I'm sure I'm going off the deep end here into metaphysical and theological issues that have been argued through the ages by intellects infinitely greater than my weak mind. My whole point here, though, is to try to keep this as simple as possible. With my posting of late last night about an inexplicable, possibly spiritual impression, I realized that my personal faith which I'm pretty sure is well grounded in my religious tradition, requires spiritual revelations to make sense.
That's maybe going to be a howler to many out there who have a good time with the oddities of historical and theological Mormonism. I'm going to put that aside for the moment as I have addressed it elsewhere on this blog to some extent. My point is very personal and very practical. Spiritual manifestations have to mean something. My mind and spirit both require an answer to the question, "What is the point?"
There are some religious traditions that I can respect without ascribing to mainly for the reason that I don't understand their claims of spirituality. It seems the more mysterious the experience, the more sacred and revered it is, yet I'm not sure what the point is other than an expression of the mystical for the mystical sake. This can even get down to the whole purpose of God who seems a little arbitrary to demand certain things of human creations "just because." And what is the end of it all? To disappear into a mystical union with the Divine? Or sit around in eternal praise with a harp? I'd much rather be a partner ("joint heir") with Christ and the Father in creating worlds and furthering the salvation of infinite humanity and its eternal potential. But I'm going too deep. Let me back up.
When I get spiritual impressions, they tend to serve a purpose. It is not always immediately obvious, but it makes good sense to follow through until the purpose is revealed which happens over and over again. On the simpler side, I feel impressions to remind me of something I need to do or have forgotten. It could be rationally explained by the misunderstood workings of my own electrical impulses in the cranium, but that doesn't work for things that have no logical explanation and still make absolutely perfect sense for a real purpose that is eventually revealed. A great example of this is the incident with the finding of the lost iPod of one of my Scouts. It was a simple thing that may or may not lead that young man or me to eternal glory. Yet it was real and it happened. And now when I see that young man, we have a strong bond of friendship and respect. That is a good thing simple as it may be and a positive result in our human striving for connection with each other.
I have had similar experiences with much more important matters like my choice of a marriage partner (and celestial companion forever if we can keep things going after these first 31 years into the eternities). There have also been important decisions about my career, where we were to live, my children, our health, our extended family and so on - all clearly influenced by spiritual impressions, messages, guidance, and all for a real purpose even if some are still in progress. Do I know the answers to all questions? No. Is my life always easy and happy? Also no, and that is probably more often due to the lack of listening to the spiritual promptings. I can do better and I can wait for the rest of the answers.
There are a few basic rules I follow as a check on spiritual impressions:
1. Does it make sense? (well, that's the whole point I'm talking about)
2. Is it consistent with basic commandments, standards, policies of what I know from my religious tradition?
3. If it relates to the family, does my wife confirm?
4. Does it give me internal comfort or increased anxiety? (The D&C Section 9 test)
5. Is it within my realm of responsibility and action?
That last one was a real problem in a former ward where a group of individuals would get occasional "inspiration" or "insight" on behalf of other individuals that on their face and process were rather inappropriate. It took a lot of long-suffering gentle persuasion to address those issues. (Oh, and some occasional "reproving betimes with sharpness" of course).
This list isn't exactly a check list I go down but a series of triggers that tend to go off it things are not right based on life experience to date. It works. My life is spiritually blessed. I haven't run across any better ideas yet. No overwhelming spiritual manifestations nor logical fallacies have yet corrected me.
I will continue. And will that be to the end? Hopefully, and beyond.