Spiritual Maturity


The Law of

Discernment

The Law of Discernment, otherwise known as the law of knowing what is real and what is not, is our tool to neutralise the power that illusion has over us. Illusion reigns when the Principle of Oneness is forgotten or disregarded. This happens when the lure of materialism and the ego have caused the lower mind to lose conscious contact with the higher self, leaving it to run amok on principles of division and competition. Discernment, mastered through the arts of Mindfulness and the Higher Perspective, is the spotlight that shines through the fog of illusion obscuring the path to spiritual maturity for so many of us who seek it. For this reason, once it is mastered, Discernment it is an ultra-powerful asset to possess.

The filter we use for discernment is Oneness.  If a something we are analysing for truth does not pass the test of acknowledging every person on earth as essentially an immaculate being playing the role of someone who is imperfect, we should discern it as an illusion.

Signs that something is an illusion:

 

  • It actively promotes spiritual superiority of race, gender, sexuality, religion, or social class. Those divisions do not exist within Oneness. Therefore any person or institution playing them up is operating under the illusion that God would respect human politics. This is not to say that some parties do not behave in manners that run the gamut of appalling to outright monstrous, but it is to say that God recognises the immaculate origin of every person on earth, regardless of the out-and-out cruelty of the mask they put on in a given lifetime. God knows that every single person has the ability to self-transcend out of darkness, beginning at any such time as they so freely choose.
  • It tells us that we, or it, have “made it” and there is no more work to do. The Law of Transcendence won’t enable anything to remain permanently in one state of being, not even if that thing is the attainment of spiritual maturity. Once we achieve something of spiritual (emotional) significance, we are tasked with enhancing it, and enhancing it, and enhancing it. If we don’t do that, we will stagnate, then start to decline — maybe without even realising it.
  • It tells us that a particular spiritual law does not apply to us in a given situation, that we are exempt from the laws “for this one time”, or that we are exempt from one, more, or all of the laws altogether. The very times that we want to forget about a law or principle are the times we are facing a major initiation related to that very law or principle. If something — our conscience, our “heart” (which so often is following the orders of our lower mind), our spirit guide, our religion, etc. — is telling us to ignore a law, it is trying to get us to fail the initiation — and it has it own reasons/agenda for keeping us from transcending (a reason that is up to us to discern).
  • It cannot or will not answer our questions about it. It cannot or will not tell us its true origins, or it cannot or will not explain the inconsistencies in its doctrines. Or maybe it tells us there is something wrong with us for asking our questions, or that we have no need to “worry” about the things we are questioning. Still maybe it says to us “that’s a good question” but then segues into a new topic, leaving our questions unanswered. Any of these responses to our questions are indications that the power of the thing we are questioning is illusionary. Which means it is only real for as long as we let it be so. If we are afraid to ask our questions because we think we might not like the answer, we need to be mindful enough to see that we are consciously upholding the illusion, and try to discern why that would be (hint: the Law of Self-Responsibility…)
  • It tells us that Transcendence can be achieved through the completion of rituals, ceremonies, scripted prayer, sacraments, and/or the observation of “holy days”. All of these things are external actions. The path of transcendence to Oneness is inward and private, and has nothing to do with any of these external and public displays, as comforting as these things might be to us.
  • It moulds evidence to fit circumstances in order to explain away negative consequences of its actions, rather than accept responsibility for those actions. When we find ourselves doing just that, the onus is on us to be mindful enough to discern that is what we’re doing. Once we have discerned that, we can move on to discerning why we are doing it, by searching for the highest perspective. Once we have discerned the reason (which likely will be a problem with accepting one of the laws), we can use our free will to choose a better path next time. If we do not discern that we have used new evidence to avoid self-responsibility for something going wrong, and we truly believe that new evidence was the cause of our action, we are operating under illusion.

 

How to Build Discernment

So what we can we do to build our ability to discern truth from illusion? What practical steps can we take to hone our ability to discern what is real from what is not?

We do this:

Whenever we find ourselves forming an opinion on something, we have the courage and discipline to reach the highest-perspective level of honesty with ourselves as to what our true motive behind that opinion is. 

In other words, to sharpen our discernment skills, we must engage in a nonstop process of critically assessing ourselves to arrive at the truth as to why we are doing, thinking, or feeling the way we are.

First, we become mindful of what we are doing, thinking, feeling. This is not necessarily as simple as it sounds, particularly if those things are an ingrained or are a mindless habit.

Next, we become mindful of the nature of that action, thought, or emotion. Is the action destructive? To whom? Is the action constructive as the laws and principles would define “constructive” (which likely is not how most people commonly would define it)? Is the thought vindictive? Judgemental? Gleeful? Is it “loving” as the Principle of Unconditional Love would define “loving” (again, not the common understanding of it)? Is the emotion anger? Vindictiveness? Jealousy? Triumph? And so on.

Next, we examine ourselves to see if we are justifying any of these things. Are we telling ourselves that we have every right to be doing, thinking, feeling what we are? Are we telling ourselves that the other person caused us to be doing/thinking/feeling this? Are we telling ourselves “this person needs to be punished”, “they had it coming”, “they should have known I’d react like this”, or “You’re not better than me, and by god I’m going to make you know it”? In other words, we check to see if we are holding other people responsible for our emotions and actions, or if we have lost sight of Oneness and put ourselves into competition with people. At this point, we make a conscious free-will decision to suspend everything, step outside of our lower self, and reach for our higher-self perspective.

From the higher-self position, we search for the true reason behind what we are doing, thinking, feeling. This higher part of us has infinitely more courage to be honest than our lower self has.

Often what our higher-self perspective shows us won’t be pretty. For typically, when we are engaging in downward-pulling behaviour, we are usually in the midst of one of more of the following.

 

  • Wanting power, status, victory, or control over others.
  • Validating our own beliefs through forcing others to believe what we believe, or do what we do, or think what we think, or say what we say.
  • Feeling burning shame over being proved incorrect, especially if we passionately believed that what we were/are doing was/is correct.
  • Seeking glory or sympathy as part of a drama to which we are attached.
  • Fearing that our material resources (namely money) is at risk.

 

When we can identify these ego-based illusions in ourselves, it is a very short leap to being able to identify them in others. And thus Discernment has been built.

(Incidentally, that completes the process of Discernment. To complete the process of Transcendence: after we discern the illusion under which we have been acting, we identify which law or principle our lower state of mind is having trouble with, and use the other laws to help us come to terms with that troublesome one.)

The Trouble With “Signs” and “Evidence”

“Faith” is a passive concept that does not sit well with many people when it comes to spirituality and God. Many of us are uneasy with placing our trust in something or someone without first having proof that the thing or person is worthy of that trust. This uneasiness is a sign of the possession of a degree of discernment. To allay our uneasiness — and in engagement of our discernment — we seek out evidence that what we are considering accepting as real is indeed real.

But there’s a problem with proof. The discernment filters in each of us that we use to arrive at our “proof” are soaked in memories and conditioning arising from childhood, schooling, friends, parents, siblings, employment, social groups, religions, books, television, celebrities, and on an on and on. These memories have a mammoth influence our psyche unless and until we free our minds from their influence. So for as long as our filters are coloured in this way, our memories are the benchmarks for tolerance against which we judge all new encounters. And that means there is no such thing as a neutral benchmark for proof.

To compensate for this, the type of proof that many of us require is scientific proof. We feel that if scientists can prove something, then that thing is worthy of our trust. Considering the (scientific!) fact that the mind of every single person is thoroughly soaked in personal memories of a lifetime of experiences, and scientists are people too, can we see how a scientist’s “proof” is highly unlikely to be objective? This is not to say that the proof is not “real”, but it is to say that it is likely the scientist has stopped short of the full proof that is there – he/she stopped at where his/her basis of experience, conditioning, and tolerance ended.

For example, every scientist will tell us that the heart is a battery that keeps our bodies alive for as long as that battery lasts. All scientists will agree that what keeps the battery functioning is a bio-chemical reaction occurring repeatedly in the body. But, much more than half of the world’s scientists will not venture to explain what power source is triggering that bio-chemical reaction. A relatively smaller percentage of scientists will venture to explain what the trigger is. Of this small percentage, one group will argue one source, and another group will argue something different. The point is, in all cases, each scientist has ended their analysis at the point at which they personally felt comfortable. We, in turn, will agree with the scientist whose view supports our existing one, and call the other scientists “deluded”. The word “deluded” is derived from the word “illusion”.

Another example of the subjectivity of proof is the recent and probably still current dispute over global warming. The side arguing that the globe is not warming can produce as much “proof” to support their perspective as can the side arguing that it is warming. We ourselves have likely listened to the evidence that supports our memories and conditioning and have not given the opposing evidence much consideration past either scorn or indifference.

The point is, at any time we develop a certainty of opinion on something, especially anything for which we believe we have proof, we need to be able to discern which basis we have used to reach that certainty. We need to cultivate the courage to engage the type of honesty with ourselves that is necessary for reaching the highest perspective on ourselves. We must become archaeologists — excavating and excavating and excavating our psyche. Each true piece of excavation is like a fresh patch of tilled soil in which a piece of enlightenment can take root. For that reason, this process of discernment is one of the most significant and beautiful gifts we can give ourselves. More on certainty will follow in the next section.

Traps Stemming From Discernment

Discernment is an extremely powerful tool that gives us boost-after-boost up the ladder of transcendence. Sometimes when we know we have it, we feel strong and powerful. The strength and power we feel stems from the dropping of the burden of illusion and the replacement of it with enlightenment (“enlightenment” means to “make lighter”). This lightness of soul leaves us liberated to “run and jump” freely, and in the spirit of Oneness, we want everyone to be able to feel this wonderful sense of true freedom. And there is where we need to be careful. 

In our delight at seeing through illusion, we need to watch that we don’t fall into zealousness in trying to help others attain the same discernment. We need to refrain from aggressively confronting upholders of illusion, and just walk away. We can gently confront them with spiritual logic, certainly, but we must respect the laws of Transcendence, Free Will, Detachment, and Self Responsibility — all of which require each person to do their own work at their own pace to reach their own spiritual maturity. Even Jesus and Buddha plenty of times had to settle for a gracious loss when they ran out of spiritually-valid options for bringing people to enlightenment. So when we discern an illusion is at play, we simply state the logical discernment in a manner that is not zealous, and leave matters at that. Under all the other laws, it is now over to the other person to decide what to do next.

But there are many times, too, that the attainment of discernment leaves us feeling despair, sometimes to the point of depression. Like Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s novel “Catcher in the Rye”, we can see that virtually everyone, everywhere, is “a phoney”. We can see the size of the illusions under which people are labouring. We can see that institutions we once held as sacred — universities, churches, governments, sports clubs, spiritual movements, etc. — are operating under illusion. We feel that now we know what we know, we no longer fit into society. We feel that we have to present a fake version of ourselves just to be able to live alongside others. At these times, we have to choose our way out of these feelings.

We learn via the laws of Free Will and Self Responsibility that each of us has complete power over our emotions. There is no instance at all in which we have not chosen to feel what we are feeling. When we are feeling despair or depression as a result of discerning illusion at play, it would pay us to reflect on the nature of the Principle of Oneness, which tells us that people have the right to live out any experience they want to, that, as Shakespeare wrote, “all the world’s a stage, and men and women merely actors upon it”, and that under all of that illusion is an immaculate being loved by God. It is up to us to choose to see the illusion as nothing but illusion — which means the illusion has no ultimate power. We can choose to live-and-let-live, and to get on with our own continuous transcendence. If we purposefully use the arts, laws, and principles to help us, the despair will pass. It takes firm effort, but it will pass.

How Expanding and Contracting Brings Top-Level Discernment

As mentioned earlier, another trap that we can fall into when we identify an illusion is “certainty”. It is tempting to conclude that what we have discerned as false — or as truth — is the final word on the matter because we have reached the absolute highest perspective on it. Most likely, in reality what we have reached is the highest perspective we can at that point in time. The Law of Transcendence tells us to never conclude that we can stop expanding. The minute we stop expanding, we begin to contract. A small contraction every now and then is, indeed, needed as leverage for transcending, but such contractions are measured and deliberate. If we can replace our sense of certainty with a sense of preparedness to change our view upon the arrival of new evidence, then our contraction will be measured and deliberate. Remember that the sophisticated wielder of the Law of Transcendence is always, always monitoring their conscience for the genuine motives behind beliefs, feelings, and actions and is ready to change any of these immediately upon realising less-than-spiritually-mature motives. In terms of certainty and Discernment, we are required to discern what is truth, rest on that discernment for a while, but then strive to expand that discernment to arrive at even higher truths. So, like the Law of Transcendence, then, the Law of Discernment calls for clarity to be ever enhanced, never settled upon.

More Power to You!

Don’t take my word as gospel  I don’t myself! I have given you a perspective of Discernment that is the highest I can reach today, but I know that there is an even higher perspective waiting for me to uncover when I grow further in maturity. The Law of Transcendence tells me that there is indeed more to come. 

You are responsible for discerning for yourself if what I have presented to you is spiritually valid, and for discerning what the motives are behind your conclusions. Take the time to practice and master Discernment, and you will leapfrog your way to spiritual maturity. 

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