Diving In Without Discernment

Recently it was holiday season here at the coast. One afternoon I watched a guy come down to the beach and quickly strip down to his bathing trunks. Only too aware of his audience, he flexed his muscles, then ran full speed down to the shoreline and dived spectacularly in to the sea. He was so caught up in the show of his own prowess that he never realized he was beyond the safe bathing beacons. It wasn’t long and it became obvious he was in trouble. Trapped in a fast flowing current he was carried out to sea. The life-savers immediately spotted him and skilfully went in and fetched him out. Suffering the humiliation of being carried out on to the beach in front of all the very people who witnessed his bravado, he quickly disappeared and wasn’t seen again.

The thought came to me of how we so easily dive in to things without proper thought, and then wonder why we find ourselves in trouble.

I’ve been grateful to some of the great architects of life who have always spoken of that little discerning space we need to keep between ourselves and all our engagements with life. They describe it as a kind of permanent little space we keep, in which we do our thinking and discerning of everything we’re about to engage in, often referred to as “keeping a contemplative distance” in all our involvements. When that space and discernment is not there, it’s possible to dive in to things without any kind of solid appraisal or discernment becoming victims of currents that should have been seen in the first place.

I think one of the beautiful things about this space is this: It’s quiet, very quiet, but there’s a “voice” in that stillness, a “voice” full of wisdom and practical know how. When it is heard and listened to, engagement and action is filled with insight and sound judgement.

Just how aware are we of this discerning space and voice? In the next post I’d like to share something of my own experience of this  “voice” and its coming in the stillness.


About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Discernment, Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Diving In Without Discernment

  1. darrelhoff says:

    I can just imagine the story from that young guy’s side. How embarrassed must he feel, but also hopefully he is humbled in a good way and not a scarred way. hectic.


  2. Theo Coggin says:

    The word I like is cogitate… and none of us does it sufficiently. And even though I “preach” it, every so often – more than I wish – I discover I haven’t done it myself.


    • Don says:

      I also love the word Theo. Here in our village I have watched project after project go up without any real “cogitation” and the result is that they have all turned in to white elephants. Absolutely no real thought has gone in to them. Our society has become extremely superficial with no real depth in its cogitation and thinking. You just have to look at the educational crisis to see its blatancy. Thanks for sharing Theo.


  3. I can just imagine that guy posturing on the beach, in a Johnny Bravo-esque style and then having to be carried out afterwards! Though to be honest, I’ve often dived into things before thinking, so I can understand how it can happen! It’s important to always take that moment to pause!


    • Don says:

      I’m sure we’ve all dived in to things before thinking – I also know I have. But as you say. it’s that pause. So important. Appreciate your sharing. Thank you.


  4. lyn Stephenson says:

    I am just very grateful to the life-savers who have come to my rescue when I have ended up in deep water…and I guess I’ve done my share of life-saving as well.

    I think the lesson to be had from the young man on the beach is when we are full of ego and focusing on looking good rather than what we are about…that’s when we end up in trouble.


    • Don says:

      Thanks Lyn. Thanks for you comments – always find them so meaningful. I too am very grateful for the life-savers in my life when ego has tended to run wild.


  5. Jenny Sprong says:

    There is something about the bravado of youth, though – I think there are things I would never have attempted had I not just dived in! Keeping within the safety beacons of life is the trick! thanks for these reflections, Don.


    • Don says:

      Sorry Jenny. Not sure what happened to your comment. It has suddenly come up. Will check it out. Maybe sometimes we get too cautious and need a bit of youthful bravado as you say. Thank you.


  6. ladyfi says:

    Such a meaningful post. And so true… the problem, in my case, is to remember to look for some space before diving in.


  7. Pingback: discernment. « ♥ truelovejunkie ♥

  8. I love how your posts always give me food for thought.

    The idea of the ‘contemplative distance’ appeals to me. I am not a ‘diver in’ though sometimes might have benefitted from a little more risk taking. No, that’s just not me but maybe I do think too long sometimes and analyse too much. I need to find the happy medium.

    I’m glad the young man was saved.

    All the best to you 🙂


    • Don says:

      Thanks for your meaningful comment. You’re so right – the happy medium is the thing. I think as long as we feel the tension between the two, we’re alive. Always appreciate your comments.


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