2005-10-30-Wonders Of Nature
Topic: Wonders of Nature
Group: Rio Rancho TeaM
Elena on Piano: "The Lord, My Shepherd" (Brother James’ Air) w/a Schubert sonata
Esmeralda’s Prayer:"Father, thank you for being with us today. We thank you for providing us such a teacher as Merium. It is always good to have her. We look forward to hearing her lesson. Thank you, also, and we are appreciative to have Carol join us. It’s nice to have someone to join us. Be with us today and may our hearts be open to the lesson and may we be helped through the week by the lesson today. Amen."
MERIUM: Hello, kiddies, how are you this afternoon? This is Merium, your baby-sitter.
Paula: How about that!
MERIUM: I am happy to come in and refer to you as babies, inasmuch as I have overheard your talking about these senior moments and elder considerations that are peculiar to your human condition, but in the perspective of our eternal career, you have barely gotten off the floor.
Come up here into my lap, little ones. I will be today like the storyteller in your Native American culture, the one that has all the babies hanging from her many breasts. The place where I love the most to have you delightful creatures clamoring over me and over each other in joy of contact and affection.
The gift of touch is appropriate not only for you in the material realms but for us in the morontia estate and beyond, although the idea of touch is heightened somewhat by the enlarged appreciation for touch in that it is not merely physical in the tactile sense, but is embracing and encompassing in the sense of your being.
We embrace fully in the spirit, and the warm fuzzies you feel in your hugging here is compatible to that which we feel even as we have left our (meow) mortal estate behind. I see Cricket has something to say about it all, and this too is one of the joys of the life you live. You have the advantage of the beasts of the realm … and I mean this in the most favored sense. The animal kingdom, in the main, is fairly docile and contained. You have put the fierce ones in the zoo and have kept the companions for yourselves – not counting the birds, which freely flock overhead and in your trees, (purring) and insects and other creatures like butterflies and frogs that amuse you and bring you joy. You forget these little wonders of creation as you become more sophisticated and adult. (purring)
I want you to go back into your own childhood (meow) and recall the wonder of seeing something for the first time, some four legged or many legged creature that captured your imagination and your fancy, such that you had to call someone to come look, come see what you had found. Remember lightening bugs? Remember earth worms? Remember all the wonders of nature that we tend to forget as time goes by. I call your attention to these joys today. (purring)
Also today in your consciousness is the beauty of the autumn season, another splendiferous method of appreciating your mortal estate. The leaves turning and the season advancing, ripe beyond belief, yet still taut and pluckable. Tomatoes and cucumbers and pumpkins still on the vine. What a glorious world you live in. And who enjoys it more than children? It therefore delights me to remind you of these things which you will remember into infinity (purring) as having brought you along from one architectural sphere to the other, for in the Father’s house there are many mansions. (Meow!)
There is no reason why you cannot begin to perceive of the mansion worlds now, today, in the environment (meow) you are in tune to in your consciousness, with its many vibrant senses and offerings. (Pause) Don’t let me forget to add such things as pumpkin pie and warm apple cider, for these, too, are part of the delights of childhood and autumn that we celebrate and honor today.
I have a room full of elders who have come to observe my work with you and your childlike reach into realms above and beyond your habitual range. We welcome them and ask their guidance and counsel on our myriad attempts to construe greater realities in the childlike mind of mortal living. I thought we could bounce around on the bed for awhile and wear ourselves out but you seem to have acquiesced at once to my storytelling method, and so I will invite someone in to tell us a story. One moment.
VISITOR: Yes, someone is here. You don’t know me. I’ve not visited you before. (Welcome!) Thank you. (Howdy do.) Howdy do to you, too. I have come today to talk about magic. I realize that you who are adult and serious have an understanding that magic is a trick, such as you find in cards or when the man saws the woman in half and pulls rabbits out of the hat. This kind of activity delights children, for they are not established in their mental framework such that they cannot imagine these things happening. The magic I talk of today is not in terms of tricks.
Come with me, children, to the woods. We’re going to walk quietly down into the woods where the brilliant autumn sky overhead peeks through the trees, making mysterious marks on the forest floor. The many leaves, from those trees, which have fallen cover the ground and crackle as we walk. Listen for the sounds of Mother Nature. Hear the birds chirp overhead. Hear the ground as small forest creatures scamper away from the sound of children encroaching. Look around and see the many things growing, taking seed. Smell the woods – the deep dark brown of soil, the crisp snap of the fallen leaves, the deep green of the moss and the rich golden brown and umber of the fallen logs. Let all these colors, smells and sounds intermingle and compel you to set yourself aside in the magic of the moment.
See in the clearing, there with you in the woods, not 20 feet away, a young deer … looking at you -- its spots, its tawny color, blended in completely with the browns and golds of autumn; its long legs looking like the saplings; its ears alert, not unlike the leaves themselves; its large brown eyes looking deep into you as if they were the eyes of God smiling upon you, at peace in the quiet natural state of your life experience. Look long and deep at this scene and tell me it isn’t magic. If you can’t see it as magic, if you see it only as fact, you have indeed lost the essence of childhood. If you don’t see the divine reflected in this scene, you have become immune to childlike wonder.
Now that we are all here in the woods, let your hand -- your spirit hand – reach out quietly to the boy or girl nearest you and let their spirit reach out to touch the hand of yours, so that your invisible-ness, your own magic, makes contact with each other, forming a circle of friends in the stillness of this woods … with the deer, with the birds, with the frogs and with the magic of this afternoon.
Naturally, you will want to play and feel the invigoration of your own delight and the delight of those with whom you share this experience. And so I invite you to romp and play laughingly with and among one another, knowing the deer will meander off into the woods and the birds will fly away, even as eventually the seasons will change. But in the heart of the child, forevermore you can return to this place of trust and truth, for no matter where you are in the universe, there is a place for you … appropriate for your stage of development. All you need to do is remember how to be a child.
Let me give you back to Merium, who has been graciously spellbound by my story. It is not the kind of story, perhaps, that you think of, but it is diversion for your mind and we do live happily ever after. Bye-bye. (Bye! Thank you!)
MERIUM: You have been treated to a vision, but I feel you have more in you than to spend the afternoon with Bambi. I invite you to investigate your mind and your imagination and wonder about those things which come into your mind that you may wonder about but would never think to investigate because you are supposed to be adult now and you are supposed to know better. Are there things in your mind that you neglected to ask when you were a child that you would like to ask today?
Gerdean: Why does she have yellow hair and I have brown hair?
Reneau: Why is the sky blue?
Paula: You’re just born that way.
MERIUM: Such is the faith of the child. "That’s just the way it is!" But the inquiring mind wants to know. And thus science is born and we step out of magic into the mysterious. (Chimes) This is how you have stepped out of alchemy into medicine and out of astrology into astronomy. This is an evolution of the simple into the sophisticated (Chimes), always knowing that the simple is our Source, alchemy is a part of our creative nature (Chimes) and magic is a part of the childlike mind that enjoys not knowing, that doesn’t mind being tricked, that knows that even though it may be "scary" it will all come out in the end.
(Welcome to Carol)
There are a number of things that might be regarded as more grown up that I’d like to touch upon while you’re all together here, one of which is to welcome our guest, Carol, today, to our group. It is always wonderful to meet a new friend. It is such a nice opportunity that we meet a new friend today, as we are being so childlike and that she is accepting of our childishness and our childlikeness at the same time -- without cynicism or sarcasm. She knows God knows we have many moments behind each of us that conspire to constitute us as mature and wizened people, but how refreshing to put all that aside for awhile in the delight of feeling young, in giving yourself permission to be a child, to think openly and to ponder in faith the possibilities ahead.
We are going to have a party! We’re having a party in February, and so it would behoove us, as a group, to ponder the party we are planning for our many friends. This is something we can take up after our transmission, but I want to be a part of your planning and so leave me some time on the Program -- lots of time for play and storytelling. Perhaps you might want to add an option where people can sit around and color pictures or play games, for this is good family fun. It is not required that you be scholastic and mature all the time. The whole point of a retreat is to give your systems a break. The mind grows weary, and even the spirit needs time for renewal.
There is another thing I’d like to address and then we can have questions, and that is I would enjoy having some tutoring in this group, not that it should overpower our play, but because it is a discipline and children enjoy discipline. I am not going to limit you to the Urantia Papers, but I would like for our studies to be on the nature of something spiritual so that we can give appropriate credence to the distance we have come, in particular the distance you have come in your consciousness of deity.
This certainly applies to the music you bring every time we gather, the hymns you are familiar with, and the many possible sounds and sights of the divine such as we heard about from our visitor when he talked about the architectural sphere of the forest where all the colors blend, all the sights and sounds merge, and we hold hands around the big brown eyes of a loving presence. Perhaps you would like to play show and tell. Perhaps you would like to take turns. Perhaps you would like to have a format and perhaps you would not. But I would appreciate it if you would help me help you relate yourselves and thus your friends with these opportunities to incorporate the spirit into the game plan of your lives.
Is there anything I’ve forgotten that I’ve overlooked that you can think of that we need to be mindful as we’ve come together here?
Men-o-Pah: I especially enjoyed our little romp through the woods. I lived in the woods most all my life as the poet who said, "Blessed land that lies between the two great rivers in the heart of the Great Shawnee." The Shawnee Forest has the great oat trees, the hickory, the beechnut, the walnut. We gathered those nuts and salted them away for the winter and I’m remembering now the words of a poem that I learned when I was a boy. I can’t remember who the author is … Joyce Kilmer, I think."I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree
A tree that may in summer wear a nest of robins in her hair
A tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray.
Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree."
Paula: I remember that from when I was a little girl.
Men-O-Pah: Who’s the author?
Paula: It was Joyce Kilmer who wrote that.
Men-O-Pah: I thought so, but I was not sure about that.
MERIUM: Let’s play a game, then! What kind of tree are you? Who goes first?
Men-O-Pah: I’m descended from the Wolf Clan, the land of the Cherokee, and the clan tree is hickory. The old folks made their bows out of those saplings. The hickory can stand a great deal of stress and not break.
Reneau: Are you a hickory, then?
Men-O-Pah: I am.
MERIUM: -- who can bend, and not break. What an invaluable quality! Who else?
Paula: Well, I grew up with the horse chestnut tree right outside our kitchen window, and that used to fascinate me. And, of course, it had those nuts on it that had the sticky hard shell around it, and my dad used to take something, some tool he had, and he’d break them and the chestnut was inside, and we kids used to throw them at each other and we had a ball with those things, and he said, "Well, I tell you what I’ll do. I’ll make you a necklace," so he took – What kind of a think is it that goes like that, you make holes.
Men-O-Pah: A drill.
Paula: A drill. Okay. I knew it had a name. But anyway, he took a whole bunch of them and he put the drill through them, and then he used something … I don’t know if they were shoelaces or what … and he made a necklace so I could wear it to school and let the kids see it. And sure enough, the teacher wanted to know if I wouldn’t get up and tell the class what the tree looked like and all of this kind of stuff, and I was a little nervous, because I was there in front of all these kids and they listened and they were fascinated and they all came over and they all wanted to touch the necklace, and the other girls wanted to try it on and I just never forgot that. I thought that was wonderful. I was belle of the ball that day.
MERIUM: Everyone should be the "belle of the ball" everyday! What a lovely adventure and what a great daddy.
Paula: Oh, he was. He was terrific. All my little friends liked him and he liked them and we’d go to each other’s houses and if it was after dark, he’d get the car out and take us all and then come and pick us up and take us home. He did that until I became a teenager and I belonged to a bridge club and he didn’t want me waiting for the bus in the middle of the night so he’d take me and pick up all my girlfriends and we’d go wherever we were going to play that night, and then he’d come and get us.
MERIUM: What kind of a tree do you think he was?
Paula: Somebody strong! But he wasn’t built like my Men-O-Pah. He was a small man. He wasn’t big. You know who he was built like? That … what’s his name that teaches Sunday school.
Paula: Yeah! He was built just about like that, and all the kids just loved him, and when he got killed in the accident, I never saw a funeral with so many people. Every kid I ever grew up with was there, and their parents or their kids -- just everybody was there, because they all loved Daddy.
(Roland has Translated)
MERIUM: You reminded me of something I want to say to the Teaching Mission at large, and that is to acknowledge the passing of Brother Roland, who was a man among men and a son of God who has opted to advance into Mansonia. His translation was made this past week and while many of you are mourning the loss of his life on the material plane, be of good cheer and undying hope of the resurrection and the life that you will see one another on high.
He was an oak. A great one. And it is always difficult to see the great ones fall, but it happens. And so we have the tremendous need to know the love of the Father and the mercy of the Son, which forgives us our trespasses and overlooks our human failings to discover the heart of the divine within, the soul that years to advance, to know the Father, to find the pearl of great price. We welcome Roland to the mansion worlds and look forward to helping him pick up here where he left off there.
Reneau: What kind of a tree was he?
MERIUM: Yes, we give him oak stature. Not only because he was great, but because he was hard. He was a hard wood, unlike the hickory. How about you ladies?
Esmeralda: Well, you know, I grew up in West Texas and any tree – any tree – was wonderful. (Chuckles)
Paula: There were not very many?
Esmeralda: There were not any around where I lived. There were some caster beans, which was the closest thing to a tree when I grew up, and I think they’re supposed to be poisonous but . ..
Elena: You’re not a caster bean.
Esmeralda: No, I don’t think I’m a caster bean. I would be any kind of tree. Any and all trees were glorious and I dreamed of trees when I was a little girl. I just thought that would be wonderful to climb—I always had this picture of me climbing up and sitting on a big strong branch of a tree. I must’ve seen a picture of that. But I like all kinds of tree. I love the mulberry that’s in my back yard. It gives lots of shade.
MERIUM: Is it a male mulberry or a female mulberry?
Esmeralda: You know, I don’t know. It’s not fruit bearing. It’s just a huge tree. It covers a lot of space. It is – when it is raining, you can almost stand under it and be dry.
MERIUM: It sounds a lot like you, Esmeralda.
Esmeralda: Oh, thank you.
MERIUM: I think you’d make a great mulberry tree.
Esmeralda: It has gorgeous big leaves and it has some strange characteristics that are most interesting.
MERIUM: You could sit on its branches.
Esmeralda: Yes. The strange part about it is that the leaves all stay green in the fall until … usually after a pretty good hard freeze, and they all fall in one day, and all at once. It’s just like – it’s fascinating to watch them fall and by the time they all finish falling, my back hard is about knee deep in these big leaves.
MERIUM: This sounds like you as well, for you, too, are efficient. (Laughter)
Paula: She is! There’s nothing that girl doesn’t know, as far as cooking and decorating, all of those things.
Esmeralda: Oh, but I have a lot of help. My daughters out-shine me on that.
Elena: Well, I have to say what comes to my mind about being – is one of those trees on the … I envision a tree on the cliff of the ocean where the wind kind of beats on it. And, you know, it’s bent, it’s kind of bare on one side but yet has somewhat, I mean, still some life in it yet, and some bursts of greenery. That’s what I feel I am now.
MERIUM: You will enjoy the transcript Gerdean has recently prepared for distribution from when Teacher Daniel visited Teacher Tomas’ base of operations in Pittsburgh and gave the lesson about the parable of the bent tree, which describes that tree specifically. I believe it was initially delivered before that by one of the elders in the movement. But the fact remains, the tree that grows along the side of the cliff on the rocks, that is pummeled by the weather, and which reaches deep into the earth for its nourishment, is a tree that will endure. And to assume such a tree as your totem is a testimony to your strength, Elena, and your faith.
Elena: I don’t feel very strong.
Esmeralda: But you are.
MERIUM: It’s okay for you to not be strong all the time. You are not a tree. You are a child, and all children grow weary. All children whimper and long for their mother to nurture them. All children appreciate sitting on their daddy’s lap and being reassured [that] there is no bogeyman and [that] all things will work out fine. In the face of the winds of time, the storms and the summer heat, the strength you have grown is deep within you, in your sinews, and not necessarily intended for your tender branches that bud anew each spring; thus, be patient with yourself, understanding where you are gentle and where you are strong; where you are tough and where you are weak; where you give up and where you hold fast. Such is the way it is when you know yourself.
Gerdean has always thought of herself as a Bonsai tree, (chuckles) even though she is hardly Oriental. It was intended that she be a pine tree (laughter), but she became warped and twisted (laughter) and rather than being deformed, she has been made beautiful by the way she holds herself and the grace that has allowed her to grow and become a work of art in spite of the trials and tribulations of the mortal existence.
The problem with being a Bonsai tree is that they are so small, and I think I’m going to urge her to become a Manzanita tree instead.
Paula: What’s that?
MERIUM: They are bigger.
Paula: Oh. That answered my question.
Reneau: They are not held back and constrained like a Bonsai. Whenever a Bonsai tries to grow a little branch, it’s cut back. When it puts out a feeler, it’s dissuaded.
Esmeralda: Nobody has mentioned the sycamore tree, like Zacchias climbed up into and I think we need some sycamore trees around here.
Elena: Pine trees.
MERIUM: Would you like to volunteer?
Esmeralda: When Jesus is passing by, yes.
MERIUM: So you want to be a sycamore when Jesus is nearby and a mulberry the rest of the time?
Esmeralda: I was just reminded of the little song that the girls sing, a little about Zacchias climbing up the sycamore tree, and the sycamore is a beautiful tree.
MERIUM: Then you must keep your eye out for one. It might be a good compliment for you. What of our company from Santa Fe? Do they grow trees there?
Reneau: I wrote a story about a tree one time. It’s called "The Tree" and it just sort of was me and then I just sort of turned into a tree and kind of grew up on the spot by this little lake, and just sort of the feeling of what a tree feels like to grow and like you said in the poem "to gaze at God all day" and to feel the sun on his face and the raindrops and the drops make rainbows and then the fruit. How all the fruit gets ripe and full and how it eases the trees burdens to dispel its fruits, when they’re all filled and full and juicy, and when they come along and pick the fruit it feels good because the branches can lift up and take the extra weight off and then how the wind blows through the trees and shakes the leaves and the dust off, and you know.
And then in my story, then, the tree is certainly enjoying herself being there and man comes down below and says, "Hey, you up there in the tree. Stop hiding in the tree. Come on down and join humanity down here. Move around and frolic through the flowers," so it’s sort of – a tree is constrained in its spot. It can never move. It sits there for an eternity, at the same spot, you know. As the years go by and things change and it deals with the weather …
MERIUM: You are becoming way too adult! Let’s go back to being a child. (Laughter) What kind of fruit are you growing in your branches?
Reneau: I don’t know, it was just big juicy fruit, heavily laden.
MERIUM: You are a fruit tree, then.
Reneau: Yeah, I’m a fruit tree.
MERIUM: Any fruit in particular you would like to identify with?
Reneau: Sweet and juicy.
Reneau: Peaches. Probably my favorite fruit is peaches.
MERIUM: Then we have a peach tree among us. Carol, what stories can you tell us today?
Carol: What came to my mind – I grew up on the east coast. I remember making those chestnut necklaces, too!
Paula: What part of the east coast?
Carol: Um, the southern tier of New York State. South of Buffalo.
Paula: Yeah, I was from Buffalo.
Carol: Fruit and dairy farms. Fredonia.
Paula: Oh! Of course!
Carol: My father came to mind when we started talking about trees, and the chestnuts. And he was a hunter, who provided for us from the woods; he was a conservationist. But what– So he came very dearly into my mind when we talked about trees. He gave me a respect for the woods. But what came to my mind was the birch tree – the beautiful white birch tree from back east that does become just as golden as the aspens do out here. And the birch tree that has so many uses for mankind. I have recollections of the birch tree; the native peoples back east use the birch trees to make canoes and to do many things with – to write on. The bark is stripped to write on, and to make different vessels. And it’s a very beautiful tree that is from my childhood. I tried to envision a tree out here half my life, but the birch tree just kept coming in, and it was a … a friend, I guess. It was very useful.
MERIUM: Yes, a useful, utilitarian tree, but not without dazzling beauty. The white truck with its peeling, curling black designs are like a leopard with spots or a Dalmatian and the yellow against the blue sky is enough to require sunglasses. Such a pleasant recollection and personification of who you are, Carol. They grow here as well, and you are welcome to grow with us in this odd assortment of trees.
Is anyone having any concerns or growing pains that you would like to share with your friends? Or ask of your teacher?
Elena: Well, I’m really concerned about my friend Shelley, who just found out that she has breast cancer so… Shelley has been my best friend since fourth grade, and so …
Esmeralda: They have met her. Paula and Men-O-Pah.
Elena: Oh, yeah, that’s right!
Esmeralda: And Gerdean and Reneau!
Elena: That's right. At the retreat. So I’m concerned about her, and if there is any guidance about that, then I’m all ears. Well, I am anyway, but …
MERIUM: There is nothing I can do to "fix" her, but I can certainly counsel you on how to fix your worries, and that is to allow the soul of your friend to be that breast that seeks to nurture. The soul of a woman is nurturance, as it comes from the Mother Spirit. My remark is not intended to be sexist, but to be expressive of the nature of the nurturer and to limit its fruit to the symbol of nurturing (the breast) is to limit the effectiveness of the whole being, which yearns to give love.
Allow this woman to love, freely and fully. Be tolerant of her love. Encourage her expressions of love. Allow her to love in ways she has not allowed herself to love before – freely, openly, without constraint, without restriction, disallowing the mores to interfere or the restraints of convention to enter in. Allow the woman to be all that she was meant to be. I am not saying that a woman is a breast, but I am saying that both are born to nurture. It is the way of the woman. Allow her to be everything she has ever hoped to be.
And I know that in this culture, this society "such a life on such a planet," it is very hard for people to be all that they can be, for it is hard to find the time, the energy and the avenues in which to operate that garner you that soul satisfaction that would feed your own need to nurture your own soul. This is the twist of fate that the woman is undergoing in the cancer that invades her. If she can see to learn to love and nurture others [at the same time] as she loves and nurtures herself, she may be able to get control of the situation. That is to say, her cells may be able to get control of the situation. But regardless, do not mourn for her, but celebrate her, for she is love.
Elena: Thank you.
MERIUM: Encouraging humanity is somehow such a difficult thing for Urantians to do. And yet encouragement is the balm that soothes all wounds. It is the inner essence of survivors (such as you all are on this planet) to develop that fierceness and that tenacity that will enable you to endure, but it seems that to nurture to each other, to minister to each other, to encourage each other is like accepting that you are weak and so you refuse to do it, you refuse to accept it. And this is anathema to your well being.
Surround yourself with that forest of love, with the dappled sights and sounds of the perfect architectural sphere, and if there is something in your eye that displeases you, pluck it out, rather than mar the perfection of that which you hold dear and in which you reside. And above all, be merciful and gracious to yourself, for the way is often set with traps and deception; therefore be as wise as serpents and as peaceful as doves, holding your eyes steady on the big brown eyes of a loving Deity – such as the deer, around whom we gather in love and in companionability.
And now I release you children, to frolic and play in the woods, enjoying the sights and sounds, smells and tastes of the mortal realm in which you reside, with the loving brothers and sisters you know. Bye-bye!
Paula: Well, does everybody want a piece of apple pie with some ice cream?
Group: You bet!