(discernment - the faculty of apprehending clearly)

     For adult human beings, there is no quick route to discernment. Once we have left the innocence of childhood, and taken on the complication and guile of adult life, discernment becomes an elusive quality. One might argue that childhood innocence is the antithesis of discernment, but I feel that children are discerning on a very subtle, natural level just as animals are. Animals and small children, like the Angels, do not err because they belong to a realm where evil....an action or attitude contrary to the truth....does not exist.

     If you want to learn something of discernment, spend time with an animal. We have all heard stories about someone or had the personal experience of having a boyfriend, girlfriend, or house guest that our cat or dog just didn't like. More often than not, hindsight reveals the animal's keen discernment. In my consulting work with animals and their guardians, I often hear: "I just don't understand it. Jasper is such a loving dog, but he just doesn't seem to like ____". There is little I can say in such a situation, but as I hear the details of the person's story, my own discernment tells me that Jasper's is probably quite good!

     An animal's whole being is delicately attuned to subtle energy. It feels the vibrations of objects, people and situations. Because it doesn't have a complicated thought process that dilutes and confuses its own natural, direct perception, its impression of the energy it is experiencing is usually correct. An animal, of course, just as a human being, can have its sense of discernment distorted by life experience. An animal that has been beaten for instance, may fear all human beings, but a healthy animal's discernment is something to be admired.

     The best way I know to develop discernment is through meditation, spiritual practice and a life lived in impeccable honesty. It is only by living honestly in each moment that we drop our defenses to the extent that the natural subtle vibrations of life can enter our being. As long as we have something to hide, the deception acts as a barrier to our perception of the natural and subtle worlds.

     As we develop the art of stilling the mind, and quieting the many thoughts that constantly flood it, and as we learn to still our emotions so that we are not stirred and buffeted by them like wind on water; our being becomes like a still forest pool that accurately reflects the environment and energies around it. It is only then that we are able to perceive the subtle knowingness of our own heart. The pond doesn't ask the lily pad what is being reflected on its surface.

     Within this still, calm state of being we are in synchronicity with the ebb and flow of the universe, and we simply know what to do and what not to do, when to move and when not to move. Within such a state of being there is no necessity to weigh or consider or ruminate. There is no need to consult another being or oracle, for we have become the splendid likeness of our own Consciousness, which is God, and All Knowing is our own.

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