DEPRESSION, BIPOLAR & ANXIETY - LIVING AS A LATTER-DAY SAINT, LDS

Episode #197 - Spiritual Giants

October 01, 2023 Damon Socha Season 1 Episode 197
DEPRESSION, BIPOLAR & ANXIETY - LIVING AS A LATTER-DAY SAINT, LDS
Episode #197 - Spiritual Giants
Show Notes Transcript

Deep spiritual reservoirs require difficult trials.  Our trials are given in proportion to our spiritual nature.

Episode #197 – Spiritual Giants.  I am your host Damon Socha.  So today is going to be a little unconventional and perhaps shorter than normal.  I hope that you will give me a little space and a moment, to what may feel like to you that I am rambling. I have a method to my madness, and naturally my mind works a little differently as you have probably already recognized.  Let’s start with the idea of what is it to be normal?  Being normal.  Feeling normal.  Just normal.  Like many of you, I have sought out normality all my life.  I have just wanted to be normal.  Feel normal emotions.  Live a normal life.  I’ve wanted happiness, peace, and the proverbial joy in life. I have really searched for this.  Prayed for it.  Attempted to live it amongst my many weaknesses.  Yet I admit to never really having found it.  Always searching never able to find that normal place.  A place where I would feel normal and be normal.

Mental illness tends to cause it I suppose.  When you lose control of your inner desire, emotional stability and core feelings, you want that control back in your life.  You want your normal feelings, your inner desires and your dreams and hopes back.  You want to feel like you once did.  Once we enter the world of mental illness, we are always looking back to better days.  Hoping somehow we can find what we lost somewhere in our future.  We can even become so desperate to find it, that we are willing to reach outside of our box and grab at anything that appears to help.  We can even go so far as to think that it can’t be reached and that leads to far darker places.  When we lose hope, life tends to have little meaning.  Hope is such a strange emotion.  It runs far deeper than almost any other emotion in our body.  When we have hope, even a small flicker, we live and strive and work.  When hope fades, we tend to lose our desire for living.  Yet, it takes a great deal of pain and suffering to completely smother hope.  It is also interesting just how quickly hope can be revived and we feel that motivating desire well up within us again.  Hope is the one emotion, unlike any other that gives us life.  When we have hope we have life.

Hope is what drives us to normality.  By nature we are social beings and because we are we desire social connections.  Social connections are driven by the most part from matching identities.  The idiom “Birds of a feather flock together” is a true statement.  When we socialize and form groups, we tend to drift towards like minded people.  When no like-minded people are around us, we will adapt to our environment.  We will make changes to fit into a social group, even if the fit isn’t very good.  Normality is often driven by what we see and experience.  Normal for me, is not normal for you.  We each live within our own reality created in our minds and by our shared experience.  What I perceive as normal comes from my genetics, my environment and if I allow it from my premortal life.  We can actually shut out or premortal life. So we are a blend of genetics, our world and our spiritual experiences.  Somehow blending those three together we come up with what is normal and from there we decide what normal looks like, feels like and is for us.  Naturally the idea of normal changes as we experience life both environmentally and spiritually.  

What is interesting if you ask people if they feel normal, most people will tell you that they do not feel normal.  We all tend to look for it but it is rare to find someone that feels entirely as though they fit in and are normal.  What if I told you that there is no such thing?  That normality is an illusion that we strive for but never really find.  That if you were to somehow come close in on it, you would find that it is only further away.  We are not really looking for normal.  That is what we tell ourselves.  But that is not what we truly want.  You see when we came here from our previous life in the premortal worlds, our memories were veiled, but our experience was not.  We can still feel many of our emotional desires from the previous world.  We are truly spiritual beings living in a mortal world.  And yes this world feels very strange to us.  It should.  We came from a very different life.  We did not have this genetic mortal covering that often dictates to our spirit a variety of desires, passions and drives.  This doesn’t mean that we didn’t have desires, passions and drives in the premortal life.  We certainly did.  But it appears that our mortal body may have introduced some very strong desires that tend towards selfish behavior.  We did not come from a selfish behavior environment.  In fact, where we came from was celestial in nature, meaning that we lived far more selflessly and with a greater sense of community.  That sense of community is probably one of the reasons we are so driven to social behaviors.  One of the greatest joys we experienced before this life were our relationships.  While we don’t know exactly what those relationships were, I doubt that our Father could cause us to entire forget them.  Simply because they became a part of who we were and are.  I have no doubt when the curtains are drawn back and we regain some of that factual knowledge we will realize that we are standing amongst our friends and family.  When those relationships come flooding back into our minds, we will see that we were sent here with our closest relationships to work out our salvation.

So yes this life is bewildering to us.  We have never been, so far as we know, a world that is so unjust, unruly and downright ugly.  We came from a world that was entirely just, true and fair.  When we feel that injustice rise up in us, it is because we know justice.  We also know mercy, kindness, gentleness, and pure love.  Those beings with whom we associated who were exalted and immortal, taught us of their experiences and their lives.  We knew that mortality was going to be a fight.  We knew the history of our exalted ancestors.  Their world was not unlike ours with all its ugliness but we only knew the stories, we had not yet experienced it.

And so we are thrust into this world looking for what we lost.  We are not looking for normality, we are looking for our lost pre-mortality.  We knew true joy.  We had felt it deeply for a very long time before this earth.  We know truth because we were taught it bountifully before we came.  Our experiences before this life is what we are searching for.  We are searching to regain those wonderful relationships.  When we look for normality, we are searching for our previous life.  In some ways we will never be or feel normal, because it requires an environment that isn’t entirely possible with our current method of government and society.

When we experience mental illness with all its symptoms, it reminds us just how deeply we desire our heavenly home.  I have often thought that perhaps the Lord gives mental illness to individuals who were exceedingly valiant in the pre-mortal world.  Maybe our spirituality and depth of devotion to the Savior were so strong that this world would have been far too easy for us to navigate.  And when life is easy we don’t put in the effort we need to become better.  Maybe we would have sailed through this life with little effort, able to hear the voice of the Spirit with ease and returned home very much the same as we left the pre-mortal world.  That was and is not the intent of this mortal world.

One of the lessons of the parable of the talents is that we need to show improvement in our soul and spiritual nature.  We need to bring back with us a greater spiritual nature than we had before coming to this earth.  Because our road would have been easy, we needed a deep weakness to provide for our learning and growth.  It is reasonable to think that our mental health challenges were provided specifically that we might improve upon the talents we were given.  The greater the mental health challenge the stronger we were spiritually.  Perhaps those given the most difficult trials in life are those whose nature can handle difficult trials.  It would not make sense to send someone weak in the spirit and then to make their journey so difficult, they could never return.  One could not expect a five talent or one talent person to take the same journey as a ten talent person.  So the greater the trial, the greater the capacity to endure that trial.

Now I understand that we don’t often feel like the ten or five talent person.  It is difficult in this world to see our spiritual capacities and even more difficult when we are under pressures of our trials.  We can feel weak when our symptoms seem to rob us of every motivational desire and hope.  We can feel as though we are the least in the kingdom of heaven.  But perhaps that feeling of weakness is needed in our lives as it causes us to reach to heaven in a more earnest way.  It is important to remember that even the Savior prayed more earnestly when the full weight of the atonement pressed upon him.  If our trials are given in proportion to our spiritual strength, then it is reasonable to think that we have a deep spiritual nature that the Lord is developing by placing us in a state of deep weakness.  That our mental health challenges are in proportion to our spiritual strength to withstand and overcome them.

When we are placed in this state, we become more willing participants to his methods of training.  Learning only takes place when we are humble and submissive.  Humility and submissiveness are the requirements to allow the Spirit to cause a change of heart.  And then we can take our ten pre-mortal talents and through mortality bring another ten.  We often think of the ten talent person as one who has great capacity, great ability and the Lord simply blessed his efforts.  That somehow he escaped the trouble one finds when trying to increase capacity.  Increase in capacity always comes through great trial.  There exists no other way to obtain it.  Yes the Lord can simply provide it through grace but I believe that it is rare to just receive greater spiritual strength.  So often when the Lord desires to work in us greater capacity he gives us opportunities in life to do so with his help.  For instance, if we desire to develop patience, the Lord gives us difficult people to work with.  So if we desire deep spiritual strength and we have brought with us a deep reservoir, then the Lord must provide great personal obstacles to increase that reservoir.

Not only must we pass through toil, strife, pain and suffering but for it to run deep we must endure it for a length of time.  Short moments of difficult pain do not provide for deep memory or learning.  If we desire deep spiritual wells then we must endure the struggle to dig them.  So perhaps rather than think ourselves weak and unable to handle mortal life, we should consider that our trials have been given in proportion to our ability to handle them.  That we are spiritual giants who can handle difficult trials because we have deep spiritual reservoirs.  Rather than think ourselves a one talent person without capacity, we are simply a ten talent person who has been given greater weakness that the Lord might bring forth greater strength.

I hope that today in my rambling I have provided you with some understanding of who you really are and why the Lord would allow such a difficult illness to ravage your heart and mind.  I hope that you can now see yourself as he does a spirit with great capacity and therefore able to handle a great trial and that with your newfound knowledge you will be able to endure the trial placed upon you.  

Until next week do your part so that the Lord can do his.