Discernment is the ability to perceive from diverse perspectives, explore subtleties and nuance, and seek clarity and guidance from a place of broad awareness and inclusion.
- Practicing discernment counteracts a primal tendency to be narrow and closed.
- Choices made after a period of discernment feel more congruent in body and mind.
- To discern includes pausing and tuning into our perceptive centers in the head, heart, gut, and core… which avoids head-only decisions that do not take into account what matters to us.
- Discernment is a core aspect of intuitive guidance.
Our body-mind is designed to filter out sensations and pass through the ones it has “decided” are the most important. Alas, most of the louder sensations are about survival and can evoke fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
When we we take a powerful pause and ask, “What am I noticing?” …we’re inviting a broader not-just-survival perspective.
What am I noticing in my body? My limbs? My lower body? My gut? My heart? And yes, my head, too?
What emotions am I feeling in the parts of my body that I’m noticing?
Am I noticing conflict… congruence… heaviness… or lightness? How is my inner world interacting with what is outside of me in the environment?
What’s my current state of being? Do I need to shift before I am able to discern this from other perspectives?
Noticing with the intention to enhance our discernment helps us to travel within our body’s guidance system. We get to feel and interpret intuitive impulses that are much quieter and more subtle than noisy fears and doubts. A useful portal into this exploration can simply be to say to yourself… Hmmmm… what am I noticing here? And what else?
Our primitive brain cares about survival, not thriving. Discerning when the primitive brain is activated and driving our behavior (and the behavior of others) is a core skill.
But how do we know?
Well, do we want to run and hide? That’s the flight part of the primitive brain.
Are we feeling defensive? Arguing? Attacking? Aggressive and righteous? Well, that’s the fight reflex.
Are we checking out, going numb, turning on the TV or zoning out with social media? Is there a helpless feeling or even an inability to act or move? That’s the freeze response.
Are we striving to please someone at all costs (even the cost of our self-worth)? Are we making the other person right and powerful and been meek and ashamed (even if we’re not sure why we feel so submissive)? That’s fawn – one of the lesser understood aspects of our survival circuitry.
Discernment practice helps us notice in retrospect: “Oh! I was triggered. My primitive brain took over and I just needed to…” With that discernment, we can use EFT Tapping and other ways to release and adapt to open up fresh options when such situations arise in the future (and they probably will…).
Noticing these triggered behaviors in others helps us not get pulled into the primal drama, too. “Oh, feels like their primitive brain feels threatened. Maybe we need to take a pause here and see if we can co-regulate or at least not end up running or fighting or traumatizing each other!”
- What am I noticing?
- How might I see this differently?
- Are there any parts of me that perceive this from a different vantage point?
- Does it feel the same in my head as it does in my heart and gut?
- If I imagine someone else who cares about this, too, how might they view what’s happening and what’s important here?
- Am I or any of the other people locked into primitive brain reactions right now?
- Confused?! What if nothing is wrong? - Real Skills Workshop
- What questions help you gain clarity? - Topic
Body Guidance, Clarity, Awareness, Powerful Pause, Primitive Brain, Diversity, Wisdom
We invite you to share your experiences and wisdom:
- Life examples where this concept has played a role
- Other useful questions
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