So how do we know? How do we sort through all the data coming in and all the thoughts and judgments going out? How do we discern what is real and what is just what we want to believe? How do we answer the big questions that can help us break through to a life of peace and joy? Is there a God? Is there any meaning and purpose to life? Am I gay or bisexual or just a lost soul searching for intimacy?
Linda Popov in her book, A Pace of Grace, says this about the art and virtue of discernment:
“Discernment is quieting our minds and sensing the truth about things. It is being contemplative and vigilant in seeking to understand what is true. We are able to make distinctions between what is real and what is illusion…. We trust our inner vision to recognize what is right for us in this moment. We observe, decide, and act with wisdom.”
Before we get started on this, remember that in order for an idea or ideal to become a virtue, it takes a lot of hard work. We have to practice, practice, and practice until it becomes natural, until it becomes a way of life. So let’s look at how to do this from three perspectives: recognizing the inner voice from the higher self, understanding the difference between the voice of the ego or mind and the voice of the higher self, and recognizing and understanding the other voices around us, and let’s practice using the virtue of discernment to accomplish this. We will do this in three blogs, starting this week with recognizing the voice of the higher self and how this applies to bisexuality.
First of all, how do we recognize the inner voice and how can we be sure this is not just another illusion from the mind? Regarding the latter, you may never know for sure that the higher self even exists. Bummer eh? Not really, you see there is a caveat on that. The reason we can never know for certain is that we are trying to find something that does exist but cannot be recognized through rational mind processes, so the mind will always be in doubt and will want to take over to protect us from believing or doing something that it regards as dangerous or foolish. So how can we get past that? We hush the mind. The very fact that we can consciously hush the mind proves in itself that there is a higher self.
Once in this state that we can call mindfulness, the inner truth from the inner self will begin to appear. We will simply become aware of our self as part of a world of peace and beauty. Do we have to meditate to do this? Not really. For many it is a good and sound practice, but it is not for everyone. Personally, I get into my higher self not by stillness but by engaging, by walking and feeling, by staring at a thing of beauty until a feeling of oneness and peace flows through my brain and body, or by engaging my body, rather than my mind, in walking or working in my garden. This can only happen when I am alone or sharing moments with a special someone without talk or mental interaction.
The next step is simply to listen without engaging in rational thought. For example, when I am opening my soul to the sounds of the forest, I do not try to name or describe what I hear, I just experience it. Same thing applies to my inner voice. I do not question it or judge it, I just open my whole self to listen. The inner voice is never judging, never striving or conniving. It always reminds me of how beautiful I am and how precious I am as a source of goodness in this chaotic world. It is as though the inner-self is in communication with the universe, or perhaps, even the person of a sentient god that is imparting the wisdom of the ages to me simply because I am still and seeking guidance. Perhaps it is just from the higher self, itself, that intuitively knows what is best for me. Again, we do not engage in this mental gymnastics; we simply accept the sensations and the feelings that accompany those sensations.
The third step is to open up the ego-mind and ask the higher self to impart words of wisdom. We simply allow the ego mind to express its fears and concerns and listen to whatever wisdom the higher self wants to impart. We can then allow the ego-mind to specifically ask for wisdom in dealing with a particular situation as long as it sits back and listens without interruption or judgement. The inner voice of the higher self will always speak to us, and the message will always be positive showing insight and a broader understanding of the meaning and purpose behind the circumstances. We can allow the ego-mind to keep questioning and listening until we feel comfortable with the words of wisdom from the higher self. We then direct the ego to accept the wisdom and make plans for putting this wisdom into action.
Here are my five thoughts on how the virtue of discernment applies to bisexuality:
- Because we are so self-judging, believing ourselves to be unworthy, and blaming ourselves for being unlovable, it can be difficult to accept a higher self that regards us as beautiful and superior beings. We simply recognize the thought and say “I am worthy. I am beautiful.” Then relax again practicing deep breathing until we can open ourselves up to our higher self.
- Because we have always focused on imperfections and what we have judged as faults and failures, we may have to seek healing from our higher self or perhaps the great love energy of god or the universe. To do this we open up our ego to express its fears, and then we turn to our higher self and ask it to give us the truth from its higher view of things. It will never judge our ego and will always show us that our actions were a result of the pains of the past and that we have done the best we could under the circumstances. It will then show us the path to self-acceptance and a higher course of action.
- As bisexuals, most of us have suffered from some sort of generalized anxiety, and we have always been able to find a sense of peace, or perhaps just plain exhaustion, by engaging in sexual experiences. As a result, it may have become a kind of addiction, a source of relief from the anxiety, and of course, we are reluctant to give it up. Therefore, we have a tendency to avoid the higher self, because we fear that we may have to change our behavior patterns, and we simply do not think we have the energy to try again. Guess what? Surprise! The higher self will never condemn or blame and will never ask us to give up our sexual practices. It will simply show us how to incorporate those practices into a more positive experience in tune with its sense of, deeper meaning, beauty, and joy.
- By going through this process we inevitable come to a point where we can view our sexual practices as a means to achieving intense sensations that lead to intense feelings, that lead to love of our bodies, and to experiencing all the joys it can share with us.
- Finally it will always lead us through sexuality into the deeper experiences of intimacy. The higher self wants to join the body in experiencing love in all its forms and to bring the body, mind and soul into intimate connection with others.
 Popov, Linda Kavelin. A Pace of Grace. Plume: 2004 (page 62).