Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Fasting can give us insight into spirituality. Again, we know that there are three degrees of glory, and a kingdom of darkness, these make up the final estates of men.
This life is a mortal, temporal, physical, and telestial life. Earth is a telestial life. Within this temporal life there may also be degrees of reality, or levels of consciousness that we are able to experience. A dog has a physical and temporal existence. Dogs share our mortal world with us. Now dogs do not have the problems of agency and accountability, but they share the problems of this world, which includes eating. They also seek love, comfort, security, entertainment, and procreation. These are all things that belong to this world. But, most men do not experience this telestial existence the same as a dog, even those who only live a telestial law experience some finer things. These finer things are a result of the intelligence that the person uses. Intelligence is the glory of God. (D&C 93:36)
When we act in a more intelligent way, we live in a higher degree of glory, which may only be within the telestial kingdom, or can be in a higher kingdom.
As we have discussed, we will all be resurrected into a body that is built to function in the glory we ultimately receive. And the glory we receive is a result of the law we are willing to live.
Since in this life we are stuck in a telestial body and are subject to the physical laws of a telestial dimension, we must pay attention to the cares and concerns of this world. We must eat, we seek love, comfort, security, entertainment and procreation, and this is all part of the plan.
When we seek guidance, help, or answers from God, we should understand we are seeking answers that are above this telestial world. We don’t need a telestial instruction of how to procreate; man and beast have always been able to figure this out. When a person who wishes to be a follower of righteousness seeks a mate, and takes that issue to the Lord, he is seeking intelligence that is above the telestial level. The seeker’s heart will determine which degree of intelligence he desires.
Speaking on the levels in the commandments to men, God said:
“Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal ; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created. Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandments, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual ; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.” (D&C 29:34 & 35)
While God’s commands are of a Celestial nature, they are given in a language that we can grasp.
“Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.” (D&C 1:24)
This is a continual dumbing-down of things with the plan that eventually we might catch-on.
God does not give us telestial or temporal commandments. God’s desire is to bring about the exaltation of man(Moses 1:39), and He does not do that by giving telestial commands and instructions. These higher instructions may be carried out in the telestial existence (because that is where we are), but the commands are according to higher laws designed to elevate.
And when we keep the law of a higher kingdom, we have effectively entered that kingdom; we just have not changed dimensions yet (that will happen in the resurrection).
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways , saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, see Psalm 94:11)
So, why do we fast? Because we are in telestial, mortal bodies and forced to concern ourselves with the cares of this world. But when we deprive our bodies of our basic temporal needs, food and water, our souls begin to struggle for survival. Instinctively, our soul (the body part) knows that unless something changes the end is coming. This should cause our soul (the spirit part) to seek and to stretch.
When we subdue the body by refraining from serving the temporal desires and needs, we temporarily force away from the forefront our temporal needs, which requires our soul to seek answers from above. This is faith, causing sanctification.
“The choice is given, whether we live in the physical world as animals, or whether we use what earth offers us as a means of living in the spiritual world that will lead us back to the presence of God.” ( David O. McKay, Teaching of Presidents of the Church, David O. McKay. LDS Church, pg. 15.)
We all have a mortal telestial body. But where our spirits live is according to our hearts and desires. Our spirits climb the rungs of eternity while our bodies reside in mortality. Having our body in the telestial kingdom and our heart and spirit in another kingdom, is a cause of conflict. It can be a struggle between the flesh and the spirit (Romans 8:4&5). We are enticed between two influences. 246
By fasting we put our lower self into submission, and our spirit is then freer to seek from the hidden glories. Not only do we deprive ourselves from food and water, we should avoid all temporal pleasures while fasting. It is contrary to the purposes of fasting to visit a carnival, or to engage in other recreational pursuits. Paul taught the saints not to withhold sexual intercourse from a spouse except for fasting:
“ Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” (1 Corinthians 7:5)
When we seek commands and instructions from God, we are seeking revelation. Without personal revelation we will never obtain the required sanctification necessary for a celestial resurrection.
We all have two natures. We have our telestial (or temporal) nature, because we live in this world. We also all have another nature, which is the law that we keep, corresponding to one of the degrees of glory. Now for most, they have both a temporal physical body, and only keep a telestial law, and therefore have a telestial spiritual nature. Others have a telestial body/nature and keep a terrestrial spiritual law. When this terrestrial person puts aside the temporal body by fasting, they quickly begin to see, understand, and receive in the terrestrial realm. For them the stretching comes in trying to achieve living a celestial law, by receiving celestial instructions.
One, whose spiritual self is celestial, seeks light and knowledge from the celestial realm during the fast.
A person living the law of any given kingdom of glory who is new or uncomfortable there must struggle to receive at that degree. Another that has rested at that rung for a while can move there more quickly. Yet, resting at any given rung is not the goal, it’s just part of the process.
When we climb the rungs, we become progressively more like God. Through this sanctification process our minds imitate the mind of God, we become more godly. The more godly we are the more our prayers will be for godly things, and lower things will seem base, crude, and course. If we have the mind of God, and seek righteous things, and our hearts and hands are clean, how can He deny us our prayers?
Asking for the right things, and accepting answers with full purpose of heart enables us to ask and receive. Fasting is an important part of the process.
The problem is most of us do not fully have the mind of God and we seek lower, selfish, carnal, and devilish things. Our hearts and hands may not be clean.
As we fast we push to new and higher rungs. We become more and more like God, from grace to grace. At some point, if we climb far enough in this world, God will no longer withhold anything for which we pray, because we know the mind and will of God and seek only righteousness.
We learn from the Zohar:
“The blessed Holy One focuses only on the soul [spirit], not the body; for soul resembles soul, while the body is incapable of uniting above – even though the body’s image abides in supernal mystery. “
“Come and see: when the blessed Holy One delights in a person’s soul, deriving pleasure from her, He strikes the body so that his soul can dominate. For as long as soul corresponds with body, soul cannot prevail; but once the body is broken, soul becomes dominant.” (The Zohar, Matt, vol. II, pg. 277.)
This post is modified from the chapter on Fating in Mormon Mysticism: LINK.