The Difference Between Judgment & Discernment

by Lissa Rankin – 

He cheated on his wife with a much younger employee.
She abandoned her newborn baby.
He drinks until he beats his children.
She manipulates her feminine wiles to get what she wants from men.
He took their hard-earned money and then squandered it for selfish motives.
She killed him.
He raped her.
She sells her body for money.
He heads up a sex trafficking ring.
She molests children.
He sells drugs to teenagers.

You might judge all of these people, labeling them as “immoral” or “wrong.” But as I described in my blog about being “spiritual but not religious,” I think spirituality is largely about choosing to withhold judgment, trusting that everyone’s soul is on its own journey, learning what it’s here to learn, and everyone is entitled to their own journey. 
I’m in no way condoning such behavior, but what if, instead of your judgment, you could perceive these individuals as suffering beings and offer them your love and compassion instead? What if Reverend John Watson was right when he said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle?” What if we all grew our empathy muscles instead of judging? 

To Judge or Not to Judge

As a child, I was raised to judge people who do “bad” things. The Methodist church told me these people would go to hell. Most of my family members taught me that only “good” people go to heaven and that I’d better be good myself if I want to go to heaven too.
But what if people who make choices like this were themselves raped, abused, or abandoned when they were young? What if they know not what they do?
Loving and accepting those who violate others is not about condoning the behavior or even tolerating it in your own life. It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences to this kind of behavior. Having compassion for those who engage in such behaviors doesn’t mean you must stay married to these people or even allow them into your social circle. It’s not only your right to set boundaries in the face of these kinds of behaviors; it’s imperative. But boundaries can exist in the absence of judgment. 
You can set limits that protect you and your loved ones without making someone wrong. Remember, judgment only burdens the judger. The minute you judge others, you lower your own vibration and step out of the vibration of love, which is the frequency of miracles. Judgment itself is the ultimate violation of all spiritual principles. Love and judgment simply cannot coexist. But love and discernment can.

Judge Your Neighbor

Byron Katie teaches what she calls “The Work” as a way to enter into spiritual inquiry around your judgments of others. As you can learn by filling out her “Judge Your Neighbor” worksheets (download one here), most of our judgments of others are actually judgments of disavowed shadow parts of ourselves. 
If you’re pointing a finger at someone else, it’s probably because it triggers something you don’t like about yourself. You’re probably not a serial killer or rapist, but perhaps you’re always killing your creativity or violating your integrity or raping your truth. Once you open yourself to self-compassion and forgiveness, compassion for the neighbor you judge follows.
I’ll be interviewing Byron Katie about this process as part of the bonus material for my upcoming National Public Television special The Fear Cure, so watch for it in February 2015 or read her books if you’re interested in learning more.
be love

Judgment Versus Discernment

So what’s the difference between judgment and discernment? Judgment says “You are bad so I don’t love you.” Discernment says “I love you and choose to set boundaries to limit my exposure to you.” Judgment closes the heart.
Discernment allows it to stay wide open but protected with clear boundaries. Discernment is the ultimate form of self care. 

It’s a way of promising yourself to only allow into your inner circle those who vibrate at the same frequency as you. It’s a promise to yourself to only stay close to those who respect your boundaries, treat you with kindness, choose to behave guided by integrity and know how to love you with their own open heart. 
This doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with people who choose to behave in ways you might not like. You can absolutely love and have compassion for people who might make choices you don’t agree with. But you’ll likely wind up in more of a mentoring role with these individuals—which is perfectly fine—but if you’re choosing to mentor someone, check your motivations. (Read the blog post Martha Beck inspired me to write; “Are You A Skanky Ho,” as a way to help you assess your motivation to be helpful.)
It’s perfectly appropriate to serve others as long as you’re clean in your motivation and it’s coming from a place of worthiness and self love. But you may find this hard to do as you first begin your spiritual journey. These individuals probably won’t serve you as members of your core inner circle tribe when you’re in the vulnerable beginning phases of walking your unique spiritual path. 
You may find it healthier and kinder to yourself to keep a little distance at first, at least until you’ve developed enough in your own spiritual growth to be able to be in the presence of lower vibration individuals without having it lower your own vibration.

It’s a Phase of Development

Don’t worry. You won’t need to do this forever. As you grow in your capacity to BE LOVE, you’ll find that you may be able to be close to others who are not where you are in your spiritual growth, even those you behave in ways that may be out of alignment with your own sense of integrity, without being negatively affected by their presence. Once you’re able to maintain clear energetic boundaries around those who operate at a lower vibration, your ability to hold your own vibration steady in the presence of others increases.
This doesn’t mean you’re required to let close those who choose to engage in harmful behaviors. It’s even okay to boundary against or discern into your outer circle those individuals who aren’t interested in moving beyond egoic consciousness. You might choose to grant yourself permission to only stay close to others who, like you, are committed to the spiritual path. It’s okay if you choose to do this! As Martha Beck once said to me, “Choose relationships that cultivate the stillness in you.” If you’re surrounded by drama, opt out.
There’s no need to keep people close in your life just because you feel bad for distancing yourself. If you’re motivated to stay in a relationship because you feel pity for someone, that should be a red flag to you that your motivation isn’t clean. It’s okay to grant yourself the yummy factor of only choosing to be close with those who are also committed to staying in alignment with their own integrity as they try to let their souls, not their egos, take the lead.

Discernment Increases Compassion

In Brene Brown’s research, she found that the most compassionate people were those with the highest boundaries. Because they protect their own boundaries, they can walk around with an unguarded heart while still feeling safe. If you feel like closing your heart is the only way to keep others out, you’ll wind up practicing less compassion.
Try seeing what it feels like to withhold judgment, open your heart and practice discernment. 

You just might find yourself experiencing an unbearable lightness of being. If nothing else, you’ll be free of the burden of judgment and can open yourself to more connection and a sense of Oneness with those around you.

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Spiritual Journey Awareness

by Valerie Sargent –

We’re all on a spiritual journey; even the homeless guy sitting on the corner asking for handouts. In fact, that homeless man may be living through a much more intense spiritual journey because he may be here to experience humility in a way that your soul did not find necessary for you to have to work through. Your level of awareness of your particular journey may be greater than the person sitting in the office next to you, but that person’s consciousness is expanding too. And so is the jerk who cut you off on the road earlier.
Since we are talking about spiritual journeys, once you are on that path, the way is often tricky and fraught with unpleasant experiences. “Wait, what?” You may be saying, eyes wide in disbelief: “I thought spirituality was all about love and light; bliss and peacefulness. I thought all of my dreams would come true and that I’d start earning more money!” Well, that is a good possibility but not before you do a little work first.

When one embarks on the conscious path to deepen knowing and expand awareness, all that has been buried has to surface, be acknowledged and accepted as part of who you are, then released and healed.
See my article about moving through a healing crisis here: moving-through-a-healing-crisis
Finding oneself and ultimately realizing (actually, re-membering) that we have innate wisdom within us, buried under lifetimes of old beliefs and patterns is hard work. It involves looking deep within yourself, accepting all of the choices that you have ever made. It requires forgiving yourself and everyone that you thought had ever hurt you. It demands loving yourself; your whole self exactly as you are in this moment, without conditions. And more. Yes, more.

It’s a choice to journey consciously and it takes courage and trust. It’s something that we are all doing and consciously or not, it still takes courage and trust. When you are not conscious of being on your spiritual journey, life just seems unfair, tough and as if everyone is against you.

Conscious or not, your soul is leading you to a state of expanded awareness. So that jerk who cut you off on the road today is expanding in awareness just like you are but he’s probably not aware of it; he may just feel like life is too stressful and he took it out on you.

Seeking your own deeper self is an undertaking that is well worth the hard work and the potential struggles. Peace to you on your journey.
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Whose Truth is True?

by Jennifer Hoffman –

We spend our lives wanting to know the truth because as we are told, ‘the truth shall set us free.’

But as we search for the truth we begin to see that there is not a single truth, everyone has a different version of the truth and even in our own lives, that which we think of as true can change many times.

So what is true and what is not true? If a truth changes, was it ever true in the first place? Will we ever know the truth? And when we know the truth, what happens to everything else we have known up to that time?

The truth is everything we believe based on all of our knowing and experience up until that moment in time. While we look for the truth as the final answer, it is actually what allows us to ask the next question.

Truth repeats itself, like an endless loop, until we uncover a new truth that allows us to move forward, beyond the former truth. Each truth leads to another truth and for each of us, that truth is highly personal and so individualized that it can only be true for us. While our truth is true for us, everyone’s truth is also true, for them. Can we connect with others from the point of our own truth? We can when our truth has points in common and there is no doubt present.

The truth that we deserve love, for example, is true for us. And we must have an unshakable belief in this truth to attract love. But what happens if we find someone who doesn’t believe we are lovable? Is our truth still true? What about their truth? Is it true for us too?

Our truth is not affected when it cannot be validated by someone else, it simply means that it isn’t true for them. They can’t validate that we are lovable because they must have a corresponding truth-that they are lovable. If they do not hold that truth, then they cannot validate it for someone else. But we take this as a sign that our truth is not true and use it to judge ourselves, our truths, our being and our life.

Whoever we ask to validate our truth must have a corresponding truth. If not, they cannot validate ours. So the person who cannot accept you as lovable has issues with accepting themselves as lovable.

When we want others to validate our truth we are taking truth down a path that it wasn’t meant to follow.

Because when we ask others to establish what is true for us, we are speaking from our doubt instead of faith in our own truth.

If we can’t convince ourselves of our truth, we won’t find anyone to do the job for us. What do you believe is true about you? Can you hold that truth no matter how others respond or react?

Are you able to create from your truth in this moment and know that once you have made this true, you are ready for the next step on your life? Find your truth about yourself, engrave it permanently on your heart and within your being so you hold fast to your truth and use it to manifest your life in the way you want to live it.

Shadow Work

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by Debbie Ford –

The Shadow Process gives us access to loving all of ourselves. This deep and profound work teaches us how to love each and every aspect of our humanity. It enables us to embrace both the darkness of our smallest self and the brilliant light of our highest self. Making peace with our dark side is a sacred journey. It demands rigorous honesty, courage and a great deal of compassion. Embracing our shadow delivers us emotional wholeness and the absolute freedom to be who we are. When we are filled with self-love and self-appreciation, we automatically attract the miraculous experience of love and appreciation from others.

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What is the Shadow?

The shadow contains all the parts of ourselves that we try to hide, deny or suppress. It is the keeper of all the aspects of ourselves that we dislike and the qualities that we judge as unacceptable. The shadow wears many faces: angry, critical, fearful, lazy, controlling, selfish, weak, pathetic… These are the faces we don’t want to show the world and the faces we don’t want to show ourselves. Most of us expend huge amounts of energy trying to get rid of or control these unwanted aspects of ourselves. We hope that by hiding or fixing our “bad qualities” we will have the peace, success and happiness we desire. Most of us are convinced that we are flawed and inadequate so we become masters of disguise, and go to great lengths to hide our bad qualities from those around us – even from ourselves.

The result of turning our backs on our dark side? A life that slips by only half lived. Dreams that are never realized, or worse, that lay buried under years of resignation and shame. Until we make peace with our shadow we will continue to be at war with ourselves. And our outer world will mirror our inner struggle. What we resist persists – and we will create and attract from others that which we most dislike in ourselves. Until we feel authentic compassion for each and every aspect of ourselves, we will continue to draw forth people and events that will mirror the negative feelings we have about ourselves. Until we take back our power and forgive ourselves for being human we will attract people who push our buttons and reactivate our emotional wounds. And until we find the courage to love ourselves completely, we will never truly be able to experience the love from those around us.

We don’t need to guess how we really feel about ourselves at the deepest level. All we have to do is look at how the outer world treats us. If we’re not getting the respect, love and appreciation we desire from the outer world, it’s more than likely we aren’t giving these things to ourselves. This is the benevolence of the Universe in action. The whole world is a mirror of our own consciousness, and when we make peace with the disowned aspects of ourselves, we make peace with the world.

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Embracing The Shadow

The process of embracing our shadow side calls us to uncover the gifts and receive the wisdom hidden within each and every aspect of ourselves, particularly the ones that we are ashamed of or embarrassed by. Rather than viewing our weakness, our smallness, our insecurities or our rage as enemies or as obstacles to moving forward in our lives, this process guides us to embrace our so-called defects as the powerful teachers that they are. The Shadow Process is founded on the understanding that every quality, every emotion and every experience comes bearing great gifts. Once we learn how to uncover these gifts we become the powerful masters of our lives.

We develop the ability to transform thoughts, beliefs or situations that once held us back into fuel for our spiritual evolution and the manifestation of our dreams. Embracing our shadow allows us to reclaim the power we once gave away. When we are at peace within ourselves, our self-esteem no longer depends on the approval of others. Our own sense of self-worth is no longer at the mercy of how other people feel about us. When we receive the gifts of our dark side, something truly miraculous occurs. Our wounds are transformed into wisdom and the parts of us we once believed to be our deepest flaws are revealed as our greatest assets.

Embracing our shadows is the ultimate act of self-love. There is no greater love than the one that allows us to shine a light on the aspects of ourselves that we have judged and made wrong. Embracing our dark side gives us a new found freedom to be with the darkness in others. For when I can love all of me, I will love all of you. Shadow work is the path of the heart warrior. It takes us to a new place where we can open our hearts to all of ourselves and all of humanity.

Shadow work is not about perfection; it’s about integration. It is the path of reclaiming each and every aspect of ourselves and discovering how that aspect can serve us. It requires us to look at our lives from the perspective that we have been given everything we need to fulfill our hearts’ desires. And the greatest of these gifts lies hidden in our shadow. If we look for the gift of our weakness, we may find that it has actually given us strength or that it has allowed us to be supported by others. The gift of our fear might be our determination or our ability to set good boundaries. The gift of an upsetting situation is that it could lead us to read a life-changing book. The gifts of our pain are here for us to receive, but first we must be willing to look for them.

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Through the Eyes of the Divine

Each of us must make the conscious choice to step out of the belief that we are victims of our lives and open up to the possibility that we have created our particular circumstances for a reason. We must commit to looking at our lives as though each and every quality, person and circumstance has been drawn to us in order to give us specific insights and wisdom. This requires us to examine each aspect of ourselves and our lives and ask, “Why would I need this? How could this be a catalyst for me to grow and evolve? How could this quality or situation serve me in creating the life I desire?” Transformation requires nothing more than having a shift in perception. It is choosing to look at our lives in a way that empowers us rather than disempowers us. At its core, this process requires us to make the choice to see ourselves through the eyes of the Divine.

I believe that the shadow is the greatest gift that God could give us. It is the teacher, the trainer, and the guide that supports us in uncovering our true magnificence. The shadow is not a problem to be solved or an enemy to be conquered, but a fertile field to be cultivated. Dig your hands into its rich soil and you will discover the potent seeds of the person you most desire to be. Our most hated, feared or shamed qualities are the ones that hold the key to living the life of our dreams. What the Shadow Process provides is a way to love what we have feared, to decode the messages we receive from within and to unleash the power that is hidden within you.

debbieford.com

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True Joy

by Joseph Naft –

Clouds cannot hide the sun forever; joy eventually breaks through. We discover joy in our friendships, in nature, in loving our family, in spontaneous humor, in delicious food, in meaningful and interesting work. In coming to know joy, we find the important distinction between pleasure and joy by examining their relationship with time.

Pleasures always remain time-bound and fleeting, whereas joy transcends all boundaries. Pleasure often contains its opposite, as we dread losing the moment or the object of pleasure or we desire more — a grasping laden with suffering. Standing as its own timeless quality, joy has no opposite.

In the spiritual path, we may enter true joy that can suffuse our entire life, creating a continuing background of natural and buoyant happiness. Such joy develops gradually over the years of inner work, although we may experience intense flashes of it.

As our contact with the eternal source of joy grows, we relinquish our fears of the inevitable end of every time-bound moment of pleasure, appreciating pleasures as they come, eschewing the endless quest for pleasure, and transforming pleasure into joy. The source of joy works both through and beyond our material pleasures. Even in the midst of pain, joy remains itself.

The simplest, most ordinary moments can reveal the spirited glow of a joyous world unbound. As our presence deepens, the veils of our perception grow translucent even before they dissolve altogether in our maturing soul. The consuming fire of total-hearted prayer and the hidden worlds of meditation bear unimaginable joy, surpassing all material pleasures. From those points of entry, joy works its way into the fabric of our life.

Though sometimes considered a joyless enterprise, the spiritual path affords true joy where there was little or none. A few moments ecstasy in a lifetime of labor do not approach the ever-growing joy nurtured through persistent spiritual practice. Even a small portion of transformation, a slight loosening of the bonds of egoism, widens our context of spontaneous joy in life, in work, in family, in friends, in nature and in the Source of all joy.

innerfrontier.org

♥Angel Love♥

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The Way to Go

the path to love Pictures, Images and Photos

by D. Muller –

Intuition, also called the Inner Voice is the physical, mental and spiritual expression of the Inner Being through the body. It can be felt in the Solar Plexus (around the stomach area) as well as “known” in the mind. It is called the “silent” Inner Voice because it does not speak in language but it would be better described as a “knowingness”. It is the Voice of God within each of us, of who we really are in essence. Therefore it is also the part of us that has always been innocent and Loving.

The Ego on the other hand is purely a mental projection, it speaks to us via a continuous thought stream (the monkey mind as buddhists say) and enhances and sustains these thoughts via strong emotions like fear and desire. It”s goal is opposite to that of the Inner Voice. It”s goal is to fulfill it”s every desire, avoid anything it doesn”t want and remain in the illusion of separateness from everything “else” in the Universe.

A good analogy to clarify the concept of the Inner Voice versus Ego would be the little angel and devil on the shoulder you may have seen in old comic strips and cartoons. Both the “angel” and the “devil” are telling us things from moment to moment – Intuition via a “silent knowingness” and ego via thoughts and strong emotions. As in the cartoons, who eventually wins the battle is up to the free will choice of the individual they”re sitting on.

The reason most people seem to be so deeply involved with their ego is because most of us have, through the use of Free Will, given in frequently to the thoughts that arise from it. Like a little seed that eventually grows into a tree when given water, the ego also grows with every single thought that is given in to. The soil in this case is the subconsciousness. As most of us reading this (including myself) have experienced, there can be no harder battles and the results of this battle can be seen around the world.

There are however methods that have been used for thousands of years that can aid us in this fight, which, if done right, should not be a fight at all. Meditation in any form that works for you is the first and foremost method to overcome the mental chatter and thoughts that arise from Ego. Meditation in this case means focusing – focusing on breathing, on a picture, a sound etc. whatever works for you, and letting go of all the mental chatter that is going on in our minds. Through meditation we can thus still the mind and stop giving attention to each of those destructive seeds in our subconsciousness that are the cause of most of our actions and the suffering that results from that.

When our mind is sufficiently stilled we cannot help but become aware of all the suffering that is going around in the world. It seems to bear down on us like an incredibly heavy weight but by Loving our neighbours unselfishly that weight will become bearable. In doing so the cup that used to be filled to the brim with ego, will by and by, be emptied with our humility and be filled and overflowing with Love. Thus we will again be able to follow and eventually manifest from moment to moment, our Inner Being/God/the Universal Spirit.

projectinspireonline.com

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Traveling the Path to Inner Peace

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by Rose Windale –

Many people like to be in the company of other people. Whether it be their partner, their friends, colleagues or even strangers. There are people who would just want to hear the noise of daily living- the hustle and bustle, the hurrying and harrying. Are you one of these people? Perhaps you have been so busy listening to what the news say, or what your boss’ orders are, or what your partner says that you have eventually failed to listen to yourself.

The noise of the outside world has made you lose touch with what you truly want or need. Your life may have become routine and mechanical. Until you have forgotten the needs of your true essence. You are more than your physical self. More than what you can see and touch about you, there is a humanity deep inside you.

Are you doing something to cultivate your humanity, or at least your awareness? Perhaps you have been looking outside to things which you think will fulfill you. But then again, you might be looking in the wrong direction. Because to find what it is that will truly make you happy, you have to look within.

Once you have come to terms with who you are and what you really want, only then can you find inner peace. Inner peace. These words are so sweet, and for many people, it is merely an ideal. These people think that inner peace is something which only spiritual gurus and adepts can attain.

But they have to know that these masters had to start somewhere until they found the bliss of inner peace. A common, average person that you think you are, you may think that you will be confined to a humdrum everyday existence. But human as you are, you have a spirit.

Heed the call of your spirit, and you will find what will truly make you happy. Because your spirit is your essence and it is that which can only make you truly live. The more in touch you are with your spirit, the nearer you are to achieving peace of mind.

By setting out into the journey into yourself and your spirit, you will find inner peace. But such an inward journey is an arduous one. Just as you would fight against adversaries in your mundane undertakings, the journey towards finding yourself means battling with your own inner demons. It is a painstaking process until you find peace with yourself and your spirit.

It is a matter of will and choice. Of choosing to love and forgive rather than to hate. Of choosing to be thankful rather than being resentful. Of choosing to understand rather than judge. And ultimately just choosing to be at peace and be peace. Practice love and compassion, but start with yourself.

Love and forgive yourself, and choose to be compassionate to you. Only then will you know what these words truly mean and you can render them to others. Find harmony within you, and it will begin to reflect into your outer world. To find what it is that you truly want, look nowhere else but within you.

The peace and happiness that you harbor within you will manifest on the outside, and you will begin to see the world in a different light. In the light of eyes that see.