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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  A Judgment - FREE ZONE
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Friday, March 9,2018

A Judgment - FREE ZONE

By Cary Bayer  

“Judge not, lest you be judged.”—Jesus,  Matthew 7:1-2

In January the largest number of people enroll in health clubs and gyms to work off all that holiday party eating and lose the weight they resolved to do as the New Year unfolded. Working out in my Planet Fitness gym today I saw a sign in big black letters perhaps two feet high that read, “A Judgment Free Zone.” And I thought… what a great idea for a gym, a place where people of all shapes and sizes, of all large and small muscle mass, of little and no body fat can exercise without any fear of being laughed at or judged for how much they weigh or how much weight they can pump.

 

 

Then it hit me: what an even greater idea for a mind. Imagine if your mind was a judgment-free zone. That means, going through your day without judging the real housewives of New Jersey of the eponymous reality TV show (no matter how easy that might ordinarily be for you). Or going through your day without judging Donald Trump (no matter how easy that ordinarily might be for you). And, finally, going through your day without judging yourself (no matter how easy that ordinarily might be for you).

 

 

Then I took the idea even one big step further. We already have drug  free zones near schools. Imagine if the whole  city in which you lived was a judgment-free zone. In other words, you could be walking down the street wearing an outfit of mismatched top and bottom that your wife or husband thought looked ridiculous. (I know… some of you can’t even imagine wearing such clothes, but humor me here.) And you knew that you wouldn’t be judged by any passersby. If you take it a few big steps even further than that there could be a judgment-free zone in your state, in your country, and finally, a judgment-free zone in your world. If we did that, my local Planet Fitness would be stretched, like the many muscles we use to work their equipment, to Consciousness Fitness.

 

That, of course, is what Jesus meant by his injunction quoted above. I say Consciousness Fitness because you’re asked, if you’d like to have a spiritual awakening - what the forebears of your Saturday morning Yoga class would call Enlightenment - to raise your consciousness to a level that transcends judgment.

Perhaps it seems to you that it’s impossible not to judge. After all, these days you can’t even watch a cable TV news show in which your opinion isn’t asked about some item in the news, often requiring you to not just opine on the matter at hand, but to  judge it. We have in our country nine judges (well, we’re supposed to have nine) who sit in the Supreme Court and hear the most important contested cases in the land, but don’t you also have a supreme judge who sits in your consciousness, who judges just about everything that passes by your eyes and ears.

Judging, after all, comes so naturally, right? Well, I’m not so sure about that. Preferring chocolate to vanilla is a matter of taste, not of judgment. So I’m not suggesting that you give up your preferences, but there’s a big difference between choosing chocolate over vanilla and judging vanilla as bad or not so tasty. Babies have their preferences, too, so it would appear as if preferences are, indeed, natural, but the idea of  judging,  of saying this is good and this is bad, appears to be something taught to us.

A jury which judges a criminal case simply finds for either guilt or innocence with regard to the breaking of the law; judging the person as bad is an unnecessary step. The criminal’s actions are wrong in that they break the law, but the criminal himself is still an innocent child in the mind and heart of his mother and his Creator. Can we learn to let go of our judgments of him as a person?

The person I quoted about judgment at the beginning of this column also said that Heaven is available to you if you learn to be like a child. Well, you once were a child, you have an inner child always inside of you, so if you can awaken that child’s innocent eyes you might just re-learn or simply awaken your natural ability to live your life without judging it at the same time.

 

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