Monday, February 23, 2009

On the Corner of First and Amistad

I mentioned I was reading a book about Gay Spirituality. It is called Out on Holy Ground by Donald L. Boisvert. I've loved it so far, although the book hasn't really taught spirituality so much as it has talked about spirituality. I guess spirituality is something you have to find and describe yourself. I've really been trying to dig deep into myself and find out what I believe in and what evokes spiritual feelings in me. I actually made a list of all of the experiences I've had in my life so that I can see what is common to all of them. Here's a sample of the list:
Scout Camp experiences, including an experience at Carthage Jail
Reading the Book of Mormon and seeking revelation
Creating art and displaying art
Viewing art
Going to the Temple
Watching the Joseph Smith film
Being a missionary
Seeking Revelation about Homosexuality
Watching Milk
Candlelight Vigils
realize that vague references to general experiences don't mean much to you, but I glean a lot of information by putting these things together on a list. The feelings I felt in each of these experiences or cluster of experiences are basically the same. They are deeply spiritual. So what do they have in common? To me they have three things in common which have become, for me, the source of spiritual experience.

1. Asking for and Receiving Inspiration
I have always valued the quest for spiritual knowledge and feelings. My High School AP Art Show revolved around the process of revelation. It's important to me to ask for direction, and it is exhilarating to receive direction.

2. Fraternity
From scout camp to the mission, I have noticed that spiritual experiences frequently occur when I feel part of a group of men. I seem to be more receptive to inspiration and more prone to ask for it when I experience fraternity. It's why I strive so hard to be a part of the moho community (not just the bloggers).

3. Experiencing Beauty
Nothing gets my soul more excited and uplifted than beauty. I've based my education and future career around it. For me, beauty is closely tied to place. Beauty requires space to occupy. The temple is a place of beauty, so is nature.

In fact, right now I am sitting and writing this in gallery 303, where I have been returning frequently to seek inspiration and peace. If you haven't seen the MFA show that is here yet, you need to before it comes down (I don't know when it comes down, but it might be as early as Friday). It's in gallery 303 of the Harris Fine Arts Building on BYU campus. The artist set up these paper forms that glow with light. When I saw the work, I instantly felt deep spiritual feelings. I was moved almost to tears. I keep coming back for more. Something here is resonating.

I don't know what form my spiritual life will take, but I do know that I need to continue to seek out spiritual experiences. For me that isn't confined to Sacrament Meeting, or even to Mormonism in general. I will be using these three qualities, however, to help me in my longing for the divine. What are your portals to spiritual feelings?


Michael said...

Dan, Thank you for posting about this. I have been thinking a lot about my own spirituality lately and have been trying to find peace and center myself around what I feel is important in this life. I am still on the journey though and don't know if I will ever have the answers. But I thank you for drawing attention to it. I am going to make my own list now!

Joe Conflict said...

I have felt the most spirituality when I'm alone in natural beautiful settings. I've felt it starring into my children's eyes. I've felt it listening to people bare their souls on my mission. I don't feel it very often sitting in priesthood meeitng, or to be honest, the temple. Thanks for your work here.