Wednesday, December 8, 2010


This post is a little different. I would like to pose a question to which I would love to hear your responses and how you've dealt with similar situations, if you have faced them as well. This question has perplexed me for quite some time, but especially very recently.

I've always been surprised at how different people can receive completely different spiritual revelation or strong impressions as to how they view a situation, or how they should react to it. Often I'll observe polar opposite reactions coming from good, God-fearing, spiritual people, earnestly seeking to do what is right while staying true to their internal moral compass.

Here are a few examples (and I sincerely hope no one takes offense to these or feels singled out, it's just open, solicitous pondering):

-I was recently in a situation with some people in which I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and love for the people I was with. In fact, I had a hard time leaving, as I wanted to stay there and bask in the sweetness and sincere goodness I felt coming from them. Someone very close to me told me that she had been in an identical situation with the same people and she felt as though she had literally "walked into hell." She felt this with the same tenacity with which I felt their goodness. We discussed it at length and couldn't come to a middle ground on the topic.

-At times, I have felt a distinct, strong impression that a certain course of action should be taken at home, work, in my church calling, or in any given situation just to have someone tell me they also had a distinct, strong impression that the exact opposite direction or action should be taken. Then it seems to become a battle of who received the strongest impression and who's more in the position to receive it.

-There is someone in my life that I feel with a strong conviction should remain close to me, my family, and the lives of my children. Another person, also close to me, with an earnest desire to do what's right, feels as though this person should not be a part of their families' lives. With the same conviction that I feel that this person should be a part of my life, this person feels that this person shouldn't be a part of theirs. A middle ground also cannot be reached.

I begin to wonder, how is it that the Spirit seemingly speaks so differently to different people, often sending them in opposite directions from each other? It leaves me confused and questioning my own internal receptors.

The hardest part is when someone else's spiritual revelation or impression "trumps" yours and you are left hog-tied, unable to outwardly act on your own impressions.

Like I said, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

By the way, I apologize if this is too personal of a subject for your taste.


Percy said...

I have a couple outside-the-box thoughts on this. Hang in there and read the whole thing :)

One of the problems with most major world religions (as I see it) is that they tell you what to do, and sometimes to discount your own experience. Many of them teach that knowledge and wisdom are things that you must get from a source outside yourself. By yourself you are insufficient, unable, and needy (broken, etc., etc.).

Yet at the same time Buddhism teaches that the Buddha (or God) is in every human right now, Mormonism teaches that we are gods in embryo, and Hinduism sees divinity (through a third eye placed on the forehead) in every individual.

In my belief we ARE gods in the process, and sooner or later we'll all have to learn to trust in our own goodness, our own voice, our own word, heritage of the children of the Most High. Our own voice is to be taken in conjunction with the wisdom of external sources, be they mortal friend advisors or immortal spirit. But PLEASE don't discount your own wisdom and experience, as so many would say you should. YOU are divine too.

Religious cradling is not to be discarded, heavens, there is so much treasure there, what I am suggesting is that we not discount OURSELVES. Our own gut, our own experience, our own godly wisdom. Casting aside fear, which serves only as a short-term motivator, but in the long run must be replaced with an eternal motivator: love (and trust).

C.S. Lewis said something that resonates with my internal voice: What I like about experience is that it is such and honest thing. You may take any number of wrong turnings; but keep your eyes open and you will not be allowed to go very far before the warning signs appear. You may have deceived yourself, but experience is not trying to deceive you. The universe rings true wherever you fairly test it. –

Percy said...

Ha, you thought I was over, but let me share my second thought, about the perception of "walking into hell."

Sometimes the hell that is perceived is in fact inside the beholder. (And the heaven that is perceived can be a reflection of the observer.)

For example, hasn't many an adult visited their childhood home and all of a sudden, inexplicably, felt all the insecurities and unresolved dramas they thought they'd grown past come rushing back? The smells, sights, and phrases bring these to our awareness instantly. If we are like many people we can try to bury them back to an unseen place and hurry away from our childhood home, or blame our parents, or distract ourselves with something louder. Or we can take this as a learning experience and say, "My goodness, I'm sure feeling _________, AND THAT'S OKAY. What can I learn from this? What is this moment (or emotion, or God) trying to tell me?" "I open myself to learn about my immaturities, my prejudices, my weaknesses. To learn how to walk with more congruity." "Living ONE life."

I think of a Spencer Kimball, religious leader, who's motorcade pulled up at a red light next to some Harley motorcycle riders. He looked over, and sensing that others looked to him, and perhaps wanting to be clear about his feelings for his fellow travelers, said something like, "What beautiful souls!" (I believe spoken sincerely, not condescendingly.) In my opinion this expression indicates some of the heaven and peace of the observer.

Likewise if an issue brings up alot of hell in me, it is an opportunity to look inward and see what its about.

Of course sometimes its not about us, the company of some people in a certain mind-set IS truly dangerous, perils our safety, distracts us from our goals that we must meet in a certain time-frame. It DOES behoove us to trust ourselves and make decisions.

Yet let our first inclination be to look inward. Many times the "stones we cast" or the judgments we make (about whatever) are in fact a reflection of our own wounds (discovered or not), our personal work before us, our golden opportunity. A gift.

Cher said...

hmm, a hard question. sometimes two people do receive revelations that are opposite. is one person not really receiving true revelation? i think it's easy to confuse revelation with our own thoughts and desires. they feel very much the same.
in the case of feeling differently around people than someone else, i don't think that's revelation. that's just the way you handle the situation and the way you choose to see it. maybe?

Rita said...

Wow, what great thoughts. Lots to ponder and digest. I also got a couple emails with some more thoughts. What a gift to have such insightful family and friends. Thank you!