Most of us generally accept the importance of properly nourishing our bodies daily. We understand that the right vitamins and minerals are important in sustaining and prolonging both physical and mental health. Some of us, in fact, spend a great deal of time planning and preparing meals for both ourselves and others. We may go to great lengths to find the right cut of meat, rubbing it with just the right spices, and then marinating it for hours. But do we pay as much attention to the need to nourish our spirits daily?
Our spirits need nourishment
Dallin Oaks, former State Supreme Court justice and family advocate, made the following observation about spiritual sustenance: "Our spirits also require nourishment. Just as there is food for the body, there is food for the spirit. The consequences of spiritual malnutrition are just as hurtful to our spiritual lives as physical malnutrition is to our physical bodies. Symptoms of spiritual malnutrition include reduced ability to digest spiritual food, reduced spiritual strength, and impairment of spiritual vision."
This man of letters continues: "While study and reason are essential to our progress...they are not sufficient. They can prepare the way. They can get the mind ready to receive the Spirit. But what the scriptures call conversion...comes only by the witness and power of the Holy Spirit." Have we felt this witness? Have we become converted?
We can find joy and peace in the whisperings of the Holy Spirit to our souls. These whisperings are sensitive, subtle and quiet. If we do not listen carefully, we will not hear them. They are like the melody of a songbird in the early morning hours whose clear, high notes can so easily be drowned out by the daily cacophony of planes flying overhead, dogs barking, or horns honking on the freeway.
Things that diminish the spirit
There are activities that, being human, we sometimes engage in that serve to drown out the sweet whisperings of the spirit: backbiting and gossip, addictions of any kind, blaming others, the angry language of profanity, the desire for revenge, viewing media that degrades or simply trying to be better than our neighbors. These things diminish the divine spark that glows within each one of us that begs not to be extinguished.
The spirit as a tutor
If we allow it, the spirit will tutor us to be kind to others, to be patient, to be without envy, to avoid the destructive nature of secrets of any kind. This spirit teaches us to seek truth, to be believing, to have hope and faith. It whispers to us that God's love will not fail us no matter what else does.
Living in the world and still remaining sensitized
Most of us live in the real world. We have demanding jobs, children who quarrel, mortgages to pay, and daily stresses to manage. I personally struggle constantly to try and keep my spiritual eyes and ears open. But it is so worth it on days when I win the battle.
What can we do to remain sensitized in what is often a very desensitized world?
Pray morning and evening.
Read scriptures daily.
Exercise faith, even when it seems impossible to do so.
Spend time weekly with others in our communities of faith, who are also engaged in like-minded spiritual pursuits.
Listen to or watch inspiring messages.
Remind ourselves every day to be the best we can be, knowing that we are, indeed, children of a Heavenly Father who loves us.
As we do these things, spiritual promptings will come to us more frequently. Our souls will be sensitized to find the good in ourselves and others.
This will happen, not because someone else told us to avoid doing things that are wrong, or because we are afraid of violating a rule or technicality. It will happen because the pink fleshy fruit of the spirit has become so desirable to us that we will do whatever it takes to keep that feeling with us as often as possible.
A change of mind and heart
As we become prayerful practitioners of faith, we will have a change of mind and heart that provides us with a fresh view of the world. We will find that as we nourish our souls daily, we will be filled with a new light that will guide us through the darkness.