A vortex of the miraculous

…history is saying it is our job to radically and fundamentally change the world….

We are the only generation who has ever wanted to change the world over white wine and Brie. The change, as I understand it, does not have to do with a collection of more data. Spiritual advancement does not mean that we grow more metaphysically complicated. Many people in this room already know the basic principles because we’ve been learning it together for 20 years. The people, my generation of seekers, as I see it, need a psychological shift. It’s like when you stay a student, at some point rehearsal is over. And if you take a good look at your life, I would like to submit to you to ponder this: Look at the stress and some of the challenges that you’ve had in your life over the last two and three years. Is it possible that some of those stresses and challenges were a direct focus on that part of yourself that you know stands between good and great. A focus that you know makes the difference between a life in which “yeah, you know, I’m coping, I’m functioning,” and a fuller actualization of yourself. Is that not true? Is it something that you sort of thought you could get away with by not dealing with it? Now, why is it so important that we have to actualize ourselves more fully? Because whether you call it the authentic self, the divine self, the Christ self, or the Buddha self – I don’t care what we call it – it is a space of quantum possibility. It is a vortex of the miraculous.

Marianne Williamson, talk at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore, December, 2004

Emphasize those matters that have an eternal consequence

Don’t judge yourself by what you understand of your potential. Trust in the Lord and what He can do with your dedicated heart and willing mind (see D&C 64:34). Order your life more effectively and eliminate trivia, meaningless detail, and activity. They waste the perishable, fixed, and limited resource of time. Choose to emphasize those matters that have an eternal consequence.

Richard G. Scott, “Making the Right Choices” (CES fireside for Young Adults, Jan. 13, 2002)

Seek to be challenged

Seek to be challenged in what you do. Don’t look for a safe haven where you have no risk, for you will not grow or have real satisfaction.
Richard G. Scott, “For Success in Life,” BYU Commencement Address, 14 August 2008

Never dwell on the past or attempt to protect your comfort zone against the inevitable changes required to meet the future advancements that will be needed.
Robert D. Hales, “The Journey of Lifelong Learning.” August 19, 2008, Campus Education Week Devotional

Walk the high, lonely road; don't drop the ball

In an address to BYU students in November 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley told students to rise to the high ground of excellence, and said, “Don’t muff the ball. Be excellent.” This week, I saw a connection to that idea as I was listening to his 2004 address to the young women of the Church, in which he also talks about not dropping the ball and invites them to walk the high, if sometimes lonely, road. Given his recent death, I find his comments urging them forward, knowing that many will depend upon them, particularly poignant.

Many years ago I told a story in conference that I think I will repeat. It is a story about a baseball player. I realize that some of you in various parts of the world do not know much about baseball. You do not even care about it. But this story brings with it a tremendous lesson.

The event occurred in 1912. The World Series was being played, and this was the final game to determine the winner of the series. The score was 2-1 in favor of the New York Giants, who were in the field. The Boston Red Sox were at bat. The man at bat knocked a high, arching fly. Two New York players ran for it. Fred Snodgrass in center field signaled to his associate that he would take it. He came squarely under the ball, which fell into his glove. But he did not hold it there. The ball went right through his grasp and fell to the ground. A howl went up in the stands. The fans could not believe that Snodgrass had dropped the ball. He had caught hundreds of fly balls before. But now, at this most crucial moment, he had failed to hold the ball, and the Red Sox went on to win the world championship.
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Planning our lives after the plan of the Lord

In October, 2007, Elder L. Tom Perry gave a wonderful devotional at BYU. Here are a couple of quotes from his talk:

If you want the extreme example of planning, you must turn to the scriptures. See how carefully the Lord has laid out His plan to guide His children to their eternal destiny. Perhaps the example of His careful planning would motivate us to give more energy to spending sufficient time to plan what we want to accomplish in our lives.

His comment made me want to do just as he asked: plan more regarding those things I should accomplish.

Here is another quote that fits nicely with the other quotes at this site encouraging us to avoid mediocrity and strive for perfection:

We are living in the remarkable age of the dispensation of the fulness of times when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fulness.

You are children of promise. I hope that you do not plan to be just common but plan to excel. There is no place in this world for mediocrity; we need to strive for perfection. You can obtain perfection in so many areas as you seek and work toward the goals you have established. You have a rich heritage; do not be afraid to think and act according to gospel principles and enjoy its blessings as you fulfill on earth the full measure of your creation as a child of God.

I hope today as you leave this devotional assembly that you will spend more time looking at yourself. God bless you that you may have the desire to go forward and seek your own salvation under this great plan the Lord has given to us.

Elder L. Tom Perry, “The Great Plan of Our God,” BYU Devotional, 30 October 2007

Awakening men to God

A great quote from President Thomas S. Monson, then First Counselor in the First Presidency, given at October conference, 2004 (italics added):

Those who have felt the touch of the Master’s hand somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives. There is a desire to live better, to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to be more like the Savior. Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight: “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

How can we account for these miracles? Why the upsurge of activity in men long dormant? The poet, speaking of death, wrote, “God . . . touch’d him, and he slept.” I say, speaking of this new birth, “God touched them, and they awakened.”

Two fundamental reasons largely account for these changes of attitudes, of habits, of actions.

First, men have been shown their eternal possibilities and have made the decision to achieve them. They cannot really long rest content with mediocrity once excellence is within their reach.

Second, other men and women and, yes, young people have followed the admonition of the Savior and have loved their neighbors as themselves and helped to bring their neighbors’ dreams to fulfillment and their ambitions to realization.

The catalyst in this process has been the principle of love.

The passage of time has not altered the capacity of the Redeemer to change men’s lives. As He said to the dead Lazarus, so He says to you and to me, “Come forth.” I add: Come forth from the despair of doubt. Come forth from the sorrow of sin. Come forth from the death of disbelief. Come forth to a newness of life.