People who know me well will have heard me speak of the God-Shaped hole. Many years ago when I eased my way out of the Catholic system, I discovered that there was still in my mind all of the wiring around belief and worship with nothing specific to believe or worship. Into the God-shaped hole might fall other things that I might for a time start to worship like God: girlfriends, the concept of breakfast, Batman.
I have been meditating regularly every day, using guided meditations by Stephan Pende Wormland, Sam Harris, and Tara Brach. The common thread from these is understanding and seeing thoughts as arising in my mind, but not being drawn into the story behind them.
The thought of a universal arbiter watching me and noting my actions in a huge ledger which is compared to a massive tome of rules, has been a pervasive and automatic response in my mind. Into that God-shaped hole fall people around me, and I become sure of two things: they are judging me, and it matters. Logically I know instead that it is possible they are judging me, and either way it really doesn’t matter.
Mindfulness is allowing me to unlearn the automatic thought of being judged, and highlight the automatic thought when it arises, and I can see it for what it is rather than be drawn into its story. The mental infrastructure around the God-shaped hole is being unwound.