Do you find yourself really sensitive to the feelings of others? Inclined to come away from an encounter with strong emotions you can’t account for? Wondering if others can “sense” the unspoken feelings floating around a room?
If so, you might be what various personality typing systems call “highly intuitive”, an “empath”, or “highly sensitive.” These labels can’t tell you anything you don’t already know, but gaining a deeper understanding of the common experience of others like you can help you to understand yourself better. It can help you to deal with your own experiences better, too.
Discernment can’t really happen when we’re in a hurry – at least, not usually – because when we’re in a hurry, we aren’t poised to listen well. And the practice of discernment is mostly about listening well: to God, and to our own hearts in dialogue with him.
This doesn’t mean discernment can’t happen quickly. Sometimes, we need to make an important decision and outside circumstances limit the time we have to make it. If we practice discernment as a habit, if we are leading listening lives, then very often we can discern well in a short span of time.
But hurry is different. Hurry is a state of anxiousness and worry; fear is the driver when we’re in a hurry. We’re afraid we won’t make it in time, that there won’t be anything left, that someone or something won’t work well unless we’re the ones to oversee it.
no peace in hurry. There is no confidence that things will be ok because God is
ever been in the midst of an agonizing decision, and had someone offer this
annoying piece of advice: “It’s really simple! What do you actually want?”
can’t answer the question, because the whole point of why the decision is
agonizing is that you don’t know what you want? And even if you did know, you
aren’t sure it would be the right thing? And you kind of want option A, but
another part of you wants option B?
struggle is real.
your own desire is key in the discernment process.
One of the
most frequent issues that arises almost every time I talk about discernment is
the role of personal desire in spiritual and practical discernment.
take the form of, “how do I know that this is what God wants and not just what
I want?” or “I really want x, and so it’s probably not what I should do,” or, “I
have always wanted to do y, but that’s irrelevant, right?”
personal desire something that belongs in discernment? Or is it the kind of
thing that we should just disregard because it’s a massive distraction from
what is really meant to be happening? How do I know if I can trust my desire?
I’ve always loved monasteries: the silence, the peacefulness, the feeling of being “away” from the world. There’s something deeply satisfying about going on retreat to a monastery and being able to leave worries about work, home, studies, or plans of any kind, behind.
Stepping into a “sacred space” offers freedom from the daily stress of life.
When St. Benedict wrote his monastic “Rule” in the 6th century AD, he codified a way of living that would last through the centuries, down to current day. While most of us can’t retreat to a monastery on a regular basis, bringing the rhythm of monastic life into my own is something from which I’ve benefited greatly. It’s helped me to focus on clear priorities, reduce stress, and be more peaceful in general.
Here are three ways I’ve found we can integrate monastic practices into our work lives.
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