Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Power of Love

Understanding that adversity is inherent to the Goal Achievement Journey equips us to deal with it without letting it defeat us.  Understanding that we have been given the power to incrementally increase the intensity of Sustainable Joy we experience through the use of our agency gives us the tools to defeat adversity.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” ~1 Corinthians 2:9

Most of us define adversity as having to deal with Survival of the Fittest people, natural disasters, accidents, our inherent needs not being met for whatever reason, and death, which includes the incremental approach to it through illness and disease.  All of these things bring us sorrow.  They are seriously hard to deal with. 

Adversity also includes temptation.  These types of Effects are used to lure us out of the Safe Spot.  They take down our forcefield so we are exposed more intensely to adversity.  As long as we use Paradoxical Strategies, we are protected.  But if we, like a fish, take the bait of temptation on the hook, we lose that protection incrementally.

“I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say.  But when you do not what I say, you have no promise”  ~D&C 82:10

Hard times can be a temptation for us to give up on using Paradoxical Strategies to obtain our goals and resolve our conflicts.  They tempt us to give up on Christ.  We speak our name when we demonstrate how we respond to them.  Do we give up on Christ or do we remain steadfast in him?  This is the whole purpose of our journey here on earth.  It is how we are being tested.  It is how God is determining just what substance each of us is made of.  Are we diamonds underneath a coal exterior?  Or are we dross?

See "Hold on Thy Way" by Elder Koichi Aoyagi

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

~"How Firm a Foundation", Hymn 85

While it is true that God doesn’t make junk, we can alter ourselves through our agency so that we become junk.  When adversity comes our way, we can defect from God and choose someone else to be our “maker.”

“I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.  Ye do the deeds of your father.” ~John 8:37-41

“And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” ~Matthew 3:10

Personal Story
It never fails to lighten my burdens when I understand things from a higher perspective.  When I gain greater light and knowledge I’m being told a greater story or being shown the bigger picture.  When I see it like this, I understand what’s going on and cease to be tormented so much by adversity.  I’m telling the bigger-picture story, as I understand it, through all my blog posts.  I’m telling it because I believe it will also lighten your burdens once you understand it from that perspective.  To know that our overall mission is to use Paradoxical Strategies in the face of Survival Strategies is so freeing!  We don’t see others treating us badly as a judgment.  Yes, it’s hard and it brings us sorrow but we can deal with that adversity as long as we know it doesn’t mean we are bad.  And this is all because of Jesus Christ.  He says over and over again throughout his ministry that we are judged by our own works and not by how others treat us.  We are not judged by the adversity we have to go through.  We are judged by how we Paradoxically handle that adversity.  If people don’t like us when we’re doing all we can to follow Christ, it’s hard.  But it’s less hard because he likes us.  He loves us.  He won’t leave us alone.

We are not necessarily judged by the adversity we experience but how we respond to it.
“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilæans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilæans were sinners above all the Galilæans, because they suffered such things?  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” ~Luke 13:1-5

We are judged by our works.
“And even unto the great and last day, when all people, and all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—If they be good, to the resurrection of everlasting life; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of damnation; being on a parallel, the one on the one hand and the other on the other hand, according to the mercy, and the justice, and the holiness which is in Christ, who was before the world began.” ~3 Nephi 26:4-5

We are not judged by how others treat us.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” ~Matthew 5:10-12

Listen:  Not Alone by Red

Adversity makes us spiritually stronger when in spite of it we continue in Paradoxical Strategies to obtain our goals and resolve our conflicts.

Survival Effects purposefully used to lure us out of the Safe Spot are the kinds of Effects Survival of the Fittest people seek after. 

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?” ~Mormon 8:37-39

Partaking of Temptation Effects provides us with pseudo Joy.  They are immediate and give us too much cotton candy peace and require us to sacrifice too little.  They are false because they are not sustainable.  They actually decrease over time so we have to increase the dose in order to just feel okay.  Eventually we cannot even manage to feel okay.  Everyday we feel sorrow.  This is like the Effect of drugs.  It’s the addiction trap.  Even most of the drugs that doctors prescribe do not have sustainability.  Doses have to be increased in order to maintain the same intensity of Effects but the negative side-Effects correspondingly increase.  Illegal drugs are like Temptation Effects.  Prescribed drugs are like Mercy Effects.  We cannot take any doctor-prescribed drug without a commitment to do all that is within our power to improve our health.  If we don’t do what we can we are taking the Lord’s name in vain. 

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” ~Mosiah 13:15

His name is Mercy.  It’s the Paradoxical Strategies others employ to assist us in our journey.

Partaking of Temptation Effects masks our separation from Sustainable Joy—the Paradoxical Effects that guides us in our Goal Achievement Journey. 
Because of this we lose sight of our goal and the pathway we need to take to obtain it.  Because these Effects provide us with a numbing kind of peace, they cause us to lose motivation to sacrifice.  When we don’t consistently sacrifice in Paradoxical Strategies, our faith weakens similar to muscular atrophy.  So by the time the Temptation Effects lose their effectiveness we have very little strength or ability to exercise faith in Christ.  Even the smallest of sacrifices feel overwhelming.  These false Effects actually confirm us when we’re off track so that the Effects of Adversity act as a kind of censure when we’re on track.  Every time we try to get back on track the inherent Adversity is overwhelming because we have become so much weaker than we were before.

I Wanna New Drug” by Huey Lewis

Paradoxical Effects, as already mentioned, are the real Sustainable Joy we experience when we engage in Paradoxical Strategies to obtain our goals and resolve our conflicts.  At first these Effects may not be extremely powerful.  They guide us but also nourish us.  They are more like a healthy and tasty meal than chocolate cake with ganache filling (see blog post Joy).  They are what sustain us from day to day in such a subtle way we may not even be aware of them until they’re gone. 

Listen:  “Big Yellow Taxi” by Amy Grant

Paradoxical Effects are given in Mercy, which means their intensity is incrementally increased and decreased depending on our own actions.  In short, Paradoxical Effects are Mercy.  And Mercy Effects are not an all or nothing deal.  Slowly but surely they give us space and time to get it right.  They both warn us when we’re deviating from our pathway and confirm us when we’re on it.  They demonstrate they are our friends because they assist us in achieving our righteous goals instead of distracting us from them.  When we deviate a little we feel gentle warnings.  When we continuously deviate, the warning Effects become increasingly powerful.  This is a result of our separation from our General Paradoxical Cause—Jesus Christ—and the general pathway to obtaining Sustainable Joy.

When we continuously stay on the pathway, without deviating, the confirmation Effects (Joy) become increasingly intense and sustainable.  We basically rise to a higher emotional plane.  We experience a greater sense of well-being and overall happiness.  It is also true that if we deviate at this level the Sorrow we experience is much greater.  Over time Paradoxical Effects become so amazingly powerful that even the allurement of Temptation Effects have no power over us.   Why?  Because Paradoxical Effects are the most delicious, the sweetest, the purest, the best feeling we have ever felt and nothing compares to them. 

“And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?  And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.  And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.” ~1 Nephi 11:21-23

“And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.” ~Alma 32:42

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” ~1 Corinthians 2:9 

Listen:  “Nothing Compares 2U” by Sinead O’Connor

When we develop our capacity to sense Paradoxical Effects to this degree the Effects of Adversity are more manageable.  We aren’t bowled over by our problems as much.  We are able to stand steadfast in the face of stronger and stronger winds.  We’re able to use Paradoxical Strategies at more advanced levels.  This is where Jesus was when he was required to Paradoxically sacrifice himself in Gethsemane and on the Cross.  It’s not that he didn’t suffer.  He did.  But he was able to bear such incredibly intense suffering without deviating to Survival of the Fittest thoughts, words, or actions.  He kept his heart full of love the whole time.  I don’t know about you but that is the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard of.  Through this intense suffering without ever turning, he developed his ability to sacrifice Paradoxically beyond the level that anyone else has ever obtained.

Watch this clip about Jim Caviezel's experience playing Jesus Christ in the movie, "Passion of the Christ."  (Note:  I can't say that I agree completely with Jim Caviezel's doctrine but the sharing of his experience is invaluable to me!)

I think that's what Jesus was going through X100 but he controlled his response process to it.  He felt the pain and felt the temptation to retaliate in Survival of the Fittest Strategies ("my humanity") but used his agency to see the bigger picture and the importance of loving to the end in Paradoxical Strategies.  In so doing he refused to accept and entertain those kinds of vengeance thoughts.  All of us couldn't do that.  There have been a lot of people who have suffered throughout history, many who have given their lives voluntarily, but none have been able to keep their hearts steadfast in love under the intensity of adversity and total irony of consequences as he had to endure.  He was their Savior!  He healed them!  He forgave them!  He taught them the way to everlasting life!  For which of these works did they crucify him?!

Remember that our Effects are the result of another person combining with or separating from us in thought, word, or action.  That action can even be done with our hearts as we wrap our hearts around others in pure love.  The more powerfully a person can Paradoxically sacrifice, the more intense his Effects.  So because of the At-one-ment of Jesus Christ, when he combines his heart with ours, we experience Sustainable Joy IF we are also sacrificing Paradoxically to the extent we are able.  When we separate from him and his Paradoxical Strategies, we feel Sorrow.  Thus we are motivated and protected by the love of Jesus Christ.  This is the Power of Love.  Everyone on this earth is sustained by this love to some degree whether we know it or not. 

Watch “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

Each of our choices to face our challenges with Paradoxical Strategies or turn to Survival Strategies affect our own proximity to the Power and Love of God.  The more we choose Paradoxical Strategies, the more intense and protective his Sustainable Joy becomes.  In essence, the Power and Love and of God is in us.

Listen to the end of this song:  “The Power of Love” by Air Supply