2010-10-04-Having Faith in Topsy Turvy Times
Topic: Having Faith in Topsy Turvy Times
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit: Well, here we are again, looking forward to another happy time of being with you and feeling your presence all around and right within us. This is still somewhat amazing and when we think of it from the perspective of all the men and women who have sought your presence, your love and understanding, we feel very blessed just to have this opportunity to listen to you and then carry on a conversation with you. We feel blessed to be in the time of the Teaching Mission as people all over the earth are feeling the spiritual renaissance you talk about--how each person, according to their beliefs and culture, interprets and experiences this blossoming of spirit awareness. You’ve mentioned too that, as in the previous scientific Renaissance, it portends to be a very tumultuous time, a time to be open-minded, a time to seek for the unity of spirit that does not require or demand any kind of uniformity of expression. So we open our hearts and open our minds as best we can to entertain what you have for us. Amen.
MICHAEL: Good evening, this is Michael. I enjoyed very much your discussion earlier. There is a true renaissance for a number of reasons, some having to do with the planetary social evolution that every world goes through at your stage of technological development, but also with the advent of the Teaching Mission that has been going on for about twenty years now. What you might call foreign visitors of many different orders of personal beings are volunteering to come to Urantia and be a part of these exciting times and getting to watch a world, having spent so long a time in insolation from the grand circuits of the system, come back online. Urantia is definitely starting to spiritually light up and glow with enthusiasm and discovery.
- Having faith in topsy-turvy times
It is a very exciting time, and there is that rather ironic and a bit cynical observation of some olden philosophers that such an exciting time is the worst time to be alive—(Michael chuckles). Things go topsy-turvy as in any genuine spiritual renaissance because this is a shake-up of values, affecting that spiritual part of you that makes evaluations. Just as in your own life when you come across startling new facts, new ideas, new ways of opening and maturing your own personal philosophy of life, it is intrinsically tumultuous. It helps to have a deep faith in, first of all, the necessity for this re-evaluation, and then the goodness of it too because you are entertaining as best you can these new realities. Faith helps you avoid seeking security in denial or the belief you’ve already got the major questions of life settled once and for all time—what we call fundamentalism—the great ego-illusion you’ve already reached some fundamental, unchanging understanding of reality and there is no need for further openness and exploration. It’s so much better when you embrace the adventure, and then too, my children, feel glad—exceedingly glad for this renaissance and how it is lifting people out of their exclusion-based belief systems towards a genuinely spiritual all-inclusive point of view of everything they can now encounter.
Be prepared, my children, for an intermediate stage of polarization that occurs when two contending belief systems come in contact. This is felt as a war of who is right and who is wrong, with the temptation to settle the dispute by force--either physical, mental, spiritual; or all three—war, false argument, and intimidation. Yet this polarization is a natural outcome of contrast--of each in the new light of the other--as each prepares to battle in the marketplace of ideas. Still, as different from a marketplace where one physical thing is traded for another, a zero-sum game if you will, in the marketplace of ideas is where one and one can make three if the participants are open-minded and creative. An idea and a contra-idea can suggest a third entity which is not just a compromise but a greater reality that resolves the conflict from a point of view which includes both. You call it thinking and creating out of the box wherein the two were irresolvable. If each party is sincerely seeking this greater truth, each can come away with a greater understanding and appreciation of the other, now within them as their soul-possession.
This attitude of being open-minded--rather than cynical and judgmental and seeking to put someone else down just for the perverted joy of it--is what the world needs right now. We see this is coming about, unstoppable on the planetary scale despite the polarization. This contention between cultures and philosophies of life is a naturally occurring process in order to clarify and refine so many age-old and no longer valid notions, yet keep them inviolate to their age for history’s sake. So try to see the upside of this process as a necessary step as your world progresses toward a more interconnected and unified whole inclusive of everyone. This polarization does help people realize and then articulate their own point of view, so what first emerges is often the contrary part where systems of thought do not agree for the pure contrast. Yet this polarization can be enormously educational and informative if taken in the right light.
Embrace another’s ideas and let them help you realize what you have believed up to this moment. As we said before: no clinging! No clinging to the past. Identify with this living, ever-present moment of you with your creativity always operating within it. A new age is dawning, and it has to. Your telecommunications are penetrating everywhere, and everywhere you see a growth of individuality because of this. Some of the olden monolithic structures are breaking down in this more dynamic marketplace of ideas. Their exclusiveness is evaporating and this is of course a great terror to all those who have maintained their positions of social and political power through excluding all other viewpoints. For many years religious organizations too have demanded of their followers that they not read other literatures, study other systems of thought; that the folks themselves were not capable of being truly eclectic and coming to their own conclusions. They did not teach their followers that they—their followers--had a presence of God within them, not as some kind of socially-induced conscience but as a small still voice of greater truth, a nugget of contact with the divine that supersedes all ecclesiastical authority. So religious and social constructs of authority are breaking down, necessarily so if you are to have a genuine spiritual renaissance that reexamines all personal and inter-personal values--what is worth what.
My children, realize, so you can appreciate what is happening, how this is a natural evolution that started way back in the very beginning, all the way back to the tribal stage of organization. In a primitive, isolated small tribe there was little overt authority needed because everyone was of a single mind. Later, as territorial tribes came into contention with each other and warfare was more or less continuous as the young men vied against each other in what became a kind of organized theft, or the defense against it; as tribes grew to evolve into territorial city-states, a hierarchy of specialization and authority always occurred in all aspects of interpersonal relationships. Power over even life and death became concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. What at first may have been a separation of church and state--religious and civic authority, between the holy man and the chief/warrior of the tribe--became almost universally the divine right of rulers of empires.
- Individuality and the decentralization of authority
So the emergence of individuality, of de-centralization of authority, is a long, long story as human societies grew in peacefulness and could afford it: war still calls for unity of command. What the world is going through right now is a fuller blossoming of this trend toward individual liberty. And this can be frightening for those who feel as yet inadequate to stand on their own, and not only alone but terribly lonely. It is too much for many to bear and they more or less let their potential for freedom wither away in the face of having to decide so much anew every day—what to believe. But though this spiritual renaissance has a cost, this polarization has a cost, it is only a cynical soul that says the cost is not worth it; the rewards of liberty are not worth it. The growth of personality and soul in individualization, the experiencing of your own uniqueness, is a great, God-created potential and reality that is simply there for the discovery. As at a certain time in your own personal life it becomes necessary to decide in full consciousness how you are going to live, so too this pressure exists on every level of organization in society from a family, to the neighborhoods, to the cities and states, the countries and nations.
This is the general evolution of planetary development where more and more the unique creativity of each individual is encouraged to blossom forth. Politically and socially this results in a deep de-centralization of authority as more and more individuals accept the need for their own maturity and responsibility and do not, like children, consider the state to be their parents. This is the birth of true democracy where the costs and rewards of social groups are borne more and more by each individual. You could think that--in an abstract way--the people have always had this power—it resides in them. But back in, shall we say, ancient Egypt, the people needed the Pharaoh and his priests to tell them what to do to give their lives more meaning, as much as he needed them for his great projects.
The possession and use of power is more subtle than that, and more rigorously binding. Genuine social evolution is necessarily slow because it has to come from each individual and cannot for long be forced upon them without their unconscious consent. It’s why we say it’s best to lovingly tease folks into stepping forth, encouraging them to feel this uniqueness of their being and realize the ironic, paradoxical-seeming truth that this uniqueness is what you all have in common, and has to be accounted for. Little by little the human race is slowly learning how to accommodate this and live with more individuality, not only for the delight of the individual but for the wealth of the group as well.
- Freedom and license
This growth is only possible, my children, with accepting the distinction between freedom and license. Individuality has often gotten a bad name as it referred to people who thought only of themselves without considering what effect their activities were having on others. This consideration, or the lack of it, is the difference between freedom and license, a difference of responding to others—response-ability: each individual’s ability and willingness to respond to his or her fellows. The growth towards a more enlightened, spiritually aware people comes back to this ability and willingness that originates in being secure in oneself, so accepting, even humble at one’s own God-created uniqueness, there is no longer any need to recklessly and inconsiderately expand one’s power over another—the height of license: it hurts!
When something new comes along, as it will for all eternity, you are able to respond to it. Further, this ability to respond is a measure of genuine love, of genuine contact and embrace in a lively dance with those who are not you. It is not some fearful clinging to oneself but a self-forgetfulness that embraces with interest, and is rewarded by a whole world—ultimately by a whole universe. We see this happening. There is this spiritual renaissance now as the Teaching Mission has its effect on people all over the world irrespective of their particular belief system. But the one universal requirement is for each to have this open-mindedness, for each to embrace the whole, for each to strive to be all-inclusive of what is now available through your modern miracles of communication. Your whole world is at your feet and fingertips. It’s an exciting time, my children, and the challenges are great. But the rewards are more than commensurate. Here, with your own creativity, one and one makes three in the ever freer marketplace of ideas. The parties can walk away with more than what anyone, or even everyone brought to the table.
- Belief, faith, and actuality
Belief is superseded by faith, by trust in each other, by extending your hand out of your own goodness, your own spiritual generosity. Faith is rewarded by actuality. You extend yourself out beyond what you are capable of believing and something real happens, some contact is made, some love unites, and that is the reward. Belief has just been expanded by something new, some other. So welcome these times, my children—however trying, for you are truly blessed to be living at the opening of the Teaching Mission, the explosion of this spiritual renaissance, this topsy-turvy exchanging of ideas and reassessment of values.
If you have any questions or comments this evening, let them too come from this inner sense of value your spirit delights in.
Student: Father Michael, I have a kind of curiosity question if I may. I’ve heard it said that people right before they think they’re going to die, their whole live flashes before their eyes. I was wondering if that is real and if so, what it is. Obviously they didn’t die because they could talk about it; but they thought they were.
- Deathbed experiences
MICHAEL: Yes, my son. That is quite literally their Thought Adjuster presenting them with a spiritual epiphany of their life in a few short moments, which is why, in their description of the experience, it is so ephemeral and difficult to grasp and express in linear thought and words for all its unmistakable, unforgettable reality. In what seems beyond time and space they are flooded with what registers as the essence of their life. It is a genuine experience, and it is so impressive—(Michael chuckles)—it is quite reassuring. Though of no empirical or objective possibility of proof, it can be of supreme inner, personal value; an inner proof if you will, of the existence of spirit, even their own. They have been touched by the co-author of their soul, and been given a glimpse of their soul’s enormity. It is adequate proof of their soul’s reality, however inexpressible.
It often comes about when a personality finally and totally surrenders it’s identification with its ego-notions of itself and feels itself dying that this greater, broader truth can be presented to them. I might add that this exact same experience is so closely allied with what various religions call an enlightenment experience; some: seeing beyond the life-and-death of the smaller self to the reality of the eternal self—ego and soul.
Student: Very interesting. I always thought it was not for real—something that people made up. I was wondering what you meant by surrendering their ego—I think you put it?
MICHAEL: Yes, for folks who are totally, comprehensively identified with their ego and had have little awareness of their deeper personality or the spiritual counterpart of their life—their soul; when they feel themselves dying—primarily physically but with all the mental and spiritual aspects in attendance, it’s like a highly compressed and intense lesson on how to meditate. They are suddenly able to accept their own mortality with a general relaxation of life-long cramp--anxiety about the future. It’s suddenly, totally and transcendently here-and-now: they’re dying. Their hearts and minds open to feeling spirit, and, as in an enlightenment experience, their Thought Adjuster is finally able to give them what it has longed to for so long: a great big slug of Morontia reality—(Michael laughs)—if you really want to look at it that way. Whereas those who have had such enlightenment experiences through meditation and prayer earlier in life can continue on as we’ve taught, with not only an ego-sense of themselves but also with an awareness of the larger spiritual encompassing within which they are given life and their being.
But even at the last minute is better than not at all, is it not? You know about these experiences precisely because they were so wonderful and loving and meaningful to those folks they felt compelled to at least try to express and share them. And they have. Their stories have found resonance in your souls.
Student: Thank you, Father Michael, it clears up the subject quite a bit.
MICHAEL: You are very welcome, my son; be in my peace.
Student: I would like to ask a question. (Certainly!) As you talked about the soul or the consciousness, I was very aware of the soul or consciousness coming in. So when I’m doing my research on prenatal, perinatal, or even preconception consciousness of the soul coming in to the body; what I’m seeing is a sense of the continuity of consciousness that has existed prior to coming into the body, and then moves the body. That consciousness is actual. It goes through different personalities. Maybe could you give me… I’m trying to grasp this more fully to explain this in my project.
- Personality, soul, consciousness
MICHAEL: Yes, my daughter. Here again we’re confronting what I talked about this evening and that is: different philosophical, even psychological beliefs have different but not interchangeable words and notions for the fundamental reality of the human being. Some call it soul, but we call it personality, referring to the unique essence of a personal being. Last time Mother Spirit gave a long talk on the difference between personal and impersonal reality; what you know here on Urantia as people and things. We call this essential reality--this persisting reality of a person, their personality, and this is created by God and is associated with a sperm and egg upon fertilization. When those two unique cells come together and form a new and unique living organism, God in his absolute and infinite wisdom--which you theologically call omniscience—creates a unique personality that will be associated with that new living being. Upon birth and then experience, the new little baby gains consciousness of the outer world and in time consciousness of himself or herself. What we call ego—self-awareness—starts to form. Then, upon gaining a Thought Adjuster/Mystery Monitor/individualized presence of God within, this is when soul begins because we define soul as that combination of an individual’s life experiences as they are captured—literally taken on—by a discrete, individualized presence of God for the both of them. The living human being provides the time-and-space conditioned experience of their life at each unique moment in time, and the divine Thought Adjuster takes this on to create the eternal cosmic reality of a new soul--equally captured as well by that aspect of God’s omniscient soul we call the Supreme Being.
From this point of view there is no individual consciousness until the baby is born and starts experiencing. There is no soul that exists before living experience: the soul is that human experience as it is also experienced and taken on by a presence of God. Personality and soul begin here: these are the nurseries of time and space, the origin of your order of personal beings. But you do go on to world after world after world, transformation after transformation, hundreds of which before we bid you good-bye from our Local Universe and send you out into the galaxy.
You begin here, but with a living physical body that is an inheritance of not only your parents, and grandparents, and great-grandparents, but the whole evolution of life on Urantia. In this way you start out totally brand-spanking-new, but with a vehicle—if you will—that obeys and reacts to absolute natural laws of physics and chemistry--with which to experience the world—that is a culmination of a whole planet’s evolution of life as it was directed by our Life Carrier sons and Mother Spirit’s Mind/Spirit Adjutants. So this is how we refer to these different aspects of you, my daughter. You can entertain these notions as best you wish and see how they agree or don’t with your own conceptions.
Again: in different systems of thought what we call personality others call soul. Insofar as your soul is your life as experienced by a presence of God, it is easy to see why some folks consider this to be the primal essence of a person. But even beyond spirit, God is personality: the origin of everything is a personal being. Personality is the ultimate transcendent reality in the cosmos. Yours is endowed with spirit and creativity, endowed with life, but it is transcendent to these as God the Father is primal to the Eternal Son of spirit and the Third Person of deity, the origin of the cosmic mind. But that’s enough to think about for a while. (pause) Do you have any other questions?
Student: Well, I have one more. There are people who seem to be able to talk with the personalities of their loved ones who have passed on--who want to communicate with us. They seem to be effective in detecting the presence of that person; for instance my father, Joseph, seems to be able to…likes to communicate still, with me; and if this is real. I mean—that’s what I’m asking.
- Communicating with those who have passed on
MICHAEL: Yes, my daughter, the experience can be unquestionably real. But whether or not it is true within the context of your understanding is another question. We would see it more as your communicating with that soul-epiphany of your father that is still part of you. In other words, it is your personality communicating with another part of you that is quite transcendent to your normal consciousness, but it is not literally the personality of your father who may be one of the sleeping survivors or may already be re-personalized on the Mansion World. But from the essence of your father, from his conscious personality?--there is no communication. This is one thing that is not permitted.
At the same time the experience can be real because you are, though love and affection, and your own belief—the power of your own belief—able to communicate with this enormous soul-epiphany of what your father was to you during your whole life with him, and which is to a degree autonomous to your own personality. This is a genuine communication with a transcendent reality, but that reality is your own soul, my daughter. Again, we ask only that you entertain this viewpoint. You don’t have to decide right now. But this is also why we draw such a clear distinction between the personality and the soul. They are not one and the same entity. (pause) Was there anything further?
Student: I have a lot to think about. It’s good! It’s really good!--(she chuckles)
MICHAEL: Then be in my peace.
Student: I do have one more question. It’s regarding the birthing of a baby in our world, and there are so many technological advances it’s becoming slightly unnatural. I would like to know your opinion about this.
- Natural and unnatural-?childbirth
MICHAEL: Yes, my daughter, this too is allied with my lesson this evening. As your technology advances and increases its effects these are real abilities and choices it gives you. We mentioned once about how it was the pride of a home to have the complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and no one thirty or forty years ago thought that millions of homes would have a little TV screen with a typewriter attached where with the touch of a key they could get thousands of references to a subject in the fraction of a second. So technology touches all activities, even having babies.
These are individual choices--as we see them—coming from a greater freedom. Each particular method has its own unique essence, does it not? Natural human childbirth has occurred for hundreds of thousands of years now with women sometimes being totally alone at the time. For some it was only a passing annoyance to having the baby and took a very short time away from other work, while for others it was an agony even unto death. Fortunately there have usually been midwifes, mothers and sisters and friends who had gone through the experience themselves. Yet how many died because of what would now be minor complications?--the price that the female side of the human race has paid from the beginning.
So, my daughter, these are real choices now. This is a greater freedom offered—available. And like every other activity of life, every other event in life, it is the full physical, mental, and spiritual/soulful, even personal aspects that make each what it is. I have to leave it at this because only those who have experienced these things can truly evaluate them. I would not pretend to evaluate them, for them. As for yourself, just be open-minded as with everything; don’t assume you somehow automatically know. If you are interested in this, talk to those who have had the experience. See what it was for them. That is the actuality of what you were asking.
Student: Yes, thank you.
MICHAEL: You are very welcome; be in my peace.
Student: I’ve been feeling that going into stillness or just resting is like a kind of little death. It’s like dying to what has been and being reborn in to what is now. Not to be melodramatic, but I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety about my own tenacity to always be coming from myself, my own understanding and wisdom. That kind-of puts me out there alone. One group I’ve been participating in, called Great Freedom, does say that it’s harder to get the truth alone, that it helps to have a teacher and a community as well as the teachings themselves and the practice of meditation. And I can see the benefit of that; but I still seem to have a tenacious resistance to fully embrace that particular teaching, or any group. And it bothers me. I feel stumped and anxious right in my gut: it’s there. I know I’m a drop of consciousness in an ocean of consciousness, but that doesn’t always help with what to do about it. So… Do you have any comments about that? What am I going through?
One strange thing: I don’t feel that I am alone. I do feel that there’s a strong presence within and around me and that my so-called being alone makes my inner strength all the stronger. By testing things out the confidence is stronger and I’m more able to be a benefit. (very heavy sigh)
- A puzzlement of suffering
MICHAEL: My son, what I feel with my heart--what your heart is opening itself to express--is a puzzlement of suffering. It’s like you are saying, why am I suffering; why am I suffering still? We’ve talked about this before in terms of your feeling a nagging sense of unfulfilled potential that in turn deprives you of the sense of actuality, of being fully here. You’re identifying more with your unfulfilled potential and are not quite able to feel or experience how you truly are, fully complete just as you are. In your meditation you do feel the death of your ego-self and all you’ve been—the past, shall we say--and then the resurgence of your greater personal self in the eternal now. You’ve been through this over and over again.
Still some essential insecurity about yourself returns. You are still afraid of betraying yourself. You’ve expressed this so many times as a fear of being caught in some kind of illusion, selling yourself out by buying into some organization’s limited viewpoint. Part of this could be a projection of how you see others, giving you a sense of estrangement, of being a little too unique in this kind of uncertainty, whereas it is nigh universal. It might give you the illusion of seeing others as having sold out their own souls—what you are afraid of yourself—simply by their joining an organization and finding their truth in it. It makes them appear as sellouts or someone who has simply given up on what you’ve called their real nature; something to be afraid of yourself.
One solution could be seeing that this anxious questioning you’re feeling is just part of the deep human desire of self-realization and certainty, and for all your years of metaphysical studies you are simply hyper-aware of it. You have this deep desire to know the truth, yet also a fear that whatever truth you embrace will only prove an illusion; and so: how can you know something for sure when surety itself appears to be the prime mistake others are making? How can you fulfill your potential when the search for it might be fruitless? You’ll just get exhausted with the effort and buy into some lesser thing.
Student: Can I interject something? (Certainly) The thought comes that I will not fulfill my potential if I don’t follow the teachings of this organization; that I’m selling myself short. That’s what came up as you were speaking.
MICHAEL: That’s another living balance, right?—between how much you accept the need for a teacher and an organization to fulfill yourself, and at the same time, stay true to yourself. (student laughs) I think that’s the human situation for anyone who doesn’t—as you see it—either sell out their individual self by identifying with a group, or, on the contrary, become so stuck on themselves, so ego-centric and narcissistic that all they can realize is just a sliver of their God-given potential, never knowing the warmth of association that people can experience when they share their love, and affection, and insights.
Still: you have to wonder about this pain you’re expressing. (Yeah) Why does it hurt?
Student: Because I do long for true connection and true intimacy, true community. We talked about this a few meetings ago in terms of risk and I have a hard time seeing myself in this organization, even though I’ve been told I’d make a good teacher. Maybe there is some projection of what I think that would look like. And I don’t want to be confined by the four corners of an organization. That’s my own projection, I know, but that’s what I feel. Maybe I am deluding myself, but I just don’t like that feeling of, if I don’t belong to any organization then I can’t realize my potential. Even Monjoronson, and you, and Jesus, and other teachers have said it all comes down to each person standing as a personification of God, of truth, of clarity. I just want to be…come from a place of integrity and honesty. Because I have seen in the spiritual community a lot of dishonesty and unsavory experiences. I’m neither a recluse nor a social butterfly. I can go between the two, and I have a balance of that.
MICHAEL: Then still: what is the pain, the anxiety?
Student: That’s something I don’t know.
MICHAEL: That might be something to pursue. It does come across as something that hurts, and that is perhaps the undeniable reality you need to understand.
Student: The fear of being discounted, of not being valued. I feel the same pain when my daughter, who lives with me, who is very into herself—ego-centric, just discounts what I have to say, or even a plea to do certain things around the house. It’s a sense of not being seen, not being heard, being devalued. So somehow that’s tied in.
- How self-forgetful experience fills you soul, and changes you
MICHAEL: This could lead to a fear of losing yourself in an organization where you would be devalued, becoming just one of the herd. The one thing I would like you to consider is that in self-forgetfulness, in being one with your work, one with another person, one with an organization, this intrinsically changes you simply because you have taken in something new, something not-you. Your soul has more in it. And if, as you’ve experienced, you stay present with your soul in meditation--you’re not clinging to who you were yesterday or the day before, you feel this change. It can lead to wondering: am I still staying true to myself, or am I going off, buying into some illusion?
That calls for a decision, yet in the living present moment you cannot stand outside yourself to get more information except by creating a kind of duality, the very duality that you feel as pain and anxiety, and yet, ironically, you also fear losing. It’s the duality of simultaneously trying to be totally self-sufficient –coming from only your own independent wisdom, and yet too feeling a hunger for what others have to offer. You fear that if you lose this duality you equate with honesty, always standing outside yourself to wonder if you are fulfilling your potential; if you become totally one with your potential in a full commitment, then how will you know it? How can you know you haven’t just bought into some cloying, clinging, potential-destroying system, like the others you see around you appear to have? And so you are choosing moment to moment to persist in this duality in order to assess and evaluate what’s happening to you. And this is part of living a highly self-conscious life. This is why we talk about the supreme ability to have both the actuality of your life and yet not lose touch with your potential.
You have to ask yourself, my son, which do you see as the greater? Which is the greater, more transcendent reality: what is, or what might be? Which contains which? How complete and actual do you feel yourself to be, even with this persistent change you call time? Or do you feel something is missing? With all your training you’ve been taught over and over again to achieve a kind of unity within yourself, and yet a pure unity cannot, in the eternal now, evaluate itself. That’s the risk you run when you give yourself away, when you forget yourself and fully commit to something, for you can self-consciously evaluate something only in terms of a subject and object. Experientially—as experience, you have to leave a kind of purely-felt oneness in meditation and step off out into the world again.
Student: I would like to forget myself. (chuckle)
MICHAEL: Right. Then you need to have faith in yourself. Trust that you will pop up again to yourself. But you will not be the same person in the sense you will have taken in another, say, another person, another experience. That’s the essence of friendship, of loving exchange: each becomes part of the other’s soul-experience. There is no fear of losing oneself outside of one’s ego. You have to have faith and trust that there is this you, this personality, this God-created entity persisting through time as who you are even while what you have—your soul--constantly grows and evolves. But faith and trust are truly earned abilities so I’m hoping to put your focus more sharply on the human dilemma you embody and express so well.
Student: Part of the dilemma or consternation is that some of what you say I have a problem with. I don’t know. That could be because I don’t actually know, or it could be I just don’t believe it. Something is missing.
That’s what I’ve always thought!—something’s missing—not quite clicking. This other group’s philosophy is beautiful, and it’s profound, and it’s life-altering; but something’s missing. Maybe they don’t believe in a God, or something…
MICHAEL: Some folks don’t believe in truly individual personalities. What is called monism is the belief that God does not really create discrete personalities; He simply forgets Himself to be an only-illusory/apparently seperate person, and so death is only His rediscovering that All is One in the same sense that a drop of water goes back to the ocean of water. It’s always been water—God alone, not discrete, persisting-beyond-death experiential personalities that God gives autonomy and freedom from Himself—the potential for conscious free will, even while He sustains them.
Student: So that’s where I have the agony, the anguish. What is the truth? It is so compelling—what this other group’s teaching is. And it does change lives. It just talks about the essence of who we are—perfect clarity. We are perfect clarity; everything is perfect clarity. It cuts through all the materialism and belief systems and brings it all down to the basic state of who we all are. So there is that.
MICHAEL: But any comprehensive articulation is another belief system, is it not?
Student: Yes. But my thing is too, and I’ve expressed this to the people in the group, because they say to practice short moments of awareness until it becomes automatic, or wisdom, or clarity. It is a teaching of awareness. So it’s like: am I focused on awareness or am I focused on the organization that teaches awareness? There is a distinction there.
The other thing too is to allow myself to rest and be still, and then the wisdom comes from myself, comes from my own consciousness, my own understanding. I think that’s more powerful. I’m able to live my unique life from that place. Do you understand what I’m saying?
- Looking at things problematically
MICHAEL: Yes. The difficulty is that you so perfectly express your situation and yet still there’s that lingering kind of pain. One other thing to consider is that perhaps you feel a necessity to look at your life in a problematic kind of way; that’s your orientation. Why is any of this a problem? (Yes) You have your ability to tune in to yourself and really feel that. As you say, you feel a little death in letting past anxieties go, you attain a good feeling of here-and-now, but then the anxiousness keeps coming up.
Meanwhile you do have an analytical ability derived from a lifetime enjoying studying various philosophies and religions, on your own and in groups; along with, perhaps, a romantic attachment to being a loner. Groups are just the antithesis of that.
Student, laughing: I don’t know if “romantic attachment” is the right word… In that part: it is what it is. That’s the way my life is.
MICHAEL, laughing along: Well, there! We solved it!
Student: But it is true—I will look at that. Why am I making this into a problem? If I’m already the essence of God already established here and now; then go with that.
MICHAEL: Perhaps recognize that you’re already exercising your freedom. You are constantly making choices as to what you want to do, within limits you’re also constantly exploring and challenging.
Student: And the organization is called Great Freedom. So… I understand. Perfect! Thank you.
MICHAEL: See if you can find a little more peace. You’re certainly welcome to as much of mine as you can realize. I’m definitely sending it your way. Mother Spirit, and I, and our mutual Father are right in there with you.
On that note we’ll wind up tonight. This human psychology you have--all the ways these component parts of you work together; the way your personality, in order to realize and express itself--you, does identify sometimes so totally with constructs of your own creation. That ego self-awareness is essentially what dies, or you let go, in meditation and prayer in order to be open to the other spiritual presences within you: your Father Fragment, Mother Spirit, my Spirit of Truth, even your own soul and wisdom—all this life you’ve already lived.
We talk about response-ability, a little hyphen in there because it is an ability, a soul-wealth that you have to earn. You are out here, trial-and-error, but also a creative being able to come up with alternatives, able to frame the situation, or relax even that and be content in feeling the completeness that is each moment of God’s creation.
You are complete; everything is complete in each moment in the sense of nothing missing: it’s all here. But there is no clinging to this because it is a changing, growing completeness--however impossible that seems purely physically—of every personal being’s soul growing with experience. That is the full nature of reality, of God’s will manifesting as the Supreme Being, the over-soul of creation.
- Actual and potential
This living, encompassing actuality contains potential, especially the ideals that are so much a part of your human longing--as goodness, pointing you the way to grow. There is a uni-verse in that God does experience a one-ness of everything, that we, His children, can only cherish and appreciate with faith, and do our best to grow toward and realize ourselves. Meanwhile, respect the real; give due respect to the actual. It is an infinite encompassing to any finite creature. It contains the potential, and as you are able to actualize more and more, as you grow your abilities, so your potential grows too; so more and more is possible. That’s the relationship.
So respect this encompassing reality within which you are given life. Feel for it; feel for the loving, sustaining completeness of Him in whom we live and have our being.
And be in my peace. Good evening.