Friday, December 5, 2014

I Do Not Have a Spiritual Feeling Orientation

I have never "felt" anyone in spirit in my life. The closest I have come is while doing baptisms for the dead in the temple and feeling choked up while saying someone's name (but it wasn't really feeling a presence) - or when words or thoughts come into my mind that I classify as revelation (and that has happened too many times for me to remember - to varying degrees of strength).

At the most fundamental level, I do not have a "spiritual feeling" orientation - although I do have emotional experiences regularly; rather, I have a "thinking" orientation. Since I was raised LDS in a culture that values "spiritual experiences" highly, I had to come to grips with that different orientation at a very young age. 

There is an obvious theme of balance between feeling and thinking in our religion (or completion including both thinking and feeling), but individuals tend to emphasize what is natural to them - which is ironic, given what we say about the "natural man". I think a huge part of giving up the natural man is seeking and finding balance (ideally, by acquiring a characteristic and/or ability not naturally possessed) - and balance between experiencing God in one's heart and mind is a great example of that. However, I don't think that kind of balance needs to be a 50/50 mathematical split - or a combination of classic, common experiences in either category. I believe it can be different in practical terms for different people, even as nothing more than an openness to experiencing something in the future never experienced previously.

To bring this full circle, that means that I need to recognize my own thinking orientation and my own lack of feeling a spiritual presence but maintain the belief that it could happen to me, if necessary.  It also means I need to accept and value the experiences of people that I can't understand fully because they have not occurred in my own life - and I have to accept and value those experiences for others as much as I do my own for myself. 

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