How do we honor another person?
I think the best way to honor another person is to interact with them. It is to recognize and validate their existence…that they are important enough to you that you choose to spend physical, emotional, and spiritual energy communicating with them. Obviously, ignoring another person is clearly to dishonor them.
This act of honoring another person becomes even more powerful…we might call it love… when it is conducted without judgment, without fear, and without expectations or conditions.
I have a friend (more than one, actually…I am blessed) that I often seek out just so we can talk. I respect him. We have some really great talks, and by deliberately, even joyfully, seeking out interactions with him, I honor him.
How can we achieve oneness without surrendering individuality?
We all loathe the idea of “The Borg” – the collective mind featured in the TV Show “Star Trek – Next Generation”. This is a society where one’s individuality and free will is completely subjected to the desire, will, or survival of the collective. Yet, isn’t there an element of “the collective” in our concept of Zion, or a New Jerusalem, or even Heaven?
But we know that Jesus prayed passionately in John, Chapter 17 that His desire for all of us is that we might become one as He and the Father are one.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. John 17:21-22
I have heard it said recently that Jesus had no free will; that He had surrendered it to the will of the father. I think that is an unfortunate understanding. I don’t think Jesus surrendered His will to that of the Father at all. I don’t think that was even possible. I think He loved the Father’s will so much that He aligned His will with his understanding of the Father’s will. Then, he chose to take deliberate steps – incarnating, learning, experiencing, teaching, and surrendering to martyrdom – to share with others his understanding of the Father’s will in a way that His teachings would be remembered – that they would be perpetuated. What was (is) that will? I believe it is that we choose to honor, even love, each other, and figure out how to become one without surrendering our free will and individuality…without becoming “The Borg”.
So how do we do this?
It could well be said that our free will is manifested through our desires. These desires, in turn, are typically motivated by one of two forces – love…and fear. Desires that are motivated by love are “righteous” desires. These righteous desires do not require that someone else surrender their free will in order for them to be brought about. Conversely, desires that are motivated by fear often can only be brought about by surrendering either your own or someone else’s free will. These unrighteous desires are in violation of the very nature of God and creation.
The key to being one without losing our individuality is in the cultivation of only righteous desires – again, desires that need not engender fear in others. If we all have only righteous desire – desires that are motivated by love, and not by fear – we can easily celebrate each other’s desires – even help each other to bring them about, without feeling the need to protect our own desires. In short, it becomes easy for us to honor each other…even love each other.
In a post from June of 2018, I wrote:
Love is encouraging the fulfillment of all righteous desires – mine or yours. A righteous desire is a desire that is not motivated by fear.
In a post from Christmas Day, 2017, I wrote:
What if partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil sows the seeds of Comparison that guarantee that we will never ascend to a state of peace and love because we will always be separated from God and from each other?
What if Comparison leads inexorably to Competition, which leads likewise to Contention, which results in exercising Control over the choices, actions, and lives of others, or, conversely, surrenders control over our own sacred agency to others?
What if these “4 C’s” comprise a perpetual cycle that ensures that we will never be able to abide the presence of God, because we remain sinners, polluting each others’ agency, acting in the absence of love; sustained by fear, relying on our knowledge of good and evil rather than the grace and goodness of God…forever incapable of obeying the two great commandments – Love God and Love your Neighbor? What if, furthermore, these forces – these “4 C’s” – are the antithesis of God, completely contrary to His nature? Can we then ever, as long as we cling to these things, have a true understanding of His “character, perfection, and attributes”?
So, for close to 2 years now, I have been cultivating understanding about what it takes for us to be one without surrendering individuality. I have written much about this journey. I have learned to pray that I might “become love”. I have picked up building blocks along the way – insights and understandings such as:
- There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18)
- Sin is acting in the absence of love (A Course in Miracles)
- If you will strip yourself of jealousies and fears (D&C 67:10)…
- No power or influence can or ought to be maintained… (D&C 121)
- Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22)
- The 4 C’s – comparison -> competition -> contention -> control. (personal revelation)
- “Trust Me. Relax” (personal revelation)
These principles have built on each other, but they have never contradicted each other. The more I learn and understand, the more the truthfulness of these things becomes profoundly clear and pure. In fact, the more I understand them, the more I realize that they are expressions and manifestations of the very nature of God, and of the Christ.
In order for us to learn to be one, while still retaining our individuality; in order for us to be able to honor Jesus, or the Father, or anyone else, for that matter, by interacting with them without judgment, without fear, without expectations; in order for us to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, we must cultivate righteous desires, which are:
- Desires that do not require compromising the free will of others
- Desires that do not contain any element of control over the lives of others
- Desires that lift, elevate, exalt
- Desires that engender trust, peace, and comfort
- Desires that are filled with compassion and empathy for all people
- Desires that are in no way motivated by fear
When we have learned to cultivate such desires, they will become the manifestation of our will, and we can be sure that our will is then aligned with the will of God..
When we have learned to cultivate such desires, we have become love.
Having cultivated such desires, their harvest will be sweet. We will have Zion, and Zion will simply be.
As an additional thought…How do we honor God?
Of course, we honor God in the same way we honor others. But we further honor God in a different way, and this way is the way that we also honor ourselves.
We honor God, and ourselves, by experiencing joy, by loving, by rejoicing…by manifesting in ourselves that which is the nature of God…and the true nature of ourselves. This is the way that we can know God, honor God, love God, even worship God. By fulfilling the measure of our creation (men are that they might have joy), we participate in the fulfillment of the nature of God’s creation.