As an author, Gabby Bernstein has illuminated a path for spiritual seekers since 2010. Each one of her six books offers practical advice and deep insight, all rooted in her own real life struggles and breakthroughs. And her most current book, Judgement Detox, is well timed for a society that seems to be rife with judgement and discord.
Her first book Add More ~ing To Your Life: A Hip Guide To Happiness introduced her readers to the power of tapping into their intuition and activating a state of flow in their life through meditation, the release of negative thought patterns and embracing an invigorating physical practice. And Gabby has notably referenced the principles she’s learned in her study of A Course In Miracles through the insights of author and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson. Sparking her to be described by Oprah and others as “a new thought leader” who has applied these principles in a way that resonates with many people in her ‘millennial’ and ‘gen x’ generations.
Notably, these generations, along with our collective society, are being faced with intense challenges. And at the root of these challenges are fear and judgement. Gabby Bernstein wrote her latest book during the throws of the 2016 presidential election, however the inspiration to write the book arose while writing a chapter on judgement in her book The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.
Gabby describes the moment when she finished the chapter in that she dropped her hands and observed, “This is a whole book.”, and recognized the need to cultivate a system that would support a “judgement detox” not only a cultural level, but on a deep and personal level as well. This epidemic of judgement has found a way into all of our thoughts at one point or another. But Gabby is careful to point out that the real issue, is not that we experience judgemental thoughts, but that we have been misled into believing our judgements are true.
Gabby invites us in Judgement Detox to work our way through 6 stages of deconstructing the false belief in separateness that judgement creates. The first is to “witness your judgement, without judgement”. This is a principle that is familiar to many practitioners of mindfulness, the practice of observing a judgmental thought as it presents itself, and recognizing it with loving kindness as being “unhelpful” , “or not inherently true”. The teacher Jack Kornfeild often uses a variation of this practice known as “naming” , in which you then simply identify, from the place of the observer, the nature of the thought: “Ah, judgement.” Then you thank it and release it. “ Thank you for that. However, I don’t find this judgement useful. I’m going to let it pass now.”
Gabby walks her readers through a series of questions that help them investigate how the pain of past wounds can bleed into judgments that can unjustly color their present. And she invites her readers to honor those wounds, denying them does little to deconstruct the judgements they are subconsciencly creating within us. She also instructs to put love on the altar by surrendering to the here and now. This step draws similarity with the skill of rectifying our impulse to recoil or revert away from our current situation when it’s not preferable. Accepting what is and understanding that each moment is a gift we can grow from, allows us to adjust our impulse to slip out of the moment. When we resist the present moment we become fixated on what “should have happened” instead of skillful ways to respond to what is happening.
Gabby’s book Judgement Detox is certainly a needed spiritual workbook of this moment in time. And she continues to guide her readers through a step by step approach on how to truly look our judgements in the eye and in turn see our reflection more clearly. Her advice on how to “see yourself as you truly are”, “cut the cords that beget revenge”, and “bring your shadows to light through forgiveness of self” remind us that forgiveness of self, and others, is possible but it takes mindful, consistent, and gentle, loving persistence. You will without a doubt be given enumerable opportunities throughout the day to practice the principles she’s providing. And there truly is no better time to take up the pursuit of untangling the web of judgments that cloud our ability to love more freely and embody the positive change we most want to see in the world.