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Personal Practices: Spirit

How do you make important personal decisions? Do you create a sheet of paper with headings for "Pro's" and "Con's" and see which list is longer? Ask advice of your most trusted colleagues, friends or family members? Convene a group over tea or beers and have them vote? Do what you think your role model would do?

Discernment is a different decisionmaking process, that is applicable to any complex personal decision. It is a model from the Christian tradition, but every wisdom tradition has a similar process of surrendering important decisions to a higher power. In discernment, the seeker concentrates on his or her inner state, which ideally should be centered, open, and reflective. One might pray, meditate, or read scripture or inspirational writing related to the decision at hand. The questioner does not seek quick resolution, but waits patiently for an answer to emerge. The attitude should be one of not being attached to a particular outcome, simply giving the outcome over to a higher, wiser power. Although sometimes clues and synchronicities will appear externally to guide the questioner to an answer, the practice is for the person to test possible answers for their felt sense. As a sense of rightness emerges, it is often accompanied by a sense of grace or the blessing of Spirit, and an inner surge of gratitude.

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