It seems by nature I have always been a very private person. This blog is making that truth stare at me in the face, I have written roughly four more posts, all of which I haven’t felt comfortable enough sharing. The post as a tribute to my brother, I just did not feel ready to go there publicly, the others I am still trying to understand if the timing did not feel right, other things in my life took precedence, or perhaps there is something in me that is just not up to the task quite yet.
But what keeps me motivated, the reason I want to continue is that I continue to see pain and suffering around me, and in some measure I feel I can do something about that. The light that has distilled upon my soul over the past few years has made a much needed difference, how can I sit and hide that light when people I care about might benefit? Our manifested talents have a lot of variation, is there truly love if we cannot share these with each other? I speak mostly to myself, I hope to be stronger.
Worth of the Soul
One of the subjects that has been pressing upon my mind is concerning the worth of the soul. It is interesting, while I always trusted the worth of each soul and individual was immense and perhaps even incomprehensible, this idea floated around that value is intrinsic while sounding nice, didn’t ultimately make sense to me.
Or if I accepted it as intrinsic, I interpreted that to mean that our complex and large souls within us at their varying degrees of growth had immense value and even greater potential. But to say my worth measured up to God’s for example, made no sense to me. Clearly what God is capable of and has done for the universe is orders upon orders of magnitude greater in value to the universe and all mankind than the value I personally have to offer, even if from the eyes of God that is still considered great and precious.
That is simply how I viewed worth, and it didn’t seem reasonable to my mind to view it in any other way. This idea that your worth cannot change did not resonate with me, and I really didn’t give it much thought, because the alternative felt non-sensical to me from the outset.
That all started to change when I consciously began to recognize that the natural conclusion that I was accepting, was that my worth was ultimately based on the true abilities I have or develop. And as I noticed this, I began to recognize motives in me that aligned with this belief, and actions in my own life that followed.
In following these actions what I realized is that it gave me this sort of intrinsic ‘need’ to achieve. One part of me believed I was a strong and capable human being, and it seemed people close around me seemed to believe that about me too, or at least that’s the message I internalized, and yet there was another part of me that wondered, “Is it really true, am I really as capable as I want to believe? Have I really done anything in life that shows it is true?” Or in other words to my mind, “am I really worth as much as I want to believe?”
I had several good motives for many of the significant choices I was making in my life, yet now looking back I can see that some other motives at times aligned with the good motives allowing them to be masked behind goodness.
When I reflected on this seeming need for achievement, I began to see the many times I had allowed it to blind me from truth. How a drive for a goal became at times too important to fail and therefore I could and would let other in reality more important things lay to the side. And on occasion I made seemingly irrational or haphazard decisions to push for ultimate success in the way I envisioned, despite the real risks and truth before me that could have pointed to a more appropriate pivoting and greater chance at long-term success and the things that mattered most to me.
Because, I ‘needed’ to get to that achievement, and I needed it sooner than later, and then ‘phew’, then I could really breath. The anxiety could rest, because I could show to myself that I was indeed what I wanted to believe all along. I was good enough, I was what I thought I was worth all along.
Facing My Motives
Recognizing this motive in me was painful, but even more-so surprising. I had convinced myself that I was fully secure, and here I was finding out that I was not as secure as I had supposed. What did it say of my beliefs?
I had always thought it was silly to base one’s worth on other people’s opinions of you – such a fleeting and ever changing source, how could it be viable?
Basing worth on material things, that seemed all the more irrational to my mind, what does some external possession have to do with you – I could have all the money in the world, and it would mean nothing to me (other than I would really enjoy the time it bought me).
And then there were the people who seemed to base their worth on who they knew, who they were associated with, and again I thought how silly to base worth on something that is not you.
In all of these 3 instances I could see the beam and flaw in others’ beliefs and reasoning and yet now as I looked at my own belief – that worth was based on ability (and perhaps achievement that revealed that ability) – was it not doing the same thing in my own life that these other beliefs were doing to other people?
Was it not a drive that was filling a void of insecurity, that blinds a person to truth, and makes them behave in unloving ways? I concluded it must be a different manifestation of the same deception.
Where Does Worth Come From?
And so I wondered what could be the truth? And for the first time in my life I really considered the proposition that value and worth are intrinsic and permanent.
“Do people recognize how bold of a proposition that is?”, I wondered to myself as I tried to internalize the belief. It led my mind to thoughts like, “That would mean Hitler has as much value as Jesus, and ultimately God. Could that really be true?” I had strong doubts, but pondering on it, there was something to it that began to resonate. And clearly my life experiences, the seeds of my previous beliefs, had grown and borne some bad fruit.
There had to be a better way. Was this really it? It began to feel right, but how could it be? I did not know, but I began to accept it on faith, experiment upon this new word. And for the time being I shelved away the question and getting an answer to, “how could it be so, how could worth be totally intrinsic?”.
Strings of Light
More than a year passed, and now I sat in vision perceiving the strings of light I shared in an earlier post. There are some elements to that experience that I did not share. One of the most profound aspects for me was the following.
As I looked upon the whole of it – the strings that represented the mind of man/woman – I perceived that all truth was there. And not only was it all there, I then perceived that the same applied to all minds in existence. Or in other words, all intelligent beings already possess all strings of light, at the basest level. On a higher level, the differences that we see between intelligent beings is that these strings of light are in various states of organization or disorganization.
Therefore as I witnessed the process in which we gather truth and light within us, I saw that it is not so much an obtaining of light and truth as much as it is a discovery and manifestation of the true nature that lies within us. And my mind and soul were immediately filled with joy and gratitude. Here before me I saw displayed the infinite, immutable, and eternal worth and love of man/woman. My question was answered, the seed had borne fruit, this was how it could be. The feeling of joy in this understanding persisted with me for weeks.
Us, In a New Light
So much of the way I view the world, people around me, and myself has fundamentally changed because of this experience.
For example, there was a part of me that could be very competitive, and at rarer times even jealous when I saw the great achievements of other people, particularly if I had failed at the same. It felt like it challenged what I was, or although I might not have seen it that way at the time – what I was worth, my value.
That world view has been burst into a thousand pieces. My heart now sings when I see greatness and goodness manifested by my fellow man.
For my own talents, it used to be I would often feel embarrassed or a need to downplay good that I had done, because I didn’t want to feel or give a feeling that such a talent made me better than another person in some way. But now, I no longer feel the need to hide my positive traits.
Because the fundamental truth that I have learned is – that the greatness and goodness displayed by our self, fellow friends, family, and all of humanity is a manifestation of the true and internal nature of all of us. Whether that manifestation is athletic, artistic, strong, physically beautiful, smart, insightful, kind, or loving – it is great cause for celebration, and really a celebration together, because it is a manifestation of what is in all of us.
Co-Equal With God Himself
Joseph Smith was recorded as saying in the King Follet Sermon nearing the end of his own life in Nauvoo, “The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself”, which Joseph Fielding Smith in compiling The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith thought must have been recorded in error.
But I have learned and witnessed for myself that it is a true teaching. No amount of achievement, no amount of praise, no amount or degree of relationship or personal connection, no amount of material gain, and even no amount of righteousness or sin – can ever change the innate, eternal, and glorious worth of man/woman.
And lastly I will say, this is something my younger brother Curtis seemed to inherently know through his life. My family cannot remember him speaking an ill word against anyone, how remarkable is that? He was ever the champion of both the seeming weakest and strongest among us; he was everyone’s biggest fan. I think that will stand as his legacy on this side of the veil, and so I wish to proudly add my testimony that he gave and displayed with his life that the worth of each individual, including ourselves, is truly great, eternal, and worthy of our love, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.