The notion of trust surfacing a lot recently. Today one particular aspect of it came up in a conversation. It was very new for me and the longer I thought of it the more I struggled to understand why this concept isn’t part of my thinking. I was talking about the prerequisites of opening up and surrendering, and how, paradoxically, control is a very important condition to let go. So, it got me thinking that it is often the case people see the tendency to overly control things, it is a big challenge for them to let go, so what is going on here? On one hand control is a requirement for surrender and on another it makes it rather impossible. Perhaps, there are two different types of control I am sensing. Both are related to the inability to navigate uncertainty but in the case when control works against freedom, we know that when we let go, we will be disoriented and enable to make a decision. In a situation when control is supporting surrender, we know that once we let go, we have the ability to make a decision. Knowing that the out of control situation is not dangerous, allows to hold the uncertainty which is needed for our growth and fulfilment. That is where this unfamiliar concept I encountered today comes in - discernment. Coming from Ukraine, born in the Soviet union, where religion was officially undercover, I associate discernment with something that doesn't belong to my vocabulary. It was mostly used either in religious context or it was covered with unpopular mystic, new-age movements. The word was too close to the forbidden that it lost its meaning in peoples lives. I come across this word more and more often and it is usually accompanied by trust. I definitely have some things to work on regarding trust so I decided to dig into this notion and try to understand what is it and which role it has when it comes to trust.
Discernment is defined as ability to judge well. It is the quality to judge not only based on the perception of something, but based on more precise, nuanced judgement. The ability to decide what is right and what is wrong by fully using all our abilities. I notice that in these times we avoid making a decision of this kind. Saying what is good and bad is complicated and often is seen as judgement. There is a difference between judgement and discernment. When one is judging, it goes beyond discerning differences in peoples abilities but the overall worthiness is being put into question. Discerning can recognise what is bad and good in a situation or a person and make a decision based on the situation without jumping into conclusion and extrapolating on the whole being. Judgement doesn't serve us well, it shuts out the possibilities for any further development and discernment feels more coolheaded and balanced. So what happened when we lost discernment and were only left with judgement? We gave away the possibility to decide. The definitions got messed up and we are finding ourselves unable to see what is good and what is bad. This position is very unfortunate as it nurtures our fear of uncertainty. Going back to dance between surrendering and control and thinking about different forms of control, discernment is a decisive quality that allows us to truly give in. Being able to decide, the internal stability that comes with it allows risk-taking and therefore is beneficial in handling insecurity and the anxiety of the unknown.
And now let’s bring in trust. I often hear that we need to have more trust but rarely the quality of trust is addressed. How can we become better in trusting if we can’t make a decision what is right or wrong? We end up trusting based on social pressure, trends, biases and other external influences and when it fails us, we get affected or traumatised by the experience. Without even knowing that the cause of it is that we never developed tools to make own decisions based on care, subtle sensing, personal relevance realisation and other elements that contribute to the ability to cultivate discernment. Confusing discernment with judgement, we are afraid to express our own opinion drifting with the one who has more power. I feel there is no other way to trust, freedom enabling control, that to start bringing back the notion of discernment into vocabulary. We need to learn this skill to be able to own our experience and navigate unavoidable uncertainty.