Yoga teaches us that we should aim to stop judging and instead start using discernment.
Judgment involves seeing things from only one side. It causes us to label things as either good or bad, positive or negative.
Judgment is biased, emotional and caused by avidya – ignorance. It usually results in irrational behaviour that we must later correct.
When we judge, we place people above or below us, on a pedestal or in the pit as one of my teachers would say. This is something we want to avoid, for rather than put people up or down, we should aim to put them in our heart.
Our judgments are one of the primary causes of our own, and others, psychological suffering. Accordingly, if we would like to experience more peace and love in our life, we should work to transcend them.
Non-judgment was one the central teachings of Jesus also.
Who are you to judge your neighbour? James 4.12
Let any one of thee who is without sin, cast the first stone. John 7.53
How should we approach life then? Is not judging unavoidable in life?
Indeed, in life we do need to distinguish between things, weigh up different courses of action and make decisions. We must make selections based on our own value judgments, and the decisions we make shape our destiny.
But it is possible to train ourselves to do this without the judgmental energy in which we condemn or condone, making things and people good and evil.
Discernment is the ability to decide and act after seeing the person or situation truthfully. That is, after seeing it from all sides and weighing the facts as objectively and unbiasedly as possible.
When we use discernment instead of judgment, we act in a measured and balanced way rather than reacting emotionally. We choose the path that is most appropriate for us at the time without labelling the other paths as bad.
It is a difficult task. A lifelong task.