Ask Parvati 35: The Gift in Gossip – Part 4: Discernment

BY Parvati

(Continued from Gossip Hurts)
You ask, “Is there a way to know when someone is truly practicing satya or they just talk a good game?” We need to learn discernment along the spiritual path.
I originally wrote the text below for my Seeing Past the Shimmer blog entry, but feel it applies here too, so I share it with some slight modification:
I believe we are all a lot more alike than different. I would say that the light you see in your friend is a reflection of the light you see in yourself. Conversely, the shadow you sense in him/her is a reflection of your own discomfort with your own inner shadow.
Whether you are acquaintances or are best of friends, whether you hang out every day for the rest of your life or never see the person again, is secondary to the opportunity to grow from any encounter and deepen your own spiritual awareness. I would see this person as a gift from the universe for you to learn greater discernment, practice tuning into what you are feeling in the moment and act in a way that honours your inner voice.
Next time you are around a person and you question their sincerity, ask yourself:

  • Do I feel expansive now? If not, how come? If yes, how come?
  • Do I feel safe now? If not, how come? If yes, how come?
  • What wonderful qualities do I see in this person? How are these aspects of myself?
  • What can I not stand in this person? How are those aspects of myself?
  • Can I allow myself to just be, and watch this person/situation as he/she/it is, without reacting?
  • Does it feel rooted, vital and expansive for me to stay with this person now? (If yes, stay. If no, go.)

As a tool to learn discernment and develop compassion, I mention above to ask yourself in the moment if it feels rooted, vital and expansive to stay with that person or move along. This question is a powerful litmus test to see if the “good game player” side in you (in your words) is in fact masking your own shadow, as you hang out with someone who may be doing the same.
If it does feel rooted, vital and expansive to stay, then do so and fully relax and meet the moment in all its wonder. If it does not feel rooted, vital and expansive to stay and you choose to stay, then you too would be playing a “good game” by remaining. It is far more honest and compassionate to all involved (which includes you!) to kindly choose to interact no longer, wish the other well, and move on.
The gift here is in the power to discern what feels expansive and supportive for you and learning to accept both yourself and others exactly where you each are at. We don’t need to hang out with everyone, but I believe we are called to learn to love everyone, equally. By “love” I don’t mean a sentimental attachment, but a commitment to be real, honest, open, humble and courageous in this moment. By “love” I mean developing the state of witness consciousness, to see all of life… the beautiful, the painful, the glorious, the ugly… unfold as it is.
Love is like a flower that blooms in the fertile soil of self-love. As we learn to love ourselves exactly as we are, we become able to love others as they are by seeing through appearances and being present for what is, without judgment, attachment, fear, guilt or trying to change the outside world to suit our needs. In every moment we have the choice to embrace our evolution or resist it in some way. By rooting our actions in self-love, by practicing discernment through non-attachment, we can learn to cultivate timeless love and see beyond temporal, manufactured sparkles into eternal, expansive light.
Wishing you much joy on your continued path.
My next post will be on Sunday.
Be well until then,
PS: Please send in your questions for this Sunday’s post to Thanks in advance!