Discernment Quotes (121) Spiritual Sayings

Summary: Definition of Discernment. Discernment is the ability to obtain sharp perceptions or to judge well In the case of judgment, discernment can be psychological or moral in nature


We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment. 
~ Chanakya

Discernment is not a matter of telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.
~ Charles Spurgeon

The kind of "blind obedience" once theologized as the ultimate step to holiness, is itself blind. It blinds a person to the insights and foresight and moral perspective of anyone other than an authority figure.
~ Joan D. Chittister

God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.
~ Oswald Chambers

The first rule of holes: When you're in one stop digging.
~ Molly Ivins

Her great merit is finding out mine; there is nothing so amiable as discernment.
~ Lord Byron

Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other.
~ Stephen Covey

The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things-the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.
~ Samuel Johnson

Discernment is a power of the understanding in which few excel. Is not that owing to its connection with impartiality and truth? for are not prejudice and partiality blind?
~ Sir Fulke Greville

There are big men, men of intellect, intellectual men, men of talent and men of action; but the great man is difficult to find, and it needs --apart from discernment --a certain greatness to find him.
~ Margot Asquith

When a person goes into a relationship emotionally needy, they are not going to have discernment in choosing people.
~ Jennifer O'Neill

There seems to be no part of knowledge in fewer hands than that of discerning when to have done.
~ Jonathan Swift

Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.
~ Isak Dinesen

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
~ Jack Kerouac

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
~ Niccolo Machiavelli

True knowledge is a virtue of the talented, but harmful to those without discernment. Spring water free of impurity, entering the ocean, becomes undrinkable.
~ Akkineni Nagarjuna 

You see, but you do not observe.
~ Arthur Conan Doyle

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.
~ Eric Hoffer

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
~ Mark Twain

Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness.
~ Marshall McLuhan

The practice of discernment is part of higher consciousness. Discernment is not just a step up from judgment. In life's curriculum, it is the opposite of judgment. Through judgment a man reveals what he needs to confront and learn. Through discernment, one reveals what he has mastered.
~ Glenda Green

Compassionate action emerges from the sense of openness, connectedness, and discernment you have created.
~ Joan Halifax

True discernment means not only distinguishing the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between the good and the better, and even between the better and the best.
~ Sinclair B. Ferguson

The creation message has matured over the past three decades, as the discernment and understanding of creationist leaders has matured. More and more, the emphasis is on the foundational issue: compromise of Genesis ultimately undermines the gospel itself.
~ Ken Ham

This is a time when all of God's people need to keep their eyes and their Bibles wide open. We must ask God for discernment as never before.
~ David Jeremiah

Opportunities are seldom labeled.
~ John G. Shedd

Some people think they have discernment when actually they are just suspicious.. Suspicion comes out of the unrenewed mind; discernment comes out of the renewed spirit.
~ Joyce Meyer

The truth is that the general genius of a government is all that can be substantially relied upon for permanent effects. Particular provisions, though not altogether useless, have far less virtue and efficacy than are commonly ascribed to them; and the want of them will never be with men of sound discernment a decisive objection to any plan which exhibits the leading characters of a good government.
~ Alexander Hamilton

I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. A thoughtless word hardly ever escaped my tongue or pen. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. We find so many people impatient to talk. All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time. My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

The way of trust is a movement into obscurity, into the undefined, into ambiguity, not into some predetermined, clearly delineated plan for the future. The next step discloses itself only out of a discernment of God acting in the desert of the present moment. The reality of naked trust is the life of the pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signaled the movement and offered it his presence and his promise.
~ Brennan Manning

When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
~ C.P. Snow

Little boldness is needed to assail the opinions and practices of notoriously wicked men; but to rebuke great and good men for their conduct, and to impeach their discernment, is the highest effort of moral courage.
~ William Lloyd Garrison

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love....
~ Amy Carmichael

A process for discernment: God is my ultimate source of truth and wisdom, and dwells forever at the center of my being. Therefore, any thought, emotion, or action that takes me further from my center can be neither truthful, nor wise.
~ Bill Crawford

To be 'in the will of God' is not a matter of intellectual discernment, but a state of heart.
~ Oswald Chambers

What we want to do is make sure they're not totally kept from what's going on in the world. We don't want to seclude them but, at the same time, we want them to have wisdom and discernment to make wise decisions - to protect them through the love of the family and the value that we have in one another and in the Lord and our time in Scripture. Finding that balance is not an easy task but it can be done.
~ Alex Kendrick

Mainstream rabbis essentially closed the book on dreams by the sixth century, and Church fathers established that only certain saints have the discernment to determine which dreams are from God. The dream is exiled.
~ Rodger Kamenetz 

The more validation I need, the less discernment I have.
~ Kurt Hanks

Though determinants and matrices received a great deal of attention in the nineteenth century and thousands of papers were written on these subjects, they do not constitute great innovations in mathematics.... Neither determinants nor matrices have influenced deeply the course of mathematics despite their utility as compact expressions and despite the suggestiveness of matrices as concrete groups for the discernment of general theorems of group theory....
~ Morris Kline

True sincerity reveals a powerful form of clarity and discernment that is necessary in order to perceive yourself honestly without flinching or being held captive by your conditioned mind's judgments and defensiveness.
~ Adyashanti

When you learn what you can live without, you are able to ask life for the very best because you possess the gift of discernment. You are able to create an authentic life because you are able to make conscious choices.
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Children have almost an intuitive discernment between the maxims you bring forward for their use, and those by which you direct your own conduct.
~ Anna Letitia Barbauld

To be forward to praise others implies either great eminence, that can afford to, part with applause; or great quickness of discernment, with confidence in our own judgments; or great sincerity and love of truth, getting the better of our self-love.
~ William Hazlitt

To make a covenant with the Lord to always keep His commandments is a serious obligation, and to renew that covenant by partaking of the sacrament is equally serious. The solemn moments of thought while the sacrament is being served have great significance. They are moments of self-examination, introspection, self-discernment...a time to reflect and to resolve.
~ Howard W. Hunter

Living in the present moment requires discretion toward memory. Without memory we'd have amnesia. What good would there be in that? Offer discretion and discernment for our past with a broad spectrum of forgiveness. As for our present moment, delight. And dedication to remain fully present to all the possibility.
~ Mary Anne Radmacher

You must put the essence of what you want to say into a painting. The rest is arbitrary. Chosen with discernment, but chosen, and choice involves elimination.
~ Louise Bourgeois

True knowledge is a virtue of the talented, but harmful to those without discernment. Spring water free of impurity, entering the ocean, becomes undrinkable.
~ Akkineni Nagarjuna

To be 'in the will of God' is not a matter of intellectual discernment, but a state of heart.
~ Oswald Chambers

Everyone is prejudiced in favor of his own powers of discernment...
~ Pliny the Younger

My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

A man of discernment, meditating on the healing Divine Providence, bears with thanksgiving the misfortunes that come to him. He sees their causes in his own sins, and not in anyone else. But a mindless man, when he sins and receives the punishment for it, considers the cause of his misfortune to be God, or people, not understanding God's care for him.
~ Maximus the Confessor

You must teach yourself how to eat less, but with discernment, insofar as your work allows. The measure of temperance should be such that after lunch you want to pray.
~ Silouan the Athonite

Sound judgement, with discernment is the best of seers
~ Euripides

Obscurity is dispelled by augmenting the light of discernment, not by attacking the darkness.
~ Socrates

Be courageous and face this moment in time consciously and with all the discernment and clarity within your power.
~ James O'Dea

Profoundness, genius, spontaneity, merit, nobility, ingenuity, voice propriety, feeling, discernment, sensibility, good taste, great tone, rightness, courtliness, vivacity, boldness, style, freshness, harmony, perfection, imagination, purity, correctness. The greatest writer of all times. God's most astonishing creation.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

He who knows others is clever; He who knows himself has discernment.
~ Laozi

Education, properly understood, is that which teaches discernment.
~ Philibert Joseph Roux

Love of colors bewilders the eye and it fails to see right. Love of harmonies bewitches the ear, and it loses its true hearing. Love of perfumes fills the head with dizziness. Love of flavors ruins the taste. Desires unsettle the heart until the original nature runs amok. These five are enemies of true life. Yet these are what men of discernment claim to live for. They are not what I live for. If this is life, then pigeons in a cage have found happiness!
~ Zhuangzi

Love always seeks for betterment, for ways of making life more workable, joyful, whole, and beautiful. Love examines every option available to bring about an improvement in life. This kind of discernment is an act of decency, not an act of judgment. Rigid philosophies of judgment will seek to establish structure as a substitute for decency, control as a substitute for trust, and the mind as a substitute for higher awareness.
~ Glenda Green

Gardening can become a spiritual exercise, teaching us discernment as we eliminate the weeds from our lives, giving what we value room to grow.
~ Diane Dreher

Applause lavished at a whim and without discernment, often proves the ruin of young people training for a stage career.
~ Jean-Georges Noverre

Enlightenment is construed as seeing things as they really are rather than as they appear; it is a direct insight into, and discernment of, the nature of reality that is apprehended only by wisdom, which transcends and is prior to the activity of discriminative thought. In this view, delusion is defined as all that is opposed to enlightenment.
~ Kim Hee-jin

It is the man and woman united that makes the complete human being. Separate she lacks his force of body and strength of reason; he her softness, sensibility and acute discernment. Together they are most likely to succeed in the world.
~ Benjamin Franklin

The simple power of prayer can save us all kinds of time and trouble if we will ask God to give us wisdom and discernment in our relationships.
~ Joyce Meyer

Look round this universe. What an immense profusion of beings, animated and organized, sensible and active! You admire this prodigious variety and fecundity. But inspect a little more narrowly these living existences, the only beings worth regarding. How hostile and destructive to each other! How insufficient all of them for their own happiness! How contemptible or odious to the spectator! The whole presents nothing but the idea of a blind Nature, inpregnated by a great vivifying principle, and pouring forth from her lap, without discernment or parental care, her maimed and abortive children.
~ David Hume

Because of this ever increasing discernment of the true Mason he/she will find more efficient ways to apply brotherly love, relief and truth.
~ George Washington

The rarest things in the world, next to a spirit of discernment, are diamonds and pearls.
[Fr., Apres l'esprit de discernement, ce qu'il y a au monde de plus rare, ce sont les diamants et les perles.]
~ Jean de la Bruyere

The true Mason's level of discernment increases with every use of the working tools, because the true Mason is ever working on him/her self.
~ William Howard Taft

It is an unquestionable truth, that the body of the people in every country desire sincerely its prosperity. But it is equally unquestionable that they do not possess the discernment and stability necessary for systematic government. To deny that they are frequently led into the grossest of errors, by misinformation and passion, would be a flattery which their own good sense must despise.
~ Alexander Hamilton

If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send you out to sea.
You have to get out past the harbor into the great dephts of God, and begin to know things for yourself....beg in to have spiritual discernment.
Beware of paying attention or going back to what you once were, when God wants you to be something that you have never been.
~ Oswald Chambers

Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself!
~ Confucius

Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.
~ Voltaire

What most of us need, almost more than anything, is the courage and humility really to ask for help, from the depths of our hearts: to ask for the compassion of the enlightened beings, to ask for purification and healing, to ask for the power to understand the meaning of our suffering and transform it; at a relative level to ask for the growth in our lives of clarity, peace, and discernment, and to ask for the realization of the absolute nature of mind that comes from merging with the deathless wisdom mind of the master.
~ Sogyal Rinpoche

The citizens of America have too much discernment to be argued into anarchy. And I am much mistaken, if experience has not wrought a deep and solemn conviction in the public mind, that greater energy of government is essential to the welfare and prosperity of the community
~ Alexander Hamilton

One of the most subtle burdens God ever puts on us as saints is this burden of discernment concerning other souls. He reveals things in order that we may take the burden of these souls before Him and form the mind of Christ about them. It is not that we bring God into touch with our minds, but that we rouse ourselves until God is able to convey His mind to us about the one for whom we intercede.
~ Oswald Chambers 

The kinds of nets we know how to weave determine the kinds of nets we cast. These nets, in turn, determine the kinds of fish we catch..
~ Elliot W. Eisner

A great deal may be done by severity, more by love, but most by clear discernment and impartial justice.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

On love, not harming others, and respecting all beings. Even animals have these elements in their behavioral patterns. We should start by observing how animals act. They are honest and appreciate it when we are honest with them. If you present something nice to an animal in one hand while hiding a rope in the other, the creature will know your intention. Yet animals have no religion, no constitution. Basic nature has endowed them with the faculty of discernment. It is the same for humans.
~ Dalai Lama

But, perhaps, the flatterer is not often detected; for an honest mind is not apt to suspect, and no one exerts the power of discernment with much vigour when selflove favors the deceit.
~ Samuel Johnson

When focusing only on one's credentials one boasts his own incompetence in his capacity for discernment of the individual.
~ Criss Jami

Discernment is the son of good judgment and the father of self-control. When mixed with an already clear conscience, the ability to read the true motives of a critic keeps one's conscience both clear and at ease.
~ Criss Jami

Thoughts are universally and not individually rooted; a truth cannot be created, but only perceived. The erroneous thoughts of man result from imperfections in his discernment. The goal of Yoga Science is to calm the mind, that without distortion it may mirror the Divine vision in the Universe.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Discernment: Corruption's worst enemy.
~ George Richard Marek

Humanity is not without answers or solutions regarding how to liberate itself from scenarios that invariably end with mass exterminations. Tools such as compassion, trust, empathy, love, and ethical discernment are already in our possession. The next sensible step would be to use them.
~ Aberjhani

Judgment is discernment on a bad hair day.
~ Mary Anne Radmacher

The fourth paradigm forces us at every point to discern between the creationally valid and the sinfully perverse and thus confronts us with a never-ending task which requires not only competence but also spiritual discernment. Yet this is precisely the task which we must assume, even at the risk of being vague on specifics. The alternative is to compromise basic themes of authentic Christianity.
~ Albert M. Wolters

People should not expect the state to protect them from fraudsters. If we do, we get into the habit of neglecting our own powers of intellectual discernment.
~ Julian Baggini

We need discernment in what we see and what we hear and what we believe.
~ Charles R. Swindoll

Intelligence is not discernment and judgment or critical evaluation.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

The moment of grace comes to us in the dynamics of any situation we walk into. It is an opportunity that God sews into the fabric of a routine situation. It is a chance to do something creative, something helpful, something healing, something that makes one unmarked spot in the world better off for our having been there. We catch it if we are people of discernment.
~ Lewis B. Smedes

When we discern that people are not going on spiritually and allow the discernment to turn to criticism, we block our way to God. God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede
~ Oswald Chambers

It is scarcely credible to what degree discernment may be dazzled by the mist of pride, and wisdom infatuated by the intoxication of flattery.
~ Samuel Johnson

When the Lord wants to give us a mission, wants to give us a task, He prepares us. He prepares us to do it well...What is important is the whole journey by which we arrive at the mission the Lord entrusts to us...when the Lord gives a mission, He always has us enter into a process, a process of purification, a process of discernment, a process of obedience, a process of prayer.
~ Pope Francis

The firmness with which the (American) people have withstood the... abuses of the press, the discernment they have manifested between truth and falsehood, show that they may safely be trusted to hear everything true and false and to form a correct judgment between them.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Where there is not discernment, the behavior even of the purest soul may in effect amount to coarseness.
~ Henry David Thoreau 

If we can simply distinguish between the different successive stages of evolution, it is possible to see primeval events within the earthly events of the present.
~ Rudolf Steiner

in the will of God" is not a matter of intellectual discernment, but a state of heart... It's motto is --" My Father can do what he likes with me, He may bless me to death, or give me a bitter cup; I delight to do His will.
~ Oswald Chambers

The old man has been long at the fair. He is acquainted with the jugglers at the booths. His curiosity has been satisfied. He no longer cares for the exceptional, the monstrous, the marvelous and deformed. He looks through and beyond the gilding, the glitter and gloss, not only of things, but of conduct, of manners, theories, religions and philosophies. He sees clearer. The light no longer shines in his eyes.
~ Robert Green Ingersoll

It is the interplay between our experience and how we respond to it that makes karma devastating or helpfully invigorating.
~ Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do.
~ Johann Hari

We are not fond of praising, and never praise any one except from interested motives. Praise is a clever, concealed, and delicate flattery, which gratifies in different ways the giver and the receiver. The one takes it as a recompense of his merit, and the other bestows it to display his equity and discernment.
~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Reflection and action must never be undertaken independently.
~ Paulo Freire

These, then, are the qualities of my ideal diplomatist. Truth, accuracy, calm, patience, good temper, modesty and loyalty. They are also the qualities of an ideal diplomacy. But, the reader may object, you have forgotten intelligence, knowledge, discernment, prudence, hospitality, charm, industry, courage and even tact. I have not forgotten them. I have taken them for granted.
~ Harold Nicolson

The fundamental qualities for good execution of a plan is first; intelligence; then discernment and judgment, which enable one to recognize the best method as to attain it; the singleness of purpose; and, lastly, . . . stubborn will.
~ Ferdinand Foch

Because only slow food can teach us the things that really matter - care, beauty, concentration, discernment, sensuality, all the best that humans are capable of, but only if we take the time to think about what we're eating.
~ Alice Waters

What is happening to our world is almost too colossal for human comprehension to contain...To contemplate its girth and its circumference, to attempt to define it, to try and fight it all at once, is impossible. The only way to combat it is by fighting specific wars in specific ways.
~ Arundhati Roy

Only if we grant power to something can it have power over us. It becomes a serving and sustaining potency when we again are able to place it into the realm where it belongs, instead of submitting to it.
~ Jean Gebser

It would be doing cunning too much honor to call it an inferior species of true discernment.
~ Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke

As soon as the Cross ceases to be to us, first of all, the place of utmost shame and contempt, we make the Cross of Christ of none effect.
~ L. E. Maxwell

Whatever the practical origins of aesthetic discernment may have been, it has been used to create great works of art. When the very loftiest human creations are seen to derive from humble origins and functions, what needs revision is not our esteem for these creations but our notion of nobility.
~ Robert Nozick

If Justice is pictured blindfold, it is because she judges causes, not men, and not because the prime faculty of an arbitrator is lack of discernment.
~ Charles Wagner

I've been blessed with a good head on my shoulders and quite a good ability of discernment. I can see through people.
~ Kellan Lutz

God gives His deepest discernment and sharpest marksmanship to men who aim to expose His truth before an enemy's lies.
~ Criss Jami

We depend on our words...Our task is to communicate experience and ideas to others. We must strive continually to extend the scope of our description, but in such a way that our messages do not thereby lose their objective or unambiguous character...We are suspended in language in such a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down. The word 'reality' is also a word, a word which we must learn to use correctly.
~ Niels Bohr

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Discernment Quotes - (121) - Awakening Spiritual Quotations
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