2010-08-30-Free Will Dignity
Topic: Free Will Dignity
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, Welcome once again. Welcome dear friends, dear divine parents. We wish we could take you up on your invitation, Michael, and go fishing with you. Maybe we can someday. We really appreciate how the two of you do your best to make us feel at ease in your presence. You even ask us to let you slowly earn our trust, and so we have these many weeks, these many years. We’ve learned to put our souls in your hands and open our hearts and our minds in these sessions to follow along where your point of view leads us to see ourselves and see each other. It is your viewpoint, that we cannot anticipate, that we find the most rewarding and the most valuable. This is essentially what we cannot fully do for ourselves, although we try. As one of our poets said, “What a gift God could give us--to see ourselves as others see us.” And so in a general way you do this for us. You help us more fully realize our human condition.
Your lesson last time on freedom was very appropriately addressed to what one of us asked: what is this freedom from? You pointed out it is mostly freedom from our limiting viewpoints and prejudices, even the mental poisons of hatred and anger. This is what we need to be free from, in order to be free within ourselves. Then we can have the ability to make conscious choices about what we want to do, what we are trying to accomplish. You also pointed out this is a never-ending, never-completed movement, towards freedom, towards realizing what it is we are doing both with ourselves and others. So thank you for this loving touch, dear parents, that, hopefully, helps us be more loving with ourselves and take greater cognizance of what we are doing with others. Amen.
MICHAEL: Good evening. This is Michael and I certainly welcome you to share some time with Mother Spirit and myself, for we’re both definitely here. Perhaps you can feel Mother Spirit’s Holy Spirit all around us, and right inside you. Perhaps too you can feel me right beside you, your lifelong companion. Those of you who have not been so fortunate as to have had a loving, considerate father can find just that in me; and so please understand, my children, the trust I have in you to let you be and not impose myself upon you. It is my desire to let you be free to live your own lives, for this too is my idea of an ideal parent.
- Free will dignity
Mother Spirit and I are here to give you a little boost from time to time, to help you realize--make more real--this very life you’re living this moment. Yet we want to let you be, and so in our lessons here that we’re speaking out loud, we do our best to encourage you to be free. Realize and enjoy this potential that our Father himself has ordained: that human life, your life, encourages you to grow into the full estate of being a creature of free will dignity. If you’ve read and followed our lessons we’re certain you can make the distinction between this inner awareness of freedom and a kind of blind, ego-driven, narcissistic emphasis on just me, me, me all the time which actually cuts you off from genuine contact, not only with your own larger self and your soul, but also from the love and a genuine touch and sharing with other folks.
This free will dignity we speak of is your rightful estate of soul-possession because it gives you the possibility of realizing a true individuality of unique experiences. You can realize not only your superficial notions about yourself--which is more or less your ego--but have the wonderful humility of realizing that you are more than this. You are so much more than you can hold in your consciousness as your own, self-created ego formation. This is the humble dignity of being truly your self, your larger self. This is being true to your real personality and its potential that God created, as well as your soul.
To do this it helps to accept our definition of your personality as the persisting essence/reality of you that makes you unique in all creation. You are complete in each moment of time as is the rest of God’s creation, and yet not perfectly realized and unified within yourself so far, so you’re living a kind of constantly unfolding discovery of yourself and your potential. In addition you were dropped right into the middle of an adventure relating to an enormous, dynamically living and moving universe, right down to your personal world. You absolutely are, yet this dynamic adventure is constantly coming toward you to be handled, to be dealt with, calling you out of yourself. Even this body/mind of your own is an adventure of discovery, not only as a baby and a child, but throughout your life for it too is changing with living experience. One part of the human dignity we speak of is your freedom and ability to embrace with your will this adventure which may, at times, be full of pain and uncertainty: your choices exist within these very challenges.
So the dignity we speak of is your ability to realize who you are right in the midst of an adventure which is only partly what is coming from you, and partly all of that out there coming towards you. We’ve spoken of individuals who’ve undergone a lot of life experiences with this courageous acceptance and so have a deep, wonderful soul they shine forth as character, something that can be recognized and cherished by others.
This is the purpose of the cosmic adventure: that personal beings can grow to ultimately know what God himself experiences by way of the abilities He has given them. This certainly is part of His omniscience, His ability to experience what each of us is experiencing. Your Urantia book puts it poetically as God’s “escaping the fetters of infinity” by also experiencing what it is to be an independent, free-willed, finite created being. Yet too because He has created each of us so, each of us has His gift and hallmark of creativity. There need be no end to any of us because, in this creativity, we are most like Him; and this too is the essence of our freedom. This too is our choice: whether or not to continue this personal adventure that He has set us down into the middle of.
And so as you live and love and learn, entertain as best you can a thousand different viewpoints on a thousand different subjects. This way even the limited view of yourself you normally identify with--your ego--your moment-to-moment, momentarily changing attitude towards this whole complex structure you think of as yourself--who you are and who you’ve been; even this ego structure of yours is capable of growth and development and enlightenment. You could say it’s a way of consciously choosing not to stand in your own light.
- Social requirements for having an ego
In order to be a social creature and relate with those around you, you do have to have this ego structure. You do have to have some notion of who you are and who you’ve been. Think back on some of your earliest childhood adventures with others and all the dozens of ways you presented yourself, experimenting, discovering not only who you thought you were, but who you were accepted as. I’m sure you can recall dozens of times when your playmates definitely let you know that who you though you were was not quite how they saw you. Your budding ego got trimmed back a bit, sometimes rather painfully, when your playmates let you know in no uncertain terms you were puffing yourself up at their expense: and so you learned.
From time to time you would be astonished about something that came right out of the blue, wonderfully astonished at yourself. You could suddenly do or understand something that you couldn’t the day before. We tease you with the notion that this is not only out of your own creativity, your own spiritual nature and potential, but some of these ideas came from the presence of God within you--your Thought Adjuster, merrily adjusting your thoughts towards something a little more all-inclusive, holistic, a broadening and deepening of your perspective. This is true, my children, even to the point where there is no ultimate separation within your soul of what you yourself have created and what this presence of God has suggested to you.
This too can be a wonderful ego-recognition: that this encompassing within which you live is partly your Thought Adjuster, a presence of God not only devoted to you, but an intrinsic, living part of you. This too your ego can recognize: that you are always more than you can realize in the moment. This awareness of time/space limitation is very humbling, righteously so. It’s a spiritual blessing. You can’t ultimately stand outside yourself. That would be just another grandiose, puffed-up illusion. Moment by moment you are who you experience yourself to be. It’s only in retrospect, even instantaneously, you can, as it were, stand outside yourself and make some assessment of what’s just happened, including you. But in the living here and now--this unique moment in time—the full encompassing in which you live is an aspect of God’s will you can recognize and orient yourself towards. It is also in part your greater, creative self, the true personality and full soul that you are, responsible for the co-creation of your life. So welcome this humbling understanding.
This is how you will yourself to grow. This too is an intrinsic potential God has endowed you with. As we said in our last lesson, this inner freedom of yours depends upon your attitude, your willingness and your ability to relate to all that is not-you, however you think of that or encounter it. It depends upon your understanding, for all your conscious decisions take place within a framework of both conscious and unconscious assumptions. Yet as a creative being yourself, you are not necessarily bound by these assumptions in this living moment, this here and now. You have the potential for something new to come out of you, out of the life-force that God has given you, that is unique to you. It is your own creativity, my children, that presents alternatives within these assumptions from past experience. It gives you some choice. You are not absolutely bound by all that has come before, all the past, all that you’ve feel you’ve been. In your confrontation with this living present moment, you can have the ability to come up with something new.
So welcome this creativity; depend upon it; take responsibility for it. Let yourself be humbled by this gift of God’s and the way He shares not only personality with you, but creativity itself. You are only free to choose to the degree you can rise above all of your conditioning, all of your culture, all that actually gave your life meaning and value up to this moment: you need not be bound by it. Else there would be nothing new in human reality and human history. All of mankind would be going round and round on a rabbit-path of inescapable familiarity; whereas actual planetary human history has been one of the incessant evolution of thousands of cultures over hundreds of thousands of years.
- When the adventure gets rough
I say all this for your understanding so when the adventure gets a bit rough at times, as it does, and we most humbly acknowledge that, Mother Spirit and I; we most humbly acknowledge the pain, the fear, the uncertainty even to the point of agony that human life has known: still you have this kernel of freedom to reach out to us and to our Father for help. Welcome the adventure of your life as much as you can but never fear, my children, to pray and ask for help. Then, in the fullness of our Father’s blessings, let your hearts overflow with the appreciation of worship to get even closer to Him. Let yourselves be enlightened, and help shine this light out there for others to see by. Give of yourselves in self-forgetfulness to fill your souls with them, the most priceless possessions you can have--each other. This is your freedom. This is your choice.
We thank you, dear Father, for setting up the universes this way. We are truly humbled by each and every single one of your children who have right within them this kernel of Your boundless infinity, the hallmark that they are indeed Your children. Now if you have any questions or comments this evening, let them spring forth.
Student: Hi, Father Michael. How can I motivate my grandson to reach his full potential?
- Motivating others
MICHAEL: Yes, my son. Can you remember where your Urantia book talks about a person’s spiritual fragrance? (Vaguely) This totality of your being is what truly motivates others. You have another way of saying it: lead by example; especially from one generation to another, from an oldster to a youngster, if you will.
Consider these aspects I talked about tonight--your attitude, your understanding of life as you’ve lived it and learned from it, your creativity right in the moment. These are most important, my son, because you are demonstrating to others what is possible. This is not only with physical things, say in teaching a craft requiring some physical ability, but also in the mental and spiritual realms. It’s how you approach things, how you yourself are handling the adventure, what you can come up with. This totality of your being is what they are absorbing like a sponge, not only in their conscious minds and ego-sense of themselves and how they relating to you, but also in the broadest super-conscious realms of theirs registering meaning and value. Topping this, their personality can recognize another kindred soul. To truly encourage others, it helps if you stay true and honest to your deepest self. I feel you know this instinctively.
Sometimes you call this tough love, making decisions not just for a momentary reward of gaining someone else’s pleasure, but by staying true to what you know of as life, and how it works, and what its deepest rewards are. You encourage others by remembering and talking about those you’ve known who realized their human potential, who had real character. Recognize, yourself, when your youngsters are being fulfilled with their own creativity, because it might well be going against the grain--(Michael chuckles)--of what you were expecting. So: be open-minded. Recognize every other person is a child of God’s with this unique personality all their own within them, right along with the absolute and infinite presence of God--their Thought Adjuster--being a living part of them.
As I spoke of earlier this evening, be willing to let them be. You often think of this as being not-overly-protective. Let them make their own mistakes and help them, as you’ve done with yourself, learn from these experiences. Finally: just enjoy them as Mother Spirit and I so dearly enjoy each one of you. Be thankful and appreciative, if you will, worshipful within yourself, of this particular person of God’s creativity. Now does all of this seem like it might bear good fruit?
Student: Yes, it does. It sounds an awful lot like: lead by example, teach by example.
MICHAEL: Indeed. Just keep in mind this huge encompassing--(Michael chuckles)--that we all live within. I mentioned this evening how you can be enlightened and, though you never escape it--you can never, in a sense, stand outside your own subjectivity, you can learn. You can be humble in this wonderful awareness of the great encompassing of God’s we all live in.
Student: Thank you, Father Michael.
MICHAEL: Thank you, my son, for being such a good grandfather. Be in my peace.
Student: Yes, Michael, last time Mother Spirit talked about freedom as well, about living the adventure and putting oneself out there to experience ones potential--to take that leap, so to speak? The question is: when does one kind-of like push the envelope, so to speak? When does one take that leap? There are times when I feel I want to do something different with my life, although I know each moment is a new moment, and each experience, even though familiar, is a new experience. But sometimes I feel this pressure pressing me to do something more with what I have come to understand.
Maybe this is my own idealism, my own imagination, but all I can do is just take one step at a time. But I can’t seem to when I’m really, really tired, or I feel despondent. I feel like I’m in this circular pattern and even though I do stillness and rest, I just sense there’s more to gain to be a complete human being than what I am experiencing. Is there any balm for that?--(Michael and students laugh)--for that kind of…pushing, that wanting to express more of that potential?
MICHAEL: Yes, my son: you keep sitting right in the middle of the paradox. (Hmm--I feel that!--student laughs) On the one hand you know yourself very well and this is a result of a lifetime of thinking and contemplating and wondering, reading and exploring. You’ve had a great deal of fun and enjoyment in this. At the same time you do feel this inner push, this intrinsic desire to keep growing, yet you are rightfully fearful of any kind of just petty dissatisfaction. This is a righteous fear because no one wants to feel this dissatisfaction with the infinity of God’s miracle--(Michael chuckles)--in which we are living.
Balancing potential and actuality
There is a balance here, a living balance, moment to moment, between your intrinsic need to keep growing and extend yourself out into life, and fully appreciating all that you already are; what Mother Spirit taught you as your potential and your actuality. Your life is both your own and what is coming towards you with people, places, things, events. It has requirements in terms of energy--physical, mental and even spiritual energy--so you righteously feel being overwhelmed with what you call tiredness, and how it changes things.
To deepen your understanding, consider: when you feel this incompleteness coupled with an almost painful uncertainty of where to grow next, where next do you apply yourself, what could be new for you, you are making an assessment of risk and reward with what your own imagination can come up with. You only have to think, Wouldn’t it be nice… A lot of folks play a game within themselves to explore possibilities in terms of winning the lottery. If all the economic considerations of life were suddenly whisked away, what would you do? That’s one way you can explore and realize limitations.
In other words, let your imagination roam free for a while even though it may be painful to think of all the things you could have done, yet haven’t so far. Think of the times you’ve plunked down your dollar to give the lottery a try, and when the right numbers didn’t come up for you, there you still were. With all potential this is the risk you have to take. You have to take the risk of failure, failure as it will occur to you in your moments of tiredness, moments being overwhelmed with life coming at you with things to handle, like necessities not only for yourself but for your loved ones too.
This is the risk you run by giving your imagination a little freer rein in all aspects of your life--physical, mental and spiritual. So ask yourself: what is it you are afraid to try? This is just a tool, if you will, something to point you at: Wouldn’t be nice…and yet too: what would be painful if it didn’t work out? One irony or aspect of a lifetime’s wisdom you can have is: a superficial take on this wisdom can get you down. So go deeper. Don’t feel you’re too wise to try something new and unfathomable.
Student: Yeah, right!--because sometimes I do feel like that. Even though I have my daughter and granddaughter and others who live with me, I am basically by myself. And I am comfortable with my own company: but like you said, sometimes a false kind of wisdom keeps me at bay from interacting with others.
There’s a couple of things I’ve been expressing to others, you know, like I said, all I can deal with is what’s in front of me. That’s where life is: right here in front of me and inside of me right now. That’s all there is--so deal with it. But the other experience I had, which is kind of fascinating, was after what I was experiencing with this other teaching in a gathering on Sunday morning, I would be filed with so much love. But then I’d be by myself; so what do I do with it? What’s the good of wisdom and love if you can’t share them with others? At least there was a different attitude when I went about doing my regular things.
So I’m coming to an understanding that these things really mean something when they change my everyday living. I don’t need to do anything grandiose, you know? It is true, like you say, that life also comes to me, and there’s life in me to meet it.
MICHAEL: My son, if you don’t mind me putting my finger right on it, let me ask you: are you lonely?
Student, laughing: Yes and no. There are moments when I do have those pangs of desiring companionship, but not at the cost of truth and wisdom—in a sense, my soul. Each time I try to initiate something, it’s like it doesn’t happen. The stars aren’t aligned so far. The time is not now. In reality I just feel…hmmm…I just feel not of this world. I live in the world but I don’t feel of the world. I feel like that song by the Beatles, The Fool on the Hill. So I just feel…different. But seven billion people are my company, so I don’t feel lonely that way; maybe just alone in my own wisdom and understanding. It hurts sometimes not to be able to express love—nonconditionally—that’s a word I coined a while ago, where love is just love. It doesn’t require that other people feel it too.
MICHAEL: We have talked before about the human condition being like having one foot on a solid dock, and the other foot out in a bobbing boat: one foot in the continuous real and one in the ever-changing but possible ideal—something you can imagine if not yet realize. You are expressing well your understanding of that. You do understand and feel the risk you’re taking to have someone else ideally deeper inside you, at the same time staying true to your own soul.
- Feeling you are not of the world
As for your feeling of being not quite of this world, remember when we spoke of giving due respect to the real, as contrasted to what you imagine could be? Which one you perceive and treasure the most does determine your orientation and your feeling of life itself. Just do your best to be aware of this orientation and make you choices as consciously as possible. That way you are for the most part living in freedom, living with the sense of having some choice.
Student: I’ve tried, you know, to approach people with the desire of having a more complete connection. There is one person I do care for a lot. But who knows? Maybe it’s my own expectations getting in the way.
MICHAEL: And sometimes that more complete connection is something that takes time to grow. Love at first sight is often so illusory there’s nowhere to go but to grow apart.
Student: Yes, but it’s interesting though. There are times when I do feel a strong…I mean my heart just stops! Or my heart just wants to embrace them. Obviously I can’t do that, but it just wants to do that.
MICHAEL: Or!—you might forget yourself and go over and give them a big hug. That’s a risk, isn’t it? (Michael laughs)
Student, sighing: Yeah… I have…sometimes. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
One last thing: it seems like when people get enlightened, or think they are, there seems to be a compulsion to start an organization of some sort. You know my thing about organizations. It all seems to get diluted or something, and I just wonder--what I’m hearing from you and Mother Spirit--that it’s more one’s own experience that is important—than being part of a group.
MICGHAEL: Yes, that’s a good subject for another time: the balance between the collective and the individual. There are very few self-chosen hermits—very rare: everyone does live in different kinds of communities all at the same time. Yet these communities are no other than those individuals who comprise them. The term religion usually refers to an organization, but the basis for any community of believers is each person’s relationship with God; the group is just the socialization of that inner relationship. Without the individuals sharing their inner relationship with God, the group is not truly religious but only a social organization—not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that except, perhaps, the pretense.
It goes both ways. People can get caught up so much in their own ego-aggrandizement they are only using the group for that purpose—a mirror for their vanity. On the other hand, all throughout human history there has been the slowly growing recognition and acknowledgement of the individual, beginning at the tribal stage where everyone, without exception and right within themselves, unconsciously identifies with the group for security and a sense of belonging.
Student: I think sometimes the original purpose for getting together is pure and complete, but then the organization becomes an entity unto itself and people lose perspective about the reason they’re there. It becomes more about upholding the organization than living the individual essence that started it all. So I’m always having this inner battle with those groups I’ve participated in. I understand it like the difference between a drop of water and the ocean of consciousness it is part of.
- The God-created uniqueness of each personal being
MICHAEL: Yes, this is why Mother Spirit and I are careful to emphasize the absolute, God-created uniqueness of each personal being and their continuing individual existence, even into eternity. In this sense the drops do not, at death, automatically return into the ocean from which they came, as some folks believe. That giving up of individual existence would be another personal choice. (Thank you) Be in my peace. (long pause)
Are there any more comments or questions?—my daughter?
Student: No questions, but a lot of good feelings—more amazing: it was brilliant tonight, positively brilliant. Thank you.
MICHAEL: Well, thank you, my dear. It is your light that I am merely reflecting, and it is your soul that recognizes the glow. So thank you very much.
This is definitely a wonderful stillness we can enjoy together, because we are freely choosing to be here. From my point of view—and Mother Spirit’s—this is one good reason true religionists, though they may realize their completeness in God, and even within themselves, still there is this extra-wonderful thing that comes about when they get together. You can thank Mother Spirit in part for her Spirit of Council, for your being able to sense and recognize the experience of each other’s souls, each other’s character in this marvelous expansiveness we create together. It is not its own reward for being?
Good evening, my dear ones. Be in my peace.