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How To Enjoy Life

23 October 2009 3 Comments

We all judge, whether we want to or not. Transforming our judgements can take us closer to experiencing, and enjoying, the world as it really is, rather than how we think it is.

To Judge Or Not To Judge

Raw judgements rarely help us except in urgent situations where we don’t have time to process our thinking. A figure approaching us from a dark alleyway with something silver glittering in its hand is probably going to trigger a judgement that this is ‘dangerous and bad’.

Our snap judgement could be wrong, of course, and there’s a chance (albeit very slim) they might have a handful of silver they want to give us. We’ll quite rightly respond to our immediate analysis by taking action – running away and shouting loudly would probably be a sensible thing to do.

At a basic level we think something or someone is ‘good’ or bad’ and at more advanced levels we have a rich vocabulary of adjectives to name our judgements.

Whatever level we operate at, those judgements are our thoughts. No more, no less.

Those thoughts often interfere with our capacity to fully experience life, and especially the people we share it with.

Many of us can recognise judgements as they pass our minds and see through them to reality, but it takes practice to consistently transform them from static statements of perception to more flowing and deeper explorations of our experience.

I believe this is true whether our judgements are ‘negative’ or ‘positive’.

The Mona Lisa Is Very Small

I remember my only visit to the Louvre in Paris when I was about 22 years old. It’s packed with some of the greatest works of art we’ve ever produced.

I walked from one painting or sculpture paying cursory attention to each with an internal running commentary going something like this:

That one’s nice. This is ugly. This one is beautiful.’

5 seconds at the Mona Lisa was enough to conclude ‘It’s small’ before passing on. The most famous painting in the world – and all I took away from it was its size!

With each piece I was more focussed on judging and categorising than I was on experiencing it. What a missed opportunity!

Now I realise that I used to do the same with people – still do sometimes, but I’m learning to change.

Transformation in 3 Steps

I’d like to share a simple 3 step practice that I’ve been using for a few years that has helped me immensely. It works equally well with things I don’t enjoy – but I’ll stay with the positive things to illustrate the practice.

  1. Observation
  2. Feelings
  3. Life enrichment

Step 1 Observation

I experience the world, then I filter it through my memories and belief systems, analyse and interpret it. Presto! Out pops a judgement. Instead, I try to imagine a full sensory video camera recording and I’m watching / hearing / touching /smelling / tasting the replay.

By bringing myself back, as far as I can, to what I actually see, hear, touch, smell or taste – without my ‘black box’ processing – I can find greater freedom in relation to it.

As an example I’ll use a true event, with the name changed (but you know who you are!).

Judgement Katarzyna is a thoughtful, sensitive person with impeccably good taste in what she reads.

Transforms toKatarzyna said to me last week that she reads my blog every few days, has printed out several articles and one article in particular touched her so much she cried.

The judgement stops me exploring further and takes my attention away from, in this case, the words I heard. Transforming my judgement allows me to savour the sensory experience.

Step 2 Feelings

Feelings are an important part of my humanity and I want to experience them as fully as possible. They are mine and do not belong to anyone else – in fact, people can’t make me feel anything. They’re involved but are the trigger and not the cause – more like catalysts.

When I believe they cause my feelings then I risk setting up an emotional dependency that reduces freedom and autonomy for both of us.

Judgement Katarzyna makes me feel moved, grateful, proud and inspired.

Transforms toI feel moved, grateful, proud and inspired.

The difference is subtle yet important.

The transformation helps me enjoy my feelings as coming from within and from my experience of life rather than received from the outside world.

Step 3 Life Enrichment

My life is continuously enriched in so many ways. It can be hard to define exactly which aspect of me is being enriched and words are often poor guides to describe this. Yet finding words is often the only way I have for connecting with that life energy deep within.

JudgementKatarzyna cares and respects me and finds my writing meaningful and helpful.

Transforms toMy life is enriched through my needs of respect, meaning and making a difference to other people.

By finding the elements of my life energy (I call them ‘needs‘) that have been enriched I can connect more deeply to myself – and to Katarzyna. In this place I feel gratitude to Katarzyna for telling me this, and to myself for my role in the creation.

In this place I’m not focused on who is giving and who receiving – we are both givers and receivers. The transformation breaks down the boundaries between us and helps me connect to the universal life force that binds us all together.

Tips On Using The Practice

At first it may feel a little artificial and take time to transform judgements, but after a while of regular practice it becomes natural and automatic.

  • Gratitude journal – Keep a daily journal to use the 3 steps to record a few things that happened during the day that enriched your life. 5 – 10 minutes a day is a small investment in gratitude to others and to yourself.
  • Expressing gratitude – Practice using the 3 steps to express gratitude when someone does something that you enjoy. Tell them what they did, how you feel about it and how it enriched you.
  • Transforming criticism – Use the 3 steps to transform negative judgements. The process works equally well with things we don’t enjoy and the ways our lives were not enriched.
  • Share your experiences – If you use the process and find it helpful, bookmark this page and come back and leave a comment. That way you’ll enrich my life and maybe inspire others.


  • Ella said:

    Hot damn, lokoing pretty useful buddy.

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  • http://webinfomedia.info/awardspace.com said:

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