From the BlogMeet Ron


Dear friends,
One of the most frequent misunderstandings I hear about meditation practice is that by continued practice we will turn into “non-judging” zombies. 

It’s easy to see why one would think this, since mindfulness teaches us to pay attention to our direct experience non-judgmentally, well, then it would seem to follow that we will eventually lose the capacity or willingness to judge. 

Mindfulness is actually about slowing down the often rapid-fire judging most of us are doing non-stop – so that we become more familiar with what’s really happening in any moment before we make hasty, often inaccurate decisions.

Mindfulness allows us to suspend judgment long enough until we can see a situation more clearly; it doesn’t somehow erase our mind’s ability to judge and make clear distinctions.

Buddhist teachings make an important distinction between the “judging mind” and the “discerning mind.” The judging mind tends to be a little compulsive whereas the discerning mind is more relaxed and open.

The judging mind is often clogged up with opinions, some unacknowledged, and the inner reactions to these opinions, also sometimes below the surface of conscious awareness. 

This judging mind often operates at a primal level psychologists call “primary process thinking” – what Buddhist meditation allows us to see as “liking and disliking” arising in response to objects of attention. 

In contrast, the discerning mind is an empty mind, which sees what is happening and makes clear choices, such as “let’s not go down this road” in the presence of angry thoughts and the welling up of a revenge fantasy in the mind.

This clear, empty discerning mind is light, yet pulls no punches. 

It doesn’t act like the know-it-all judging mind–this little know-it-all is often is hiding a sense of insecurity.

Mindfulness allows us to have our own unique tastes and preferences, to celebrate them, without one-upping or putting down others who may not feel the same way we do. 

Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness, and as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, has a line I just love:

“Automatized processes suck!” 

And the judging mind is the leader of the pack of “automatized processes.”

Let’s have Dr. Tart elaborate:

“Somebody looks at you funny from across a room, for example, which triggers automatized perceptions and reactions, that “People don’t love me!” In the first second, or fraction of a second, this is a relatively low intensity reaction, but in many cases it kind of sucks up more and more of consciousness, and within two or three seconds you are feeling really bad about nobody loving you, and your perceptions are now further biased so that you’re more likely to notice anybody looking at you with an unpleasant expression on their face, further strengthening the process of feeling rejected. 

A funny look from somebody lasting half a second might make you feel miserable the rest of the day.”

Mindfulness allows us to see these “automatized perceptions and reactions” and slowly, with practice, let them dissolve.

I will leave you this week with a line from C. G. Jung:

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Our marvelous mindfulness meditation practice does just this – and so much more.


Tom, Katina, Kupaianaha … and Uilalani in NYC

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Hope to see tonight 9/22/16 — and bring a friend!

Be safe, be well…


Ron Richey
3656A Claudine St.
Honolulu, Hi 96816

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