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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

+ "By refining the attention we can make the mind serviceable and thereby rediscover the sense of well-being that emerges spontaneously from a balanced mind. The contemplative traditions of the world have long known this, but our contemporary civilization seems to have forgotten it." -- B. Alan Wallace

+ "Discernment: Sorting out the good from the not so good, the truth from the less than true, the divine from the less than divine. Seeing through ourselves, through the layers of pretense that we allow to obscure our inner realities. Seeing through to the essence, the real, within ourselves and others. Picking up on the difference between what is said and what is felt. The difference between what is done and what is intended." (Excerpt from a sermon, "The Art of Discernment" by Jim Burklo preached on August 27, 2006 at Sausalito Presbyterian Church.)

+ "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.

+ NEW December 18, 2014: Early in 2013, I wrote the following chapter on the practice of Discernment as part of a book on all twelve spiritual practices and all 9 heavenly attributes. I sense that some of the writing is sent by the heavenly council which is a mysterious presence in my life. I believe the heavenly council is available to all of us. I have found a way to listen. The council often likes to say with one voice, "I AM." Maybe you can discern when this voice is speaking as opposed to my voice or other voices. I invite you to participate in this conversation with God, with heavenly beings, with human beings and other creatures too. Please join in. Add your own thoughts. Ask questions. Ponder. Contemplate. Seek truth. Here we go:

+ 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 ON THE WEB:

  • 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

  • CENTERING PRAYER and LECTIO DIVINA -- This is an old way which is now being rediscovered by Christians as a tried and true method for opening up to the presence of God.

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    John@abundancetrek.com

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