Consolation and Desolation: The Basis of Discernment:
The first objective of discernment of spirits is to help the individual distinguish between two basic feeling states: feeling states that confirm our general movement towards God (towards our deepest Self), which Ignatius calls “Consolation” and feeling states that alert us of our general movement towards the Ego and away from God, called “Desolation.” These terms do not describe specific feelings: these are technical terms describing orientations – towards Ego or towards Self (God) – as noted through feeling states. The problem for contemporary practitioners is that these terms have different meanings in the secular world.
You can tell when you are in Consolation when you feel yourself in the flow of God’s dynamic love. Like a twig in a stream, you feel carried by the flow.
You can tell when you are in Desolation when you feel trapped in yourself, almost spiralling downwards, believing you are alone, and beyond the flow of God’s love. (Continue with desolation) (Continue with consolation) (Return to Suggested Practices)