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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual discernment’

Judgment is a faculty of the mind that can be exercised in two ways – from sense perception or spiritual understanding. If its action is based on sense perception its conclusions are fallible and often critical. If our judgments are based on spiritual understanding, well…that’s a different story.

Spiritual discernment is the inner voice expressed. It is that quality in us, which carefully weighs a question and draws a conclusion.

The prevailing tendency of judgment is toward caution, fearfulness, criticism, and condemnation, when it draws its conclusions from the effect side of existence. We can choose however; to seek instead: the spiritual aspect of this faculty, which includes our inner guidance, intuition and understanding.

In Matt. 7:1 it is written: “Judge not that ye be not judged”. Jesus’ famous words. Judge not that ye be not judged. Simple words; simple truth…Right?!

I am wondering how my words would be received if I were to be standing before a crowd and sharing this message dressed in high top gym shoes, a pair of leggings, an old T-shirt and a belly dancing scarf tied around my waist. And maybe a few gaudy bracelets and a big, floppy black hat with a peacock feather sticking out of it to finish out the ensemble?

 I think that this would be a great way to talk about not judging by appearances! In fact, I did just THAT when I originally shared this message with my Spiritual Community a few years ago. The outfit was a bit different, because to tell the truth; I just don’t remember what outfit I wore…but suffice it to say that it was something odd…which for people who know me well…not everyone noticed the odd outfit right away. 🙂

However, the point is; that what our minds tell us to be true is often not the case. . . I was and AM the same person whether I am wearing a strange getup OR in more appropriate dress! But… what would the critical mind say about that? What would someone visiting my Spiritual Center for the first time say about that?

There is a phenomenon I have noticed in ministry, and one I’ve mentioned on so many occasions I couldn’t begin to venture a guess on the number! I’ve noticed that whatever topic I’m speaking about, I am always blessed with a first hand opportunity to EXPERIENCE the lesson within that message. And so, when I chosee to share a message about “judgment“, I thought to myself; “Oh GREAT”!

A few days before the Sunday Message, I awoke early… and as I lay there thinking about the message that I was going to be sharing (about judgement) I was startled by a voice in my head that said;

“Who is it that you are judging?”

I sat straight up in bed as the question registered in my conscious mind. Who am I judging? Then, just as suddenly, the face of someone from high school crossed my mind and it stunned me as I realized I had indeed been judgmental towards this person. I had been remembering her as shallow and conceited and I had doubts about how trustworthy she was. . . I suddenly realized that I had quickly labeled her that way and then (just as quickly) filed her away in my mind without another thought.

So, once I realized what I’d been doing, I decided to surround her with love and light and forgiveness. I RELEASED her…. I let go of all expectations of her and just sent her unconditional love. And after this, I took some time to remember some of the things I had previously appreciated about her. It felt very uplifting. Then… I waited to see what happened.

Wouldn’t you know, the very next day, I received an email from that person! And she was loving and kind and cheerful. And I said “Wow, this stuff really works!” Well… I already knew this stuff works, that’s why I did it! But I always seem to be amazed anyway when it happens!

I guess amazed isn’t quite the right word…maybe “in awe” is a better term. And as I was thinking about this experience some more, I remembered an old friend named Sula Wolfe. Sula is a large, black woman who has been a friend of my family for over forty years. She was 92 at the time I first shared this message…and her spirit and faith never once appeared to falter in all of the years I’ve known her.

ImageNow… this is not a photo of Sula – but (and I thank Harry Cutting in advance for the use of this photo and hope he doesn’t mind – and I imagine that he would appreciate the plug for a great photographer)… being without a photo of Sula, I did my best to find one close to what she looked like and this is pretty close!

One of my favorite stories that I remember of Sula occurred many years ago, back when I was probably around 9 or 10. Sula had come to a point where she realized that she had no money for food or to pay her utility bills – and it was in the middle of winter. She told me that she had gone to sleep with these concerns heavy on her heart. But while she slept, she had a dream. In this dream, someone told her to call a certain telephone number right away, and that all of her debts would be covered. So, she woke up and called the number and found that it was a radio station; she just happened to be the 12th caller and won a thousand dollars! Now, this is just one story…This stuff seemed to happen to Sula all the time! Her needs, whatever they were; were ALWAYS MET! She KNEW that the Universe was CONSISTENTLY and CONSTANTLY conspiring to support her throughout her life!

Her favorite thing to say (and she said it a lot) was; “Ain’t God good, Miss Jacqui? God is sooooooo good!” So it was, that on the night where I had this profound realization about my high school friend; I thought to myself, that rather than responding to this type of experience with; “Wow, this stuff really works!” I would sooooo much rather say; “Ain’t God Good?! God is sooooo good!”

So what does Sula have to do with judgment? All sorts of things!

First off, Sula could appear a bit eccentric. She had such a strong faith that …well…she could come off a bit overwhelming to some people; especially when she talked about God and how good He is!

Sula always smelled of Rose perfume…lots of it…and she always had bright red lipstick on her lips and she loved to kiss me on the forehead.   I adored her. . . I still do! Still, some people judged Sula in negative ways, perhaps some them, because she was black…and others; because she was so different.

Because she was so different was one of the things I loved about her!  She raised her children as a single mother during a time when that was not looked upon kindly, she married a white man in the early 1970’s, she opened her own business (a resale shop) in an almost purely white neighborhood and succeeded greatly in it!

She was judged negatively . . . a lot. Her faith and commitment to this same creative process is what I recognize in her now and admired in her way back then. She didn’t let any of that negative stuff (real or imagined) step in her way.

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Now, back to my high school friend that I noticed I’d been judging: the gift that I received from that experience was becoming conscious that I was being judgmental. But most important, I believe the GREATEST gift was the realization that perhaps those judgements I’d made were not even ABOUT HER! I believe that life, after all, is a mirror… and therefore, an opportunity for me to see myself in others…or my fears in others…or my judgements in others. 

Now, I also believe that there is a difference between judging and assessing. We have the power of discernment to make assessments every day. The difference is that a judgment usually has some sort of emotional attachment to it – fear, victimhood, anger, self-righteousness.

I like to call it The meaning-making habit.

Now here’s an example to clarify meaning making; you may have heard this before.

There was a man who was driving along a winding mountain road. Another car came around a bend and the man who was driving it stuck his head out of the window and yelled “Pig”!

The first man was taken aback and became angry at his rudeness. Then he rounded the bend and almost ran over a pig in the middle of the road!

Meaning making!

When we are quick to condemn, we are forgetting that God is present in every situation and we cut ourselves off from the good that situation may hold for us. What we send out to the universe; comes back to us, doesn’t it?!!!!

Judge not lest ye also be judged. What a brilliant teaching!

Judging effects, rather than seeing the cause at the center of it all, means that we are buying into an illusion. It’s like watching a projector send an image onto the screen and seeing that as reality. If we turn off the projector, what happens? It’s not real! In the same way, Spirit is expressing the infinite forms around us, and if we can see with the eyes of God, we can then see it all as good. As Eric Butterworth says, we will discover that ALL is Divine. Or as William Blake once said, “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower…”

Every person on earth is a divine being on a deep level…  Sometimes we may be very skillful at concealing that identity…but that doesn’t alter the fact that The Christ is within every one of us and we can learn to remember to recognize and honor this in each and every human being that we meet!

I believe that there is no one in all of history that is not lovable at the divine core, because God is at the center of that core!

However, there have been many whose actions are unlikable and unacceptable. Does refraining from judgment mean that we accept abusive treatment? No! Judging rightly (from a Spiritual place) does not mean that we go along with inappropriate behavior from others.

This is where our discernment and wise judgment comes in.

There is nothing wrong with choosing not to associate with or accept certain kinds of behaviors. Jesus taught us to love one another but He never required us to like the negative actions that we might encounter.

I believe that the lesson is, to REmember that The Christ resides within each person, and that (no matter what) each individual has the divine essence within him or her… even if their actions don’t always appear express it.

I believe that we are being called to see The Christ within each other. If we don’t, if we are harsh and judgmental, it separates us from The Divine – from Spirit. And when were are separate, doesn’t that condemnation also hurt the one throwing the stone? It might certainly impede our travel on the spiritual path. So, we can choose to hold the intention of SEEING RIGHTLY.

Life is experienced through our beliefs and so two people can have the same life circumstance occur and still have a completely different experience. Here’s a good example of this:

Two people visiting Oregon from the eastern part of the U.S. wrote letters on the same day in March. One said “It’s a beautiful day in Oregon” and the other wrote “It’s the first day the sun has shone in a month.” Both told the truth. The difference was how they saw it.

It’s called “same place, different heart”  When we see life through the eyes of Spirit; with God’s eyes – we will see only good… all the time.

  • Let’s remember more often to trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s move from critic to coach!

When we treat one another with kindness and respect, it is like holding up a mirror of our true essence. There is a native saying that reads, “What you see with your eyes shut is what counts“. And that is how I believe that we can ALL practice experiencing our lives. By looking within and allowing Spirit to show us the Truth. And through this, we have the power to pronounce it good!

We can create a habit of asking Spirit to show us the Truth of the situation. And use our power as an expression of the Light to pronounce it good. That takes faith! To stand in the presence of a negative appearance and pronounce it good takes faith!

Jesus demonstrated that kind of faith when He decreed abundance in the face of lack and fed the multitudes. He decreed wholeness in the face of illness and the sick were healed! He decreed life and the dead were raised. Can you see the power of pronouncing life  GOoD no matter what the outer appearance may be telling us? And what did Jesus say?

Greater works than these shall ye do when you believe.

And I believe that means looking beyond the outer appearance and seeing the Truth!

Wait to see if what you believe now, ends up being other than you thought. Life looks different depending upon the season you’re traveling through.

In closing, I’d like to share just one more thought, which is that You and I are masters of our own worlds. We live in a universe that is responsive to our thoughts and beliefs and words… and we can transform our lives (AND the lives of others) by lifting our vision to the highest and best and choosing to see GOoD in every situation!

Ain’t God Good?!

Namaste My Friends!

An addendum to this message: I did discover in the Summer of 2011, that Sula had made her transition to the other side. I am certain that she did so with the ease and grace of which she lived her life. She continues to be an inspiration and an example for me to follow in my life, in my faith and in my JOY!

My Agape family in the Black Hills of South Dakota is very familiar with Sula’s favorite phrase;  “Ain’t God Good?!” We joyfully repeat it from time to time – and bless the Spirit of Sula Wolfe!

(Yes, Sula…God IS sooooooooooooooooo Good! I Love You!)

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