Discernment

October 13, 2014

I’ve had people tell me that I am working on learning discernment, and I have kept that in mind, while having trouble seeing where it applies.  But this afternoon I had an example that may be about where I need to work on it.

I was reading NYTimes articles and opinion pieces, and I found myself feeling very tired and thinking about taking a nap.  And I was a little surprised to be feeling as though I needed a nap.  I reviewed when I got up (a little after six), how much walking I had done (into the center of town and back), how much tea I had had (enough that it wasn’t lack of caffeine).  I didn’t think any of that explained why I felt so tired.

And then my mother, who is staying with us for a few weeks, walked into the kitchen and told me she was going to take a nap.  I accompanied her up to the room she is using, she started her nap, and I found I didn’t feel tired anymore.

So for me, it is a lesson is learning what’s mine and what’s somebody else’s.  That, in turn, teaches me to perceive a mood or a feeling as just a mood or a feeling  —  when it’s clear it’s somebody else’s, it is also clearer it is just a mood or a feeling or whatever, something more like an item of clothing one can put on or take off, since it may not be the mood or feeling I actually have myself, left to my own devices.  Then I can, after that, think about how my moods and feelings are just as much ephemeral, contingent, and changeable as those I pick up from others; and that, then, helps me see that they are not such a big deal as they may feel from the inside of the person experiencing them.

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