2009-06-22-Thumbnail Sketch of Human Being
Topic: Thumbnail Sketch of Human Being
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, Welcome, dear parents. We do enjoy and value so greatly these feelings of humility you help us experience by putting our lives into a context so much greater than ourselves, even pointing out that it is part of ourselves that is greater than our consciousness. You help us appreciate how, as a material being in space, we can become aware we are kind-of suspended between the infinite and the infinitesimal; then along the dimension of time, how we are to ourselves without beginning in a transcendent present, looking into a future which has no limits either in duration or extent of personal growth. So these feelings of humility are wonderful. They remind us that though we are but a speck in the cosmos, we can begin to intuit, if not yet directly perceive, its spiritual vastness, and be all the more thrilled and thankful for our Father’s infinity. Then, that He shares so much of His nature with us…for all these lessons of yours, dear parents, we are so thankful. Amen.
MICHAEL: Good evening, my children, this is Michael. If you’ll indulge me, I’ll enjoy saying that again: my children. Very much like you human parents with children, you are both mine and not mine at all, but fully yourselves’ and our Father’s. Mother Spirit and I do share a bit of surprise from time to time with what you come up with. It’s your free will and your exercising of it that is such a joy. You become like tiny little gods yourselves for you are part of the Deity Absolute, a personal being with creative power, not strictly bound by all those antecedent causes. There is something innately delightful and free-roaming in your curiosity and how your seeking for the truth and the reality of things plays leapfrog with your own abilities to create that very thing--the true and the real.
(A thumbnail sketch of a human being)
So let’s return to a kind of thumbnail sketch of a human being. As we experience you as you experience yourselves you’re primarily a self-conscious self that begins each morning when you awaken, maybe with a few lingering dreams, and then here you are again. You go through your days and let yourselves be extinguished in sleep once again. This is your own personal field of consciousness in which everything takes place for you, and indeed these are the limits of your free will--those choices and decisions you make in full consciousness. It’s when your personality is capable of asserting itself through its creativity, somewhat free of what has lead up to the moment, even its own habitual thought-patterns.
So this is the person you experience yourself to be. You are endowed with memory and a sense of the past--your own continuity, an experience of the present, and, through the insights you’ve accumulated through the years on the workings of the world, you can have some pretty certain foresight into the future along the lines you’ve discovered and call Natural Law, penetrated--so far--out billions of light-years and down into the subatomic nano-second. About the realms of mind and spirit you’re--not yet--so certain. But through your inner experiences with your Father, with Mother Spirit and myself, you are intuiting and developing your own Morontia Mota--soul/spirit laws.
So here you are. This seems complex enough--you have thousands of conflicting philosophies and meta-physics that dispute what constitutes even this part of a human being--and then here we come--(Michael laughs)--saying that this body of yours, and all your physical reality--no matter how much a materialist you are--is infused with spirit--your spirit. Not only the spirits of all those untold numbers of beings above you in the universe, all the way up to your Father, but your body and all the surrounding reality of the world is infused with your own spirit, your own creativity, your own interpretation of seemingly simple facts--never so simple seen in this light.
You have Mother Spirit’s Mind/Spirit Adjuncts augmenting your physical brain activity, your consciousness. This consciousness of yours, my children, is not solely a function of your physical brain activity, though that’s its necessary foundation. You are influenced by these dimensions of Mother Spirit’s consciousness surrounding you, impinging upon you, finding response within your mentality.
Then there’s this other aspect of your being, you could say the sole enduring possession of your personality, and that is your soul, the combination of your own creativity and free-will life experiences, conditioned by the circumstances you’ve known, and your own beliefs and notions. All this experience of your personality is captured by a pure spirit of God, a discrete pre-personal individuation of His spirit, imbued with all the power of His spirit to write your life, to co-create your soul as He sees you.
- Soul (The human soul)
Though your can rarely just command this greater part of yourself to come forth, in your meditations, maybe getting together and reminiscing with childhood friends, you can be amazed that it seems like all that childhood is still there--all those adolescent struggles, all your early adulthood--everything that made you who and what you are--is all still there somehow--another infinity to this conscious you. Insofar as your soul is equally God’s vision of you as well, some people think of their soul as their true self. It’s what most human beings are working toward, either consciously or higgly-piggly--catch-as-catch-can. It’s to unify their entire person-hood. It is difficult, even ironic, that with this goal in mind of unifying their self, that very concentration--alone by itself--can lead to immature notions of complete enlightenment, notions of perfect intellect. But these self-generated notions can be the very thing standing in the way of relaxing, letting go these very self-generated notions of self--more or less your ego. Rather, have the nerve to let yourself go and open yourself to pure possibility. It’s welcoming the adventure of realizing how small this conscious you is moment to moment. Let me echo your opening prayer that correctly understands this is the delight of humility, being in touch with something so much greater than yourself, even right within your self. Feel the glory of that perception, that intuition, that faith, and finally, that assurance that you are this transcendent reality. For that very reason you cannot just nonchalantly get a hold of your total self. It would be like a container trying to contain itself, not that you don’t try.
You have to intuit with the eyes and the feelings of faith all that you are. Then let it go the next moment--(Michael laughs)--this construct of who you were that moment ago. Let that go. No clinging. Be open to the living, dynamic, changing you the next moment. It’s a merry dance. Some philosophies focus on the motion itself and go to the extreme of saying there is no enduring self here. There is no being who experiences apart from the thing experienced; there is just the experiencing itself. Though this is true from a purely experiential point of view, my children--you are this nodule of experience out here in time and space--you are also existential just in the fact of your existence. Even though there is no concrete proof of this to a doubting, fearful mind, Mother Spirit and I do reassure you, because it is true, that you are! You participate is what we call the Deity Absolute as a personalized absolute cosmic fact, a deliberate and discrete creation of God’s.
True enough, this existential you, this God-created personality, has a long way to go before it joins with that other aspect of you--your Thought Adjuster--your Father’s presence in you. And even then you have a whole universe to cross, and all the worlds of Havona, before you become--almost--as existential, as totally final as, say, a Paradise-origin being such Mother Spirit or myself who started out that way. Yet as completely existential as we are, son and daughter of the Trinity, still we too are fully experiential, and we have what is analogous to a human soul of all our experiences out here.
And so your conscious self that lives a day at a time must spend about a third of its life on earth in unconsciousness while your body heals, and your mind rests in its dreams, and your spirit cavorts with your Thought Adjuster--in a sense, goes back home. It takes a while for this so very limited, so just beginning, so self-created self to begin to intuit and access through faith that there is so much more than is dreamt of in his or her philosophy: so much more out there; so much more in here.
And then a further step, consider that this personal creation of God’s, your personality, has the power--and needs to--starting at birth--create a world view centered on itself, as well as creating a self for itself. Yet this enormous creativity, as you each co-create your own reality, is not readily apparent. It’s too transparent and instantaneous. A vast majority of the world’s peoples are nowhere near yet realizing, and ready to take responsibility for, what they themselves are, unfortunately, rather unconsciously creating. Becoming conscious of ones own field of spirit, of ones own creativity, is the great individual and planetary movement toward maturity. The humility in that is the meaning of what I once shared with my Father with respect to the evil that men do: Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.
And so it is with our lessons, with our teasing, with our joy, we invite you into this full human estate--this enormous complexity I just outlined in the briefest of forms. It is not something you can perceive, or even conceive in its fullness; but it is something you can intuit, something you can feel, hopefully something that finds some resonance within you when Mother Spirit and I say, you are indeed a very complex being, largely unknown to yourself simply because you are still so much pure potential, taking your first few hesitant steps into eternity. Embrace and know each step well, my children, even the pain and the suffering. Love our Father with all your heart, even in the midst of your deepest despair and uncertainty. He is always here. He created you, and this whole universe as a ground for you to learn in, to grow, to love, and to share with all these others whom He also created. Some day, my children, you will have come to know a million beings of all sorts up to the creators and administers of a galaxy to, finally, our Father, on Paradise. But take your time. Just enjoy life at God’s own pace for you. Feel for it. Here it comes.
Now let your own comments, or questions, follow mine. (Ed: what followed was actually a very long pause of many minutes)
Student: Good evening, Michael, we read in the Urantia book how, during your life as Jesus, you were self-forgetful. Was this something that just happened unconsciously because you were so focused on doing God’s will on loving your fellow human beings, or was there an element of choosing to forget about yourself?
- (Self-forgetfulness--spontaneous and intentional)
MICHAEL: Yes, my daughter, there is both a qualitative and quantitative distinction in what you just caught. For the most part it was both. Like small children playing in a sandbox, humans are set up to explore and lose themselves in what they are doing. Then as you mature and you deepen your experiences in losing yourself, say, in your work or hobbies, you can begin to choose to do so more willingly. In your meditation you can deliberately set out to do this. You can start just by being aware of your breathing, being aware of your ongoing physical continuity, maintaining this respectful orientation toward this aspect of you. Consider that your heart is beating with the force of life clear from when the Life Carrier Sons and Mother Spirit started life on this planet nigh a billion years ago.
This is a very deliberate thing in which you are self-forgetting all your other mental business--the worries, and memories, and plans--to be aware of and appreciate with infinite worship and thankfulness this living physical aspect of your being that so many have so much contempt and unhealthy disregard for. Think of all the different kinds of aestheticism the human race has indulged in--the punishing of the flesh, and so forth.
So it is both, my daughter. Part is a natural, intrinsic ability and desire to explore beyond oneself. But then the really deep awareness, the humility we talked about this evening, is something you can definitely set out to experience.
Student: I find it helpful in situations with other people, and the tensions there and in myself--the conflict, I can choose to forget about myself and just let those things go. It’s like: just be there. It seems to help me. So I was wondering if the conscious act of choosing to forget myself in that way is similar to what you, as Jesus, did.
MICHAEL: Yes, my daughter, very similar. We only caution against the notion you can completely get rid of your ego, your life-long, built-up construct of who and what you see and feel yourself to be and have been. The very notion you can somehow get rid of this self in some self-directed way is itself only another, greater illusion--to think and act outwardly as if: Aha! I’ve finally conquered my ego! I’m selfless!
Self-forgetfulness is making way for something greater than yourself, in your case the awareness and enjoyment of the people you’re with. In my case it was in finding an ongoing unity between my human and my divine self, one of which needed no effort to be at one with my Father; yet my human self--(Michael laughs)--it’s hard to explain how I was also fully this human person--was much in need of a very directed meditation and worship and communion; which I can highly recommend--from personal experience--to all my children.
So even though you are always here, you can kind-of point yourself toward something greater than yourself, if only in being open to the infinity of another human person.
Student: So in a sense it’s like willing to take yourself aside in humility.
MICHAEL: Yes. Humility is the reward of doing so. It’s what fills you up when you can forget yourself--this self-conscious self that lives between periods of sleep. You rediscover again that this is not all you are; you are capable of this greater awareness and experience. It’s that very realization; it’s what you realize.
Student: Thank you. That’s very helpful.
MICHAEL: I’m glad you’re discovering this, my daughter. As we say, you just let go and trust that God, our Father, is actually keeping everything together, actually keeping everything moving and alive, moment to moment. Trust that you will pop up again to yourself, by His will--hopefully a little wiser, a little more experienced. You will have grown a little. Your will have taken into your soul a little more of those dear friends you’ve made room for. As Mother Spirit said last time, you can only pity the poor, fearful, self-centered person all they’re missing; clinging onto themselves so tightly this wonderful self-forgetfulness becomes impossible. It’s why we point out the courage it takes to step off into the unknown, and all that universe out there, all those other beings out there. What an adventure. And here it comes, inexorably. So yes: you can choose to be in my peace. Welcome.
Student: Michael, letting go of the self-concept… I’m now confused about it because in the last dialogue it seems like you almost were recommending not engaging in the Urantia/Buddhism practices of literally letting go and simply staying in the awareness of witnessing the concept of who and what I am come and go; simply watching that. I would assume that you see that to be a healthy practice, but it almost sounded like the opposite.
MICHAEL: Yes, my son, that is what I meant by intentional self-forgetfulness. I think you are speaking about the rather advanced and pure consciousness wherein it becomes possible to witness this coming and going of your ego notions. This is a consciousness almost beyond conceptualization by its very nature.
- Consciousness (Pure consciousness and states of mind)
I was also pointing at and cautioning against a mere state of mind where a person credits himself or herself with being totally free of ego, but is actually consumed with self pride in the supposed accomplishment. (Yes) In feeling they have finally escaped their self and are doing nothing but God’s will, they have only stepped into an even bigger ego-trip--as you would call it.
Student: A dangerous state of mind.
MICHAEL: Yes--especially to others. It’s quite an acquired ability to know with some duration just a pure happening, a total oneness with what one is experiencing. Almost everyone has magical-seeming moments of this wondrous consciousness spontaneously, but then their mind tries to articulate it to itself, get a hold of it conceptually, and hang onto it as a continuous possession. For most people, and for quite a long while, that very natural process of comprehension, implying self-and-other--so essential to everyday living--brings to an end this highly conscious and utterly precious self-forgetfulness. They usually feel, with some regret, that they’re “back again” and that the moment is lost.
If you identify enlightenment only with a particular state of mind, however subtly you conceive of it, then you must necessarily feel you are coming and going with it; you are getting it but then losing it. You may make the further error in thinking of it as something that has happened in the past and has to be recaptured; a self-defeating orientation away from the eternal now which is ever new. It is quite an advanced ability to have such an unforgettable experience and not hold onto it as some great accomplishment--an ego-inflation which only chases it away, as you learn by experience.
Student: OK!--so really the self-forgetfulness can be cultivated in a meditative practice, which is the pure witnessing consciousness.
MICHAEL: Exactly!--whatever--that consciousness holds.
Student: So the other part of this is, you can have a wonderful curriculum because you can practice, as some of us in this room have done, the sort of meditation which has attached to it the teaching that there is no existential self--because you cannot perceive that existential self. You might conceive of it, but you can’t perceive it: any such supposed perception is an illusion. Buddhism especially says there is no self, and there can be no survival after death because there is no self to survive. But through the Urantia book and yours and Mother Spirit’s teaching, we have the revelation of the existential self.
So we can have this curriculum simply because…I have felt that--especially with the higher Buddhist teachings--they’re purifying agents, and you don’t have to accept their beliefs that there really is no existential human self. So if you can use their thorough and highly disciplined practices of letting go of the relative self, it strikes me as being a wonderful curriculum--to have both.
MICHAEL: Exactly. You make the distinction between revealed religion and evolutionary religion, and you can really use both. We consider it quite an advanced, evolved metaphysical philosophy, or religion, that self-limits itself in all humility to what is purely experiential. They don’t particularly deny there is an enduring individualized self here--your personality: they just say; we can’t say anything about it. (Right!) The practices are good so long as they lead to genuine humility and don’t become some fundamentalist dogmas, ends in themselves, which defeat the purpose. They can be very helpful as valid explorations.
Also, simultaneously or coincidentally with this quest for pure experiencing, what might pop up from time to time is your soul, this other part of you that contains all of your life and all those things you’ve once believed all along the line. They’re all still there to be enjoyed as little steps along the way to your current philosophy. This might give you the further humility that you’re only now on the next step, but by no means the final step. You have a long way to go to be final--(Michael laughs).
Student: It’s interesting, Michael, when you said that humility is a kind of reward that one gets from the practice of self-forgetfulness. Is that what you said?
- Humility (The essence of humility)
MICHAEL: Yes. It’s a qualitative experience of something greater than yourself. Self-forgetfulness is one means by which you can be filled with this perception of something greater than you. Sometimes it is only intuitive, but like an experience of great beauty, great joy, great truth, great goodness, it is a reward of forgetting about yourself for a while.
Student: The reward of recognizing that other-than-self reality really is…humility is the right word?
MICHAEL: Yes! The feeling of humility is very distinct and the opposite from what you call being humiliated, where you feel you’re being squashed and rubbed out by some big thumb. You cease to identify, in self-forgetfulness, what a tiny speck you are, and lose yourself in experiencing something enormous. This enormity is not evil or ugliness, lies or deception, which are but fly-specks in the soup of the cosmos. What comes from God, what is truly humbling, is the goodness, the truth, and the beauty; also the courage to, first of all, seek them. Then you need the nerve to let yourself go and be influenced by them.
Student: Is there a sense of smallness in relationship to this largeness that you’re suggesting--our participation in this larger reality?
MICHAEL: I’m saying that in this experience of confronting/perceiving/impacting that which is greater than you, you have a choice. You can be hanging onto yourself so tightly you’re unable to forget yourself. All you can feel is how tiny you are by comparison. All you can feel is, in essence, your own self-generated self, your ego. But you have the choice of feeling: my goodness! Look at the universe! Look at the truth and the beauty and the goodness that is God-generated. Then let--that--fill your soul.
Student: And so the self-generated self drops away in the face of the monumental goodness.
MICHAEL: Yes, because at first the sense of self is usually overwhelmed by it. But you can get to the point where you can have both. (Ah!) Self-forgetfulness is not the only way. That’s what we talked about tonight. You can get to the point where you have no separation. You can intuit you are both the existential being having this experience, and well as what the particular experience holds. But again, this is a kind of ultimate, fully developed human experience where it is not self-forgetfulness so much as in your earlier, more immature first encounters. This matured experience is one of oneness in which it is not necessary to lose your sense of yourself. Your sense of yourself can be totally there with your Father and Mother Spirit and me.
Student: So it doesn’t need to be forgotten. It doesn’t have to be denied and beaten down as in some religions.
MICHAEL: This is a developed stage in which you can say, with God, I am! And glory in that fact without, at the same time, losing the feeling and the perception of His so much greater reality. It’s when you and God’s presence within you can co-exist within your consciousness. These are not necessarily mutually exclusive realms.
Student: People miss the opportunity to have a worship experience for the most part, but it sounds like the Urantia book definition of worship--is that not what we’re speaking of here?
MICHAEL: Yes, my son, insofar as worship is a thankfulness, something no animal can be aware of. Mother Spirit’s Adjutant of Worship is an augmentation of your own capacity for thankfulness, or appreciation; but appreciation for what? This is where humility, the feeling/awareness of some great goodness, is one with the experience of thankfulness, thankfulness for that very thing. It can even be a sense of your own soul’s activities--the little serendipities, the coincidences, the magical parts of your life that come and go. It can be a worship that only God could put together--(Michael laughs)--so intricately and so surprisingly such an adventure that was made for you, as you were made for it.
It’s a wonderful state to get into where you don’t have to eschew your self in any way, and you can feel yourself being humble in the face of God’s great gifts. That is very much a part of worship. It leads to wisdom: that there is this all of you, and all of it, and all of Him, and all of us.
Student: Why is that wisdom?
- Soul, Wisdom (The soul and applied wisdom)
MICHAEL: Because it’s been a real, valid experience that’s become part of your soul, and this is how your soul influences this changing, conscious you, this day-to-day you. Your soul is not just some inactive story, however spiritual, that is tucked away. This growing soul-ability is wisdom, is where all you have experienced, plus all your other functions of intuition, knowledge, courage, worship, are brought to bear on the present moment.
Student: Then the experience of worship and appreciation and contact actually brings forth more of the capacities of the soul…?
MICHAEL: Because of the personality’s ability to experience and enjoy the soul. (Oh!) We point out that your soul is very distinct from your memories, which are pretty much a function of brain activity--with Mother Spirit’s Adjutants. But your soul is this other, gigantic thing. And it does--especially with meditation, especially with maturity, it does influence and give meaning and value and character to every moment of your life.
Student: So it comes full circle. The wisdom aspect of that is what?
MICHAEL: We define wisdom as an ability to bring all the Adjutant dimensions of mind, and all the other aspects of your being, to bear on the present moment. This is what your soul does; it adds meaning/recognition, spiritual value, knowledge and understanding into the living mix that is your consciousness. All these things are not only in your physical brain, even with Mother Spirit’s Adjutants. The spiritual story of your life, told by a presence of God, is also His perception and understanding of what you are. (Whoa!) This is what your soul is. It’s not just a glorified memory.
Student: It’s historical by God.
MICHAEL: It’s your Morontia self…
Student: …which is God’s story about you.
MICHAEL: Exactly. It has His insight. Your Thought Adjuster is pure spirit, and even though it is pre-personal, it is still that pure spirit of His. You are totally transparent to God: personality, soul; everything--every part of your being; every molecule of that sperm and egg that got together to make a unique physical you.
Student: So the Thought Adjuster, the fragment of the Father, is actually telling His story, singing His song about you, laying down your soul.
MICHAEL: This pre-personal fragment literally takes on your personality’s unique personal experiences. It is existential. It offers you eternal life. You are mostly experiential. You offer it a personality and the experiences of a personal being. It’s a good trade. (much laughter) It’s a good sharing. Your Thought Adjuster is also called a Mystery Monitor because it’s one more unfathomable way in which God experiences your life.
Wisdom is this ability, greatly facilitated by your soul as well as your memories and your normative understanding. It’s the ability to bring all this to bear on the present moment’s necessities. That is what a wise person does. He or she is able to bring their whole life’s experiences to focus on now. And that transforms now into something more amenable to your will…and still more humbling. (much more laughter)
Student: It sounds in this case like a skill, really the ultimate skill.
MICHAEL: We’ve talked about how what you call abilities, or skills, are a kind of soul-wealth, your soul’s growth. Wisdom is super-ordinate to any particular abilities. It’s how you use them. But yes, like any ability it’s something you have to earn by living as consciously as possible.
Also, my son, remember that the soul you perceive in another is what we both call character. There you have both a feeling of the person’s unique personality, plus their life’s experience. No one gets genuine character for nothing. Character is earned. You might say it’s the visual aspect of soul to another.
So yes, these human realities form a circle, all tied together. That is one of your tasks, to tie all you are together in understanding, to find the spiritual unity in all your complexity. It’s not a curse. Even the angels sometimes envy you your seemingly lowly status as a material being--as well as having a personal spirit as do they.
Life is so painful, so hard and meaningless without this understanding contact and communion with what is greater than you. Without humility you are so alone. All you have is this self-construct of you. It appears, but disappears every twenty-four hours for about a third of that time.
Student: So that’s suffering, really. As Buddha would say, life is suffering; until we bring this ability to unify ourselves to bear.
MICHAEL: It’s the poor self thinking it’s the only thing, hanging on so tight, being so inept and inefficient that it can’t help being humiliated, and yet some poor folks can’t seem to learn.
It’s a process. This is why you were created in imperfection; this whole time/space cosmos was created in imperfection. It gives all of us the opportunity, the possibility to participate in our own evolution. We have somewhere to evolve to, something to evolve into.
Student: Even you…you alluded to the fact you were growing a kind of soul--you and Mother Spirit. That was a surprising statement.
MICHAEL: Very much so, my son, although our souls might seem to you to be like your science-fiction time-traveling. There is no distinction between our memories and our souls. They are one in us, as they will be in you when you fuse with your Thought Adjuster. Right now you and your Thought Adjuster, as well as your conscious memories and your soul, are quite distinct. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You would have flashed out before this.
But we have what would be for a human being genuine time-traveling, going back hundreds of billions of years, and here we are, leaving Paradise with our retinue of companions.
Student: Then you can access that memory.
MICHAEL: Well, for us it’s far beyond that, it’s dimensions and dimensions you have yet to encounter, assimilate, and make your own. In one way we are still doing that--leaving Paradise--and ever since. You could think of it as our transcending time--as you know it: and by a long shot. (much laughter) You are just tadpoles--time-wise, getting started with only thirty or forty dimensions of reality, with hundreds to come.
Student: That is humbling! (Ed: actually everyone, including Michael, was constantly breaking up all through this section)
So why should the memories be separate from the rest, in the immature human self?
MICHAEL: Just because, my son, it takes a while--sometimes a lifetime--for the person to become aware of their own spiritual nature, the fact he or she is co-creating their own reality. Thinking you have some purely objective reality, so well in hand, is what gets you into so much trouble with arrogance and hubris. You can go around doing so much mischief because you refuse to acknowledge and take responsibility for just how much you are creating your own world.
The immature person is not aware of their own spirituality. They think they are only their body and mind living in a purely material world. It takes a while for them to realize they are actually in a physical/mental/spiritual world, and that seemingly exterior mindedness and spirit is their own. You call it projection. To them the world is inexplicably and therefore fearfully, now light, now dark, now cheerful, now threatening, seemingly independent of their own inner changes.
How can an immature person so devoid of conscious spirituality even begin to appropriate the reality of their partially spiritual soul, co-created by a pure fragment of God’s? They can bring memories--though only very partial ones--into consciousness, but only the briefest flash of the enormity of their souls. It takes deep meditation and reverie to re-experience, almost like re-living, some previous time in your life, because you have to learn how to let your self go, let go any desperate clinging to what’s happening now. But with access to your soul you can get some really awesome insight into what life is, and what the combination of temporal experience and immortal spirit--Morontia realty--is.
Student: Your life has already been captured, and you’re witnessing that fact.
MICHAEL: Certainly; it’s happening constantly--continuously. Your soul is this ongoing, living, influencing aspect of you, the sole possession of your personality. It’s essentially all you have, along with this present moment: it’s in this present moment. It’s a function and a factor in this moment, and it influences you. By meditating and opening yourself up to this, by inviting it to pop in whenever it wants to, by becoming friends with--whatever--of the past wants to catch your attention, you give it greater freedom to become like a super-memory. It’s just humbling and awesome that so much of your life is still here in an amazing dimension vouchsafed by a pure spirit presence of God’s.
As Mother Spirit once said, not every hotdog or hamburger you ever had, no matter how delicious, is in your soul. But everything of spiritual import is. And this is mainly, if you’re lucky, if you’re paying attention, the other people in your life. Everything that was spiritually significant in there in your soul. It’s being held sacrosanct for you, and it’s not until you become one with your Thought Adjuster that you have full access to it. You--your conscious self, has to grow to meet what it already is.
Student: So you’re saying our souls are separate from thought because we haven’t yet…what was that?
MICHAEL: Your thoughts and memories are more or less under your conscious control; you can think of an incident in your past and focus on it. Your soul is a quasi-spiritual reality you have to invite into consciousness, and as it’s an expansive, timelessly accurate version of what really happened, it may conflict with the self-centered version you’ve preferred to remember. This is another reason why you have to relax to let it into consciousness past any psychological denial; you can’t just command it or shape it like you can your more pliable memories.
Student: It’s the distinction between soul and memories that you’re helping us with. It sounds like the soul is tied up with actual experiences that are remembered, that are appropriated by the Thought Adjuster’s recognition of this experience, and the recording of it--laying down a record. But it’s not in ones own possession until fusion with the Thought Adjuster. It’s in a reservoir--kind-of.
MICHAEL: It’s a Morontia reality. It’s a beginning cosmic reality. It’s a possession of your personality, but your personality is still too immature, too undeveloped yet to bring it fully into consciousness.
Student: Well, that’s awfully ironic.
MICHAEL: Well, that’s part of the problem. That’s why there’s so much suffering still. The self-conscious self, as we’ve established this evening, is not fully aware of all a human being is--themselves or others. It’s a Morontia Mota--if you will, a spiritual truism--that people are so wealthy in their creativity and spirit, but they refuse to believe it. Or they simply can’t yet access it. You can’t command your soul. You can’t command your Thought Adjuster. You can only be open to them. You can only think: OK, God!--what have you got for me--now--this time. In meditation and self-forgetting you can open to soul treasures of your life, but the experience is so precious, so mind-blowing, it’s difficult to keep from trying to hang onto the moment, and at first that stops the flow. In your Buddhist training they caution against trying to capture enlightenment itself because it can’t be done. And what could be more valuable and enlightening than your own soul?
Student: I’ve wondered why I couldn’t command it.
MICHAEL: Yes, but don’t forget that your soul is influencing your moment to moment consciousness. A person of character is a very soulful person. On the other hand you have those unfortunate individuals who may be rather old in years yet haven’t experienced much, and don’t seem to have much soul or character. Think of ego-maniacs--actually sociopaths, without humility, who are all in all to themselves. It’s this, coupled with their personality’s innate creativity, that gives them an enormous amount of power to do terrible things, as you say, without any soul at all. (Hmmm…[and a long pause])
But I’ve enjoyed this, my son. This has been a lot of reflection on what I talked about, the complexity of what a human being is, and, as you say, some of the ironic tragedies of the self not realizing all it is until it learns to let go of itself. That’s the spiritual value of self-forgetfulness, and what it provides opening for. Yet as you also say: that takes guts. Your folklore and some religions are full of bogus notions that if you relax your defensive guard for just a moment there are all these evil beings just waiting to come in and capture your soul.
First student, breaking up again with laughter: People are like that with any new experience of spirit. They hold onto their current conceptions of themselves and, in a sense, keep out any new revelation of spirit.
MICHAEL: Mother Spirit mentioned last time that it’s almost as if dogma were intended to keep people from experiencing God’s infinity. As D read from the Urantia book before the lesson tonight: how much the religion of Jesus’ would challenge all the religions merely about him, and promulgated in his name. That’s the smug fundamentalism of people who think they’re so close to the fundamental truth of the cosmos they needn’t go out and openly explore any more; if they ever did.
Maybe we’d better give D a chance to speak.
Student: OK. Here we go. How can you capture what is already yours--or mine? How can you grasp something that is already a reality? It’s like going for the brass ring on a merry-go-round, yet it’s always outside ourselves--we think. So we try to grasp onto it with any dogma or religion, and the guru or teacher. And yet the brass ring is who we are. The word that came to mind was distinction. When we experience our oneness with God, with truth, with wisdom, there is no distinction between what you call the ego or false self--full of stories it’s told itself over the years, programming and whatnot--and who we truly are.
- Discernment (Discriminating distinctions)
MICHAEL: Here, my son, I must disagree with you. That discrimination, that distinction, is always there in the full truth of things. Truth is all that is; it’s all inclusive. As you get more and more in contact with your soul, all those stages you came through are still here. You don’t in any way have to deny them. They are still here, right along with your now expanded truth. All the less-than-true illusions, all the successive false selves--as you put it--you’ve progressed through, are still here, and you can now discriminate between them.
Student: I wasn’t saying that.
MICHAEL: Oh. I though you said that when you experience your oneness with God there is no distinction…
Student: There’s no other, in a sense. It’s God within--that wisdom, that truth.
MICHEL: Yes--that contains all your past.
Student: Yeah--I wasn’t denying that. We’re no longer a prisoner of the past--that kind of thing. Wisdom you learn through silence, and through resting or meditation. It’s like letting go the duality of how we make decisions, and just opening up--as you say--to a greater perception of what all this is, and not getting caught up in the constructs of the ego. It’s beyond the ego. It’s not even something that can be captured, but it’s always here, every moment. It’s up to us to be silent and allow it to become manifest. It can’t be manipulated: it just is.
What I was reading earlier was to believe as you, as Jesus, believed. It was so rich when I read that.
MICHAEL: You have the real gist of it, my son. I just wanted to point out that truth and wisdom are always: all of the above, with the evolved distinction of what is what. Mother Spirit and I like to point out that the ego is a necessary and useful self-awareness, however lost in self-forgetfulness. But it’s the independent function of your mind to understand, to categorize, to compare, to create concepts as a way to get a handle on things. That’s always still there, independently of your ego. Yes, your ego is only a part. And that very perception of how your notions of yourself are only a part of you is itself a spiritual one.
Now you can understand how your greatest accessible wisdom is still only part of you. There is some personal, soulful reality, transcendent to you, that you have to grow into. Your personality is always here; your Thought Adjuster is always here; your soul is always here.
Student: It’s interesting how, during my day, some thought will come up, some inspiration, out of the blue. I may hear something and it’s like my mind opens up to another kind of thinking. Even my notions of a lifespan have changed over the years. Who put that construct into our minds, you know? We accept so many constructs that deny our true potential that God gives us. I get frustrated because I am part of those constructs, that programming. So I’m always questioning why I believe what I do.
MICHAEL: Hopefully you can now see that it is not the constructs at fault so much as it is in their being held exclusively as truth itself. These intellectual concepts usurp the territory and values of spirit. Spirit is all inclusive. It’s the orientation toward that which is greater than you, the direction in which to grow. Maintaining dogma is the arrogance of saying, Now I’ve got it! I’ve got the fundamental truth of the universe, and life, and it’s all mine!
The notion that intellectual concepts are in themselves evil leads to the cultivation of simple-mindedness. In other words, we won’t have any more disquieting concepts, any more discrimination or distinctions. All of that is just some kind of ego illusion. Yet as Mother Spirit and I see you, whatever your conscious self experiences is real to you. You can’t call terrible suffering an illusion, as some do.
Student: Yeah, it’s like, what is actually freedom? When the Berlin Wall fell down then people were suddenly free, but they didn’t know what to do. There was still all the upheaval. It was something they had to find balance in. I understand what you’re saying. My frustration is because my own constructs get in the way of living God’s will--what I perceive to be His will. If I feel that frustration then I know I’m not living His will. So thank you for that.
- (Having both a humble self and an awareness of spirit simultaneously)
MICHAEL: In Oriental philosophy they developed the technique of thinking--not this-not that--to remind themselves that whatever they could grasp cognitively was not the whole of reality. Yet it’s all those little pieces--this and that--which make up your life. You finally arrive at the point where you don’t have to eschew or deny the self and all its experiences--however illusory in retrospect--in order to experience an enormous spiritual presence.
Student: Yes, in fact I can see how experiencing that enormity greatly enhances the experience of the self.
MICHAEL: You’re feeding your soul.
Student: Yes, that’s what it is. And there’s a natural progression to these concepts as they fade away to greater ones of who we are--if we don’t hold onto them.
One more thing--I know it’s getting late--I’ve made a commitment to just enjoying life. I see so many so-called spiritual people who are really too serious, too much into saving someone else’s soul. That’s a valiant endeavor, but!--enjoy life too. How can you help someone who’s depressed if you’re depressed yourself? Someone recently said that no one is free if even one person is suffering. But how can you free someone else if you haven’t found out what really works yourself? So I’m making a concerted effort to allow myself to enjoy my life: the sun, the music, the company. It’s more enjoyable, obviously, with communion with the spirit. That’s always number one.
- Joy (Enjoying life)
MICHAEL: What you were pointing out is a form of aestheticism, a denial of the self, sometimes for the best of purposes--to help others--yet as you correctly see, unless one of you finds the way out, none of you will. It’s having the courage to let go and have fun, real, soul-fulfilling fun. You can’t let the realization of its inevitable end--sometime or another--to destroy what is possible now. You still raise flowers, and they are very much a time-limited delight. Yet here they are.
So carry on! It takes nerve to have fun, and to let other people have fun. You may have just stubbed your toe, and are hopping around in pain, but why make everyone else suffer with you?
Student: People ask me how can I have fun with so much suffering in the world, yet I think I do them a disservice by not enjoying life.
MICHAEL: Curiosity, and having fun, and being playful discovers so much. So much discovery is serendipitous. It’s the attitude you have to have to take advantage of those things that cannot be foreseen. You have to be ready to enjoy them, to allow them to happen. Attitude foreshadows possibility.
Student: For me it’s day to day. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I try to really live in the moment, with faith in the religion of Jesus’.
MICHAEL: And in the inclusiveness of spirit, this present moment can include insight, foresight, and plans, and provision: all of that.
Well, it’s been joyous tonight. We’ve had a lot of fun kicking things back and forth. I do thank you for opening your souls and letting what I said this evening affect you. I could tell during that long pause you were feeling for all the various parts of yourself I had just enumerated. What is this soul of mine: where is it? Do I even have one?
So: it’s been a lot of fun. I thank you, my children. This has been delightful. I enjoyed it so much. Be in my peace. Good evening.