An important aspect of discernment of information is to use our critical thinking skills. Information can be presented in ways that suggest a certain interpretation. But we can still filter the actual content that is conveyed in the message and sometimes that content simply doesn’t make sense. Critical thinking implies that we don’t passively follow thoughts presented in the information, but that we actively process it step by step to discover if our independent mind perceives the presented content as logical and true. When the content is extensive and complex, it can be useful to make notes of the thoughts presented in the information and dissect the elements to get a clearer picture. We can also cross-reference the content with other sources on similar topics.

Another important aspect is becoming aware of our personal beliefs. Every piece of information that challenges the vision of reality we had constructed up to this point, will cause instant resistance in us. We have established our beliefs through what we were being spoon-fed from a young age, combined with beliefs that we consciously adopted into our belief-system during our personal development. It often feels too unsafe to let go of these essential beliefs that we built our lives upon. As a result, we are often quite attached to keeping things unchanged, and the lenses through which we are perceiving the world can be blurred by a fear of change and a fear of the unknown. A term used for this initial response is cognitive dissonance.

Practicing sincere inner work, discovering our shadows, healing our emotional wounds, and being thoroughly aware of our patterns and triggers, can assist us in keeping an open mind when we are presented with information. It assists us in developing the skill to be open to receiving information that competes with our idea of reality. Self-awareness is needed to recognize the reasons for our initial impulse of rejecting new information. When we allow ourselves to look at the information, to calm our mind and nervous system, and then re-assess the information, our conclusions might be very different than the initial response.

In this process of increasing self-awareness about how we receive new information, we start to develop a more accurate discernment. The more we live from our own essence, and the more we take responsibility for our feelings and our life, our gut-feeling becomes an increasingly flawless compass in discernment. When we are presented with new information, we can then notice how our nervous system responds to receiving the information. There is no longer a need to analyze the content step by step in our mind, but there is an instant knowing if the information is true or not. This knowing can be compared to the conviction that religious people have about the existence of their deity and that scientists have about tangible scientific proof.

Especially when we are presented with a messenger that is sharing new information, we most likely have an instant impression on whether or not we resonate with this person. The question is not so much if we like the person, but if we feel an instant sense of trust, that he is sharing authentically or that he has a hidden agenda. Eyes, body language, and energy reveal total comfort and honesty in communication, or they reveal contraction, avoidance, and manipulation. Many people in powerful positions in the world today are highly trained actors, and it can take some practice to learn to discern truth from lies presented by professional con-artists. However, the gut-feeling that tells us if a person is being authentic or not, becomes more clear and accurate over time.

We can be seduced into debating with the people around us about what is true and what is false, but this tends to make our minds more rigid and keep us stuck in old beliefs. Political games are played that benefit from the ongoing division between people. But we can all the ability to agree to disagree with each other about certain topics similar to how we accept different preferences in food, activities, and religion. There usually is enough common ground to share those subjects we can agree on with the people that are important to us. And there are other people we encounter that resonate in similar ways, allowing new like-minded tribes to be formed.