Consequences of “mind ≠ spirit”.
I live an inspired life. I know this because I keep a journal.
In my journal are many records that I “feel inspired to do X.” Reading these entries I generally remember doing X but I often do not remember the inspiration to do them. I may remember stating that I was inspired and even believing it at the time, but the inspiration itself is usually as thoroughly forgotten as anything I experience.
I’ve written before about why this difficulty in remembering spiritual things might be. Today I want to talk about one of the consequences of this phenomenon.
Inspiration vanishes. One day you know that God is speaking to you. The next day you know that you knew God was speaking to you. The next day you know that you thought God was speaking to you, but that’s it; the knowledge itself is gone. No matter how much you cast about in your memory for it, it isn’t there. It never was there in the first place, it was in your spirit; but that doesn’t lessen the fact that it vanishes.
This vanishing quality of inspiration leads to a precipice of sorts. If I cast my mind back on vanished inspiration and I have had some other inspiration recently then that new inspiration corroborates my memory and I can with confidence assert that I live an inspired life. But if I’ve had a dry spell spiritually, if all of the moments of inspiration I can call to mind have faded away, then I suddenly find myself in a desert where I am tempted to think that I have never been inspired after all.
There are ways to mitigate the danger of this cliff. A journal is one: a written assertion from my former inspired self is a powerful testimony that it wasn’t all nothing. A routine of spiritual reinforcement is another: scripture and prayer and worship with others slows the fading and increases the frequency of inspiration. But the cliff remains.
As Joseph Smith worded itD&C 20:32–34; it might actually be the voice of the Lord, I sometimes have trouble identifying where prophets interleave their words with God’s., “there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God; therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation; yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also.”