I don't know if it is possible to explain how this happens. It is not an intellectual, left-brained, rational experience. Religion speaks to the subconscious, the emotion, to our "soul," that place just outside of our abilities with language and even comprehension. We crave this and need it to be fully human. It is a hard-wired part of our being.SilentDawning wrote:Perhaps you can expand on this -- particularly the train analogy, and also letting the symbols "sing to you", as this seems like part of the crux of the matter for you.How do you make this kind of breakthrough in thinking? You stand on the tracks, and let the train hit you. Stop resisting the symbols. Stop tearing them apart. Just let them sing to you ... and listen.
You can't read about it in a textbook. You do it, and stop trying so hard to focus on the mechanics.
I can only give examples. Here's another personal example:
On Saturday, I went in to DC to go wander around the Mall (the area with the Monuments, the Smithsonian, the Capitol Building, etc. for those not familiar). There were people setting up tents and booths for the big 4th of July celebration. I was trying to avoid the craziness of the half-million people that would be there on Sunday.
So ... I hear this music and chanting/singing as I am walking through the park there, and realize there's a big area with a Hare Krishna festival going on. They are singing, playing those cool drums, and striking little hand cymbals. As I got closer, a guy walks up to me with prayer beads and invites me to come meditate with him. I was in the mood to just chill out and explore, so this seemed like an interesting event that crossed my path. I sat down with him in the shade, took the prayer beads in my hand the way he told me. Then we started to repeat the Krishna mantra together. He gave me a leaflet with it printed on it so I could follow along until I "got it." There were 108 beads on the necklace, you move your fingers to grasp the next each time you complete a full 16 word cycle. He explained that this meditation will bring you closer to God and make you happy. It took us a good 10 minutes. That doesn't sound like a lot of time, but believe me, it seems like a lot longer when you are saying the same thing over and over again.
I think I approached this experience from a stage 5 perspective. I was interested in trying it. I did not try to tear it apart and analyze it too much. I just followed the invitation to DO it, and just open myself to see what happened. It did put me into a pretty relaxed and happy mood. I went around their tents afterward and talked to another guy about their display boards discussing reincarnation. I felt spiritual. I just let all that happen. Now to be perfectly clear, I do not identify with the Hare Krishna Hindu sect. I am not going to join their "church." Intellectually, I don't think they are now the ones with all the "right," and others are wrong. I did not feel like they were my new "tribe," and had all the "true" answers. I did not let myself pick all their details apart, and focus on the "facts" of psychology and repetitive actions (aka meditation) as a way of flattening and deconstructing my experience.
I just sat down with a very nice guy. I meditated with him, and I let the experience happen to me. I just let the symbols "sing" their song to my soul. I saw the Hare Krishna train coming, so I jumped on the tracks to let it hit me. There were no reasons or facts of history, just doing and feeling ... Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
You could change the way you see it in the ways you described. You could also decide not to pay it anymore, and accept what that means, the social consequences. There are many ways to use the symbol of tithing. You could also give (some/all) of a "tithe" to charities you believe make the world a better place (the Kingdom of God).SilentDawning wrote: <SNIP> So, as a hypothetical example, are you saying that regarding tithing, one could look at it as simply symbolic of my love for God, and pay it for that reason, not because its required for a Temple Rec, or even a basic commandment? Look at it as an expression of selflessness, and look at the ensuing lack of financial reserves it creates as an expression of of my willingness to depend on God for those things? Consistent with the Bible scripture that we shouldn't worry about our day-to-day needs too much -- as the flowers of the field and birds live day to day?
I like to look at it as an act of letting go of control. I have strong urges to control money. I know this about myself. Heck, I could pay tithing to the Church and make that an act of letting go. I could also put it in a pile in my backyard and burn it -- releasing it to the "gods" of air and fire. That might do something similar for me personally for all I know (in the sense of a spiritual exercise).
You decide how this works for you. That's the important thing, and what I think you really, deeply want.
Ray already said it (which I make no secret of). I choose not to maintain a current temple recommend right now. I haven't had one in about 6 years. I am not unworthy or some type of tainted and horrible sinner. I have never been more "right with God" in my life. Life did not fall apart (for me)... In fact, I still participate in priesthood ordinances sometimes. I don't mind giving people blessings (as one example). I baptized my second youngest daughter during this time period, no problems (another example). I gave up caring about what people at Church think of me. Really. But the reality is that most people don't even know my TR status, including most leaders. It may be hard for some of us to hear , but people in general in the Church don't care as much as we have built ourselves up to think. They really aren't paying attention to us. They're way too worried about their own problems most of the time.SilentDawning wrote:Also, if you only partially wear a garment, how do you answer the temple recommend question "do you wear your garments night and day?"
Stage 5 doesn't mean you go back to just believing and obeying (orthodoxy) again. You can't go back, even if our outward appearance and actions might look orthodox. It isn't at all about believing or obeying any specific teachings. Fowler Stage Theory talks about HOW we process it, how we interact with the content of our faith. Tithing or Garments are "faith content." Those are just details. To use an analogy: Faith content is like the car we own. It has a color, a shape, various features, etc. Stage Theory describes our driving style, how we drive the car we are sitting in.