It’s so funny, how when you start to work on something, opportunities to work on it more come into focus.
So I’m doing all this writing, teaching, and planning around discernment. Wise decision making.
And in the last month and a half, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to use discernment techniques. Even just today, I found myself in the thick of a decision, a choice that I thought I knew was going to go one way.
I felt as though I had to choose in one direction. I felt as though I was obliged to choose in that direction. I felt as though I must choose in that direction.
And so I turned that way and began doing things, as though I had made a full-on decision.
Deepest values must come into play
Then I talked to my wife, and boom, the question of my deepest values came to light.
The question of our deepest, most dearly held values—and of the hopes for our lives we hold closest—that is really the heart of the matter. When the rubber hits the road, what do we hope for our lives? And why?
In order to get down into these values, we have to be willing to lay several things aside. For example, you need to lay down first impressions, or the immediate sense that you know what you want. It’s not that you’re getting rid of it, just laying it gently at your feet so your hands can stay open to receive what is given.
You also need to be wary of momentum, and even enthusiasm.
The seduction of momentum and enthusiasm
I am by nature a very enthusiastic person, and once I get something in my teeth that I think I really want to do…well, my wife describes it as a steamroller. Any objection, any question, any suggestion someone else makes of slowing down….SMASH and SMOOSH.
It is, therefore, I myself who need to slow down the process. To lay down the seduction of momentum, and just let myself relax, slow down, stop.
Before I can make a fully discerned decision, I need to stop.
Consider what the questions are before me. Consider what values seem to be at stake. Consider whether the options really are as I see them now or whether there’s more to the story, something more that I’m missing.
Once I’ve stopped barreling down the track as though a given decision were inevitable, I can get a better lay of the land. When possibilities aren’t flying by, I can look at them more carefully.
So you need to lay down the fun of momentum and the delight of enthusiasm.
You’ll get them when you need them, I promise. But at the beginning of figuring out a decision is not the time for them. In general, they obscure wisdom and make it difficult to perceive clearly what our next steps might be.
There are other times when we perseverate and go back and forth seemingly endlessly and cannot come to a resting place. But that is a story for another post.
Continue the conversation
For now, I invite you to continue the conversation with me on December 4 at 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time. We will share a free, full-length (90-minute) teleclass in which we cover some concrete methods of discernment, learn what discernment really is, hear about why discernment is important to me, and find out the #1 mark of a well-discerned choice. Simply go here to sign up. I can’t wait to “see” you!