The Hobart

Judgement Day

by Annia Baron
Judgement Day

At a yoga teacher training course in India, we were presented with an image of three yoga practitioners, all sitting cross legged with their eyes closed and hands in prayer position. We were asked to identify the most obviously experienced yogi. The first was a stocky man in his 30s, wearing a designer business suit, looking self-righteous, with money hanging out of his pockets. The second was a fit looking woman in her 40s wearing colourful active wear, hair in a ponytail and a smile on her face. The third was a Hindu man in his late 60s. His body was lean, his head covered in thick, long white hair and there was cloth affixed to his waist with rope. He too was smiling and looked tranquil in the meditative posture. The most experienced yogi? “The Hindu man,” we answered in unison.

“Learn to see beyond what your eyes tell you,” our Swami remarked.

Turns out it was the smug looking Wall Street dude.

We do it all the time. We judge books by their cover and people by their appear­ance. And although there’s good reason our brain creates neural short cuts for efficient information processing, the way we judge others and ourselves could be one of the greatest barriers to living our happiest life.

We’re so used to judging each other (including innocently and without malice) that we don’t even realise it becomes the lens through which we start seeing the world. And because what occurs within is what we reflect out, when we judge others, it makes sense that we too start believing others are always judging us. This creates a warped reality of discon­nection, confining us to limiting beliefs about how others accept or reject who we are, which then impacts how fearfully or freely we pursue our interests.

In the New York Times Best Selling Author’s latest release, The Judgment Detox, Gabrielle Bernstein notes, “Popular culture and media place enormous value on social status, looks, racial and religious separation, and material wealth. We’re made to feel less than, separate and not good enough, so we use judgement to insulate ourselves from the pain of feeling inadequate, insecure, or unworthy.”

But imagine what it would feel like walking around Salamanca knowing that everyone’s first thought of you was, “What a mesmerizing, beautiful soul” or “That person’s aura is truly magnetic.” Imagine knowing people’s first impres­sion of you bypassed what you were wearing, the colour of your hair, or the titles you held. Imagine their first thought of you ignited the same awe and wonder as gazing upon a Mona masterpiece or catching a glimpse of kunanyi at sunset or bathing in the crystal blue waters of Binalong Bay against the lichen-covered rocks. Imagine the freedom of walking through town knowing every single person whose eyes landed on you did so with respect, honour, and an understand­ing of not just how you look but all that you’ve been through to be who you are today.

How safe and connected we would feel. How alive and liberated we would be. Less time would be wasted on com­parison and concerns and more energy directed into meaningful pursuits that elevate ourselves, our community, and our island home.

The treasured thing is, at any point in your life you have the power to literally change your mind. Do within what you wish to reflect out; start looking at others the way you want them to see you. When you notice strong opinions arising, tell yourself, “Thanks brain, but I choose to see beyond that” and adopt a new evaluation. Even before you leave the house, remind yourself by saying, “When I look at others today, the first thing I’ll see is love.” Try this new mindset on. See what it feels like and notice how it changes the way you treat yourself and others.

At the end of our training, to test our learnings, our Swami presented us with a similar image of three people sitting with their legs crossed and asked again, “Who is the most experienced yogi?” This time there was a woman in her 30s wearing provocative clothes, lots of make-up, and her body covered in tattoos while holding a cigarette. Next to her was an athletic looking man in his 40s, and alongside him was an attractive woman in her late 60s with grey, wavy hair, vibrant eyes, glowing skin, and a nimble looking body.

Keen to demonstrate to our yogic guide that we absorbed his wisdom, we answered confidently in chorus, “The tattooed woman with the cigarette!” He looked up and said, “Are you crazy? You can’t do handstand positions smoking dirty cigarettes!” And with his infec­tious giggle, we laughed at our own expense and realised that every day, every moment, is an opportunity for growth.

Annia Baron is a Clinical Psychologist & Mindset Coach. Interested in elevating your mindset to live a life you desire and deserve? Get in touch on 0402 448 278, on Instagram @anniabaron or visit

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May 2024

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