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Friday, March 15, 2013

Meditation, Part 7 - Attend the Greatest Temple



For the past few months, this blog has focused on a true principle with a profound promise:

“I think we pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion.

In our worship there are two elements: one is spiritual communion rising from our own meditation; the other instruction from others, particularly from those who have authority to guide and instruct us. Of the two, the more profitable introspectively is meditation.

Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord" (Pres. David O. McKay, “Consciousness of God: Supreme Goal of Life,” Improvement Era, June 1967, pp. 80–82).

 It is true that "It is a great thing to inquire at the hands of God, or to come into His presence." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 22).  Yet imbedded within the scriptures lies a real pattern which we can replicate to communicate with God on the grandest, most sublime level possible.

In successive posts, we’ve read how:

  1. Pondering is a form of meditation which often involves deeply contemplating the words of God.  Several scriptures demonstrate that pondering the word of God can catalyze the veil’s parting (Enter the Presence of the Lord) – a process which is both simple and reproducible. (Pondering the Word of God, Part 2)
  2. By pondering the things of the Spirit, you become more attuned to the intimations of the Spirit and can better respond to its promptings. You literally become a divine tuning fork, resonating the Spirit itself. (Pondering the Word of God, Part 1)
  3. Meditation, on the other hand, involves repositioning oneself away from the storms, turmoil, chaos, loudness and confusion of life to a solitary, peaceful environment to become better attuned to, and eventually enjoy the presence of, divinity. (Meditation, Part 1)
  4. Unlike prayer, the meditative state has "tune out" the world (unlike prayer, where you’re "tuning in" to God).  This is done by "emptying your cup" of all your thoughts, cares, concerns of the world.  With prayer, you are filling yourself with the influence of the Holy Ghost, whose responsibility is to bring you to Christ. (Meditation, Part 2)
  5. Throughout the millennia, holy men have successfully approached God in their own sacred groves – almost always in nature, such as a mountaintop or forest.  (Meditation, Part 3)
  6. Not only is a proper place, but a proper time is also appropriate for those serious about meditating.  Again, time after time, the scriptures show us another pattern: early morning is the best time to meditate. (Meditation, Part 4)
  7. As you successfully tune out the telestial kingdom in these sacred spaces and times, you’ll find it easier to calm your body (Meditation, Part 5) and your mind. (Meditation, Part 6)
  8. At this point, you have successfully “lost yourself in the Spirit”.  You have submitted yourself to the sacred signals of the Spirit and, as a result, have spiritually empowered yourself. (So Long, Self)
There is one last concept I wish to address as I close this series of posts about meditation.

Behold God’s Greatest Temple


Time and again, we have read ho holy men (and holy women) have sought God in holy places and sacred times …and found Him.  These places where temporal time and place touched eternity and everlasting expanse were not man-made, but natural or God-made temples (people have also found God in man-made temples as well, which is not the focus of this particular blog post). 

What these men and women discovered, in sometimes very poignant and beautiful manifestations, is that they themselves were God’s greatest creation. 

And, by implication, God’s greatest and grandest temple.

Ponder this scripture.  I mean really ponder it:

“What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (JST 1 Cor 6:19)

Our bodies are temples of God. We should not think of entering one of the temples of our God and desecrating His holy house. The temple of the body which houses a spirit child of God is far more important to Him than brick or mortar, for has he not said that his work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and the Eternal Life of man? (Delbert L. Stapley, How to Resist Temptation [Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1974], pp. 20-22.)

So serious is God about these grandest temples, that he stated via His scriptures,

"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Cor. 3:17).

“The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.” (D&C 93:35)


Similarities to Man-Made Temples


How we operate the brick-and-mortar temples (which the church builds) provides you with a terrific insight in how to truly activate and empower your own bodily, portable temple.  Let’s contemplate this for a minute. 

1.  Temples can be choice places to meditate.

Temples are modern-day sanctuaries from a sinful society, a temporary oasis from the storms of life.  There, we may be privileged to enter sacred rooms where a still, soft environment can enable us to escape telestial thoughts and enjoy peace -- a perfect prerequisite for effective meditation.

Likewise, as you enter your own "sacred grove" at a still time of the day, while calming your body and mind, you, too, can enjoy a state of peacefulness.

2.  Temples open in the early morning hours.

The temples built by the Church are typically open pretty early in the morning. Like them, we are also told that we can expect blessings by arising early. As we read in D&C 88:124,

“Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.”

Not only are early risers the beneficiaries of greater spirituality – they’re temporally more productive as well. Research by Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education at Heidelberg, concludes that morning people are more likely to succeed in their careers because they are more proactive than evening people.  Randler says:

“When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards. My earlier research showed that they tend to get better grades in school, which gets them into better colleges, which then leads to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimise them. They're proactive.” (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/article-23852426-why-morning-people-rule-the-world.do)

How are you doing with respect to “arising early”?

3.  Temples are selective regarding admission.  
They wall off that which is of the world, unholy and impure, and allow inside only they who have been found good and pure.  With this fact in mind, how are you doing with respect to:
  • The food you eat and liquids you drink (what goes into your mouth)?
Are there not substances in our diets which may contribute to hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides – or what is called “metabolic syndrome”?

Are there not substances in our drinks which artificially stimulate our bodies, and others which contain excitotoxins that radically, negatively alter our brain pathways?


As the Word of Wisdom elaborates in D&C 89, how “sparingly” do you consume “the flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air”?


Do you give thanks for your food except in a meaningful way, or in a perfunctory fashion?
"The body is the temple of the Spirit. The body is sacred. It was created in the image of God. It is something to be cared for and used for good purposes. It ought to be taken care of, and this thing which we call the Word of Wisdom, which is a code of health, is most helpful in doing that.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, "This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner", Ensign (CR), November 1996, p.48)
However, taking care of our bodies can also be taken to extremes.  I have seen others, even good friends, who placed a greater price on improving their physique than their spirits.  They lost marriages, families and potentially eternal glory by worshiping the created, not the Creator.
  • The media you expose yourself to (what goes into your eyes and ears)?
Do you actively prevent pornography from entering your home by blocking questionable TV channels?


Is your internet filtered at the desktop level (where safeguards are easily circumvented) or at the server level (where it’s much harder to circumvent)?


Just how much time do you spend on the internet, instead of on such things as family history, studying the scriptures or visiting the sick or elderly?
  • The thoughts you think (what goes into your mind)? 
Just how are you doing at controlling your thoughts?


What kind of environment do you expose yourself to?


Are such things as hymns and uplifting music – which carry with them positive, enlightening vibrations -- an active part of your life?
“If you want to have the blessings of the Spirit of the Lord to be with you, you must keep your body, the temple of God, clean and pure" (Teachings Of Presidents Of The Church: Harold B. Lee, p.185)
4.  Temples are extremely well maintained, both internally and externally.


How modest do you dress?


Is there anything in your wardrobe that diminishes your ability to feel the spirit?


Do you hearken to competent medical counsel to keep your body operating as best it can?
“Things can and do go wrong with our physical bodies. They can be injured and are surely subject to illness. Our Maker has instructed us to care for them and not to defile them. We are encouraged to avail ourselves of competent medical counsel and heed it. We are to honor the body as a temple of God, and allow no forbidden thought, sight, sound, or substance to enter its sacred precincts.” (Russell M. Nelson, The Gateway We Call Death, p.6) 
Are there more similarities between the temple of your body and the temples built by the church? 

You tell me.

Again, these are questions for you to ponder, for

“As truly as the living God dwelt in the Mosaic tabernacle, and in the temple of Solomon, so truly does the Holy Ghost dwell in the souls of genuine Christians; and as the temple and all its utensils were holy, separated from all common and profane uses, and dedicated alone to the service of God, so the bodies of genuine Christians are holy, and all their members should be employed in the service of God alone.” (Clarke's Commentary on the Bible)

Conversely,

“God has declared that he will not enter a defiled temple, whether that temple be the body of a man or a dedicated grove or a mountain top, or a house, like the temple. The Holy Spirit will withdraw from a defiled place. People who have no faith in temple worship, who desire simply as tourists to inspect unsympathetically our holy house, in spite of themselves, defile it. We desire to present our temple ordinances to those who are believers. Moreover, visitors in temples would interfere with the procedure of the work…” (Archibald F. Bennett, Saviors on Mount Zion, p.167)

If you feel some of these questions deserve action, then consider this statement by Pres. Spencer W. Kimball:

“How often do Church members arise early in the morning to do the will of the Lord? How often do we say, ‘Yes, I will have home evening with my family, but the children are so young now; I will start when they are older’? How often do we say, ‘Yes, I will obey the commandment to store food and to help others, but just now I have neither the time nor the money to spare; I will obey later’? Oh, foolish people! While we procrastinate, the harvest will be over and we will not be saved. Now is the time to follow Abraham's example; now is the time to repent; now is the time for prompt obedience to God's will.” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, p.174)  

I encourage you, I plead with you, to contemplate the profound nature of God’s greatest temple – you.  As you softly and silently speak with God about this, I can guarantee you that somewhere out there will be a Heavenly Father who will be so proud of you -- of who you are, what you’ve become...

…and what you are capable of doing.


Part the Veil
 


When you meditate, you are entering one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which you can pass into the presence of the Lord.  So saith a prophet of God.

As you seek to you lose yourself and your ego…

As you seek to increase your level of light…

As you seek to improve your ability to resonate with the Spirit like a true temple of God…

…you will experience transcendent peace, joy and enlightenment.

…you will you will find yourself perfectly positioned to engage in pure prayer.

…and you will find yourself even more capable of one more thing:

parting the veil.

And thus begins a new series of blog posts from me...

…to you.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you very much! This is wonderful and we eagerly await a new series of blog posts!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much for all these wonderful blog posts. Can hardly wait for the next series!

    ReplyDelete
  3. “What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

    I had read this scriptures many times and taught about it too. Usually we mention the fact that the "Holy Ghost" (aka the gift if the Holy Ghost) can dwell in us and we should thus take care or our body. But we do not really believe it is a temple. It is a metaphor.

    Recently i've been thinking a lot about the holy ghost/spirit, the Holy Ghost (the personage) and "His Spirit" (as found in the sacrament prayer). After pondering the above scripture I know our body is a temple in the true sense of the term. The material are far greater than brick or marble. They are more intelligent too and have a "higher degree" of agency.

    To me the holy ghost wich is referred to in this scripture is our own spirit. In our temple, our spirit is the one who communicates with the spirit of of the Lord. Many people who have had near death experiences recollect the fact that spirits communicate in a different way in the other world. We do not necessarily need to use words in order to express ourselves. There's a speechless communion between spirits that carries far more than words. It carries knowledge, feelings, appreciation, love etc.

    Those hidden treasures in the scriptures !
    Thanks for this invitation to really ponder the word of God.

    ReplyDelete