2010-06-28-Flowering of Individuality

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Topic: Flowering of Individuality

Group: Marin TeaM

Facilitators

Teacher: Michael

TR: JL

Session

Opening

Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, As we gather together tonight with each other and the two of you, we want to thank you for your orientation all these many lessons with us. We take your point that in a very real way we are several decades now into an enormous Renaissance of information and, closely allied to that, an equally enormous wealth of material possessions. Those of us who are more than a few decades old can remember back when a very proud home could boast a set of Encyclopedia Britannica. Now we can go online, type in a word, and get a thousand references in a hundredth of a second. Equally we have this huge accumulation of material wealth as we’ve been surfing on an enormous wave of technology, cheap energy and credit.

So while that’s the exterior trappings of our lives in this modern world, we treasure how you’ve teased and encouraged us all along to have a rich inner life. We’ve appreciated all the chapters in your Handbook On Being Human and all the ways you’ve introduced us to ourselves. You’ve helped us make our inner lives at least one orientation. We can be still inside, not only in our meditations but also in all the precious moments all through the day, still enough to feel what’s happening inside. We can unplug from our electronic media long enough to listen to our own thoughts and let ourselves wonder about the true mysteries surrounding us. You’ve encouraged us to have the courage to question our own beliefs, and to accept responsibility for our own spiritual creativity and our attitude towards things that changes those very things so greatly. So for all of this inner life, and your company, you’ve helped orient us toward, we are truly thankful. Amen.

Lesson

MICHAEL: Good evening, my sons, this is Michael. I thank you for your appreciation of our efforts. Mother Spirit and I are tickled to see the seeds we’ve sown coming into bloom for, yes indeed, this is what your tired old world needs. These are the fresh, flowering new shoots and sprouts coming up within you that we’ve so longed to see. Every generation that comes along needs this tuning into itself and not only treasuring and carrying on the traditions in which they were raised, but questioning those very things so that they have their own, up-to-date generational wisdom that, hopefully, carries everyone’s treasure of truth just one step further along than their parents.’

Individual

  • The flowering of individuality

Our last lesson was on this flowering of individuality in more modern times. Thanks in large part to economic successes, even the excesses you mentioned in your introduction, greater numbers of people can have such fantastically individual lives. This is due to the specialization that quickly evolved in most societies worldwide, yet, as you point out, it is also true you are in a planetary Renaissance of information across lines of formerly different viewpoints, now worldwide. This is long overdue when you compare Urantia to those worlds that have been shepherded along by a loyal Planetary Prince and his staff, and then a loyal Adam and Eve. You can only imagine worlds where, for hundreds of thousands of years, there has been a more uniform worldwide culture being directed by extra-planetary personalities on the surface. Your planet is very unique in that it has almost all the stages of cultural, economic, and governmental development still co-existing, from almost the most primitive to the most advanced.

But this Renaissance of information can be your saving grace. As you noted, you’ve only to think back a few decades where, in your advanced countries, you had only a few major television stations and the nightly news was pretty regimented. Some folks decry the loss of this innocence, this monolithic culture, as nothing but a fragmentation. They decry the fact you now have literally dozens and dozens of television stations representing almost every political, social, and economic viewpoint. Yet that decry is merely nostalgia. It really means that just a few decades ago there were enormous parts of your society with no voice at all, so now even a cacophony of voices in much to be preferred.

Transparency, Independence

  • Transparency and independence

You’re beginning to recognize that the most critical thing for social and economic freedom is the quality of transparency--the single most important quality for a truly democratic/republic form of government. The people have to have the ability to discern what’s truly happening, and this can only come about from a variety of viewpoints being freely expressed. You recognize this in your legal confrontations in criminal law, of which your television dramas have so many examples. Both the prosecution and the defense need a vigorous presentation of their viewpoints so a--hopefully--impartial jury can see both sides of the issue. In the same vein, Mother Spirit and I encourage you to be truly independent irrespective of how you are raised, the accident of your birth. Be truly independent and sample the full spectrum of social, political, and economic thought.

Although this is another way of tuning into that which is external to you, my children, it is also a good way of knowing your inside self and what you believe, and why you believe it. So try not to be inundated with the entertainment value of all these viewpoints, but enjoy some time alone to give yourself time to think, time to reason, time to let the spiritual influences within you come forth. Let the presence of your Father have a say in your mind. Treasure Mother Spirit’s augmentation of your wisdom and your worship and get a good feeling of where your deepest values lie.

These are very challenging times and it’s good for your spiritual health, as well as your mental and physical health, to embrace the challenge. Use this time. If you are undergoing hardships, let them teach you. This requires an inner strength and determination to stay healthy, or even get more so. If you’re suddenly out of work, consider the initiative it takes to embrace more physical and mental activities now that both may be less required than before, rather than wallowing in some kind of self pity. This is quite a challenge. Mother Spirit and I acknowledge this. We know what we’re asking. We are your spiritual parents and our love for our children is that they be healthy and strong, that they use whatever challenges come their way, to grow and not be crushed.

So yes, my children, in these very difficult times think about the necessity for change. Think about those periods in your national life that had to come to an end, the things that could no longer be afforded, and realize the degree to which your parents, your grandparents, your great grandparents had to change; how this whole world has been enormously changing in the last few hundred years. They had an Industrial Revolution: now you are having a technological, electronic/information revolution.

Change

  • The spiritual side of social change

See if you can see the spiritual side of social change. Sometimes a material challenge like the sudden loss of jobs, or the devaluation of certain kinds of material wealth, can be the occasion for a general spiritual renaissance. Your Urantia book mentions that with primitive folks back in savage times, they only thought through things when they were hungry. Consider how much this is still true today and hardships are needed to elevate certain spiritual, almost Morontia/soulful truths. That which comes easy is so often not valued. Then during times of material hardships--simply compared with what came before--folks start getting in touch with themselves inside, and begin to share their inner life with their family and friends. We see this happening.

Folks in the more modern societies can spend their entire days being entertained and never accept the spiritual challenge of entertaining themselves and each other. So, if you will, revive the lost art of conversation. This is what I mean by a spiritual Renaissance. Forego some of your more habitual entertainments for a richer inner life, a life of self reliance. Demand more and more of your political/economic leaders. Demand more transparency. Demand to know what’s going on. You once had a slogan: question authority--even us. It’s always a good beginning.

Finally, my children, get a sense of history, your own history--your soul. Where have you been and where are you headed? Where has your own society been and where does it need to go? Often less than half the folks bother to participate in their democracy, neglecting to vote because they feel there is no real choice. Yet the choices are always theirs to make, their voices to be heard. We look forward to a time when everybody gets much more interested and active in their political/economic life, hopefully before they get too merely re-actionary.

Mother Spirit and I have no fear for you, my children. As we’ve said before, we can directly perceive the enormous spiritual glow of this planet, and that comes from every single one of you. We can see your spirit. We can see your souls. We know what you are capable of and so, accept the fact that for large parts of your society you have been coasting for a while. Yet it is by God’s good grace that eternal life is not all downhill. The struggles and challenges of human life, though particular to this planet; the essence of these challenges you will have with you always. Otherwise, as Mother Spirit has assured you, eternal life would be hell indeed.

Accept your challenges with a dear love of God in your heart. Thank Him for them. Grow this inner life of yours and be not afraid. You have such untapped potential for sharing, for genuine friendliness, for helping each other. It is only sadly ironic that oftentimes it takes a crisis to bring it out. So be not afraid. Embrace the challenges that are laid before you. Be kind and good to one another and know that deep spiritual joy of helping another, for which there is no equal. This is God’s gift to you, my children, these economic necessities, these social responsibilities, this need to advance your civilization--your being truly civil to one another. That’s the challenge and that’s the joy of it all. This is your potential and this can be your glory. This is the true meaning of love, of caring.

Love

  • The strength and power of love

So feel this, my children. Feel the strength and the power love gives you. This is my blessing for you this evening: trust in our Father and the way He has set up life this way--the challenges and the need for love, for us to rise to each occasion with a thankful heart.

Now if you have any questions or comments this evening, I open my heart to receive them.

Student: It’s good to be back with you, Michael; it’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve been here. I do enjoy being with you at times during the day, and in prayer. I feel I’m maintaining OK, but I sense a lot of pessimism around me. People feel things are going the wrong direction and sometimes I’m at a loss as to what to say to help. Could you give me some words to uplift in the general way, maybe along the lines of what the lesson was tonight?

MICHAEL: Yes, my son, I did talk rather generally tonight, roaming around and touching on a lot of things. Mother Spirit and I are hopeful for peoples’ concern and flexibility in adapting, insofar as so many aspects of your more advanced societies are unsustainable in terms of available energy and material resources. But you are becoming aware of this fact. This brings you face to face with the challenge: what kinds of lives can you evolve both individually and collectively?

Evolution

  • Turning points in planetary evolution

You were talking before my lesson about the glut of certain material things your economies have been based upon, for example, homes and cars. What do you do when faced with more than enough and are stumped on your own surfeit of these? You have millions of homes being foreclosed with many being abandoned and rendered unfit, and your used car lots are choking with millions of perfectly fine vehicles. Your populations are no longer expanding at the same rate as before, which was for most of mankind’s history one reason for such an equal evolution and expansion of better kinds of production. But when your populations need to, and can stabilize with resources; you can imagine this is another great turning point in planetary evolution.

Mother Spirit and I have mentioned the greatest challenge of all--the creation of good work in all human dimensions, physical, mental, and spiritual. Just in terms of ideal health we’ve mentioned how much physical exercise the human body thrives upon, and how so much of your modern disease is due to the simple yet profound lack of sufficient physical activity, not only for bodily strength and flexibility, but also for the feedback from directly engaging the material world in both work and play. Yet for mental and spiritual health you can’t just pay forks to dig holes and fill them back up again. The challenge goes deeper into evolving spiritual values.

So yes, you are facing a truly enormous challenge because economic necessities will force you to make hard choices in life-styles. But again: this situation can be the basis for a shift to deeper spiritual values, leading to a genuine cultural evolution toward spiritual ideals: more truth, more beauty, more goodness.

So, my son, I would say: just talk with folks; reason with them. Really listen to their particular situation and point out the spiritual dimensions I talked about this evening. This shift and its attendant concern is already happening, really quite naturally in terms of basic human creative response to a new and changing situation. Economic recessions and depressions do lead to de-valuations of material possessions, and necessitate greater awareness of the underlying mental assumptions and spiritual values your life choices are based on.

Inner Life

  • Inner and outer life

This is happening. The longer people are in an economic recession the more they are forced to reconsider all aspects of their lives. This is not necessarily a bad thing at all from the standpoint of their overall/comprehensive health as we see it, especially with regards to their inner life. So point this up to your worried friends and suggest they re-evaluate as much as they can their unconscious habits. They can welcome this necessity to bring more and more of their lives into conscious choice, to recognize and manifest what we mean by free will dignity.

There is a way of staying ahead of the economic necessities of life, but it means you choose before you are forced to. It means you think through things and deepen your insight into the causes of your situation, because your insight into your reality is what your foresight and plans are based on. You have to welcome the mental and spiritual challenge of having to think maybe three or four times about what you really need to be healthy and happy.

So be reassured, my son, and reassure them in turn, that when your friends feel their values shifting--and for some this can be very much like an earthquake--this shift of values is in the spiritual dimension of their human being, so this is where prayer and meditation can help so greatly in keeping up with the changes. This is where they can find spiritual help and suggestions, love and peace. So many folks taken unawares, with little highly conscious inner life before, don’t recognize and welcome this sudden upwelling of primal energy. They take it all as fear and worry, anxiety and health-robbing stress. Others live in a rather constant and highly conscious inner awareness of the provisional nature of their ongoing situation, and are therefore more attuned to changes.

This ongoing re-evaluation is the essence of your spiritual life: being open to another’s trials in this regard is the essence of true commiseration. (Ah!) You share your lives with each other. (Yes) It often takes a very humble heart to acknowledge the enormity of the predicament you--or they--might be in, but this inner realization is the most critical element in any choice. Humility is a spiritual blessing, so help folks see the necessity for the shift from the material to the spiritual aspects of life, as you live it with each other, as a good thing. After all, my son, all this--stuff--even your physical body, goes. What is growing, and potentially eternal, is your spiritual soul, filling with the contents of their souls. Be unafraid to let yours show, and tease folks into realizing they have one too. This is the true wealth we are all growing as experiential beings.

Does this help give you some ideas on how to share with others?

Student, laughing: Yes! Sure. It’s great. I think there’s that, and there’s that pessimism I mentioned, but you’ve given me a lot of good ideas, and I really appreciate it--the new way you say these things. They make me re-think what I’m doing.

Let me ask you about some work I’ve been doing recently in politics. My associates and I have coined the term “deep politics” to include a deepening spirituality. It’s not the superficial or run-of-the-mill kind of thing, but trying to get underneath these into the dimension of covert causes and powers. What we seem to find is that there is a vast hidden dimension; and what I believe is happening is: our civilization is divided into the overt, or what is presented as happening, and the covert, which is what is really happening. I wonder if you could give me some guidance in that regard because I just keep finding there’s more there. As it states in the Urantia book, there are undercurrents of truly Machiavellian/selfish activity in economic and political, even religious organizations. I think it’s a healthy thing to bring that out, and, like you say, transparency it what it’s all about. So could you give me some guidance or encouragement for the research I’m doing?

MICHAEL: Yes, my son: all power to you! Go for it. This will be your unique take on things, and I encourage everyone to be truly independent within themselves. Get a good feeling for your viewpoint and what you uniquely have to offer from all your researches and investigative reporting. Keep in mind that social/political/economic affairs have always gained power from being hidden to some extent, right from the tribal stage onward.

Security

  • Overt and covert

Today there is universally recognized the need for dozens and dozens of layers of security surrounding various military, industrial, financial, national and international secrets. Hundreds of thousands of years of near incessant warfare have proven the value of security; surprise is one of the basic principles of warfare, and the perquisite secrecy has extended into all aspects of modern life, including your own personal situation and what you call privacy--nearly absent in primitive associations. In all levels of society and government, in all organizations and institutions you have the overt presentation and the covert, just-between-us shared secrets--even, and I could say especially, between friends--confidents.

A lot of this is inadvertent and unavoidable. So long as you have such an enormously wide spectrum of education, wealth, class, power, possessions; there are limits as to how much any individual can put themselves into some else’s shoes and appreciate their profoundly different life; so there are equally enormous illusions and assumptions projected across these human divides in both directions. There are unrecognized social/cultural ironies such as in ancient Egypt where the average citizen or slave was as much dependant upon the Pharaoh and his priests as they were upon him. The degree to which an individual is not being responsible for all aspects of his or her life means they are giving that material, mental, or spiritual power to someone else to take care of. This is the unconscious habituation and identification/association with an organization that gives the leaders such unquestioned authority. The only way toward more individual freedom is for everyone to withdraw their unconscious, automatic identifications and start making these associations a matter of conscious, everyday choice with a growingly independent/individual mind. A further seeming irony is that this individualization is best accomplished by tuning in to the most universal reality there is, God’s presence within as well as outside you. What you share is your soul, the most truly individual part of you.

Only in a potential way can you say that the people themselves have all social and political power invested in them, for this power is only real as it is exercised consciously. The individual, raised by authority, must, in order to evolve his or her maturity, decide in full consciousness what is unconditionally real. This means they have to deliberately break the hold that unconscious conditioning has upon them, dare to be individual, and reexamine organizations and institutions in an ever new and penetrating light. This, I take it, is the helpful light you hope to shine on the hidden/covert aspect of things. We look forward to a more enlightened and actively engaged electorate as the only way forward toward a greater, responsible freedom shared by all.

Student: Let’s work on that together.

MICHAEL: Yes. Be in my peace, my son. I’ll be right beside you. Keep your heart and your mind open.

Student: Yes, Michael. What you said tonight reminds me of a story or parable about a man being chased by a tiger, and, coming to a cliff, climbing down a vine to escape only to discover another tiger below waiting for him. Then, as he’s wondering what to do, a mouse comes out and starts chewing on the vine. Right before the vine breaks he notices a big, luscious strawberry at hand. And how delicious that strawberry was! So in a sense, all we have in this moment and what we can make of it.

I’ve been listening to talks given by Donna on creating Utopia, and I love the meditations she includes. We’ve created so many false idols of materialism and got distracted from our true essence. So what is left when you have nothing?--you know, but your essence? You just have yourself and your relationships; and still all your notions about God, or Buddha, or Allah continue to color your mind-stream. But if we allow ourselves to be still and just let go our projections that keep us from what is more real, then we can taste that strawberry. We can see a whole new, singular/together world that has always been there beyond the polarities we get caught up in.

This is what I’ve been experiencing in spite of feeling kind-of despondent or melancholy at times, maybe even despairing when I see so many people so full of fear and lacking in love. But I also know that their essence is the same as mine. If I can feel love and encouragement, so can they. I remember hearing a talk on the radio where a lady proposed the idea: what if we grew up knowing there was nothing wrong with us?--we were all OK. We weren’t full of sin, or bad karma, or anything like that. We wouldn’t need so much to feel we are OK. I think your whole life was all about that, showing us that there is so much more to being human, so much creative power that is beneficial to everyone. So…

Materialism

  • Hollow materialism without direct personal investment

MICHAEL: Yes, my son, I think that strawberry you mentioned in your parable tonight, plucked--and enjoyed!--right in the middle of a predicament, is akin to what I mentioned as insight into value, the spirit-substance that can be gleaned and enjoyed from whatever experience you’re having. Also you’ve touched on the contrast I noted between a rich inner life gained through stillness and an exclusively outward-oriented one, for that is what a hollow-feeling materialism is all about. It’s trying to find meaning and value in things beyond those in which you’ve directly invested part of yourself.

Such an unsatisfied greediness has been with mankind from the very beginning, the feeling inside of--never enough for real security; never enough until an Industrial Revolution comes along and there is something called a steam-powered machine that sits there whirling away making so much stuff for everyone. Yet when that becomes the norm people can still postpone developing their inner life by making it dependant upon acquiring just one more thing. It’s a good enough definition of suffering when, in a downturn or depression, people are suddenly forced to give up this way of life and reevaluate the very meaning of what they’ve been accustomed to. It means they haven’t been exercising their free will. They’ve been going along on the mass-cultural ride and are now being forced to be individuals and make hard, individual decisions, forced to confront their own inner creativity, or lack of that.

So yes, my son, that strawberry is a rich inner life somewhat independent of whatever predicament you find yourself. You can only sympathize with those who are being forced to think, forced to re-evaluate. Introduce to them the notion this is a spiritual activity now, and has its own inner rewards of self confidence and personal creativity, its own soul-wealth. Remind them it is the other folks in their life that is their true outward wealth. Every person they know and have ever known is another unique creation of God’s, not just another thing off the assembly line.

Collectively this does require a continuing evolution of culture, and this is happening on a worldwide scale as historically different cultures make ever more intimate contact and relationship, providing a helpful comparison and contrast with owns own. It’s part of the recent history of Urantia, and growing in both breath and depth. We can see this. It’s partly why Mother Spirit and I have so much faith in you. It’s just that you each have to earn your faith in yourselves. But you can: you are.

Student: Yes, I do feel I am--if I look at it that way. The times I feel despondent or despairing, it’s because I see the possibilities and there’s part of me that wishes things would hurry up. If we need to have all these cataclysms or whatever, let them happen so we can move on. But I realize that’s not the case; and we’ll have them anyway. I remember after 9-11 the advice was to go shopping--buy stuff. That’s the mentality people have been programmed in. Don’t feel all the grief, all the fear: go shopping! Everything’s OK!--that kind of thing. If people haven’t developed an inner life before this, then all they feel inside is a big void; and that’s scary. Where is my true identity?

I think the answer is that beyond all the covert stuff B is investigating and writing about, all the hidden manipulation and taking advantage of people by other people, there is the power that created all of this--that we can tap into. That power of God’s is changeless and permanent. That’s the real strawberry. So: thank you.

Effort

  • The necessity for effort

MICHAEL: It is a challenge to see the positive aspects of every event. We point at this challenge and acknowledge the sheer effort it takes to earn your soul. We do this so you can feel good in the effort--the necessity for it. Does God feel this effort in His creation? We don’t know, but we do know He feels our effort. He has set life up so it does require effort to appreciate value, but then, on that positive note, my children, by the very fact you earn your soul, you have it! It is yours. You have earned it with living experience. This is definitely the way He set the creation up and created all of us personal beings to share it with Him.

Closing

So thank You, Father. Thank You for the very struggle, the very effort it takes--physically and mentally and spiritually. Thank You for the very exhaustion we experience, for then: Oh!--the glory of the refreshment that does follow. And thank You for these dear children of Mother Spirit’s and mine. Help them realize what they are earning. Help them feel the priceless souls that are their only true and only necessary possessions. Good evening, my children, my brothers and sisters, my friends. Be in my peace.