by Mona Keddy
The dictionary definition of discrimination is, in part:
- an act or instance of discriminating or of making a distinction
- the power of making find distinctions; discriminating judgment
Discrimination therefore is related to choice. A discriminating person is able to make choices that reflect what they need at that time. As a young adult, choice often presented a dilemma for me. I would frequently spend time wavering between options and over-thinking outcomes. I was not necessarily connected to my needs and desires and would intellectualize the decision-making process.
Early on in my yoga journey, a couple of things happened to shift this. I read a book that suggested people searching to make meaning of their lives had to cultivate an individual sense of discrimination. Without that, we would be blindly following another. Ultimately, it said, we need to develop an ability to trust our experience and ourselves. Through building trust in ourselves, we begin to differentiate between what is habitual and what is optimal, what is ego and what is truth.
Around the same time, one of my yoga teachers offered an exercise to hone our discernment. He suggested that with each small decision we make in a day that we ask ourselves the choice and pause to wait for an answer. For example, should I buy the green apples or the red apples? Pause. Listen for the answer. Red apples. Use this internal knowing as the guide and practice making decisions like this, he said.
My experience of repeating this exercise over and over is that I developed my ability to discern. This I was moved toward an understanding that was internal and specific, that discriminated between what is optimal and what is comfortable or familiar. I became more trusting of myself. Choices got easier to make. My “discrimination muscle” got stronger.
Perhaps, you would like to try this and tell me how it goes.