It’s so amazing how you can be at just the right place at the exact right time. I caught a few minutes of the View the other afternoon on a break at work. Paulina Pinsky, daughter of the famous addiction specialist “Dr. Drew” and former figure skater, was on the couch opening up about her 7-year battle with eating disorders. The ladies were asking about her recovery and how she deals with her body image today.
And she said, simply:
I remain neutral.
It could have been a phrase offered to her by specialists in her recovery or perhaps she came up with that articulation on her own. Either way, it was profound and I had never heard it before. Remain neutral. In other words, offer no judgement. I can see how this strategy can be extremely helpful in healing an eating disorder, when the balance of judging body image as “good” or “bad”, “fat” or “skinny” is so delicate with so many consequences.
We can all cultivate more self-love and acceptance by remaining neutral in any temptation to self-judge or criticize.
Yoga practitioners aspire to follow the principle of ahimsa (non-violence, non-harming, non-injury), the first of the yamas (disciplines) which we learn about in the Yoga Sutras (II.35). Non-judgment is an important aspect of ahimsa, as the suffering that judging causes is harmful and painful. To remain neutral gives permission NOT to judge. It means there is no NEED to label. There is no obligation to discern what is good or bad, right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate. Remaining neutral steers us away from suffering. It’s a way to find more freedom in your life, relationships, yoga practice, or work. When judgment turns to criticism, a portion of that negative, critical energy remains with you. It’s exhausting and painful to constantly carry that negative energy around with you.
It is possible to look on reality without judgment and merely know that it is there.
A Course in Miracles
Not to mention that often our judgements are misguided or incorrect. What we think we know to be truth, may actually be far from it. With more information, opinions shift and change.
So I think it’s a far safer and more healthy plan to remain neutral. The next time you’re faced with the desire to cast a judgement, whether it be directed internally or externally, see how it feels to simply remain neutral.