In the journey toward spiritual awakening, growth and enlightenment, discernment is one of the tools we are invited to embrace along the way. Discernment is the formal process that allows us to distinguish truth (that which is of God) and untruth (that which is of the Ego). In the process of discernment, we are invited to beware of shiny objects!
Credit to a Friend
First off, I have to give credit to my friend and Executive Everything, Jennifer Dutch (http://guidedassist.com) for coining this warning, “Beware of shiny objects.” She is a master of language, especially fabulous words and phrases 😉 and she used this warning in connection with a discussion around the topic of discernment. In other words, all that glitters is not gold. These are important cliches to keep in mind when exploring the path of truth and seeking out that which is in our highest good.
Discernment is the formal, and sometimes everyday, process that we go through so that we may distinguish truth from non-truth. As we grow along the spiritual path, we come to understand that the Universe (aka God/Highest Self, The All), knows what is in our highest good and desires for us to know and choose that path. Unfortunately, we don’t always take the time to LISTEN or to HEAR or BELIEVE what that highest truth might be. And sometimes, we might know what is in our highest good, or have a sense of it, but decide, “Well, that’s not what I want or had planned,” and we ignore that voice of truth and forge another path that in the end, will not be as life-giving or fulfilling as what is really in our highest good. Afterall, we are prone to toddler-like temper tantrums in that “we want what we want when we want it.” Sometimes the Universe has other plans.
Truth vs Ego
I feel like perhaps I have beat this dead horse, but, the process of distinguishing the voice of God/Truth/Love/Compassion/Freedom from the voice of the Ego/False-Self is an on-going, life-long process and a process we never truly perfect. In short, the voice of truth leads us to contentment, fulfillment, compassion, joy, peace, bliss, harmony, balance…and most importantly…..EXPANSION. Truth makes us bigger….more free….we know who we are, we know our gifts, and we freely and joyfully share them in the world….in service to others. The voice of the ego/false-self is rooted in fear and leads to constriction, imprisonment, bondage, slavery. The false-self keeps us small, afraid, worried, anxious, covetous, greedy, gluttonous, jealous, controlling, slothful and prideful. In my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, I explore the seven deadly “sins” as the result of continuing to choose the false self. Sometimes, the voice of the false self is obvious, glaring, easy to identify. An example of this might be the decision not to ask for our needs to be met because we are afraid that we will be rejected. Easy to identify. On the other hand, the voice of the false-self can also be really sneaky, disguising itself as attractive, glamorous, something we want and desire….these are the shiny objects we are invited to avoid.
The false-self/ego disguises itself as glittery, shiny objects in an attempt to trick us from the path of truth, to make us think it is something that would be in our highest good when in fact, it is really something that could be damaging or hurtful and could lead us from the path of truth. It is this detour from truth that is the ultimate goal of the shiny object disguise. It may seem that these shiny objects are rooted in our highest truth, and in fact, there is a spec of our truth wrapped up in the shiny object, but at its deepest core, it is indeed rooted in our fear. An example of this shiny object disguise might be a crush. Let’s say that you meet someone, you find something in that person to be attractive, something that you recognize as a quality you would like in a partner…so far so good, right….but then, you suddenly find yourself obsessed with this person, you think about them day and night, you fantasize about them, you seek out opportunities to be in their presence or to learn more about them…you feel excited, anxious, tittilated by thoughts of them…you can’t get them out of your head. Sounds like falling in love, right? WRONG! This is a shiny object…glittering, glamorous, seemingly rooted in truth “I feel called to be in a healthy, intimate relationship.” But let’s look deeper ….. let’s look at the fears that drive the “obsessive” behaviors…the infatuation….”I’m afraid I won’t find someone to love me.” “I’m afraid to be alone.” “I need a partner in order to be complete, fulfilled, happy.” “What if they don’t love me in return.” “I’m too old, fat, ugly, stupid for someone to love me.” “I’m really not worthy of healthy intimacy and love.” “I need to be loved now, I can’t wait to get to know this person, to be friends, to discern if we are called to a loving, intimate relationship, or if we might just be called to be friends.” Sound familiar? Got the picture? Iin choosing actions that are secretly rooted in our fears, our false perceptions, our compulsions, all we are doing is choosing the path to our own misery, co-dependency, unhappiness, regret, constriction. What would happen if instead, we took the time to carefully discern before picking up what on the outside looks glittery and glamorous? Beware of shiny objects.
Where do you recognize the “shiny objects” that have been present in your own journey?
Where are you taking time to listen, hear and believe the voice of truth in your life?
Where are you indulging the voices of fear?
Authentic Freedom Ministries