I left the past of my young adult life under a dark cloud, as I’ve told about in one of my poems, Straddling the High Beams of Anderson Bridge, a bridge in my hometown. “Got away by following my angels, just as I’d done since childhood, out of the trash-filled alleyways, where one forgotten flower bloomed.” I escaped “the moral chasm … drugs, drinking, and nights of cruelty,” and was carried into the arms of God, carried like the person in that well known poem Footprints in the Sand (attributed to three authors):
“I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life, there was only one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?"
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, it was then that I carried you.”
Leaving my wasted youth at age 21, carried on a tide, swept up, swept along by California rock music, the 1960’s, hippie culture, I didn’t have language that angels, or God, or Jesus were carrying me until later when I had reborn insight.
Out of the clutches of evil, I was recently carried once again, was reminded of the refuge of God’s loving embrace, after a week of futile dialogue with family members who mocked and scorned the spiritual efforts we Urantia Book readers have learned are so valuable to our future careers in eternity.
The UB teaches important distinctions between evil and sin. "By nature, before the rebirth of the spirit, mortal man is subject to inherent evil tendencies, but such natural imperfections of behavior are neither sin nor iniquity. Mortal man is just beginning his long ascent to the perfection of the Father in Paradise. To be imperfect or partial in natural endowment is not sinful.” (The UB, 148:4.6)
My wife added to my slight knowledge about the experience of spiritual rebirth, being “born again” as Christians like to say it, and she then introduced me to The Urantia Book, The UB, where I learned more from Jesus’s discussions with his apostles about “the new life in the kingdom.”
He warned them about sharing spiritual wisdom with unbelievers. “When you enter the kingdom, you are reborn. You cannot teach the deep things of the spirit to those who have been born only of the flesh; first see that men are born of the spirit before you seek to instruct them in the advanced ways of the spirit.” (141:6.4)
I should have re-read that passage before teaching the noble truths of forgiveness to those who did not have ears to hear them.
We UB students often talk about the power of symbol and story, how a new symbol is needed (see The UB Paper 87:7.6 to learn more). Here is my personal, powerful motivating symbol. As a very young man, I’d been deeply impressed with the image of being carried in the arms of an angel when I read the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale (see 1844 illustration), a picture that has stayed with me all the rest of my life. The story is told in the words of “an angel of God, as he carried a child up to heaven.”
"In the Father's kingdom you are to become new creatures; old things are to pass away; behold I show you how all things are to become new. And by your love for one another you are to convince the world that you have passed from bondage to liberty, from death into life everlasting.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, The UB, 143:2.3)
“What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
(Songwriters: Elisha A. Hoffman / Cyril A. Mclellan / A. Showalter)
When our California poet, Robinson Jeffers, wrote Carmel Point (1951), his perspective was ecological. “We must uncenter our minds from ourselves; we must unhumanize our views a little.” I was influenced by his protest against the suburban development threatening his home town, a message that urged fellow human beings to live in greater harmony with the natural world. He envisioned,“This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses,” and expressed fear of what seemed sure to come. The “beautiful place” where he lived was Big Sur.
In our planet’s history, we started out earth-centered, then, after Galileo and Copernicus, solar-centered. We have a spiritual goal of becoming less self-centered, as mapped out in The Urantia Book (The UB). But perhaps the ultimate task before us is to become universe centered, cosmic citizens. In Ken Wilber’s 4 major stages of moral Growing Up that all humans go through: stage 1 is selfish—also called “egocentric,” also meaning self-centered or narcissistic; stage 2, care extended from self to an entire group, from a “me” to an “us”—family, clan, tribe, nation, members of a religious family or political party, a stage called “ethnocentric,” or group-centered; next major stage, stage 3, universal care—a stage also called “worldcentric,” global or all-humans-centered. Finally, stage 4, called integrated, producing a full and complete human being—what we also call “kosmocentric (from A Revolutionary Spirituality: Waking Up and Growing Up).
The scientist E. O. Wilson once commented, “just how far from the center has been hard to imagine …It would be becoming of us to speak modestly of our status in the cosmos.” (The Meaning of Human Existence)
Neither Jeffers’ “uncentering” nor Wilson’s comment on “our status” refers to the kind of selflessness Jesus taught. However Jeffer’s poem reminded me to heed the call to a deeper and broader citizenship that was begun by the ecology movement, one that may find its natural completion in cosmic citizenship.
“I come with a new message of self-forgetfulness and self-control. I show to you the way of life as revealed to me by my Father in heaven.” (143:2.2)
This self-forgetfulness, leaving the self out (48:6.26), allows one to know oneself as a Son of God, not, of course, what the unreligious poet, Jeffers, meant about unhumanizing ourselves, but his poem does help me grow closer to the true self I am becoming.
“The three apostles were shocked this afternoon when they realized that their Master's religion made no provision for spiritual self-examination. All religions before and after the times of Jesus, even Christianity, carefully provide for conscientious self-examination. But not so with the religion of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus' philosophy of life is without religious introspection.” (140:8.27)
I always had trouble with this passage from The UB because I was so influenced by the famous adage, “the unexamined life is not worth living,” (Socrates). I was much too Greek in nature and orientation to understand Jesus’ perspective. When Jesus taught Nabon, a Greek Jew, Nabon did seem to meet him halfway in acknowledging that, “true faith is predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism.” (132:3.5)
“Achievement is the child of imaginative adventure. But inherent in this capacity for achievement is the responsibility of ethics, the necessity for recognizing that the world and the universe are filled with a multitude of differing types of beings. All of this magnificent creation, including yourself, was not made just for you.” (28:6.18)
We can grow into this truth about not putting ourselves at the center of human community, even though our egos may fight back, resist the surrendering of our self-importance. Many have already learned to come unstuck on ourselves, have let our attachment to the self go, at least some of the time.
If we are brave in our self-exploration, we find out that what we’ve defined as the self doesn’t even seem to be enough, or match our spirit guide’s plan for “our career (44:8.4),” the Thought Adjuster’s vision of who we are to become.
Prayer and worship life reveal the possibility of a higher, better self, one way in which Jesus has been “exemplary” for mortals. He taught his followers, “Guard against the great danger of becoming self-centered in your prayers… pray more for the spiritual progress of your brethren,” (146:2.10) a technique I’ve been happy to learn, the shift from self to others in my own prayer life. I continue to be happy with the results.
My friend at work, Anna Oliva, born, raised and educated in Mexico, spontaneously reacted when I mentioned Quetzalcoatl in conversation. “He had blue eyes,” were the very first words out of her mouth. Legends tell us that Quetzalcoatl was tall and light-skinned, with blonde hair and a beard, in contrast to the natives who were shorter, dark skinned and dark haired. I think the real human person at the heart of the ancient mythology must have been mixed race, or of a different race, perhaps known as Andite, if we read what The Urantia Book has to say. Quetzalcoatl may have been mixed blood of the orange race, or descended from the Andites of Peru, “traces of Andite blood reached Peru.” (79:5.9) Montezuma famously believed, even if only for a moment, that Cortes fulfilled the prophecy of Quetzalcoatl’s return. Interestingly, the Andites had returned. They came to Mexico as Spanish conquistadors.
Kukulcan (Mayan name) or Quetzalcoatl was “the priest-king of Tula” and may have been the father of agriculture in Central and South American. He may have been instrumental in the development and spread of maize. As the god of learning, of writing, and of books, Quetzalcóatl was particularly venerated in the calmecac which were religious colleges annexed to the temples, in which the future priests and the sons of the nobility were educated.
He emerged from a priest society in the spiritual culture of the Toltecs, became a teacher of his people, and introduced the sacrifice of butterflies and birds to take the place of human sacrifice. He is remembered by Aztec poets, one of whom wrote, "Truly with him it began, truly from him it flowed out, from Quetzalcoatl all art and knowledge."
The UB paints a more complex picture of the racial makeup in the prehistoric Americas. “These tribes [relatively pure-line remnants of the red race] were accompanied by three small groups of mixed ancestry, the largest of these being a combination of the orange and blue races. These three groups never fully fraternized with the red man and early journeyed southward to Mexico and Central America, where they were later joined by a small group of mixed yellows and reds. These peoples all intermarried and founded a new and amalgamated race, one which was much less warlike than the pure-line red men. Within five thousand years this amalgamated race broke up into three groups, establishing the civilizations respectively of Mexico, Central America, and South America.” (The UB, 64:7.5)
Only Peru is mentioned as the recipient of the Andite blood line. The UB records that sometime between 12,000 and 8,000 BC (a more specific date is not given), “One hundred and thirty-two of this race, embarking in a fleet of small boats from Japan, eventually reached South America and by intermarriage with the natives of the Andes established the ancestry of the later rulers of the Incas.” (78:5.7)
The Japanese origin of the journey throws me, because it discredits the first visualization that came to my mind of the famous Polynesian sailing canoes.
As Saskia Revouri speculates in her article, God’s Orchestra. “The Urantia Book tells us that the outstanding characteristic of the orange race was “their peculiar urge to build, to build anything and everything, even to the piling up of vast mounds of stone just to see which tribe could build the largest mound (64:6.10).” “Let’s pair up an orange woman with a blue/Andonite man—their descendants might produce vast, artistic mounds of stone. Now if we inject these people with a dose of violet blood, which would accelerate their creative imaginations, they could very well build … cities such as the Inca Macchu Picchu in Peru.”From Saskia’s article on http://www.squarecircles.com/articles/orchestra.htm
It’s possible that our most enduring legacy of the orange race is located here on the Central and South American continents. Somewhat rapidly, these descendants of the orange-red-Andite race accepted the person of Jesus promoted by the Catholic Church. There is much discussion of the reasons why this came to be. Was it because they were “broken-hearted” as Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman) says. Or was it a practical decision to make the children’s lives easier in a white-dominated culture as Black Elk says defending his conversion to Catholicism. Or did they also recognize, by means of Spirit of Truth or Thought Adjuster insights, the cosmically significant reality of the bestowal of Michael of Nebadon?
In the Instruction for Teachers and Believers (The Urantia Book, The UB, 159:3), Jesus’s very first teaching was, “Always respect the personality of man. Never should a righteous cause be promoted by force; spiritual victories can be won only by spiritual power.”
His wisdom led to a new insight into a family dispute I’ve been involved in for nearly two years, learning anew that people go through their process at their own pace. I may believe there is a higher way the other should discover or learn, but I can’t make someone grow as fast as I might wish they would.
Speaking on his tour of the Greek region, the Decapolis (see photo of Gerasa, a Decapolis city), Jesus continued, “This injunction against the employment of material influences refers to psychic force as well as to physical force. Overpowering arguments and mental superiority are not to be employed to coerce men and women into the kingdom. Man's mind is not to be crushed by the mere weight of logic or overawed by shrewd eloquence.” (The UB, 159:3.2)
What Jesus also meant here was we must respect the free will choices of others. I had been verbally punished by a family member, one whom I already knew had a mean streak and a cold cruel tendency, and the encounter hurt so much that we haven’t spoken since. What was it made her choose to act in this way? Such behavior is usually adopted to defend oneself from something or someone perceived as threatening, perhaps something even I might have done in my conceited and arrogant teenage years, but that wasn’t relevant. I’d never been told such a thing; it remained an imagined offense best put out of one’s mind. The other’s behavior might not even be an entirely well-informed free will choice if the behavior is being run by a “lower self,” without the help of a spirit guide, Thought Adjuster, or seraphim. Whatever is keeping them locked in that place of hurtful behavior must be overcome in their own time.
Here is, perhaps, another way of looking at it: “Be kind to people and don’t judge, for you do not know what demons they carry and what battles they are fighting.” Vashti Quiroz-Vega
Jesus’ admonition to respect the personality of the other brought a great infusion of compassion into my soul. Unable to impose our schedule for growth on another who must, by the lights of their own wisdom, take steps to grow when they are ready, I can pray they’ll find higher forms of behavior. They may choose help to understand where the violent emotion originates from, perhaps through therapy for the pain.
Our heavenly helpers treat us with the same respect; “under no circumstances do these divine Monitors ever take advantage of you or in any way arbitrarily influence you in your choices and decisions. The Adjusters respect your sovereignty of personality; they are always subservient to your will.” (110:2.1)
There is a universal law at work here. “How dare the self-willed creature encroach upon the rights of his fellows in the name of personal liberty when the Supreme Rulers of the universe stand back in merciful respect for these prerogatives of will and potentials of personality!” (54:1.9) We all have the right to our mistakes, the experiences of growth in values that might come from such an “educational episode” (160:4.15).
For me, I’m discovering new steps I can take in walking “the way of God.”
Our study group finished reading Papers 47, “The Seven Mansion Worlds,” and 48, “The Morontia Life,” several months ago. The Urantia Book (The UB) is the first big bestowal of new information on the topic of afterlife since the ancient writings of the Bible were first assembled.
A non-believer friend of mine commented in conversation, “a short life, with such a long time to be gone.” It was a reminder of how much the concept of afterlife had lost acceptance. It’s no wonder, when you consider how very little development there has been in our ideas of afterlife.
I opened a conversation with another non-believer friend with this: A good question to begin with, I think, is why might there be an afterlife? What are the logical reasons? Does it have some administrative purpose, such as: are people needed to run the universe?
“It is the design of the Creators to afford the creatures of time a graduated opportunity to master the details of the operation and administration of the grand universe.” (48:8.2)
As many readers of The UB know, the book does not accept the idea of reincarnation in another life on this planet. We will “reincarnate,” but in a new body, a morontia form, on other planets in the system that are more suitable for our progress.
All the participants in our study group agreed that rehabilitation of some kind will undoubtedly be required. “The human race was created just a little lower than the more simple types of the angelic orders. Therefore will your first assignment of the morontia life be as assistants to the seraphim in the immediate work awaiting at the time you attain personality consciousness subsequent to your liberation from the bonds of the flesh.” (113:7.3)
We had lots of discussion about what “the immediate work” is. Anger management? Continued forgiveness work? I’m certain about that one. Overcoming depression? Finding peace?
The poet Kabir clearly understood what to expect in the next life. “If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive, do you think ghosts will do it after? … The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic just because the body is rotten, that is all fantasy. What is found now is found then.” (To Be a Slave of Intensity, Kabir)
The UB confirms what Kabir intuited, “On mansion world number one (or another in case of advanced status) you will resume your intellectual training and spiritual development at the exact level whereon they were interrupted by death. Between the time of planetary death or translation and resurrection on the mansion world, mortal man gains absolutely nothing aside from experiencing the fact of survival. You begin over there right where you leave off down here.” (47:3.7)\
Many of us will go to the nursery worlds. Even those of us who’ve been parents may find we have not drunk the full cup of experience in this regard. Chappell and I, who only raised one girl, sometimes hear jokes about parents who didn't have to raise a boy!
We all hope to see beloved family members, as I hope to see Grandma, but The UB reminds us that some sleep until the next dispensation and some awaken after three days. I once wrote a poem about all the many questions I had for my grandmother so I hope she's not still sleeping when I open my eyes in morontia.
Our primitive planet has a unique beauty in the local universe that will probably live in our hearts. “On Jerusem [headquarters of Satania, our local system] you will miss the rugged mountain ranges of Urantia and other evolved worlds since there are neither earthquakes nor rainfalls.” (46:2.1)
Friends and students of The UB have posed these questions: What about living arrangements when we arrive? Dorm style? Do we still live with the people we are living with now? I think it depends on the important lessons we have ahead of us. Our current companions may not be the best resource for our advancement.
One person in our study group hoped to see their pet animals who died on Earth in “heaven,” but I think they will be disappointed. “The life bestowed upon plants and animals by the Life Carriers does not return to the Life Carriers upon the death of plant or animal. The departing life of such a living thing possesses neither identity nor personality; it does not individually survive death.” (36:6.5)
In an added commentary to teachings Jesus gave to his followers, The UB authors say, “In the next world you will be asked to give an account of the endowments and stewardships of this world. Whether inherent talents are few or many, a just and merciful reckoning must be faced. If endowments are used only in selfish pursuits and no thought is bestowed upon the higher duty of obtaining increased yield of the fruits of the spirit, as they are manifested in the ever-expanding service of men and the worship of God, such selfish stewards must accept the consequences of their deliberate choosing.” (176:3.8)
“… death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery. (14:5.10)
“Curiosity—the spirit of investigation, the urge of discovery, the drive of exploration—is a part of the inborn and divine endowment of evolutionary space creatures. These natural impulses were not given you merely to be frustrated and repressed. True, these ambitious urges must frequently be restrained during your short life on earth, disappointment must be often experienced, but they are to be fully realized and gloriously gratified during the long ages to come. (14:5.11)
Besides the opportunities to continue learning, growing, experiencing, finding fulfillment, there is at least one thing I definitely look forward to on the morontia worlds: that we will no longer be living under the residual allegiance to the Lucifer doctrine. I will breathe a sigh of relief to find myself freed from this noisy, materialistic, cruel, and damaged world!
“The Spirit breathes where he will, and you hear his voice, but you do not know from where he comes and where he goes; thus is everyone who is born from The Spirit.” (The Aramaic Bible)
“The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going." (Jesus teaching Nicodemus, an elder of the Sanhedrin, in John 3:8, The Urantia Book, The UB, 142:6.5)
I remember these first metaphors of Spirit from Sunday School lessons, and I’d read the Rossetti poem, “Who has seen the wind?” when I was very young. Recently, I was asked the question, “What is spirit anyway?” by a young person obviously struggling for a comprehensible answer. Although I didn’t have a chance to provide one at the time, I owe it to my youthful seeker to try to do so here.
“The Spirit is the personification of the Father's love and the Son's mercy; in him are they eternally united for universal service. The Spirit is love applied to the creature creation, the combined love of the Father and the Son.” (8:4.2)
When psychology began to discover spirit behind mind, it crossed over into the borderlands of religion. Jung, Maslow, among others, in the 1950’s and 60’s, pioneered the study of the spiritual dimension of the human psyche. “Spirit is always intelligent, minded in some way.” (9:4.2)
“Spirit is divine purpose, and spirit mind is divine purpose in action.” (9:4.5)
“The Third Person of Deity is the source of mind …” (9:5.4) “Third Person of Deity is the intellectual center and the universal administrator of the mind realms;” (9:1.5)
Our younger friend’s question, “What is Spirit?” grew out of a conversation at a dinner party, where I introduced the idea that the kids I was tutoring had naturally occurring high ideals but weren’t being taught to develop a philosophy of life to support their ideals. Instead they were given the nihilism of “The Stranger” by Camus. This group at the party were science-minded; they had to have things empirically proven, demonstrated, and they were impatient with “invisible” spirit, or an “imaginary friend.” We soon were discussing psychology, which many people now discredit as a scientific discipline, so I wasn’t surprised to hear the young people in our conversation debunk its status as “a science.”
I wanted to answer the young man who posed the question: when you are talking to me, I do not see neural synapses linking words taken from memory banks, tissues of the brain, I see a person who loves, and a mind that dreams. I see the River of Delight, creative vision, the power of imagination flowing through our lives. The only proof I can offer is the effect this power has in restoring ourselves and others, same way that the mystery of dark energy’s existence can only be proven by understanding gravitation, the workings of which remain a mystery to scientists today.
Lately, I’ve grown more concerned about the lack of a philosophy of life when I read surveys that say there is a higher incidence of depression and suicide among millennials, aged 18-35. (Psychological Bulletin, APA, 12/28/17). A Scientific American article asks what will replace religion as the traditional source of meaning.
I try often to seek the guidance of the Spirit and hope that others do so. Lately in my experience, my trilogy of encouragements has been:
(1) have confidence in your value as a person and the worth of your achievements (believe in yourself is the secular counterpart);
(2) be reassured that all things work together for the good (although originally a Christian sentiment, motivational counselors advise you to expect the best and prepare for the failures; “the 10,000 things that you successfully found did not work,” give you a valuable perspective on yourself, a more accurate view of reality, and the ultimate achievement of your dream); finally,
(3) trust God or Spirit with your destiny, no matter how much opposition you experience on the outside (believe that with persistence, and the refusal to accept defeat, a good outcome for your life will prevail). All three of these views are taught as secular philosophies in the corporate world when we are grownups. They would be even more effective if partnered with the power of Spirit.
Coincidentally, not long after my conversation with the young skeptics professing their atheism, I met a retired Catholic priest at a local coffee shop. He discovered me reading Black Elk’s life story and then showed me the biography of a visionary he’d just purchased. We found we shared a common interest in Thomas Merton. In our conversation about various religious topics, he told me about his life’s mission: to reform Catholicism from the inside. I told him I thought of the Trinity as a family located in some way at the center of the universe, a Mother (Spirit), Father and Son, who work to keep the extended family together. It was an image of the Holy Trinity that he spontaneously approved.
I’ll give the last word to The Urantia Book (note The UB synonyms for Infinite Spirit are Third Source and Center and Conjoint Actor). “While you envisage the Father as an original creator and the Son as a spiritual administrator, you should think of the Third Source and Center as a universal co-ordinator, a minister of unlimited co-operation. The Conjoint Actor is the correlator of all actual reality; (s)he is the Deity repository of the Father's thought and the Son's word …” (9:1.3)
The Arrow of Time:
In what direction does the arrow of time fly? To believers, for whom God is the archer, his divine Monitor within guides our hand to the target chosen for our most ideal life and career, the achievement of his will. When Darwin discovered the principle of evolution, he did not believe that it had a goal of progress; it was a matter of luck or chance that individuals possessed variations allowing them to survive and reproduce. The Urantia Book (The UB) reveals the concept of progressive development as a truth. “It is the presence of the seven adjutant mind-spirits on the primitive worlds that conditions the course of organic evolution; that explains why evolution is purposeful and not accidental.” (The UB, Pg. 401, 5:1)
Perhaps in such modern books as God and the Evolving Universe, in which the authors (Redfield, Murphy and Timbers) state that, “Christianity preserved and extended the Jewish belief in ‘the arrow of time,’ the promise that the world has direction and purpose,” we are seeing an end to the seemingly predominant, secularized, materialistic philosophy that followed Darwin’s discovery. His old explanation promoted the random nature, chaotic motion, the up and down cycles of planetary progress. In our modern philosophy, there even arose an anxiety about the pointlessness of the motion; the nihilism of no direction. Secular philosophers and their followers counter that religious thinkers had created a false optimism. The atmosphere of our current era confirms that Freud’s lesson was well learned: religion was a childish delusion and atheism is “grown-up” realism. Materialism views time’s leaps and slides, its steps forward and falls backwards, as clustering around an unchanging mean or median.
The Urantia Book challenges religious thinkers, “Can you not advance in your concept of God's dealing with man to that level where you recognize that the watchword of the universe is progress?” (4:1.2)
This idea is central to a branch of philosophy known as teleology, the study of purposes, goals, ends and functions. “Intrinsic or immanent teleology is concerned with cases of aiming or striving towards goals” (Routledge Encyclopedia); ups and downs occur but the median point on the graph gradually rises. For example, in race relations, European conquerors once enslaved and killed other indigenous races wherever they founded colonies. Gradually, we have ended many such practices, even though we still deal with residual racism and ideas of white supremacy. It has been pointed out that slavery has not really ended: “according to Gallup surveys of 167 countries, there are 45.8 million slaves worldwide. … [defined as] someone owned, someone working as a forced laborer or prostitute, someone in debt bondage or in a forced marriage,” and this should not be overlooked. (National Review, 6/4/2016) http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436205/slavery-still-exists
For certain, we’ve witnessed the default of universe plans for planetary progress, beginning with “Caligastia's adherence to the Lucifer rebellion,” (50:4.11) and there have been cultural retrogressions. It is no wonder many view Urantia’s history as random and chaotic with no enduring progress achieved. It is a story with roots from way before secularist mechanistic philosophy took hold. In the rebellion, Lucifer derided the idea of progressing spiritual advancement, and “advocated that ascenders should enjoy the liberty of individual self-determination. He challenged and condemned the entire plan of mortal ascension as sponsored by the Paradise Sons of God and supported by the Infinite Spirit … With derision he pointed out that the finaliters had encountered a destiny no more glorious than to be returned to humble spheres similar to those of their origin,” (53:3.6) a circular destiny, no progress achieved in the end.
Steve Mcintosh (author/philosopher) developed an integral philosophy that is teleological, a doctrine of design and purpose in the material world http://www.integralworld.net/mcintosh4.html.
“The primary values of beauty, truth and goodness can be expansively understood as the actual directions of evolution. And understanding where evolution is headed is, of course, a central inquiry for a philosophy that defines itself in evolutionary terms. … properly understood, these questions [about the directions of evolution’s unfolding] relate to every situation in which the need for improvement can be recognized.”
Mcintosh teaches that cultural evolution is driven by humanity's quest to improve its conditions, a quest driven by that which people consider valuable. He believes people by nature choose a teleological philosophy, a positive direction. Integral philosophy's understanding of the spiral of development demonstrates how each stage of consciousness constructs its worldview out of agreements about values that give us, “the actual directions of evolution.”
Jesus upstepped the trajectory of the Jewish arrow of wisdom, and he laid down more progressive concepts of God and his Universe. “The fact of Jesus' earthly life provides a fixed point for the anchor of time, while the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth provides for the everlasting expansion and endless growth of the religion which he lived and the gospel which he proclaimed. The spirit guides into all truth; he is the teacher of an expanding and always-growing religion of endless progress and divine unfolding.” (194:3.8)
Currently, Steve McIntosh carries on teaching this truth: “As it now becomes increasingly necessary for humanity to participate in guiding cultural evolution toward a more positive future, knowledge of evolution’s essential methods, techniques, and directions is of critical importance.”
The Urantia Book was placed here partly to confirm this central idea lost in the fog and fury of the Lucifer manifesto. Jesus’s refusal of the Lucifer proposals was “the real end of the Lucifer rebellion,” (53:8.4) and now, “Mankind is on the march toward a new and unrevealed planetary destiny.” (99:1.1)
How do we put it together in our minds that the absolute, unchanging God can also be a growing, evolving God, manifesting in new ways? In conversations with my Catholic cousin, he had a great deal of trouble unifying these seemingly contradictory ideas of Deity, not to say I didn’t. We can do it if we begin to accept the fundamental idea that not only life continues to evolve but also God is evolving, to meet with the needs brought about by changes in the earth, the universe, and transformations initiated by human beings. That is why The Urantia Book (The UB) offers us its new vision, a revelation of a Supreme Being. “Action, completion of decisions, is essential to the evolutionary attainment of ... progressive kinship with ... the Supreme Being.” (pg. 1211; 110.6.17)
Talking about God as The Supreme is not new. Asian religions have used the term in their sacred writings. When I was a yoga student, it was the first term for God that I learned from the Hindu tradition. "How universal is the Supreme—he is on all sides! The limitless things of creation depend on his presence for life, and none are refused." Those of us who are students of history know about Robespierre’s establishment of a Cult of the Supreme Being to replace Roman Catholicism during the French Revolution.
The Supreme is perhaps the biggest upgrade to our language in The UB of the many that the authors attempted. It’s not just another name for God; it is classified as one of the Seven levels of Total Deity and, as The Supreme Being of the Sevenfold God, is the fourth step in our approach to the Paradise Trinity.
Philosophers, thinkers and theologians have often tried to harmonize a god of “Being,” with a god still “Becoming.” The UB refers to the Static, Potential, Associative aspects of Deity, “This incomprehensible aspect of Deity may be static, potential, and associative but is not experientially creative or evolutional as concerns the intelligent personalities now functioning in the master universe,” (0:11.14). It is what Tillich and others described as “the Absolute ground of Being.” The god who is becoming, whose creative nature is still expanding, unfolding, growing, and developing is Associative, Creative, Evolutional, and becoming a personality, God the Supreme.
In a class I attended years ago, workshop leader and teacher of The UB, David Glass, came up with the mnemonic device SPACE-SU (IT added to make it a word easy to memorize) to teach the Seven levels of Deity in the Foreword (The UB, 0:1.3, pg 2; Foreword.I.1-4) . I still regularly use it to help me remember them.
Static:“We may choose something like a star to stay our minds on and be staid.” (Robert Frost)
Potential: “The Tao … is like the eternal void; filled with infinite possibilities. It is hidden but
always present.I don’t know who gave birth to it.It is older than God.” (Tao Te Ching #4)
Associative: “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. (John 17: 21-26)
“The universe is triune … there is nothing that is not a unity of potentiality, actuality and connecting motion.” (Nicholas of Cusa, De Docta Ignorantia, circa 1450)
Creative: “Where there is creation there is progress. Where there is no creation, there is no
progress.” (Chandogya Upanishad 7.16-25, Trans. by Juan Mascaro)
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51)
Evolutional: “God is a verb.” (Buckminster Fuller)
Supreme: “Supreme reality … is in process of dynamic growth between the unqualified potentials of outer space and the unqualified actuals at the center of all things.” (UB, pg. 1264; 115. sec 4)
Ultimate:“time-space-transcending Deity.” (The UB, pg. 2)
In paper 94:3.3 (The UB) we read about the advances made in Hindu religion: "Had the philosophers of those days been able to make this next advance in deity conception, had they been able to conceive of the Brahman as associative and creative, as a personality approachable by created and evolving beings, then might such a teaching have become the most advanced portraiture of Deity on Urantia since it would have encompassed the first five levels of total deity function and might possibly have envisioned the remaining two."
The Supreme Being is also the fourth step in “our sevenfold approach to Deity,” (0:8.1) by which, “the finite attains the embrace of the infinite.” (0:8.11)
Jesus’ teaching about the approachability to God (through the Supreme) is one that survived in Christianity. “Come to me, all you that are weary, and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8)
Michael Meade envisioned the reciprocal creation, our participation in the evolution of the Supreme through our own creative actions; he puts it this way, “The genius of human nature involves innate capacities for creation and invention that are important in the life of each individual and essential to the balance of the world. The true individual, by virtue of being himself or herself, enters a state of partnership with the ongoing acts of creation and thereby adds something to life that was not there before.” (Michael Meade, The Genius Myth, p. 14)
We as artists, musicians, writers, and others who seek to reveal the Supreme through our creative work, or as parents, community leaders, organizers work to effect such a revelation in our actions, we are discovering more new pathways for doing God’s will. It’s a path to mutual love of God and humanity in conjoined action, a path to Joy.
What a resurrection of the spirit I am feeling this Palm Sunday as sun breaks through the black clouds following a rain storm. Upon witnessing our young people lead a march for the restoration of health and sanity to our nation, I wanted to grab a palm frond and join the crowd. It’s hard not to feel that a new day dawns.
Listen to the speeches of our youth who cry out for change, a transformation in the national character. They may bring you to tears. “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)
I’ve often enjoyed the way Jesus presented his wisdom to the young Ganid. His words spoken to his young student seem to have a stronger appeal to me, perhaps because I experience Jesus’s one-on-one intimate ministry, whereas the group discourses are less personal. “There lives within every human mind a divine spirit, the gift of the Father in heaven. This good spirit ever strives to lead us to God, to help us to find God and to know God; but also within mortals there are many natural physical tendencies which the Creator put there to serve the well-being of the individual and the race. Now, oftentimes, men and women become confused in their efforts to understand themselves and to grapple with the manifold difficulties of making a living in a world so largely dominated by selfishness and sin.”
After this general description of the challenges people face in life, Jesus then went on to recount the amazing biography that he’d read in the faces of the “two public women” who had accosted them. “I perceive, Ganid, that neither of these women is willfully wicked. I can tell by their faces that they have experienced much sorrow; they have suffered much at the hands of an apparently cruel fate; they have not intentionally chosen this sort of life; they have, in discouragement bordering on despair, surrendered to the pressure of the hour and accepted this distasteful means of obtaining a livelihood as the best way out of a situation that to them appeared hopeless. Ganid, some people are really wicked at heart; they deliberately choose to do mean things, but, tell me, as you look into these now tear-stained faces, do you see anything bad or wicked?" (133:3.7)
There were, of course, times when Jesus did not share the good news of the way to higher realities with those they encountered, for example, when they met the “thoughtless pagan,” Ganid expressed surprise that he did not make conversation with the man as a lead up to a spiritual discussion, to which Jesus replied, "Ganid, the man was not hungry for truth. He was not dissatisfied with himself. He was not ready to ask for help, and the eyes of his mind were not open to receive light for the soul.” (132:7.2)
To learn more trust between our fellows, to believe that people can find it in themselves to do the right thing, “Make your appeals directly to the divine spirit that dwells within the minds of men. Do not appeal to fear, pity, or mere sentiment. In appealing to men, be fair; exercise self-control and exhibit due restraint; show proper respect for the personalities of your pupils.” (159:3.2)
Fred Rogers (NPR TV 1968-2001), Mr. Rogers, believed in and trusted the good in people. “When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch, that deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”
We all share knowledge that we get from “the news;” the world is a cruel place. Some of us who watch take on a hard shell as protection; we put on protective armor out of fear, not courage. Trust and love, holding on to faith and hope against the odds—these are the courageous acts. It does take courage to learn trust, but friendship with God gives us the courage.
The theme kept coming back to me like a song, insisting I pay attention to the refrain. Recently the famous author, Gail Sheehy, wrote in Newsweek about “the insurmountable trust deficit,” and how it was affecting “the fundamental bedrock” of our society. So I began noticing where the topic recurred, having just read in Yuval Harari’s interesting book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, that trust between strangers was a necessary element in establishing trade relations. This correlated with part of my theory about Onamonalonton’s civilization (The Urantia Book, The UB, 79:5.8), that he built it on a foundation of trust, achieved in part through the stone medicine wheels which served as sacred negotiating places, temples of trade as well as places to honor spiritual brotherhood.
Trust ringing like a bell, calling us to some task, resounded again in Jeff Wattles’ blog, Universalfamily.org, on March 8, 2018: “God has faith in us—that we can host the gift of his spirit presence and become like him by following the path of love. And we can have faith in others, too. This does not mean trusting a stranger with your purse or wallet. But it does mean a quality of basic, person-to-person trust that is worthy of who we truly are—brothers and sisters in the family of God.”
It is very difficult to hold onto a trusting attitude in our chaotic and troubled world where fear tends to dominate. Somehow we must resolve to do it, to have the courage and “good cheer” of Jesus. “Suspicion is the inherent reaction of primitive men; the survival struggles of the early ages do not naturally breed trust. Trust is a new human acquisition brought about by the ministry of these planetary seraphim [The Spirits of Trust] of the Adamic regime. It is their mission to inculcate trust into the minds of evolving men. The Gods are very trustful; the Universal Father is willing freely to trust himself—the Adjuster—to man's association.” (39:5.7)
And though we are beset by uncertainty on every side, “In the more advanced planetary ages these seraphim enhance man's appreciation of the truth that uncertainty is the secret of contented continuity. …They heighten man's taste for the sweetness of uncertainty, for the romance and charm of the indefinite and unknown future. (39:5.9)
The yogis, although not fully realizing that the High Self they speak of is a divine spark of the greater power, also teach, “Self-confidence cannot come without trust in the Self. By the Self, we mean the real part of you, the timeless, eternal, never-been-born-never-died cosmic Soul. If you cannot trust others, the mechanism within you to trust your Self is closed off, too. That doesn't even mention the lack of trust in a power even greater than your Higher Self. Doubt in others energetically manifests in your field as distrust in yourself. You cannot begin to live the life you deserve until Trust, with a capital T, becomes a part of your very nature.” (Ramdesh Kaur,yoga and meditation teacher)
In trust lies the hope for the institutions of our civilization. “The secret of a better civilization is bound up in the Master's teachings of the brotherhood of man, the good will of love and mutual trust.” (194:3.12)
In the history book I just finished reading, Sapiens, Harari concludes that there will be transformations in human consciousness, a point of view that many readers of The Urantia Book hold as divine truth. However, in Harari’s scientific vision of the future, it would come about through cyber mind and means, artificial intelligence installed somehow in the human body, a new kind of Frankenstien’s monster, a machine man. My belief is the transformation will be founded on a more ancient pattern, the eternal ground of God. We both could be right.
“Come let us build the ship of the future in an ancient pattern that journeys far. Come let us set sail for the always island through seas of leaving to the summer stars … Scattered we were when the long night was breaking but in the bright morning converse again.” (The Circle is Unbroken by The Incredible String Band)
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