Emulating Edison

I’m loving Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle is the Way. The many stories about individuals turning their trials into triumphs have been inspiring–especially as we deal with our own obstacles Tyler’s illness has placed in our path.

Hearing once again the story of Thomas Edison and his laboratory catching fire was very timely for me today. In an instant, everything Edison had worked for went up in flames–all of his research, notes, equipment, and years of labor gone. And what was his response? Did he sit down and sob? Did he curse, rant, and rage? What did he do? Edison ran outside to watch it burn and as he ran toward the fire he told his son to go find his brother and mother and tell them to come see the incredible fire for he knew they’d never see another one quite like it!

The towns people also gathered to watch his life’s work burn to the ground and were thoroughly astonished at his reaction for he was heard to declare, “Well, we’ve just gotten rid of a bunch of rubbish!”

Surely the fire was indeed amazing, but not quite as amazing as Thomas’s reaction. What else, however, would we expect from the man who so pertinaciously pursued the invention of the light bulb? Edison’s declaration–after failing for the 1,000 time–echoes through the annals of time, “I have not failed! I have merely discovered 1,000 ways the light bulb will not work!”

Edison’s greatest gift to the world is light–which he gave to us through his invention and through his life’s example. May we emulate Edison and ever remember that our trials can become our greatest triumphs and that the surest path to success is failure, for it is through our failures that we move closer to success.

The Mind of God

Yesterday I began formulating an idea I coined The Perfection Paradox. Today, as I hiked Adam’s Canyon with Thor, I thought more about this perfection paradox, the purpose of mortality, and Tyler’s situation. Thinking upon these topics led me to consider the will of God and the mind of God. It is the latter I wish to write more about today for Christian theology teaches that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. We are taught that the reason we cannot comprehend the things of God is that our minds are finite while His is infinite. Finite means with bounds. Infinite means having no bounds.

Finite means having limits while infinite means having no bounds.

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mind and the mind of God and here’s the deal, I don’t believe that God made limits to my mind. I don’t believe he would create my mind in a way that it could not comprehend His. In fact, I believe God would do the exact opposite for I believe that God wants nothing more than for me to come to comprehend His ways. The whole purpose of me being here on Earth and having this experience is so I can come to be like Him. Being like him means thinking like him. My mind must come to comprehend what His comprehends. That’s the whole point!

Therefore, I reject the idea that my mind is finite. In fact, nothing about me is finite. I am an infinite, divine being, and as such, I have the ability to comprehend the things of God. I don’t need to accept answers such as, “We just can’t comprehend that because God’s ways are not our ways.” That’s a cop out! No wonder atheists get annoyed with Christians. We reinforce lazy thinking. Instead of trying to understand God’s ways, we throw our hands up in despair and declare, “Well, I guess our finite minds just can’t comprehend God’s infinite ways!” LAME!

I will not stop seeking for I believe God gave me a mind capable of comprehending all He comprehends. Why would he design me any other way? And don’t try to tell me he doesn’t want us to understand everything because he wants us instead to have faith. Yes, he wants us to have faith, but to me, faith is an actual power–like electricity–that allows us to act. Faith empowers us to learn, teach, create, inspire, and change the course of events. It is not a simple belief in things that we think we are incapable of understanding.  It takes faith to work toward acquiring the mind of God. It takes faith to learn the complex mathematical equations and work the proofs so that we end up with the answers and the understanding–the Godly comprehension that we came here to acquire. Faith is what we apply in our learning. Faith is doing the work because we believe by so doing we will come to comprehend. And it can happen now–in this life. Dying alone doesn’t create comprehension. Sure, it will provide additional insight, but just because you get to see the machine behind the magic curtain, doesn’t mean you now understand how it works. Yeah, it won’t work like that. So best start studying the principles of engineering now for you don’t have to wait until you die to acquire the Mind of God and comprehend all that He comprehends. You can start comprehending now. It may take you many lifetimes, because who knows how many lifetimes it took Him to gain the knowledge and understanding He has acquired.

Faith is not just simple belief in things we think we cannot understand.  It takes faith to work toward acquiring the mind of God. It takes faith to learn the complex mathematical equations and work the proofs so that we end up with the answers and the understanding–the Godly comprehension that we came here to acquire. Faith is learning in action. Faith is doing the work because we believe by so doing we will come to comprehend. And it can happen now–in this life. Dying alone doesn’t create comprehension. Sure, it will provide additional insight, but just because you get to see the machine behind the magic curtain, doesn’t mean you now understand how it works. Yeah, it won’t work like that. So best start studying the principles of engineering now for you don’t have to wait until you die to acquire the Mind of God and comprehend all that He comprehends. You can start comprehending now. It may take you many lifetimes, because who knows how many lifetimes it took Him to gain the knowledge and understanding He has acquired.

Dying alone doesn’t create comprehension. Sure, it will provide additional insight, but just because you get to see the machine behind the magic curtain, doesn’t mean you now understand how it works. So best start studying the principles of engineering now for you don’t have to wait until you die to acquire the Mind of God and comprehend all that He comprehends. You can start comprehending now. It may take you many lifetimes, because who knows how many lifetimes it took God to gain the knowledge and understanding He currently has. But for me and my house, we will keep studying, learning and comprehending.

Shadows and Light

I wrote yesterday about my dream and conversation with a friend and promised today to write more about my dream and what it means. Today’s post is entitled Shadows and Light because yesterday, when I awoke, the lingering words in my head were:

Remember to position things in the best possible light and to always look at things from every angle. Changing the light changes the shadows and creates a whole new picture.

After my dream scene where we were in a classroom trying to position objects in the best possible light so we could shade the shadows and such, my dream shifted to a new scene where my husband was wearing a trench coat. He opened up his trench coat to reveal myriad pockets sewn on the inside full of wares. He reminded me of some bootleg seller on the streets of NY.  I wrote theses words in my dream journal:

Things are not always as they appear. You have to open up and look inside–look at things in a different light.

My dream scene shifts again to me in my garage gym doing sit-ups. The following thoughts course through my mind:

Fast and efficient or slow and controlled?  Which is better?

I write that there is a time, reason, season and purpose for both approaches.

My next scene is my husband cutting his thumb with my big black buck knife. He’s checking his blood just like a diabetic would do. Then there is a lady pointing to her arm where you draw blood and she is telling me to get over there and get my blood drawn. I know what this means. My primary care doctor says my thyroid is off and I need to get my blood checked. I made an appt today to get a comprehensive blood exam with Dr. Knight. I was planning to have my cancer doctor do it when I go in for my check up next month, but the lady said to me, “You must arrange blood work months in advance. You can’t wait until the day of.” This makes me laugh because that was my plan. I was just going to show up and have Dr. Colona do it.

I want to remember the following ideas from last night’s dream:

Remember the different approaches to life–fast and efficient vs. slow and controlled–and when/how to use them.

Always cast things in the best possible light and remember the role of light in casting shadows. Perspective and angles change everything.

There was another dream scene that tied both of these together. We were at a political event. My uncle was up for re-election and his wife was casting the other candidates in not the best light. I really didn’t want to vote the way she was directing us, but since she was family and friend, I took one for the team and cast my vote accordingly. Which also made a lot of sense considering the dream scene before this one. I was in a baseball game and it was my turn to bat. My coach wanted me to bunt, but I knew I could get a good hit. I had done a great hit the last time I was up to bat. I decided I’d better listen to the coach and take one for the team.

I would love to walk away from KickFire sometimes now that Tyler is gone, but I know he needs me to hold it all together now more than ever. I have decided to take one for the team. I don’t really wanna. . . but I will hold down the fort and I will position the situation in the best possible light. 🙂

Spiritual Paths

Two paths diverged in the woods and I took the one less traveled by….

and that has made all the difference ~Robert Frost

Every person is unique and so is their spiritual path. I was listening to a lecture by a prominent sociologist wherein he discussed the effect expanding educational opportunities has on civilizations. The takeaway was that as children gained access to education, their vocational opportunities expanded. Sons born to carpenters didn’t have to become carpenters. Farmers’ son could become something other than a farmer, etc. Prior to these times, no man-child ever had the thought growing up, “what should I become?” The decision was already made.

I couldn’t help but recognize this same phenomenon regarding religion. Technology has created a global economy and community. Easy access to information has allowed Westerners to study the wonders of Eastern spiritualism, and conversely, has enabled Easterners to research the marvels of Western religion.  Seekers of truth can take the best from every organization and form their own spiritual paths.

I personally have loved studying all the world religions. I am enjoying picking and choosing the teachings that resonate with me. I take what rings true and I leave what doesn’t. My spiritual path is unfolding one glorious step at a time. I’m loving the journey. It’s definitely a path unique to me for I believe everyone must travel their own spiritual path. My path will be different from yours and yours will be different than mine. Bushwacking your own spiritual path might not appeal to all, but for me, it is making all the difference.

 

Never Too Late

I’m living proof that it’s never too late. It’s almost 8 (pm) and I just showered. 🙂 You may wonder why I would bother when the day is almost over, but for me, something about going to bed without having showered just didn’t feel right. So I decided to do what’s right despite the late hour. Heck, I even decided to fix my hair, which may seem rather silly, but at least I’ll look decent as the day winds down.

Plus, who am I kidding? I’m gonna be up for at least another 3 hours so I might as well look my finest. Best of all, I don’t have to wash my face and do my evening skin care routine for I just now did it! And lest you think my skin care routine consists of something exotic, allow me to disabuse you of that notion. I subscribe to the same morning and evening procedure as most adolescents across America . . . drumroll please. . . Proactiv! 🙂

So there you have it! It’s never too late to do what feels right. For if it’s anything like a late evening shower, you’ll not only feel cleaner, you’ll also sleep sounder.

Apostasy and Revelation

We had an interesting lesson in Gospel Doctrine on Sunday. It was all about apostasy and revelation. I found the comments to the teacher’s question quite amusing despite the amazing ignorance.

The teacher queried:

Why do people apostacize from the church? Or what causes people to leave the church.

The answers included:

  • They’ve been offended
  • They were never fully in the church to begin with
  • They can’t live the commandments–basically, they have some secret sin(s)
  • They stop doing what they should be doing
  • It’s a sign of the times–even the very elect will be led astray
  • They’ve been deceived
  • They are proud
  • They refuse to repent
  • They can’t forgive
  • They are lazy–being a member of the church requires a lot of hard work

There were more answers, and while surely some of them may be true, I felt it was a judgmental, hypocritical, and shallow list at best. I refrained from sharing my thoughts till the very end. I guess I was secretly hoping someone else would speak up so I wouldn’t have to. Actually, I was wondering if anyone else was feeling what I was–which was embarrassment. I felt sad that no one else realized–or at least felt courageous enough to give voice to–what I think may be the number one reason people leave the church (or any native faith culture for that matter) and that is simply “they found something else that suits them better.”

Why do we have to make up sad stories about why people leave their original faith culture? Why does it have to be about sin, deception, pride, or prophecy? Why can’t it be about individuals seeking for answers and greater understanding? Why can’t it be about individuals awakening to a new spiritual path?

Why don’t we tell the story about children who inherited their parents’ beliefs and who as they grow begin to discover additional truths that serve them better? Many don’t want to leave their faith culture (it’s their culture, hello!), but their feelings of separateness intensify as they sit through lessons where they are reminded that they don’t believe as their fellow members do. And to borrow Elder Holland’s parable of the choir, perhaps after trying to sing the songs of redeeming love when the words on the sheet music supplied no longer ring true, they realize it’s time to find another choir in which to sing as they still desire to raise their voice in praises to their King.

And so raise my hand and voice did I –and boldly did I cry (haha I’m just being a dork with all my rhyming):

I think some people leave simply because they find something else that’s a better fit.

And it is–and was–just that simple. Wouldn’t it truly be wonderful if we all could love a little more and be a whole lot less judgmental? Indeed, sticking to your beliefs takes gumption, and courage, ’tis noble and commendable–but condemning and judging others for following theirs is annoyingly hypocritical.

The Gender of God

What is the gender of God? I’ve recently wondered how best to refer to God when I’m writing because it seems uncouth to always refer to God as “Him.” I think I do so out of habit and because it still feels awkward to say “Her.” I believe in a loving Heavenly Father. But if I have a loving Heavenly Father, then certainly I have a loving Heavenly Mother too. And why, when referring to God, wouldn’t I want to refer to “Her” equally as much as I refer to “Him?”

What a great dis-service we have done women by removing all references to our Heavenly Mother. If we are all divine beings in process of becoming Gods, then why would we strip half the human race of the privilege of acknowledging their godhood? The rationale taught by my faith culture is hollow at best. We are told that God desires to protect His wife from blasphemous lips. I’m not sure I like to picture my Heavenly Mother so delicate and in need of protection from her husband. In fact, the more I think about it, the more ridiculous it becomes.

Regardless of Mormon theology, I personally like to believe in councils of Gods, and that we all, as divine beings, participated in the grand councils of Heaven and made decisions concerning our earth life and eternal progression. It just feels right to me. So from here on out, I’m going to make a concerted effort to refer to my Heavenly Mother as much as I refer to my Heavenly Father. AND, I’m going to make a conscious effort to use the pronouns “her” and “she” as much as I use “him” and “he.”

That’s where I stand on the gender of God.

 

The God Spot

I’ve recently become fascinated with The God Spot. It all began with a book I started reading called “Where God Lives” by Melvin Morse, M.D.  Essentially, scientists and medical doctors have identified the right temporal lobe as the part of the brain responsible for processing spiritual experiences. They’ve also discovered that one can create “God” or “Spiritual” experiences by electronically stimulating this part of the brain.

Many find the notion that God is all in our heads to be heresy, but not me. I find it to be quite perfect and practical that the Universal Creator would fashion our brain to be highly attuned with Him.*  I even like this lady’s thoughts about the book Where God Lives:

One of the best spiritual books out there, even for the science-minded. I gave this book to my son for his 32nd birthday, even though he’s a rational, pragmatic thinker (atheist). My belief is, there comes a time in everyone’s life where things cannot be explained except but for the presence of God. Knowing that we might have a transmitter in our brains that connects us to the spirit world, or God, helps to understand we might be wired to communicate on a higher level by birth, and that it’s OK to believe and have faith in the unbelievable sometimes.

Additionally, the concept that we are all hardwired for spiritual experiences excites me as it shows that we all possess the ability to commune with the divine and experience the “spiritual” regularly. We can even increase the likelihood and frequency with which we experience the divine by simply understanding and obeying the laws and principles that govern spiritual experiences. In effect, we can become more “spiritually-minded.”

So what are some of the principles and laws that govern spiritual experiences?Studies consistently demonstrate the importance of meditation, prayer, stillness, receptivity, inspiring music, contemplation, pondering, study, solitude, unity with others, and more. Isn’t it awesome how closely the scientific research aligns with theology!

What does all of this mean for me? Personally, I find a scientific explanation of how the brain perceives, interprets, and makes meaning of external stimuli very helpful in understanding my own spiritual experiences. Knowing how it all works helps me understand what I’m experiencing, it helps me know how to cultivate an environment favorable to the unfolding of the divine. I can strengthen my right temporal lobe by creating spiritual experiences and my spiritual experiences in turn heighten the sensitivity of my brain. It’s one eternal round.

That’s why those who see visions, see more visions. And those who become aware of ghosts and spirits, start seeing them everywhere. Once your eyes have been opened you can see everything as it truly is. You’d have to choose to stop seeing, but I’m not really sure anything can ever be unseen. Your memory of the event will dim over time, but can you really become unaware of something you once were aware? That’s another post for another day.

I’m rambling now so I will close by sharing how much I enjoyed reading the studies conducted by Persinger and several other articles concerning The God Spot. If you are interested in pursuing this topic further, here you go:

The Spiritual Brain

This is Your Brain on God

Are Spiritual Encounters All in Your Head

*I wrote a post about the gender of God here.

 

Auras

I started reading auras today. Dead serious. It was really cool. As previously mentioned in this post, Spirited, I have been studying more about spirits, souls, and energy from non-LDS perspectives. It’s not news to me that some people possess higher energy frequencies than others. Individuals who are more refined–spiritually evolved–have stronger auras. And these can be detected by the human eye.

In fact, I was sitting in church today and my eyes became keenly aware of orbs. I use to think my eyes were jacked up because I see lights. . . almost like I’m about to get a migraine. Additionally, my eyes are highly sensitive to light. Ask anyone who lives with me. I can’t talk to someone if they are standing in front of a light. I’m constantly shielding my eyes from lights (bright or dim), or turning off the lights. Even Dr. Knight will attest that every week when I go into his office, the first thing he does for me is turn of his lights.

Again, Rebecca Rosen says that spirits are all around us and can be seen by the highly attuned human eye as orbs and auras. I was sitting in church today and was seeing all kinds of swirling lights and light circles when I remembered what I had been reading. I thought, “Dude, what if you are seeing spirit energy?” I decided to see if I could also see people’s auras. So I stared at the peeps on the stand and then I shut my eyes and on certain individuals I could see incredible outlines of their body. Some of the people had bright auras while others had none at all or very faint. It was FASCINATING!

I played around with this for about 30 minutes and then decided to stop because 1) my 3rd eye or forehead started getting fatigued, and 2) I felt like I was judging people, even though I was not–I was simply making observations. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that knowing someone had no aura or a very faint one, didn’t lead me to wonder what was up with them?

I’m totally going to explore this ability more and read more about reading auras and developing the gift of spiritual discernment. I feel like it could be a very valuable, if not totally fun, tool. I am excited to see what other spiritual skills I can learn about and further develop.

Leashless

I LOVE summer mornings! The children get to sleep in and I get to go for morning walks with my book. And now, since we have Thor, I get to take him with.

It has been difficult to try to walk the dog while reading my book. Primarily because I find it hard to both hold the leash and turn the pages when I’m walking. I’ve done it many times, but it’s annoying. So the past few days I’ve allowed Thor to walk leashless alongside me. We both LOVE it!

I love the way he playfully explores. He loves to smell flowers, fire hydrants, splash through puddles, sprinklers and greet everyone we pass on the streets. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see him so happy. And how happy his happiness makes me, and how happy I am that we are both on a walk enjoying ourselves. Walking leashless also allows me to easily read. The freedom is made possible by our mutual trust in each other and his heeding my instructions.

I wondered how this post compares to my former post concerning the need for a leash that I wrote about here. It seems that learning to walk with a leash was a necessary  step in Thor’s progression to now be able to walk alongside me leashless. He understands and can hearken to basic commands such as “leave it,” “stay”, “uh-uh,” “come,” etc.

Is this how it is with God? Is there a preparatory period where we must learn to heed the leash so that we can one day walk leashless. Is that the ultimate goal? Because leashless walking is so much more enjoyable for both parties. I feel like Thor’s true personality unfolds when he isn’t tied down and I’m free to express my love rather than my control.

Whether the leash or not is a necessary preparatory step, I cannot for sure say, but this I do know. I was on it and I finally feel leashless. I’m loving the latter. I’ve never felt so alive, fulfilled, happy and free! Each day is a new adventure and I’m loving my leashless life!