Discernment / Saraswati

March is women’s history month.  In the first week of March, I wanted to highlight a Goddess.  As I was still feeling the deep underlying threads of the past couple of weeks around this idea of “what are different aspects to keep in mind when you’re on a journey”, I knew I needed to take a look at discernment. Also because I’ve been needing to take a serious look at a decision that I need to make within my own life. So, it was very perfect to remember that the goddess Saraswati is the goddess of discernment, wisdom, and knowledge.

Before I go on to share about Saraswati, remember that she is the representation of That which lives in you. She symbolizes and embodies everything that is already within you. So, as I’m speaking about Saraswati, notice if anything resonates for you. That resonance is one key ingredient to be able to discern with both your head and your heart what Universe is telling you or showing you.
Now, I invite you to imagine a woman dressed in all white carrying sacred text, meditation mala beads, and a stringed instrument very much like the lute. Her companion, and sometimes vehicle, is the swan whose beak can ‘separate the milk of wisdom from the water of material existence’. This is Saraswati. Her gift is discernment that ‘lets us find divinity in the world and to awaken our own inner clarity and intuition’! She is knowledge itself. She is the power of divine speech, music, song, and creative inspiration. She is the mother of the Vedas and the essence of the Gayatri mantra. She reminds us that it’s important to stay mindful of the endless amounts of information that can come to us from our outer worlds. And, she invites us to stay mindful of our own uncontrollable thoughts; how they can cause us to be out of the flow of balance in our lives if we allow them. For balance read my blog here.  But, that ‘flow’ is one translation of her name, “the flowing one”!  
Saraswati’s name also means “one who bestows the essence of self”.  How beautiful in remembering the chant that we used in classes with Saraswati:
“Om shri Saraswati namaha”
“May I recognize the wisdom within me”.
Repeat this mantra while holding  the Suchi hastra mudra, or hand gesture, that embodies the essence of One in your hands; and it actually looks like the “we’re number one” hand gesture you would find at any athletic event! This mudra evokes the Supreme Soul; all are One, your True One Self.
To be able to discern is to be able to listen and cultivate trust of one’s own intuition, no matter how that intuition comes to us, and it can come in many various ways! Intuition can come to us from the inside out and it can also come as insights and signs from the outside to us.
In her book, “Radical Intuition,” Kim Chestney writes, “Discernment is the touch point where intuition and intelligence work together.  Our inner wisdom is defined by our ability to give insightful thoughts, feelings, and experiences a meaningful place in the evolutionary process.”
When we hear Saraswati’s name, “one who bestows the essence of self”, and we remember that we are the One, we are the Divine, then we can begin to better trust our deeper knowings. We can trust and recognize when something resonates deeply within our heart and our soul. That’s the very definition of discernment, to perceive or recognize. Other synonyms are insightful, knowledgeable, perceptive, knowing, astute. And it’s very key to remember that discerning happens both in the head and the heart. I also believe that discernment can happen within our physical body. When we have that felt sense and we get that gut instinct, that can be one way in which we discern how to make our next move, or discern what to do in that moment. This discernment might lead to better decision making in life. To be able to judge ‘beyond just a perception’, but to actually recognize a resonance within our self, a “knowing”.
This all requires awareness. Awareness was also something we talked about in the week prior to this; inside the intention of balance, read here.  But, remember how Saraswati invites us to stay mindful of the information we take in from the outside world, as well as our own thoughts within our head, that can become too much. All of this noise within us, or around us, can prevent us from being able to hear, feel, or witness those moments in which we could have been feeling the resonance. But, perhaps we can’t feel the resonance because of too many ping pong balls bouncing around in our brains!
Discernment requires of us time. It’s no wonder in Kim Chestney’s book that she writes, “Our minds decide based on information presented from the outside world; our intuition discerns based on information presented from the inside world. … The act of stepping back, of waiting a few minutes, hours – or even just seconds, in some cases – gives you the pause you need to “get into the gap” where your intuition can communicate with you.” That correlates so much with one of my coined phrases in my classes, the “sacred pause”. The ‘sacred pause’ is a moment in which you’re invited to just feel what you feel, and notice what you notice. In that moment of noticing, that ‘gap moment’, or call it a ‘bridge'(thanks Patrick Heffernan!) between that crazy moment where you couldn’t hear or see the insights, but in getting quiet, even for a breath, you were able to hear or feel that intuitive and wise knowing. It’s wise because you are wise. Remember Saraswati is knowledge itself and That is you. You are She and She is You.
Whenever your thoughts are too much, or whenever you just feel too overwhelmed or overburdened, call upon a Saraswati principle to create a positive affirmation. Or, use her mantra, “May I recognize the wisdom within me”.  She is the goddess of song, no wonder she’s carrying japa mala beads for us to sing the mantras and to be able to evoke our innate inner wisdom!
Call upon your inner Saraswati when you are uncertain and bewildered or feeling stuck. If you’re feeling heavy with the weight of the world call upon Saraswati within you. Whenever you want to lighten your burdens, make a decision, or spark your creativity call upon your inner knowing. When you wish to speak your Truth with clarity and sing the song of your story to the world, sing it proud thru Saraswati! When you want to connect to your own intuition and inner wisdom, or when you want to gain peace, ease, clarity, and grace call upon the essence of Saraswati within yourself.
With love,
Breathe and Believe.