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DISCERNMENT

On our way to attaining our true identity as a heavenly being we move through four stages of spiritual practice with Discernment the second practice of stage two, the journey of the Heart. I borrowed these four stages from Elizabeth Lesser. She calls them landscapes. She offers many ideas and practices in her wonderful book, The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure.



STAGE ONE: THE JOURNEY OF THE MIND STAGE TWO: THE JOURNEY OF THE HEART STAGE THREE: THE JOURNEY OF THE BODY STAGE FOUR: THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL
STILLNESS SILENCE SOLITUDE SIMPLICITY
DETACHMENT DISCERNMENT DEVOTION DELIGHT
HUMILITY HEALING HOLINESS HEAVENLINESS

Posts for March 21-April 5 on the practice of DISCERNMENT.
March 21 SE 81 March 22 SE 82 March 23 SE 83 March 24 SE 84
March 25 SE 85 March 26 SE 86 March 27 SE 87 March 28 SE 88
March 29 SE 89 March 30 SE 90 March 31 SE 91 April 1 SE 92
April 2 SE 93 April 3 SE 94 April 4 SE 95 April 5 SE 96

+ I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual* worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of Godówhat is good and acceptable and perfect.
-- Romans 12:1-2 NRSV

+ "The transition from being an admirer of Jesus to an imitator of Jesus, from living primarily for self aggrandizement to living for aggrandizement of the Lord, from doing the works of the Lord to working for the Lord, from being inspired by personal desires to being guided by the Spirit, is indeed a very frightening transition. It is a movement from what is known and clearly defined to what is unknown and not clearly defined. The Law of the Commandants can be seen and clearly defined. The Law of the Spirit cannot." -- The Sisters and Brothers of La Ermita

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+ Prayer leads to discernment.

+ Truth is usually found through compromising and compromising and compromising and compromising because humans are limited in understanding and are often wrong and need the constant correction of the ongoing process of community as well as individual discernment. Discernment is such an underrated concept on the planet these days. It needs to be accentuated, emphasized, revitalized and accepted as a necessary process for progress.

+ We are striving for perfection, for wholeness, for holiness, for heavenliness.  In order to become more whole, we need to know what to do next, and next after that, and next after that.  Immersion in the world keeps us from perceiving and achieving this heavenly state of being.  The world is wonderful but it is not everything.  The wise figure this out and let go of all kinds of worldly ambitions, desires, enchantments and illusions.  This is done on a daily basis, even breath after breath.  Heaven is here now but we donít know it unless we can discern it.  We can never grasp it but we can let it grasp us.  We each have gifts heaven has given us to unwrap and share freely.  In order to know our gifts a discernment process is essential. 

As we continue to practice stillness, detachment, humility and silence, the discernment process unfolds naturally.  We become more authentic, more compassionate, more perceptive, more integrated, more heavenly.  This is a promise.

+ Joyful discernment. Out of the joyful silence comes all kinds of discernment. Personal discernment and community discernment. When people get together many solutions can be found to all kinds of problems when people can embrace periods of silence. We just donít do this enough. We chatter, chatter, chatter endlessly and guess what Ö God cannot get through.

Whether alone or in meetings with people, allow those joyful periods of silence so that real discernment can take place, so that God can get through to you and others.

There is a lot of discerning to do. You have a lot of discerning to do. I do. We all do. Without this essential practice, we are in big trouble. This is true individually and corporately. You need lots of effective discernment in your life to realize who you are and what you need to do. We need many, many people engaged in discernment in order to solve many problems facing us.

Such as Climate Change, Global Warming. You simply cannot go on this way. There are plenty of solutions. Now is the time to make things happen. People and plants and animals are suffering now. It will get worse. Consequences for past decisions are huge. It will get worse because of current decision making by you and billions of other human beings. Each and every person has a responsibility to end this environmental destruction.

A faithful discernment process leads us to solutions. We begin to see how the destruction of the environment is linked to the lack of spiritual practice by far too many of us. Repent. Change. Grow.

That includes me. Donít think that just because Iím writing this book and have a lot of ideas to share that this means my spiritual practice is satisfactory. It isnít. I have a lot of work to do one day at a time.

Like everyone else, I am evolving. We live in amazing times when humanity and other species are in a state of significant evolutionary change. Something is happening which is hard to explain, no, impossible to explain but I will try anyway. With everyone working on it, maybe we can get to the heart of this GREAT EVOLUTIONARY LEAP FORWARD (GELF).

Here is the solution. Itís a mystery but we can begin to see whatís happening, emerging. Something wonderful is happening. Itís a divine blessing which will bring about profound change in the way we think, the way we feel, the way we relate. This has begun. It is amazing, fantastic, fascinating. Do you hear what I hear? Do you see what I see? Do you feel what I feel?

Spiritual practice is essential for this awakening to happen. Itís important to practice and for all of creation. It is my responsibility and it is your responsibility.

Many, many, many people are working on it but more are needed, many more, many, many more.

Itís a responsibility but not a burden. Indeed we are burdened when we do not engage in spiritual practice, a practice which includes individual and group discernment. This is essential. The consequences of not taking this responsibility seriously are huge, indeed something like hell on earth and even beyond earth. Letís not let this happen. Letís engage, engage, engage in spiritual practice, in prayer, in meditation, in contemplation, in discernment so that the healing can begin.

We must return again and again to this essential practice of discernment as we continue to practice all of our heavenly life here on earth. We all need plenty of healing. Letís begin to look at this essential practice of healing.

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John@abundancetrek.com

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RESOURCES:

  • Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the practice of discernment.
  • Spirituality & Practice offers 37 Spiritual Practices with an abundance of ideas and resources for this essential practice. Some of my favorites are Attention, Being Present, Connections, Enthusiasm, Imagination, Listening, Meaning, Openness, Questing, Reverence, Silence, Transformation and Vision. Pick one or 2 and see where you are led as you continue to discern your purpose, your path, your mission, your next step.
  • Spiritual Paths offers a unique approach to this essential process moving from inquiry to insight and then on to integration. Dr. Edward W. Bastian has created a powerful seven step InterSpiritual Meditation which can bring people of all wisdom traditions together since compassion is a universal goal. He has written two books which offer wise and comprehensive guidance on the process: InterSpiritual Meditation and Mandala: Creating an Authentic Spiritual Path.
  • Contemplative Outreach offers resources on the practice of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina. These are traditional Christian spiritual practices now being revived as tried and true methods for discerning the will of God.
  • Spirituality & Practice offers reviews of 2 books by B. Alan Wallace on this practice: The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind and Boundless Heart: The Cultivation of the Four Immeasurables. The 4 Immeasurables are are loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity.
  • Abundancetrek.com offers many spiritually oriented lists which could be useful for this practice.
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    John@abundancetrek.com

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