There is a fun little story that Swami Vishnudevananda, the founder of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, used to tell often, and the story continues to be told here.
Once Upon a Time, there was a frog family living in a very large well. Mr. Frog often said to Mrs. Frog, 'what a lucky family we are to live in the best well in the whole world." "It is the biggest well with everything we need, and we are so happy and fortunate to be living here."
One day, Mrs. Frog's cousin visited and told her that there was a much bigger well than hers, just over the hill. Mr. Frog wouldn't even listen, as he joyfully swam across the water from one side to the other.
So, Mrs. Frog kept asking Mr. Frog if they could go and see if there was indeed a bigger and better well than theirs, as her cousin had told her.
Mr. Frog saw no reason to seek anything other than what he had, as he was happy and had everything he needed. He knew that what he had was the best that could possibly be, and so he said 'no'.
But Mrs. Frog was quite persistent, until one day, Mr. Frog said 'ok, let's go and I'll show you that there is nothing bigger or better than our wonderful home'.
They set out in the morning and journeyed a good part of the day.
They finally got to the other side of the hill.............................only to find................the vast ocean.
This story has many layers of teachings, and the one I'd like to discuss a bit has to do with 'judging' vs 'discernment'.
One of the virtues I am working on is to be less judgmental, particularly in the area of work.
Really looking at what judgment means - my dictionary defines the word as 'the ability to come to considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions'.
I'd venture to say that Mr. Frog considered his decision to stay happy in his own well. He further came to the sensible conclusion that his well was the best and the biggest based on what he knew. He was also judgmental in thinking his was "the best", and therefor other frogs' wells were not as grand as his well.
The definition for discernment - the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently
Looking again at Mr. Frog, he was not naturally inclined to be discerning. He saw and understood his perspective of the home he shared with his family. He did not exhibit the ability to see and understand his situation clearly and intelligently, in that he assumed he knew everything there was to know.
I rather like this word, 'discernment' and I'm trying to cultivate my ability to discern.
For example, I have now learned that we are not all the same body and mind constitution. It should have been obvious, but in the Western culture, we attribute our body types solely to how much we eat and exercise.
I now realize that there is more to it than that. We also consider people's work ethics to be either good or not good = lazy. Again, there are other attributes at play.
My past judgment of people's abilities was based on considered decisions and sensible conclusions based on what I knew. I didn't know what I didn't know, and I didn't know everything. :)
It uses discernment to realize that a Kapha body/mind type would be best suited to do a long and steady project that required excellent organization, structure and fortitude, while also understanding that the project would get done at a slow pace and would need some prodding.
This is not judgmental, but is clear and intelligent understanding of people and situations. A Kapha constitution would also be at ease doing this type of work.
Discernment is needed to know that a strong Pitta body/mind type would be needed to champion and lead a complex project that required tremendous intellectual capacity, many moving parts and strong drive. Understanding that this champion would also set some fires along the way and upset a number of people due to the perfectionist pressures placed upon himself and others involved is part of the discernment about Pitta.
Pitta types welcome challenges, and love to prove to themselves and others that they can meet the challenge and exceed expectations. This is exciting work to them.
To discern that a Vata body/mind type with an abundance of ideas would be needed to create the artistic design with flare and creativity for a huge gala, while understanding that without the right support staff, the project would be over budget, not on time and the theme may change 5 times before the event ever happened. Vata's creativity and exuberance thrives, with strong support staff that can appreciate and understand the creative nature.
Vata types love to be free-flowing, and planning a gala is a dream job for them.
I continue to learn and remain open to gaining new insights and experiences, adding to my ability to discern.
A beautiful weather week here on Paradise Island - and I taught my first class on the beach platform(photo above) - AMAZING! :)
Sending You Love from the Bahamas.
Thank you for taking this journey with me! May you be a Happy Human too!
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