“It’s a scientific fact that the hormones of stress down-regulate genes and create disease, the long term effects [of stress]. Human beings, because of the size of the neocortex, can turn on the stress response just by thought alone. We think about our problems and turn on those chemicals. That means then, our thoughts could make us sick. So, if it’s possible that our thoughts could make us sick, is it possible that our thoughts could make us well? and the answer is absolutely yes.”
- Dr. Joe Dispenza
All of us can handle stress for short amounts of time. All organisms in nature can. That mechanism is in place for our survival and we can all agree that that is quite useful. It keeps us alive and gives us energy to use for short bursts.
But when we stay under the hormones of stress, it’s an energy drain. It exhausts our vital life force and interferes with the signal that our cells use to communicate with the proteins and genes of our body for optimal functioning. It disrupts our chi, our flow, our ability to maintain homeostasis, our balance, our inner peace.
The key is to go back to grazing when the event is over, so to speak, like the deer does after it escapes the chase from its predator.
Our nervous systems are brilliant. The function of the stress response is to bring the system as a whole back to wholeness, perfect order and right relationship.
This natural and innate regulation normalizes heart rates, breathing, sleep, and blood pressure… unless, of course, we have conditioned our bodies through our thinking to constantly be under the gun of stress and the chemicals that stress produces.
When we think about a past event or a future event, person, place or thing, we create emotions. E-motion, or energy in motion, is the end result of a thought.
So, if we as humans spend 70% of our day in survival mode, and research shows that we do, what are the emotions associated with that stress that disrupts the signal for optimal functioning?
Anger, competition, worry, greed, jealousy, guilt, shame, pain, suffering, unworthiness, not-enoughness, self-loathing, bitterness, fear and judgment.
The deer doesn’t judge the coyote. The wildebeest doesn’t judge the lion. What do we have that they don’t? Our mind. Otherwise known as our brain in action. Our big, beautiful, thinking, active brain.
On a basic level, we make a judgment to understand, but when we take it one step further and feed the idea of good or bad, right or wrong, better than/worse than, then we are feeding and affirming the idea of separation. This idea of separation is responsible for the lack, suffering and not-enoughness that all of us feel on some level, certainly some more than others, depending on where we are on our journey home to unity consciousness.
Spending so much time analyzing, categorizing, calculating and judging is useful in some capacity when we’re learning but too much time spent in the analytical mind produces the hormones of stress, not to mention requires a great deal of energy.
If we don’t switch off and spend some time replenishing our energy in a state of non-judgment, in oneness, wholeness, stillness, silence, equality, space, harmony, observation, communion, grace, peace and ease, we feel the effects of this imbalance and our bodies express these effects through signs and symptoms of dis-ease.
There’s a prayer in the Course of Miracles that says “Today I shall judge nothing that occurs.”
I have been trying this on for the past couple of weeks. As an observation (not a judgment), I'd say I'm doing pretty well... most of the time. I do pretty well for an hour and then I forget. Or I do great with some people and then others immediately trigger my defenses where I'm overtaken by irritation. My mind creates things that are wrong or bad, I judge the hell out of them and I end up all emotional about it.
But because I’ve consciously had this on the top of my to-do list every day for the past couple of weeks, I am catching myself more quickly in the moment, or some moments later, or at the very least as I’m going to bed that night, reviewing how I did that day. I like who I am when I'm not judging, I like the way I feel, and I say to myself, “I’m going to try again.”
I ask myself, “What would someone need to believe in order to make non-judgment more familiar, more of a second nature?”
They might believe that no one is better or worse than anyone else. They might believe that we’re all on our own journeys doing the best we can with our current state of beliefs and perceptions of truth. They might believe that there are 8 billion + pieces of the puzzle and that the puzzle would be incomplete without all of the individual pieces. They might believe that love is the greatest gift we can give, be, and have and that love is all inclusive, unconditional.
Before I fall asleep, I close my eyes and feel what it would feel like to not judge anything or anyone, including myself, especially myself. I turn my attention to my heart. I turn my attention to the me who is observing.
The longer I spend in this space, the more often I visit, the clearer the signal becomes, the calmer my thoughts, the more effortless my choices, the more graceful my actions.
Gratefully, every day, I keep getting another chance to try again.
What does this practice of non-judgment deliver? Peace. Neutrality. A quiet mind. A sense of awe. A sense of ease. A capacity to see more clearly.
"When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn't get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don't get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying, "You're too this or I'm too this." That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are." - Ram Dass
Can you spend time in this place today, not judging anyone or anything? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour? Can you go within and drop into your heart space where the points and the numbers and the check marks don’t matter? Where the game is not about who’s winning? Where everyone is their own kind of tree and all is well?