Life Lessons from Discernment

When I started down the path of spirituality and philosophy, and *simply* wondering what all of this is, I wanted to help everyone who reached out to me. Whether they wanted advice, help with a project, or a ride to the store, I wouldn’t say no. Life is a series of energy exchanges, so of course I wanted to create positive exchanges with the rest of the collective. Then it hit me – not everyone deserves my energy. In many cases, it wasn’t an energy exchange: they were being charged, while I was being drained.

In my previous post about discernment, I mentioned that I hit the reset button. For me, hitting reset was making the conscious decision to always protect my energy:

1. What Someone Thinks About You is None of Your Business

After practicing this for over a year, I 100% believe that caring what others think about you is one of the greatest drains of energy in our lives. Whether it’s waiting for someone to like or comment about a post, or hoping that the cold co-worker finally comes around to liking you…all those feelings create dis-ease (yes: disease) in your body. Caring what others thinks forces you to either live in the past, or worry about the future – which can cause depression and anxiety, respectively.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t care how you make others feel…don’t be an a-hole. If you’re living as a good, authentic person (flaws and all), how someone feels about you is none of your business., it’s a reflection of their life experiences.

2. My Boat, My Stream

This is a hard realization. It’s a more positive spin to “born alone, die alone” and similar to not caring what others think: you are the captain of your life. Once you let a job, a partner, society define who you are, you become tethered to someone else’s boat. Some of us pride ourselves in our ability to go with the flow – who’s flow are you going with?

Making the choice to untether yourself and become your own captain is terrifying at first because it’s much easier to dance to the beat of someone else’s than to learn how to drum and dance to your own. I untethered myself from quite a few things over the past year, which has led me to…

3. Know Thyself

Once you’re untethered, you have a lot more time for self-reflection. From the “why are we here?” macro-reflection to the “what is my purpose?” micro-reflection. The more you seek to understand yourself and the world around you, the more questions arise. And at this point, discernment comes back into the picture.

In my personal journey, I began shaping my world view and my view of myself based on my quest for knowledge through books and podcasts, and my own personal revelations. As you/I seek knowledge it’s important to take what resonates and leave what doesn’t. 50% of a book can speak to you, but don’t feel obligated to hang on the 50% that doesn’t. When you’re untethered, you can pick your life’s curriculum.

And finally, the pies de resistance

4. Trust, and Listen To, Your Instinct

I know this seems like an anti-climactic ending, but hear me out.

Instinct is interesting. We’ve all been told to trust our gut. However, there are layers upon layers of instinct that are deeply ingrained in our psyche.

The instinct to run if a lion is chasing you. I think we can all agree that most of us have that down.

The instinct to protect your family from a perceived threat…simple.

When we get to the instincts that are less rooted in survival, the less obvious they become. One definition of instinct is:

“A feeling that you have that something is the case, rather than an opinion or idea based on facts.”

When we are flooded with ideas and opinions from other people and the media, it stands to reason that it’s harder to hear those subtle instincts that are built into our DNA. I’ve learned that when I’ve calmed the chaos – which is a result from all the lessons I outlined above, the instincts that used to whisper became louder. My ability to discern what’s good for me vs. what’s not in my best interest, and my ability to know something without any rhyme or reason, has grown. I can meditate on a question and come out the other end with an answer, because I’ve taken control of my own ship.

We are much more powerful than we think we are. Once you remember that, the world is your oyster.

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