It is only natural to make judgments about the world, maybe it helps us to make sense of our experiences. ‘That’s good … that’s bad … here is a friend … a foe”.
But we need to ask ourselves, “Is it really helpful to live a life full of labels?” To label something may help with clarity but really we are placing limitations on our understanding and denying the opportunity of possibility. Maybe our experience is just what it is?
This is a core concept in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy called Acceptance. Not acceptance in that it is okay (which is a judgment) but rather a state of curiously observing our experience in the moment it occurs. Allowing our experience to just ‘be’ without judgment or evaluation. I believe this is the secret to being in the present moment. The true state of mindfulness is being in a state of noticing; using our senses to observe what is real around us. What we can hear, see, smell, taste and touch without evaluation.
Here is an old Zen Tale told in a new way.
A mother was out shopping with her young child. She turned around but he had zoomed off … probably to the toy section she thought. She asked for help and the shop assistant stated, “Oh that’s bad!” The mother replied after taking a deep breath. “Oh we will see, it is what it is”.
The little child was indeed, quickly found amongst the lego holding a Scratchy Ticket. They scratched it together and won $30 000. “Oh wow, that’s good” exclaimed the shop assistant. The mother replied, “Oh we will see, it is what it is”.
With the winnings, the family car was upgraded. The mother not being familiar with the new car size, side swiped a car park pole damaging the whole left side. “Oh that’s too bad” those watching had said to her. The mother replied, “Oh we will see, it is what it is”.
So she went to have the car fixed and the mechanic was her long lost school friend. “Oh that’s awesome” everyone said. The mother thought, “Oh we will see, it is just what it is”.
Life isn’t perfect; there are joys and sorrows. Times of growth can be painful and also thrilling, thriving with achievement. Maybe experiences are, just what they are. Some experiences you would repeat again and some you would learn from. The only place we can truly live, is in the now, this is where our power is, our power of choice. You can’t change the past, the future is yet to be and is actually determined mostly by what you do this moment. The present is truly a gift, so let’s enjoy the unfolding of this moment without judgment.