No. 59 – Discerning or Judging

No. 59 – Discerning or Judging

Dear One,

With continuing intention to share with you illuminating ideas to alleviate your challenges and elevate you, I offer you ‘Discerning or Judging.’

To Discern, per The Free Dictionary, is “to recognize or perceive clearly” while to Judge is “to pass sentence on or condemn.” 

In Be Water, My Friend – The Teachings of Bruce Lee, author and Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee notes the difference is in one’s approach.  Judging is “taking a rigid position whereas when we are Discerning, we’re perceiving with the goal of understanding.” 

Ah yes.  Discerning involves flexibility that observes various options versus Judging’s non-pliable position holding that can limit, blame, mutter ‘you’re unworthy,’ and/or “pit us against one another” per Lee. 

Reforming perfectionists may well know Judge-y self-shaming in lieu of Discerning.  Perhaps not outwardly, but inwardly with unintentional repercussions of feeling not-measuring-up-ness.   

Camping out in comparison criticism-ville, you might reel and feel you’ve fallen waaaaay short. 

Perhaps kindly remind your precious self that this isn’t meant to have you feel Judged about wherever you are now.  ‘Tis to support you in Discerning – observing and “telling one thing from another,” per Neale Donald Walsch, to possibly support expanding your fab-ness. 

As noted in Judgment vs. Discernment by Constance L. Habash, leaning towards Discernment, or Viveka in Sanskrit is “about seeing things as they are … from our inner self, not from outer rigid standards, opinions, or social pressures.”    

Ponderings on Discerning or Judging you might consider are:

• Pause before pouncing – I mean – reacting.  Even for 5 seconds or a minute or 2.  Or 10.  Step away from a meeting.  Refrain from commenting when about to freak out (if such may not be prudent).  Hand over lips, tongue, or cheek biting works.  To process XY or Z, a wee more thoughtfully, slightly more considerately, or a little less seriously.  Or mull that ‘it’ may not really be about you.  Or summon Compassion for pain ‘the other’ may be in – to better Discern a potentially beneficial response for you and ‘the other.’  Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, known for helping others find meaning from hardship noted “between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom,”

• Timing matters.  Feeling tired, pushed to your limit, or incapable of shoe tying let alone Discerning a decision or action?  Notice that and perhaps honor it’s just where you are.  Friend, it’s ok.  Consider silently sitting with it.  And/or waiting until later when feeling more placid for a Discerning teenager Talk – with a capital T, call to resolve family conflict, or email to address a hair raising work scenario,

• Perhaps entertain giving Holy help or spiritual assistance the benefit of the doubt and ask how to Discern.  Or question a wise, trusted advisor.  Discernment grows increasingly possible this way,

• Practice seeing multiple ‘sides’ – or even 1 other ‘side’ vs. assigning ‘all good’ and/or ‘all bad’ value judgments.  The orange team/green team game can help Discern.  If you’re orange team, try giving a whirl to green team thinking to improve overall comprehension, shift perspective, and/or allow for bigger picture seeing.  Not quite feelin’ natural?  Start with easy situations and work up to harder ones to make it more do-able – and increase Discerning likelihood,

• Honor impressions and mull ideas to observe, AKA Discern if you have use for them – instead of ignoring them.  “If a way is made known to you to create, display, express, and experience your Divine self … follow that way” per Conversations with God Book II by Neale Donald Walsch,

• “The way to move out of Judgment is to move into Gratitude” per Neale Donald Walsch.  Not necessarily easy-breezy initially.  Gratitude, when employed, shifts focus upping Discernment.  Summoning it during a pullover for speeding (uh, through semi gritted teeth) potentially averted an accident; consciously choosing thanks instead of internally Judging the officer of the law for ‘doing the job’ made for less pain and even a wee laugh together, and/or

• Notice how you feel. Empowered, calm, and open?  Or disempowered, irritable, and snappy?  Respectively, these are potential hints as to whether internal Discerning or Judging could be happening.  If it’s the latter, Silence – or as little talking as is musterable – with prayer, meditation, or a break may assist.

In my experience, Discernment is for you.  Or me.  Not against another(s).  And, it may not be positivity, sunshine, and flowers – or in agreement with others.  Discerning also isn’t turning a blind eye or remaining passive either.  

Discernment, I believe, is Given to us to mine for our truths and done differently by each individual.  It’s not for one to Judge how another Discerns.  If you have other or better Discerning ways than these, go for it – and please share ‘em with me. 

“As your consciousness, refinement, and pureness of heart expands, you will become less Judgmental, less corrective, less reactive, less black-and-white, less critical, less apt to blame and less tormented by others and their faults and views.”   Cheers to Bryant McGill for this enlightening, concise summation of more Discerning, less Judging.  Beautiful.

May Discerning and a whole lotta love Grace your life,


Original Email Date:  September 17, 2021