Today’s blog explores writing as a viable tool in the process of discernment – opening us up to our truth and showing us the way.
Discernment, in the context of the spiritual journey, is a formal process through which we allow ourselves to be open to determining the Divine call in our life. In other words, it is through discernment that we test if something is “of God” (life-giving, freeing, leading us toward peace, contentment and joy) or of the “false-self” or “ego” (constricting, rooted in fear, leading us toward struggle, futility, sorrow, etc.). Discernment is a tricky process because the ego likes to give us ideas, opportunities, etc. that seem shiny, glittering and appealing to our vanity. God, however, only gives us that which is in our highest good, that which will help us to identify and make use of our spiritual gifts and that which will lead us toward a sense of fulfillment and peace. My preference is the God-path, which is why I try to enter into careful discernment before making any major life decisions.
Tools for the Journey
When entering into a process of discernment, I have found several tools to be helpful:
- The company and help of my Spiritual Director and other close spiritual friends who I know can be objective and honest with me
- My spiritual practices: meditation (which often includes scripture), prayer, contemplation, yoga
These are the tools I employ on a regular basis anyway, but most importantly when discerning major life decisions. Today I want to speak specifically about writing as a tool for discernment.
Divine Revealing Truth
As I discuss in chapter eight of Authentic Freedom, the Divine knows what is in our highest good and desires for us to know this as well…AND….there are an infinite number of ways in which the Divine reveals our truth and our path to us: intuition, dreams, knowledge, learning, life circumstances, nature, relationships, coincidences, creative imagination, physical and spiritual sight, etc. etc. etc. Spiritual Writing/Journaling is one of the ways that the Divine can reveal truth to us and one of the tools that I have found helpful and supportive in my own journey. (I’m sure it helps that I am a writer by nature). There are many ways to approach writing as a tool that can be used in the process of discernment. (Spiritual Journaling by Julie Tallard Johnson is a great resource to get you started on the path of utilizing writing as a spiritual tool.) Below are a few examples of how you might use writing as a tool for discernment in your own journey:
- Imagination Contemplation: Read a scripture narrative, a work of mythology or a fairytale, looking for a character that jumps out at you. Re-read the story from the perspective of that character, then spend 15-20 minutes imagining the story as it unfolds from the perspective of your chosen character. Let your imagination run wild, allowing all the details to flow into the story. Now write what surfaced in your imagination. Read what you wrote, asking yourself how that showed up might be reflective of things going on in your own journey. What might God be revealing to you in the story that showed up in your imagination.
- Automatic writing: At the top of your page, write a question or direction you are pondering. Take a few moments in silence to allow yourself to come to a place of peaceful calm, then putting pen to paper, allow the Divine to reveal the answer to your question through your writing. Just let your pen go, not censoring, second-guessing, etc. Then go back and read the answer.
- Choose a Word: Choose a word that is part of your life at the moment: loss, pain, love, joy, green, landscape, stones, sand, water, sunshine, broken glass, then write TO that word. (not about it….TO it). See what shows up. You might be surprised.
You Never Know What Might Show Up
Writing as a tool for discernment has become part of my everyday life….but sometimes it shows up in amazing, strange and enlightening ways. I have recently been working with creative writing teacher, Prudence Tippins, to help me move through some blocks that have surfaced related to the current book I am writing (more about that later!). The assignments she has been giving me have been mostly related to things going on in my life that have been part of our weekly consultations…relationships, work, new life, etc. But last week she threw me a prompt that seemingly came out of nowhere: “Write about the Duties of the High Priestess.” WHAT? Where did that come from? But here’s what showed up:
The High Priestess
Hearing truth beyond words
Seeing truth beyond illusion
Speaking truth beyond falsehood
Being truth beyond fear
Reaching beyond the veil
Grasping what seeks to be born
Bringing it forth into the world
Midwife to new life
Channel of the Divine
Showing others the way
And now I have to wonder, what might God be trying to tell me?
How might writing be a tool that you can begin to explore in your own spiritual journey?
How has God revealed truth to you through your writing?
Authentic Freedom Ministries