The Twilight Within Us

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
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Brian Johnston
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The Twilight Within Us

Post by Brian Johnston » 04 Aug 2009, 19:13

When we begin to awaken to the light of the soul, life takes on a new depth. The losses we have suffered, the delight and peace we have experienced, the beauty we have known, all things belong together in a profound way. One of the greatest treasures in the world is a contented heart. When we befriend the twilight side of the heart, we discover a surer tranquility where the darkness and the brightness of our lives dwell together. We gain the courage to search out where the real thresholds in life are, the vital frontiers, the parts of our life that we have not yet experienced. Beyond work, survival, relationships, even family, we become aware of our profound duty to our own life. Like the farmer in spring, we turn over a new furrow in the unlived field. We awaken our passion to live and are no longer afraid of the unknown, for even the darkest night has a core of twilight. We recover within us some of the native integrity that wild places enjoy outside. We learn to befriend our complexity and see the dance of opposition within us not as a negative or destructive thing but as an invitation to a creative adventure. The true beauty of a person glimmers like a slow twilight where the full force of each color comes alive and yet blends with the others to create a new light. A person's beauty is sophisticated and sacred and is far beyond image, appearance or personality.
-John O'Donohue, "Beauty: The Invisible Embrace"
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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just me
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by just me » 04 Aug 2009, 20:18

Awesome. I have a borderline obsession with opposition. Thanks for sharing this!

It might be appropriate to mention that 2 Nephi says there in opposition in all things. The language of "compound in one" is also intriguing.

2 Nephi 2:11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Most of us, sooner or later, find that at critical points in our lives we must strike out on our own to make a path where none exists.~Elaine Pagels

Ultimately, you are the path-the path begins and ends with you.~Stephan Bodian

He who think he knows, doesn’t know: He who knows he doesn’t know, knows.~Sanskrit proverb

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by Curt Sunshine » 05 Aug 2009, 05:35

"All things" would include the Church, would it not? It also would include within each individual member.

Perhaps the lack of struggle we crave so much isn't a good thing in the long run - or even possible. Perhaps learning to be at peace with extrenal AND internal opposition is one of the great liberators of the Gospel ("Good News") - the idea that the inherent turmoil that "must needs be" is unavoidable and reconciled ("atoned for") already in the eternal scheme of things.
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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Brian Johnston
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by Brian Johnston » 05 Aug 2009, 07:10

Thanks for bringing in those scriptural references. I really had not thought of those in context to the paragraph I quoted. They fit good.

We devour the beautiful and enticing fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. It is no longer on the tree, shining in appearance. Have we destroyed it? No. We took it inside ourselves. We digest it, and it is assimilated into our being, into every cell. The experience is described as the assimilation of opposites. In order to truly live, we must also die. In order to have joy, we must weep. It's a tension of opposites that plays out like a fractal diagram expanding, creating a life experience. We can fear this. We can find beauty and wonderment in it.

I say we are on a hero's adventure, not sitting in a study hall taking a pass/fail proficiency exam.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

swimordie
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by swimordie » 05 Aug 2009, 08:27

This may be ridiculously self-serving but... I wrote this in another thread; I think it applies here too:

I agree totally with the concept of detachment. This is the sweet spot of life. Staying present to enjoy life, even when it's hard. Not caring about what has happened, not worrying about what is to come, not expecting anything from anyone, not accepting anything negative from others.

This may sound cold and inhumane but this is the spirit of detachment. And when done correctly, we are open to feel joy, spread joy better than any other way.

I think attachment is the paradox of existence. I'm not sure what role theology, philosophy plays in this, but I do sense that at Stage 6, a complete detachment of earthly "cares" is experienced, and the one can commune with/minister to other humans in a purely charitable sense. Partly because existence is stripped of paradox: all things happen for a reason and that reason is for the experience itself, the uniquely human experience that one would never get as another organism or as a human living in another time/space or even as a different contemporary human.

Experiences create meaning, rather than human minds creating/interpreting meaning from experience.

Now, THAT would be staying present!!
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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Rix
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by Rix » 05 Aug 2009, 09:02

swimordie wrote:
Now, THAT would be staying present!!
Absolutely! I served my mission in Japan (Buddhist mostly) where I first heard the term "detachment." It was so contrary to my Mormon upbringing that it took years to grasp it. It is a beautiful concept. Eckhart Tolle's work (Power of Now, The New Earth...) helped me further understand it, and you are so right on about how much peace and joy we have when we live the principle.
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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HiJolly
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by HiJolly » 05 Aug 2009, 09:37

Rix wrote:
swimordie wrote:
Now, THAT would be staying present!!
Absolutely! I served my mission in Japan (Buddhist mostly) where I first heard the term "detachment." It was so contrary to my Mormon upbringing that it took years to grasp it. It is a beautiful concept. Eckhart Tolle's work (Power of Now, The New Earth...) helped me further understand it, and you are so right on about how much peace and joy we have when we live the principle.
I think the 'shadow' side of detachment is that we become apathetic. Too many confuse the two, I think.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

swimordie
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by swimordie » 05 Aug 2009, 09:48

HiJolly wrote:I think the 'shadow' side of detachment is that we become apathetic. Too many confuse the two, I think.
I think the act of detachment is the continued motivation. As per the OP, the "twilight" can only be reached through detachment.

And, it may be semantics, but detachment doesn't have to mean "I don't care about anything", because, in a sense, that is not detachment. Someone who is suicidal gets to that point. That isn't detachment because "not caring" is self-loathing/self-defeating. Detachment is the embracing of self at the expense of all things external. Detachment is valuing the "individual" existence to it's maximum potential.

Now, there are times when detachment may look like inaction/apathy. Sometimes this is a necessary part of the detachment process, not the end-game.

Any confusion would come from a lack of understanding/experience. imo
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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HiJolly
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by HiJolly » 05 Aug 2009, 10:33

swimordie wrote:And, it may be semantics, but detachment doesn't have to mean "I don't care about anything", because, in a sense, that is not detachment. Someone who is suicidal gets to that point. That isn't detachment because "not caring" is self-loathing/self-defeating. Detachment is the embracing of self at the expense of all things external. Detachment is valuing the "individual" existence to it's maximum potential.

Now, there are times when detachment may look like inaction/apathy. Sometimes this is a necessary part of the detachment process, not the end-game.

Any confusion would come from a lack of understanding/experience. imo
I agree with you. I have seen Western people abandon Christianity and embrace Eastern concepts such as non-attachment, only to fall victim of not contexualizing the Eastern path properly in their Western lives. It is a risk.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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just me
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Re: The Twilight Within Us

Post by just me » 05 Aug 2009, 15:23

*loving this thread*

In regards to the danger of apathy. If someone is fully living life for the experience and to experience joy, sorrow, etc, wouldn't that avoid apathy? Wouldn't that person see the purpose in experience?
We devour the beautiful and enticing fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. It is no longer on the tree, shining in appearance. Have we destroyed it? No. We took it inside ourselves. We digest it, and it is assimilated into our being, into every cell. The experience is described as the assimilation of opposites. In order to truly live, we must also die. In order to have joy, we must weep. It's a tension of opposites that plays out like a fractal diagram expanding, creating a life experience. We can fear this. We can find beauty and wonderment in it.

I say we are on a hero's adventure, not sitting in a study hall taking a pass/fail proficiency exam.
I absolutely love this, Valoel!!!!!!! I may steal it.... :D
Most of us, sooner or later, find that at critical points in our lives we must strike out on our own to make a path where none exists.~Elaine Pagels

Ultimately, you are the path-the path begins and ends with you.~Stephan Bodian

He who think he knows, doesn’t know: He who knows he doesn’t know, knows.~Sanskrit proverb

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