2004-06-27-Cleaning Out the Old
Topic: Cleaning Out the Old
Group: SE Idaho TeaM
Teacher: Klarixiska, Daniel, Aaron
Opening Prayer by Klarixiska (Virginia):
Father of perfection, Father of light, Father of rainbows, we all come to You for your leadership and the color You can put into our lives, for the peace, and yes the challenge, to become like You. Grant that the lessons tonight might bring us all closer to You. We think of those who are not with us, especially LaReen. We would ask that Your arms might enfold her, Your light might be within her, Your hope might give her the strength to move on in a positive way on this plane. Give her wisdom. Give her courage to say no to those things that might hurt her in some way.
Daniel (Bob S): Greetings my friends, colleagues, and stalwart seekers of perfection as are we all. Friends, I am greeting you this evening, but I am not the presenter. There are others who have that responsibility this evening. Since Bob has not had the chance to TR in awhile, I thought it would be appropriate to have him kick off tonight’s session. Your earlier discussions will be the subject of a lesson, but we will save that for the time when the culmination of your assignment is the focus of the lesson. For tonight, we have another idea to present. So without further a! dieu, stand by please.
AARON (Nancy): Greetings friends and students. I am Aaron taking this opportunity to make use of PamElla’s mind. We will see how this goes for she is mostly unfamiliar with my presence. This subject matter—turning the other cheek—is in many ways the crux of spiritual living and is a lesson we wish to spend some time developing and revisiting to give you ample opportunity to consider its many aspects. The lesson presented by Minearisa three weeks ago remains in place. You are asked to reread the assignment and undertake the practice suggested. For tonight we will engage in discussion. ! ; Yes, I am your joyful team leader in discussion-style lesson. And so it falls to me to poke and prod. I am smiling; I hope you are.
Ken: From ear to ear.
AARON: I do not consider myself to poke and prod, but I understand that it sometimes feels that way to you. I see myself as a cleaner with cleaning spray and a cloth. I hope to help remove layers of fog, mist, dirt and grime that clogs perception and distorts vision. But as in teeth cleaning, the process of dirt removal can be experienced as uncomfortable. However, we hope you will partake of the love of the Father as a substitute for the gas that is sometimes given in the dentist’s office.
Bob D: Anything that stops the pain.
AARON: I am smiling and PamElla is splitting apart. I am pleased to lighten the air. I appreciate your enjoyment and your humor.
Ken: I think it was laughing gas.
AARON: I am allowing PamElla the opportunity to compose herself. Now my friends, an easy question. Last week the concept of turning the other cheek was presented from a new perspective. One with which you were not as familiar perhaps, but we would appreciate tonight as a way to clear out the old is a discussion of what this concept has meant to you in the past. All of you were introduced to the concept at different times in your past and all you have formed beliefs around what this meant. What it meant when Jesus did it? What it meant when you were asked to emulate Him? And s! o we ask that tonight you consider and share your thoughts from the past. We will return to the present in our next edition. I would appreciate a volunteer to begin the discussion.
Bob D: Well, I guess I’ll start. I think my concept of turn the other cheek was that by forgiving somebody blankedly and just pretending there was no problem, that was turning the other check and as I found the Urantia Book, the idea obviously shifted and I realized I may actually have even been doing a disservice to people in some regard for holding that kind of a perspective and not responding a little differently. It seems the Urantia concept in my mind was that you would replace evil with good and that you basically you know take whatever is happening and use it towards making it a more positive situation and seems like that was kind of the natural place to be. I don’t think my perspective today is a whole lot different than that. I maybe have grown more inside of me to really look at situations, to look at things in the world and issues and really sometimes to make attempts to provide some positive to that situation. Maybe take it out of an intellectual awareness to do something sometimes. I will never forget writing; I think it was like writing the President. I wrote him a letter because I needed to write a letter to the President. He probably never ever read it, but just like you know I thought there was something negative to respond in a positive way regardless of what the outcome would be and so I think now I believe there is some energy that affects things when we actually try to turn things toward the positive rather than either fighting back or just ignoring and letting people use you so t! o speak. That is probably my commentary.
AARON: Thank you Simeon for your remarks and sharing. Who is next?
Virginia: I have a thought here. Certainly we don’t return evil for evil and you try to make it good, but in trying to make it good many times you make it worse and this is my past of course. I think also that when evil happens, or when mistakes are made or whatever or relations are difficult, then I do believe that you pray for them. According to my past where we were told, and certainly it is in the New Testament and in the Urantia Book, that you pray for your enemies, do good for them that spite you and I guess that is where I would think turning the other cheek is concerned. You are not out to get them, you are out to wish them well.
Bob S: My impression is similar to Bob’s in that I am sure that I first heard that idea in church probably when I was in grade school and my feeling was I knew it was right the first time I heard it. Even at that age I could see that the world was quite different than that. Relations between people were based primarily on power. Who was the most powerful, that is the way it was in the neighborhood, the way it was at school, that is the way the world was and that hasn’t changed much I don’t think since I was a kid. My own view has changed somewhat. I am still convinced that is the way to go, but it’s been difficult learning how to do that because the world is so fo! reign to that concept. We have really separated church and state and to that extent it is unfortunate. That’s why I like where we are at in this lesson because I think in my own growth I am ready to look at that idea from a different perspective because I feel stilted in that regard. I am stuck. I don’t see how we can go any further than we are right now in the world in which we live, so I am glad the teachers are helping us deal with that issue at this time. Thank you Aaron.
AARON: Thank you my friend.
Pat: Well, I think I will venture. I think early on I did not understand what turning the other cheek really meant and it was my way not to respond, but I internalized those feelings and they were either guilt or maybe resentment that I harbored. I have struggled with that for a long time and sometime ago in one of the lessons it talked about Christ Michael and we alluded to that earlier tonight in that turning the other cheek is to provide another view and that has helped me tremendously to look in that way and since then I have tried to look at it from another point of view and it has been helpful to me. It also, I might add, makes life easier.
AARON: Thank you.
Bob S: How has it made your life easier? It seems like it has made mine more difficult.
Pat: I think because you can see another way or understand a person if you really look at it or in that way I am not harboring feelings. I still have a lot of trouble with my guilt, but I am beginning to be able to let that go.
Bob S: It makes you feel better
Pat: It makes me feel better that I can try to understand someone else and why they are acting the way they are and not take it so personally.
AARON: Carol, does the phrase turning the other cheek have meaning and personal experience for you?
Carol: I think I come from the same place Pat does. The way I was raised, turning the other cheek meant that you did not fight back is not exactly the right term, but you pretty much let it go, you didn’t argue about it. If that was the way someone treated you, then you just pretty much ignored it and went about your business. However, same as Pat, I always had some feelings that were difficult to handle. I am trying to grow, but I am not sure I am making a whole lot of progress.
AARON: I would refer you to a lesson from the last several lessons that was an assurance to you as well as to others here tonight that you are indeed making progress and I tonight wish to reiterate this message my friend. You do well and thank you for commenting on the emotional reaction. Thank you, Pat, we desire that you understand the feelings.
Bob D: I agree with Bob now. I think it was easier before. I think it was much easier to let it go and forget about it.
Pat: Do you really forget about it?
Bob D: That is the thing. Certainly there is some resentment harbored.
Bob S: Psychology teaches us that those negative experiences, all experiences, go into your psyche and have to be dealt with at some level at some time because they are part of your experience and the psychologists call that repression. You push all that stuff down in your brain and Freud says that it ferments down there in your subconscious and creates all these foibles--what did he call them—neuroses. All these neuroses, they can grow into psychoses if they are not dealt with. That is the whole thing about Freud and you can see that happens sometimes in people. Sometimes you can see how unresolved experiences create ulcers and stress you are not even aware of. Y! ou think your life is fine. You are retired and you have no responsibilities, but I had a heart attack. Now wait a minute now. Why did you have a heart attack Bud, you don’t have any responsibilities, but I did anyway. So you can see there is evidence to support that whole idea. So, Aaron would you like to deal with that idea of what about unresolved responses. Is that something that we need to deal with at some time? Do you want to get in to that?
AARON: My friend, I smile at you. Yes, indeed do these feelings have to be addressed! They are a part of the color of the lenses through which you, all of you, experience your world and until you have addressed these feelings in context they will continue to distort your present.
Bob S: That is the secret isn’t it? You have to look at them in the context they were developed, many of them, when you were a child and had very immature ideas, obviously and didn’t fully understand what was going on and so you had all these feelings that came out of childhood experiences which now need to be analyzed from an adult perspective and put into proper context at your level of maturity now. Did I say that right?
AARON: Yes. This is one avenue. Fortunately, the Father has provided many avenues and we explore and address several paths here. It would not be possible to go back and re-experience in context every experience that did not resolve. However, we desire to help you find categories of feelings such as resentment that was mentioned earlier tonight and help you find ways to practice ways of understanding, ways of acknowledging the feeling of resentment so that it can be experienced and expunged.
Bob S: And maybe turn into something positive if we can learn how, and I think that is what you are trying to do in these lessons, help us to come from that perspective that was perhaps negative in our experience earlier and now when we see someone else in that negative mode, help them turn that around into a positive situation.
AARON: In terms of the lesson from last week, the help can be as simple as gentleness, understanding a nonreactive response, but it is through working through your own history that you have the ability to reach a hand backwards to a brother or sister with similar history and share what has worked for you. How you achieved a different perspective. How you came to a different understanding. I wish to make a distinction here. In the case of last week’s lesson, you may not have a similar history with the person with whom you are interacting and so your working through your history may not assist them directly, but your loving response provides freedom and space for them to do their own work and at some point com! e into understanding of their own history. This is slightly different from the gift that you are able to give from knowing yourself. Do you understand the distinction?
Bob S: Everybody agrees except Ken and he is looking at his shoes.
Ken: I am looking at the tape recorder.
AARON: I was about to call on Ken.
Ken: I just ran out of tape. Greetings Aaron. I am glad you are joyful this evening.
AARON: Thank you. How could I be otherwise?
Ken: I concur with what my wife said about turning the other cheek except that I wouldn’t always turn the other cheek. I would try to get even or get ahead in my comments. But I am learning now not to do that, but to take the opposite view. I forget the word that was used when they take the positive side, but when I do take that positive side and ask Michael for the correct words, the correct expressions, the correct body language to use in response to something that I feel has irritated me and I do that, then I feel peace within me; thank you for asking, Aaron.
AARON: Thank you for your response Ken.
Bob S: Now we will ask Pat for the real response. This guy with peace within.
Ken: I didn’t say I have it all the time.
Bob D: It is not so much who you are as who you are becoming.
AARON: My friends, I will release PamElla temporarily for I wish her to participate as well.
Nancy: It seems to me turning the other cheek was very much about martyrdom. It was the opposite of an eye for an eye, which I knew it was dead wrong. So you had to be a person who turned the other cheek, and there was this sense of self-righteousness in being a cheek turner. (Laughter) And in that act of check turning there was the feeling of incredible martyrdom. For me the example was Jesus on the cross with high blood atonement. So it was a partnering with this blood atonement-martyrdom principle for me. I never just let it go, even at the conceptual level. I took it on—every nail. (Laughter.) I don’t know that I felt resentment. For me, it was more of a self-righteous martyrdom that made me better than other people, and separate from them, and really put distance between us. So it was just the opposite of love, because it separated me in my self-righteous superiority.
Bob S: Created a lot of stress in friendships too, didn’t it.
Nancy: Yes, it did.
Bob D: I think some of mine was a defense mechanism. The dynamics of my childhood in my family was that you had to let it go. You would be ridiculed for responding, (Comments) or you got into trouble for responding. My family was very good at putting each other down, so the best response was no response. Don’t even be mean. Just act as if nothing had happened, and try to treat each other kindly, so that they will try to treat you kindly in return. In that way you keep that barrier that you were talking about.
Bob S: But from the guy point-of-view, don’t you feel like a wimp when you turn your cheek?
Bob D: Oh yeah. You feel like a doormat.
Bob S: I think the wimp feeling is more of a guy response…
Nancy: The martyrdom feeling is more feminine. (Laughter.)
Bob D: That may have been the hardest thing for my family to accept as I changed. I’m no longer the same person. There was a big awkwardness for years after I found the Urantia Book. It was almost a feeling like, what—you don’t like us anymore? (Comments) You’re not the same, you’re changing. (Comments.) It was after I decided I didn’t what to follow the old dynamic any more.
Bob S: The book Games People Play discusses family dynamics and suggests that when a person changes roles, it disrupts the whole family as each person seeks to find their role in this new situation.
Bob D: Maybe that brings us to some of the positive things that change brings. As you change, others have to examine how they will respond to this new behavior.
Bob S: And that may encourage others to change for the better, after we look at ourselves from a different perspective, as Minearsia suggested in last week’s lesson.
Bob S: (Tells a story about how he had planned to confront a man at a church meeting years ago, but when he began to speak, the words that came out were not negative, but warm and positive. He now wonders if that was his personal teacher speaking.)
Nancy: I had an experience, probably about 25-years ago now, where I heard myself saying things that I had not planned, and then contemplated them later. I thought how power the words were. I was studying one night in the commons when a fundamentalist came up to me. He asked me if I had given any thought to the purpose of life. My response was that the purpose of life is to love and to learn. I was stunned by my words, and so was the man who asked. He returned to his friend and shared the concept. (Laughter.)
Virginia: People with near-death experiences say what they are motivated to do when they return is to learn as much as they can and to love.
Bob D: If you look at the basic message of the Urantia Book, we are to love and to learn. (Comments.)
Virginia: I remember once as Bill was leaving the Fuller Seminary, where Billy Graham is considered liberal, to attend the Presbyterian Seminary, some friends had us over. As we were leaving the man told Bill he would pray for him. Bill’s response, without any guile or forethought, was, "George I really appreciate it, as long as you’re not self-righteous." (Laughter and comments.) That’s the attitude of many fundamentalists, self-righteousness.
Bob S: It’s not just the fundamentalists. I’ve been knocked off my pedestal many times by people whom I considered less Christian than I. (Comments.) It humbled me, and I needed it at that time.
Prayer by Daniel (Bob S):
Oh great Trinity on High, whose lessons we seek to bring fully into our lives, send us to our homes now through the enrichment of our common experiences here tonight, to reach out to our friends and neighbors in love through learning.