Marker In The Woods: Using Discernment As A Tool To Better Understand Life.
In the thickets of this experience here on earth, it can sometimes feel like we are lost in a forest, leaving breadcrumbs for ourselves down different trails as markers to map out our understandings.
We don’t always see everything laid out neatly, and it takes us a few lessons with laps around the same part of the woods until we can feel that we have developed the necessary insight and clarity to enter a new chapter.
There is a core marker I use as a compass to help me gauge the internal and external reality by recognizing the duality embedded within nature.
If we can observe an instinct, emotion or quality through the lens of having both a positive and negative expression, we can build our discernment in any given circumstance to aid in reclaiming our sovereignty through trusting our inner sight.
Here are a few examples of how we can use this tool to better understand life:
Desire has a mixed reception for many walking a spiritual path. That’s because so many volatile things have been said about desire. But if we were to take up an unbiased examination of what role desire plays in our life, we would resolve that desire is the spirit’s wish to experience something.
In an unadulterated way, desire is the fuel of existence. A yearning to be.
The negative expression of desire takes a turn down the wrong highway and blinds us as unruly cravings that have no end. The ability to be present with ourselves or satiated in this form of desire is a losing battle.
Also keep in mind the opposite effect, where we have renounced desire altogether and have a repulsion to the idea of us having desire because we have picked up some spiritual or religious teaching along the way that held desire in a negative light.
To attain a desire-free state seems to be a desired goal for some.
Ambition runs along the same lines as desire where we hold either positive or negative associations of what being ambitious means.
There is healthy ambition which is self-loving because we are pursuing an aim we wish to achieve. Thwn there is the Lady Macbeth flavor of ambition, where we are power-driven to any lengths or means necessary to possess that which we shamelessly covet.
Even paradox, the alchemical philosopher, has a fractured twin by the name dissonance. It is one thing to observe the paradoxical laws of the universe, and an entirely other thing to have cognitive dissonance.
Another example is judgment and its exalted counterpart, discernment, which are both constantly being confused with each other. The struggle has never been more real as when telling judgment from discernment.
Discernment is the intuition of the brain. It is the hard-won clarity from learning a life lesson and the transmutation that occurs once the fruit of knowledge has been consumed and fully digested into wisdom. Judgment, on the other hand, is the ego’s way of protecting its own superiority or lack of information.
Even when it comes to the ego, we see the positive and negative attributes inherent. The ego is the equipment that allows us to experience ourselves as a focal point of creation. It is our identity, and contrary to many spiritual teachings, it is the vehicle we came here to learn to love ourselves through.
However, when the ego is inflamed, it blocks us from seeing the unity we share with all of creation by over-identifying with its experience of separateness. If the ego goes unchecked, we can become a slave to indulging its limited perspective and molding a tyrannical psyche that perceives any self-correction as a threat to its kingdom.
This is like a pixel on steroids.
You can shock someone out of trauma, and you can shock someone into trauma. Both ways break the self apart in order to reconfigure the physiology.
Humbleness is the surrender to the mystery. It is a state of reverence and awe, even if we don’t always get to that state the way we would like, and have to be humbled into humbleness. If humbleness is a companion on your journey, you are in wise company.
Yet, to chronically see ourselves as insignificant and carry humbleness as a cross on our back is a constant burden to remind us how futile our attempts are. There is nothing enlightening about that. That’s spiritual abuse.
Pride is a beautiful emotion to allow ourselves to feel, unless it is the kind of pride that builds walls around ourselves to avoid intimacy or feelings of inferiority.
There is a healthy form of fear that protects us by alerting ourselves to immediate danger, and then there is the inability to turn off our fear body’s response trigger so that we are chronically shut down in fear on a physiological level. Dancing is one of many medicines we can use to help treat this issue of the hyperactive fear body.
Darkness is usually equated with bad and evil, while light is known as consciousness and good. Yet, darkness is also the void. It is the blank canvas from which creation is brought forth, and light can be over-favored to the point where our relationship to the light accidentally forges an aversion to darkness: the very thing in need of light.
This can make our love for the light more theoretical than actual.
I hope I’ve shed some light on the various ways our understandings can get us lost and found, but mine is a consciously optimistic kind of hope. Not the kind of hope where one is recklessly throwing darts at the board in order to avoid facing their inner doubts.
Apply when necessary.
Sarah Elkhaldy is the author of How to Set Yourself on Fire, her debut poetry book that acts as a hand-guide to the oldest pastime known to our kind: existing. In addition to her poetry, Sarah is a spoken word performing artist and a Certified Quantum Sphere healer. She likes to refer to herself simply as an existential detective.