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What is the difference between judging and discerning? And what guidelines can we observe to better practice discernment?
The difference between judgment and discernment is a very fine line, but one of great importance and impact in the field of your experience.
I want to create for you a little picture. Imagine one who picks up a flute and relaxes into perfect innocence and trusts that the perfect flute-player is living within them. And they give the flute over to That One. And through the impact of the oxygen, the breath that flows from the body, crosses the mouthpiece of the flute, a most delightful note is created–one that doesn’t jar the nervous system, one that doesn’t grate on the nerves or the ears of anyone, but one that is sweet above the taste of honey.
This is like the quality of discernment. It is a quiet recognition of patterns of energy that are temporarily playing out–whether within your own field of consciousness or in the field of awareness of a brother or sister. There is no condemnation. There is no perception of right or wrong. There is simply the quiet awareness of what is — noticing the sound that is coming from the flute, observing how it is affecting you or them, and simply being aware of it.
Judgment is an entirely different note.
I am going to take this flute. I blow across it, the sound came out, and I don’t like it. That sound is ___________.
And fill in the blank. That is the quality of judgment. You must make a decision in the mind in terms of interpreting what the sound is. And that interpretation is always some form of right or wrong, good or bad.
Each time you are operating from judgment, you need only look at the effects of that note upon your own being. For you will discover that it creates a tightness, even in the body itself. The stomach might churn. The breath might become short. The mind becomes agitated. The brows, the forehead, will become tight and knotted with little furrows. The jaw gets tight. Something doesn’t feel at peace within you. Rest assured, that is always the effect of judgment. Judgment comes forth from the perspective that you adopt in which you have decided that you are the one who can decide whether what is being perceived is right or wrong, good or bad.
Discernment is simply noticing,
Ah! Hmm, yes. I hear that note. How interesting.
You might, in that moment of discernment, ask the Holy Spirit,
Well, this seems to be occurring right now. Is there anything that would be useful or helpful for me to say or do?
If it’s about yourself, something you’re discerning within your own consciousness, you might ask the Holy Spirit,
Is what I’m experiencing truly useful for me? Or would it be more appropriate for me to let it go?
And you simply listen and receive the answer. You might find yourself saying something to a friend,
You know, I notice that that’s your third bottle of vodka in the last twenty-five minutes, and it might be appropriate if you let me drive you home.
That’s much different than saying,
My god! Why does he keep drinking this vodka?
You see? A different resonance is created.
Judgment always separates you from the one or the thing that is being judged. And any form of separation is the loss of Love. And where Love has been lost to you, your peace is disturbed and you are alone.
Discernment does not create any jostling of the nerves. Love is not lost. On the contrary, it is deepened, for discernment creates joining. And in joining, your peace deepens. Your compassion also deepens. And your wisdom becomes more and more effective. It is wise, always, to be as wise as serpents. And a serpent merely has that capability of seeing the fine line of what’s really occurring in yourself and around you — not being beguiled by words or intentions, but noticing the subtle vibrations of the notes being played in the consciousness of another, and trusting how that is affecting you. And then, simply asking,
What am I most committed to? Living at peace, or living a lie?
Discernment is like becoming a master of the flute, knowing exactly what notes are coming forth, the subtleties of those notes. Judgment is like being the impetuous child who has not the patience to become a master, and therefore, judges the notes as right or wrong, as fearful or helpful. In discernment, there is no fear; there is no lack or loss of peace. In discernment, there is simply wisdom. In judgment, there is loss, suffering, separation, and loneliness.
Learn, then, beloved friend, to notice the subtle qualities between these two. And the exercise we would give you is deliberately let yourself be judgmental. When you get up in the morning and you look at your hand before you get up, look at it and say,
My god, that’s an ugly hand! I have decided that that hand is useless.
And just notice how you feel.
Then, look at the hand again, and go,
Hmm. How does this hand really feel? Let me tune in. Ah! Hmm. It’s a little tight. It’s a little relaxed. It’s a little limpy or tired. It wants to get up and do things. Oh. Hmm. Okay.
And again, notice how you feel within.
As you go through the day, when a friend walks in, let yourself be judgmental of the clothes they are wearing, at least within your own mind.
Oh, what a terrible color! I don’t like that color on them at all!
Again, notice how you feel. Does that bring you closer, or does it separate you? Do you feel at peace and expanded, or do you feel contracted and agitated?
Then, simply change the mind and look upon them, and simply notice. Feel the quality of vibration that the colors they are wearing are sending forth. How does it feel? How do they blend in with the other colors that they are wearing? Notice around the corners of your awareness, can you discern how those colors are affecting their state of mind?…since they are the effects of how they were feeling when they chose to get dressed that morning.
Play with it. Learn to play these opposite poles, just as a master of a flute learns what is beautiful by being aware of what is not beautiful, and learns to position the flute differently against the lips to create different effects, and observes how those effects sound to his or her ear.
Judgment and discernment are not something you are a victim of. You can cultivate them and grow with them. You can become their master. There is much more that could be said about this, but this will be sufficient for now.
Indeed, then, peace be unto you always.
And as always, we are with you. Look not afar to find us. Simply be quiet and acknowledge,
I am as my brother is. And therefore, my mind is joined with his and with all beings who love me.
And from that state of awareness, choose how you will experience each moment.
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