By Cathy Eck
What is Judgment?
There are certain parts of the illusion that are particularly sticky, and this is one of them. I got stuck in this so many times, I looked like the tar baby. Judgment is what pulls us in to the illusion and keeps us stuck. Discrimination is what sets us free. But they often look the same. I would think I was judging when I was discriminating and vice versa. It is a distinction ripe for level confusion.
I first became interested in judgment when I started going to church with my fiancé and his family. One day, the priest gave a sermon on judgment. When we left the church, everyone was judging everyone else. “What in the hell happened in that church?” I wondered.
It was many years before I understood. The priest saw his own judgment in the congregation (often called projection). His position of authority allowed him to appear to tower above judgment. The congregation accepted his projection as true. Then they proved him right. This is how we get beliefs from authorities.
This all started long ago when kings saw themselves above their minions, rendering them elite. I once met an ex-priest who explained this seeming elevation. He said that when he put on his white robe, he could feel his superior ego building. He would stand different, talk different, and even think different while the robe covered his body. This was what motivated him to leave the church; he didn’t like himself anymore. He wasn’t comfortable being superior, and he could see that he was projecting his shadow on his congregation. He had simply outgrown the illusion.
The ex-priest’s experience isn’t much different from Clark Kent putting on his superman suit and flying above the helpless townspeople. The most honest of the bunch is the judge putting on his or her black robe — now they have the right to judge without having to judge the fact that they are judging.
Judgment stems from the notion of good and evil, right and wrong. When we judge something, we believe one side of duality is right or good; the other side is bad or wrong. Judgments fall at the bottom of the triangle.
In judgment, we hold both sides of any split within our mind. We identify with one half; the other half we project on to someone who fits the bill. Projection isn’t necessarily bad — it is a matter of degree. You might not want to be a drag queen, but Ru Paul will gladly take what you don’t want and become more famous. Projection isn’t much of a problem when it happens in that way because both people enjoy their role. You could say that it is a fair trade. But if you project that Ru Paul is evil because he is gay, he won’t appreciate your projection. The difference is that drag queen was projected out of preference; evil was projected as a judgment.
Blind to Projection
People have become experts at covering up their judgmental projections with sweet masks. Thus, the person receiving the projection often feels blindsided. Fundamentalist preachers are famous for saying, “I like gays fine; it’s God that doesn’t like them.” They project their judgment on God so they can look holy while casting judgment on another. I suspect this is exactly how God fell from unconditionally loving to punishing and mean. (Sorry gay friends, I just use this example because it’s the hot target now.)
If you’ve ever hung out with a teenage boy who farts and then pretends you did it, you get what I mean. In my experience, the sweeter and gooder (can’t think of another word) the personality, the more likely they’re the one farting.
Judgment Hides Inside
Judgment is a split between two polar opposites spiced with good and evil, right and wrong. Projection of judgment feels freeing because it appears that the part of duality that we don’t want is gone. But both halves of the split are still within our body-mind. If the other doesn’t want to play their projected role anymore, our projection will fly right back to us. Consequently, guilt and shame were invented as powerful tools to keep said projection on the projectee.
A young child agrees to be the black sheep of the family. They do the bad things and take the punishments. Then they go off and find out they aren’t bad anymore. In fact, they’re really good and kind. When they return home, they no longer accept the projection, and all hell breaks loose. The projections are like boomerangs smacking all the family members silly. If the grown-up child is now clear and sees that they were just acting out the projections of their family members, they won’t take on that role again.
Discrimination is the opposite of judgment. Where judgment focuses on right and wrong, good and bad, discrimination chooses between true and false. Good and bad have equal power. True has all power; false has none. When we discriminate, we recognize that we didn’t fart. We defuse the situation entirely within our own mind. Fighting can’t happen when people discriminate.
We know we don’t judge when we sit in the priest’s congregation, so we don’t take on his projection. We stay true to our Self. We ignore his sermon or maybe realize that we can’t learn from someone who projects on us. Our life shifts and moves when we discriminate until we end up exactly where we are meant to be.
Discrimination is about recognizing when something is true so you can enjoy it; it is about letting go of what is false so you never have to deal with it again. Each time we discriminate, we take a step back toward our True Self; until eventually, we are free.
Meditation for the western mind explains a great exercise that I use for discrimination.