2003-04-04-Use & Need For Humor

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Topic: Use & Need for Humor

Group: SE Idaho TeaM

Facilitators

Teacher: Michael, Daniel, Aaron, Heclechora

TR: Bob S., Bill K.

Session

Opening

Michael(Bob S.): To You, Father, Who created all that is, was, or ever will be, we Your children open our hearts, our minds, our very selves to the words that have been prepared for our edification and growth this evening. We are in awe of Your divine love as we understand it, and seek in our lives to emulate that love which governs the Universe of Universes. We are thankful for those sons and daughters who have volunteered to come to this planet to shepherd individual charges, and those who have accepted larger roles as group teachers. We pray Your Image will be before us evermore in all we do. So be it. Amen.

Heclechora (Bill): Cheers!! This is Lester, the Jester!! (Pause) No, April fool. (Group bursts into outrageous and sustained laughter), Dear friends, I am Heclechora, Bob's current personal teacher. We have been teasing Isaac's mind about this whole scenario for half a day, and he has been resisting. But he finally let go and let us do it. I am glad that it has so tickled your funny bone!

Bob D: I guess when Ken said, "Bring the jokes..." (More laughter)

Ken: Well, we never pulled one off on you.

Lesson

Humor

Heclechora: The gravity of the problems in the world requires the balance of humor. It is absolutely essential for your health to laugh. The laugh mechanism was well described by Elyon as an evolutionary safety valve to exit aggression, stress, and worry. It is no wonder that one of your prominent citizens laughed himself out of fatal cancer. So, I am glad you enjoyed our little joke. I will not lecture you on the virtues of humor except to say, "Practice it more and more". Allow yourself the freedom to laugh and heartily, as you have just done, from the diaphragm, the belly laugh, which is nature's way of coping with stress, and letting go of aggression.

One of the aspects of a good joke is the contrast between truth and falsehood, which requires the exercise of the ability to distinguish between truth and error. Sometimes people who are not as evolved intellectually are definitely left in the dust when a clever joke is presented, for they don't have the mental ability to make the connection with truth and get fooled by that side of humor. That's also why there are so many enjoyable stories of children who do not understand the English language, but who sincerely respond to their misunderstandings. We all laugh at their difficulties without feeling critical of them in any way.

Truth, Discernment

Let's think a moment about this whole business of truth. We have made it clear in our past lessons that all truth is relative, short of Paradise, and that it is specific to a given situation. This does not mean that there is no ultimate Truth, for God is, after all, Ultimate Truth. We have also talked about the requirement that every thinking and morally capable individual is responsible for their own discernment of truth. Then, there has also been the suggestion that the mature person can distinguish between relative levels of truth and can choose, among many options, that which is the highest from those that are lessor.

When I first said, "This is Lester, the Jester", most of you believed me. You may have thought in that instant, "Of course it's Lester. It is April Fool's Day and he is the perfect one to be present at our meeting because he is a known comic and a party boy in the Teaching Mission history". However, you were very pleased to discover that I pulled an April Fool on you, and you acted just like children that get caught on April Fool's day. You were laughing at your inability to anticipate my little trick, and your laughter was like that of little children, full of pleasure.

So, let us begin this discussion of truth discernment by agreeing there are levels of discernment ability. Levels of discernment of truth do relate to inherent ability. There is a connection between intellectual ability and spiritual discernment. In most ways that is a given that you must accept.

However, the most important consideration in this discussion of truth discernment has to do with motivation. For despite levels of discernment ability that are correlated with intelligence, intelligence alone is not sufficient. Motivation is a bigger key to unlock the door of truth. Jesus described this when he said, "Ask and you shall receive; knock and the door shall be opened to you". The motivation to search and seek after truth is the most important aspect.

To be a truth seeker is hard work. It requires one to cast off from the safe shores of one's native and familiar land to engage the raging seas of uncertainty in the quest of a new and greater destination. The seas of uncertainty harbor dangers. There are the sharks of doubt circling the ship. There are the winds of adversity which batter its sails. There are the dark nights of the soul which submerge the fountain of joy in darker muddy waters. There is the laughter of derision from your peers as you ready your vessel to enter the uncharted waters of your quest. But he who has the willingness to search, will find. He who will turn the nob on the door will find that it opens. He who has the humility to ask and to admit their need of help, will receive that help.

For you see, once you seek that truth, you have a comforter. You have a companion. You are in possession of the well spring within you of the Spirit of Truth, Michael's spiritual presence. You will remember that He told his apostles on their last night together at supper, "I am the way, the truth, and the light". So, Michael, the truth Himself, is within you to shine His light upon His way.

In addition to intellectual ability and spiritual motivation there is a third aspect. Truth, like love, cannot be squandered. It cannot successfully be kept within your own mind and heart. Truth must be shared with others. Yes, a teacher does learn twice. If you are strutting about wearing a shirt congratulating yourself on your willingness not to tiptoe through life you must be expecting inquiry. Peter told the early Christians, "Always be ready to give an answer to any man who asks you the reason of the hope that is within you". Beautiful advice, Peter! The reason for the hope that is within you. Yes, the Spirit of Truth will speak through your mouth. But you need to be prepared, not stumbling along unconscious of the value that your appearance has in the eyes of others. "What is the reason for your hope? Why does your face shine when the world is going to hell in a handbasket? What is the source of your peace? Why do you regard other people with such generosity? Are you a Jesus freak?" These are the sorts of questions that may come your way. I now take this information from Isaac's mind. The secret of Alcoholics Anonymous was in the discovery of its founders that to stay sober, they had to help other alcoholics. The same principle applies here. In order for truth to be real for you, you must share it.

Sharing does not mean shoving it down someone else's throat. It does not mean walking with a billboard over your shoulders displaying, "I have the truth. Come and ask me". It means what Peter said. Be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you the reason for the hope within you.

The God of time and space, the evolving Supreme does have a sense of humor. For humor is part of the evolutionary process. God the Supreme is overseeing that whole process, that whole attainment of Almighty Sovereignty in power personality synthesis. God's sense of humor is not in the embarrassing fact that as a man loses his hair on the top of his head it grows instead out his nose. That is a type of humor. God's humor is part of His Joy, which is a part of His inner being, a part of His love. There is no contradiction between truth, love, joy, and humor. They are all molded together in one wonderful experience of co-creational evolution, the experience of being a part of the Supreme adventure, the experience of being a son and daughter of the living God.

Finally, my friends, let truth set you free from fear, from guilt, from anger, and from resentment. In the comfort of that still small voice believe the words that say, "Your ship is headed in the right direction. You will reach the far shore of Paradise". I am finished. Thank you for your listening ears. One moment please.

Daniel: Hello my dear friends. I am Daniel, your teacher, your guide, your friend and your brother. Thank you Heclechora for your commentary on humor and truth. I have a feeling that my students would like to respond to your comments. So, at this time, I will open the floor to them. Questions or comments?

Dialogue

Perfection

Bob D.: I guess I will ask a question. On that truth discernment level, I struggle with this always wanting to do something, accomplish something, get something done that I feel in my heart to be substantial; almost as if just being who I am or what I am or what I am doing right now isn't enough. I want to understand how much of that is the perfection urge verses how much is this uncomfortability with being at the current level that I am in, in life. My wife often points out, "You know Bob, you have two kids, trying to go to school, do a job. You know, we are trying to do all these things. You want to do a conference; you want to write a magazine; you want to do things in the community; you want to do all these other things." I wonder....there is something in me that goes like.....I am trying to understand how much is leading versus how much is just not being satisfied with who I am? I struggle with truth discernment in all of that. (Chuckling)

Aaron(Bill): Aaron, here. Hello everyone. I will take this question for I have been associated with this individual more closely than the rest of our staff.

Bob D.: Probably closer than anyone else in the world. Well, somebody might argue with that.

Aaron: Indeed, my friend, I am fully aware of your restless yearning to truly contribute significantly to the evolution of this time and place. You must understand that only God, your Fragment within, can fully answer this question. I am going to rephrase or try to phrase it in a way that I hear it, to see if I have understood your question correctly. You asked what part or what percent of this craving is due to perfectionism verses what part is due to the inner drive toward perfection which comes from your indwelling Adjuster. Would you verify if I have ascertained this correctly.

Bob D.: Maybe, yeah, maybe in a sense the perfection urge, the inner drive from God, I see directly. The other part I am seeing more as how much of it is . ...maybe it is not perfectionism, or maybe it is. Maybe it is just the way I am looking at it. It is just this uncomfortability just being a dad and husband and feeling like I need to do all these other things for justification of who I am, in a sense. Sometimes I have this vision of something I am really trying to make it work. A lot of the things I do, I am trying to get glimpses of that. So I am trying to understand how much of that is me and how much is God's leading, or from you or other teachers.

Aaron: Very well. How much is you and how much is from God or the teachers? I labeled the part from you as perfectionism. So I would have you ponder that possibility. That is the sense that you give me with your statement. As I am using the word, "perfectionism", this is a condition that no matter what one does, it is not good enough, it is not enough. In your case being a father, being a student, being a husband, isn't good enough. You want to do more, you see. I am only asking you, Bob, have I understood you correctly? And I think we agree.

To look at this another way is to ask the question, "Am I doing the will of God at this point in my life?" I feel like you have some questions about the role you have accepted, that you have chosen, as though it was a mistake or you are not sure about that.

Bob D.: You say, the role I have accepted. Are you talking about service things I am doing. Are you talking about my relationships or....

Aaron: I am talking about your relationships as a husband, as a father, and as a student primarily. Yes

Bob D.: Yeah, I look back and I really don't think I see them as mistakes so much, because in my own growth involved. But I think I always question the fact that I.....I go back and forth. I really don't have a grasp on this.

Aaron: No, I did not say that you think of them as mistakes. I said that you have some doubts, some unsatisfied longings that your life should be more than that, not that there is anything wrong or not good, or not God's will. But if that were all you were to accomplish in life: To raise two wonderful children; to have a good marriage; and to do something with your training as a historian to teach children, that would not be sufficient. That there still should be something more. For example: if Monjoronson should say to you, "Here is a task that really will matter", that this might be the kind of thing you are really looking for. I can't suggest what such a task might be. Have I not caught the flavor of your feelings here?

Bob D.: I think in some sense you have. I think the biggest is how much....because I feel like a lot of my extra curricular activities outside of the family that I do, I feel like I am compelled to do them. I sometimes wonder how much is subconscious. It is not a conscious thing that I go through. So I think sometimes when I cut corners on things...like I wait until the last minute to write papers because of the things that are directly in front of me in my life, I get caught in doing other things. I don't know if that helps to clear it. It may be that a lot of my processing is unconscious, whether it is God led or personally led. I don't think I go through a conscious process.

Aaron: I suspect that your analysis here is very accurate; that this turmoil is, in fact, partly unconscious. If it were fully conscious you would not feel confusion. It would be much more clear. You can think back on the early apostles. Most of them had families and marriages and children. Some of them left their families for periods of time to do the work of the Kingdom with Jesus. But after that period of time was over, Peter, for example, took his wife with him on his missionary journeys. She accompanied him until they were arrested and put to death. What I am saying is that you don't have to feel that being a father, husband and student is a lesser thing than some other task you might imagine, as in spreading the gospel through the Teaching Mission and the Urantia movement. But, as you said, the unconscious aspects of all this is the probable source of the conflict and the dissatisfaction.

I could be wrong that you have a tendency to be a perfectionist. On the other hand, I could be right! (Chuckling from group)

Bob: You cover your bases well!

Aaron: The roots of perfectionism are complex. Some of them are genetic, yes. They also have to do with dysfunctional, family of origin, roles where the perfectionistic role is to transcend conflict and find a more perfect way. It is also often a desire to reconcile and heal conflict. You are obviously a very bright individual and you are very talented. Another factor in perfectionism is an artistic temperament. The artistic temperament is, in a sense, prone to perfectionism.

Now, I am not negating the value of striving for perfection. But perfectionism is not good because it can sour and spoil truly excellent achievement when it is never "good enough". The desire to do the best you can is, of course, in part from within, from your indwelling Spirit. This can be tempered in your mind into a satisfying driving force, once any unconscious contamination is exposed and understood. The other thing I would say to you is, and you know this well, the best way for a tadpole to become a frog is to live faithfully as a tadpole. In other words, don't be so impatient with yourself. Give yourself more breathing room. Do faithfully the things you need to do now and don't neglect them. Don't daydream when time is short, for then you will neglect and resort to procrastination. Perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand. If you can be more patient with yourself and if you are willing to spend time to discover the roots of this turmoil, you will be happier, Bob. Take pleasure in the now moment. Enjoy the incredible privilege that you have as a father with these two wonderful children. It is no small thing to be a parent! It is one of the greatest roles in the universe and those who do not have it, as you know, are required to obtain that experience in the future. So, rethink your priorities and your estimation of value. I suggest that you live faithfully now to the fullest extent; and the future will unfold as it should. These are my words.

Bob: Thank you.

Daniel(Bill): I am Daniel. Thank you, Aaron, for your commentary. Do we have any other comments or questions before we close our meeting? (Pause) Very well, Jonderock, would you be willing to let Heclechora conclude in prayer while we hold hands.

Bob S.: I would be delighted.

Closing

Heclechora (Bob S.): Let us be in the attitude of prayer. To those Persons, the Paradise Three, to Whom we owe our ultimate allegiance, I say, send us forth with Your blessing. Comfort us with Your love. Overwhelm us with Your mercy. Forgive us when we go astray and uphold us always in the comfort of Your arms. Amen.