I’ve been meditating for a couple of years now, and it wasn’t until recently that I realized why mindfulness requires non-judgmental awareness.

It simply didn’t make sense to me. I have my own values and morals. Why would I have to give up my own notions of what’s good and bad, and replace them with neutral views?

While I do believe that the degree to which an event will be perceived as good or bad is somewhat relative, I don’t think it’s absolutely neutral. For example, if a family member or a close friend were to die, I’d be devastated. Even though the pain would be generated by my own brain (the realization that I will never be able to talk to and spend time with that person again, among other things), the event itself is undeniably an objective and permanent loss.

Or perhaps, to give a more positive example, what if that person didn’t die, because someone saved his/her life? I know I couldn’t be indifferent about that!

When it comes to mindfulness and the non-judgmental attitude, I recently realized that I was completely missing the point.

It’s not that the mindfulness insists that judgment is bad (which would be a contradiction anyway). Instead, what it teaches is this: The observation of our thoughts and emotions should happen independently of judgment. Why? Because judgment itself consists of thoughts and emotions.

If my goal is to observe all thoughts and emotions that arise in my consciousness, I will need to observe judgment as well. Judgment should not affect the observation itself. Much like a good scientist conducts an experiment without a bias, the observation of thoughts and feelings should be neutral - if our goal is to see things clearly.