Is critical thinking OK — or am I just being judgmental?

One teacher tells me to stop judging, and to just be in my heart —

And another teacher tells me to cultivate my critical thinking ability, and to stop being so naive …

How do I resolve this contradiction?

Have you ever expressed an opinion, a concern, or a criticism, only to be warned that you were being judgmental? Why is judgement such a feared and avoided thing?

Those who automatically fear judgment assume that any and all questions or comments come from bias, negativity, or hatred. This fear comes from an unfortunate misunderstanding — the idea that the only kind of judgment that exists is unhealthy judgment.

Healthy judgment is when you ask reasonable questions about a situation. Whether your questions are based on your own observations, or based on concerns other people have expressed, asking questions is not judgmental. Questions and expressions of concern are invitations to a conversation in which everyone can become more knowledgeable and aware.

However, when your questions and concerns are denied, because your questions are perceived as judgments, then everyone is denied the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the situation. Fears about judgment create a suppressed atmosphere, where potential truths and discoveries are denied, and ignorance is proudly promoted as non-judgmental.

Yet, at times, there is a justifiable concern about judgment. When is judgment a problem?

Unhealthy judgment is when you make generalizations. An unhealthy judgment makes no real inquiry. It only expresses a preconceived bias. Rather than inviting deeper understanding, the unhealthy judgment only expresses displeasure and narrow preconceptions about a person or situation.

The ego seeks to make quick critical judgments, without inquiring more deeply. This is because the ego is a lower function of the self. It is disconnected from the higher intuitive levels of the divine self, and disconnected from intelligence and common sense. The ego functions with a narrow, reactive response to everything.

This brings us to a curious paradox concerning those who have fears about any and all judgments —

Those who deny your freedom to ask questions and make comments claim that your questioning makes you a judgmental person. However, they themselves are making an unfair judgment about your right to think, and your right to question. When you recognize this, it makes you wonder just who is being judgmental.

What can you say to people who warn you that you are a judgmental person, just because you are asking questions and making comments?

It’s simple. Explain to them that they are being needlessly judgmental about your right to think and ask questions. And then, please step back, before they start throwing spears of judgment at you. The amusing paradox is that the people who criticize judgment and critical thinking tend to believe that they are above reproach. They tend to be intolerant of the idea that they themselves are the judgmental ones.

Awareness techniques that deepen your practice of healthy judgment

Use your imagination, with your focused attention, and let yourself explore these ways of being present in your body, heart, mind, and soul —

Feel your heart space uniting with your brain space — let clear feeling unite with clear thinking.

Center yourself in your body, and gently breathe, so that your higher sensing abilities can ground themselves within the sacred space of your centered body — this cultivates non-reactive common sense.

Imagine that you are sensing the situation from the awareness of your divine, higher self, so that you can quiet the chattering opinions of your ego.

Open to your higher intuition — ground your intuition into the core of your body, so that you are less reactive to opinions and emotionalism.

Allow your body and soul be in harmony with each other. This creates a smooth space where you can open to the deeper understanding that blends logic with intuition.

Think about the various aspects of a situation while being grounded in your body. This lets you examine your own beliefs and other people’s beliefs with clarity, and with a minimal amount of emotionalism.

These holistic ways of being present in your body unite clear critical thinking, heart centered non-judgment, and higher intuitive understanding. This creates the space for healthy judgment. This frees you from the fear of being considered as judgmental. And, it frees you from that child-like, naive state in which all thinking and all opinions are suspect.

It is a relief to realize that there is a balanced state of consciousness in which critical thinking, higher intuition, and heart-centered love can all co-exist in harmony. You are an intelligent, loving, conscious being, and you can create a space for other people to express these qualities as well. This is heaven on earth.

Many Blessings,

Joel Bruce Wallach

Founder, Cosmic Living – spiritual instruction – tele-classes and home-study mp3’s

2 Responses to Is critical thinking OK — or am I just being judgmental?

  1. mahasathi says:

    Nice explanation of a beautiful state of consciousness. I did experience briefly for a week or two that very harmonious state of perception, it happened when I moved from one country to another, I always have interesting experiences in those times when my consciousness is shifting to adapt to the new place .

    I haven’t reached that state in my day to day life, I do have like most the critical thinking part well developed and growing and evolving through life experiences, and the heart-centered love is becoming stronger and easier to invoke, anytime i start seeing someone with negative judgements, I easily replace those wrong feelings with true love and compassion , but the higher intuitive understanding, the thing that makes everything clear, and tells me when to open my mouth and when to keep it shut, seems to be harder to reach.

    • Mahasathi,

      Thank you for writing.

      A subtle aspect of this topic is that our negative assessments of someone’s beliefs are not necessarily judgmental assessments. We are capable of thinking, and it is appropriate to use our mind to reach conclusions; these conclusions will not always be in agreement with everyone else.

      The matter of concern is when we become emotionally judgmental about those people with whom we disagree.

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