One of the hardest things to let go of is judgement. It’s part of our nature in this world to judge everything we observe. It’s an inherent trait within the ego. It’s a survival tool. We have to make judgements in life. But we should attempt to limit judgements to what’s important. When you hold the zen state and happiness as your highest priority, your judgements will become less petty.

You may think it’s harmless when saying that you hate an actress you see on television. But announcing your hatred for people and places and things can accumulate in your unconscious mind. The more you pile them on, the more you have in the world to make you feel hatred. Feeling hatred is of pure ego state. It’s angry judgement. When you make it a priority to feel the exact opposite, you then make it a priority to prevent yourself from condemning these unimportant things to the wrath of your ego.

Until you can fully wrestle control over petty judgements try replacing the word ‘hate’ with ‘forgive.’ And try to truly feel forgiveness when you say it. Eventually you’ll begin to approach matters without condemning at all, and forgiveness will be unnecessary.

Remember that zen state is about letting go. Some judgements can be harmless and fun like deciding which food you enjoy most, or which vacation spot to try. But when judgements are accompanied by anger, it’s important to let go as quickly as possible. You may see that a loved one has forgotten to fulfill a responsibility and you think to yourself that you’d not have been like that and that you must point out this failure to them so as to possibly prevent it from happening again. You can choose in that moment to play the role of judge and jury, or you can choose to let it go. You should try to relate instead of separate. Try to change your thoughts to think about how you’ve been forgetful and irresponsible, and how much you’d love for someone to simply love you in those moments without judgement or scorn.

There’s a great system for raising kids that I often refer to when someone feels the need to berate or punish another for behavior they don’t agree with. The system is called Rules, Praise, Ignore and it’s about ignoring the bad and praising the good. You communicate general boundaries and expectations (Rules) and then ignore behaviors that fail to adhere to those guidelines. You then must remember to recognize and praise often when behaviors are deemed positive. It really can apply to any relationship. And the fact that this system works wonders is validation that practicing the zen state can change not just you and your happiness, but also those you love by proxy.

No one but you lives in your mind. You alone live within the emotional states of your choosing. You sometimes feel like something out there drives you to feel anger or hatred; that you don’t choose to feel the way you feel. But you do have a choice. You can let go of judgement. Your mind is your own. Choose love above all else and the zen state will come with ease.