Tag Archive: enlightenment


Knowing Oneself

I’ve written a bit about knowing oneself, as a big part of my journey has been getting to know myself and being true to myself. As I’ve gone along, the process has seemed ever more simple, and actually less of a “process” and more of an “awareness”.

I wrote a post last Fall on “True Happiness”, for which I’ve received a considerable amount of feedback, both positive and negative. My own journey has given me greater clarity on the subject. Rather than expounding or amending the previous post to address all of the emails and my own evolution, I chose to just create another post on the subject: Knowing Oneself.

What does that mean: Knowing Oneself? I am no expert on the matter, by any means, but I will share what I’ve found to be true for myself. See my opinion, just as that: an opinion. Only you can find what resonates as truth for yourself.  One helpful thing I’ve learned is not to necessarily “seek truth”, but to let go of the importance that I assign to the opinions of others. Letting go of my “thinking” has allowed my true self to emerge.

As I go along (or life goes along), I’m finding that knowing myself and being true to myself involves giving up roles that define me. It also involves giving up finding peace in “the doing”. I’ve discovered that peace exists in “the being”, not “the doing”. Peace is in being fully present in the now. Life is in the now, not the past or the future. Now is life. Being aware of who I am now, not back then or later on, has been key for me. This is also an awareness of who I am independent of others feelings and opinions.  Becoming aware of where I am in the moment has helped set me free from the external pressures from others and my own mind. I’ve gained a greater sense of who I am as I’ve become more aware of the separation of who I am as a consciousness (true self) vs who I am as thinking brain (motivated by the external). I have shifted from thinking and being entangled in the reality of others, to separation, letting go, and becoming aware of my own consciousness in the moment.

As a young artist, I learned that the secret to my talent was in the seeing rather than the creating. When I ceased to see the subject as a familiar form and simply became objectively aware of light, shadow, and emotion, my talent was unleashed. Identification with form, however familiar and meaningful, can hold our inner peace hostage. Objective awareness is essential to gaining true peace and unleashing the beauty of our true self.

 
As I continue my journey, I’m coming to peace with ‘not knowing’. I am beginning to realize that I know more about what I don’t believe than what I do believe.

Mormons reading this will most likely scoff and sneer… because Mormonism provides ‘all the answers’. You see, this is part of the attraction to Mormonism for many followers: having the answers. Never mind that the answers were created out of thin air by a power-hungry, imaginative, over-sexualized man (Joseph Smith); they are answers.

As I progress in this life, I am realizing that it is ok not to have all the answers. In fact, there is a wisdom in accepting the fact that we neither have nor require having all the answers. I have been expanding my studies outside of the parameters of religion and venturing into the world of science. I have always had an instinctual belief that God and science were one.

In my studies, I’ve found that there are many parallels between God and science. Recent research into the field of quantum physics has shed new light on the fundamental properties of matter. It has been theorized that the most fundamental properties of matter involve consciousness, a state of existence that is all-knowing, having always existed and unchangeable. Sound familiar? In the bible, God has been similarly described.

As my studies continue, I continue to find myself in a place of letting go: letting go not just of Mormon theology, but also of cultural ‘norms’ regarding religion. I feel as though I am peeling back the layers of a Mormon upbringing as well as cultural indoctrination regarding God and coming to a place of increasing simplicity.

I have been asked, “So, what do you believe?”

I believe in God: a God who is all knowing, unchangeable, a God who is our creator according to the laws of science which he also created, a God who loves us in a perfect way (so perfect it is far beyond what many can even comprehend). I believe God loves us unconditionally regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

Man has so complicated life through religion. Mormonism is an extreme example of how complicated life can become through religion. Religion is man’s creation, not God’s. Wars have been fought over religion. In the name of religion, humankind has judged, condemned, hated, and murdered. Families have been ripped apart in the name of religion. All of this is contrary to God’s purposes.

I believe God exists whether there is a religion out there to box Him in or not. His way is simple. His way is one of love and letting go.

 
As I celebrate my 2 year anniversary of my resignation from the LDS church, I find myself increasingly in a place of peace with myself, the world around me and God. Looking back, I can see now how God prepared me for the transition that I went through 2 years ago. Being placed in a calling which I believed held great responsibility in my Stake was a catalyst not only for me to strengthen my own testimony, but to humble myself before God and to go to a deeper level of honesty within myself.

Before opening my mind to investigate my own shelved doubts and the church, I had spent many months in prayer, turning myself completely over to God. I placed myself completely in his hands and trusted him to deliver me into a closer relationship with Him. At the time, I fully expected my testimony of the LDS church to deepen, and it came as quite an unexpected surprise to uncover the errors of LDS theology. I had expected to come out of the process with greater commitment to obey all of God’s commandments (according to LDS theology). As was my spiritual progression up to that point, I fully expected this next step to take me into a deeper, more complex and more stringent understanding and adherence to the gospel.

What happened was quite the opposite. My position of humility and reaching out to God, instead took me to a place of simplicity: a place of communion with God. I came to understand the true meaning of Grace. I came to understand that salvation was simply a matter of releasing all that I’d been taught to cling to and to accept Christ’s unconditional gift of salvation.

More than anything, my journey has led me to a place of letting go. Fortunately, nearly at the same moment of my de-conversion from Mormonism, I was converted to a full understanding of God’s love for me. It was an amazing process which is still difficult for me to put into words. At that moment 2 years ago, I was filled with the love of God. It filled me up like an unquenchable fire. The most amazing thing is: it still burns just as brightly within me today as it did that day 2 years ago. I never dreamed that I could feel like this.

As time goes on, I feel increasingly disaffected from the world. I still see and feel what goes on around me, but my focus is so different now. I feel completely loved and accepted by God. Nothing can take that away from me. Bad stuff happens in the world. Relationships can cause us distress, but nothing compares to my perfect relationship with God. In this state, I no longer feel the need to judge myself or others. I finally understand what unconditional love is all about. I feel it from God. I feel it for myself and I feel it for others. It is a joyous freedom I never glimpsed as a Mormon. The fire that burns within me now drives me to reach out to others: to meet their reaching and help them as they investigate the church. I find great joy in this.

As a Mormon, I never really felt like I was enough. Never enough to be completely loved by God or anyone, for that matter. I think many Mormons struggle with feelings of inadequacy. Why? I believe that the more legalism that is involved in a religion, or rules and compliance expected of  followers, the more difficult it is to feel as if one has ‘arrived’. Salvation is always out of reach. One’s job is never complete. Even at death, as taught in Mormonism, we only enter into a new life of further work and earning of our salvation. Inherently, the culture instills a sense of futility and unworthiness. Reaching perfection is something often spoken of, but forever out of reach.

My views of institutionalized religion have evolved over the last 2 years. At first, I felt the need to ‘belong’ to another church. I searched high and low for a church where I felt comfortable and a church which was as basic a Christian church as I could find. I did find one, and I still attend occasionally. However, I no longer feel compelled to attend. As the remnants of Mormon belief have worked their way out of my system, I’ve come to focus less on my actions and more on my relationship with God. I believe it is good to assemble together with other believers. I enjoy it very much, but I do not feel that doing so is necessary for my salvation.

In a nutshell, I believe that relationship with God is a personal thing, not anything a religion can give you. I think that God’s truth is simple and the more man is involved (religion), the more complicated and distant from God’s purposes we tend to get. Mormonism was founded by a man, complicated by more men, and I believe, has taken its follows far from a relationship with God.

%d bloggers like this: