Promptings

Someone somewhere decided spirit could be trusted but body could not. I don’t know who decided it. I suspect it had to do with St. Augustine and something about the Greeks (that is to say I’ve heard things but not remembered them).

For me, body is surely at least as divine as spirit. Neither is perfect, but in Mormon thought they will both eventually be. If God can speak to my spirit, God can also speak to my body. I was built to resonate with good things, in body and in spirit. I trust them both. When I cry and when I laugh it is a meeting of both in celebration or mourning.

Some thing we say are learned spiritually–the heart of God or the weight of the soul. We name these learnings “promptings” and we call them spiritual. That is in part because they feel separate and different, as if they break the rules of our body and therefore must be coming from elsewhere, a different part of us or a different place altogether. They can feel too smooth or too light to have come from something so sloshy as the gut. But they happen inside us and so they are also of the body. They are learned bodily.

There are other things we say are learned bodily–the force of gravity or the feel of skin. These are the things we see, touch, and taste. These are promptings of a different sort. They are also sources of truth and of light. But of course the body is never working alone. The spirit is alive and engrossed in these experiences along with the body it fills. The two cohabitate and cooperate. They are on the same team.

There is a beauty to spiritual learning. It is subtle and quiet, so much so that it can easily pass by unnoticed. It must be requested and received. There is a different beauty to bodily learning. It is tough and clear. It can only be acknowledge and accepted. These two learnings are both essential to the whole of human growth. One without the other is only part.

Sexuality is whole because it is body and spirit. It can only be learned together. Young men learn from the body when they get erections almost as often as they breathe. There is a wonderful clarity to the body. It refuses to be ignored. That is God speaking. And spirit is also there, teaching something softer but neither more nor less true. These two learnings are fulfilled when they are brought together in agreement.

God speaks in mysterious ways, in our body and in our spirit. When the promptings come, like dews from heaven, it is our privilege to receive them, unafraid, and let them each us what they will.

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