The Practice of No Reviews

Living without the judge in your head

At the Zen monastery where I trained, we had a guideline that specifically helped senior monks who facilitated group discussions. It was called, “No Reviews.”

The way it worked was after every group we facilitated, we were encouraged not to entertain the voices in our heads. Because what those voices did was have us replay how our facilitation went (and such ruminations typically led to “train wrecks”). You see, we’d wish that we had said something more clever. Or the voices would make us feel bad about our performance. Or we’d think that we just ruined someone’s life because of what we said.
Anytime we would catch ourselves engaging in this kind of discursive thought (which was very tempting to do), we would drop it like a sack of hot potatoes and practice presence instead.

The principle maintained that if there was any insight we were to have had about our facilitation, we would have received it IN THE MOMENT. We would KNOW what was skillful and what wasn’t. We would know in a flash how to improve our facilitation.

Plus, all of our group discussions were recorded and we were asked to listen to that recording later on. At a time when we could sit together with our loving, wise, compassionate inner mentor. To listen with full awareness, consciousness, and attention.

As you move throughout your days, I encourage you to embrace the principle of “No Reviews” yourself. No feeling bad or regrets about the past. Nothing to rob you of this glorious present — where all the magic of creation exists. And if you are going to reflect on what happened, be sure to have that wise, unconditionally loving mentor with you. This mentor sees how perfect you are AND will help you become any way you want to be.

Originally published at

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