Discernment – How to recognize true guidance versus false guidance in spiritual work

by Anne Reith, Ph.D.
Bright red word TRUE standing upright in long row of gray words saying FALSE

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In PART I of this 3-part series on Discernment, we discussed which spiritual entities you shouldn’t listen to and which you should.  In PART II, we discussed how our ego can also be misleading when trying to learn how to receive spiritual guidance.  In this final part or our series, I will present information that will help you differentiate between message you should listen to and which should be ignored. 

Bright red word TRUE standing upright in long row of gray words saying FALSE


What are the sources of information that we might perceive as spiritual?

There are spiritual entities around all the time that are very eager to communicate with us.  However, we also need to keep in mind that is constantly processing information and creating thoughts and perceptions.  This is where it gets tricky.  Learning to develop your abilities involves learning how to distinguish between your ego and spiritual messages.   Additionally, some of the entities that want to communicate with us are our “target group,” and some are not. 


“True guidance” versus “false guidance”

A simple way of differentiating between messages that are or aren’t coming from divine sources is “true guidance” versus “false guidance”:

  • True guidance (AKA:  higher self, Spirit, Source, God) is gentle and loving, and it always focuses on serving, healing, and improving.  It never speaks about lack, competition, or fear.
  • False guidance (AKA:  lower self, ego) is based on fear.  In psychology, the lower self could be viewed as the “frightened inner child” or the “controlling or critical parent.”  For many people, this is the part that helped him/her survive when younger.  It did what was needed to survive, and it believes that if you are no longer afraid, then you will be in danger and it (i.e., the lower self) will no longer exist.  Therefore, it will initially fight your attempts to connect with your higher self, which has no fear and knows only love.  It believes it is fighting for its own self-preservation and believes it is there to protect you.


Characteristics of “true guidance” versus “false guidance”

Distinguishing between true guidance (i.e., higher self) and false guidance (i.e., lower self) takes practice!  Each person needs to determine which cues or signs will help you discern the source of the information that he/she is receiving.

The following chart is presented as a way to start the process of differentiating between true and false guidance.  However, when working with the following chart, please keep in mind that (a) the list is far from exhaustive(!) and (b) all characteristics do not need to be present before you have confirmation that  message is coming from a Divine source.  With time and practice, you will begin to notice is a pattern that works for you; i.e., certain characteristics will help you determine the source of the information.

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Just to re-emphasize an important point, this list is not exhaustive.  For example, one of my students found that when a message was from a Divine source, then her right thumb would twitch.  When a message was from the false self, her left thumb would twitch.  For another student, she would see mental flash cards in her head that said “YES” if a message was coming from Divine sources and “NO” if it was the false self.  As you can see from these examples, it’s important to not limit yourself to the characteristics listed above.


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By Anne Reith, Ph.D.

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