Hell Is Other People?

I was once the quintessential “angry young man.” Alost everyone pissed me off. I wasn’t the type who screamed and yelled or became violent but when I got angry I would internalize it. I shut down and would stonewall the person I was angry at for days or weeks! Or I would withdrawal into myself and not talk with anyone. A few times a year the pressure would get released when someone did something that really upset me. Then my temper would just let lose. I never hurt another person physically, but anger in all its manifestations can be very damaging to oneself and others emotionally. For various reasons, other people created a kind of hell inside me.

The French existentialist philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote, “Hell is other people.” For a long time I believed this was true. But is this really? Yes, other people can be disappointing and difficult but do other people really have the power to create our inner hell? Or are we the ones who we let other people do this to us?

I am sure most people have said things like, “You are really stressing me out,” or “You make me so angry.” I know I have. But is this really true? Is it other people who are stressing us out or are we giving away all of our inner power to other people thus letting them stress us out?

Well, I think the answer is yes and no. It can be very challenging to be the kind of person who just remains unaffected by other people. To be that person who just doesn’t care and is able to remain completely relaxed and grounded in the face of adversity. It is possible to be this way (I thought Barack Obama was a great example of this when he was President) but it often requires a great mastery of the skill known as self-control.

 

The cool thing about mindfulness is that the more we practice, the more self-control we get. It is like an innate, positive side-effect of practicing mindfulness. What this means is that the more we practice mindfulness the better we get at responding to stressors rather than reacting to them. Make no mistake about it, there is a gigantic difference between reacting and responding. Reacting causes stress whereas responding cuts it in half. Reacting is habitual and automatic, responding requires awareness and conscious choice. The mind makes a great servant, but a terrible master, so the saying goes.

When we let other people stress us out or make us angry it is usually because we are reacting to that other person. They do something we don’t like, we get triggered and then instantly go into fight or flight mode. We fire right back or pull away. It is usually all downhill from here. In this situation, it is true that hell can be caused by other people. We tend to live in a culture that supports, reinforces and teaches this way of reactive behavior towards adversity.

But when we are able to be mindful, we gain the ability (or skill) to become more self-aware, to not react to every single trigger that goes off in us. When we are more self-aware we can notice that we have been triggered and then respond to the trigger, rather automatically reacting to it. We can notice that our bodies have become tense, that our mind is creating all kinds of negative thoughts, that our heart rate has gone up and we can also be aware of our impulse to react. But we don’t have to give in to this. We can just smile at it in the same way that we would smile at an old person walking slowly across the street. “I see you, but I am going to exercise compassion and not get all stressed out.”

Instead of reacting, we can focus on our breathing, feel our feet on the ground, notice the wave of heated emotions invading our chest and just let it go in the same way that we would watch a bird fly across the sky. We don’t have to give in to the negative thoughts and heated emotions. When we are able to act from a more grounded, self-aware, less automatic place- hell is no longer other people. We no longer let other people have this kind of control and power over us.

Ultimately we are the ones who determine whether we want hell to be other people or not. We are the ones who let other people get to us. We let other people stress us out more than we need to. Human beings are very resilient creatures. We can get bent out of shape, but we always have the ability to come back into shape quickly. The more we practice mindfulness, the more we gain the ability to come back into shape quickly after being bent out of shape. Gone are the days of hanging onto stress or anger for an entire day or days! Yeah we will get upset or stressed out because of other people. It is only natural for most of us. But we can be aware that this has happened and then let it go as quickly as possible. Return to the present moment and move on with our lives without carrying that heavy, stressful, emotionally damaging load.

There is great freedom (and health) in being able to respond to other people in this way.

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How To Save Your Life Right Now

 

“Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.” –John Lennon.

There is a sentence in the novel The Bathroom by Jean-Philippe Tousaint where his protagonist says, “I am compromising the quietude of my abstract life for what?” This sentence resonated with me so deeply that I have had it posted above my desk for many years. All of us are continually compromising the quietude or calm of our lives for so many things. Many are probably doing it right now! Things such as relationships, money, jobs, status, things that other people do that we don’t like, things that we have to do but do not want to do, the state of the world, the state of our situation in the world and on and on. One word that is often used to describe what happens when we compromise our quietude is stress.

Chronic stress is mainly caused by a mind that wanders. Our brains are not well-tuned mental machinery as much as we might wrongly believe they are. Instead, they wander off into reactive territory at the slightest trigger. Most of us tend to be lost in random thoughts all day long, unfocused on whatever it is that we are doing as we are doing it. Some of you may have heard about the psychologists at Harvard who started the Track Your Happiness app. What they found was that a wandering (unfocused) brain was the cause of unhappiness. What people were thinking was the cause of their stress/unhappiness not what they were doing (even if what they were the most unpleasant situations or performing boring chores).

Make no mistake about it, chronic stress is the cause of more illnesses (mental and physical) and early deaths than anything else on planet earth. As science becomes more and more conclusive with regards to the serious effects of chronic stress on the human body and brain, we will have doctors prescribing meditation (relaxation-responses) in the same way that they currently prescribe medication. Chronic stress is no joke. It is not to be taken lightly and it is important to realize that it is almost always the result of a wandering brain that is not focused in the present moment. Chronic stress literally turns off the switch that illuminates our lives.

In scientific terms that switch that illuminates our lives is referred to as telomeres. Telomeres are the stretches of expendable DNA at the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres act like the stiff plastic sheaths that prevent the ends of shoelaces from fraying. Over the course of a lifetime, cells divide so many times that telomeres wear down to such an extent that the integrity of the genes carried by the chromosomes is threatened. To protect our bodies when undergoing various stresses, the cells stop dividing and gradually undergo apoptosis, otherwise known as cell suicide. Telomere length is thus an effective measure of a cell’s biological age, and people with shorter telomeres seem to have a lower life expectancy.

There is currently solid evidence that chronic stress shortens telomere length and accelerates everything that comes along with the aging process. Conversely, there is also solid evidence which shows that mindfulness meditation (or any kind of daily relaxation response) rebuilds telomeres and combats the effects of aging at the cellular level by promoting the activity of a gene that makes an enzyme called telomerase. By ramping up the activity of telomerase, evidence suggests that we can slow down cellular aging. Still more research and evidence is needed, but once this happens (which, I think it certainly will within the next decade) doctors will be recommending meditation as a way to keep the Grim Reaper at bay.

The single reason why mindfulness techniques (or anything that promotes a relaxation response) are so effective at combating the negative physiological and psychological effects of stress is because it interrupts the train of our regular thoughts. Mindfulness tempers the stress response in our bodies by breaking the chain of everyday thinking (the wandering mind) and aligning the mind with what is happening in the present moment. As a result of being able to remain more present and focused with whatever we are doing as we do it, the adverse clinical effects of stress are counteracted and possibly we can end up saving our own lives.

 

My Anxiety Attack

We all have certain emotions and thoughts that we would be happy to never see again. Judgmental thoughts, worried thoughts, self-doubting thoughts, bitter thoughts, fear-filled thoughts and dissatisfied thoughts are probably thoughts that we would all rather never have. Emotional states like terror, boredom, depression, despair, panic, general unhappiness/stress and anxiety are also probably emotional states that we would give away for free at the first opportunity to do so. For me the one that I would like to just leave on the curb for someone else to come pick up and take away, is anxiety.

I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I remember continually freaking out in my father’s single engine airplane as we went on our Sunday “trips.” When I was in my mid-twenties my anxiety evolved into episodes of full-blown panic attacks that caused me to rush to the emergency room way too many times. For a period of time, people who worked in the Emergency Room knew me as the guy who would stand outside the Emergency Room, “just in case.” Sometimes a nurse would even come outside with a cup of herbal tea or water for me to drink. A certain ambulance driver would often given me glucose tablets that were given to people having diabetic or hypoglycemic attacks (they helped!). It was a dark period in my life, the effects of which have yet to completely go away. I think once a person is afflicted with severe panic attacks, no matter how many years go by, any hint of a potential recurrence will trigger an anxiety response in the body and brain.

Anxiety is an emotional state that I have completely accepted as a continual presence in my life. I have had to make friends with anxiety over the years. I did not get it at the time, but in my late twenties, after running out of a small mindfulness meditation class while in mid-meditation, the instructor told me that anxiety was something I would have to befriend and panic was what happened when I could not be friendly with my anxiety. I thought that sounded ridiculous at the time, but I kept coming back to my mindfulness meditation practice so that each time I could learn to sit with the anxiety for a little bit longer. Gradually I was able to make friends with it (meaning not trying to push it away or reacting to it).

Fast forward fifteen plus years and many hours spent learning how to be present with and non-reactive to negative emotional and psychological states. It was Sunday afternoon (a few weeks ago) and I felt like something was very off in my body. I became nervous that something was wrong and my apprehension grew into a state of uncomfortable anxiety when the physical symptoms did not subside. A similar trigger response happened, just like what would happen when I would have panic attacks in my twenties. Now the difference is that I do not go into a state of panic. All the same fight/flight reactions are going on in my body. The same terrifying thoughts are filling my mind but I am able to keep myself from taking off into panic land. I was able to keep bringing myself back to the present moment. Keep following my breathing and remain aware of sounds and my feet touching the ground. This kept my body from going into a complete freak out. It kept my nervous system from spiking too high and gradually, very gradually the anxiety passed and I was fine.

A central premise of mindfulness practice is that all emotional states are impermanent. They will pass if we can remain aware, present and non-reactive. Some anxiety, anger or depression states may last a lot longer than we would like, but just knowing that it will eventually pass and that I will be ok, is what helps me to not go into a reactive state. Phew.

Fortunately, I am not visited by intense anxiety much these days but it is there at a lower level pretty much all the time. Anxiety is a presence that I have accepted in my life and this acceptance has made all the difference. It is just the way it is. I am aware of it, non-reactive to it and no longer trying to “make it go away.”

I feel that a lot of people have been suckered into believing that mindfulness practice (or any kind of self-help or psychological process) will eradicate or take away all of the negative, emotional and psychological states that they struggle with. Good luck. I just don’t believe that is possible. Every single mindfulness teacher I have studied with and read has always talked about how healing or freedom from suffering is about acceptance not fixing or getting rid of.

After decades spent trying to get rid of anxiety I believe that what they talk and write about is true. The closest we have come to being able to “eradicate” negative emotional and psychological states is psychiatric medications, but this still just represses and sedates. It can be very, very helpful for short-term relief but these medications keep whatever negative emotional and psychological states we struggle with hiding out in the corner, just waiting for the medication to wear off so they can come back out. A lot of contemporary research says that psychiatric medications seem to exacerbate or enhance our negative emotional and psychological states once we go off the medications.

I have concluded that the anxiety, depression, existential despair, anger, chronic worry, judgementalness, self-doubt and all the other fun parts of being a human being in the chaotic and stress-filled modern world, do not go away not matter how much we over-work or practice yoga, mindfulness or any self help modality. The way that I teach and practice mindfulness is more based in the practice of accepting what is. When we cultivate the capacity to be present with and non-reactive to whatever negative emotional and psychological states we are experiencing in the moment, they have a less destructive and disturbing presence in our lives. These states become much more manageable.

Yeah, every once in awhile I will get an anxiety attack. Such is the deck of cards I was dealt. We were all dealt a particular deck of cards. The essence of mindfulness is to learn how to become aware of the presence of these undesirable states when they arise and then quickly accept them by remaining as present, aware and as non-reactive as possible. This is why I practice mindfulness meditation even when everything is going good in my life. I know there will come a time when anxiety and other difficulties will show up and I practice for these inevitable times (I also practice so I can be more present and less conflicted in my life when times are good). Like Jon Kabat-Zinn often said during the mindfulness training I took with him: “The more you work on sowing your parachute, the more it will be there for you right when you need it.” This is why I continue to practice mindfulness everyday. Just in case.

Mindfulness: Managing Negative Emotional And Psychological States.

I just wanted to clarify something that we spoke about at last night’s mindfulness group. Of course I can only speak about what I have experienced personally and what I have witnessed in others who have been practicing mindfulness for quite some time. Also during my psychology training this issue was spoken about a good amount.

Like we discussed last night, the negative (difficult) emotional/psychological states that we struggles with (anger, anxiety, depression to name a few) are often apart of the fabric of who we are- like our blood type, height, hair color, sound of our voice, etc. These negative emotional and psychological states are not only multi-generational (passed down from generation to generation) but they are also a part of our initial conditioning. So often the anxiety, worry, restlessness, depression, unhappiness, etc, that you deal with today has been there for a very long time and will most likely be there for the rest of your life because these personality traits are a part of who you are. They never entirely go away.

The desire to make these personality traits (emotions/psychological states) go away often creates a great deal of struggle, frustration and difficulty for people. With mindfulness practice the idea is that we learn how to become aware of our anxiety, our anger, our depression, our boredom, our loneliness the moment it arises and then fully accept it by not-identifying with it as strongly as we tend to do when we are unaware of it. By just being aware of our anxiety or depression and accepting it fully (I know I am depressed now but I know this too will pass. I am aware of my breathing, feet on the ground and sounds that I am hearing. I continue to bring myself back to the present moment where everything is ok) we can begin to step back from it and it will no longer last as long. Through mindfulness practice we learn how to accept and manage these difficult emotions and psychological states rather than trying to fix or annihilate them.

But here is the catch. Mindfulness is the integration of a new personality trait. The result of adding this more mindful (self-aware) aspect to your personality, greatly reduces the intensity and duration of negative emotional and psychological states that may have once dominated your entire life. (You can “snap out of” these habitual negative emotional and psychological states much quicker.) Through being able to be aware of your depression and then step back from it (accept it as it is) and allow it to run its course, your depression or anxiety or anger no longer lasts as long and it no longer takes you into the depths of despair, self-judgement and/or panic as it once may have.

So by becoming aware, accepting and dis-identifying from these negative emotional/psychological states you no longer suffer from them as much. They take up a much smaller part of your personality. So in this sense the intense and all consuming way that you once experienced anxiety, panic, anger, depression does gradually go away through the integration of mindfulness into your moment to moment life and what you are left with is a more mild, watered down and manageable form of these negative emotional/psychological states. The kind of depression, anger or anxiety that you lived with before mindfulness does go away but you will most likely always live with some degree of depression, anger and/or anxiety. Mindfulness (self-awareness) just gives us the ability to manage these more difficult emotional/psychological states (rather than the difficult states controlling us) that are often a part of who we are.

How Mindfulness Changes A Life (For Good)

I was interviewed by a Los Angeles news channel. I never thought I would say that. I am not big on media. Have had no desire to be on the news. Don’t watch television. Try and ignore current events the best that I can. But when asked to come on the channel and be interviewed about what mindfulness is and how it can help with anxiety, I thought, Why not? Why not try and pass the information along to others who could possibly benefit from it?

It was ironic that I was there to talk about how mindfulness can help with anxiety since in that moment, I was applying the technique I was there to talk about. I was feeling anxious the moment I walked into the news studio. All the cameras and bright lights made me very aware that all eyes would be on me. Yikes! I was kindly greeted by a young lady and asked to sit in a chair while waiting my turn. She pointed out where I could get some complimentary coffee and donuts if I liked. I thanked her but decided to decline the potential panic attack that more coffee and a sugar-filled donut could generate in me.

As I sat in the chair, I noticed I was still feeling very anxious. Interesting, I thought. What was I anxious about? I realized I was worried that I would make a fool of myself. That I would say something wrong. Public humiliation. That I would mess up and be negatively judged by others. All kinds of negative thoughts were flooding my brain. Fortunately, I knew the difference between anxiety and fear. Fear is a perfectly natural human emotion that is the result of an immediate threat. Anxiety is the expectation of a future threat. It is normal and even beneficial for a person’s survival to feel fear but the emotion of fear does not need to turn into anxiety. Anxiety just makes us unwell.

I reminded myself that, “Right now, I am fine. None of the potential threats I am imagining in my head are happening. In this moment everything is ok.” This helped me to pull back from my thoughts, become aware of reality (where I was in the present moment instead of being caught up in the imagined future inside my head) and ground myself in the right here, right now. My nervousness dissipated. My blood pressure and heart rate went down. I felt much better. I then felt like I could cope with whatever challenges lay ahead.

Before I went on, there was an entomologist being interviewed about bugs and the outbreak of a certain kind of insect that may destroy all the palm trees in Los Angeles. Then there was the head of LATrump.com who was talking about how wonderful Donald Trump is and how sketchy Hillary is. Since I am not a supporter of Donald Trump but respect everyone’s right to their own opinion and position, I had to use all of my mindfulness muscles to feel my feet on the ground, follow my breathing and not say, “You really believe this?” Once the Trump supporter (who seemed like a very nice lady) was done being interviewed, the newscaster said something like, “Well ok. That’s a lot! Very intense. Thank goodness up next we have Randall Sokoloff, a mindfulness teacher, who can help teach us all about how to calm down.” I laughed under my breath at how ridiculous this sounded.

Once it was my turn, I sat in the chair behind the news desk. The newscasters said hello to me and one asked how to pronounce my last name. The lady who was putting the microphone on me said, “So what is this mindfulness thing? Is it some sort of religious or spiritual thing?” I said, “No.” “Is it a metaphysical thing like being hypnotized?” “Hypnotized, are you kidding me?” I said. I couldn’t help myself. “It is the opposite of being hypnotized. It is about being right here, right now.” She looked at me like I was nuts, so I took the opportunity to elaborate. “Just become aware of your feet on the ground. Just come out of being so caught up in your thoughts right now and notice your feet on the ground. That’s mindfulness” She looked confused. She looked down at her feet. I don’t think she got it. I let it go.

The newscasters talked to me a little bit about what I did and seemed very interested. I asked one of the newscasters, “If I mess up could we do a retake?” She gave me a look and told me that everything would be fine, to just go ahead and use my mindfulness. I thought this was funny. As a mindfulness teacher, I appreciate how sometimes this mindfulness stuff gets thrown back at me in comical ways.

Suddenly, I was on tv. The newscasters came alive, like switching on a light bulb in a dark bathroom. “Today we have with us Randall Sokoloff, a psychotherapist who uses mindfulness techniques with his clients and has a mindfulness group in Claremont, California. Since I think we could all use some anxiety relief just about now I am interested in hearing what Mr. Sokoloff has to tell us about finding some relief in these anxious times. Hello Randall! Thanks for being with us.” I was on. As I talked, I noticed my voice sounding a bit shaky because of whatever residual nervousness I was still feeling. I was thankful to the newscaster who helped me out by saying, “I tell you, just from the sound of your voice alone, I am already feeling more relaxed and calm.”

Everything flowed from there. I guess you could say I was in the zone even though my anxiety was never all gone. I went on to talk about what anxiety is (the expectation of a future threat) and how a person could use mindfulness to effectively manage it. I wonder if they knew that I was practicing what I was talking about on the spot? Suddenly I shifted the focus off of me by asking the newscasters to bring their attention to following their breathing and become aware of their hands touching their desk. One of them was so impressed by how much more grounded he immediately felt. It was as if I just showed him an alternative life option he never knew existed before.

Six minutes were up before I knew it. One of the newscasters thanked me and was asking how people can get in touch with me if they wanted to come to one of my workshops and I was thinking, Done already? I was just getting started. I need warm up time! There was still so much more I wanted to say and I wondered if what I had just said made any sense. I was nervous! I wanted a retake. Suddenly I was feeling regret and worry about not being as a good as I wanted to be. Ten minutes ago I was feeling anxious because I was focused on the future. Now I was worrying about the past. My crazy mind.

I shook a few people’s hands and like often happens when people find out that you work as a psychotherapist, I listened as several people told me about various challenges in their lives. As I always do in this situation, I told myself to just stay present, follow your breathing and let the person finish talking while doing the best you can to listen and empathize. On my way out of the news studio I was happy to be done. As is almost always the case with this tempestuous anxiety that I have had for most of my life, nothing that I was worried about had actually happened. It was all just in my head.

Walking to my car, I was aware of my feet on the ground, sounds that I was hearing and my breathing. I was also aware that I was still concerned I had somehow messed up. Maybe I didn’t say the right things? Maybe I didn’t make any sense? I was in the past. “What is done is done,” I told myself and then let those thoughts go to wherever thoughts go when they disappear.

As I drove home, I realized that there was no way that me ten years ago could of done something like this. No way. My anxiety would have kept me far, far away. Even though being on the news is such a small and fleeting thing, in many ways it is these kinds of small accomplishments that are a larger testament to how the practice of mindfulness can really change a person’s life for good.

Unhappy With Yourself?

Every person’s experience of unhappiness is different and unique but research shows that there are certain developmental blocks that cause unhappiness in all people. The origin (or cause) of unhappiness is almost always unhappiness with yourself. No matter how good external circumstances are in your life, if you are unhappy with yourself, nothing else will feel like it is working right.

Unhappiness with yourself looks like this:

*Feel like you are often making poor choices for your health and well-being. Feel trapped in a cycle of continually being unable to make better choices for yourself.

*Unable to carry out better decision making for yourself.

*Can’t seem to do what you feel like you should be doing in order to be a happier and healthier human being.

*You continually are taking what life gives you rather than actively creating the life that you want.

*Have a low drive to really do what you feel would be much better for yourself.

*Are unhappy with how you behave in your relationships.

*Feel uncomfortable with who you are and how you behave when around other people.

*Feel like you are continually throwing yourself under the bus.

If you experience any of the above, you will feel continually unhappy with yourself.

Mindfulness seeks to undue all of these undesirable ways of being. These negative behaviors are habits that are almost always the result of years and years of negative conditioning. These ways of thinking, feeling and behaving almost always lead a person towards self-destructive behaviors, chronic depression and anxiety. Because these ways of being have become so deeply entrenched within a person’s identity, it can feel almost impossible to change.

Mindfulness is like installing a new operating system into a computer that is no longer working right. From a mindfulness perspective, the above negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors are the result of ego defense mechanisms that keep pulling us back into ego-identification. It is the identification with our ego defense mechanisms (the old operating system) that keeps us perpetuating cycles of unhappiness.

Through mindfulness practice we cultivate a new identity that is more aware, grounded in the present moment (being rather than doing), effortless, accepting and compassionate. Some refer to this process as growing up. As a result, the unhappiness with yourself (ego-identification) tends to dissolve away and you can move into the next stage of your development as a happier, kinder, calmer and more aware human being.

Mindfulness: Breaking The Habit By CHOOSING To Shift Your Perspective.

I was waiting to turn at a corner when car after car kept coming by. A minute passed and then five minutes passed. “What the hell?” I thought. I couldn’t back up since there were cars behind me. It was a long funeral procession driving very slowly down the long street. I had somewhere I need to be! This was ridiculous! I noticed my heart rate go up and my chest constrict. I became restless and felt stuck. I did not want to be in this situation and noticed that I was pissed off about it. Then I laughed at myself.
I think this is a normal human reaction (minus the laughing at yourself) when stuck in traffic. But in this situation, there is a distinctive difference between someone who practices mindfulness and everyone else. Most people in this situation would become really frustrated. Their thoughts, heart rate, blood pressure would all speed up, they would take the situation VERY seriously and then they would react. They might mumble curse words under their breath. They might feel frantic and anxious. “I have to be somewhere!” they might scream out. They might feel an intense amount of anger and honk their horn at the traffic slowly rolling by. This is the “normal” (which is really abnormal since being stuck in traffic is hardly a threat to someones survival) stress functioning state of our collective world right now. Maybe this is why so many people are on medications and dependent on doctors to help deal with the ravaging effects of chronic stress?
The mindfulness practitioner becomes aware that they are getting pissed off. They notice their raised blood pressure and heart rate. They notice the flood of judgmental thoughts flooding their brain and they say to themselves, “Wow look at all these judgments about the situation that I am. Wow.” Just becoming aware of all the judgmental thoughts (which are really just an unwillingness to accept what is) (“I don’t like this,” “This sucks,” “This is taking way too long,” “I need to be somewhere else,” “This is terrible!”) immediately begins to calm down the nervous system. The mindfulness practitioner then becomes aware of their breathing, notices the sounds that they are hearing, becomes aware of the sensation of their palms on the steering wheel and relaxes into the situation rather than reacting against it. Within a minute or so the stress is gone, they have accepted what is (“So I am stuck in traffic, such is life. I can still be present with what is right now.”) and as a result avoids the detrimental psychological and physical effects of habitual reactivity and chronic stress. All they needed to do was be willing to become aware of all the judgements in their head.
Mindfulness is really just a shift in perspective. When practicing mindfulness we are shifting out of a perspective that is closed, automatic (habitual), judgmental, unaware and as a result reactive into a perspective that is open, curious and accepting of what is. More so than any other creature on the planet, human beings really struggle to accept what is. We continually judge what is, resist it and want things to be different. As a result we suffer the life depleting effects of continual and poorly managed judgments. Our judgmental minds are mostly conditioned. Chances are, from a developmental perspective, if you had a parent or parents who were very judgmental this is why you have a difficult time accepting what is (I have experienced this first hand since my wife has parents who are not judgmental of much and as a result she doesn’t judge nearly as much as I do!).
Next time you find yourself at a corner unable to turn or in any other undesirable situation, see if you can become aware of the flood of judgments rushing through your brain. It is only through becoming aware (waking up!) that you can then CHOOSE to shift your perspective towards a more mindful one. As a result you will begin to break judgmental/reactive habits that may have been undermining your health, well-being, relationships and quality of life all along.