I bet you do this.
You win an award and you think, this is good.
Or you get the biggest slice of cake and you sit back and think, this is so good.
And when something untoward happens, like you get sick or your boyfriend dumps you or there’s no cake left, you label it bad.
We all do it.
The mind’s tendency to judge things “good” or “bad” is one of its favorite and most annoying tricks.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been immersed in teaching the Doing Nothing Meditation course. One of the exercises we did is to replace the words “good” and “bad,” with “pleasant” and “unpleasant.”
Let’s call it, the
And boy does it make a difference.
The word “unpleasant” has no judgement. It’s neutral.
It’s simply stating a fact that something doesn’t feel good.
We still feel pain, but without all the judgmental mind chatter there’s an easiness.
It’s also far more accurate because how can you really tell if something is good or bad. There are countless examples of things that seem “bad” in the moment, but with hindsight we see are perfect.
Maybe there was no cake left for you. But then you decide to go to the store and get your own darn cake and on the way you run into a guy who just fell down and broke his leg so you take him to the hospital. Which now that you think about it is a whole lot more fulfilling than eating cake.
If you really want to judge what’s happening in your life, consider that you don’t have enough information.
Give yourself five or ten years and then do it.
PS: I know this seems simple, maybe you already do this. But if you don’t, give it a try. It’s something I learned over 20 years ago from Jon Kabat Zinn’s book Full Catastrophe Living and it’s saved my sorry ass many times.