The practices of yoga and social work both encourage maintaining an attitude of non-judgemental judgment. This requirement feels like Kant’s demand for an “disinterested interest” in the judgments of beauty. Suffering, care, and beauty all depend on our ability to notice what is happening without forcing theoretical preconceptions. Practicing this attitude of noticing without prejudice (i.e. pre-judgment) about how a pose or human well-being or a painting ought to look, is difficult. One suggestion, according to Prof. Ogden Rogers, is to go with the defense, to run with a running a man instead of trying to stop him. To stay “with” before trying to change..in yoga terms…stay with your breath, notice what is happening for you, stay with the discomfort…………stay with…stay with….stay with…….
Going With the Defense
Whatever a client brings to you, accept it as a gift. There are thoughts, feelings, and behavior, seen and unseen, and whatever emerges is something to be tracked, followed, and used to help the relationship. Never stop a running man. Run with him and wave others off who might stop him. Slowly slow your pace, travel to a place where the running no longer serves a purpose, and perhaps sitting and talking will emerge. Some wise workers call this “exhausting the resistance” or “going with the defense.”6 I like to think of it as simply unwrapping a gift and using it.
Rogers, Ogden W.. Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work (p. 40). White Hat Communications. Kindle Edition.
In the Middle of a Middle
We need nonjudgmental judges. We need those who can enter respectfully into the middle of our private muddles and echo the outside of our public rule. We need those who can understand the craziness that keeps us sane, and yet interpret the taboos that glue us together. We need advocates of the infinite diversities individuality provokes…and speak it to the Leviathan, and make it understand.
Rogers, Ogden W.. Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art & Soul of Social Work (p. 83). White Hat Communications. Kindle Edition.