Subtitle: Practicing Discernment.
In my Life Coach training, we discussed several language distinctions, including “assessments” (opinions) versus “assertions” (quantifiable facts like “This box is 10” long“—it can be measured using a commonly-accepted standard, a ruler; it’s not an opinion). I “assess” that these distinctions have become blurred in our discourse, and that this blurring, along with some “Logic” mixed in, results in significant challenges in our Path to Oneness. Let me explain . . .
For years I’ve watched my political tribe’s “preferred” TV news station, and also followed a particular “spiritual” website that includes being a clearinghouse for several other websites and channeled messages. (Remember I previously said that “channeling“ is like listening to your inner knowing—on steroids?) But I’ve become concerned about their goals and content.
For example, TV news shows have so much commentary and punditry that opinions and facts are woven tightly together, making it hard to differentiate between the two. And I believe that all corporate-owned news sources slant stories to align with their respective political tribe’s values and beliefs so they maintain viewership and corporate profits. Unfortunately, they promote tribal outrage and fear on both (or all) sides, thus, perpetuating tribal warfare.
Also, because photos and even video can be Photoshopped, I question, How do I know that what I’m seeing is true? For example, a story about an opposition leader supposedly assassinated by the Russian government showed a still photo of a distant body collapsed all by itself on a rainy sidewalk, in the dark at night, with the Kremlin lit up in the background. No police, no cars, no other pedestrians. Nothing. Odd. And I thought: How do I know that’s real and what the news says it is? Nonetheless, the scene sent a chill of fear down my spine: of that apparently murderous enemy government, and wondering what political murders have happened in my own country.
I’ve also heard that the “other tribe’s” TV news station recently showed incendiary footage of violent protestors attacking police that I’m sure elicited outrage and fear in the viewers. Except it was a scene that happened in another country, not the U.S.
Lastly, I observe how the TV news segments, including the “experts” panels, are often, if not always, accompanied by video or photos, like uncomplimentary ones of the other tribe’s political leaders, or scenes of unrest or suffering. Even if they don’t register consciously because I’m concentrating on listening to what’s being said, they can register subconsciously and elicit fear and outrage.
Likewise my favorite spiritual website, which used to be a source of solace amidst chaos, has begun posting (in among the spiritual articles/channelings) distinctly un-spiritual articles and links strongly supporting the other tribe’s political leader and actions. But even more confusing (at least for me), there are now articles and links supporting what the “main stream media” label “conspiracy theories” like the “Deep State” and QAnon. All of this foments confusion, upset, and fear.
So my previously trusted sources of information and solace seem intent on stirring up confusion, fear, hate, and outrage. They seem bent on perpetuating tribal warfare—exactly what I believe we need to rise above if we want to co-create a global New Paradigm, and a new, better path for ourselves and Humanity. I’ve always prided myself on being “informed” but, honestly, now I’m not sure who or what to believe.
What does all of this have to do with Oneness?
Well I’ve read that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s fear. And that Oneness involves unconditional love for one another. I found myself thinking about what I believe are called “propositions” from my undergraduate Philosophy Logic course. I thought of one along the lines of:
If P is the opposite of Q, and Q=S, then P is the opposite of S.
If fear is the opposite of love, and love=Oneness, then fear is the opposite of Oneness.
Using this “Logic,” I’ve come to a conclusion about news and other information sources that’s similar to what I said in a previous blog post. So now not only do I believe:
If we truly want peace (and a new Path to Oneness for ourselves, our countries, Humanity, and the planet), then anything resembling “war” [including “tribal warfare”] is self-defeating to that goal.
But I also now believe (especially about the news and other information sources):
If we strive for Oneness, then anything that perpetuates fear impedes that goal.
To try to reduce the fear effect, how do we determine assessments versus assertions, opinions versus facts, and facts versus fear mongering? Ah, those are all $64,000 (or $1,000,000,000) questions. My answer: We need to practice “discernment,” and we often need to “live in the question” (be OK with “not knowing for sure”) regardless of how challenging that is. AND at the same time, we need to rise above it all, and detach from the drama.
That’s all a really tall order. Trust me, I KNOW!!! I’ve been trying to do it for a very long time.
But I’m not saying that we should stop watching or listening to the news. Nor am I saying that we should stop following spiritual/religious websites or other sources of information or solace.
Rather, I STRONGLY suggest that we exercise a newly-acknowledged muscle: Discernment. Pay attention to what you see or hear in the news or even in conversations with others, and don’t just swallow it whole. Notice for yourself: does it incite fear or outrage? Does it cause your stomach to twist a little—or a lot—in fear, outrage, confusion, or upset? If it does, then observe your knee-jerk emotional reaction to it, and choose a different response or action: choose to turn off the news for awhile, to disentangle yourself from the conversation, to investigate the issue and come to your own conclusions. Remember that you always have a choice, and it’s critical to your Path:
“The most profound personal growth does not happen while reading a book or meditating on a mat. It happens in the throes of conflict—when you are angry, afraid, frustrated. It happens when you are doing the same old thing and you suddenly realize that you have a choice.”
Be aware of the definitions of “discernment”: the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure (Merriam-Webster Dictionary), and the ability to judge well (Oxford online dictionary).
So this week’s “assignment” is pretty straightforward:
Do practice discernment. Observe when someone or something seems to be trying to incite you to fear (or the tribal warfare weapons of upset, confusion, or outrage). And observe your knee-jerk response to it.
Don’t get sucked into the drama of ANYTHING that “feels” like it’s trying to incite fear, outrage, etc.
Choose a different reaction, for example, question it, disentangle from it, consciously rise above it, and/or . . .
Maybe research a particular news story or topic of interest so you can take in both (all) sides and come to your own conclusion.
An example of that last suggestion comes from a spiritual speaker who seems to lean towards my tribe but who’s new to me so I’m not sure about her credibility. But this made sense to me as an action to take: she personally researched the Executive Orders issued over the past 3 1/2 years. Interestingly, she was “stunned” to see how many of them “support freedom.” Really??? That’s not what I’ve heard in any news. I can’t vouch for the veracity of what she says. Maybe you want to research it for yourself?
There are no easy answers here. The most we can do is be aware of some of the distinctions, concepts, and questions I pose, and observe and discern for ourselves. But also be aware of another distinction we talked about in my Life Coach training: “grounding.” Is what you’re seeing and hearing, especially in the news, something that’s “grounded” in verifiable fact? Or is it questionable or simply an opinion—even if the source is an “expert” and speaks to your tribal beliefs and values. Do you trust that source? To what degree? Based on what grounding? Or do they just “seem nice” or “appear” to be knowledgeable?
But most importantly, try to rise above it all and do the suggestions I’ve made in these blog posts:
- Do feed the positive (by doing acts of kindness and beauty).
- Do NOT add to the “negative” energy (don’t send venomous energetic arrows out to attack “the opposition”).
- Do be proactive. Send out prayers or Light; identify your “domain of interest” and do something positive to further it; and/or identify your “calling”—and do it!
I know, all of this is really challenging. But remember the quote I’ve posted about Humanity that was spoken by the “extraterrestrial” in the Starman movie:
Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? . . .
You are at your very best when things are worst.
I really believe we can do this.
BTW—In an early draft of this post, I spiraled down into making a strong political statement—and this is NOT a political website. But “no accidents”: my text got lost in the Save process. (I still don’t know how.) Interesting how my Muse (Higher Self, the Universe, Source, whomever) intervened and “saved“ me from posting a tribal anger screed inappropriate to this website. “God [and the Universe] work in mysterious ways.”
I wonder if maybe we come to some of our best positions when we are STILL, with no other input from News or Opinions. That STILL that happens when we see a magnificent Sunset, or we see a baby faun curled up in the grass waiting till it’s mother comes back to get her, or when we reach a point of Stillness in meditation. In that stillness, I have had the experience of inspiration, clarity and discernment. I just wonder.
I love your tribal references. It really feel like that.
It’s such a balancing act: being of this reality (and being informed about the news, etc.) AND being NOT of this reality—rising above this reality (and being in that stillness where we can access our inner knowing). Keeping one foot in both dimensions simultaneously. I’ve done this for YEARS and it is NOT easy.
I’m all about discernment, so….great stuff (but I would expect nothing less!)