas, how does it translate to the living practice?

If I judge healthy food to be good for me and tasty food to be bad for me, do I create mental engagement which takes my attention away from the sensations of the food and the way I feel while and after eating them? Could this type of judgment get in the way of my forming a connection whereby I develop taste for healthy food? Could this type of judgment create slipper slopes, “I can’t go without a sugary snack, therefore, I make bad choices and, ergo, I need to eat more sugariness because I feel bad”?

Let’s take it to the exchange: If you want to speak with someone and are fueled by the judgement “that is bad,” your created a diagnose does not invite an exchange. Perhaps, no matter how you word it, the assumed wrongdoer will, at best, hear that you believe their action wrong and, at worst, become defensive. What if you are fueled by “that looks tough” or “I don’t understand that”? Are you more likely to notice surrounding circumstances? Are you more able to offer skills that decompress tensions in the situation? Are you able to address the individual in a way that respects that they are navigating their own life to the best of their abilities?

Certainly, each of us has our own set of root values we operate from, but that does not make them the only values or the “right” values in the broader human experience. Moreover, your way of expressing your values is not the only way. Noticing this can open you up to seeing the array of lived passions and loves. It can also free us from unfairly judging others with the metric we mean to use to evaluate ourselves.