There is a little too much of everything to keep track of these days. It is serious information overload on every front of life. The information begins with what to put in your mouth. Moves into conquering the perfect experience of everything. Ends with how to be the best you. There are is a ton of stuff out there to help us succeed with our jobs, relationships, fun, and health. This is before we dive into the current events of government, technology, friends and the sustainable future of humanity on the planet. Information is coming at us through numerous devices of the multimedia-verse via email, books, tv, radio, podcasts, social media and a massive sphere of on-line learning. The accompanying ads for all of the above are endless. Seriously, there is no hiding. How can anyone shut out this tsunami of words and remain embedded in society?
I’m exasperated just writing this. If you have been courageous enough to stay reading…thank you. How do we navigate this overwhelming escape-less situation of content sanely AND learn to live successfully? Well, we need some inspiration and innovation to start off. We also need to let go of an unconsciously ingrained approach in us and sheep. It is time to evolve the herd mentality. Let’s be honest, more nonsense gets perpetuated by clicks than common sense. The role of conscience in this abyss of verbal pollution is on life support.
If we are not going to flow with the masses, how do we decide where to invest our time and energy? This is where discernment comes in. According to the Oxford Dictionary, discernment is the ability to judge well. Discernment is a shot of consciousness in our choices. We are choosing all the time. Approximately 35,000 times a day. What is driving your choices?
Discernment has its roots in our world’s spiritual traditions, which may be why we have lost our connection to it. It is a deeply personal process and practice. A fundamental capacity to be cultivated like any muscle in the body. There are tons of writings on the process of discernment. Boiled down simply, here is my approach.
Steps of discernment:
1. Claim spacetime: You need some space and time to process. It is more efficient to use a little bit of this on the front end of a good choice because more gets eaten up on the back end of a bad choice. Aka- A Waste of Time.
2. Look, Listen and Feel: This means doing nothing but observe. Be the anthropologist of you. Look at the thoughts rattling in your brain. Listen to your heart and the feelings there. Feel any physical sensations arising in your body.
3. Zoom out: Get a little perspective. Are you being drawn to a choice through a painful past experience or the higher possibility of a new future? It is one thing to take steps to heal the past, which leads to a new future. It is another to take steps recreating the a painful past. That is history repeating itself.
4. Alignment: Does this align with your conscience? Does it align with your values? Does it align with your dignity?
Each of us needs a specific approach to life that speaks uniquely to our personal perspective. The authority on you is you. Only you have the power to discern for yourself. In this age of information overload, we have given up our sense of sovereignty over what we take in and where we invest our attention. We have sheepishly been seduced by the selective agendas of those feeding us information and indiscriminately taking it in whether it supports us or harms us. It has gotta stop. Discernment is the filter in the process, not Google’s advertising/SEO algorithm. It is safer to trust your bias over Google’s today. There is no purity in user ratings on the internet either. It is a disempowering act to rely on the perspective of people who you do not even know exist.
Discernment for many of us is most challenging when it comes to figuring out what is healthy for us. Take
Next time you find yourself overwhelmed by Amazon’s recommendations for you or Whosy What Its top ten list for whatever. Just stop. Take a deep breath. Pause for a little exercise in practicing your discernment. The more you do it. The simpler being becomes.