I suppose we all know that if we wish to become adept at some skill or other, whether it be in some art activity, sport, or an intellectual activity, maybe learning a new language, for example, a great deal of work and commitment is usually required. It is tacitly assumed that the activity we choose has some positive value for us, and maybe our community as well. However, the goal of the aspiring adept may not be worthwhile. Thus the concentrated activity to acquire proficiency in a skill is not of itself laudable. It is the end to which our energies are engaged that may be deemed to be worthy or unworthy, sensible (sensical?) or nonsensical. Also, energy can be expended mistakenly so that bad habits and procedures are generated.
In the early days of my spiritual turnaround, it was made quite clear to me which of my character traits were positive and constructive, and which were negative and destructive. The practising of the positive traits brought about a new and positive way of thinking, whilst the practising of negative traits had had the opposite effect. In a very real sense, negative behaviour has the effect of sending one into spiritual sleep, that condition that Gurdjieff so often warned against.
One negative trait in particular (and not the only one!) that I needed to guard against was judgementalism. Trying to reach some understanding of the nature of this trait has occupied my attention, on and off, for a very long time. Of late, I have been reading excerpts from the New Testament because I wish to get to know (insofar as it is possible) this man Jesus of Nazareth, and what made him tick; what was he really trying to say? One thing that becomes very evident is his frequent verbal attacks on the 'Scribes and Pharisees' whom he labels as hypocrites. Now is that being judgemental or not? Similarly, wasn't St. Paul's calling the Galatians "stupid" also judgemental?
In my book such outbursts are indeed examples of judgementalism. Yet it also displays behaviour that is all too human. Gone forever, in my mind, is the notion of Jesus the Nazarene as the epitome of divine perfection, being replaced by someone I can empathise with, someone who made all the mistakes that I make. Yet for all that, something lived its life through that mortal man, to telling effect; Jesus the Christ, the Jesus Higher Self, the Cosmic Christ.
Of course, that does not mean that I can indulge in judgementalism with impunity. Gradually, I have come to believe that judgementalism is a negative activity directed at a person, not at their behaviour. I must surely become aware when I am engaged in a behaviour that is likely to damage my thinking process, that is going to turn my ways of thinking toward the realm of insanity, as they have done so in the past. Yet to say that I am this or that, rather than saying I am behaving like this or that, is as judgemental as if I am levelling my negative criticisms at others. Finally, after all these years I think I understand. And there is a bonus. If I can cease from being judgemental, I stand a chance of dealing with its accomplices, pride (arrogance) and self-righteousness. Now that can't be bad.