Developing Discernment

It was a bitterly cold January morning, and the Washington D.C. metro was crowded with commuters scurrying to catch their trains. Street musicians are frequently ignored, and so it was with a man playing a violin in the adjoining L’Enfant Plaza for 45 minutes while just over a thousand people rushed by him.

Strains of Bach, Massenet, Schubert and Ponce reverberated through the arcade. Occasionally people would pause briefly to listen, then be on their way. A few people tossed coins or bills. It wasn’t until nearly the end of his impromptu solo performance that a passerby recognized world-renowned musical genius Joshua Bell, who was playing on his $3.5 million violin.

Just days before, Bell performed at a sold out Boston concert at $100 per ticket. His metro performance netted him $32.

The lack of discernment of the scores of people rushing past the famous musician is evidence of our frequent inability to “go deep” in our day-to-day activities.

Discernment is considered a spiritual virtue, and the mark of a wise and compassionate person of sound judgment. It is the ability to look past what’s not immediately evident – to distinguish what’s unique or true from that which is superficial.

If you’re a good judge of character; if you feel a duty to help people see right from wrong and if you are usually correct when you feel something is amiss, you have discernment.

“Discernment” is not “judgment.” Judgment comes from the Greek word for “condemn.” When you judge someone, you make decisions about their general worthiness.

Discernment, on the other hand, comes from the Greek word “to separate,” or to see the truth from the fabrication. It is to see people, and things, as they actually are.

Here are some tips to help you develop your ability to discern:

  1. Never stop learning . When a bank is teaching tellers how to detect counterfeit dollar bills, the tellers must study real bills, and become familiar with every last detail. The more you learn, the less likely you’ll be deceived.
  2. Pray . Ask for divine guidance in developing and trusting your spiritual gift of discernment.
  3. Meditate . When you quiet the chatter of your mind, you’ll be more able to hear your divine inner voice.
  4. Trust . Remember compassion is always appropriate, but trust is earned. Be kind, but be slow to believe in someone or something. Give yourself time to “go deep” into the heart of it before you entrust it with your complete confidence.

Discernment is necessary for making decisions, and you’re making thousands of decisions daily. One of the smartest decisions you can make is to take optimum care of your body, mind and spirit. At Optimum Health Institute (OHI) missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas, our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

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