**Note: This post contains doctrinal concepts from The Church of Jesus Christ, to which I ascribe. Take what you like, and leave the rest.
I teach a Sunday School class of 12 and 13 year olds. Like 15 of them. And it’s awesome. It’s a fun challenge to try and keep them all engaged. There are a few key concepts that I harp on constantly. If they learn nothing else from my class, I want it to be this:
Why are you here? (Nope it’s not to get a body. Nope, it’s not to be tested….blank stares at this point). You are here to become Gods. Period. All those other ideas are simply parts of becoming a God. And when you truly understand this and approach life from this perspective it’s a game changer. We talk about how important knowing the Plan of Salvation is, but if you don’t understand the end game you are going to get lost. We are here to become Gods. Unfortunately in our discussions of The Plan, we leave this key piece out a LOT.
There’s someone who wants us to forget that key piece. Someone who is glad we just leave our Sunday School answers at “getting a body” or “being tested.” Usually my class can come up with who: Satan. But why? He wanted to be a God, he wanted to be the only God, and his ultimate-power ku was thwarted. And now he hates you. HATES YOU. Why? Because you have the chance to have a body, a life, and ultimate power (because of that body and the life you choose to live). He hates you for it. He wants you to squander what you have. And here is the interesting thing: he often gets us to.
Usually we think of squandering our lives as “sinning,” or making hugely negative choices that impact ourselves and others. Today I want to consider a “small and simple” way we all fall short from time to time. Being present.
- Have your children ever talked to you and you weren’t really listening?
- Have you ever been in a conversation with a friend while one of you was on their smart phone?
- Have you ever been somewhere and been too preoccupied to see the beauty?
- Have you ever binge watched Netflix, or looked up and realized you had just been on Facebook (or another social media outlet) for hours?
- Have you ever checked out of your life long-term because it was too hard or painful?
If you’ve experienced any, or all, of these (I certainly have), you have experienced not being present in your own life. Here is an extreme example. When I was first married, for my job I was in charge of a dorm building full of boys. Online gaming was fairly new. We struggled to get the boys out of their dorm rooms and into interactions with other human beings and living life. They would stay glued to their screens for sometimes days, skipping classes, meals, and human interaction. Some of those games allowed them to create a complete online life with a dream wife, dream job, dream car, dream house, etc. Others simply allowed them to create false self-worth through worthless or meaningless leveling up achievements. They had “no life,” no substantive relationships with self or others, and some of them flunked out of school, as they continued to grasp for this false world. This is the epitome of not being present in your own life. It is so sad to consider, and yet each of us do it in small ways every day.
Satan does everything he can to keep you from living in your own body. He wants you to live your life without really living your life. He wants you to complacently allow life to pull you in whatever direction it will. He does not want you to live consciously. A few scriptures come to mind that illustrate this point:
- “Behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.” —Mormon 5:18
- “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prosperity, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” —2 Nephi 28: 21
Not living presently and consciously keeps you from your potential, from becoming a God. When we live our own lives, there are innumerable blessings.
We truly see. We see the beauty around us: beauty in the world, beauty in others, beauty in humanness, beauty even in pain. We see ourselves as we are, and others as they are.
We live in reality. We live in our lives as they really are. We don’t live in a fantasy of what we hope they would be, or in denial of what is.
We connect. Life=Relationships with self and others. This is why when we say someone has “no life” we are referring to them not getting out and being with other beings, or at least truly being with themselves.
- We connect with ourselves. This means we discover ourselves, who we really are what our particular body, mind, and spirit need in general and at any given moment. We learn to choose consciously in all aspects of our lives. We have more power to create physically what we have created spiritually in our minds, or to use yoga language, we have more power to manifest through our lower chakras what we have envisioned in our upper chakras.
- We connect with others. Connection with others is essential, and I don’t mean through screens on Facebook or even email. Interpersonal connection, face to face and voice to voice, when your energy touches someone else’s, produces hormones of well-being, security, and happiness. We think we can just text or email or Facebook for connection, but those essential hormones are not released. We have to BE with someone. As I practice being present in my relationships I find myself stopping what I’m doing to get down on my children’s levels and listen to them. I find myself turning off my phone, or leaving it in another room to have a meaningful conversation with my husband, or a friend. When I’m in public I look to smile at and converse with those I come in contact.
Conscious living takes effort and produces growth, authenticity, deeper relationships, and more love. We choose our choices and create lives we want to live in. We feel serenity and peace and are grounded and centered. Ultimately we become perfected through the work we do in ourselves and with others in moving toward charity/love and purity. Because God works through natural law, this space of BE-ing is the space of ultimate power. Scriptural reference? “Thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever” (D&C 121:46).