Gabby Bernstein On How To Detox From Judgment In 6 Steps
By Rachel Nichols
“I’m not always going to be the hero of the stories I tell,” spiritual teacher and author Gabby Bernstein told 1,300 spirit junkies who gathered at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco last week to hear her speak about her latest book, Judgment Detox. “When I became more conscious of my own judgmental nature, I began to feel myself wake up.”
According to Gabby, judgment is a state of separation that weakens our energy as well as our immune system. “With all the separation, trauma and sexism that exists in the world right now, there is no better time for Judgment Detox to be in your hands,” Gabby said to the crowd at Grace Cathedral.
Judgment Detox was actually born while Gabby was writing Chapter 9 (Oneness Sets You Free) of her last book, The Universe Has Your Back. As she began writing the chapter, she thought to herself, “Oh no, this is another book.”
“I knew this was much more than a chapter,” she said, and as she began to write, all the judgment came to the surface. Everything you need to teach smacks you in the face, she said. So Gabby began to write the book, which offers six steps that will help heal our judgments. “I can say that with conviction because these steps healed me,” Gabby said.
The book, released on January 2, offers profound wisdom and practical tools to help us detox from the judgments that can subconsciously drive our lives.
Step 1: Witness Your Judgment Without Judgment
Change always starts with awareness. The first step to detoxing from your judgmental patterns is stepping back and becoming aware that you’re even judging in the first place. “When I started to witness how my judgmental nature made me feel, right away I could see why my life wasn’t flowing. Judgment made me feel weak, sad and disconnected. It even caused me physical pain. Once I was able to step away from the judgment and witness how it made me feel, I could truly understand how much it was blocking my happiness,” Gabby wrote in Judgment Detox.
In this step, you must ask yourself four questions: 1. What or who am I judging? 2. How does it make me feel? 3. Why do I feel justified in my judgment? 4. What experience from my past is triggering this now? Looking at the wounds that may exist behind whatever judgment you notice is arising leads us to Step 2.
Step 2: Honor the Wounds That Live Beneath the Judgment
“Underneath every judgment is a core wound. Even the most minor and seemingly insignificant judgments stem from our own shame and shadows. Remember: If we were happy and complete, we wouldn’t judge. Our feelings of unworthiness lead us to project judgment outward,” Gabby wrote in Judgment Detox.
To illustrate this step at her talk at Grace Cathedral, Gabby told us a story about a time that she was triggered by a woman at a retreat she attended. Although this woman was extremely well-loved by all of the others on the retreat, Gabby felt triggered by her. “You’re such a flirt,” were the words that flew out of Gabby’s mouth toward the woman. The woman’s face immediately changed from its light and happy state to one of discomfort and shame. “It triggered a wound,” Gabby said. “And my wound is her wound. Her shame was my shame.”
Gabby texted the woman and asked to meet for breakfast the next morning in hopes to rectify their interaction that left them both feeling uncomfortable. “I had to honor the shame. When we shine light on our shame we become free,” Gabby said. When Gabby and the woman met they were able to have an open conversation about both of their wounds, which allowed them to see themselves in each other. They cried for each other’s wounds and experiences and were able to move passed those initial judgments.
In this chapter, Gabby introduces the Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as EFT or tapping, for judgment and shame, which heals energetic disturbances. The practice of EFT allows us to honor and heal our wounds. “We have to feel to heal,” Gabby said. “If we weren’t wounded, what would we have to judge?” In this step, we realize that we have chosen wrongly and that we can choose again.
Step 3: Put Love on the Altar (Through Prayer)
Prayer is the medium of miracles; and the moment we say a prayer we shift our energy, Gabby told us. That leads us to her third step: Put love on the altar through prayer. “Prayer allows you to release the story and opens us to compassion,” she said. And compassion is important because judgment wouldn’t be present if in some way you weren't calling out for love.
Step 4: See for the First Time
After we have prayed and cultivated compassion, we will be ready to see the people we have judged through a new lens--we will be seeing them clearly, maybe for the first time ever. According to Gabby, this is one of the most important steps in the book. “Even the people who have harmed us most are the catalyst for our healing,” Gabby said. “The miracle of this experience will change you. It doesn’t feel good to hold grievances.”
Step 5: Cut the Cords
Once we are able to see others clearly, we are ready to “cut the cords,” and Gabby includes six meditations for six days that help with this process. “You may feel hungover after,” Gabby cautioned us. “This is a practice that healed me greatly.”
Cutting the cords is a practice that helps us energetically heal our relationship to judgment. “Our energy is either elevating the world or toxifying the world,” Gabby said. After practicing the six meditations offered in the book, which include a mix of Kundalini meditations, visualizations and mantra-based meditations, Gabby recommends choosing your favorite and making it a daily practice.
Step 6: Bring Your Shadows to the Light (Or, A Willingness to Forgive)
After practicing the first five steps, you’ve sent a massive statement to the universe, Gabby said. You’ve done the work and can now let yourself off the hook for the judgments that you have made. It’s also time to allow forgiveness to come forth.
This step was inspired by a passage in A Course in Miracles, a spiritual text that Gabby has been a student of for a long time. In A Course in Miracles, it says: “Do nothing and forgiveness will show you what to do.” Gabby came across this passage when she felt challenged to commit to her understanding of forgiveness after getting several questions from audience members at previous speaking events who would ask about how to truly forgive, especially traumatic or horrific events.
Forgiveness can be so hard, so I opened up Gabby’s book to get more clarification on this one. When I came across the following excerpt in her chapter outlining Step 6, I felt inspired by the wisdom Gabby so eloquently laid down for us.
“Our unwillingness to forgive (even in the most horrific events) is what keeps us in the judgment cycle,” Gabby wrote in Judgment Detox. “We judge others because we believe that it’s a way to protect ourselves from the events of the past… In the case of deeply traumatic events, we may feel more justified in our judgment of the perpetrator, but that judgment still blocks us from peace… Liberation from judgment requires our willingness to forgive.
“This isn’t to say we need to forgive immediately. We simply need to be willing to forgive. Our willingness is enough to open the door to forgiveness.”
A World Beyond Judgment
The evening ended with a Q&A where spirit junkies could ask Gabby for advice. Using real stories from members of the audience, she showed us how we can begin to apply the steps from her book. Putting these steps into practice was powerful and brought the lessons from the book to life. Gabby also led us through an EFT practice and meditation.
“Sometimes when we get on the spiritual path, we can get high and mighty,” Gabby admitted. “I wrote this book to create spiritual activists” who can work on the judgments that are standing in the way. If we can make it a practice to go through these steps every time we find ourselves triggered and in judgment, the world will be a much brighter and lighter place. When we dwell in our joy we can be of much greater service to the world, Gabby said.
For more from Gabby Bernstein, visit gabbybernstein.com.
For more inspiring events happening at Grace Cathedral, including sound healings, yoga on the labyrinth and more, visit gracecathedral.org.