Put very simply, discernment is our ability to distinguish between what is right for us—and what is not; what resonates with our soul's path, and what doesn't. Discernment however is like a muscle that needs exercise in order to grow, until we arrive at the stage where we no longer need to look outside ourselves for guidance.....
This—like so many good topics (and blogs)—came up in conversation with a friend about why some people follow so-called gurus or get into cults.
I recall some wise advice I was given many years ago about groups and charismatic leaders: watch which way the power flows. If it's only flowing to the leader, then he or she wants you there simply so you can feed his or her ego. Now more than ever, we need to be discerning because there are so many so-called spiritual leaders who are charlatans and are operating out of ego.
Discernment starts to come when we begin to know we are strong enough to make our own independent decisions, to steer our own ship without needing to be directed by someone else, because it's our ship not theirs (they're steering their own ship).
It's absolutely OK to choose a path and follow it until it no longer serves us, and then choose another path until that no longer serves us....all the while learning what resonates with us, and growing in faith in ourselves that we know how to make wise decisions—that we are becoming ever more discerning.
One simple method to help exercise your discernment muscle is to be guided by your heart: to ask whether a course of action makes your heart sing or sink. If your heart sinks, then you know to avoid it. If you can feel your heart sing, then go for it—for as long as it serves you.
If you are concerned about being judged for 'changing your mind', just know that when the first space craft went to the moon, it was on course for only 7% of the journey—the rest of the time it was making corrections. We know it arrived. And you will too. All you need to do is to keep coming back to what you know is true and right for you—what makes your heart sing.