Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Whole New World

The physical is a metaphor of the spiritual.  It is a parable of spiritual truths. Seeing how our spiritual goals are like our physical goals enables us to gain the know-how to obtain them both.  It enables us to see a whole new world!  To see like this is an ability.  It is a gift (Moroni 10:7-20).  It takes time to develop.  It is the ability to compare and contrast two things.  It’s the ability to liken one thing to another (#CrossReference: 1 Nephi 19:23).  It’s the ability to learn one specific skill and then apply the core principles that were also learned to learning another skill (#CrossUtilization).  In order to be able to do this we need to look with an eye of faith.  We might be able to see some things that have already been explained to us without faith but seeing things that haven’t been explained is another matter.  Interestingly enough if we are not in the right spirit, we’re overly anxious, or we just flat out refuse to believe, we won’t be able to see (Matt 13:10-16).  There are incrementally higher levels of this skill to the point where we are able to see, know, and comprehend all things (Mosiah 8:17; Mormon 8:12; Ether 3:26; D&C 76:5-10).

Physical Needs
So let’s look at how we compare and contrast the physical with the spiritual.  The first step is to understand that our needs can be physical or spiritual.  We then define what a Physical need is.  It is temporal.  It’s some physical form of energy that our body needs to keep it healthy—Balanced.  For example, our eyes need light.  Our ears need sound.  Our nose needs scent and every cell of our body needs ATP (glucose, food and water).  When we go without one or more of these needs we experience discomfort.  If we’ve gone without it for a long period of time or we are suddenly intensely deprived of it, the discomfort turns into pain.

Physical Conflicts
The next step in seeing is to identify what a physical conflict is (the opposite of a physical need):  It is when we have two or more physical needs that oppose each other.  When we obtain one, we prevent the obtainment of the other.  An example of a physical conflict is having a stomach ulcer that requires rest from stomach acid in order to heal but at the same time having the need to eat regular meals for total body nourishment.  The stomach acid released at every meal keeps the ulcer open when we need it to close.  Going without nourishment weakens the entire body and may even slow down its ability to heal the ulcer.  Major conflict.

Physical Goals
Then we need to bring what we just learned back to the reason we needed to know all these things in the first place.  We’ve been working on our New Years Resolution—our goals so...some of the goals we set are to obtain our physical needs or prevent physical suffering—prevent the conflicts from ever beginning if at all possible.  For example, because our body functions best at certain temperatures and becomes susceptible to illness, injury, or even death at more extreme temperatures, one of our goals is to obtain shelter which assists us with thermoregulation.

Note that coming up with examples is part of the seeing skill.  We are able to use Physical examples that everyone is familiar with to describe a more abstract point that we are making.  Another example follows:

The same thing is true with the need for food and water.  Because our body functions best with consistent nourishment, we have goals to obtain that nourishment such as:

1.  Get a job—work diligently everyday for a Cause who has the commitment to support us temporally and remember to "consider the lilies of the field" to find the balance (Luke 12:27-30)
2.  Learn how to grow a garden or raise chickens
3.  Learn how to budget our finances more effectively so we can better afford food
4.  Make a weekly menu and shopping list, go to the store, prepare meals, clean the kitchen

Spiritual Needs
This next step uses the same definition we came up with for Physical Needs and changes the adjectives from Physical to Spiritual.  A spiritual need is some form of spiritual energy we need to keep our spirit healthy—emotionally stable.  It mainly has to do with our relationships with our Causes, our Children, and those who play both Cause/Child roles interchangeably with us such as our spouse, siblings, and friends.  The love that we have for one another is spiritual energy.  If our spirit's needs are not met we will experience spiritual discomfort.  When we are severely deprived of one or more of our needed relationships or go without for extended periods of time, we experience deep sorrow.

Spiritual Conflict
Similar to a physical conflict, a spiritual conflict is when we have two or more spiritual needs that oppose each other.  When we obtain one, we prevent the obtainment of the other.  Because we used a physical stomach ulcer as an example for our physical conflict, we look to see what a spiritual ulcer might be and find the following example coming into our mind:
If we have been spiritually injured (hurt) by an Imbalanced Cause, we may put up walls against all Causes.  We’re trying to protect ourselves from further injury but in doing so we prevent needed spiritual nourishment and healing.

Spiritual Goals
Some of the goals we set are to obtain our spiritual needs or prevent spiritual suffering.  The following example is likened to the physical example of temperature that we gave previously:  
Because our spirit functions best at a certain balance (moderate temperatures) between pure Justice (the heat) and pure Chaos (the cold) and becomes susceptible to mental illness, emotional injury, or even the most extreme spiritual misery or despondency at more extreme imbalances (temperatures), one of our goals is to obtain sustainable family relationships which assists us with the balance of Mercy at which we best thrive (Alma 34:32  “This life is the time for men [and women] to prepare to meet God...”).

Because I have studied the common spiritual themes of Justice vs. Chaos vs. Mercy (see blog post "I Love Crazy"), I am able to match them up with the physical themes of Hot vs. Cold vs. Just Right (and this is not the same as being Lukewarm Revelations 3:16).

Listen:  Disney's Frozen "Love Is An Open Door" 
(I'm still on Team Hans and think the story line in which he is the villain is stupid.)

Justice/Chaos = Mercy
Cathy from "Wuthering Heights"
As noted above, Justice is like heat.  Too much of it will burn us.  Chaos is like cold.  Too much of it will freeze us.  Mercy is like a temperate climate.  So if we live with family members who are judging us all the time, we will not be spiritually healthy.  We will be spiritually burning up.  If we live with family members who don’t include us in their lives by making and keeping commitments with us but instead leave us alone to do whatever we want, we won’t be spiritually healthy either.  We will be spiritually so cold.

“It’s me I’m Cathy, I’ve come home.  I’m so cold.  Let me in your window, Heathcliff.” ("Wuthering Heights" by Pat Benatar)

Because I know what it’s like to be so spiritually cold and have previously heard the metaphor between being physically and spiritually cold in the above song (and in the book by Emily Bronte), that came to my mind to use as an example here to explain a concept that may have otherwise been difficult to communicate.

The last step is to shed some light on the mysteries of the spirit.  And again since I’ve studied these things independently in advance and have experienced them personally, I’m able to “match up” the meanings and expound on (#Summarization&Expansion) the nature of what is otherwise unknown (at least it was unknown to me previously or I had not seen it from this perspective before):  
Our spirits need to have relationships with other people in which we have commitments we make and keep to them and commitments they make and keep to us.  This is the Justice part of our relationship.  Without them expecting us to keep our commitments we feel useless (#I’mSoCold).  Without us expecting them to keep their commitments we feel used (#BurningUp).  But expectation on either side can turn into too much Justice if forgiveness is not employed.  Forgiveness adds a little more Chaos (#ILoveCrazy) to the relationship.  It gives it time.  It allows for mistakes.  It says, “I’m okay with you breaking your commitments to me in the past.  I understand that you were stressed out at the time with....”  Then we let it go.

Listen:  Disney's Frozen “Let It Go” by Idena Menzel

Justice then says, “Let’s try again.  Will you promise to keep your commitments to me in the future or to let me know if something comes up that’s going to prevent you from keeping them?  I’ll do the same with my commitments to you.”

Spiritual Goals
So this is where our Spiritual goals might come from.  Maybe we’re struggling with keeping our commitments to someone.  We might have a goal to develop the ability to be better at keeping them.  For example, maybe we have issues with being on time (I do).  Our goal might be to keep our commitments on time.  We most likely will need to prayerfully ponder what things we need to change about ourselves in order to change the way we keep our commitments.

In seeing, we always make sure we cover the opposites—both Northwest and Northeast as well as both sides of a relationship.  Because I know there is a balance in all things--North--and that is the key to goal achievement, I’m always on the lookout to balance both sides.  Here's the other side of the previous: 

Or maybe we’re struggling in a relationship with someone who isn’t keeping his/her commitments to us so we have a goal to develop greater patience and forgiveness while they get it right.  For example, maybe we have the strength to always be on time but the other person in our relationship is always late.  We might assist him/her with how we have acquired this strength but if they are extra touchy/porcupine-like, our goal might be to figure out what other relationships we need to spend more time developing in order to strengthen our ability to forgive (#Savior).

Is your goal physical or spiritual?
If it is physical, search for its spiritual counterpart (using faith).
If it is spiritual, search for its physical counterpart (also using faith).
Compare and contrast these two goals systematically.  
What did you learn that helps you in your Goal Achievement Journey?