A few months back I heard a principle that made so much sense to me. An idea that didn’t strike me as strange, but as something that I should have seen all my life.
As Mormons we are taught that the soul is comprised of the combination of body and spirit. Two separate entities in one. We are also taught that we are able to feel the spirit of God in our lives and that it (and the Holy Ghost) speak not to our physical selves, but to our spirits. Our spirits recognize the spirit of God.
Someone was discussing with me the value of choice in our lives, and that because our spirits made the conscious decision to retain our agency; we are very protective of that choice here on earth. So much so that if you discuss a situation to a person in which their agency is being taken away from them, they almost instantly start recoiling (granted anecdotal evidence). The concept struck me as interesting so I changed subjects and chased the white rabbit. I asked this person (who ashamedly I have forgotten) if they thought that this happened not only for the matter of agency, but of all things good and evil.
Their response stood out in my mind not because it was unheard of, but because I hadn’t looked at it quite like this before. They told me (I am paraphrasing) “Absolutey! Think of all the natural beauty and the awe it inspires not from your eyes, but from your heart, think of the joys of music and how it touches your spirit and can lead to an emotional feeling and longing of ‘Home’ not your earthly one, but your home above. Think of love and how it is not the physical attraction as much as the supernatural spiritual connection that makes relationships last across time (and eternity). Our spirits resonate to truth. When they come into contact with absolute truth, our spirits bear witness of it to us. That is why those who are in tune to the still small voice (those with a deep personal consistent relationship with our Savior) are able to recognize right and wrong so effectively.”
This caught me off guard, largely because the truth of it was literally resonating within me. Both of my major experiences with the spirit, my burning personal revelations about truth have both felt like they are coming from HOME, from the home of my homesick spirit. Like a call from your mother when you feel alone, the spirit of God had touched my spirit and in the process illuminated my soul.
It has taken me a while to write this down because I had to process it a little bit and apply it to my spiritual understanding before I shared it. I was planning to wait another few months to share, but a couple of things happened today that struck a resonating chord (cliché and lame I know, but think of why the cliché is there and smile) with me.
The first came several times while reading Dan Brown’s new book “The Lost Symbol.” This book talks about mysticism and universal truth from a perspective of the Masons (of which Joseph Smith was one). The different rituals that the masons had (illustrated in the book) resonated with the temple, the conceptualization of “apotheosis” or man becoming deity with the crux of the Plan of Salvation and Exaltation, and the concept of understanding parables from many perspectives has always been instilled in me by my Mom’s readings of Hugh Nibley. However, there were also times when what was said simply resonated negatively as well which was interesting, especially because after my first bout of complete skepticism I checked myself, and my skepticism at the door, but perhaps it is just that Mormonism is the primary language of my spirituality and I will always understand spirituality with an LDS accent.
The second experience came later today as I was out apartment hunting; one of the places I stopped by at was near this bell tower I heard so I walked over and stepped into the National Cathedral. The beauty and the majesty astonished me and upon impulse I dipped my fingers into the holy water and crossed myself (something I never intended to do throughout my life). The imagery was astounding and I felt my spirit resonating at a few of the images and writings within the Cathedral. Like a tablet drawn in an obscure corner that read (in Latin) “Truth from life” or that the statue of Christ held what appeared to be a Liahona (I know it isn’t one, but it appeared to be) or the stain glass windows depicting the atonement .
These two experiences, coupled together, solidified the notion that our spirits, when open to the divine and not blocked by the physical, can discover the truth all around us. The truth that is present in many forms, in many places. It is why we need to seek after anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy. We need to understand that other religions, other flocks, other nations, kindreds, tongues, people and languages all have resonating truths. And when all that we take with us into the next life is our minds, it is best to keep them open.
PS, the title of this post came from this song. It was used in Rigoletto made by my uncle and so it struck me as a tender mercy that I found it again after all these years.