That sinking feeling and how to get rid of it

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SilentDawning
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That sinking feeling and how to get rid of it

Post by SilentDawning » 26 Nov 2011, 07:20

I have tried very hard during the effective and fully active periods in my life to live most good spiritual principles taught at Church. But based on the perfection thread Wayfarer started, I realize some give me a "sinking feeling" when I pursue them seriously.

One is this striving for perfection. It leads to self-loathing because it is so difficult to achieve, and that loss of Spirit feeling when I pray. To get rid of it, I no longer believe in perfection as an attainable goal in this life. I see it as something that may well happen thousands of years hence, and that the best I can do is focus on the most glaring weakness that bothers me.

Another one is "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven" by Grant Von Harrison, if you ever read it. He maintains that we can change our physical circumstances by disciplining our mind toward faith. While I agree with this to some extent, when I have applied this principle to the max, it leaves me feeling hollow inside, as often, no amount of mental exertion has changed certain physical circumstances on which I've levelled my effort. I no longer read his book or apply his principles to the same extent I once did.

Same with certain principles in Receiving Answers to Our Prayers by Gene R. Cook.

He tells the story of how he wanted to have a natural birth (he and his wife). They walked and walked to induce labor normally, and had faith regularly. This was very important to them both, and they made huge sacrifices in terms of prayer, time invested, and fasting on Cook's part. But it didn't happen. He ends by saying he had great satisfaction in knowing he "believed until the needle went in" , presumably the needle meant to induce labor. This conclusion seemed very hollow to me, inducing the "sinking feeling" that I'm talking about. I no longer take on goals like that anymore given the letdown when faith doesn't work.

For me, I deal with it by taking on goals that are slightly beyond what I think I can realistically achieve, and work on those.....

So, I wonder, what principles used to give you that sinking feeling, and how have you dealt with it? I'm not talking about commandment bashing here...so although Tithign has given me a sinking feeling, I'd rather tot talk about it -- but are there spiritual principles that have been taugth that when applied, give you that sinking feeling inside as you wholeheartedly applied them, and how did you deal with that principle to prevent it from causing you to sink inside?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

doug
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Re: That sinking feeling and how to get rid of it

Post by doug » 26 Nov 2011, 08:55

For me, the sinking feeling you're talking about appears whenever I try to force someone else's conception of reality into my heart or mind. Until I realized that no person, church, or other organization can come between me and god, I was constantly subject to that feeling. Not to say that I have reached the point where it no longer affects me, but now I can at least see the light.
The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. -- Mark Twain

Curt Sunshine
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Re: That sinking feeling and how to get rid of it

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Nov 2011, 10:27

First, "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven" by Grant Von Harrison ought to be burned and then nuked. If you're not sure how I really feel about it . . .

There aren't very many things that give me "that sinking feeling" anymore - at least doctrinally or with regard to religion. I don't know if that will give anyone any practical comfort, but I can try to share why that is as it is for me.

As most of you know who have been reading this site for a while, I'm a bit of an odd duck, since I've been dealing with cog dis / heterodoxy / philosophical weirdness / etc. for as long as I can remember. What has helped me avoid and/or deal with "that sinking feeling" over the years is rooted in something I was very fortunate to have during those formative years when I simply didn't fit in with everyone else around me (and I mean, literally, everyone around me) - my parents' constant assertion that it was OK to see things differently than everyone else and BE different than everyone else.

Once I lost the need to be like everyone else (in pretty much all ways), I was able to pick and choose how I would be different outwardly, how I would be different internally and, most importantly, how I would be the same outwardly while being different internally. This is going to be a bit simplistic, but:

I avoid that sinking feeling by not letting others row my boat - and learning to row above the waves.

I have no idea if I can explain what I mean by that last phrasing, but I really have learned over the course of my life to row above the waves. Mostly, it's just letting go of concern over whether or not other people agree with me - of accepting me as me - of being comfortable being what "I am". I still try my best to be a better "I am" than my current "I am" - but I no longer care one bit about being the best "I am" imaginable right now. I figure I have an eternity to get there, so why stress over trying to rush it?

I also have no concern whatsoever if my "I am" is radically different than the other "I ams" around me, including my biological and church families.

That's easier for me to say than for many others to do, since it fits my natural personality more than many others' - but it's what works 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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wayfarer
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Re: That sinking feeling and how to get rid of it

Post by wayfarer » 26 Nov 2011, 10:45

Ray Degraw wrote:I avoid that sinking feeling by not letting others row my boat - and learning to row above the waves.

I have no idea if I can explain what I mean by that last phrasing, but I really have learned over the course of my life to row above the waves. Mostly, it's just letting go of concern over whether or not other people agree with me - of accepting me as me - of being comfortable being what "I am". I still try my best to be a better "I am" than my current "I am" - but I no longer care one bit about being the best "I am" imaginable right now. I figure I have an eternity to get there, so why stress over trying to rush it?

I also have no concern whatsoever if my "I am" is radically different than the other "I ams" around me, including my biological and church families.

That's easier for me to say than for many others to do, since it fits my natural personality more than many others' - but it's what works for me.
Ray, this is really great stuff. i truly think "I am" is the great key to the gospel. When i realized what it was to be authentically me in the present, then all the other BS rolls away. "Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour", as Blake put it. all things come in and through "the name", hashem in hebrew, JHWH, 'I am'. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" means to me this principle of "I AM" is the Way, the Truth, and life. And, "Be still, and know I AM god". When I repeat these verses, not as quotes, but rather, as affirmations, then the sinking feeling melts as irrelevant fear of something I AM NOT. I am not what I WAS, therefore guilt, regret, and remorse are irrelevant. I am not what I will be, yet, therefore fear and anxiety, the sinking feeling, are irrelevant as well.

In practice, the deep meditation on the principle of "Who am I" can lead to a release of these non-me fears. I love what you said about being above the waves. that's where our ship belongs, not mired in the undercurrents of fear and trepidation.

cheers!
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

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wayfarer
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Re: That sinking feeling and how to get rid of it

Post by wayfarer » 26 Nov 2011, 11:38

SilentDawning wrote:I have tried very hard during the effective and fully active periods in my life to live most good spiritual principles taught at Church. But based on the perfection thread Wayfarer started, I realize some give me a "sinking feeling" when I pursue them seriously.
...
So, I wonder, what principles used to give you that sinking feeling, and how have you dealt with it? I'm not talking about commandment bashing here...so although Tithign has given me a sinking feeling, I'd rather tot talk about it -- but are there spiritual principles that have been taugth that when applied, give you that sinking feeling inside as you wholeheartedly applied them, and how did you deal with that principle to prevent it from causing you to sink inside?
is not the sinking feeling one where you desire something the church promises can be done, then realizing it cannot, you lose hope in the desire?

I believe that the focus on perfection as a desirable thing to attain is destructive and wrong. Wholeness, completeness, authenticity in the here and now is completely possible, although the persistent state of such wholeness probably ain't gonna happen. Almost all religions have a concept that we are working toward something. Even in buddhism, the idea is that someday you'll be enlightened. In hinduism, to be have samadhi (kind of sort of enlightenment) in a permanent state of moksha (release) is only attainable as one gets to a level of life-long practice. Christianity and Islam seek 'heaven'. Each of these systems propose to you that your current life is suffering, depraved, etc., and that unless you work the system until god knows what you are going to suffer. That is the sinking feeling in spades, and it's just not right.

So, in my opinion, the key to getting rid of the feelings of fear and regret is to live in the present: to be oneself, fully, authentically me. That's where coming to a realization that the gospel principle of 'eternal progression' means that 'eternal life' exists from eternity to eternity, thus there is no 'attaining' eternal life. we're already living it, right here, right now.

In contrast to 'eternal life is here and now', I realize that there are numerous LDS scriptures that say that if we endure to the end (is there an end in eternity?) then we will receive 'eternal life'. I believe that the idea of attaining 'eternal life' makes it 'not now', which puts into the mode of striving for something already right present with us. Thus, we become dissatisfied with the present, this world, and always wish for something better. It truly causes unhappiness. I feel that I must reject that kind of BS, because "this" is all I've got.

Likewise, striving for perfection as something I'll attain eventually is destructive to who I AM now. "Be still and know that I AM god" means godness is in the present, not "i will be" or "i was". godliness is in the here and now. The idea of 'no unclean thing can enter god's presence' or 'god does not look at sin with any degree of allowance' create for me a situation where god will not talk with me or abide with me if I'm defective. Since I'm never perfect, it puts me forever at odds with god, and therefore disconnected from the source of power that can remove my imperfections. This is a serious sinking feeling, and causes me 'self-hatred' and worse, 'self-loathing'.

In one way, the Born Again concept of Jesus saves us without our works helps build the bridge to a relationship but it has to go further. god and I are on the same team working through my difficulties. it's a partnership and a mutual covenant to work together. God is thus my coach, my advisor, my counselor, my friend, completely forgiving me my defects (sins, for lack of a better word), but also recognizing with me the need to improve. The confidence that god makes up the difference of what i cannot do for myself -- for whatever reason -- allows me to rise above the sinking feeling.

just my opinion -- for what it's worth...
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

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