With curiosity and a wish for more, Tess picked up on the distinction between judgment and discernment in the post on Intuitive living, and I can only agree: it is a distinction which piqued my curiosity as well.
“You may have noticed that we have never discussed forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a concept of the All. Forgiveness implies judgment. Forgiveness implies right and wrong. Your Western culture and religions have created the concepts of sin and forgiveness as a way of controlling people’s minds. Judgment was created in this way. (You must understand judgment as being different from discernment. Discernment is an important skill to develop.) There is no place for judgment. The concepts of sin and forgiveness and redemption are not concepts borne out of Love. Love is within each one of you, bestowing mercy upon you in each moment of your existence.” [As voiced by Spirit.]
Judgment is a concept I am very familiar with. I have judged others, but more than that, I have judged myself. Over and over again. And harshly, at that. For me, judgment is centered around right and wrong. I judge you as being wrong – and instantly I place myself on the rung above you, because I know the difference, I know what’s wrong, and what’s right, and you are failing, miserably. And the same goes for myself, even though it’s an internal hierarchical set-up enabling me some how to place myself above myself.
I’ve let go of my default setting to judge, something which I know my surroundings also pick up on. In the words of a friend who’s known me for thirty plus years: “You used to be so black and white, Helena, but nowadays you reside in the grey shades in-between; you always see both sides of a situation, and are not prone to judge either side as right or wrong”, which I took as a great compliment.
I haven’t really given any thought whatsoever – consciously at least – to the concept of discernment, but I do find it intriguing. It does go hand in hand with my favorite saying though, that being: How does this serve me/you? That’s discernment for me, now that I think of it.
To discern (According to my Apple Thesaurus: perceive, make out, pick out, detect, recognize, notice, observe, see, spot; identify, determine, distinguish, differentiate, discriminate, tell apart; become cognizant of, become aware of, become conscious of) what works right now, and what doesn’t. What will further my path ahead, and what will not. What will serve me – or not. That, for me, is discernment.
And I can be very clear when I communicate from my place of discernment. I don’t have to be wishy-washy (Thesaurus again: feeble, ineffectual, weak, vapid, milk-and-water, effete, spineless, limp, limp-wristed, namby-pamby, half-hearted, spiritless, irresolute, indecisive; informal wet, pathetic, weak-kneed; Brit. informal half-arsed. Love that last one!) about it at all, I can stand very firm in what serves me or not.
Just because I don’t go for judging a situation any more, whatever it is, doesn’t mean I cannot make my meaning, my belief, my understanding, my needs even, heard. On the contrary. I can do just that but I come from a context of non-judgment, which to my experience, makes it so much easier for the people in my surrounding to accept whatever it is I am asking or pointing out. And this I think is the clue: I am not saying “I am right, you are wrong, and anyone who’s wrong is inherently bad!“. I am saying “This is what I need right now. You might need something other than me, which is fine. I respect your needs, and you respect mine, and we’ll deal with the consequences. Together.“
Thank you Tess for asking me to expand on the concepts of judgment vs discernment – this has been most helpful. I feel elated to have discovered that my default setting of today (since letting go of judgment) of asking how this serves me, is an excellent guide in helping me be more discerning in life.
And by the way – as I look in the Thesaurus, judgment is a word that pops up to define discernment, so I cannot say that my understanding of these two concepts and how they relate to one another is accurate. For you, that is. Because it certainly holds true for me.
0 thoughts on “Judgment vs discernment”
Yes, right/wrong is certainly part of Judgment. But as you elaborate on it above, I think you express something even more fundamental: seeing me as higher on the rung, as more worthy, of more of a human. This good/bad, high/low value is the core of judgement for me, and it’s what I target in my mindfulness practice: seeing, observing without judging, without labelling with good/bad.
Thanks for sharing this and exploring it deeper for me and yourself (and everyone)!
Totally agree with both you and Sara. Sometimes when I am in my discernment mode, I get picked on by someone else who tells me that they want me to stop judging others. And I usually get upset, because that is not what I am doing. And then it hits me….at the time when the other person tells me to stop. I am judging that person. Then it turns into black or white again.
And I do love to spend more time in the gray, in the shadows between black and white, to tread gently to see where it might be serving me….