In my own discernment, I have come to appreciate how much time and effort can be wasted in my attempts to understand and wrap my mind around every situation. In this way, I have been in a variety of meditation periods in which the mind is turning and I am exploring the many different sensations and perspectives on a given situation, and then suddenly the thought occurs to me: What decision am I trying to make?

At that moment, it often occurs to me that I do not have any decisions to make, and this leads me to consider that perhaps my energy is best spent elsewhere. Many times, circumstances are beyond my control, and the path of cultivating stillness involves accepting reality as it is. This changes the way in which I approach meditation because instead of trying to analyze the situation, I have discovered that I need to surrender to the Lord with complete abandonment.

Such experiences have convinced me that discernment is at its best when it is tied to specific, concrete action. The more we learn to focus on what we are called to do, the more we learn to let go of those details and situations which are beyond our control. Of course, such freedom is not simply an act of the will, but rather involves our on-going transformation in Christ. By turning to the Lord in all things, we discover his calm presence calling us back to a place of stillness and communion.

The key is to learn how to walk the path of unknowing. This does not mean we live in a fantasy world of positive thinking or blissful ignorance, but rather that we cultivate a discipline by which we bury all superfluous pursuits under a cloud of forgetting. Instead of constantly seeking to know as much as possible, we learn to see the Lord’s will with a kind of focused attention. In time, we learn to narrow our gaze to those details which help us to fulfill the mission.

To do this, when we find ourselves wandering here and there, we should simply come back to the question: What decision needs to be made? In this way, we come to prioritize not just the external qualities of our life such as our time, talent, and treasure, but also the interior resources of our ability to explore and analyze.