When light comes in touch with darkness, either of three things can happen:
1. Light mingles with the dark and becomes dark. Dark becomes darker.
2. Dark transforms to brightness
3. The two remain as it is without mingling.
When we see somebody lying, cheating, being rude and so on, we see and discern unwholesomeness in others. We see darkness and to see that we are in a place of light. Unfortunately, when we do see that, we react to it habitually with aversion, anger,self-righteousness and disgust. We tend to identify them with their behavior and label them. This is judgmentalism. There is nothing wrong with discerning, but judgmentalism spews its own web of danger to ourselves and others.
When we judge darkness in others, our own vibrations become dark albeit in a different way. Aversion, anger, disgust and hatred towards people we judge, is no more or no less dark than the rudeness, cheating or whatever else we perceive in them. When we shout at them or speak with anger to them, we have mingled into their darkness. This is the sleight of judgement that we need to see through. Our light becomes dark. And when we judge, generally the people we judge, tend to become more aggressive in their judged behavior. Their dark becomes darker.
When we are non-judgemental, however, it does not really mean that we no longer perceive or discern unwholesomeness or darkness in others and chances are, what we discern might be true too. We still discern the same rudeness, same cheating. However, we can respond to it in two ways, when we learn to be non-judgemental.
1. Keep distance from them and avoid them, by discerning the danger of being near to darkness. We dont nurse anger/aversion and knowing the danger of reacting, we just keep quiet or distract ourselves from them without reacting to them or responding to them. Light and dark here do not influence each other.
2. Knowing well of the dangers of intermingling with the dark, we keep distance from their behavior by not reacting to it with anger or aversion or disgust. Knowing well that we all are a similar mix of light and darkness, we refuse to judge or identify or categorize them as low or high for their behavior and generate compassion to our loved ones. We go a step further and understand the suffering behind the ignorance that causes such behavior. We actively generate loving kindness towards them, towards their suffering.From this center of non-anger, understanding, loving kindness and compassion, we respond to them actively.
Chances are that our responses, which could include being quiet but kind to them, while being firm in not approving their behaviour, will influence the people in some way or the other. They would have noticed it, whether they acknowledge it or not..and sometime or the other your behaviour might trigger a change in them, might trigger respect for you. Light transforms the darkness!
With colleagues and distant friends non-judgemental distance works. With loved ones, we inevitably have to learn to bring ourselves into a position of non-judgemental kindness. With more learning, we can learn to be non-judgemental and compassionate to everyone around us. But when we discern something unwholesome in others, the least we can do is to learn not to react with darkness and not to let our own light be darkened through our judgements of their behavior, for our own good.
Check out this story of exercising non-judgement: