Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Becoming Better-The Goal of LIfe

The other morning my son Jayton said. ”The new boats came out today”. (He likes to wakeboard and surf with friends and family that have boats)  I thought that is great, what is the difference between the new boat and the old boat?  (We don’t have a boat nor will we ever.)  So I wasn’t sure why he mentioned it.  He told me some of the differences.  

I am also reading his Psychology class book with him.  I am remembering something of the wonder of the brain. The neurons, are being stimulated and dumping into the synaptic cleft to connect the power of thought to the motion of the body.  I had forgotten something about how the mind works, in fact how our whole nervous system works.  As I pondered it again it seems so amazing.

As I thought about my personal experience with new and better things cars came to mind.  My first brand new car was a 1986 Mercury Sable.  Has anyone seen a 1986 Sable lately?  They aren’t that cool anymore? (A 56 Chevy is though is another story)  In 1986 they looked cool.  It turned out to be a lemon of a car though. I think they worked the bugs out it eventually.  It left a bad taste in my mind about the American auto though.

I never bought another American car after that until they made Japanese cars here.  ( To Ford’s credit we did like the 15 passenger vans though and they were great and reliable.)  I thought I would never buy another new car either but 14 years later I did.  It was a 2000 Altima. (I traded in an old Lexus LS 400)  The Altima turned out to be a great car and passed on through my kids for many years. My son that had it bought a new Altima in 07 when he was done with that one.  

A few more used cars and in 2013 I bought another new Altima. Now I know that new cars are not a good deal generally.  By not buying off my ego list of cars though I saved a lot of money.  Even so I thought; what will this look like in 13 years?   

Now my question with all this is; who would buy something if it was not better than the thing it was replacing, be it a car or whatever? This in a nutshell is the concept, theory or science of personal development and what advances the development of the human condition in comforts and intelligence.  The idea that you can take a person, each of us individually and make yourself better. Better at what?   I suppose at whatever makes you happy.

August Turak makes this observation. "Whether you call it personal development, personal growth, self-actualization, self-transcendence, or spirituality does not matter. What matters is realizing that the reason you were born is to become the best human being you can possibly be. Personal development is not a tool for reaching a bigger goal. Becoming a complete human being is already the biggest and most noble goal you can aspire to.

This pursuit of becoming complete would also ideally become a collective pursuit.  God did create us for the purpose of becoming something more than we were.  His is the image and potential of the human race. By collectively seeking to become better, all things should improve for all people. Leaders will rise and fade away hopefully illuminating a path of constant improvement, but the principles will continue. 

I believe that everything we do or say has a consequence to it no matter how small or large.  I speak from regular and personal observation not as a psychologist or scientist, so you may want to tune out now if you think they have all the answers.  All I concern myself with is practical application of knowledge, behavior and results.  Now withstanding, the effect is in one or several areas. The three I am familiar with are physical, emotional and spiritual.  The physical and emotional are very much intertwined.  The spiritual relates as well but is separate from the physical in certain ways.  I am just speculating a little bit here so take it however you want.  

We have discovered many things about bodily science and the brain.  We also know quite a bit about emotional science.  We have been cutting on bodies and observing personality disorders for many decades now.  They are connected because the things we take into our body, food, drugs etc., exercise and other things do affect our emotional and mental state.  It is true as well that our emotional state affects how we feel physically.  There may be a physical trigger or an emotional trigger but they both take place in the same body to cause a reaction of one kind or another.  It is an electro chemical process and interconnected in amazing ways.  We are quite profoundly beings that operate on a level of light however small it might be.  Sometimes malfunctions can be corrected sometimes they cannot. We simply do not know at this time enough to fix them all.

Most of us have heard of the runners high and some of us have experienced it.  There is really nothing spiritual about it unless you realize that the science that causes it has always existed.  The electro chemical nature of nerves and neurons, memory and feelings and the hormones of the body may be recent discoveries but the science of the body is not.

The body may age but the science on which it exists is ageless.  It is not a new thing.  In the same way that smart phones are a new discovery the science that makes them work is not. Whether you say this earth is many billions of years old the science of the body has no beginning and no end.  It is quite conceivable that our spiritual self is a higher intelligence of a more complex yet finer power of light and energy currently confined to act on a limited basis depending how we train our body.

Then there is also the genetic science that determines so many things. These last two items may be another discussion and I mention them so as to remember to explore the relationship more.

Now you take a physical body and introduce a spiritual element to it, even a personality lets say. Was that personality created out of nothing, or has it always existed?  Is that personality the sum effect of the electro chemical reactions in the body or does it have its own power in the body from some other source, an eternal source?  

These are theological questions. Your opinion does not change the truth.   Here we delve into the concepts of fact, fallacy and fantasy of fiction.  There is a truth about the matter, the question is whether you or I or someone has discovered it in our personal searching or if God has set it out to be discovered.

"All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle, but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all [like a laser beam, I suggest]; And those revelations which will save our spirits will save our bodies. [Teachings,p. 355]." Joseph Smith

The spirit interacts with the body and can actually begin to exercise control over it.  The spirit is where the will resides and may even be what controls a powerful subconscious part of our brain. When the spirit makes choices for the body to act a certain way I can imagine that it is changing its very processes of  electro-chemistry that is in essence a form of light. 

My discussion has obviously crossed the line from personal development to spiritual existence and pondering the connection.   The goal of learning about the body and the mind is to achieve health and happiness.  

Non-religious or non-spiritual people do find purpose in pursuing objectives related to their bodies and minds even if it is temporary in nature as opposed to eternal.   Some are content to leave any spiritual connotations on a shelf and wait.  

My preference is to understand how the spirit connects and have a complete experience rather than just a partial participation in what lays inside us, around us and even beyond us.  If we don't develop our eternal selves then we will fall short in what has the greatest potential for happiness.  That is eternal relationships with our families and the fellowship of exalted beings forever helping others through the stages of eternal personal development.

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