The irony here is that if we could let ourselves feel the discomfort without assigning blame, that very discomfort would connect us to our real source of wisdom and strength. The feeling that something is wrong is actually a signal. At the deepest level, it's a direct communication from our inner self, our authentic self. Feelings are expressions of the life-force, the inner power that the yogic tradition calls Shakti. If we can catch them when they first arise, before we start to assign blame or find fault or rush to judgment, they will often give us the information we need to understand any situation. Not only that, when we acknowledge feelings of discomfort without trying to escape them, we automatically put ourselves back in touch with our authentic self, which is the source of real discernment.

You might try this now. Consider a moment in your life when you felt ill at ease, uncomfortable in a situation. With a person. With yourself. Consider how those feelings of discomfort felt in your body. Now see if you can just simply name the feeling. "I'm uncomfortable. Something feels wrong." Name it without trying to do anything about it. If judgments come up, breathe them out with the exhalation.

Notice how recognizing the feeling of discomfort shifts your relationship to it. You're no longer inside it, no longer identified.

From this state, ask yourself, "What does this discomfort teach me? What can I learn from it?" And you can also ask, "What needs to be done about it?"

Notice how much clearer your attitude becomes when you're acknowledging, sensing, and working with the feelings of discomfort or wrongness, before judging either the feelings or the situation that triggered them!

Next Week: Moving toward Discernment—Judgment Calls, Part 2