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Friday Inspiration - 2 October 2009
By Melissa Bult

Scepticism and Discernment

Hello everyone,

Recently I have been contemplating what it means to be sceptical or discerning.    To some degree I have always been quite a sceptical person but at the same time an open minded person.  So today I want to talk about being sceptical and using discernment. 

The dictionary meaning for skeptic/sceptic is as follows:

skeptic also sceptic
1. One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.
2. One inclined to skepticism in religious matters.

When I did some online research I found there were whole websites devoted to being a sceptic.   They detail the widely accepted meanings of various things and then the sceptic point of view.  It would seem that people put as much time into trying to prove things do not exist as they do proving the existence of things.  There has certainly always been an ongoing tug of war between believers and non-believers of things for centuries. 

I personally believe there is a big difference between someone who cuts themselves off to possibilities and someone who has discernment around things.   Discernment means the following –
Discernment – noun
1. the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding.
2. the act or instance of discerning

In my opinion it is important to question things and do research to find one’s own conclusions about anything in life.  Blind faith simply makes no logical sense, where as faith with discernment does.  Things are available to us through so many mediums now - T.V., radio, internet, magazines, social media…there are many options for getting information, but just because it appears in print or on the airwaves does not mean it is necessarily true and what resonates with one person will mean nothing to another.

It may seem a little strange that someone who works in the ‘spiritual’ arena would write an article around scepticism.   But nothing I have ever done has been entered into lightly.   Research, experience and a willingness to continue to evolve one’s belief structure are all important parts of a grounded and balanced life.  Being open minded means being truly open to new possibilities that stretch you outside of your current box, imagine if people had not opened their mind to new ideas in the past – maybe we would not have electricity, aeroplanes, telephones, the internet!  Ok, so these are more practical things but people used to believe the world was flat and you were considered crazy to think otherwise! 

Many of the great people who have walked the earth have been persecuted by sceptics and people who had closed their minds.   Obvious names like Leonard Di Vinci, Einstein and of course Jesus, who was persecuted and then later considered a great teacher are examples that spring to mind.   Sometimes it is simply about the time period, other times because people are not yet able to see beyond what they know and are not willing to expand their viewpoint. 

We get fed so much information everyday and in particular for someone walking a spiritual path there is an awful lot to choose from.   Some things in life from a physical or scientific point of view are just not provable rather they are experiential in their nature.  Being able to discern real extra sensory or spiritual experiences from non-real ones, comes down to how grounded we are, our personality, our circumstances, our state of mind and what we already understand.   The more grounded and balanced we are the better our chances of being discerning are. 

Discernment is also important in areas such as education, business, medicine and politics.  Do we believe everything we hear on the news or from ‘experts’?  Sometimes we need to look beyond what we see in front of us and ask questions, do research and listen to our inner feelings.  Discernment is also necessary in our personal and professional relationships.   Who we choose to associate with or work with is also important and we need to discern where people are at and their intentions.  It is not about personal judgment but rather knowing what kind of energy you wish to be aligned to. 

There are plenty of ideas and energies that I will not align to for various reasons including personal safety but that is not to say that I am in judgment of those things, I simply choose through my discernment not to be involved because at this time they are not right for me.  Being flexible and open minded does not mean you have to like everything or agree with everything in life, it simply means that you allow others the same right you have - to decide what is true for them.  

When we practice being open and using right discernment we have more chance of expanding our horizons and evolving.  If we stay completely attached to certain beliefs and ideas then we risk becoming very rigid and limit our possibilities for personal growth and experience of life.   Do your own research, ask questions, listen to your inner voice and stay grounded in order to live and learn with good discernment. 

The following are a few quotes I found that were quite interesting in relation to today's ideas:

~ Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crack-pot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost. ~ Thomas J Watson

~ Don't mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself. ~ Henry James 1843

~Always direct your thoughts to those truths that will give you confidence, hope, joy, love, thanksgiving, and turn away your mind from those that inspire you with fear, sadness, depression. ~ Bertrand Wilbertforce

Have a wonderful day.

Love, light and blessings

Melissa x

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