How do you feel the Spirit?

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
Curt Sunshine
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Sep 2009, 11:43

I just realized that I never did answer the central question.

For me, it's most often a crystalization in my mind and a sense of great calm and peace in my heart. I have had a couple of burning-bosom-like experiences, where the Spirit was palpable and almost tangible, but they are the rare exception for me.
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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Orson
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by Orson » 23 Sep 2009, 14:16

I'm with Ray: "For me, it's most often a crystalization in my mind and a sense of great calm and peace in my heart."

To me it just feels right, true, or joyus. "True" can have conflicting implications that are not always joyus, but the core still seems to be elevating.
MisterCurie wrote:I prayed about JS to again know if he was a Prophet. I felt the Spirit. Then I prayed about the new information I have learned about JS. I felt the Spirit. I prayed to know if JS was not ever a Prophet. I felt the Spirit. I prayed if the FV never happened. I felt the Spirit. I prayed if the Church was false. I felt the Spirit. I am now receiving answers from the Spirit contradicting everything I previously received answers about. To me, this appears that either God is/was lying, or these feelings must be coming from myself. I don't really want to believe that God is a liar, but it is also hard for me to believe that I have been supplying my own answers all of this time.
In relation to thoughts on my Spiritual/Physical post:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=642
Maybe each of these things has an element of spiritual truth that you are meant to discover. Maybe a physical falsehood can contain a spiritual truth. -OR- Maybe what you initially perceive as "contradictions" are actually "paradoxical" truths.

More to explore...
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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Heber13
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by Heber13 » 23 Sep 2009, 15:10

Orson wrote:Maybe each of these things has an element of spiritual truth that you are meant to discover.
I like this thought, Orson. Thanks!

I wonder sometimes when I feel the spirit if it is really telling me, "This is something good, keep going and search for more goodness" instead of the old way I used to think of answers as "yes, you found the right answer, you can stop searching."

My lack of answers lately have really bothered me for some time, but I am beginning to think that God wants me to keep searching, not try to get Yes/No answers and put all the reasoning on Him to tell me what to do...I should be growing to figure things out with His help...not searching for the correct answer.

So I like that thought, some answers are for benefit to me more than the specific thing I'm praying about. "Spiritual truth" is what I'm meant to be discovering.
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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MisterCurie
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by MisterCurie » 23 Sep 2009, 15:41

I like this thought too. It makes the spirit more than a "magic 8 ball."

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Rix
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by Rix » 23 Sep 2009, 16:15

Ray Degraw wrote:Have you considered the possibility that God is telling you He loves you no matter how you end up reconciling these things - that this "outpouring" might be His way of saying, "Peace be unto thy soul. Thine afflictions will be but a small moment. You choose and do your best to follow what you choose; it will all be ok in the end."
I LOVE this, Ray!

I would even take it one (way out there) step further and describe it a bit new agedly (ok, I made up that word ;) :lol: ) and say we are resonating with the love of God. There are so many ways to describe feelings of the spirit, and spiritual witness; I think they are all right...and all wrong at the same time.

I had a cog-dis time years back when I learned of Paul Dunn's somewhat inaccurate stories. My conflict was that I had been deeply touched by his faith promoting stories -- to the point that I had considered the "spirit" I felt as testimony of the truthiness of the church. And of course many of my leaders confirmed that to me.

So when I learned that some were actually false stories, I questioned what I had felt. At the very least, it was clear to me that this "spirit" was not a confirmation of the historical truth of the story! So how might that apply to those testing Moroni's promise? What happens when one uses the same principle to test another religion's scriptures (one that conflicts with ours) and has an equally powerful result? Do we conclude that theirs was not quite as powerful as ours?

My thinking has evolved dramatically on this issue. You may not want to hear what I believe today...but I'll tell you anyway :D . (warning, bizarre opinion coming...). I think the "feeling" is:

a unique mixture of hormones -- a good mixture of dopamine, seratonin and other endorphins, that are triggered by focused thoughts, amplified at times by injected pharmaceutical agents and/or fasting blood sugar...all which lead to a feeling of extreme well-being, confidence, self-love, and love for all creations of..."GOD!"

(yes, I made that up!)

A bit more simply, we feel that way when we make sense of it (when it fits our schema of life), when others praise us for our decisions or actions, when in the stillness we sense the gratitude of our consciousness and existence, when we feel the unity with others and nature, human courage and victory in challenging circumstances, and...I'll leave it there for now. ;)

So today, I see my experience with Elder Dunn's talks as very consistent with spirit. Everything we have is story. Stories trigger our thinking, and allows us to create the mixture I mentioned.

Oh...and what Ray said!

:lol:
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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Heber13
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by Heber13 » 23 Sep 2009, 19:38

Rix wrote:So when I learned that some were actually false stories, I questioned what I had felt. At the very least, it was clear to me that this "spirit" was not a confirmation of the historical truth of the story! So how might that apply to those testing Moroni's promise? What happens when one uses the same principle to test another religion's scriptures (one that conflicts with ours) and has an equally powerful result? Do we conclude that theirs was not quite as powerful as ours?
...
A bit more simply, we feel that way when we make sense of it (when it fits our schema of life), when others praise us for our decisions or actions, when in the stillness we sense the gratitude of our consciousness and existence, when we feel the unity with others and nature, human courage and victory in challenging circumstances, and...I'll leave it there for now. ;)
Rix, well said! I like your recipe.
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."

RuthandI
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by RuthandI » 02 Oct 2009, 21:12

This is a fascinating post and includes some thoughts that I have contemplated quite a lot. ALmost the most fascinating thing to me is how often you've felt the burning in the bosom, not even that its been contradictory! I begged, fasted and pleaded for SOMETHING for at least a year before I FINALLY got something! My "spiritual" sensation comes in the form of an overwhelming warmth that completely surrounds me. Its not within me but outside of me. But, like yours, feels like a hug from something bigger.

I agree with so many of the comments and ideas that were stated before me. I no longer look to these "spiritual" sensations to tell me "TRUTH". They are just blissful moments that I want to GO with! I want more of them. ANd if I find them somewhere than I want to keep on going to that place. And I don't always have these at church. Half the time I attend and think it would have been better if I'd stayed home and spent time outside or being with my kids. But I do have little blissful moments there from time to time. I have spiritual sensations when reading books, when in nature, when loving my family, when I'm serving someone, watching movies/documentaries, jogging or cycling, reading great quotes or listening to a really great song. But they're almost always related to my identifying with some ones human experience. I tend to believe these feelings are God but they are not expressing truth, its just expressing love. God is LOVE. And when you feel this overwhelming sensation of love, everyone around you is perfect and wonderful, every idea in your head is peaceful and wonderful and this peace is what can cause us to mistake our thoughts for truth...just what I think. I am completely open to the idea and even sometimes think that these feelings are my own creation. But that makes less sense to me so I don't dwell on it. I think that God is much more hands off in this world. He has blessed us all with this moral sense, this guiding light, light of Christ if you will, and he will judge us based upon our following it or not. And I think it is very individual and unique. We all have a personal journey and this is where the whole "ONe and Only True Church" idea becomes so bothersome to me. Great post...thanks for sharing it with us!

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Brian Johnston
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by Brian Johnston » 03 Oct 2009, 09:15

RuthandI wrote:I agree with so many of the comments and ideas that were stated before me. I no longer look to these "spiritual" sensations to tell me "TRUTH". They are just blissful moments that I want to GO with! I want more of them.
I love how you said that. It is how I see this process now. I can't prove to anyone or even myself that this is THE "Holy Spirit." I just know that it happens when I am peaceful, loving, controlled, open, compassionate and all kings of other attributes associated with the religion I try to practice (the ideal, not always the reality). I can't prove what it is, but it is good. It makes me want to be good. It makes me stretch and want to go a direction that feels good. It doesn't tell me some factual truth. It just encourages me to try and figure it out, and know that I am embraced with love and acceptance in my exploration and life journey. That sounds a lot like Grace and Mercy, and let's call the source the Atonement of Christ.

It feels good, so I want more. Is there any better reason? It's like selfish selflessness.
"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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Rix
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by Rix » 03 Oct 2009, 11:40

Valoel wrote:
RuthandI wrote:I agree with so many of the comments and ideas that were stated before me. I no longer look to these "spiritual" sensations to tell me "TRUTH". They are just blissful moments that I want to GO with! I want more of them.
I love how you said that. It is how I see this process now. I can't prove to anyone or even myself that this is THE "Holy Spirit." I just know that it happens when I am peaceful, loving, controlled, open, compassionate and all kings of other attributes associated with the religion I try to practice (the ideal, not always the reality). I can't prove what it is, but it is good. It makes me want to be good. It makes me stretch and want to go a direction that feels good. It doesn't tell me some factual truth. It just encourages me to try and figure it out, and know that I am embraced with love and acceptance in my exploration and life journey. That sounds a lot like Grace and Mercy, and let's call the source the Atonement of Christ.

It feels good, so I want more. Is there any better reason? It's like selfish selflessness.
Wow! I love both of these...and agree completely! I think many get into trouble when they do try to attach the spiritual experience to "this is true." The problem comes when one's experience is interpreted to "confirm" one thing...then when another gets a different confirmation, the argument occurs as to which is right. In my spiritual journey, I've also learned to feel the spirit...but I've tried not to analyze it too much.

I just like it, and that's all I need!

:D
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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bridget_night
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Re: How do you feel the Spirit?

Post by bridget_night » 04 Oct 2009, 03:18

Rix wrote:I had a cog-dis time years back when I learned of Paul Dunn's somewhat inaccurate stories. My conflict was that I had been deeply touched by his faith promoting stories -- to the point that I had considered the "spirit" I felt as testimony of the truthiness of the church. And of course many of my leaders confirmed that to me.

So when I learned that some were actually false stories, I questioned what I had felt. At the very least, it was clear to me that this "spirit" was not a confirmation of the historical truth of the story! So how might that apply to those testing Moroni's promise? What happens when one uses the same principle to test another religion's scriptures (one that conflicts with ours) and has an equally powerful result? Do we conclude that theirs was not quite as powerful as ours?

My thinking has evolved dramatically on this issue. You may not want to hear what I believe today...but I'll tell you anyway :D . (warning, bizarre opinion coming...). I think the "feeling" is:

a unique mixture of hormones -- a good mixture of dopamine, seratonin and other endorphins, that are triggered by focused thoughts, amplified at times by injected pharmaceutical agents and/or fasting blood sugar...all which lead to a feeling of extreme well-being, confidence, self-love, and love for all creations of..."GOD!"

(yes, I made that up!)


:lol:

When my husband heard about the Paul Dunn fabrications, it really upset him. We were both big fans of him and had listened to all his tapes and especially loved his war stories. My husband had never gotten a spiritual witness to Moroni's promise, but kept on in the church because of the thing in the D& C about 'some having the gift to believe on the words of others' (or something to that effect.) My husband felt that Elder Dunn had great integrity and so believed on his words. When the fabrications came out, he said, "How do I know if JS didn't fabricate his stories too. I will no longer rely on anyone else's testimony and until I get my own, I will no longer go to church." One of the things I have learned about the spirit though is that He works through people in different ways according to their personality type. For example, my husband is a research scientist with a PhD in nureo-anatomy. He is very articulate and rational and mechanically inclined. His strengths lie in the use of the intellect. But, he was having problems with his co-workers and all his reasoning power did not seem to work on them. So, he began praying about how to deal with this problem. That weekend we drove to Nauvoo, Illinois (we live in Davenport, IA -2 hour drive away) and spent the weekend there. There is a place in Nauvoo, called the "Alvin House' and they have these large mechanical metal puzzles there. My husband found them fascinating and bought several of them. They did not interest me at all and I thought they were a waste of money as they were a bit expensive. But, this was his 'toy' of choice. One of the puzzles had a large metal heart shape in it that you were supposed to twist and turn to get off. Even after hours of working on it, my husband could not get that heart shaped metal piece off. So, he ended up staying up all night until he finally got it off. I thought it was so ridiculous to waste a whole night sleep over this stupid puzzle. Well, I had to learn a lesson from all this. That morning, my husband told me he got the answer to his prayer about his co-workers from doing that puzzle. He said, "Just like I had such difficulty using reason with my co-workers, I had such difficulty getting this heart shaped thing off. The Spirit taught me that I have to use the 'heart' or deal with people's emotions and how they feel about themselves in order to deal with my co-workers." So, he began making his co-workers feel good about themselves and their abilities rather than trying to prove how right he was about the projects they worked on and they began to like him and be able to work with him better. Point being--The spirit works through puzzles, emotions, and all sorts of ways to get through to our particular type of personality.

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