How To Be Non-Judgemental With Negative Thoughts?

by Anup Kishore


Hi Adam, 

From all that i have read about spirituality i got to know that non-judgement is one of the best practices for inner peace. I do believe that we are already the peaceful Self but when the same thoughts that really trouble me come, I find myself helpless. I try to not judge and not rid them as you have said but they really take my attention away and make me unable to concentrate on the thing i am doing.

On top of that fighting/resisting happens which makes me fear the future even more. Please tell me how to best deal with that and how to be non-judgemental so that the peace remains intact? 


Hi Anup,

Thanks for your question. Don't do anything. Just don't do anything about what you describe. That's the short answer.

It is just a habit of the mind to resist and judge. It is not as important as it claims to be. Lose your interest in what now seems painful and out of your control. If you become fed up with it, there is no need to fight or accept it - you will just no longer assign it any importance. Don't get caught up with feeling caught up, if that makes sense.

We can spend so much energy trying to make the mind a certain way, or act a certain way to be at peace. Don't bother. Just forget about the mind. The experience is energetic, including the extra resistance and judgement you mentioned. Let the energy flow, even if it seems painful. Just let it all flow.

Non-judgement as a practice can be taken up by the mind as an unnecessary effort. In the moment of any thought/situation arising, it is free from judgement, already. The interpreting mind can then judge after it has been seen. Judgements are always judging the past, what has already arisen. These judgements keep the past alive. To see that all judgements are past judgements can help - that the judgements are always lagging behind. They are always talking about what has already been perceived.

There is nothing wrong with judgements in themselves. Give up judging judgements! 

Let yourself forget every word you have ever read about spirituality, including these ones. Most words can not help but suggest that you are an individual that can do something as an approach to thoughts and feelings. This can be helpful at first, but now no longer assume that you are an object that must do something for peace.

You mention you already know we are the peaceful Self. So who or what is this "me" that is troubled by thought? Is this "me" that becomes troubled the peaceful Self, or is it a thought/appearance that arises within the peace?

You mentioned feeling helpless when certain thoughts come. Good. So be helpless, completely helpless. Trouble comes when you believe you should be able to help yourself, believing you need to change something to be at peace, or perhaps believing you are "doing something wrong".

Sometimes when the mind seems to be a kind of monster or demon that wreaks havoc inside, we can believe that surrendering to the mind will mean the mind will then completely take over and dominate. But this is not true at all. If you allow it all, including the judgements, including the automatic resistance, including the fear, if you don't decide that any of it is wrong or should not be happening, then a miracle will occur. Allowing the attention to become lost, as if there is no problem, means that there is no longer so much power for the mind to draw on. The mind, despite appearances, has no separate power of its own. All the power comes from you. The more you want the mind to be a certain way, to leave you alone, to be at peace, the more it will rebel. If you no longer place conditions or expectations on the mind then as an unintended by-product, the ego-mind's power naturally dissolves.

To answer your last sentence directly, there is no method to non-judgement. It is a bit like saying "my habit is to always stand up, but how can I just stay sat down?".

(Note added 3rd Dec 2014: It can help to notice that in itself, in its purity, nothing means anything. The meaning of anything that is perceived only comes from the judgements themselves, rather than what is being judged. Noticing this helps to see the "isness" or "suchness" of Life.)

No need to create more conflict. If there is judging, that is part of what is. No need to fight yourself.

It is never you that judges anyway, all judgement is just more mind content, so is nothing to be concerned about. It may continue for a while out of sheer reflex or habit, but it need not be your concern.

Don't make "non-judgement" any kind of goal to achieve, since this is all more judgement, more mind, more effort.

All judgements arise in a space of non-judgement. Feel that for yourself, and that is what non-judgement is. The ever-present space of non-judgement does not have a problem with the judgements within it. It is not trying to be anything, it has no aims to be non-judgemental. Are you actually separate from this space/field of being?

Whether there is judgement or an absence of judgement, both take place in your awareness. A lack of judgement just opens up space inside, gives less solidity to the form the mind assumes. Judgement will drop off the more it is noticed as futile. If you had no judgements of attention being lost and whether this was good or bad, no ideas about whether feeling disturbed was good or bad, no ideas about what you should or should not be experiencing, then is there still a problem?

Have no ideals of the perfect inner state, and don't expect yourself to be perfect or always free from judgement. See how that feels.

Expecting the mind to not judge things is like expecting a dog not to bark. Then every time it barks you become very upset and disturbed. The mind is not so important. You are not what the mind does.

Hope that helps somehow, you can always comment or ask more below if you wish.


Comments for How To Be Non-Judgemental With Negative Thoughts?

(from previous website)

Oct 03, 2014
Following up 
by: Anup

Thank you Adam, the response is exactly the help i wanted. what i now realize is i was trying to solve my problems on the level of what i had read or grasped while learning. i am very satisfied with your answer. i'll try to follow what you have said. you answered most of my questions (some which i didn't even ask). now just a question remains with me which i'd like to ask. so, most of the time we are already happy, good, free from conflicts. there is no problem at all. then all of a sudden a thought comes which has been tormenting and taking my attention for quite a while. i again try to solve. maybe i am repeating the same question but this is the only question i have now. what to do then coz i really feel like getting rid of it so that it never comes back again.

Oct 03, 2014
by: Adam -

Wanting to get rid of it is the trouble. Wanting to be free makes you feel as if you are bound. You dislike it and wish it were gone, so it stays. You have tried to get rid of it and it has not worked. So don't argue with it anymore. Have you ever allowed this? To not try to solve? Just leave it. 

Or go the other way, fully indulge it, let it do its worst, don't try to get out of it. Is it so bad if you let it come and have its way?

Oct 03, 2014
Got it 
by: Anup

i got it and really appreciate your help. thank you very much.

Dec 02, 2014
by: WIN


Dec 02, 2014
by: Adam -

Excellent Win, thanks for your comment, all the best.

Dec 03, 2014
who is the "I"? NEW
by: Agus S. 

Dear Adam, 
I am happy to have read your reply to the question of how to be non-judgemental with negative thoughts. But, I have some questions as follows: 
- who am I when I am curious, satisfied, unhappy, etc? 
- who am I when I give up judging judgements? 
- who am I when I am totally silent, free, or get enlightened (if it happens)? 
- who or what makes all these possible? who is behind all these? 
- if the "I" is absent is there such thing as being happy, being sad, or being judgmental, being non-judgemental, being free? 

Thank you very much for your reply in advance. 

Dec 06, 2014
Agus S NEW
by: Adam -

Hi Agus, 

I can’t tell you who you are without using words or concepts. whatever I say will probably just be kept as an idea. Why not look into it yourself rather than asking somebody else? The sense of existence, the pure impersonal being which manifests itself as the feeling "I AM", becomes identified with its surface expressions, then the belief comes "I am curious, I am satisfied, I am unhappy" etc, rather than just remaining as I AM. 

All of your questions sound like they are waiting to be asked inwardly rather than to someone else who can only ever supply you with a bundle of words. Enquire inwardly, let the being within show what is going on. 

Although, a main pointer could be this: while all states of mind and emotion and experience come and go, you remain here throughout. Surely this would imply then that no thought, emotion or experience are who you are. Is there even a "you" as a separate entity? What is your location? 


Dec 20, 2014
by: Agus Saripudin

Thank you very much, Adam. It's very illuminating. And I feel like I should do more looking into the I, myself