I once had a friend beautifully articulate one of the gifts that has helped support me in my own journey while also being a tool through which I am able to be a source of support for others. She put it this way, “Lauri, you have the ability of seeing the truth beyond the veil.”
I have indeed accepted this as being one of my superpowers. In the Catholic tradition in which I was raised, this superpower would be considered a charism (a gift of the Holy Spirit) and would be called:
Discernment of Spirits
Traditionally, discernment of spirits is described as “the immediate and intuitive ability to capture the spiritual source of certain behaviors or ideas or to grasp the nature of the spiritual presence in people, places or things” (Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, Weddell, 1997, p. 27).
Discernment of spirits might be thought of as the ability to detect “the devil in the room.” I think of it more as being able to see the truth beyond the illusion and to hear the truth beyond the words.
I have experienced this gift in several ways. My earliest recollection of this gift was in my uncanny ability to “read” the integrity (or lack thereof) of a person. At a very young age I seemed to immediately know if someone was a liar, a cheat, or quite simply evil. I also knew if they were an honest, authentically good person. The individual didn’t need to say a word or demonstrate an action. I simply knew. Later experiences with these individuals always proved my earliest sensations (discernment) to be true. In hindsight, I can humbly say that my discernment of spirits in 100% accurate. The challenge has been to believe it and not give into the societal conditioning that tells us we must “give them the benefit of the doubt.”
At 57, I uncompromisingly believe my first impressions of people because I find I have never been wrong.
The other, and perhaps most helpful use of this gift is in working with clients and students. I see and sense that which is holding them back from living their truth. I see and sense resistance, fears, unhealed wounds, and past traumas, as well as beliefs and behaviors based not in truth, but in conditioning. When facilitating process work with a client, I might ask them a question and in whatever way they respond, I can tell if that is the path of inquiry to continue, or if there is something “hiding” behind their words. The client will often say one thing, but I hear or sense another. It’s difficult to describe. I just know that there is something hiding that seeks to be known – something that is their REAL truth and not just that which they show to the world or want to believe about themselves.
Admittedly, seeing the truth beyond the veil is not always pleasant. Sometimes I see, sense, or know something “the other” doesn’t want to know or doesn’t want others to know about them. I have known, for example, that certain individuals were choosing the wrong partner or venturing down a path of failure. I have also sensed decisions that would open doors to liberation and freedom for an individual – decisions they may or may not be willing to make. It’s one thing to share these awarenesses in a client/practitioner relationship. It’s another thing when what you are seeing and knowing is related to a family member or friend. Having the ability to see the truth beyond the veil requires me to carefully discern in what circumstances it is appropriate to share what I know and when it is best to remain silent.
Silence, I have learned is also one of my superpowers.
Discovering and learning about your own unique giftedness and how you are called to use those gifts is one of the critical stages of the Magdalene Priesthood Training (for women and men) and the Authentic Freedom Mastery Training.