Sunday, March 27, 2016

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 90

This is the daily exploration for March 30, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DISCERNMENT

+ Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When people really listen to each other in a quiet, fascinated attention, the creative fountain inside each of us begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected wisdom.
— Brenda Ueland quoted in Finding What You Didn't Lose by John Fox

+ Way back in 1971, humorist Erma Bombeck wrote that it seems "rather incongruous that in a society of supersophisticated communication, we often suffer from a shortage of listeners." She was not only perceptive but prophetic.

This week, help reverse the trend. Look for a way each day to listen to someone, letting go of any other agenda. Remember all the tools at your disposal: concentrated silence, a nod, simple words of support like "um hmm" or "oh?" or "wow!" Reflect back what you hear the other person saying, so that they can hear themselves more clearly. Ask follow-up questions like "How come?" or "What happened then?" Offer gentle encouragement to someone by your unconditionally accepting presence. It's okay if that someone is yourself.
-- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

+ Discernment happens more and more frequently and authentically as we develop the ability to really listen to others.  Instead of thinking of what you are going to say next, how about saying nothing or asking a question (preferably open-ended) or offer a statement which shows you understand or are trying to understand.  Be fascinated by each and every person  you meet, by every event and even every thought and feeling.  Try to think outside of the box.  See things in new and different ways.  Trust the process.  Let go of any need to control situations in your life.  You usually don’t have to and you benefit by letting go.  This is the process of creativity which produces more and more compassion, peace, justice and sustainable abundance. 

It is important to realize that much of the significant discernment in our lives happens in groups where people share experiences, ideas and wisdom.  Group discernment is as important as individual discernment.

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the practice of discernment. The quotes above are both found in S&P.  

+ Spirituality & Practice offers a Memes Gallery on Listening. The meme above is in that gallery.

+ Spirituality & Practice offers 37 Spiritual Practices with an abundance of ideas and resources for this essential practice. Some of my favorites are Attention, Being Present, Connections, Enthusiasm, Imagination, Listening, Meaning, Openness, Questing, Reverence, Silence, Transformation and Vision. Pick one or 2 and see where you are led as you continue to discern your purpose, your path, your mission, your next step.

+ I have work to do on my Discernment page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Discernment” to John@abundancetrek.com

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