2005-12-11-Literary Selections

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Topic: Literary Selections

Group: Rio Rancho TeaM

Facilitators

Teacher: Merium

TR: Gerdean

Session

Opening

Prayer: Let us begin by inviting the Spirit into our heart and Jesus into our presence.

Master Teacher, we are glad to meet with you today, knowing that you are with us as we come together in your name. We seek to know you, how you live your life, that we might live ours more effectively in being about the Father's business of spreading good cheer and of being a conduit for truth, beauty and goodness. We who know you, Master, are truly blessed. Those of us who relish the spirit life have reason to celebrate.

Thank you for the excuse to come and be with you and to play in your field with Merium and the other teachers you show us, to help lead the way. Looking at us as your children, seeking to become wiser and happier as a result of knowing you and seeking to follow you, we ask your blessing on our gathering. Amen.

MERIUM: Hello! This is Merium. I'm at it already. I can feel the heaviness of the room. It must be that the prayer was ponderous. Let's stretch. Wiggle your toes and lighten up.

Lesson

This is Merium, your friendly cosmic babysitter, come to greet you and spend some time with you on this exciting afternoon -- exciting for the weather and for the new kid on the block. How wonderful to see you here, Jules, and you, as well, our mad Libra from Santa Fe. Isn't it fun to recognize personality and dabble with that medium as if it were an art form? How do you use your personality to create? Are you a musical instrument? Are you a pencil? Are you a brush? Are you a tool? All of you are creative offshoots of the Creator, and each of you has your own unique attributes of creativity.

Last time we met I had talked to you about reading material and we had a nice afternoon talking about what you had read that had impressed you as children or youth, and you shared your selections, even as all of you seemed to find Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" to be worthy of note. You will recall I had asked you each to participate by bringing something this week to share, to read to the group, inasmuch as all of you seem to have something to share that you enjoy from what you read that you would enjoy sharing with someone else. Has anyone done their homework?

Dialogue

Men-O-Pah: Yes.

MERIUM: Oh, I am so glad to hear it! Are we going to have a recital?

Men-O-Pah: Yes. For our people, this is the time of the cold moon, so called the cold moon, the time for gathering around the sacred fire and the time for storytelling. It is a custom that has been with us for many long years. The story I relay to you, however, concerns me and it's true. It happened to me when I was just a boy.

I was nine years old, and it was 1933. We were still in the Depression, but I guess on our way out. But I remember that we hadn't eaten for two days, and I had five pennies that I had saved over some period of time and I traded those pennies for five shotgun shells. At my grandfather's house there were guns laying all over the place, and we had this old 12-gauge double-barrel that he hunted with and, anyway, I had never shot a gun in my life, but I know that we hadn't eaten in two days, too, and so I traded those five pennies for five shotgun shells, and I went into the woods.

It's the first time, I think, that I ever heard the voice of God. This rabbit jumped in front of me and said, "I know that you're cold, and that you're hungry. And I've been sent here and I give you permission to take my life" and so I did, and that night we feasted on rabbit. But the thing is that we seem to have a penchant for hearing the voice of God in all sorts of things -- out of trees, and from the wind, and out of the mouths of birds and animals.

We know that we don't have the right to take the life of any living thing without, you know, asking permission from God to do so. We do that because we are hungry. When we need the food, we eat. But that, for me … I was nine years old. It's the first time, I think, that I heard the voice of God speaking to me.

MERIUM: "And he spoke unto me saying, 'I give you dominion over the animals in the field'." Indeed, God spoke to you and provided your needs.

(It reminds Gerdean of a joke she keeps tossing in my direction, thinking I am amused. It's that one about the poor fool who is in dire straits and who keeps asking God for a sign but rejecting all the signs He sends -- as if waiting for the booming baritone from On High to break the sound barrier and trumpet His will, rather than in and through the harmony of nature and life itself.)

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that God is involved in your lives, although it would seem we need a few intelligent people to effectively make life more bearable for so many who suffer so needlessly.

Any other contributions? As Men-O-Pah stated, we are sitting around the fire, telling stories in the season for such, enjoying the camaraderie of a body of Christ. Gerdean, you brought something. Do you want to share it?

Gerdean: I will. I'm not sure it's literature, although Virginia Woolf certainly feels that she is, and she is given credit for being a literary person. She's telling here, in this book, about "A Room of One's Own" -- which is rather famous, -- that writers, women writers need to have independent income and a room of one's own in order to create the space in their mind to have that freedom, and she talks about a time when she was paying for something with a ten-shilling note when she remembered …

"My Aunt, Mary Beton, I must tell you, died by a fall from her horse when she was riding out to take the air in Bombay. The news of my legacy reached me one night about the same time that the act was passed that gave votes to women. A solicitor's letter fell into the post box and when I opened it I found that she had left me 500 pounds a year forever! Of the two, the vote and the money, the money, I own, seemed infinitely the more important. Before that I had made my living by cadging odd jobs from newspapers, by reporting a donkey show here or a wedding there. I had earned a few pounds by addressing envelopes, reading to old ladies, making artificial flowers, teaching alphabet to small children in a kindergarten, such were the chief occupations that were open to women before 1918.

"I need not, I'm afraid, describe in any detail the hardness of the work, for you know, perhaps, women who have done it. Nor the difficulty of living on the money when it was earned, for you may have tried. But what still remains with me as a worse infliction than either, was the poison of fear and bitterness which those days bred in me. To begin with, always to be doing work that one did not wish to do, and to do it like a slave, flattering and fawning, not always necessarily perhaps, but it seemed necessary and the stakes were too great to run risks. And then the thought of that one gift which it was death to hide, a small one, but dear to the possessor, … and with it, myself, my soul. All this became like a rust, eating away the bloom of the spring, destroying the tree at its heart. However, as I say, my aunt died. And whenever I change a ten-shilling note, a little of that rust and corrosion is rubbed off, fear and bitterness go.

"Indeed, I thought, slipping the silver into my purse. It is remarkable, remembering the bitterness of those days. What a change of temper a fixed income will bring about. No force in the world can take from me my 500 pounds. Food, house and clothing are mine forever. Therefore not merely do effort and labor cease, but also hatred and bitterness. I need not hate any man; he cannot hurt me. I need not flatter any man; he has nothing to give me. So imperceptibly I found myself adopting a new attitude toward the other half of the human race. It was absurd to blame any class or any sex as a whole. Great bodies of people are never responsible for what they do. They are driven by instincts, which are not within their control. They, too, the patriarchs, the professors, had endless difficulties, terrible drawbacks to contend with. Their education had been in some ways as faulty as my own. It had bred in them defects as great. True, they had money and power, but only at the cost of harboring in their breasts an eagle, a vulture, forever tearing the liver out and plucking at the lungs, the instinct for possession, the rage for acquisition which drives them to desire other people's fields and goods perpetually, to make frontiers and flags, battleships and poison gas, to offer up their own lives and their children's lives."

And so on. "These are unpleasant instincts to harbor, I reflected. They are bred of the conditions of life, of the lack of civilization," et cetera. And I thought about what … well. That's what I brought.

MERIUM: Ah, yes, you brought a testimony in literary form from one of your benefactors as one who laments the same things you lament, and she is a figure in literature, yes, so she is a hero of sorts. It is always gratifying to uncover a renowned and well-respected figure who sees things the way you do. But the point, I believe, Gerdean, is that we are here still so uncivilized, for all of our conventions and institutions, it is still a matter of application to survival, which ought, you think, by now be assured.

It is an uphill struggle, child. It is, indeed. But try to remember at the same time how far you have come … not just you and Virginia Woolf, or women in general, but humanity. Appreciating the strengths that you have acquired, the great halls of learning, the names of many who have been able to give of themselves because they could afford it, and because they did not have to scrounge and subject their minds to the niggardly application of earning a living to simply survive has benefitted all mankind.

As more of humanity becomes touched by their legacy, humanity will be educated. They will be impressed to know peace. You must not give up hope, just because the world conditions today are at odds with your ideals. It is an evolutionary trek, yes, but it is advancing, even as we speak. A good friend there in Virginia Woolf -- at least as a literary companion.

I'll add, too, for your benefit and for something to think on, when you are completely in the camp of the Father, "the deliverer," "the light," you will not be left without. You will be provided for. While it may not be to the extent or degree you prefer, it will nonetheless be true that your needs are provided for -- abundantly and beyond your own expectation. If you recall the Rolling Stones, "You may not always get what you want, but you get what you need."

What else have we today?

Renault: Well, I've been reading the "Conversations With God" books and I find them very enlightening and refreshing, although a little bit -- what do I say -- chastising a bit, but you know, I think they're brilliantly written, and I think the world needs those books, too. I think they will be a big help to lead the people who can't get into the heaviness of the Urantia Book. The lightness of "Conversations With God" is certainly a help and his later books, more recent books, are very well written.

MERIUM: What a blessing for humanity that God is becoming more popular. How necessary it was for that old image of an angry, jealous god to be set aside to make room for the God of light and life: a happy, joyous creator, upholder of the universe, generous and liberal.

Renault: Un-judging, undemanding, unconventional, not making any kind of judgments or demands in order win love, so to speak. It's time to get rid of all those negative, nasty labels that we put on the judgmental god or else kind of thing. I think the loving interpretations are much, much better.

MERIUM: And that's the one you'll follow, because that's the one you like. There are many who prefer this stern God because they choose not to trust themselves to know joy and hope, for fear they will lead themselves into some sort of foolishness. And their understanding of dignity is one based on a staid and reserved demeanor. Millions of believers prefer to stay in their minds, to keep their faith "on the books" and conserve their ebullience to keep their "shoulder to the wheel" and their "nose to the grindstone" as they were taught and as was the way when the world was younger and it was more difficult to survive.

When Men-O-Pah relates the tale of him at age nine exchanging his pennies for ammunition to put food on the table of his family, he is reciting, albeit poetically, the hardship that was known in other times. And now it is easy to scrounge up enough change to drive over to your favorite fast-food place to buy a burger before your belly growls.

There are those who honor those struggles and respect those efforts by retaining them, even in their own comportment, in much the same way, the survivors of the Holocaust remember Dachau and the way native Americans remember Wounded Knee. There are those who remember their last drunk. And these are solemn oaths that it shall never happen again. There are some elements of history that do not need to be repeated. It has been hoped by millions of mortals that war would not be necessary again. And yet, here we are. But let's not give up hope. Let's live in the light. Let's have conversations with God. Let's keep God alive in our consciousness. Let's invite Jesus to walk with us on a daily basis. Let's entertain our celestial helpers and convince ourselves, as we walk in the dark as agondonters, that there is light and life and there is good reason to have faith.

This is what I love about you, my children, my charges, that you keep your light lit. And that you make effort to light the wick on other's candles by reminding them of living faith -- not in the old ways, but in the new ways emerging en route to our final destiny. And while, of course, there are those who would question what the "final destiny" was, I will simply say, for me it will be the day the temple is lowered from On High marking the attainment of light and life on this world, thereby releasing the midwayers to advance and the angels to sing. The sentimental shrine of Nebadon will have arrived.

It is not that far away as you see how many people are yearning for "Conversations with God" and beyond. "A Course in Miracles" was necessary, and so we are now seeing miracles take place … simple miracles, but those that light up our lives like twinkling lights on a Christmas tree. And we have yet another reader in our midst?

Thoroah: I've been reading "Seth Speaks - The Eternal Validity of the Soul" and Men-O-Pah's story made me reflect on some of the things that Seth was trying to teach, about our connection to everything, how God permeates everything. And that we in our higher self, our god-self, we know the communication's there but we just have forgotten how to communicate. Probably most of the things that we remember in our communications with God happened when we were kids, but I've really enjoyed what Seth is trying to reveal, explain, describe, much like what the Urantia Book tried to do, it's trying to describe the indescribable. It's been very … very good for me. In my humble estimation.

Paula: Well you know, years ago, people helped each other a great deal more than they do now, probably, and my grandfather and grandmother lived in the country, raised their animals and so forth, their crops, and in the fall when it was time to reap all that, the different people got together and they'd help each other. They'd go to each other's farms and all the men would get out in the field and they'd work away and the women would cook for a whole bunch of men, so --

Mom said one time (she was a teenager then), she and her cousin (who was also a teenager) they got drafted into helping with, I guess it was fried potatoes they were fixing on the stove, the coal stove, and somebody said something about you had to shake something in the stove. I don't know what that was, but you had to do something, and so they shook it, and at the time it was being shaken, her cousin Laura had the pepper in her hand and she was supposed to pepper the potatoes and so she did and at the same time the grate, I don't know, it opened up somehow, and a whole bunch of this gray ash fell down into the fried potatoes and Mother said, "Oh, what are we going to do now!" and Laura said, "Well, I did it, so I have to fix it up. She said, I'm going to stir all those ashes into the potatoes and we'll tell them that was some extra black pepper." And they all ate it and nobody got sick, but they ate ashes. And it was just fine. So --

… but they all worked together. Every farmer helped the fellow up the road and helped him to get his crops in. And that way they all managed for the winter, and it was tough those days. They really did it the hard way. But somehow they got through and when it was time to go to high school, we were lucky enough to have relatives that lived in the nearby town where there was a school, and that's what mother did. She went and stayed with her cousins from Monday through Friday and went to school, then her dad came and got her with the horse and buggy and they would come back home, and she helped her Mom all weekend but they all got through somehow. And they were poor as church mice, but they didn't know it. They were happy! They were having a great time.

So Mother was really prepared, when it was Depression Days, and we all had to tighten the belt and not eat too much, but we got through it, somehow, someway. My father had a furniture store but nobody had any money to buy furniture, so the whole thing went bust! And then he had to work for other people and he sold furniture for department stores and things of that sort, but they never lost their faith. They had that in abundance. And I grew up with that, so I was very lucky.

MERIUM: Thank you, Paula, and Thoroah. This is a double-barreled contribution! I will refer to your comments, Thoroah, if I may, and recommend Seth as a fine teacher, a part of the Advance Corps to work with mortals prior to the opening of the circuits, and indeed his thrust was opening the circuits of the brain to allow spirit entry. His contribution to consciousness will never be overlooked in the annals of your planetary development, and so to find value in his teachings is to find value indeed in those who have gone before you to show the way, as Virginia Woolf has gone before Gerdean and the Depression has gone before our "honeymooners" [Ed. Paula and Men-O-Pah]

We learn from what has been, and when we attain a degree of self-direction, we go in search of that which will provide enlightenment and consciousness. It is then that we begin to direct our own course of destiny. In the text, it speaks of the fact that the evolving mortal must go beyond merely being somebody to doing something, and so as you all reinforce your being, you search out ways in which you might do something to advance civilization or consciousness -- either/or interchangeably working -- in order to reach the goal, for there must be consciousness and there must be civilization, and they work interchangeably.

And that is why it is interesting that the two of you have given me this double-barreled expression, for Paula's recitation is about the civilization that Thoroah's studies of consciousness brings about. Knowing your needs, you will join together to create the working harmony that will accomplish that which needs done. The next step in your planetary evolution will be to find ways to occupy yourselves in peace, in ways which you can work together to enhance your civilization -- not for your own self-serving needs, but for the benefit of all.

Jules, have you read anything lately you would like to share with us?

Jules: Of a spiritual nature, don't think I can quite verbalize what I've read which was a little bit ago, but I do enjoy reading.

MERIUM: Find us a paragraph from that book there at your elbow and share it. Any paragraph will do.

Jules: [Reading from Page 230 of the Urantia Book, Paper 20, Paradise Sons of God on "The Trinity Teacher Sons.]

"The Trinity Teacher Sons. These highly personal and highly spiritual Paradise Sons are brought into being by the Paradise Trinity. They are known in Havona as the order of Daynals. In Orvonton they are of record as Trinity Teacher Sons, so named because of their parentage. On Salvington they are sometimes denominated the Paradise Spirit Sons.

"In numbers the Teacher Sons are constantly increasing. The last universal census broadcast gave the number of these Trinity Sons functioning in the central and superuniverses as a little more than twenty-one billion, and this is exclusive of the Paradise reserves, which includes more than one third of all Trinity Teacher Sons in existence.

The Daynal order of sonship is not an organic part of the local or superuniverse administrations. Its members are neither creators nor retrievers, neither judges nor rulers. They are not so much concerned with universe administration as with moral enlightenment and spiritual development. They are the universal educators, being dedicated to the spiritual awakening and moral guidance of all realms. Their ministry is intimately interrelated with that of the personalities of the Infinite Spirit and is closely associated with the Paradise ascension of creature beings."

MERIUM: Well, how charming! You are reading about me and my relatives!

There are few reading experiences as potent as the Urantia Papers for many reasons, but for our purposes today, I will laud the artistry of the writings, the ability of the revelators to express themselves through the English language, even as they testify to the challenge of conveying spirit concepts into the human word frame. They have done a noble job.

I appreciate its ability to touch on so many things, so many topics, which incite curiosity and whet the appetite for yet more while providing a wholesome dose of much needed spirit connection that gives the reader an opportunity to relate to the recognition their Indwelling Adjuster finds in the concepts set forth when they sail through the mortal intellect. This stimulation of the Adjuster in and of itself is sufficient to carry the mortal a long way toward developing his or her own self-consciousness.

Ultimately, superconsciousness will be prevalent, and those will be exciting times. We will then sit around the fire and tell stories of these days and of today's hardships, for there are plenty afoot. And while you may not realize how heroically you are living your life during this era of encroaching enlightenment, you are nonetheless noted in the annals of Urantia history as being a part of the upward sweep into a more fulfilling state of mind and being for the world and its inhabitants.

What wondrous things come from books, which come from the human experience! What great chronicles are in existence, testifying to the state of mind and being of the mortals of these times! It is so easy to step outside of yourself and get lost in the words and worlds of others who have much to offer, much compassion and sympathy and stimulation and encouragement. I invite you to gorge yourself on the feasts at hand -- for the mind -- which feed also the heart and stimulate also the spirit.

Closing

Well, this has been great fun. I am so glad to hear your responses to our assignment and glad to see how well we have conformed to a modicum of continuity, even as our members come and go and times change. Is it Robert Frost or Carl Sandburg or Shakespeare or a Biblical scripture or a bump on the log that says, "The grass covers all"? Let's go play on the grass.

I look forward to seeing you next time. By then the sugarplum fairies will have passed through. Enjoy the season. Bye-bye!

Group: Bye! Thank you.