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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Judgment?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Judgment

Believing in Your Ideas About How Things Should Be

You believe in your ideas about how things should be, for instance, what constitutes happiness and success. You are always trying to live your life according to these ideas. But this closes you off from that openness that will reveal what’s actually unfolding. You are rejecting reality and restricting the possibilities of what could happen. Now you are asking yourselves, “So what can we do?” But let’s look at that question—what is the motivation behind it? Isn’t the motivation that you want something, and want to know how to go about getting it? And isn’t that wanting determined by your usual beliefs and ideas? Aren’t you then engaged again in the same movement, continuing the same old reality? The alternative to this pattern will appear only if we completely understand what we are discussing. To seek an alternative is already a judgment that things need to be different. This judgment is based on certain basic beliefs—that you should be happy in your life, that you should live as long as possible, that it is better to be beautiful than not beautiful, better to be rich than a poor, better to be a success than failure. Every day you put the same patterns, same ideas, and same hopes in front of you. They may be modified here and there, but they are basically the same. We carry our past with us. If you look at your life, there is no present, no future; your mind is always in the past. You are furnishing your future, all the time, by continuing your past. Everyone wants to continue in the same way, yet you wonder why your life does not seem fresh or new, why instead, it feels like a swamp. You say you want newness, life, freshness, change, transformation. But this would mean that the past is left in the past. Is it possible for us to be here without the past? What I’m saying is not original. Every spiritual teacher says the same thing: the point is not success or happiness, the point is to be real. I’m saying this now so that you can understand the situation, not so that you do something about it.

Comparative Judgment is an Important Part of Discerning the Truth

Even when we are not in the process of inquiry, we understand what is happening in our daily life because our mind is always correlating, contrasting, and judging. Without this, there is no knowledge and certainly no scientific knowledge. What we see here is that comparative judgment is an important part of discerning the truth. And comparative judgment, in the scientific sense, always leads to the recognition of the meaning and implications that result from the comparisons that are made. This means that to understand your current patterns, you also have to understand their relationship to what happened in your past. In our example, you would need to recognize that fifty years ago, when you were a child with your father, you were too little to stand up for yourself. Now you are an adult—bigger, stronger—and you see things differently. You need to have the ability to judge—to see that particular truth and to recognize its meaning and implications. That is what is called a scientific assessment or a scientific judgment of the situation. “I can now see that when I was only eleven, I couldn’t stand up for myself with my dad, but now I am sixty-one, so, according to my assessment, I have more capacity to take care of myself and to be my authentic self.” In this way, the process of inquiry moves on in a continuum of correlation, contrast, comparison, assessment, and judgment—but all of it is neutral. If you are looking at your experience scientifically, when you say, “Yesterday I was more terrified than I am today,” you are not saying which is better. You have no sense that you would rather feel less terrified today or that you should. Your statement is only for the sake of understanding that you were more terrified yesterday than you are today.

Manifesting Presence Informs Our Consciousness

How can you know and understand what is possible for you without judging or rejecting where you are right now? This is difficult, but it is exactly what is required of us in order to practice inquiry. It is possible because Essence does present itself before we are one hundred percent realized. The guidance of essential presence itself makes it possible to learn to attune ourselves to our true nature because, as the presence manifests, it informs our consciousness of the right attitude, the right direction, which is beyond judgment.

The Delusion that Comparative Judgments are Ultimate and Final

The delusion of Point One, then, is the conviction that comparative judgments are ultimate and final. Things can, of course, be compared on the surface, but to believe that such comparisons reflect their fundamental nature is ego’s delusion. Comparative judgment on the relative level is useful sometimes, but when we are talking about the Holy Ideas, we are talking about a way of experiencing things that is transcendent to the relative level. So we’re not saying that because everything is perfect, you should eat food even if it is rotten. We’re also not saying that if you are sick, you shouldn’t go to a doctor. Obviously, if you want to be healthy, you take care of yourself, and there is comparative judgment involved in that. Holy Perfection does not negate this level of things, but when we talk about our beingness, our innate existence, we are discussing a level of reality beyond the particulars of whether our bodies are healthy or not, or even whether we are living or not. From this perspective, even the cancer that kills us is part of the perfection of all that is. Ultimately, as we have seen, even our death is simply part of our fundamental nature and part of all that exists, simply changing from one form into another.

Facets of Unity, pg. 148

The Mistake in Judgement by Attributing Your Development to External Things

Sometimes it’s not easy to tell what’s contributing to the understanding and clarity in your life. But if you can discern what it is that is contributing, you’ll increasingly move towards your essence, because only Essence brings this about. If, on the other hand, you attribute your development to external things, you are not only making a mistake in judgment but are also slowing or stopping the process that has really contributed to your development. You’re telling your essence, “You don’t matter.” And that’s an attack on your essence. Invalidating your essence is an activity of your ego or superego. From what I have observed, people often do not acknowledge what’s really happening or what force is operating because there is something in them that resists seeing and experiencing Essence. It’s not just a mistake in judgment; there is an active motivation behind it. It is a defensive function of the superego. Also you have practically no support or guidance from the world around you. When people don’t recognize the actual force in you that is contributing to the changes in your life, it is because they are resisting the perception of that force in themselves. They do not want to see the truth, so they don’t want to recognize it in you. In my own experience, it is important that I know what is bringing about my development. “In the world but not of it” extends to seeing the real causes, the real forces, operating in whatever we do.

The Movement from Comparative to Moral Judgment

That is how comparative judgment, which inherently is a neutral function in our investigations, can become moral judgment. We hold it that one condition is better, more desirable, than another. And not only that—we also think that the condition or feeling we prefer is what we should go after. Comparative judgment thus becomes one of the primary barriers against being where we actually are. Our mind naturally compares whatever we experience with other feelings and other experiences—both our own and those of other people. Perhaps you’re meditating and you start feeling a little bubbling in your belly, something you haven’t experienced before. A neutral response says, “That’s interesting, in contrast to yesterday when there was no bubbling.” However, it is more likely that when you feel the bubbling, you remember your friend who said that when he was meditating the other day, he had this lava flow—intense heat and brightness and a tremendous explosion. And you think, “All I feel is this little bubble? This is all I got? Obviously, what’s happening for me is not it.” Or maybe it changes from a bubble into a big, exploding supernova, and you remember your friend talking about the lava, and you think, “What happened to him is nothing—this is it!” You want to hold on to the experience until you talk to him . . . whose is bigger? That sounds really funny, but it happens all the time. We don’t leave our experience alone. The problem is not the fact that we compare, but that we compare in a judgmental way. Our superego dominates our observations and we end up saying, “This is acceptable, that is not acceptable.” Everything is seen as good or bad, preferable or not, more evolved than someone else’s experience or not, and the result is that we can't let ourselves be where we are.

The Rightness of What Is

When our perception is like a clear mirror, without subjective judgment, we find reality to be just right. If our mirror creates any distortion, if our perception of reality contains any subjective preferences or ideas, then we are seeing reality from a deluded point of view and we will miss its inherent perfection. This makes our work very obvious: to find out what is in the way of perceiving reality as it is—to find out what our obscurations are, where our perception is deluded. The way we ordinarily see the world is not the way it really is because we see it from the perspective of our judgments and preferences, our likes and dislikes, our fears and our ideas of how things should be. So to see things as they really are, which is to see things objectively, we have to put these aside—in other words, we have to let go of our minds. Seeing things objectively means that it doesn’t matter whether we think what we’re looking at is good or bad—it means just seeing it as it is. If a scientist is conducting an experiment, he doesn’t say, “I don’t like this so I’ll ignore it.” He may not personally care for the results because they don’t confirm his theory, but pure science means seeing things the way they really are. If he says he is not going to pay attention to the experiment because he doesn’t like it, that is not science. Yet, this is the way most of us deal with reality, inwardly and outwardly.

Facets of Unity, pg. 141

When Judgment Loses Scientific Neutrality

So we can see more clearly now from these examples that when rejection accompanies comparative moral judgment, judgment loses its scientific neutrality and becomes based in the ego. Scientific neutrality means engaging in comparative judgment without having a preferential attitude. With that balanced neutrality, which is a kind of serenity, we remain alive, aware, and conscious, because we’re investigating, we’re interested. Our attitude is open and allowing with a contentment in seeking the truth. And that brings us back to the foundation of all of our exploration in the work that we are doing: Whatever our experience is, we are interested in being present with it and finding out the truth about it. Learning not to reject or accept whatever arises will help us do that as fully as possible.

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