1996-02-24-Grace, Character Transformation
Topic: Grace, Character Transformation
Group: Pittsburgh TeaM
TOMAS: Good afternoon, my friends.
STUDENTS: Good afternoon, dear Tomas.
TOMAS: How glad I am to be once again in your presence to feel the radiation of your love and desire for infinite companionship. I would like to begin today's session with a moment of quiet discourse with the Master as a Friend.
Our brother, Christ Michael, you who have known mortal ascension, have known the human condition, we come to you and bring to you our human condition and beseech your grace. The grace which you bestow in your nature is that umbrella which holds us secure under the pelting rains of darkness and that, even though we walk through the darkness, we are in your care and protection. Be with us now, Creator Companion, as we attempt to assimilate your truths and realities into our limited understanding and framework. Give us vision to see beyond those limitations to the greater good, the greater purpose, and abide with us and bring us peace.
As I spend time in conversation and prayer with Michael, I am almost always reminded of His grace and that in your reference He was "never in a hurry" and I observe your arena here on Urantia as a very industrious site wherein the energies of the mortal existence are helter-skelter, willy-nilly, running hither and yon in various degrees of activity with only relative degrees of harmony. But that you are all so busy gives you all the idea that you are being somehow purposeful or productive, and when I observe the almost incessant activity of all mortality, I appreciate more and more that Michael was never in a hurry.
For only when you experience the stillness are you in complete knowledge of His presence and only as you carry your understanding of grace with you into your arena are you capable of maintaining that quality which allows you to prevail with men in such a way as to maintain your own sense of balance and solidarity -- that is to say: your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground -- and this condition is evidence of a well-unified personality operating in the fullest capacity known to him at that time.
In grace there is no undue stress, no haste, but you may certainly be aware of urgency, for as you stand quietly by and behold the pace at which your fellows embark pell mell upon activities and industrial pursuits, you may see what energy is being utilized to little avail.
If you see, for instance, a small child in a public place with freedom to ramble, you will discover this toddler is a bundle of energy - which will exhaust the adult. Even observing a child's energy is tiring to the individual whose energies are no longer as exuberant, or unfounded. And so it is to the grounded religionist that so many energies are blown in a reckless pursuit of activity for activity's sake when in truth, in grace more can be accomplished for your focus is such that you become more efficient in action.
Grace is a state wherein we may find harmony among other enlightened and edified individuals, at peace with themselves, in harmony with the universe, and prepared to act in service at the drop of a hat.
Well, my compatriots, how are you this week? Have you met with grace in your walk since we last met? Have you questions of me today?
Mrs. M: Well, Tomas, I do have a question. I have this question about this passage that I would very much like you to enlarge upon and I -- we were reading it before you came, but it was so interesting to me because it has something about permanent results of a character transformation. We were talking about character transformation so much and I was interested in it and then I was led to this so beautifully by some guiding hand this week. I don't think I could have found it on my own, so whoever that was, thank you, but I would appreciate so much your enlarging on this passage because I find it so interesting.
TOMAS: Read me the passage for the record.
Mrs. M: "Jesus taught the appeal to the emotions as the technique of arresting and focusing the intellectual attention. He designated the mind thus aroused and quickened as the gateway to the soul, where there resides that spiritual nature of man which must recognize truth and respond to the spiritual appeal of the gospel in order to afford the permanent results of true character transformations." (152:6.4)
So if that could be a permanent result of character transformation it certainly did appeal to me as a possible technique.
TOMAS: I will discuss this, and I am glad to see that grace has, indeed, touched your life this week as you have found ~ through your intense application and devotion ~ that excerpt which you had sought to find, and so ~ in company with faith ~ you have knocked and the door was opened. I am also happy that your persistence in the study of character is paying off, and I appreciate your question for it challenges my ability to teach.
Indeed, one might be confused by the apparent paradox, for often was the Master known to say, and your text purports, that the appeal to the emotional realms yields no lasting impression and likewise, the appeal to the intellect has only some results, but that the appeal to the Indwelling Adjuster, to the True Core of the human being, the Spirit Indwelling, is that which is eternal and which will carry eternal value forward. And now we have this reference that, on its face, would appear to be to the contrary but it is not, for in your own social context you all readily appeal to the emotional aspects of each other in order to get to the underlying value/ understanding of that individual with whom you are expressing your emotional reactions to and with.
Let me call to your attention first the technique of discourse which in your culture would be loosely called gossip, and that interchange of emotional information is done in such a way as to elicit information and to reinforce your own understanding of your own perceptions, and this is in many ways a valuable cultural exchange but it has no permanent value (aside from a continuation of the mores), nor does it alter or change your character for the better (or even for the worse).
Let me now address another aspect of this quality of utilizing emotional content for a purpose, and this is in a way that will affect character, albeit negatively. For instance, you are early conditioned through a malfunctioning family unit to behave in certain ways; your character will be developed in a lesser standard than if your original conditioning were based on more enlightened or superior values. Herein is the value of evolution and education.
It is the case of most of you, for example, that you have been programmed by negative emotional impact reactions, and so it is hard to ascertain what genuine character is. You may be taught not to steal but, by the same token, you may be encouraged to justify putting aside egg money or rationalizing certain entries on your income tax because 'everyone does it.' This is an influence which will affect your character but not necessarily positively or eternally, but potentially lastingly.
When you finally have discovered that you are in need of true character development, and you open those doors within which allows you to see the difference between character and true character, your experiences may be such that you experience a betrayal by a friend or what you thought was a friend and your entire emotional content is focused on that incident, and although you may rail against the injustice and grieve the broken loyalty, you will come to the point of understanding that the highest Friend, the greatest loyalty, is to spirit reality and not mortal, and in this way your character is developed permanently.
I brought up earlier (perhaps it was not well expressed, but it was brought up) some earlier negative conditioning, for this is Correcting Time and although you have all had conditioning which has resulted in character and in some cases quality character, in this realm at this time there is ample opportunity to develop even greater character, and so I stress the third type of character development as the superior, and which will have a lasting impression on you for it is that which occurs in your deep heart, in your deep soul, after you have already realized that your mortal environment and associations will often not give you that which you can always depend upon if you go first to the spirit.
And so even though character twists, those . .. (I hesitate to use the word "perversions" lest it be misunderstood) . .. those twists of character which are part of your mores and would seem permanent (but which are only permanent from a mortal point of view), -- those twists can be ironed out to give you permanent character when you learn to depend solely upon the Father.
Well, I have responded. I do not know if I have answered your question. Tell me.
Mrs. M: I think I'll probably study your answer a little bit. I would like to do that, and yet if I might, I would like to pose a situation and ask you if you might comment. For instance, when one feels a tremendous emotion of joy, when you look at the face of a child, and then you think of the Father and what Jesus said about children and how we come to the Father that way, then I feel that that would be an example for me of possible upgrading of a degree or so of one's character, and maybe that isn't really what this paragraph is talking about, but....
I know I'm a very emotional person and I feel that a lot of my faith is depending upon my emotion. My emotion in art, for instance, my emotional response to beauty has been an important part of my faith. But would you comment on that, please?
TOMAS: I would like to respond to your initial outpouring about the infant which brings about such great delight as a facet of character and, yes, this is true, but let me now take that same concept and enlarge it so that the object of your joy is, rather, a misguided, young adult male who has not had a bath, who has not shaved, who appears to have nowhere to go, and have you as much joy upon seeing this child of God as you have upon beholding this other innocent lamb?
The difference is a measure of character, for whereas that which is emotionally appealing as being the preferred character trait to the child who is adulterated will reflect character, that would be understood by your supernal peers but not particularly by your human associates.
Mrs. M: Well, I have to start somewhere. I'll start with the beautiful child. I'll move, hopefully, into a deeper appreciation of even some very (perhaps in some ways) unappealing person. I think that because of our faith in Christ we do find joy and pleasure even in the faces of those with whom we have little connection socially. I can stop and look at a beggar and say a prayer and it's because of my understanding of Jesus' words that I can do it even for a minute, so I might give myself a little breadth there to say that I am moving perhaps in the right direction and I think that's what the Book says, you might go off the path sometimes but if you're basically on the path, then you can feel that things are going in the right direction.
Dr. B: I'm getting a little confused with following all this but I'm getting the feeling of what's trying to be explained. Maybe it's being explained in different words than . .. like, I don't think necessarily emotion . .. it may feel like emotion, but recognizing beauty -- which is something like, I think, you were saying . ..
Mrs. M: Uh-huh, yeah.
Dr. B: . .. whether it's in a child or beauty in art. You might be calling that emotion, but I would call that something else. I would call that recognition of some direct . .. that somehow beauty takes you in some direct relationship right to something which is very spiritual and which is an avenue, and it might have a feeling but I don't think that's the emotion they're talking about in the Book. I mean, that's where I'm getting mixed up.
Mrs. P: There's different emotions. There's spiritual emotions -
Dr. B: I was still confused even when I read that. I thought that paragraph was saying somehow that you could use . . . where is that page again? That you could use emotion, which in itself is not going to lead anywhere, in other words if you're totally emotional about things. And neither would mental. But if the emotional connects then to the mental, that there is an opening made that can take you to the spiritual avenue, and in that way it was good, but see, I just got this perky reading of this because he designated in the second sentence there, "the mind thus aroused." Aroused after the emotional. And "quickened", like the emotional is the one arousing and quickening and then that mind is the gateway to the soul where resides the spiritual nature.
Mrs. H: I had an experience this past week with a young man- or actually two weeks ago; it seems like yesterday -- where I'd asked him to help me do some unblocking with energies. And the first thing out of his mouth was, "Oh," he said, "that would be cruel!" And then he went on with it; he said, "You're just too fat!" or something like that. Well, that sort of stuck in my head, but the thing of it was this young man was a very good teacher because I've been having difficulty seeing, reaching -- I know there's a Thought Adjuster in everyone, but sometimes it's difficult to talk to the Thought Adjuster and, by contemplating this, I experienced the fact that I am not the body; I am living inside this body. And so each and every individual, they are the I AM living inside the body. So this young man, by hitting an emotional chord, focused my mind on that by the teaching on the inner self of myself has been received that I have to turn that around now that there is an I AM living in each of these. It's not the body.
Mrs. Ml: So you were asking him to unblock you. He was blocked; he was not seeing beauty first.
Mrs. H: Yes, but at the same time, you see, I see the I AM that was teaching me, even though he was saying the cruel part and he chose to go ahead and speak the cruel, but in a manner, it was the God in him that was teaching me and all I had to do was go ahead and mull over it for two weeks to get the picture reversed. But I was having trouble seeing the I AM in each individual, but I had to see it from my own perspective first.
Mrs. M: Well, if there's a way of effecting a permanent result of true character transformation, if there's something hidden in this paragraph, then I would certainly hope to come to understand it and, Tomas, I will study your answer and see if I can understand what you're saying, and I think I'll ask my good friend to talk about emotions after we're through with this session because this has to be printed and I don't think we should go on with it.
TOMAS: Let me not discourage your very valuable discourse and sharing, but let me insert that as a standard of understanding high character, review the fruits of the spirit to determine what it is that we are aspiring to develop here. As I have indicated, there are many negative ways which will produce character, often negative character, but in the instance you related, daughter, your own aspiration for communion with the Heavenly Parent and understanding of your spiritual nature has enabled you to take the experience and add it to your curriculum of character aspects toward enlightenment and this is the way, unfortunately, most seekers and soul-searchers have had to wend their way on Urantia.
We are working diligently to instill ways in which you may begin to develop character in yourselves and in one another by an affirmative approach rather than a negative approach for whereas a parent can secure a child's attention by yelling at them, they can also get their attention by addressing them in a loving way and with respect. But it takes more patience, perhaps, for the growing child is often willful in stretching its boundaries and this is true also of adults. And so when you have been captured, captivated by a positive emotion, it is more likely an aspect of truth, beauty, and goodness, i.e., divinity, and therefor not so much a teaching tool as an affirming tool.
Mrs. M: Thank you for your help on this section.
Mrs. P: Tomas, could I put forth a question that I've been dealing with for some, some time. It seems that I have a track to take. The Constitution of the United States absolutely denies and forbids the government of the United States the right to levy income tax on citizenry. Have you any suggestion to offer us, any help to get this misuse of government on the right track?
TOMAS: One moment. (long pause) I am not to become embroiled in your political institutions and so I will not discuss it from this focus. But, as it pertains to your own spiritual growth and development, I am authorized to help you in your feelings and reactions about such things.
Remember that we are delighted you are reading about the Government on a Neighboring Planet, for in it you will find many items of interest to which your world might aspire to become or certainly for inspiration, and I and we are fascinated to hear from you in these contexts, not so much that we can tell you what to do but we await your involvement in your affairs of government and insurance and so forth. And so perhaps at some time in the future, when it becomes a focus of interest for the spiritual focus of your evolving community and subsequently your governmental influences, we might take it up again. I am sorry if I have disappointed you in my response.
Mrs. P: Is that likely to happen in our lifetime or should we plant seeds in the children? They can see farther than we can.
TOMAS: The children are doing well, I see. I have been encouraged by the impression the adjudication has made on the youth, but do not leave too much to your children to work on, for you have your own wisdom and experience. Indeed, you are becoming the elder statesmen, and it is your wisdom which will help guide the youngsters, but do not leave it to them, but forge ahead as you see fit to govern your selves.
Mrs. M: Well, you see it that way. I was talking to a young man from the Middle East and he is deeply appreciative of the government that we have, such as it is, and I just want to say that because he came from a country where the government was totally and completely unreliable.
Dr. B: In certain ways it's good for us -- and I know we all do say, "Thank you, God, for what we have and what we received from our illustrious forefathers in this country." I think that we sitting here are aware of it but it doesn't hurt to mention it again, does it, Tomas?
TOMAS: Certainly not. Affirmations of confidence in that which has gone before, that which is your heritage, is worthy of note and acclaim, and, much as we have been discussing, it is a technique of arresting the development of true character when your approach is loving and gracious, which will certainly capture the attention of those who are used to being yelled at, so if you can approach what is good in your government, or your arena at large, and put praise and commendation and gratitude where it is deserving, and having thus focused the intellect thus, you may plant seeds for further evolution. These are ways in which mores change, new laws are written, and new values are brought into being.
It is encouraged that as you encounter John and Jane Doe in dialogue about the ethics or morals of a situation, whether it be a traffic accident, an argument of a domestic nature, or the term of service of your legislators, that you avail yourself of the opportunity to also express your views, for this is involvement. It is not social to stand back and observe the Republicans and Democrats "duke it out" or the gender difficulties "men vs. women" situation and so forth but to help bring good material to the front lines because of your conviction of its worth.
Mrs. M: Tomas, I was interested in having you comment about the upcoming Expo. This is our last chance to talk with you until two weeks will elapse (as far as I know) with the group and thought you might say a thing or two about our group and everybody plunging into this experience.
TOMAS: I have already spoken at length regarding your involvement in the Expo, on the record, and have spent additional quality time individually with you as to your own personal convictions and doubts and growth in this public forum, and as I indicated, we are watching, and when I say "we are watching" I do not mean that we are casually observing a re-run of an old movie, but are quite enrapt and in many ways involved in your participation in this Expo, for as you can well imagine, we are interested in positive effects from it also, not only in terms of the booth and its "success" as we discussed last week, but in your ministry and in the seeds which will be planted in those who attend not only your booth but the energies of the Expo at large.
I indicated earlier and will reiterate that of keynote importance and interest to us is how you are learning to work as a group and this is what one of our focuses is (and certainly I will discuss our findings with you later and as time goes by), but I will use this to stress once again, and you may take it emotionally if you like and thus I will get your attention better, that you are being monitored, you are being closely observed as to your strengths and your liabilities in your dealings with one another, for this will influence our course as we proceed in our teaching sessions. If this group can coagulate, we might undertake some significant project; if it is not ready, we will spend more time involving growth as entities in flux.
Mrs. Ml: I didn't really have a question. I wasn't here last week but I heard something about grace, and I really have to tell you that I have had a lot of grace lately and I feel like I'm walking around real . .. light as a feather.
TOMAS: Bless you.
Mrs. Ml: Thank you.
Mrs. P: Grace is something wonderful. I -- years ago, you know, I kept hearing "grace. Grace and Mary" and that's as far as it went. I knew there was this special transcendency and I just spent a few weeks just saying, "Okay, God, let me have it. Let me have it" and all of a sudden Boom! one day...
Dr. B: When I was little I thought of it as this yellow stuff, because we always talked about it in Catholic school. I had it pictured some way.
TOMAS: Anything further?
TOMAS: I would like to briefly differentiate between grace and transcendence, although it is a fine line. Grace is not being so removed from your material life that your feet do not touch ground, no. It is walking in the dirt, sometimes with mud up to your knees, but still in a sublime condition of peace and radiating the love which is your Source.
Loreenia: Could I give you a brief graphic description of that? I was scrubbing out the urinals in the bathrooms the other day and the boss walks up behind me and I was in such a peaceful state he almost scared me. I looked at him as if I hadn't been doing anything unusual. It was phenomenal. I just looked into his eyes and it was just as loving and calm and peaceful and I don't know how long he had been standing there and I was just scrubbing away.
Dr. B: One of my examples of where I've been experiencing or where my one side of me that really wants to get aggravated with these [[[professional]] situations], which I think is like the grace, is like forcing you . .. to get corrected and you can't bear to keep doing the other thing that you would normally do. You get turned over without it really being something you're doing. It's grace coming over you and giving you something that you couldn't really do naturally yourself.
TOMAS: This is true and grace is not dependent upon the intellect. Your earlier anecdote reminds me of the Alpheus twins who served with Michael. They slept through many of his moving lectures and returned to their original lives when he left, as if they had been unaffected by the time they spent with him, and yet they were an integral part of his intimate circle of vital apostles, and thus it is true that the simple-minded are at peace in their souls and in grace not because of their intellect but in spite of it, and so it is that you can humbly work on your knees and sing songs of praise and allow the grace to envelop you even while undergoing the trench work of kingdom-building.
And so that leaves me to wish you well in your trench work of the upcoming exhibit. It will not be long before we are reunited, and this brief respite from our formal format will give us all an opportunity to shuffle the deck and experience a modicum of repose before the clamors of our hungry conation sets in again to seek for greater spiritual truths and stimuli of the heart, mind, soul, and body. Trusting that all those areas are safely wrapped up in your aura, I will bid you adieu for this afternoon. In love, in grace, in peace and in joy, I am your friend, Tomas. Farewell.
Group: Farewell, Tomas. Thank you very much.