More on Discernment from Henri Nouwen...
Nouwen talks about how discernment is like hearing the beat of a different drummer. This analogy hits home for me. Listening for the Holy Spirit's voice can separate us from the crowd. Its amazing how deep inside we want to hear this different beat, yet we try so hard to fit in with others. We can easily substitute the religious life for true discernment. Again, spiritual disciplines help bring the need for discernment back into focus.
I love Nouwen's definition of this movement toward discernment.
"The great movement of the spiritual life is from deaf, nonhearing life to a life of listening. From a life in which we experience ourselves as separated, isolated, and lonely to a life in which we hear the guiding and healing voice of God."