How do you connect, spiritually?

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How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by Featherina » 08 Apr 2010, 08:51

I've never been one for cermonial rituals...I didn't even walk when I graduated with my BS (not that it was BS :) but that it just seemed like show. Years later, I regretted it. I worked hard, & it wasn't easy to finish my degree but I did & that cermony may have helped make that accomplishment more real, in feeling a healthy pride. I've also realized that ceremonies can be powerful, not just superficial show.

In whetever we do, it's the spirit, feeling or intent that matters. As Mother Terresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." If I take the sacrament & think, "This is just a silly tradition based on a fable, taken too literally" then I probably won't have much feeling...& I do think there's truth in feeling. But if I think of the sacrament as symbolic for taking in part of God, so that I realize my connection & part of God (as God's child) then it may have more feeling & meaning.

Maybe, religion, especially Mormonism, with the temple & all of the symbolism, has the potential to bring me to God, if I find ways to connect, spiritually. I'm learning as I go. I no longer view Jesus as most members do, so when I hear his name in songs, I think of "Pure love/knowledge."

Have you found ways of connecting in the church, spiritually?

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Re: How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by Rix » 08 Apr 2010, 09:35

Okay, I'll bite. I really like your approach, Featherina -- you seem to have learned what works for you...particularly as it concerns how to "stay LDS."

I'm known here to take a diagonal approach to things. So, to step way back as it relates to this topic, I have to ask the basic questions of what is "Spirit?" What/Who is God? What is a "spiritual experience?" The answers for me today are much less certain than they have ever been.

I believe I have had as powerful a spiritual experience as most have. Of course, there is no way to know what others have experienced for sure. All we have is language to try to understand, but that is grossly insufficient.

So I look at it all as a mosaic of my life experiences. What has happened to me that caused me to feel deep love and connection to others? What has seemed to open the veil of my mind to understand the mysteries more than usual?

For me, the strongest experiences I have had have been in nature. Alone. I've had the privilege to do some Native American processes such as Vision Quests and Sweat Lodges. They were amazing to me. So much clarity came to me. My life's priorities changed, or were clarified. I have also had some deeply moving experiences in movies. I know, I'm weird...but for me, good movies make me think and connect with the experiences of the characters.

But that's just me...and I could be wrong!

Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. -- Joseph Campbell

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Re: How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by Euhemerus » 08 Apr 2010, 10:44

What a great question Featherina. I can strongly relate to what you're saying. I don't appreciate ritual, usually finding it silly, or strange. However, as I went through my faith crisis, I have been learning to appreciate it more and more. I often wish that I had better capabilities of enjoying ceremonies/tradition. I'm just too practical (blasted engineer)!

So how do I connect. You know I really like getting to know people and understand their lives. It makes me feel connected to them. I also like familiar places in the mountains. In grew up in Utah and we had some stake property in the mountains. We would go there every year for various things (including vacations). It's one of my favorite places in the whole world, and whenever I go back, I feel connected to everything. I also get spiritual satisfaction by reading great books. Some have been down on the book "The Shack" but it really touched me when I read it. I also feel connected by going to church. I do not usually feel connected at my church meetings, but I feel comfort, and familiarity when I go to church. I also have never gotten much spirituality from the Bible, The BoM, or D&C or any other scripture. Not sure why, it just doesn't work for me. Oh, and finally, Elder Holland makes me feel connected in a way that few people ever have (and I don't even know him). His talks just evoke lots of spiritual emotion in me.
Don't believe everything you think
- bumper sticker I saw one day

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Re: How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by Heber13 » 09 Apr 2010, 02:48

I connect by doing lots of reading and meditation (which is my current form of prayer).

I also connect by skipping church and being in a peaceful natural setting. What I've found with nature is stillness. The rabbits aren't arguing, the trees aren't trying to impress each other, the clouds aren't trying to aspire to be in a calling or be something better...nature just is what it is. That helps me feel tranquil...and that helps me reconnect.

Finally, I reconnect by talking with my kids. Seeing the world through their eyes helps me remember to keep things simple and pure. Many times we find it helpful to be in church as much as possible, then talk with eachother at home on our beliefs, and that helps me reconnect before I head to work and for another week of busy activities. We also have nightly "devotionals" and family prayer to connect to each other and keep our relationships strong. Hearing my 7 yr old son tell my 16 yr old daughter, "I love you" with a kiss on the cheek, reconnects me spiritually.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Apr 2010, 07:20

This answer might seem flippant at first, but it's not:

I connect by consciously finding ways to connect - whatever they are. To me, it's the intent that is critical. The specific form just is the form - and form can change among individuals.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by nightwalden » 09 Apr 2010, 08:39

I think that I connect spiritually most by discussing spiritual matters with good friends and family. I feel like that is how I learn the most. I learn so much about myself by trying to explain what I think and believe to others. But I also feel the spirit pretty regularly at the temple and to a lesser extent at Sunday church meetings.


Re: How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by Featherina » 09 Apr 2010, 09:06

Thanks for your responses! As mentioned, it reminded me that connecting isn't just connecting with a cloud-like spirit - but involves others...& sometimes those "others" are trees, birds & the beauty of nature. Ok - let's go hiking! :)

I'm not sure who God is, but I think spirit is divine...& realized with a combination of thought, feeling & action.
I agree, that language is often an insufficient means of communication.
What you mentioned here is something I'm going to think about..."What has happened to me that caused me to feel deep love and connection to others? What has seemed to open the veil of my mind to understand the mysteries more than usual?"
I've gone to some pow wow's & loved the feeling there - lots of ritualistic symbolism! Dancing's in a circle together is fun too!
I'm the same way about movies...It's like I'm living the movie - which is why it has to be a good (relatively uplifting) movie or else I'm tormented for weeks...sometimes years.

Euhemerus -
I'm pretty practical too - my kids keep me that way.
I love the mountains too! Places of good memories that are in nature - even better!

Heber -
Meditating does wonders! Even if it's just for a couple of minutes. I started a yoga class, which includes some time of meditation & it has an amazing effect - I'm so relaxed, you'd think I was on something! :)
That's funny what you wrote about skipping church to feel connected in nature! I can relate - especially when you're tired of refereeing your kids - it's so nice to not have to listen to rabbits arguing! :)

Ray -
I'm starting to see that we're all connected...with everything & everyone...because God created it all.

It is so powerful to share perspectives, connect & learn from each other!

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Re: How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by ldsmaverick7 » 13 Apr 2010, 19:26

It seems to me that you are coming to understand the significance of the admonition of the D&C to "seek learning by study, and also by faith."


Re: How do you connect, spiritually?

Post by Featherina » 15 Apr 2010, 10:10

Yes, I think & feel ;) ...that God gave us a brain to use, a heart to feel...& a body to act.

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