2001-12-15-Stages of Life

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Topic: Stages of Life

Group: Spokane TeaM

Facilitators

Teacher: Tomas, Olfana

TR: Gerdean, Ginny

Session

Opening

TOMAS: Good afternoon. I am Tomas here, your long-time friend and companion.

Lesson

Art of Living

I see you discussing fashion, the fashion of hats and head-dressing as a statement. Look at all the costumes throughout your history that were designed to distinguish one from another in terms of value within the community, the crown, the chef's cap, the styles of the ages. It's such a stage, this mortal life, and appreciating the drama is what gives you star quality. Thus your fashions are indeed a part of your statement, that you convey by your attire, of how you want to be perceived. Your demeanor becomes a projection of your essence and what you choose to state, how you choose to present your reality, who you want to please and who you want to be associated with.

It would seem there is much to be said for nudity, in that, it would require each of you to be original personalities arrayed only in your natural composition.

THOROAH: Perish the idea!

GINNY: Well, at this stage in my life I . ...

TOMAS: The very reticence speaks to what extent your vanity is involved in your appearance and how you appear to others. It's not my intent to make anyone uncomfortable or to suggest mores, but rather to point out the relative reality of showmanship and the stage of life upon which you live out your experiential scenes and sojourns in the acts of your lives. Just as you would prefer not to be seen naked in the physical sense, it is a rare individual who can endure being seen naked in the psychic sense. It's only those who have made themselves transparent who can really be the character they are playing.

Just because you perceive that someone is playing a role or dramatizing a scene or portraying a personality facet as an exhibit to educate or edify, is no reason to feel that individual is without genuineness or humility. The believer makes a mistake when he or she feels that the only expression which is appropriate is that which makes both himself and God look good. For conflict and conflict resolution is the composition, the plot, the fleshing out of the bare essential, skeleton, affording substance to the theory, the story, the hypothesis, the fragment of reality presentation. But in your desire to be taken seriously and to respect others, and also take them seriously, there is a tendency to feel a revulsion/ a rejection of affectation.

There are those who hesitate to use spiritual words in their social dialog because they fear they will be regarded as affected, spiritually presumptuous. Haven't you been culturally set upon by religionists who feel it is their duty to enlighten you or convert you to their version of what God is? And by comparison have you not also felt the tension in attempting to bring God consciousness as you understand it into the concert of human interaction?

People fear God because they haven't got a personal relationship with Him. Even those of you who have a personal relationship with the Father have many misconceptions of who He is and thus how He relates to his many creations. And the pageantry of theological drama, from the archives of your world's understanding of its history, depicts God as terrible and powerful, but impersonal and One which causes destruction, plagues, famine --

GINNY: Terrorism.

TOMAS: Terrorism. -- in his wrath. Whereas half of the mind wants to believe in God, the other half looks at the God presented to believe in and between these two there is nowhere to go. Thus when those of you who have a full appreciation of this loving Father, as you seek to bring him into your environment and engage him in loving associations with your fellows, they resist you, they resist your words, and they resist the God that you cherish. The play that they have seen has an unhappy ending! They have lost hope but have found comfort in the tradition of the Christ child once more to be dramatized as having an unhappy ending.

Have you got the stamina in you to be an actor on the stage of life and portray the happy ending that is possible? Can you turn the manuscript around and provide the lines which give another interpretation to that Creator which has unleashed for you a stream of wonder, an eternity of adventure, a fountain of refreshment, a panacea of peace in your own soul? You have no history to tell the story except the history you begin to create when you testify through your lives, through your conscious presentation of who you are becoming because of your living relationship with the God of us all. This does not require a particular costume. It does not call for a certain style of hat. But rather it calls for you to choose your personality strengths that will depict the joy and the substance that you know to be a fruit of the Spirit that is available to all mankind.

What an exercise for your own courage, when you decide to be all that you ca n be as a child of God! A sense of self-consciousness will arise and bring a flush to your face. When it subsides, your lines will be ready for you to recite in appreciation for the very experience of your life. The moment itself takes on dimensions of the miraculous, because the beginning of the story and the end of the story are in your grasp, as the Alpha and the Omega , the comedy and the tragedy, the portrayal and the depiction of the experiences of your life.

Have you considered that even though you may feel you have no listeners, no audience, you have celestial hosts who watch you and respond to your slightest flickers of faith, and so if you perform for the galaxies in the quietude and sanctuary of your own world, you will even so put forth those impressions that reveal to the eyes and ears of God that you are to be heard . You are a voice, rising up to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Soliloquies are as engaging and marvelous as community productions. And all of us are looking forward to the performances you are even now queuing up for in this docudrama of unfolding Correcting Time. I must be ready for a local production of "Miracle on 34th Street". Do you think?

Dialogue

Performance, Self Forgetfulness

GINNY: Miracle on Urantia.

TOMAS: Your minds have been wandering. I can feel your absence.

THOROAH: You trigger thoughts.

TOMAS: Tell me where you went. When you know you think in words and pictures, you must have seen pictures because I was using all the words on hand. What did you see?

THOROAH: I saw myself sitting at work, which is where I am most of the week. It's a common place to act out my role. I could see myself performing for the galaxy amidst my peer group there, and I saw myself saying things and wondering, "Where the heck did that come from? How did these words get put in my mind?" So that's where I was going and that's what I was visualizing.

TOMAS: You were very closely following me then, I am happy to hear. However , I have lost you at that juncture of feeling self-conscious, it would seem.

THOROAH: Yeah. There is a lot to feeling self-conscious. Period. I don't care whether we're nude or not, we can't . .. The Afghan women have the perfect robe for people who are shy. There is something to that self-consciousness, though. We have to cope with it all the time.

TOMAS: Self-consciousness is no different than removing your hat. And as soon as your head adapts to the temperature of the environment, you have lost cause for self-consciousness. This is over-emphasized in the phrase "stage fright" and the example of nudity is well taken for as soon as you become accustomed to nakedness, as soon as everyone has looked you over and gotten bored with it, gone back to doing what they were doing in the first place, there is no need what-so-ever for self-consciousness, for the self has ceased to be important. This is the thing, too, about the Conjoint Actor. Once the Son has begun to speak, through the impulse of the Father, all else pales by comparison and has no focus. As you choose to hang on to your self-consciousness, you are choosing to be the center of attention.

This skill, this art of living, is made possible by offering up yourself as an instrument, and recognizing that the importance of the instrument is that the notes be played. It cannot be done without you, but it's the music that we've come to hear. Having heard the music, as a result of the instrument being mastered and obeying its prompts, is what allows for such great rejoicing in the end, for there is full appreciation that without the skills and abilities of those who play the instruments, they would not have been able to enjoy the music. Thus everyone has been a part of the production -- the audience and the players, the instruments and the conductor. This gives life operatic proportions. It lifts life from mundane routine to high art, provides the impetus to do and be those things that we can do and be by being mindful of that which is leading us on stage, onto the parapet of living. You will see much of this throughout the holiday season. Life is a festive affair. In the end "boy gets girl" and everyone gets presents, even angels are encouraged, to allow us to abide by the sentiment of spirit that lets us know some satisfaction exists in the recognition of deity. While it may be depicted as fantasy, fairy tale, or fiction, it is experienced in the heart and triggers the growth of the soul of the mortal personality. Thus even the banal and commonplace, customary and familiar stories, are able to elevate and uplift that soul which hungers and thirsts for righteousness, for the "happily ever after," for "the end" that gives emotional satisfaction and triumph to the human spirit.

GINNY: When you speak about performance, and being self-conscious, and not using our full potential because of our fear, our self-consciousness, how do you distinguish that from simply trying to be discreet or trying to be prudent or trying to not steam roll over somebody else's beliefs or disregard their maturity? How do we know the difference between stage fright and simply trying to be sensitive to where other people are? I think I hold back a lot because I think maybe somebody isn't ready for me to perform - if you want to call it that - or . ...

TOMAS: There are what you would call character actors. These are the worker s who are really the bulwark of the industry. Stars may bring audiences into the theater, but the supporting actors, the character actors, and the extras are the ones who provide the solidarity that give a foundation to the stage upon which the star is able to function. Thus, you can think of yourself as a character actor of superb skill and experience, who is not attempting to steal the show or lead the parade, but rather who, as a part of your artistry, awaits the opening for the line that you must deliver as the french horn awaits the prompt by the conductor to play its solo.

This is the preferred method for many, because it allows you to merge well with the prevailing winds, the current collective consciousness of the social arena. This is not to say that to not be the star is not to have an important part. Cameo performances abound, often stealing the show, but not requiring the stamina that is expected of one who receives top billing. If you realize your value, your skills, your advantages, and begin to assert them in such a way as to be made most useful to your Creator and his realm, you will find yourself being reinforced each time you are able to follow the prompt and hear what emerges, experience what conspires. You yourself can be taught by thine own utterances, and astonish/amaze yourself as you discover the tonal quality of the reality that resides within you. This way you'll become the recipient of your own presents (presence?), your own gift, also contributing to the sense of joy with which we would permeate the realm.

I will tell a story on Gerdean, my friend here whose voice I use often. In the early days of our association, I went through with Gerdean a period in her development wherein she felt that acting as a transmitter/receiver put her in a position of being/feeling affected, as if it were unnatural and artificial therefore unreal, and it confused her/caused her conflict until such time as I and we were able to work with her through that self-consciousness.

GINNY: It would seem that we do our best good, our most good, when we are not conscious of ourselves. In my experience anyhow.

TOMAS: Yes, that priceless state of self-forgetfulness that allows you to be out of the way in order for the work to be done, the joy to be spread, the song to be sung.

THOROAH: A lot of times the self-forgetfulness leads to losing track of time, too.

TOMAS: This can be a blessing; it can also make one stay too long at the fair.

THOROAH: But we had a good time, probably, if we lost track of time.

TOMAS: Yes, it's not as if we are feeling any pain. And yet, it's also true that, if one becomes sensitive to the construct of reality, the reality of the moment and the reality the moment has created, then it stands to reason that they would recognize when the sands of time had shifted and the moment came to pass wherein the scene ended, the presentation came to gentle close, and the players went home. The time factor is that standing reality which gauges our involvement and lends order and direction to the stage presentations which are our lives - our performance at home, our performance at work, our performance in the arenas of our human interests. Are you thus prepared, daughter, to attend the up-coming event you are committed to engage and be a part of the cast of characters?

GINNY: Definitely.

TOMAS: I like your costume. I know you'll remember your lines, and I'll suggest as they do, "Break a leg."

GINNY: Well, I have a story to tell you. You probably already know anyhow, but one of my worst dreams (if there is such a thing) an uncomfortable dream is when I have to perform, play the organ or play the piano, and I don't have the music and I don't know my part. That is a real, fairly frequent dream of mine. I don't know what that has to do with anything but it's very frustrating, in my dream, when I feel that I have to perform and I'm not ready.

TOMAS: Have you seen "Alice in Wonderland"?

GINNY: Yeah!

TOMAS: Have you seen her fall down the rabbit hole?

GINNY: Yes.

TOMAS: Have you fallen down the rabbit hole?

GINNY: Yes!

TOMAS: Have you gotten to the bottom and found that you can in fact bounce back and adjust to any situation? By falling down that hole and finding another adventure there, you know you didn't die, you didn't enter the darkness and the terror that represents, no, but you went on to another adventure. From falling down the hole, you adapted and went through the keyhole into the next scene.

The dream you have represents a fear which at root is a lack of confidence in yourself, a lack of faith in yourself because of a lack of faith in God and His parenting skills. Think about the Father that you idealize and make an arrangement. Set it straight. Get a contract in your mind and in your imagination that He will not let that happen. Make Him promise! Can you do that?

GINNY: Yes.

TOMAS: You can tell that fear where to go. You and God have the power to overcome that dark hole of doubt. The Father and Son, as the Conjoint Actor , are able to create the entire universe. And you have that ability also. Don't deprive yourself, or undermine yourself, or short change yourself in terms of your capacities. There is nothing you can't do if God wills it and you will it also. Exercise that value lesson until it becomes a strong muscle. I appreciate your sharing your dream. I return it to you, not as a nightmare but as a vision of loveliness and accomplishment in faith and grace.

Competition

GINNY: One thing that I think is hard to overcome in this culture is that of competitiveness. You know, people always want to do one better or one-up-man-ship attitude. I think that's the problem with our present crisis in the nation and in the world but also among ourselves.

TOMAS: It has been a part of the growth of Urantia. The culture has require d this competitive spirit as if to spur on otherwise itinerant and idle pleasure-seekers. By changing the pleasure to a prize, a reward for accomplishment. The ideal of competition has well served humanity, but "the times they are a changin’", and the need for competition is subsiding while the need for cooperation is growing. This change will begin to take on a greater reality as you feed it and support it, while the competitive edge will begin to abate, but it will not completely be eradicated in your lifetime, even into the future.

But you don't have to have such knee-jerk reactions to competition as you do . This is another reaction that needs to be identified and corrected, because when you begin to recognize that your emotional response is a competitive response, or a response to the competitive trigger, you will begin to modify your behavior based on how you think at the time that you receive the trigger to be competitive. This is another one of those habit patterns that is necessary to evolve the level of behavior you are accustomed to, to the one you are aspiring to, the one which will benefit your religious life, that will provide you greater peace of mind, that will be more effective to you and for your fellows in unfurling the values that will reveal the more supernal realities of life, thus edifying and uplifting the lesser, baser, more mundane or hostile realities of existence.

Enjoy yourself at the party. Be careful on the highways. All of you in the realm, in your culture, at this time of year, are cautioned to be mindful of erratic driving due to the various intoxication levels, be they physical, emotional or spiritual intoxication levels of the populace. The visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads is distracting as well as the dumbing down effects of the season. Again, rejoice and be glad.

GINNY: And party hearty!

TOMAS: That is your free will choice. See you soon. Good evening.

Closing

OLFANA (Ginny): This is Olfana. This is short as I know the evening wears on, but I want to jump in here to remind all of you to live your life as fully as you can. You are here on Urantia and you can be nowhere else at this time, so there is nothing wrong with immersing yourself in the activities and festivities of the season, for you do need these times of music and light, food and gifts, to lighten your spirit, to remind you of the joyful parts of yourselves that need a little prompting, especially in the dead of winter, to lift your spirits and to be good to yourselves in other parts of your being, such as your appetite, your artistry, your conviviality , your need to just be cheerful. These are gifts to you since this is your first experience as a personality. It is at times "a cumbersome one" - your physicalness, your materialness, so these other parts of yourselves that yearn and long to be free, can be uplifted and strengthened in seasons like these.

We have already celebrated together in August the spiritual aspect of Michael's coming, and now we celebrate the more palpable part of this joyful season. So be merry, be happy, and enjoy this time when Urantians really do make a special effort to be more giving and to be more aware of our spiritual gifts.