Reflections on Judgment

By George A. Boyd © 2019

Q: The Bible says, “thou shalt not judge.” Can you shed some light on judgment?

A: It is important to understand the levels of judgment and when each is appropriate. There are seven major types of judgment:

  1. Critical judgment – This finds fault with others based on your internal standards of conscience. When your conscience is vitiated, this type of judgment may give rise to egotism, prejudice, jealousy, envy, arrogance, pathological narcissism, and fanaticism.
  2. Decision-making judgment – This looks at the pros and cons of different options and decides which one is best. This type of judgment attempts to guide you to make the optimal decision that will bring you the best results. Professional counselors facilitate you to use this type of judgment.
  3. Juridical judgment – This makes decisions about guilt or innocence and sentencing based on a review of prior case law, the evidence in the case, the accused person’s prior criminal history, and the assessment of his or her probability of committing additional offenses or fleeing if released to the community. This type of judgment establishes the rule of law. Judges make these types of decisions. Attorneys argue for the conviction or defense of the accused. Legislators at the state and national level generate new laws. Law enforcement places those who violate the law and are apprehended into custody.
  4. Righteous judgment – This examines the consequences of action—how your actions and speech will impact others and your self. When you use this type of judgment, you attempt to choose actions that are appropriate, prudent, circumspect, efficient, causing the least amount of harm—and ideally, actions that are kind, compassionate, and wise. This type of judgment dawns in those who practice the precepts of religion. If this type of judgment is applied for long periods of time, it develops good character and saintly virtues.
  5. Spiritual discernment – This enables you to intuit the different layers of your Superconscious mind through the brain center of your Soul’s essential vehicle, and to realize your Soul’s true nature. Employing this type of judgment ultimately leads to enlightenment. This type of judgment blossoms in advanced aspirants and disciples.
  6. Higher order spiritual discernment – This enables you to discern a nucleus of identity, ensouling entity, or spirit of the Transplanetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental bands of the Continuum, and to identify with it. Those that reach the Mahatma stage on the Bridge Path gain access to the interpenetrating awareness, which enables them to discern the spiritual development of others at every level of the Continuum. This type of judgment awakens in advanced disciples.
  7. Ministerial judgment – This type of judgment reveals the essential nature of each individual, whom the Master selects to receive spiritual ministry. It discerns what types of attunements are appropriate for aspirants and disciples at their current stage of spiritual development. Initiates utilize this form of judgment.

Scripture condemns critical judgment, when it makes comparisons of others to spurious values. These comparisons to the inner standards of conscience include:

  1. Your “egoic standing” – These are judgments you make about your status and how well you are doing compared to others. When you are doing well, this type of critical judgment allows you to feel superior to others. You might, for example, consider yourself to be wealthier, more intelligent, more beautiful or handsome, physically stronger, or more sophisticated or cultured than others.
  2. The criteria of prejudice – In this perspective, you compare others to negative stereotypes you learn about them—you presume that each member of this targeted group has these same negative characteristics. This type of critical judgment breeds hatred and intolerance; it breeds acts of discrimination, injustice, and violence.
  3. The criteria of jealousy – Through this filter, you consider that another person is a rival for the affections of someone you desire. It leads you to perceive only the negative characteristics of your rival, and you may attempt to sabotage the other person’s efforts to have a relationship with the one you desire.
  4. The criteria of envy – Through this lens, you feel you are inferior to others because they are wealthier, more beautiful or handsome, have a partner who loves them, are more famous or have greater adulation from others—and you want these things for yourself. Envy drives you to adopt a variety of defense mechanisms, including viewing what others have as flawed or defective (sour grapes); justifying your own station in life as virtuous; adopting passive aggressive stances in your relationships with these people; or finding ways to criticize or “bad mouth” them to others.
  5. The criteria of arrogance – When you regard others from this standpoint, you not only feel you are superior, but you also feel justified to bully, harm, or destroy others’ person, property, or reputation—especially when you believe they are competing with you for something you want. Arrogance may lead you to justify criminal or violent acts against those who you don’t like, or who oppose you.
  6. The criteria of narcissistic entitlement – When you adopt this attitude, anyone who doesn’t love you, obey your every wish, agree with your every decision, or remain perpetually loyal to you—you suspect them of being a traitor, you immediately belittle them, and jettison from the circle of those who currently entertain your favor. Mental health professionals refer to this behavior, when it is pronounced, as pathological narcissism.
  7. The criteria of demonic rage – Those who demonstrate this radical stance so strongly believe in their political or religious ideology that they hold—that if others do not follow their belief system, they are judged to be evil, and can be persecuted, tortured, or killed. This type of critical judgment underlies the mindset of the political or religious fanatic, the hate group follower, or the terrorist.

When you are able to activate your higher wisdom faculty that operates righteous judgment, you will begin to uproot these types of critical judgment. You will replace these negative character traits of critical judgment with:

  • Humility
  • Gratitude
  • Caring for others
  • Considering what is for others’ highest good
  • Kindness and helpfulness
  • Acceptance of others’ diversity and difference
  • Tolerances of differences of belief and opinion
  • Understanding
  • Forgiveness
  • Mercy

When you deconstruct your negative, critical judgment mindsets, you replace it with virtues. You begin to rehabilitate your character and purify your conscience. The scripture you cite admonishes you to work form the platform of righteous judgment, so you can engage in this ongoing project of character transformation, thereby turning your vice into virtue, your ignorance into wisdom.

To facilitate this healing of your conscience and rehabilitation of your character, you may wish to contemplate each of the virtues listed above, and identify how you might express these virtues in your relationships with others. The meditation of the pairs of opposites in our intermediate courses—the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program—will help you develop these virtues.

It is important to understand that this scripture is not asking you to abandon discernment, to not administer the law if you are a judge, or refrain from making optimal personal choices—it is asking you to root out the negative aspects of critical judgment and replace them with wisdom and virtue.

You also need to be clear that not all forms of judgment are negative: it is the negative attitudes of critical judgment that you must remove.

Reflections on Worthiness and Self Image

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: From an early age, I have always felt unworthy. I have always felt inferior when I compared myself to others. Now that I’ve begun to do spiritual work, I believe this is holding me back. Can you shed some light on this issue?

A: Worthiness is a judgment people make when they are going to give a gift to someone, offer someone a job, or allow their son or daughter to marry someone. It carries with it the connotation that whoever is receiving their bestowal of kindness, money, or permission must have the requisite positive qualities, good character, or responsibility, so their gift will not be misused or squandered.

When you internalize the judgments people make about you as to whether or not you are worthy shapes your beliefs about your worthiness. It colors whether you believe you are worthy of receiving what you want in life, or whether you see yourself as qualified enough, experienced enough, or responsible enough to work in a career or to care for a spouse and family.

This internal judgment you internalize shapes your sense of what you can, be, and have. It has been called narcissistic entitlement.

If parents, relatives, friends, and teachers love you unconditionally and reward you for simply being and participating, you might get a sense that you are entitled to whatever you want—because people have continually given you this message.

If on the other hand, your parents, relatives, friends, and teachers made you work hard for their rewards and praise, you may internalize a belief that your worthiness is conferred based on your performance, your attainment of standards of excellence, and demonstrating noble qualities and good character.

Alternately, if parents, relatives, friends, and teachers continually abused you and bullied you—told you that you were worthless, inferior, you didn’t measure up, you were deficient, or you were flawed or unlovable—you might internalize these harsh judgments and conclude you are unworthy of love, money, happiness, and the other good things in life.

These internal judgments about worthiness appear to lie upon a continuum that ranges from antisocial to grandiose.

  1. Sadistic or antisocial people believe they deserve whatever they desire, and they force others to give them what they want. If they don’t get what they want, they may make the other person suffer for not giving them what they want—showing others abuse, cruelty, and even torture.
  2. Depressed people believe they are undeserving and unworthy of receiving anything they want. People who have been abused may feel this way.
  3. Self-reformers believe they might not currently deserve to achieve what they want, but believe they can prepare themselves to receive the good things of this world by changing themselves through education and training, working on their issues, or improving their habits and character.
  4. Passive aggressive people believe that they deserve to get ahead, but the world is unfair. They perceive Fate gives unworthy people the good things in life, while they are denied. These people harbor resentment, anger, and envy towards those who have what they want, but can’t seem to achieve.
  5. Those who perceive they live in a just and moral universe believe that they deserve what they experience in their lives, and they receive what is just and fair. They are grateful for what they receive.
  6. Those perceive they are in touch with their spiritual core believe they have the ability to manifest or create whatever they desire, and they are worthy of anything they desire. If their magical beliefs do not manifest what they desire, they may blame others or continually look for some flaws in themselves that purportedly block their manifestation.
  7. Those who become grandiose and develop pathological narcissism believe they inherently deserve what they want, because they are a superior or god-like being; that others should recognize their greatness, and obey, serve, and worship them.

If you are dealing with issues of feeling unworthy, it may be helpful if you can begin to adopt the mindset of a self-reformer. Instead of believing you are inherently unworthy and undeserving and that there is no way out—a belief that will paralyze your forward movement with depression, apathy, and hopelessness—you can begin to see that if you can improve yourself, you can prepare yourself to have what you want. This will give you motivation to begin to work on yourself and start improving your lot.

I’m reminded of the story of Jack LaLanne, an exercise aficionado, who was shamed as a teenager, because he was a “97 pound weakling.” This spurred him to become a body builder and world-renowned exercise coach. Those that shamed him came around to admire him and emulate him.

Q: I also believe that my self-image is damaged. Can this be rehabilitated?

A: Self-image is the ego’s inner picture of who and what you are. Like worthiness, there is a continuum of self-image states. These can be broken into personal self-image states and transpersonal or archetypal self-image states.

Personal self-image states are based on your identity with the roles you play in the world.

Transpersonal self-image states appear to arise when your Soul migrates through the Psychic Realm, and you are caught up in the cascade of visions and inspirations that flood the Soul.

Examples of personal self-image states include the following:

  1. Psychotic self-image – At this level of self-image, you feel your world has fallen apart and you are subject to gross distortions of perception (hallucinations), belief (delusions), and mood.
  2. Demonic, criminal, or sadistic self-image – if you have this type of self-image, your sense of entitlement makes you rationalize it is all right to harm or abuse others to get what you want.
  3. Neurotic or anxiety-laden self-image – when this self-image state is present, you may act out self-defeating patterns of behavior that sabotage your happiness and success, or your anxiety and self-doubt may hinder you doing what you want to do. You may be conflicted and confused, and it is difficult for you to make decisions.
  4. Normal or realistic self-image – when your self-image enters this zone, you become adjusted to life and you believe that can get what you need. You are able to secure a job and find a life partner, and you plan for your future. You are realistic and hard working.
  5. Successful self-image – when your self-image migrates into this level, you may be able to get extra education or training that qualifies you for a good-paying job. You accrue some wealth and you can begin to enjoy the good things in life.
  6. Highly successful self-image – those who reach this level of self-image typically are millionaires with abundant wealth, and can get whatever they desire in the world.
  7. Celebrity or leader self-image – those who ascend to the summit of the mountain of personal self-image become the role models for others, and typically have the accoutrements of power and wealth to influence the world around them.

Those that embark on the Path of spiritual development may sometimes have an ego-death experience that makes them identify with a spiritualized self-image. They die from their role in the world, and they come to regard themselves as an archetypal self that has non-ordinary powers and enhanced intuitive knowledge. Some examples of these forms of archetypal self-image that appear when the Soul crosses the Psychic Realm include:

  1. Reality creator self-image – those whose self-image has polarized at this level believe they can influence reality through their intention and thought. They may believe in the operation of the Law of Attraction.
  2. Psychic powers self-image – those whose self-image operates at this level may be engaged in developing their psychic powers, and experimenting with using them.
  3. Metaphysical practitioner self-image – after much study of the intuitive sciences or non-empirical healing systems, they may become a metaphysical counselor or alternative healing practitioner. They may function as healers and professional psychics.
  4. Channeler and spiritualist self-image – Those whose self-image reaches this zone may believe they can commune with the dead, with spirits, angels, and Ascended Masters. They behold entities that are not in the room, as a matter of course, and may receive odd information from these sources.
  5. Star being self-image – Those whose self-image becomes established at this level may believe in alien abductions, the presence of aliens among us, and might report that they regularly commune with an extraterrestrial intelligence.
  6. Library of all-knowledge self-image – Those whose self-image migrates into this realm believe that they can access the stored experience of the Akashic Records and commune with any person who has ever lived.
  7. Glorified self-image – those who move their self-image close to the top of the Psychic Realm may come to think of themselves as a Master or Christ-like being.

Those whose Souls evolve beyond the top of the Psychic Realm typically identify with their spiritual essences—their Soul, a nucleus of identity, or their spiritual heart. This spiritualized self-image that emerges in the Psychic Realm disappears; grounding in this higher “essence of being” replaces it.

Most people who are struggling with a “damaged self-image” are working out issues from the neurotic or anxiety-laden zone of the personal self-image. You can find help for these issues from a competent psychotherapist or counselor, who has learned methods to help you uncover and eliminate these issues. Your task is to retire enough of these issues, so that you can function normally in life, and begin to work on actualizing your dreams.