1993-01-01-Rayson & Friends, Vol. 2, Part 4
Topic: Work and Worship
Group: Laguna Hills TeaM
TR: Joan Levine
R: Are the the others in accord? [Affirmative answers by students.] How very insightful of you to have made such a request, because in fact it almost completely coincides with the lesson I have prepared. You see, I have planned to talk to you about work. In light of your request I will make effort to highlight those areas of my lesson that touch upon the quality of Deity. Is that agreeable? (S: Absolutely.) Then let us proceed.
My friends, work in this language and in all languages on all planets of mortal habitation has both positive and negative connotations. Think to yourself, "How do I feel when I hear that word?" and you will most likely experience a combination of distress, physical pain, a hint of fatigue, and a sense of accomplishment and service. Would you all agree?
S: Yes, but mostly the latter.
R: It is through work that Father helps all of us, who are both created perfect and created imperfect to bring good out of bad. As I have alluded to in recent lessons, the capacity to participate in spiritual creation is within all of you. In fact, this special ability of spiritual creativity is an important part of your destiny and specialness as imperfectly created beings. A perfectly created being, in a sense, follows a perfect, program, but a perfect program is not so creative. Why not? Because far less work is required on the part of a perfect being to follow a perfect program compared to that effort that must be expended by the imperfect, striving for spiritual growth toward perfection. This is because the imperfect is ever working to turn bad or imperfect into good or perfect. Now what is that quality of Deity that makes this possible?
You have, you students of spiritual knowledge, become relatively sophisticated compared to others on this planet with respect to some of the elements of spirit enhancement: faith, truth, goodness, beauty, service, atonement and other areas in this line. These qualities are outworkings of Deity. They are the tools, as you know, that are given to you from Paradise through your indwelling Adjuster that enable you to turn good from bad and, as you progress in your journeyman's task of mastering use of these tools in your present environment, you are always assisted by the unseen instructors who are about. You only need to ask. And it is important to realize that the worse the situation, or the more bad in it, the greater the potential to turn good. A great artist can indeed fashion a wonderful and beauteous work of art from a tiny bit of metal or stone, but it is a wonder indeed to make good a large chunk of granite or marble or a large pile of wood, is it not? (
S: Yes) Bad is the creative material that you are given to work as an artisan. If there were no bad, how could you ever help Father to create good of it? You see, it is work to create good from bad - hard, arduous, painful, exhausting, demanding work - like all service, you will find, as you move from stage to stage over the eons. Blessed is the man who embraces his work with hands and approaches it with a joyous attitude. Blessed is he who works for the love of God. Blessed is he who works with little complaint but with a song in his heart and peace in his mind. And blessed is he who gets others to work.
These are all lessons brought to Urantia through Michael, Jesus, and indeed he was a wonderful example of this concept. Was there ever a minute of any day during his mortal life here that he did not work? And yet it is not Jesus who spoke of suffering of His own, nor was He ever heard to complain. Ever did He describe the qualities of work in positive and service-oriented terms, did He not?
My friends, work is not something that you are born learning and knowing how to do. You must learn how to work, and one of the very important tasks of your mortal lifetime on this planet is to learn how to work as well as you possibly can. And yet it will always be true that the more adept you become at working, the more work will be presented to you. The idea of retirement is a myth, if one has truly learned to work. By working as well as you can, not only do you serve Father and advance the growth of His teachings on this planet, but you also, unknown to you though it may be, lead and inspire others. Believe me, this is quite powerful.
When the times of life and light come to this planet, beings will spend their whole waking existence in work. It will not be the backbreaking toil to which you have become accustomed and which serves as part of your connotation of work, but it will be effort, and it will be tiring, and it will require strength, perseverance and faith. Yes, Deity can easily transform bad, imperfect, into good, perfect, instantaneously - or even prevent it from occurring in the first place, but that would not be as creative as the present manifestation in which beings such as yourselves work to transform your own imperfections in the direction of perfect and good.
Your persistence and devotion in your work is much admired by those who observe, and the good feeling that you receive as you accomplish the goals of your work chores is a direct reward from Father. That good feeling is something to be cherished and it grows as your spirit grows, perceives. As you work and grow toward Paradise, that feeling will grow, too. And, to use your jargon, it is most addictive. So one might say that the transformation of bad to good is the accomplishment of addicts, in a sense. [laughter] Ah, you take the humor, appropriate. I shall stop here and take any questions or comments.
Q: Rayson, I am delighted with your lesson today. It answers the question that I raised to begin with. I understand through the Urantia Book that the purpose of the physical universe is to make something spiritual out of something physical. Is that a simplistic way of putting it? Is that basically correct?
Q: And our response to that situation, all of our responses, are spiritual in nature in addition to physical in nature. But they're the stuff out of which spiritual reality is created. Is that correct?
A: Yes, you understand well, and do you know the next corollary, my dear? Once you have replaced that which was lost, you will have a more complete understanding of - a better sense of perspective - regarding that which is physical. You will see that the important parts of yourself have not been harmed at all, but indeed will have increased. Do you understand?
A: Yes. You retain your creative spirit regardless of the physical presence of canvas, paint, or printed page. And the vision that one man was privileged to experience and have the physical talent to describe on canvas has already been imprinted on your minds.
A: Yes, indeed, and those who would follow Him also.
Q: I think I understand the nature of the ascension plan, that Vince Ventola and my mother and others who have survived would not be aware any longer of loss or fear. So Vinny would not suffer the loss of his created work, nor would my mother be aware of things that were hers that were treasured that no longer exist in the material form, because they would be involved in spiritual activities. Is that correct?
A: Yes, yes that is true. Those from Urantia gave freely and with love and with no expectation of any continuing attachment to those physical items. And further, to use an analogy that I believe you will understand, those are remnants of the womb to them in their present states. What think you of your placenta?
S: It was thrown away and discarded after it had served its purpose.
S: It's wonderful.
S: No. You want to do it more. (Yes.) And it is hard.
R: Yes. Do you not notice however that others are drawn to you?
S: Yes. And I look forward to that like my friend (S).
R: Good is so much more attractive to animal mind than is bad that it takes only a very small bit of it to light the darkness and lead the way. Do not be discouraged by the seeming dearth of others who share your philosophy. Each one is a pinpoint of light, and the cumulative effect of the pinpoints is powerful and impressive, indeed. At a higher level of being, the pinpoints are easily perceived even from great distance, and this helps us to assist you when you call for help. (11/13/93)
- Work As It Relates to Worship
I am prepared to speak on the subject of work again, but this time work and worship. If there are any particular requests for subjects to be included in our lesson, as we did last week, I will hear them now.
S: I'm curious to see how this develops.
R: One comment from me. Heightened curiosity is yet another element of the subtle change in your mind-thought that occurs when you take a spiritual step forward in your own personal development. But let us start our lesson now. It has been my sense over these days since our last encounter that all of you who were present at that time have thought much on the subject of work, as we discussed. Is it so? (S: Yes) And is it not also correct that you may have been somewhat perplexed because the Urantia Book describes the time of light and life as a period during which very little work would be done with much leisure remaining. Is that so?
R: Yes, well I was chided by my own instructors for having not clarified this matter, so I have composed the present lesson to do so. Understand, my friends, that at the time the Urantia Book information was handed down and transcribed, there were many difficult decisions to be made regarding syntax and other linguistic details. For the animal mind outworking of intellect is fastidious in its highest development when linguistic considerations arise. That is to say, the masters who oversaw the project wished to have as little ambiguity as possible in the language used in the body of the papers themselves. And yet it was understood that these papers would stand for many generations as reference material, and language does indeed change through time.
So the decision was taken to use the language that was the most formal for the very time period during which the book was indicted, because formal usage is less susceptible to change, particularly frivolous idiomatic change, than is casual usage. And so when the matter of work was discussed, the linguistic value assigned to the word "work" was that of the earlier period of this century of your time. That is, labor of the body, primarily physical with relatively little spiritual content, somewhat more intellectual content, what you presently would call toil. And it is indeed true that at the time of light and life relatively little time in the life of a given Urantia individual will be spent in toil, physical labor. Again, the word "leisure", at the time of the indictment of the papers, included those activities in which energy is expended toward spiritual growth. And thus the leisure time of light and life, using that linguistic value of the word leisure will be worship.
Numerous lessons have been devoted wholly or partially to this most interesting and important subject. And yet, who can ever truly grasp the full meaning of worship, but Father Himself? Even those who have journeyed to Paradise state that in some ways their knowledge of worship is less than they ever thought. And it is at that point, of course, that one fully grasps the necessity for an eternity of time to learn to worship Father properly. At your stage of development, my friends, worship is at its beginning. You are taking the first cautious steps of the baby from the crawling posture to the upright in terms of your worship activities, moving from the animal considerations of self, the intellectual considerations of ego, to the spiritual considerations of the cosmos. This is indeed hard work, as all of you know, and yet so critical. And you must walk before you can run. So too must your spiritual growth stumble and fall and falter in the basic concepts of right and wrong before you will be able to walk with confidence toward your destinies. This is hard work, very hard work, and it does not end with this life.
You might say that to extend our analogy, you barely learn to walk spiritually by the end of a full term of human Urantian life. You learn to run while on the mansion worlds if you work very, very hard and spend many thousands of years in intense effort. And the delightful part is yet beyond that where you learn to fly, steps beyond. And all of this work, my dear friends, is worship: the doing of the will of Father, moving through the darkness, the uncertainty of imperfect creation, groping, despairing, crying out. This is what Michael came to your beloved planet to experience for Himself. Can you imagine how it must have been for Him to descend from a state of physical existence that is not even imaginable to you, far beyond light, continuous communication with Paradise, to descend from that down to the level of a helpless babe of imperfect creation? Humbling indeed, and much, much hard work for Him, as it is for you.
As I told you in our last session, the work never ends. But as you become more skilled at the craft of worship, and progress from crawling to walking to running and beyond, you will be intensely gratified. The sense of wonder that one experiences with the increasing pace of growth that attends spirit striving, spirit work, and spirit growth, is far beyond any pleasurable sensation imaginable to an animal. Some have mused about mating activity in the animal state, and its possible correlate at existences beyond the earthbound level. Do you not see that the intense - to you - pleasure that you receive from your mating instinct and its gratification is quite small in comparison to the true joy of spirit experience? You may say, "But how can I call such work with such reward anything but 'play' or 'leisure'? Why work?" Because, my friends, it is more consuming of effort than anything else you have ever experienced or shall ever experience. The reward of joy, of peace, of wisdom, you might liken to those instincts which have been planted in you as an animal descendant.
Your instincts on this planet, to eat, to sleep, to reproduce, not only work for your survival, but also enable you to experience pleasure, do they not? So too it is with the worship urge. Hard, hard, work it is to walk toward Father, intense hard work. And yet once you have firmly committed yourself on this road without question, without doubt, that spirit instinct to work and worship and grow toward Paradise will become stronger and stronger, and its gratification will yield the spirit correlate of what you call pleasure. I am forbidden to discuss many of the details of mansion world life, and life beyond. This is, in part, because it is desired that the focus of this particular Teaching Mission be upon your activities here and now. Remember the analogy of the tadpole and the frog. (100:1.4) But is it not helpful to a tadpole in his ascendancy toward froghood to have a light shining through the water? That is my role and the role of all those from above who are so honored to be part of this Teaching Mission.
I shall close this part of the lesson now and receive questions and comments.
S: I would like to hear you comment for just a few moments on the application of mental effort to a problem, whether or not that is work, and whether those who don't do manual labor but who work with ideas and correspondence and things of that nature are actually working. I know the answer's yes, but I would like to hear you explain what it is about this that has now encroached upon the definition of work.
R: Yes, certainly. You may recall that the mindal components of animal brain function are dual on this planet, the physical out-workings and the intellectual out-workings, and as this planet and its cultures evolve, work which is done and the definition of work will evolve also. The most rudimentary form of work which occurs in the most primitive of human cultures encompasses those efforts which are required to barely survive, which, of course, is food gathering, protection of the young, procreation and mating, and shelter from elements and other threatening environmental factors. The next step involves the development of tools and other technological adjuncts through the first use of intellect. But at this stage still work is primarily physical. As the culture evolves there is more and more of intellectual work and less and less of physical work, and then in a normal planet of imperfect creation there will be that wonderful time at which the first of the spirit work begins to show on a cultural level. On this planet - because of interference with the plan - the period of time that has elapsed since that first bit of spirit work in the life of the average Urantia mortal showed and now has been so long. And the advancement has been so small by the accepted standards of the universes. Nonetheless that fragment of spirit work is there, but it is quite small now. During this last century of your time, the proportion of intellectual work to physical work has widened greatly for many, many persons in your culture and, indeed, over the planet at large. And just recently we have been most gratified to see a definite increase in the proportion of spiritual work undertaken by the great mass of Urantia mortals. This may seem like a long-winded answer to your question, but the short answer is that yes, of course, intellectual effort is very much work. As time passes on your planet, in future times, physical work will become more or less extinct, and the notion of toil will be applied increasingly to intellectual effort, and the notion of leisure to pure spirit development. But there will come the day that there will be widespread realization that spiritual effort is indeed work. Does that answer?
S: Yes, I enjoyed every word of your long-winded answer. And I liked your summary with the short answer. The Master, when He was here, had a group of apostles who did what we would call work and there were time - at least once a week, maybe twice a week - when, they said in the Urantia Book, to have ceased work and enjoyed leisure. I would expect that even during their leisure they worked at least a little, but I would like a comment on the relationship between work and leisure.
R: Yes. Well, at the time that the Urantia Book was indited, the formal understanding of the word "work" included mainly physical toil, but also an element of the intellectual toil to which you alluded just now, and the syntax use of the word "leisure" included rest activities such as sleep, nourishment activities such as eating, and worship activities, so leisure did not primarily refer to worship. But worship was considered to be leisure, definitely.
S: How about play, or - as the apostles went - fishing? I'm looking for a good excuse to go fishing.
R: It is during what you call "play" that very much spiritual work is accomplished. That is why the reversion directors play such an important role in later activities in your existences. In a sense you could say that they guide your play. But, my friends, do you not see that worship is indeed play?
S: I hadn't thought of it that way.
S: I certainly hope He does. I think it's rather interesting that the word "recreation" means re-creation.
R: But re-creation of what?
R: And perhaps re-creation of the perfect from the imperfect. Have you not had at least one acquaintance in your life whom you enjoyed because they were so playful? (Yes, yes.) Then imagine how Jesus must have been perceived. Think of children shortly after the arrival of the Thought Adjuster. Is there not a marked increase in the desire to play?
R: To work at play, rather than passively allowing play to occur - if you view it in those terms - you may begin to remember in your life and the lives of your progeny. And yet so many allow the playful spirit to drain away, and be replaced by rage, fear, greed and pride. The extirpation of those qualities from your mindal activity will create space in a recreational way for the playful spirit of worship to enter. And you will leap forward in your worship skills when you undertake that housecleaning within.
S: There was a saying when I was growing up: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Of course, that was twisted after a while to say that "All work and no play makes jack and plenty of it." I think that your lesson would confirm the first of those instead of the latter.
Q: I'd like to know what you do personally for recreation.
A: At my stage of education, I guess you would call it; I spend a proportion of my time under tutelage of experienced reversion directors. Their company is most refreshing and... [turn over tape] The reversion directors with whom I work are most gracious in guiding me in my play. We have a lot of what you would call "fun" together. And it is, for this time in my existence, very much like the play of a human child, in the sense that I expend large quantities of energy in a seemingly effortless fashion. I always leave these encounters feeling replenished. Additionally, I am assigned periods of time for contemplation, meditation, visitation to what for my level you might consider to be a garden, a place of peace. You may recall that Jesus engaged in such activity while on your planet. These periods of time are also part of my education and like all my activities are closely monitored and recorded so that I shall not ascend to the next administrative level until I have accomplished all of those growth tasks which are appropriate for this phase of my being. Does that answer? (S: Yes.)
A: I would say that they are teaching me the most efficient ways to improve my worship skills and by improving my efficiency in that manner, I achieve what you call "relaxation". Not exactly the concept of beings in white garments cavorting on clouds with harps. [Laughter]
S: Don't forget the wings.
R: Yes, they would get in the way. (11/21/93)
- Work as it relates to Beauty
Today's lesson will be on the topic of beauty and work, a combination of two areas which have been recently covered in our discussion. And as I have done in the past, I will endeavor to help you to understand how Father's plan is united by the connected workings, out-workings, of His qualities as expressed through the acts of His creatures. You all understand, to some extent, what the concept of work means in the spiritual sense, and you understand that it is separate from play, recreation, and yet shares some qualities with worship, prayer. You may be asking yourselves now "How can work and beauty possibly have anything in common?" Is not beauty that which, when passively beheld, brings forth a joyous and loving response in the one whose senses are thus stimulated? How can this be in any way related to work with its implied ordeal? How can any ordeal, after all, be beautiful?
You are correct in your perception that work - not only in your present state but all the way to Paradise and beyond - is difficult, challenging, sometimes disappointing, and sometimes painful. And yet, you all do truly know that it is Father's will for us to work, as even He does. Therefore to work is to follow Father's plan and His will for us and for all of His creatures of higher mind. You may recall that all things of Father's creation are by definition beautiful, and indeed all qualities of Father's are beautiful, and all acts which are in harmony with the will of Father are beautiful. So you see, my friends, when you work at that task which you may despise and curse and sweat and struggle - as difficult as it may be to believe - you are engaging in a thing of beauty.
The channel would like to laugh at this, and I myself, even yet, find this somewhat amusing, as I review my own personal experiences with work, for I am still close enough to you in my condition to feel much pain. Be that as it may, work is a blessed act. Father smiles on he who works without let up, with little complaint, even with joy in his heart. Father is pleased when the one who is reluctant makes a valiant effort and toils nonetheless. And it is indeed true that the angels rejoice when you successfully complete a piece of work over which you have striven mightily. My friends, as you go forth and become teachers in the future, it will be a very effective, thought provoking and spirit lead act for you to discuss the merits of work and the beautiful aspect of work with your fellow Urantians. You will find that this often will be most difficult and challenging for you. Indeed, it will be hard work. But it is most important as we untie the snarled knots wrought by Lucifer and Caligastia and their followers who promised life everlasting without pain or difficulty, and appealed to the animal mind which seeks always to avoid discomfort. If you can undo this by expressing - in your own individual and unique way - the beauty in work, so that your fellows have a chance to understand, you will be doing much to further the cause of this mission and others to come.
Yes, there is much beauty in work. Is there work without beauty? Is there beauty without work? I would say, at this stage in your universe existence, the answer to both questions is probably no. You may ask, "But what of the wonders of God's creation that I may be privileged to glimpse with relatively little effort?" That beauty did not come about without effort being expended, did it? No, much energy was used in the creation of that beauty. If you would create beauty yourself, you must toil mightily. To view beauty may indeed afford pleasure, but pleasure at perceiving beauty is not the same as beauty itself, and this, too, is a place where much confusion arises on this planet regarding the subject of beauty. Can beauty be possessed? Can you acquire it at the market place?
Can you own it, enslave it, contain it in a box, and ship it abroad? In the spiritual sense, no. What you understand materially as beauty is a quite different thing than the beauty as expressed by God, created by God, and created by God's co-creators in their spiritual toil. And yet you all do know beauty when you see it, do you not? It has been said that in the presence of great beauty, the mind is still and brought to peace, and all of us who journey Paradise-ward are reminded of that, in a broader sense, when discussing how it will be to stand in the presence of God. You can sample a very tiny fragment of this when you behold God's magnificent creations - what you call natural beauty in your culture - the beauty of a bright spirit in another whom you behold, and that feeling of accomplishment, that good feeling that you achieve when you have done a job well, is also part of that feeling. Think about that, and do you not agree that it is a sense of peace within?
And yet, there have been those in your planet's past who asserted that what we have just discussed does not exist, and there are many on this planet even today who still believe that. You can see how that has affected your planet, can you not? This is the end of this lesson, and I look forward to your questions and comments now.
Q: Rayson, thank you once again for putting together a combination of ideas that I hadn't really thought of before, although I certainly see the basic truth in all that you've said. I remembered while you were talking that probably the most used concept in Jesus' parables was that of master and servant, with the servant being extolled for faithful service. I believe that He asks each of us to be first servants and then sons and daughters of our Father. This, of course, requires work on our part. I've heard it said that there is no such thing as a menial task, there are only menial people. I believe the first half of that, I'm not sure about the second half. I wonder if you would comment on what I just said?
A: Yes, that is a most thoughtful question, and I thank you. In the ideal circumstance on a planet of imperfect creation, there will evolve family units which eventually will be patriarchal in nature and on a very small scale will imitate the grand structure of the cosmos. It is staggering perhaps to consider this, and yet it certainly is a most sensible model, is it not? (Yes) In the family model of which I speak there is a strong, loving, creative, honest, giving, loyal, good father at the head. And his partner is a loving, loyal, obedient, kind, nurturing, benevolent mother. The children are obedient, and, as their parents, hard-working, honest, eager to learn, service-driven, as are their parents, good. You may recall that Jesus the man frequently compared man on Urantia to child, often spoke of children did he not? (S: Yes)
You are the children in God's family, all of you who reside on planets of imperfect creation, even as you serve as parents in your own families to your own children. How would you want your child to be? You would like your child to be good, and yet to work within his capacity toward perfection and independence. And the best way to ensure that his will happen is to yourself be a good child to your heavenly Father. Your child will naturally imitate your example.
As far as your second question regarding menial service and menial people, you correctly understand that God does not regard any of His children as menial. He is not even disappointed as a human father might be when time-related performance appears to be deficient. His love shines forth everlasting, without pause, and the good child of God knows when he has acted well and in accord with His Father's wishes because it is inherent in the cosmos that by behaving in accord with Father's wishes, you draw closer to Father. And that is a more rewarding experience than any other could possibly be. So the one that may be called, in human terms, a "menial person" might, in spiritual terms, be seen as one who is somewhat less close to God. Does that answer your question? (S: Perfectly.) (01/02/94)
- Work as it relates to Worship and Service
Today's lesson will be rather complex. We will discuss work yet again, however this time it will be in the context of its connection to worship and worship activities, including service. We did touch on this area briefly during last lesson, and since work is such a vitally important area of learning and discussion at this time in your planet's emergence from chaos and reconnection of the universe circuits I have decided to put much emphasis on the area of work. I sense that those of you who have been following our recent lessons are beginning to modify your own inner concept of work in accordance with our recent discussions. That is good, for it is not helpful to you in your role neither as student nor as future teacher in this mission to have a disdain for work. And yet this disdain is a deep current that runs through all of the cultures which presently exist on Urantia. As I mentioned last time, a most important job for you as teachers and participants in this teaching mission will be to assist in the re-education of your fellow mortals on this planet along the lines that have been presented through these lessons. We have dealt with many topics and yet there will be relatively little progress toward our immediate goal unless the people of this planet embrace work with gladness, readiness for service, loving spirit, and a sense of worship. This is not presently the case, as you all are well aware. My dear friends, from the moment that you are conceived, and forever after, you are engaged in work activity involving expenditure of effort, struggle, meeting challenges again and again. Ever will there be more, and, yes, failure - but also success - for such is the course of existence for those of us created imperfect. It is part of our endowment, our gift from Father, to be imperfect, and as mentioned in past lessons, this sometimes causes pain and regret in us.
That is the beginning of the dislike for work that occurs in mortal creatures of imperfect creation. It is this that Lucifer and Caligastia seized upon and so skilfully used as a potent force in their rebellion, emphasizing to imperfect mortals that pain and struggle were truly not necessary, because, after all, Father could easily make all things possible and perfect. This lead to much anger and resentment on this and other planets, and indeed in the mansion worlds there was also great turmoil related to this issue.
It will take you many eons, much study, and experiential growth before you begin to understand fully Father's true wisdom in creating imperfection. For now it must be an article of faith for you to accept this as a benefit of Father's love, a true asset. Now, my friends, the visceral response that all of you experience at the thought of painful and arduous work is an animal thing which most unfortunately has been much magnified through the devious activities of the rebels, and you will not be rid of this for the remainder of your mortal life on Urantia, I am sorry to say. However, I will attempt to help you to understand some of Father's motives and reasons for endowing you with work, which may well help you to accept the discomfort that you have when faced with work and modify your own inner attitudes and those of others by your example. You may recall that Jesus declared that He was here to do His Father's work. In fact, the word "work" was one used very much by Jesus during His time on Urantia, and this was no accident, for an important part of His time here was the work of restoring worship on Urantia and diverting some of the more heinous results of the rebellion. In this He succeeded through mighty effort, and even today you can feel it within yourselves, can you not?
Do you not sense that joy of worship of Father within you? (S: Yes.) Before this planet embarks upon the final stage toward the emergence of light and life, you mortals on Urantia will have the same sense of joy regarding work that you now - some of you, the more advanced - experience as a part of your worship activities. I know it is difficult to imagine at this stage, but the way that this will come about will be through, initially, faith-motivated acceptance of work as a worship activity and later, when spiritual evolution has moved forward on Urantia there will be more Thought Adjuster connectedness added to faith to reinforce each individual's knowledge of work as worship. My friends, all of Father's qualities are united. They are not discrete entities. You cannot separate love from goodness or from truth or from beauty or worship or service, just as you do not see discrete rays of the sun.
Whenever your actions are in any way in accord with Father's will, they are in all ways in accord with His will. So as you go forth in your work activities, whatever they may be, please understand that you are worshiping Father in your toil and effort and struggle. You are learning skills that you will use for the whole of your existence in the cosmos, for you will be working forever, and it will come to be the most exciting, joyous and loving activity imaginable for you at some point in your universe career. It may seem inconceivable to you, but there will be a time when recreation will be almost an annoyance to you because you will be anxious to get back to your work. I regret to say that I myself have not reached that point. [[[laughter]]] So, my friends, again it comes down to faith, does it not? (S: Yes.) For now you must accept on faith that work is a God-directed activity and is blessed and contributes mightily to your own personal growth and contributes mightily to the forward movement of the spirituality of this planet.
Teach your children to love work. Be an example to your friends and neighbors of one who loves work. You may complain, but they know by watching that you are working, and you must therefore embrace your work activities, and when they see you thrive, the inescapable conclusion will be that it is a result of not only work but of your loving and worshipful attitude regarding your work. And this will be a strong motivator to your neighbors to imitate you in this way. So you will be doing Father's work, you see, like Jesus, a co-creator with Father. And what could be better than that? This is the end of this lesson. I will gladly accept questions and comments now.
Q: Rayson , I thought that you had already milked the subject of work dry, but I found out that there's still some cream left in it. And I want to thank you for delivering at least part of that cream to us. I have heard the proverb, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." Would you care to discuss work as it pertains to the mind?
A: Yes, certainly. When you work, there is no part of you that is idle, not your body, nor your mind, nor your spirit. And your Thought Adjuster is present supervising and available for guidance, as are your Seraphim and other assistants. However, when one is idle, the opposite may occur, particularly if lack of work activity persists for a long period. Why should the Thought Adjuster continue to make efforts when there is no reciprocity on the part of the mortal, no effort? Why should the seraphim continue to suggest and advise when the ears are deaf and the eyes are unseeing? The idle one walks away from all that Father has constructed in the way of assistance, and in this condition it is unfortunately easy to turn fully away from Father, or as pagans might say, toward the devil. The one who is not engaged in work with idle mind, body, and spirit may choose to become involved in non-worship activities, non-work activities, that is iniquity. That is the meaning of your proverb. (S: Thank you.)
Q: Rayson, I want to thank you very much. I have not been able to listen to all your lessons on work, so it's been very enlightening to me today, and I'm really enjoying the cream, as (S) pointed out. What about those people who for whatever reasons aren't able to work? I'm thinking of people incapacitated, or those who have reached a stage in life and are very elderly, that for whatever reason now no longer seem to be able to work. It made me think about concepts that would enable them to do more. We seem to have a society that wants to get people out of work when they get older. It's real painful.
A: Have you not noticed how often material death follows?
S: Yes. I want to tell you of my own personal experience. My father worked until he was 82, and I think it was one of the key factors of his longevity, plus his excitement and thrill. Everything you said about what work provides, my father benefitted from by continuing to work. He never ceased to work until he was forced to by a fatal disease. I can see the transformation constantly in his life, which has been a real example to me, and I guess maybe an example for all of us. So I really appreciate what you've been saying today.
R: Yes. Thank you.
Q: Rayson, this has been a particularly inspiring lesson for me because it explains why, when one retires from one activity of work, there is this urging to seek out something else. Would the creative activity of making gifts for people, of creating things, writing poetry, music, and handcrafts be classified as a work activity, even though it's so pleasant to engage in?
Q: OK, because when you retire from one thing there's a sense of "I ought to be doing something else." And not just the routine survival things, but something that contributes something. I have this other question about another phase of the lesson. You mentioned that one of the qualities of Father was worship, and I assume with regard to Father that is the characteristic of Him that inspires worship in others. Does Father worship anything or any being? Or is it because of His worshipful quality that that's a characteristic of Him?
S: That's a quality that's very hard to transmit to a non-believer. We have a friend at our church who is very much in need of that sort of belief but seems very resistant to faith. My prayer is that we be given every assistance to help her get past that stage and know how loving and caring Father is.
R: Is she a loving person?
R: You cannot help her to make her own free will decisions.
R: Protect yourself.
S: Yes, I've noticed the need for that, I'm sorry to say.
R: Well, there need not be regret at the awareness of the danger that those who choose iniquitous paths pose to yourself. At this stage in Urantia's development it is important that you understand the need to guard against those who have chosen evil ways, for they can harm you very much. Some will harm you in chipping away at your faith, if you allow it. Others will harm you by inflicting pain on your person, either physically or financially or emotionally. Some may even kill you, so please be aware that there is danger.
R: It is something for you to consider that a spiritual matter will not be swayed by material considerations. Surely you know of those who have experienced, or even presently experience, material deprivation and mistreatment and yet gladly and lovingly choose to follow Father's path. And the opposite also, that is, those who have been fortunate and appear to have everything that money can buy, so to speak, who yet dwell in misery, rage, pride. You could never give them anything that would cause them to turn toward Father. Of course, there are all the variations. But do not make the error of believing that there is anything you can give such a person in the material sense that will cause them to alter their behavior. Your best hope in such a situation is to carry yourself with dignity and be a living example.
Q: On the definition of work, there are many forms of work, obviously, the one that we get paid for; is that the one you're speaking about mostly? Or is it just work in general, like the work we spend working in our garden, or helping a friend at their house? What is it that you're particularly speaking of?
R: Expenditure of effort with the goal of productivity in mind. Actually, most of the work that you perform is unpaid in the sense of wages. Think about the times you have had to deal with grief in friends or family. That was work, was it not? (S: Yes) Or your family chores, other family chores?
Q: I ask this because I find I have so much more joy in the physical work - whether it's growing or helping someone else - and I am, at this point in my life, struggling with the work I do to make a living, in terms of just how empty it is and how it's just not what I want to be doing. And I feel quite stuck as to how to get out and change it. I feel like Father's given me many, many, many gifts, and I realize that we can touch people by way of our daily work. I think perhaps that's what I'm doing in this job, but I can relate very much to when you say that there's work that's joyous and there would be such different work for me to do that would not be like work. I know so much of America leads lives of quiet desperation because they're doing things they just don't want to be doing, and I truly believe that people should be joyous in the work that they do, whether it's to make a living or whatever. And I'm lost right now on that subject because I'm not happy where I'm earning my living. I'm much more happy, whether it's cutting down a tree or helping somebody rebuild their house, or doing physical labor - the things I can see, fruits from my labor. Does that make sense?
R: I believe I understand what you are saying, however, desperation, to which you refer, is that element that I alluded to in our lesson which Lucifer and Caligastia so expertly magnified in the planets of rebellion. It is entirely possible that if what you refer to as your pleasure activities were incorporated into your present wage paying job, you would dislike them as well. The joy of work is something that you must develop on your own. It is your own inner attitude toward the activities that will result in joy, not the opposite. Do you understand?
S: Yes, I've had that self calm as well. But what do you do when you're just in a place that's reeking negativity? I know I choose my own way. That's what I'm struggling with right now, is trying to get myself out of a situation where I just think I've reached the end of my rope.
S: Well, I imagine He would try to find the joy in it.
R: How would He do that? (S: I don't know.) What do you think would be the first step? My dear friend, you may wish to seek, earnestly seek, for goodness in your work. There is no thing on Urantia that is all bad, nor any that is all good. There must be some goodness there. I advise that you look for that goodness and make it your focus and your jumping off point to help build a joyous attitude. If you do that, you may indeed find that another opportunity which will be less onerous to you will present. (01/08/94)
- Work and Conviction of Truth
Let us move on to our lesson for today. Again, I shall remind you of the great, great importance of work in your life now and for a great time after you pass from this material form. We continue to talk about work today, this time in conjunction with truth. As we discussed in recent lessons, it is truly impossible to separate the qualities of Father from one another. You cannot say that there is pure goodness separate from love, nor pure love separate from truth, nor pure truth separate from mercy, and so on. And as we have recently discussed, the work that you do is part of your vital contribution in the way of transmitting Father's qualities to your fellow beings and participating as a co-creator with Father. If your work is good, if it is carried out in a sincere fashion with the object of service to Father, then it must be truthful and honest. It cannot be otherwise.
Additionally, such God-directed work will help to reveal further truth, by which I mean showing you and your fellow beings that which is of God in contrast to that which is of man. Part of what you do as a participant in this mission, as a follower of Michael, as a believer of Father, is to strive as you go about your business to always find the higher meanings in that which you observe by means of your senses. It is as if you are a scientist exploring an ancient ruined city, sifting through the sands, searching for original artefacts, remnants of buildings, structure of a culture, carefully picking away with your brushes and brooms, your metal tools, scrapers and forceps. As you have been progressing with your spiritual growth, you have been learning to use the spiritual tools of discernment which assist you in determining that which is Father's will and distinguishing it from that which is not Father's will, what we have referred to in past discussions as material. Each of you here today makes a living in a different fashion. You all have your talents, your skills, your training, and there surely are differences in the manner in which you carry out your work. And yet, for each of you, as for every being on this planet, there is much value not only in working in a sincere, committed, good and faithful fashion, but there is also a great potential for influencing your fellows on this planet as Michael Jesus influenced His fellows. Even now those of you who are not living at the same time period as Jesus are very much aware of His high qualities as a worker. He was much admired and much imitated as a worker in His fairness,
His consideration, His honesty, His continual attempt to always produce a work of the highest quality, His willingness to admit and correct mistakes, and His striving to improve His own skills. Regardless of what your job may be as a worker, you can do all these things, too. In the eyes of Father there is no menial labor, nor is there any exalted work in the sense of how a material being earns his livelihood. Rather, one's work is judged according to those qualities which demonstrate a commitment to service to Father. Ask yourself, "Does my work measure up? How can I improve my work?" Remember, friends, that you are always being observed by your fellows, by the unseen beings who move among you, and, of course, by Father. This should not cause you to be fearful, but I tell you this so that you will be aware that your activities are important and should be carried out to the best of your ability. Now you all know that imperfection is your endowment and perfection is a long way off. Do not be harsh with yourself because your work is not perfect. And be merciful with your co-workers who are not perfect either. In yourself and in others search for the good qualities, the God directed qualities. Seek to amplify those, and you will be much gratified in the outcome, and much truth will be found.
This is the end of this lesson. I will gladly receive comments or questions.
S: Once again I want to thank you and Father Melchizedek for a wonderful series of lessons on work, emphasizing the different aspects of work. I heard a lot today about the combination of work and truth, and I pray that I'll be able to put them into effect.
R: You are most welcome. Work is a very important part of what you as a participant in this Teaching Mission will do. There are many on Urantia today who do not wish to work because of misunderstanding the value of work. As you go forth, and by your personal example, demonstrate the righteousness of work and the many benefits to be gained by sincere hard work; you will do much to reverse this trend which gained its major impetus from the rebellion.
R: At this stage, no. Later there will be other ways, but there will always be much hard work for you to do in your role as a co-creator. Of course, faith is an essential ingredient, as you know, but faith alone, without work, will gain you little in your material life.
S: I think Paul said faith without works is dead.
S: It's funny; I had a different interpretation of work and co-creation. I was thinking of the work of parenting and what goes into the creation of the assistance of the development of human beings of talent as being work, rather than just a job as work.
R: That is a vitally important job, of course, and one that you do well, however this issue of the work that you do to earn your livelihood is also very important at this stage in the planetary development of Urantia. Yes, there are many who wish not to do the work of parenting, as well as avoiding the work of earning a livelihood. In fact, the two often go hand in hand, and it is common to see the good worker for wages also function well as a parent and family member and vice versa. However, co-creation with Father, which is a special part of what you as an imperfect being are allowed to participate in during your universe career, goes far beyond procreative aspects of your life and includes the influence that you have on fellow beings through your appropriate responses to your indwelling Adjuster's promptings. And, additionally, on a planet in rebellion such as Urantia, you can greatly help Father through your service directed activities in all aspects of your life, help to undo the lingering and deleterious remnants of Lucifer's doctrine as they continue to abound on this planet. Do you understand? (S: Yes, thank you.)
S: I seem to understand from the combination of all your lessons on work that it's not the job we choose to do, but that in whatever we do, we do it the very best we can, develop the best skills we can, and try to have a happy attitude while doing it, even though it may not be the job we'd most like to be doing. Is that what we're striving for?
R: Yes, you have stated it very well. Thank you.
S: Rayson, what about choice of jobs? Does it really not matter what you do, or is there some responsibility for doing a job that you know is helping, or rather not hurting, the rest of mankind to the best of your ability to judge that?
R: Do you mean could you restate the question?
S: Yes, I'm trying to get at - does it make a difference what you do? Let's say you have a choice of doing one job or another, is it more valuable, or is there a benefit to choosing one that you believe is more helpful to mankind in some way? Or maybe another way of stating it would be if somebody worked very hard dealing drugs, does that constitute good work?
R : That is a very good question. The one who participates in activities which are harmful to fellow beings, of course, is knowingly choosing to go against Father's will. I do not think anyone here would disagree that Father would not have drugs disseminated to children or others who are weak and vulnerable. However, even the one who chooses to earn a living in an evil way can carry out evil duties paradoxical as it may seem in a fashion which is a model of sincerity and honesty. But you probably would have to look very hard to find such a person. My understanding from the mind of the channel is that drug dealers do not hesitate to kill others for nonpayment or to sell their product to persons who will surely die soon. Even if this is done in a diligent fashion, how can it be good? And yet there are always exceptions, are there not?
S: Rayson, somewhat related to the previous question, in terms of value of the work that we do, no one position is more elevated than another, and there's really no such thing as menial work. But what, if any, responsibility do we have to apply our God given talents, to strive to find work that would utilize those qualities, that would best further the Father's will? We are all different. For an example, someone has a musical talent which, if developed, might be able to a greater degree disseminate truth, but instead they deny that talent and work as a dishwasher in a restaurant. Is there any moral or ethical responsibility - well, can you just comment on that please?
S: Please do.
R: In this model, childhood is a time of learning and acquiring skills as well as participation in family life and the beginnings of spiritual teaching, However, once the child has achieved reproductive capability and the capability of self support through one's own work, this young adult is compelled to leave the family unit and live alone supporting himself at whatever trade he has chosen. Now in this model there are some who perform manual labor, such as you have alluded to, who find enough leisure time to develop other skills which they later use to support themselves financially. However, there is no allowance in this model for a prolonged period of idleness in the adult part of life, so that your budding musician, or whatever, who is capable of work but prefers to spend time acquiring another skill, would not be allowed to remain idle for a prolonged period, of say, more than six months while being supported by another adult. Surely you know of persons who have spent many, many years searching for the ideal profession only to look back late in life upon a career of idleness having been supported by others. Is that not true?
S: Yes, that is true. I'm talking about a person who is self sufficient financially but denies a talent that they have. I call it a God given talent because some people do have a propensity for, for example the music that others just don't have. Is there anything morally or ethically wrong with denying, never tending to a talent that you have?
R: No, not at all, the talent will never leave you. You will take it forward into your next life.
S: Ah, interesting. Thank you for that.
R: That is an argument which is presented by those who highly value service to the self rather than service to God. It is very easy to convince yourself that gratifying animal urges - including what you would call the service of the ego - is God directed and serves the cosmos, but do you really believe that that is the case?
S: Well, the Urantia Book says that one person through music can change the world. If this person has a talent for music but through the vicissitudes of life, and the different turns, and being insensitive, and not wanting - for whatever reason - to express his talent, is that not doing something very wrong?
S: I think that's a rhetorical question.
S2: I have a different view. I am concerned that there are a great many social ills on this planet, particularly in this country, and there are vast numbers of people who have gifts and talents that they are unable to develop because of poverty, racism, oppression of women, etc. I would hate to think that there would be an idea developing that somehow those people are immoral and unethical because they're not developing their God given talents. I think it is important to know that there are people who want to work and can't, or who are caught in a system where work is punishment throughout the planet, not just in this country. I don't know, I guess I just needed to say that for me. Do you have comments on this, Rayson, about people who can't - ?
R: Who cannot?
S: I would say the women in the rape camps in Serbia. Women, single parents, in poverty stricken communities in this country, stuck on welfare, who do the work of their immediate environment but don't have the privilege to sit back and postulate on spiritual values and their ethical responsibility to cultivate a talent, because they're busy trying to find food for their children.
S: Yes, I do.
R: I offer to you that the family with a father and a mother in attendance is a very strong and durable structure to offer a child. It is understood that there are circumstances which occur despite careful planning which do not follow this model, however, in a culture where procreation is easily preventable I question the responsibility of bringing forth more children. Do you understand? (S: Yes.)
R: Yes, of course this criticism is culturally dependent. There have been cultures on Urantia in which such an idea was far less developed than is the case in your culture. Your culture has been relatively affluent, and there has been, for some, an abundance of leisure time which has afforded ample, sometimes too much, opportunity for reflection on the self and real or imagined talent development. It is important to ask yourself in whatever you do, whether you are impoverished or affluent, are my actions in accord with the will of God? if you can sincerely answer yes, then those activities, the work of your life, are appropriate and are God directed, and Father would have no complaint.
S: Thank you.
R: Remember, my friends, that as uncomfortable as adversity is for you, it is a vitally important part of your personal growth, and does much to aid you in your spiritual progress. The ones who suffer through enslavement, poverty, physical handicap are able to benefit much, if they will heed the Adjuster's promptings. Father loves this effort far more than the poem or a song which is written as a tribute. Do you see this? (S: Yes.)
R: Play is very important, however as we discussed in a previous lesson, play may not be what you understand it to be. In your play, as in your work, it is best for you to keep in mind the will of Father. Do you believe that a play activity which involves the killing of animals is in accord with Father's will?
S: Does that include fishing?
S2: My thought exactly.
S: I mean, Jesus was a fisherman.
R: But He did not mount trophies.
S: If we eat it, it's OK.
R: That is work.
S: Feels like play.
S2: Well, it does, and it's incidental because then maybe you put the beef in the freezer and eat the trout that you caught that day.
R: Yes, work is a worship activity which is a difficult concept to grasp while in the material state. However, it is true that this is the case, and understanding this may make it easier for you to trudge along in your toil on Urantia with a loving attitude and far reaching goals in mind.
S: Rayson, I personally find your lessons transforming to myself. I haven't heard all the lessons, but of what I've picked up already it's changed my attitude tremendously, and I want to thank you for that and for your patience in continuing to pursue the subject for us.
R: You are most welcome. My dear friends, much effort is being put into your education, and you will in future go forth and work hard to educate others. The beauty of work is that it always follows this pattern. Think to yourselves of all the jobs that you have ever known of. Have they not always led to further work? This is how the universes were created, and this is how in future the outer universes will be settled. When you are permitted to make your final decision for or against survival, you will be presented with, among other things, the prospect of eternal work. And there have been some fortunately very few - who have found this to be so distasteful that they have elected non-survival. Do not hate your work. Embrace it. See it as a blessed activity. Let it draw you closer to God. Become a shining beacon among your fellows. Move smoothly and lovingly among the masses of Urantia leaving the imprint of God in your wake. (01/15/94)
- Work with respect to Love
R: Friends, today's session will be a bit different from the usual, for this will be our last formal lesson. In addition to the lesson, I am going to explain the next phase of this group's educational experience in the Teaching Mission. Do you have a preference as to whether you would care to hear the lesson first or second?
S: I prefer the lesson first.
R: Very well. Today's lesson is on work again, this time with respect to love. This fits in well with the initiation of the next phase of this mission, for you as participants in the Teaching Mission will be directly involved in conveying Father's love through your own work. All of you here know what love is, do you not?
S: I believe so.
R: Yes, we all are capable of recognizing love when we experience it. Some say that those of us created imperfect have a greater enjoyment and awareness of love than the perfectly created beings because our hearts are not always filled with love. Being of animal origin, we are vulnerable to other states that are not in accord with Father's will - states of rage, greed, pride; states in which we seek to harm and destroy others; states in which fear conditions all of our actions - so that in the material state at least that feeling of love, if you allow it to come through, will seem very refreshing, uplifting, freeing, relieving, strengthening, in contrast to states of animal origin.
Have you not noticed in your experiences on Urantia that you may easily find yourself in an animal state without having much conscious awareness of how you got there? Yes. That is a common experience for imperfectly created beings, one of which it is difficult to not feel ashamed. However this part of your imperfection. I encourage you to work hard to learn how to resist this inclination in yourselves. You will find that it is most difficult to do this, initially. If you achieve any measure of mastery in this regard during your life in the flesh, you have, believe me, far surpassed your peers, many of whom are never truly aware of this capability, but instead attribute the joyful feeling of love which sometimes comes to them to luck, magic, or other happenstance occurrences, never truly realizing that it is their own behavior and work that cause this to come about. Remember again that Father's love is always coming toward you, but you must reach up and take it in order to fully experience this and other aspects of Father. And this, of course, is where work comes in. Some mortals in this Teaching Mission have said that the work is particularly difficult because things of a spiritual nature are so difficult to perceive, gossamer in quality, elusive in nature. That is indeed how it may seem to a mortal being, however you may be interested to know that there have been some few who have, through diligent effort, been able to attain and maintain a firm grip on at least certain aspects of the spiritual world that is within and without and everywhere around you. Surely all of you here have noticed a subtle but definite change in your usual sense of being since entering the Teaching Mission, have you not? (S: Yes) Would any here care to describe that?
S2: Another one is a heightened awareness, of not only our own awareness of spiritual presence around us, but of the spiritual presence that's in other people, an awareness of their searching, and their Thought Adjuster and other personalities.
S3: I find myself able to step aside from a typical reaction and anticipate how I would normally do something, or react to something, and almost have a time out and recognize how I would normally behave. That wouldn't necessarily be the best way. I catch myself doing things a lot easier now than I did before, more aware and more sensitive.
R: So you find yourself working harder?
S3: Yes, definitely. It's more work in that sense, sure.
S2: I feel a sense of the spirit of competition that's so nurtured on the animal level being replaced by a spirit of cooperation. I feel very motivated that way, and I think it's a direct result of the lessons and the Teaching Mission.
S3: And concerning the Teaching Mission, and also my spiritual journey that I'm taking, I don't perceive of that as work. I understand better now that it's been explained in the mission, but I'm just so excited about it and I'm so motivated by it that it just doesn't feel like work to me - in the traditional definition of work.
S5: I think about one time (S) gave a talk about paradigm expansion, and I think that being involved as we have in our mission has completely changed my paradigm reference. I mean now suddenly everything looks entirely different. I still have a base reference point, but it's opened up to accepting all kinds of things that would never have happened had it not been for the lessons.
R: And less prone to drift in the wind, so to speak, (S: Yes) be carried about by the gusts of fate, as some of your poets would say. These are all excellent observations and show that you are indeed growing spiritually and reaching toward Father. And you will be pleased to know that two years from now you will look back at this time and realize that you have come very far since today. S5: Exciting.
R: Yes, it is exciting, and it is a glimpse for you of the wonderful adventure that awaits when you pass from the material form to the morontia form and beyond. There is no harder work than the work of Father. Do you see that? All: Yes.
R: And as you, my friends, go forward to inspire your fellow beings and become spiritual leaders. You, like our loving Father, will be an example as the hardest worker in the group, just as Jesus worked hard and diligently. Is that agreeable?
R: Yes, to follow Father's will is always the most efficient way of using your energy, as you would say, the shortest distance between two points. I have used this last lesson as a model for our next phase of education. What we shall do beginning next session will be to start with basic concepts, and I will serve as the moderator while participants in the group offer components of the lesson. It will seem random to you at first, but your unseen helpers will be working with you during the interim periods between meetings in such a way that the final product of each session will fit together and form a cohesive unit as if uttered by one being. This will serve many purposes. This will help you to see how a loving attitude enables you to cooperate together and produce something of real and lasting value. It also enables you to work at your own speed while you are alone preparing and set your own pace for spiritual growth. Additionally, you will be learning skills which will enable you to duplicate this teaching group when you go forth at a later stage in the mission and form your own separate groups among new members of the mission. I sense that you are all excited and enthusiastic about this prospect. All: [Assents]
Q: Rayson, we have been caught up so much in the second phase of this that we haven't really been able to comment on your last lesson: work in relationship to love. As I understand it, one definition of love, according to the Urantia Book, is the desire to do good for others. When we respond to that desire in any manner, is it work?
S: Yes, I have a comment about the lesson today, work and love. You say so many things that inspire me, one in particular I had written down and put stars all around it. Father's love is always coming toward you but you must reach up and take it. The reaching up and taking it, would that fall under the category of work, the effort that it takes? I mean, that seemed to me - your comment seemed a direct connection between work and love.
R: Yes, the reaching up and taking is that work that I have been talking about, and, in this case, it involves loving back. To feel Father's will most deeply involves acting out His will in your behavior and your experiences. And as you become more experienced and work hard in your journey toward Paradise, you will become more and more adept in your capacity to act in accordance with Father's will.
Q: Rayson, when I'm practicing the stillness in the evening, I perceive of this outreach as a, maybe an analogy would be, as a muscle and that the more you work your spiritual muscle, the easier it becomes. And I perceive of mustering up all of the love that I can in my heart, and just sending it toward the Father, and then really trying to open myself up for a response from Him. And this reciprocation seems to confirm the idea that it is a muscle that I'm working in that sense. Can you comment on that?
A: Yes. Yes it is like the development of a muscle. You are correct in your perception, and in addition to sending love to Father in the fashion to which you refer, there is another perhaps more easily understood way that you can love Father. That is to love your neighbor. Your neighbor is not an abstraction to you but a real living, breathing person. Can you truly love your neighbor when he is noisy, smelly, dishonest, unkind, obtrusive, greedy, fearful? If so, then you have achieved a high level of spirit growth. This does not mean that you need to bring the creature into your home [[[laughter]]] or draw your savings from the bank and hand it to him. Love has not to do with these material displays. But if you do love your neighbor, you will find that this is the most effective means that you could employ to help him to modify his behavior and be more loving in return. You see, you will be acting as a co-creator with Father that way. To think that Father can love you in all that you are, is that not a marvelous thing? Does not that require the same forbearance and mercy that you would show to your neighbor? [Several: Yes]
Q: So Rayson, then is it more an attitude than an actual doing of a thing, since you're saying you don't have to have that neighbor into your house or give them money. Is it more just how we think of them, the kind of mental energy we send their way, the way we - when we do - speak with them? I mean, what do we do to love that neighbor? I think I understand what we don't do.
S: Quite honestly, I barely know my neighbors. I've just moved, but I was simply extending your example. I know, a former situation. I had some neighbors who would have live bands over and play music into the wee hours, and it was very distressing, and it brought out the worst in me. But I never really had a personal encounter. I would always just call the police, but I had very negative feelings about these people and would express them loudly within my own walls but never to them. It certainly interfered with my own spiritual growth in terms of how I was feeling, where my mental energy was at that time. But there was no interaction with those people. I don't know if that example is useful. I guess not.
R: Do you think that having a direct interaction with this neighbor might have led to your developing a more loving attitude and your neighbor, in turn, responding and being more kind and considerate toward you?
S: I think, at the time when these incidences occurred, I wouldn't feel safe doing that. For one thing, I think that they were inebriated, but I suppose I could have tried that in the more likely sober hours of the day. Would it have helped? I don't honestly know. I guess I have somewhat of a pessimistic attitude about that with some people. Maybe that's where I need to stop having those assumptions and give it a try.
R: Of course, a neighbor who is a savage and does not accept the hand of friendship cannot be very responsive to your loving gestures and may actually be dangerous to you. I assume that you eventually moved away and severed the relationship of neighbor with this person. Did you not? (S: That's right, yes). That was probably the most useful action to take under the circumstances, however, you must have had a neighbor who did not behave in that way, yet whom you feel you did not develop a high level interaction with. I do not mean by use of the term "neighbor" the one who lives next to your dwelling. There is the neighbor with whom you work, the neighbor with whom you interact in financial matters, the neighbor who shares the road with you, the neighbor who stands in line next to you at the market. How do you feel about these people? There is the neighbor whom you will never see again who asks for directions. Do you offer help in an appropriate fashion? This is all something for you to think about and consider in this matter of loving your neighbor. Are there other comments?
S: Rayson, many times over the years I use the phraseology, I demonstrate good will or unbreakable good will. To me, a love relationship, in my own definition, can become such an emotionally involved thing, like loving everyone in this room and those in intimate contact with. To me demonstrating good will is probably an aspect of love that I find a little more comforting at times when somebody's cutting me off in traffic. I can demonstrate good will, and even unbreakable good will, but the emotional involvement of the word love would be hard for me to deal with probably at that time. Maybe you could comment on that.
R: You are wise in perceiving the difference between mortal love, which has animal elements of emotion and intellect, and the divine and spiritual love of Father. Father's love is, as you say, unbreakable good will, but also has the very important element of mercy. You refer to being cut off in traffic. If you would include mercy toward that neighbor, it might be more palatable to you.
S2: Rayson, I just want to share one comment about love, something that I'm dealing with now, or that's helping me define what love is to me. And that is simply learning and wanting to value, simply just value, the other person in the way that our Father does, and the way that I am valued by Him. To me that is like a foundation stone at this point in how I'm defining love. Simply learn to value that person, to want to value them as I am valued.
R: Yes, that is most important, and remember again from this lesson and other lessons that material contributions are not an element of spiritual love. Do you expect God to fix your car, repair your bank account, provide you with a home or food or jewelery or training or education? Certainly not. And in transmitting Father's love to your fellows, is it appropriate for you to offer these things to them? Would you deprive your neighbor, all of your neighbors, of that necessary adversity that is required for spiritual growth? It is not greedy to withhold material things from your fellow beings who have the hand out and seek to convince you that if you are a believer in God and a loving person, you should fill their cup. Consider their motives, and you will see readily who the greedy one truly is. This is a hard, hard lesson for you, my friends, particularly because formal religious training on Urantia has taught you otherwise, and this is a deeply ingrained concept. But I urge you to work hard with this. (S: Thank you) You are welcome. Are there other comments?
S: I love you, Rayson.
R: You are much loved by myself and the others in attendance today and those who have beheld you at all of the sessions and at all times in your existence. I shall bid you farewell, my friends, and I urge you to work hard during this interim period and consider your topic of cooperation and reflect upon it. You all have the capacity for reflectivity and may develop that muscle, as you say, to a very fine and precise level, if you work hard. I bid you farewell. All: Farewell. (01/22/94)
- Worship and the Art of Living
S: Worship and the art of living, both of which have been presented as separate areas of discussion in the past. Bear in mind, friends, as you proceed with your individual learning, that the areas of spiritual growth that you may consider to be discrete and separate topics are actually parts of a continuum, not separate and apart at all, but rather parts that are inseparable and inextricably intertwined with the whole fabric of what is. This, of course, applies to spirituality in general and the art of living and with worship. As we have mentioned before, worship is that which glorifies the Father, not merely singing His praises, but all activities which express the will of Father, in other words, the art of living. You have been endowed with the gift of life, a gift of love from Father, but if you wish to elevate yourselves above the level of animal life, it is necessary to work at worship.
Sometimes the work is easy, but very often it is difficult, taxing, challenging. It will take you to the edge of your capacity to perceive that which is right, and it will test your ability to do that which is right despite almost overwhelming - temptation is not the right word, but I shall use it for want of better - temptation to behave in a different fashion. In thinking of the art of living, you may, in your mind, have a vision of a leisurely existence with comfort and pleasure in abundance. And this may indeed come about if you have truly mastered the art of living, and in your actions - each and every one of these - express worship for Father. However, it is quite rare for mortals of animal descent to ever reach the level of proficiency in spiritual expression where such a comfort level is attained. Rather, most who aspire to the art of living and improved worship find their lives to be difficult, arduous, and full of struggle, not without pain, a continuing test. And this is what you, yourselves, are most likely to experience should you choose this mode of existence. Look into yourselves, my friends consult with your indwelling Adjuster and you will have a willing and helpful guide along the road that will lead you to the art of living. Along the way of this path, you will find that fear, pride, anger will diminish as you work and struggle, and greed, of course, will fall by the wayside leaving you lighter and stronger. But make no mistake, this is a rocky, uphill path, and lonely, if you define loneliness as prolonged endeavor without the company of your fellow mortals. It will not be lonely in the sense of lack of spiritual company for you all have many who stand by you to help, to advise, and to observe this great experiment on Urantia. How does one take the first step?
The first step is to make a freewill decision that this is what you truly and sincerely wish to have for yourself, no matter what the cost may be. To put aside fear, to realize that some material goals you hold dear may be slower of attainment, or may never be realized at all - for attainment of goals, both spiritual and material, requires expenditure of time and energy. One cannot divest energy toward more than a few major goals simultaneously and achieve success. You all know that. In fact, part of your decision to take that step must be to take the decision that your spiritual mission supersedes all others. Are you ready for that, my friends? Are you truly ready? Are you ready to give up some of your comfort? Are you ready to step out of the world of man the animal and walk toward the world of the future man, the spiritual, the fulfilled, the world of your children, grandchildren, great, great grandchildren? Look into yourselves and decide if it is something you cannot do now. You will be offered the opportunity beyond this life and far more information will be available to you at that time. To take the step now is far more an act of faith than it will ever be at any future time in your existence. And it is that faith, my friends, that marks you on Urantia and on the other planets of the rebellion as being so very special in the universe. Worship of Father is not an activity that is confined to a particular time of the day on a particular day of the week with a particular group of people. Rather, worship is expressed in every breath that you take, every word that you utter, and every move that you make. It is particularly evident in your interactions with fellow beings, all fellow beings. When you express worship of Father in your connection to another being, your spiritual light increases ever so slightly in its intensity.
The day will come when you will be able to perceive this much more clearly than you do now. There are some among you who can, even now, see this light, or feel it. And I am certain that all of you here today can sense it. Truth, beauty, goodness and love, such simple sounding concepts, these are the essence of worship and the essence of Father's love for you and all His creation. The universe is all of what is. It is not a collection of individual egos, each crying out for expression. It is the wave that ensues when beings act in concert for the good of all, and the non-participants are not heard. It does not matter, really, except as a brief flicker on the surface. The wave breaks on the shore not because one water molecule is particularly strong, but because all the water molecules act in concert. So too with the progress of this universe, or any universe, or in fact all of creation. And you, my friends, as mortals created with free will capacity are not just carried along as are those created perfect. You, in fact, can help to create your own wave, not your own individual wave, but your own collective wave that adds such a beautiful voice to the choir. You are not created perfect, and perfection is not demanded of you. Instead it is asked that you strive toward that which is perfect which you have an inner realization of. It is your striving that adds to the voice, and when you fail to strive, that is when your voice is silent. In the grand scheme of the universe the recognition goes to that which is correct.
That is the motivation beyond the material life for the strivings of creatures, because the sense of being right, of worshiping Father, is so wonderful. And to not have that feeling, by contrast, seems so empty, not necessarily painful, but rather not wonderful, not good. You can get a sense of that when you are on the right path, worshiping in your lives and working toward the achievement of the art of living. If you lose the thread and feel you cannot find your way, think about Michael and His life in the flesh. What would He do? How would He conduct Himself? You are all to be congratulated for your diligent efforts and your personal progress. More than ever there is the sense that things are going well with this mission. It will not be a perfect adventure because you are not perfect beings, but it will be a wonderful adventure because Father's ways are wonderful. I will stop at this point and receive questions, if you have any.
Q: I've been concerned that I wasn't efficient in worshiping our Father well enough. I read from your lesson that probably none of us are, but we gain some comfort from the words that you said. Is love a prerequisite for worship?
A: Yes, but again, you will not experience perfect love, so do the best that you can. (S), you are much loved and you are doing quite well, and there is no reason to feel remorse. Continue on your path. You know when you are doing well, do you not?
S: Well, yes, only sometimes. I want to do better. Most of the time I want to do better.
S: It seems to me that it is. I set aside times for worship and in those times I try to mentally say that I love the Father and that I actually worship the Father. But I haven't any real meaning to the idea. It gives me some pleasure and satisfaction to say it, but I really don't know what I'm saying.
R: Do you say it in isolation, or do you say it when you are among others?
S: Well, both, but I don't say it aloud when I'm among others.
R: What markers of success are you looking at?
S: That is what I was going to ask you. I don't know what the markers of success are. I feel supported, full, loved, but then I don't feel that I'm doing enough.
S: I hear you talking about problems and travail that are blessings. I really haven't been blessed with any of those. I have everything it seems that life can offer a loving family, very close friends, and a good relationship with God. I wonder if this is a test: no hardship?
R: You have had your hardships, but the human mind is quite remarkable in that, with the passage of time, pain is forgotten in its fullest intensity. This helps to protect you, for you are a creature of flesh and blood, and if you were to continue to experience the pain of every difficulty, life would be intolerable.
S2: (S) is expressing some of the same feelings I've been having that I am not spending enough time in worship. Yet, I feel like I have Father with me all the time. Yet I regret I'm not spending enough time alone with Him, solely with Him. And today I feel like I made a connection and a commitment during our lesson that will help me to do better at this. And I thank you very much for your lesson.
R: You are most welcome. Perhaps, (S) & (S2), the anxiety you experience with regard to your own spiritual growth has to do with the fact that you are looking for material signs of spiritual effectiveness. You will never see those. That is where your faith comes in. It is worship enough at the end of a long and successful life to wake up in the morning, to care for oneself, to not be a burden to others, to maintain one's health, and to be loving in one's interactions on a social level. You both do that quite well. Neither of you engage in the practice of castigating your offspring for failures of your own health or finances, nor do you spend time in regret over what may have been. Those activities would be the opposite of worship. It would not be in your best interests to conduct your worshipful lives in the same fashion as you did when you were twenty or thirty years old. My sense is that you are handling it quite well, and it may help you to know that your living example is very important to the other participants of this mission who are younger than you are. Does that help?
R: Just a bit of mota.
Q: Along the lines of worship, I feel that worship is something that flows in and out of my life. For example, (S) and I were surfing this morning, and just to sit out there and see what God has made. And in those moments just know that He hears how grateful I am, that's worship too, isn't it?
R: Yes, and certainly your fellowship with (S) is most worshipful.
S: So I'm thinking along the lines of (S2) and (S3) who to me epitomize worship. No one could be more loved and more respected. If I could just become like them when I grow up, I would think everything I did was right.
R: Yet, you hear their doubts. It is good for you to speak your feelings along these lines, and remember, my dear, worship means doing the right thing at the right time. You were right to attend to your families' need rather than to attend Michael's party. God has no need of your food, but He needs your loving interaction with your relatives, and through that you help to spread His teachings. Do you see?
S: I believe that. I don't always do it, but if I could just do good always, I couldn't do any better than that. So, if I think I'm doing good, I feel OK about what I do. I seem to have a pretty good reality checker inside me, so if I just follow my inner promptings, I know that it will be OK. I feel like I'm getting better, and I know you know what this means. So thanks.
R: You are most welcome.
Q: With regard to your lesson today, these are requests for confirmation to see if I understood the lesson correctly. We worship not just in solitude, but in our communion and truck with our fellows every day?
A: More so.
Q: And as far as markers are concerned, those times when we feel most connected, (S2) and (S3)'s questions prompted this, but I've been wondering myself, too. Interesting, we're all wondering the same thing. We've all felt it. We've known that we were in loving communion with the Father. It's unmistakable. It's completely reciprocal. And, most of the time we only feel that when we're in solitary communion, worship. But now and then it seems we feel it when we're in everyday life, just regular activity, and we've made a good choice, and we've been able to do a good thing not just for someone else but to tell ourselves, or to reinforce better behavior, God's will in our own actions. Am I right? Are those markers? Are those little guideposts that say "Yes, this is the direction, follow this?"
A: Yes, and to elaborate on that, the sense of being correct and being in communion that you experience in solitude is actually the glowing reflection of correct behavior when you are engaged in activity. However, your blunted awareness while you are active is mostly due to the fact that you have a brain and body of animal origin and that talking voice in your brain is babbling too loudly for you to be able to hear, in a sense, the rightness, the spiritual perception, that you get when you are in a quiet mode. Does that make sense to you?
S: It does. R. If your actions while engaged with others were incorrect, then during your periods of solitude you most likely would experience either discomfort, pain, or a neutral feeling, rather than a sense of well being and goodness, such as you express. The evil man cannot stand his own company.
Q. So, there necessarily has to be a cleansing period, I would guess.
A: Well, it is certainly a useful reinforcement of your faith to have periods of solitude during which you can quiet the mind and perceive your own spiritual level. It is not absolutely necessarily, in the strictest sense, but there are very, very few humans on Urantia who have been able to dispense with this device as an adjunct to the spiritual journey. So, the answer to your question is yes.
Q: When you say worshipful activities I presume you mean service, because one can have activities which are based on error which would not be worshipful. I would think that service would be equivalent to worship or maybe even better. When I relate to others, if I try to relate to the God within them, their Thought Adjuster, I think in that case I would be approaching worship because I would be serving them. I can't say, for instance, if service is better than worship or worship is better than service because sometimes service will make me worship better and sometimes worship will make me serve better. But worship seems to me like it's more of a one on one situation where I can talk directly to the Father within me whereas when I'm serving there is a third party involved. Is that correct?
S: The Urantia book says there is.
A: Well, worship in the sense of doing the will of the Father is service. As far as a third party being involved, when you interact in a social way with another being, in a loving and serving way, you extend the connection between yourself and God to that third party. Yes, that is somewhat different from a private session with the Father, but it is only a difference in degree. If one were to spend one's life in solitude reading spiritual materials and attempting through the Thought Adjuster to contact the Father, the spiritual life would be incomplete and unfulfilled because the connection to other beings is a vital part of a proper worship existence. Much confusion about worship arises from ancient times in the history of man on Urantia when superstitions and fear lead to the enactment of ritual behaviors designed to appease the mysterious forces that were thought to be responsible for good luck, good weather, good health and general well being. This idea has existed to the present day in the persistent belief that worship can only be undertaken in solitude or even in a particular setting, such as a church, temple, mosque, and even in particular position, such as the kneeling position, or the prostrate position. It is unfortunate that this pigeon holing of the notion of worship has occurred, but my personal understanding of worship is that it encompasses all activities in which one extends one's link to the Father through the Thought Adjuster which has been achieved through conscious effort and freewill decision to another being or other beings in an active fashion. Does that answer your question?
S: Yes, it does. I think a lot of this is based on a frame of reference whence we take the meaning of worship as we apply it to ourselves. I think (T/R), whose mind you are using or speaking from, has that ideational confusion between worship and service. I was never related to a church when I was a child so I don't relate worship to any specific temple or any church or any archaic concept of worship. I just think worship as I get is straight from the Urantia book and from Jesus' example. He did service with others and for others, but He also took time to go out on His own to be by Himself so that He could talk to the Father. I think it's very good for you to inform people that worship can be accomplished not just by oneself but also in doing service. I just wanted to bring the point up because I talk to some people who would just worship with others but not by themselves. In other words, they wouldn't go out by themselves to be alone with God. I think that both service and worship is necessary and not one at the sacrifice of the other.
R: If you wish to consider them as separate activities, that is your choice. The life of Michael, which is the example lovingly provided by Father as the model for ideal human existence on Urantia, was one of unending service and was the ideal for human endeavor on Urantia. Never once did Michael cease to worship Father.
S: I have no qualms about that. It's just a matter of semantics. We tend to use the word worship, I do anyway, to distinguish it from service, and that when one talks directly to the Father it's not a matter of action. Service - to me - is action, whereas worship is being with the Father. In other words, it's the difference between the first person and the third person. Service is action, the third person, having to do with Infinite Spirit, whereas to me worship is the first person, being with the Father. It's an existential kind of thing. That's how I differentiate the two, and I think there is a definite difference.
R: Was Michael not with Father when He served?
S: Yes, but I'm just saying when He served there was an act. I mean, there is a difference between action and being. When He served, He acted. I think when He worshiped He was with the Father, in other words, just being, existing with the Father.
S2: May I interject here?
S2: I have located a page in the Urantia book in a paper on the life of Jesus, on page 1616, teachings about career and worship. It says at the evening conferences on Mt Gerizim Jesus taught many great truths and in particular He laid emphasis on the following: He said that worship, contemplation of the spiritual, must alternate with service, contact with material reality. And it goes on to say that work should alternate with play. Religion should be balanced by humor. Jumping a few lines again to say, another distinction, worship is the technique of looking to the One for the inspiration of service to the many. So that sentence right there, to me, points out the interrelatedness of worship and service. They're separate in terms of defining them for our human minds, but they're absolutely connected things.
S3: They're made of the same stuff, but they're expressed differently.
S: Yes, that's what I wanted to say.
S2: So I think actually we're probably all in agreement here.
A: That is the point that I was attempting to make through the lesson.
S: I like that very much. I will never forget that word, the art of living. You're right, living is an art. Worship, I feel, flows through all of that whether it's just seeing again a heron rise out of the creek bed, 200 or sitting on the ocean thanking the Lord for this incredible beauty, or seeing a light in somebody's eyes because you've extended some help. It's all points of worship, ultimately, yes?
R: That is true.
S: This line about worship being the technique of looking to the one for the inspiration of service to the many makes me think about how they're interrelated, as you're doing service. I know for me I'm constantly having to check back in with the Father. Is this what I should be doing? So there's worship taking place at the same time.
R: That is true.
S2: It's commingled.) It's commingled, thank you.
R: Exactly, that has been the point of the lesson.
S: We finally got it. Thank you, Rayson. (08/28/93)
- See also
- WORK ex rel Worship (11/21/93)
- WORK ex rel Worship and Service (10/08/93)
Many meetings were begun by Rayson reciting the following prayer:
R: The light of God surrounds us, the love of God enfolds us, the power of God protects us, the presence of God watches over us, wherever we are, God is. On February 14th, 1993, the T/R for Rayson opened the meeting with the following prayer:
R: Universal Father. Eternal Son, Infinite Spirit, in our efforts to communicate with your servants, I request the guidance of your Thought Adjuster and the protection of the Spirit of Truth, so that we may communicate if that is your will - with beings that are generally aligned with your will. We thank you for any messages and any insights that we may receive. Thank you. [This prayer was answered by a message from Prince Machiventa Melchizedek.] On February 28. 3, after the lesson and before the question period Rayson verbalized the following prayer:
R: Oh Divine Father, creator of infinite mysteries, knower of eternity, lover of all, your ways are many, and though we may not see your wisdom, on faith we believe and live your goodness. We pray for recognition of your truth, to live your goodness, and to appreciate the beauty of all creation: natural, human, morontial, spiritual perfected, divine, even on to the creations not yet made. We pray to fulfil our part in your plan. and through our efforts to one day be blessed enough to sit and be in your very presence in heaven. May we be granted the gifts of wisdom, courage, and stronger faith as we travel the long road God-ward. The special session on May 12, 1993, closed with the following prayer
R: And now, brothers, we will give worship to the Father, to the Mother Spirit, and to Michael, our Creator. We bless the breath we take knowing that it is divinely decreed. That we exist, and - if it be our freewill choice to exist eternally - then that is the will of the Father. We are thankful for this life in the flesh and of the spirit. We pray to grow more in understanding our role, and in carrying out the will of the Father in heaven. We pray to touch other beings with love and inspire them to seek God. Strengthen us in our resolve, and comfort us during our periods of (desolation?). As we stay centered on your love, we will continue by faith in our (endeavors?), knowing we all contributed to the spiritual growth of (the Supreme?).
On May 22, 1993, Rayson opened the meeting by asking a student to offer a brief prayer. This is the prayer the student offered: Our gracious heavenly Father, we - your children praise you, we worship you. We thank you for Christ Michael, your son, our Father and our brother. We thank you for the Mother Spirit. Thank you for the Planetary Prince, the Vicegerent Planetary Prince, and the Teaching Mission. We ask that you be with all of the celestial beings and the ascendant mortals who are working with us, and that we may dedicate ourselves to their service. This we ask in Christ's name. Amen.
On May 29, 1993, Rayson closed the session with the following prayer:
R: First Source and Center, Heavenly Father, and Creator of all, we thank you for the desire to understand you and know you. We pray for the courage of convictions to reflect your goodness and truth and beauty into the world. We pray for clarity and wisdom to discern your will for us, knowing that even when it is unclear it can only be for the highest good. And on faith we accept your mercy and love and forgiveness, and look forward to our ultimate goal as finaliters. Please bless us all and let us be reflectors of your love.
R: Our Father, we want very much to thank you for our safe passage through perilous waters caused by the local earthquake. We thank you that we did not receive more damage. We pray for the strength of those who did receive damage to convert this disaster into good. We look at each disaster as an opportunity and thank you for it. This we do in Jesus' name. Amen.