Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

The Voice of Discernment

Discernment has been the topic of several recent conversations. How do we recognize the voice of discernment when we are trying to determine a course of action?

You’ve probably seen a cartoon character with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, each one urging an opposite decision. Discernment can sometimes feel like that, but without the clear identity of each voice. So which voice do you listen to?

Probably not the voice that uses language like should, ought, must, have to. Not the voice that drains your energy and makes you feel powerless. Or the voice that wants you to do something hidden in secret (unless it’s encouraging you to surprise someone with something wonderful). Not the voice that tells you that you have no choice. Or the voice that sets your head and heart at odds.

The voice of discernment is a lover, not a taskmaster. It assures you that you always have a choice, and invites you to “come” instead of “must.” It empowers you with courage, and promises to walk beside you if the way is scary. It resonates in harmony with the heart and asks the head to trust. When we follow the voice of discernment, we sometimes can’t see where we are being led, or why, but we have a sense that we are on the right path.

In my younger years, I let my head overrule my heart, and as I look back over my life, the regrets I have mostly stem from those head driven choices. I have since learned over the decades that I can trust this inner voice of heart wisdom, even when it doesn’t make any sense to my rational thinking mind. The voice of discernment has guided me in many minor things, and some major life decisions, like where to live.

My decision to come to the Pacific Northwest was not obvious to me at the time. I had been living overseas for seven years, and coming back to the United States felt overwhelming. My head told me to go back to a familiar environment, but something kept calling me in a different direction. Portland, Oregon, repeatedly came into my awareness from a variety of sources, although I had never been here.

I was sitting on a couch in my apartment in another country, with the mover standing next to me holding a clipboard and asking me where to send my things. I felt like that cartoon character with a different voice speaking in each ear. One destination felt safe but dragged my spirit down. The other was unknown but made my heart sing. Send my stuff to Portland, I told him. I admit, the first day I was here, I wondered about the wisdom of that decision, but by the next day, I knew I was home. That was over thirty years ago.

In ways big and small, the voice of discernment aligns me with the natural movement of energy in the cosmos. There is a synchronicity in life that often surprises me and delights me. And a peace in my soul that, as the Bible promises, passes all understanding.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” ~Isaiah 30:21

8 thoughts on “The Voice of Discernment”

  1. Hi Galen! Interesting…I never really thought of discernment in the context of listening to your inner wisdom vs the chatter from the outside world. I’ve always thought of it as just a form or sincere critical thinking in terms of making decisions and/or following different paths. But I can certainly see how that applies. And because I’ve been working with the insights of Michael Singer I am more and more aware of the “voices” in my head and how those often aren’t the voice of “discernment” either. I think it might come down to layers of discernment for me and what I am hoping for/needing/wanting in terms of answers. If it’s investment choices maybe one thing. If it is purpose and meaning it’s another. Hm. Much to ponder! ~Kathy

    1. Your thoughtful comment raises an interesting question, Kathy. Is the voice of discernment only relevant to certain types of decisions? What about a decision about investing, like you said? Do I listen to a different voice if the decision is about what to have for dinner? You have sent me on an inner quest of contemplation to see if the same voice of discernment is always relevant. Certainly, some decisions have a bigger impact on my life, but can I still be guided by an inner sense of alignment and resonance whether the decision is about managing money or planning a vacation? In my own life, over time, I found that the voice of discernment is available for most any decision. I seem to listen for it more and more in a wider range of decisions. Yes, much to ponder! Thank you!

  2. Beautiful post, Galen.
    We live in a world that reinforces rational decisions, as if Creation itself was a rational act. But the heart speaks a different language that can only be accessed through openness and discernment. Accessed through openness and discernment. Grateful for your words and your heart.

    1. Thanks, Brian. Kathy’s comment above has made me think more about “rational” vs “heart” decisions. When the heart speaks its language of openness and discernment, my head has learned to listen and trust, to follow and support rather than overrule and dictate. Hmm, your comment and Kathy’s have invited me to go deeper in my own thinking about this. Thank you.

      1. Hi Galen. Growing up, I was always taught by my mother to pray for discernment. I feel that through prayer and studying the Bible, The Holy Spirit will guide us safely throughout life as we are challenged with many decisions. John 14:26 has always been a reminder of this for me. Trent

        1. Your mother sounds like a wise woman. Praying for discernment is a perfect way to hear the guiding voice within. I looked up that verse — very reassuring. Thanks, Trent.

  3. As usual, Galen, I seem to be playing catch up on a post of your yours that challenges me to reflect, recall, and reinvent my well trod paths of thinking. I thank you for that. The timing is good, as I just made decision yesterday that involves letting go, protecting my spirit in lieu of attending an event that didn’t bode well for me. I had shelved that decision for almost three weeks, wasting psychic energy. Sometimes angels visit us in the form of friends we trust. I count you as one such.

    1. So glad this was timely, Gwen. The decision whether to attend an event like you describe is a perfect time to listen within. Sometimes we try to talk ourselves into something, thinking that we should or we have to do something because someone expects it of us or will judge us if we don’t. Thinking about things in a different way, giving ourselves permission to care for ourselves, not forcing ourselves through our intuitive reluctance, listening to messages that resonate in harmony with our spirit — these are all ways that our inner wisdom guides us in the way we should go. Happy to be your angel this time! Thanks for commenting.

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