Spirit of Digression

I’ve had a great couple weeks, full of mostly good things and a nice break from my everyday routines. But despite all the positives I’ve definitely noticed a slip in my spiritual momentum, which I attribute to being somewhat overcome by the spirit of digression.

I have a lot of thinking time built into my regular life, time I haven’t necessarily had to set aside but which just exists and is available to me without much effort on my part. I use it to think about things I like and find interesting, which, as of late, have been largely spiritual in nature. Over the last few weeks my built-in thinking time essentially disappeared and my efforts to carve out time or dedicate mental energy to anything spiritual were half-hearted and mostly unsuccessful. When I did manage to carve out time, I spent it on social media or email. A few times I planned to do some thinking before bed but after long days, I would climb in bed and start to drift off – not a state conducive to good thinking.

Generally I didn’t miss my thinking time while I was with family or friends or off enjoying beautiful scenery or doing other things I love. But in retrospect I have been missing the moments of peace and rest, that call me from a world of care

Studying, pondering, praying….I’ve never been great at those things nor have I ever really enjoyed them so I always thought this phrase from Alma 32 was only applicable to the overly-churchy (those who talk a big game) or the next-level spirits (those who might as well just be twinkled right now because we all know where they’re going to end up), and I never expect to be a part of either group. But the surprising absence of spiritual nourishment I’ve felt over the last few weeks truly has helped me recognize the way all the studying, pondering, praying, etc. is delicious to me.

I believe in the benefits of dedicating time to spiritual pursuits and have seen how they truly enlarge my soul and enlighten my understanding.

Receiving

As I was doing confirmations at the temple today, for some reason I latched onto the words ‘Receive the Holy Ghost’. On the one hand we talk about receiving the gift of the holy ghost, so the words here are mostly seen as bestowing that gift. But there is a less passive side to receiving and that involves acceptance and utilization of the gift.

Today, because I had been given the gift years ago at my own confirmation, I thought more about my approach to receiving it. In other words, my need to pay attention to, be open to, and listen for the influence of the spirit. For any of that to be possible, dedicating time for listening and contemplating (the process of receiving) is necessary.

The human brain may be able to multi-task and receive lots of information at once, but while multi-tasking I’m not sure the brain can pay as much attention as is required to feel the spirit. However I am convinced that the heart cannot multi-task. It can feel one thing, it is focused on one thing.

Whether it means going to the temple or just putting my phone in airplane mode for ten minutes every day… Oh, may I always listen to receive him hour by hour.