The Mindful/Discerning Ones – a charism of the Holy Spirit?
In his book ‘Words of Spirituality’ Enzo Bianchi writes, ‘in Buddism, it is through attention that one reaches a penetrating vision of reality, a way of seeing, what the desert fathers and the Christian tradition have called diorasis (seeing in depth, beyond appearances and exteriors) (p.34).
Diorasis is one of the ‘mindful’ Christian words, and someone who exhibited it was called a Discerning One, we could say a mindful one – for discernment is part of Christian mindfulness. It is not a narrow closed attitude of the mind but an open, discerning one. In Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) a mindfulness-incorporating therapy, the state of mind to access is ‘wise mind’. Discernment is about wisdom.
In ‘The Spirituality of the Christian East’ Tomas Spidlik calls this discernment, this seeing in depth a charism of the Holy Spirit, which included an ability to see into the hearts of people. It also included a knowledge of the mysteries of God.
this charism is considered a gift of God and also the result of personal purification, through a life of contemplative prayer, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God'(Matthew 5:8). The principal way of praying was the Jesus Prayer, the simple but profound invocation of the presence of God which contains the whole gospel, ‘Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.’ This prayer was incarnated into the person through the first half of the prayer happening on the in-breath, and the second half on the out-breath.
This ancient prayer enables one to deal with the traditional eight afflictive thoughts of gluttony, lust and greed, anger, sadness and acedia, vanity and pride.
The grace of God enables all to become discerning ones, the humility of man enables all to co-work with God in contemplative prayer. This is the wisdom of the Desert Fathers and Mothers.