Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors.

 

Lois 

Welcome to the podcast More to Life with Faith and Lois.

 

Faith 

I’m Faith.

 

Lois 

And I’m Lois.

 

Faith 

Our podcast explores the things you face in life that inspire and daunt you.

 

Lois 

Greetings to you Faith.

 

Faith 

 Greetings to you too Lois.

 

Lois 

It is just so much fun to be here in this month of discernment.

 

Faith 

I love discernment with you.

 

Lois 

It’s just influencing the people I hang around with and looking at them. And last week’s conversation on the body really gave me a lot of tools for myself. And a reminder that yes, what I put in what I take out and what I do to it really makes a difference in how I interact in all other spaces of my life.

 

Faith 

It’s amazing when we just listen for a moment or two.

 

Lois 

Yes, it is. And so if for some reason you missed that podcast, we would love for you to hear it. So go to www.moretolifewithfaithanadlois.com please or go to any podcast app that you might have, and you can listen to us, you’ll find us everywhere. We also have a newsletter. Did you know that we have a newsletter that you can get from our website? So go to our website and sign up for that newsletter, and we’ll make sure that you get our podcast every Tuesday. So today we are on Episode 116: How does discernment influence spirituality?

 

Faith 

Oh, this is going to be good.

 

Lois 

It’s gonna be good because you’re such an intuitive sort, Faith. So how does this ability to discern interact with spirituality?

 

Faith 

I think it’s one of the areas that is really vital in our lives is that we can move into which we’ve talked about how discernment is not judgment, but we can move into judgment around spirituality pretty quickly, and judge other people’s experiences and tend to project our connection or lack of or how we view spirituality on to other people. So this is a real sense. Sort of area of discernment. But it’s vital. It’s critical to add to the relationships that we have with people and also for ourselves as to how we step into it. So for me, because of my experiences and because of the things that I grew up with as a child and had to discern what was real and what was not real, I truly do believe I have a heightened sense of discernment in spirituality, and what is going on. And other people have recognized that within me, and it’s helped me a lot in discerning all areas of my life. So I think it’s a vital area is to have spirituality, fine tuned discernment, to be around it so that we know what is real, what is not what is good, and maybe what is not so good.

 

Lois 

And as we pay more attention, that’s what it is for me on every level of my life, but I tend to start hearing things that other people don’t hear. Now. It’s not that I hear these voices Coming from someplace, but I am around people and I know something is going on, even without questioning them. And one of the more odd areas that this might happen is, you know, we are broadcasting out of a basement apartment that my parents used to live in. And I work down here and this is my workspace. And there are so many times during the day where it’s not that I see something move. It’s not that I believe my mother who passed two years ago is sitting next to me on the couch, but I sense her presence. And if somebody wants to tell me they think I’m you know, full of baloney, that’s fine. I don’t really care because I know what I’m experiencing. And there’s a spiritual connection because of the upbringing that I had with her that something is going on there. That is really tender. And I feel maybe watched over I can’t really explain it, but it’s something that it’s very real for me and so I have noticed that more and more and then it comes to me in different ways to where I into it, or I feel like I’ve been here before or I know something and I know something deeper is going on. But it’s also because I’m practicing, being aware. And when I wasn’t practicing when I wasn’t taking times of contemplation times of meditation, prayer, places to get myself centered, I didn’t even notice it. It was like a whole realm of life that passed me by. But because I’m putting myself in that arena, where I can be open to it, more things are happening, right. And I know sometimes we have to be discerning also of things that we’re like, leery of. And we’re going to get into that with you today. But we want you to know that keep your eyes open. And when you start paying attention like that, it’s pretty amazing what comes out.

 

Faith 

What we’ve been talking about in this whole realm of these episodes in discernment is about really taking the time to really develop it. And in this area of spirituality, more than probably all the other areas. This needs time to develop, and you let it grow and you seek and you Listen, and you read other people’s journeys, and you just grow from a deeper understanding and development and listening to what is going on inside of you. And sometimes spiritual development is about in creating more understanding around it, and discernment is eliminating some of the things that have gotten in the way of how we see life and how we see a God and that experience that’s greater than ourselves. So we have to deal with sometimes some of the old stuff to clear the way for what is new,

 

Lois 

Very true. And as we approach discernment this week, as it relates to spirituality, we found a very good description. It is the perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding. So again, Faith and I are going to get back to that point that this isn’t about judging, but there are some things to check on as we go through this. And we’re assisted every week in our podcast with research from others and and this week We’d like to give a shout out to www.patheos.com and www.gotquestions.org. So I guess we kind of opened this like, What? What if you were to see discernment as a way of life? And as you pointed out, I think nowhere more than spirituality in whatever way you practice, does this come through a way of life.

 

Faith 

Yes, you have to make a commitment. You have to be intentional about giving yourself it’s mostly time and space. Even if it starts off as five minutes that you give to yourself to say, I’m going to be still I’m going to listen and to becoming aware of your five senses and how are you responding to the things around you and just listening, feeling smelling, tasting, experiencing, what is it that I’m in is a way to begin to open up a whole new avenue went to see Monet you went to see the exhibit as well and It was spellbinding. It was beautiful. It brought you into a deeper spiritual awareness. Like, how does he do this? How does he draw you into his paintings the way he does, and with color and with? Oh my goodness, it was just it was a spiritual experience. But if you’re open to that, that’s how you’re going to see these paintings. And so all these things around us in life, whether its nature, or creativity, these are opportunities to draw us into something beyond ourselves. And that’s taking the time, prayer, meditation, reflection, space time, it’ll do it.

 

Lois 

And find what works for you. But understand how important even glimpses of this during the day will make a difference in your life. And I found that I take a break in the morning before I start, but sometimes during the day, I actually need that space. And if I’m walking, I try not to be doing anything else. I’m not listening to music. I don’t have my dogs with me at that time, because then my attention is someplace else. But I tried to do exactly what you’re talking about. Maybe nature is what’s going to speak to me today. And I don’t limit it to what it could be. It could be paintings, it could be something later that I listening to this musical, but let that silence, have a sort wash over you so that you have an opening. Because if there is no opening, if you cram everything in and have this tight schedule throughout the day, being able to discern your spirituality is just going to be more challenging, more noisy.

 

Faith 

It’s going to be very noisy, and that’s where it doesn’t work. And, and the biggest complaint is that people will say, Well, if I get quiet and I get into a contemplative place or meditate, a lot goes off in my head and it gets noisy. Uh huh. That’s why it takes practice. It takes time. But don’t get discouraged. It’s not about saying this doesn’t work. It’s about saying, Oh, this is in the way and there’s so many books about how to help some of that be put aside and to just say, it’s there. And I don’t need to listen right now I’ll come back to it. And then come back to stillness, come back to quiet and just listen. And the other thing is that the uniqueness of your learning style plays into this. So you need to find what really works for you. You don’t have to sit on a rock, to be quiet. If you’re gonna if you’re edgy. Or if you have ADHD or something, go for a walk, right? Just go for a walk, but be still don’t have headphones on, don’t be listening to music, listen to what’s around you and take it in. That is life changing.

 

Lois 

This whole series we’ve been talking about practicing and developing. So know that it might start with two minutes, and that’s okay. And then do it two minutes again, and then maybe you bump it up to three. So we’re not launching into you know, for 15 minutes you have to sit down. I can’t even do that on a regular basis. I go crazy. So I need the short bursts that I am now in able to do after much practice. But that’s what it takes. So use a timer, I have my phone on, I put a timer on, and it brings me right out when I’m ready to go.

 

Faith 

And I want to also throw this one into the hopper and that is listen to your dreams, your dreams at night, the things that sometimes you get too busy to do in the day, there are things that will rise up within you in your dreams. And if you have a dream journal, write them down. Because there is going to be elements that are life changing, that are reflecting about who you are. And oftentimes, this is the avenue there’s dreams that you will get that are spiritual dreams that reveal something beyond your reality.

 

Lois 

We’re on episode 116: How does discernment influence spirituality? And, you know, waiting and listening for many people is extremely challenging. I’m with you. I finished a course of study. I’m ready for all of the business to come in. I’ve achieved one more certificate, well then I need to be be recognized by this. And some things just don’t happen at that pace and waiting, knowing you’ve done what needs to happen. There’s almost a spiritual intervention of releasing the demand that things happen immediately, and watching what’s coming next. And I find that when I get into that space, because life is filled with uncertainty, in fact, it’s mostly uncertain most of the time. there’s so few things that we can completely control. So it’s it’s learning how to live with that tension. And I believe that’s a spiritual discernment because I know that it’s not up to me. Everything isn’t up to me.

 

Faith 

You and I have talked about this liminal space, often about how sacred that space really is. Something is happening, and we feel the tension of not being there yet. But we are moving through it. There’s so much that just unfolds and blossoms in that area. That if we will just be quiet and stay And feel that tension inside. We are going to get nuggets to a deeper understanding about ourselves and about this whole spiritual realm and God in ways that we otherwise would not see.

 

Lois 

So when you’re in that moment, and that space of waiting, use that, as faith is suggesting here and knowing that growth is happening, even when you can’t see it, even when it feels all frozen, but underneath, the fish are still swimming, there’s growth is still happening. Just that’s one metaphor for me that I keep that going. But that’s my liminal space. Yes, it looks frozen, but there’s a lot of activity going on.

 

Faith 

Absolutely. And God is good and desires good for us and all of creation. Wow. That is so true to take the truth, that it is not dark or heavy or that God is against us, but that God is for us and that being a part of the whole creation. We’re woven into it all, and that he wants us to experience it and to be a part of it, and to be blessed by it. Wow, that’s a great, great gift to step into.

 

Lois 

Well, I think so many of us wake up and say, Oh, look at all the awful things that are happening, whether you’re looking at a virus to politics to you just name it to war, and we say what kind of place do we live in? Well, for those of us who believe that there is a greater force, we know that the desire is for good, and that this creation is one that we can join with. And so the reason I’m so fanatical about gardening is just because when I get into the garden, I feel like I’m joining the earth in some weird way when my hands get in there, and I don’t know why that connection for me that doesn’t have to be for you. It’s really okay. And I know it’s not for faith. So we’ve got that clear, but but that for me is is a really powerful claim that I I kind of resonate with the creation around me by doing that. And so then I can see as I plant and I know things bad happen, but I know that my intention is for good for all that’s around me. And I believe that I am in a good earth, that there are things going on that are good for me. And if I have that perspective, it helps in this spiritual discernment, rather than looking at everything from a dark, negative lens.

 

Faith 

One of my dear spiritual teachers, Graham Cooke, says, it’s important for us to walk in the opposite spirit. And so when we see the darkness and the heaviness that goes on in the world, we have the wonderful choice to walk differently, to be different than what we see. And so you can love where there is no love. You can be kind where there is no kindness, you can be good, where there is a lack of goodness, there are things that we can choose, that open up our own spirituality, that deep and set that develops it more within us, if we do the opposite of what we see as negative.

 

Lois 

So do that when you see it and you will, and you will. And when you live in that different space, the opposite space, you can start to appreciate the good that’s around you. And then as you do hear things and as you do get confronted with other people’s spiritual discernment that you may or may not go along with, there is something to be said for test the teaching. I mean, I never understood why people said, Well, I don’t agree with that. Well, we’ll check it out. Let’s find out what is true. I mean, if you go by the Judeo Christian tradition of what happened with prophets, they were always tested. What is it true? Is it always true? And if it wasn’t, then it wasn’t, they weren’t proclaiming what was right. So to look at that with people that you are uncomfortable with or aren’t sure of you may be correct. You may be incorrect, but you are at least testing it right versus throwing the whole thing out and saying that’s hogwash.

 

Faith 

And the way that I test it is I give it time. I look to see what is it going to bear out It bears out all the things we’re kind of talking about goodness and kindness and, and peace and gentleness and meekness and beautiful things that, that enhance life and the lives of others. And it’s consistent. It doesn’t fade away. But it’s it has a foundation of it’s a constant, then that is trustworthy. But if you begin to see the opposite of those things, then you this is where you use your discernment. Hmm, what’s going on here? And and do I continue to listen to this? Or do I question it? Don’t just take it hook line and sinker and say, Oh, this is this wonderful. This is all about love. I’ve heard a lot of people do that. And I kind of call that sometimes. If you look at it long enough, it can become like cotton candy. That if you drop a piece of, you know, just a droplet of water on it, it dissipates. appears it’s no longer there. And then it exposes something that’s different underneath. That’s discernment. Don’t just judge it, discern it, and give it time and listen to it, rather than to say I’m right, you’re wrong.

 

Lois 

And how do your words and actions match up with your life? When we’re using discernment and even how we practice and how we look at our own spirituality. Is how we live matching up with the spiritual discernment, we say we are receiving, is it? Are we walking that opposite path that is filled with kindness or looking for the best and others? Or are we constantly tramping things down? So what do the words you say and the insights you feel you’re getting the intuition? How do they line up because I think that’s really important even for us. We need to look at it in other places, but also look for it in ourselves. If we are always at odds fighting with ourselves, then there’s something that needs To be resolved, and it will require more development more practice. And you’ll get there, you will get there if that’s where you want to go. But look at how those things line up, or are they fragmented.

 

Faith 

Yeah, the words are really important to listen to and to discern that and the actions behind it. We have to see, okay, this, here’s what I see. And here’s what I hear what what is actually being done. And, and that’s how oftentimes how, you know, cults have happened, you know, they’ve gotten pulled into something, because it sounds so good. And that appears to be there doing so much. And then when they get into it, it’s not so good. So we need to be discerning not just by the words,

 

Lois 

And you can think about that in yourself. If all you do is speak. I’m going to do this, I like it this way and you never act it out. You never take that to somebody you don’t know or somebody you do know and actually see it in action. What does it mean? Exactly?

 

Faith 

It’s all thing about the cup of cold water and visiting the prisons. It’s a metaphor for if you don’t take the action, then the words are meaningless.

 

Lois 

And finally, in this episode of How does discernment influence spirituality? Ultimately, spiritual discernment is the ability to tell the difference between truth and error.

 

Faith 

Yes. And that’s so important because as you’re developing and taking this journey and your own spirituality, for growth and development and enhancement of your life, because if you have a healthy spiritual life inside yourself, then it reflects out to the outer world and your life is more fulfilled. It’s a beautiful, centering balance within us that if we develop it, it has huge payoffs for us in all areas of our life. And yeah, we need to know what is true what is false, and walk in truth.

 

Lois 

And we talked last week about the body, and that how we can start to discern and figure those things out. If we are practicing in our spirituality, the same holds true. And that’s what’s so exciting. I think all of these elements as we’re talking about the whole person, reflect on what are we doing about it? Are we checking these things through for falsity, and even in ourselves, not just on the outer on somebody else? But how are we exploring that and that’s what I love about this. It’s not so intangible when we’re really paying attention.

 

Faith 

It’s not about religion. It’s about a relationship. And that is so much deeper and so much more healing,

 

Lois 

Absolutely.

 

Faith 

Spiritual discernment has to do with wisdom. And it only comes with constant practice through which we gain experience.

 

Lois 

Whether you gain it through prayer and meditation or waiting and listening, it is available and it is a gift

 

Faith 

Please share this podcast with a friend.

 

Lois 

And join us next week as we wonder: What place does discernment have in your craft?

 

Faith 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter on our website and subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen.

 

Lois 

No matter what you face in relationships, your body, spirituality or your craft.

 

Faith 

We are here to assure you, there is always more to life.

 

Lois 

We’ll be back next week.