Topic: Human Complexity
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, Looking over what’s been a few years of your lessons to this group, I noticed one of the major themes both of you talk about, right next to the fatherhood of God, His will in the Creation, and the brotherhood and sisterhood of all the people living on Urantia; right next to this is the uniqueness of each personality and the growing/developing individuality of each person. It seems the major difference here is that the intrinsic uniqueness of each personality is created by God, whereas individuality is what we are able to develop ourselves in all aspects of our being--body, mind, spirit, and soul. In this sense we are created unique personalities but we grow into becoming individuals by a process--as psychologists put it--of individualization. Is this correct, or could you clarify this distinction a bit more for us? Thank you.
MICHAEL: Good evening, my sons, this is Michael, and I am glad as always to be with you this evening. Mother Spirit and I do appreciate the effort you go through to get here, and then the way you open your hearts to feel and open your minds to entertain and get an inner experience from what we say. You keep in mind, my dear ones, this is what we truly wish to offer and share with you. Each lesson we give is not a formal lecture but only something for you to entertain as best you can. Just let yourselves feel along with what we’re saying and share a moment with the way we see things. Have no fear if it doesn’t accord with your basic beliefs. This experience can do you no harm and you will pop up again to yourself. But you will have had this experience, for at least to some extent and for a little while, of sharing our thoughts with us. We do know to whom we’re speaking and the probable audience that will be reading these words in the future, so we are in part directing ourselves at this larger audience as well. That being said, we do enjoy your comments and our discussions with you here, so we’re glad to see you.
- (Human complexity)
What you mentioned in your introduction is correct. As Mother Spirit and I have confessed a number of times, we do delight in introducing our children to themselves--to all that you are, both for your own inner awareness and so you can see this in others. Yes, you are a highly complex being, but consider for now just the conscious part of you, the part of you that you know of right now as you are sitting here or reading these words. This is normally what we mean by you. This is the--you--that we address. This is your conscious, thinking self. This is the part of you that has ready access to your memories and all your more immediate plans for the future. This is the part of you that has rather elaborate schedules to carry out, both by yourself and in all your relationships. Yet being such a complex person, this conscious self--as you may be aware--is only a small part of your total personhood. Your God-created personality, endowed with spirit, has the power to make all of you real to you. It is your personality that real-izes your life--makes your life real.
You are endowed with creative spirit so, from a very early age of gaining a continuous consciousness, you’ve formulated an interior, subjective/imaginative world that is unique to you. This inner reality begins to have greater and greater contact with the outside world, first through your mother and father, then your siblings and playmates, and soon enough you are thrown into a kindergarten or a first grade classroom with a dozen others to relate to. Then here comes that whole big wider adult world out there. You’ve all come up through these stages.
Meanwhile you have a body that is 99.9999 percent unconscious for, as we’ve said, all your science has still to plumb the depths of what this body of yours is constantly doing. You have a mind that connects your personality with your body, and a large part of this consciousness is what we call material mind, based directly upon your organic being. This is the kind of mind you share to a degree with the highest primates, only, just in terms of brain size and nervous system capacity, you far exceed by several orders of magnitude any other animal on the planet. In addition, much of your modern psychology has correctly taught you that a large part of your mind is also unconscious. These are all the endless, intricate details of habituation, abilities, mind/body coordination--all the thousands of things you’ve learned to do and associate automatically. This includes your reasoning facilities. These too are largely unconscious. Consider all of the conditioning that you acquired as you contacted the larger outside world and absorbed unconsciously from your parents and their political viewpoints and religion, and from being a member of this country or that, part of an ethnic group, a racial group. All of these spiritual/mental associations from personal experience give your life meaning and value.
Then here we come along, as if you weren’t already complex enough, informing you that a large part of your being, your spiritual and mental being, is literally Mother Spirit and dimensions of her Holy Spirit: part of your thinking, part of your intuition, your knowledge, your understanding, your courage, even your wisdom and your worship. All are being augmented by her. You have my spirit, my Spirit of Truth inside you as an orientation towards an endless adventure of discovery of what is true, what is real, what works. All will keep expanding.
Topping all of this you’re blessed with an individualized presence of God for company, a presence that can literally adjust your thoughts towards ever more spiritual, all-encompassing concepts and realizations if you choose to acknowledge His presence and feel His love, and listen. He is here, not only as the encompassing within which we live, but also right inside you. His presence is capturing your life in a spiritual construct so amazing, so much more of you, my children, in terms of soul, you have not yet developed concepts for--but you will. As we’ve said a couple of times, part humorously but also part seriously, your recent developments in science and technology, and in your wonderful, imaginative arts of science fiction and science fantasy--all the movies and TV programs you’ve had delving into star travel and all kinds of futures: these have given us an ability to convey to you at least somewhat many of the different dimensions of reality that actually exist.
- (Uniqueness and individuality)
So, my children: you are all of this and you live with this complexity within and without. You are correct in your introduction. Your personality is a direct creation of God’s. Your individuality is what you have slowly earned as a way of expressing all of this complexity I just mentioned. You are learning how to express yourself. Every baby, every child, every adolescent grows up in the shadow of greater authority with an automatic acceptance of its realities, and yet too, from questioning these given-at-birth realities, you emerge as individuals by bringing this acceptance into conscious choice. This is a slow and not always successful development, yet the story of the effort is another kind of soul wealth you possess.
This acquirement of yours, this individuality you can perceive in each other, this quality of soul you call character; I think that you’ll agree that there’s nowhere you can go to buy character. You have to earn it. And it is earned only through experience. Today you get so much from your books and reading, from your TV and movies and internet, yet character is mainly based on personal direct experience with other persons and with physical reality itself. Character also means the abilities you’ve acquired as an individual as you emerged from all the groups in which you were raised. The spiritual process itself--God ordained--the progress of individual maturity--is universal among all personal beings.
You think of a fully mature person as an individual and so Mother Spirit touched briefly upon an ideal society which sees this orientation as a culmination of each person’s education and experience. Such a society not only makes allowance for individuality but actually welcomes and encourages it. In a roundabout way, my children, you can see how the institutions of society need to mature in order to have this courage--collectively--to encourage individuality, even dissent.
In the more primitive tribal societies, surrounded by other tribes like bubbles in foam, and being intrinsically ferocious, and territorial, and involved in near incessant warfare: at that stage of immature social culture very little individuality can--literally--be afforded. In a way it’s just too expensive. The whole tribe has to be, and throughout history has been locked down into a thousand and one taboos that control almost every waking moment of their members’ lives. As your Urantia Book notes: the tribal marks upon individuals often involved a lot of very painful cutting, yet this identification was considered absolute (necessity) for security. These tribal marks signified to the other tribes that if any harm was done to you, you had your whole tribe’s backing for revenge, to avenge your death.
Only bit by bit by living experience, gradually, as tribes became city states, then nation states and empires, right up to the present day; more and more are societies able to afford greater individuality. As you look around your world today, still, here in 2010, you can see almost this entire spectrum on the planet, from primitive near-stone-age tribes, up through autocratic societies in which only a small amount of individuality is tolerated; up to the point where, in some of the more technologically developed, democratic cultures, you have what you might call a blossoming--I could even say--a flamboyance (Michael chuckles)--a flamboyance of individuality in all aspects of peoples’ lives: homes and furnishings, personal possessions, social class and standing, physical presentation through dress and style, mind and creative spirit presentation through invention and art; on and on…
- (Soulful maturity and character)
Soulful maturity has always been a determining aspect from the earlier tribal stage, on up through medieval times, or even today when you have--concurrently on the planet--nearly the full spectrum. In early civilizations it is difficult for individuals to express themselves wisely and their relative immaturity comes out more as license; in the group, more as social chaos or simple anarchy. Consider the various episodes of this all through planetary history and today when societies relax their grip--so to speak--in certain bacchanal, high feast celebrations, and individuals are not mature enough to keep from harming themselves and others in orgies of irresponsibility. Societies only mature as the people within them find ways of expression which are peaceful, creative, positive, and mutually respectful of other individuals.
So think about this, my children. Think about: how capable you are of being a mature individual yourself, expressing your individuality in a way that does not offend or threaten others, but seeks a loving response? This touches upon the theme of response-ability, your ability to respond to others. As you and others around you become ever more mature, so you can afford to allow each other greater latitude of individual expression.
This is the glory of an advancing civilization and we’ve teased you with the notion that in the next, morontia phase of your life, stunning will be the fact of having survived and now living in a more soulful kind of reality, a more transparent kind of reality where you can perceive each others’ souls and character so much more clearly, so much more spiritually. Yet you can touch so much of this here and now. This is one reason we’ve given all these lessons on your uniqueness, my children: so you can feel this in yourselves; and having felt this in yourself, you can begin to see and feel it in others. You can let others be more and more who they are. You can welcome their character. You will be mature enough, strong enough inside to be able to see individuals, not just stereotypes and prejudices. This is the growth of personality abilities--your abilities. This is the growth of the soul. This is just another evolution of mature individuals living in an ever more mature society. Another name for it is freedom, freedom with responsibility. They grow together.
So consider these things, my children. Think of how much equanimity and balance and a kind of tough openness you have--to welcome others and encourage them to be more who they are. This is what feeds your soul. This is how you will grow more and more on into eternity as you come into contact with not only with other human beings, but with other whole orders of personal beings. This is definitely part of the way God has set up the creation for you and everyone else. Welcome it with a joyful heart. Welcome home.
Now if you have any questions or comments this evening along these lines or any other, I certainly welcome the character you show.
MICHAEL: You are very welcome, C. You and J were talking earlier about personality and individuality, so I thought I’d talk a little about these this evening myself. Did this help clarify the difference between the God-given reality you are, and what you develop as you grow toward maturity?
Student: It almost seems to me we have two personalities: one being our material bodies and minds made up of chemical and electrical energies, and the other is what God gave us as spiritual beings. One is based in this world and will in time fade into the past, while the God-given one will emerge. I don’t know if that is corrector not.
- (Social permissiveness of individuality)
MICHAEL: Yes and no--(Michael laughs). You are correct that the personality you are, just staring out here, starts from scratch but with a physical heredity from your parents and grandparents. Then you acquire the culture into which you were born. These are just given to you, and so, true enough, your personality has to emerge out of this more or less chance circumstance to earn your individuality and character, both for yourself and others. This is what Mother Spirit called somewhat whimsically, a “conglomeration of circumstances” from the standpoint of your personality.
You had no previous existence from which you chose your particular world situation of your parents and so forth. So yes, you have to slowly find ways to express yourself out through all this stuff that was just put upon you, that both gives your life meaning and yet also threatens to stifle your unique expressions. In the more primitive societies great individual expression is simply not permitted. Due to the oppressive necessities of economic survival and constant warfare, it cannot be afforded. Rather, each individual seeks--quite unconsciously--not to stand out but to copy and be like everyone else for security. The chief and leaders of the tribe are just as much enslaved in their own way to the taboos and mores as are the least members in this truly organic unit. As the living human energies needed for economic survival and self defense lessen there is a complementary adjustment towards a more liberal attitude regarding self expression and individual choice in all aspects of behavior. This is the growth of individual recognition and freedom in the ways I mentioned earlier.
So yes, my son, it is a kind of emergence of the personality, yet not so much beyond the body and mind--leaving these behind, but actually using these as a means of expression. You will always have an energy-form expressive of your personality which is analogous to your present physical bodies, only more accurately/spiritually so--inside to outside--as time goes on and you advance from one sphere to the next. Does this seem to be in accord with what you understand?
Student: Yes and no... Let me put it this way. Does the human-evolved personality we have, does this disappear when we get into the next life with a whole different body, and a whole different set of circumstances? It seems the God-given personality would be there all the time.
MICHAEL: Exactly. You, as a changeless personality, will find yourself with a more spiritually sensitive morontia body and mind. The bio-chemical determinism you know now--your physical body and strictly material mind that do inhibit your spiritual sensitivity in this life--will be transformed into what you can only think of as a more soulful reality, both within as an enormously expanded consciousness, and externally in what you can perceive. In this sense the words--morontia--and--soul--are nearly equivalent. With respect to other human survivors, their souls and character will be so much more perceptible; you will be able to recognize former family and friends with an utter delight in the enhancement. Each unchanging personality, with a whole human lifetime and now a genuine rebirth as a soul-possession, can immediately know such a greater maturity and self-security. Then here come some of the lower angelic orders you will be able to visualize and fraternize with. (Michael laughs)
Student: It does indeed sound exciting.
Michael: Well, it’s quite an adventure--believe me. You’ll never forget those first few minutes of walking out of the Resurrection Hall and looking around and seeing that sky, and the plant and animal life, and each other. There’ll be no hiding, no dissembling your surprise and wonder.
Student: Yes. Thank you, Father Michael.
MICHAEL: Incidentally, my son, you will feel my peace and Mother Spirit’s love immediately. This is what we mean by your increased spiritual sensitivity. You’ll be that much more alive to our presence, and our Father’s presence. We’ll be that much more palpable within you. But for now: be in my peace.
Student: That sounds best of all.
MICHAEL: We look forward to it.
Student: Yes, Michael. I’ve been reading the Course in Miracles because I wanted a blend of Buddhist teachings and…well, something I felt wasn’t being met. The teachings are beautiful and enlightening, and opened for me a whole new paradigm of man’s nature in the here and now. But something was nagging me, maybe my own resistance or ambivalence; but the experience was very profound with the teachings and the meetings, and the healing exercises too. Then the Course in Miracles--which are supposedly the teachings of Jesus--gave me the same open and expansive feelings as when I was participating in the other groups. It was like manna from heaven, like: Yes, this is what I was looking for in the meetings, and meditating on, and wondering about. It’s very similar to the Teachings of the Masters, and the Great Freedom workshops. It opens up new visions of what really is.
They say that as you mature then you are more open to broader meanings in what these teachings have always expressed, but you weren’t ready for yet. So that’s where I’m at. I’m understanding things I first encountered in 1976. I had to pay attention to this feeling nagging at me that I was still missing the point, even though I might have heard it before.
MICHAEL: Yes, my son, I think you are in accord with what I talked about this evening. You notice that, after a few years when you go back and read the same thing--be it a philosophical or religious text, or a work of literature--a great novel or play--even, or especially, the Urantia book with its complexity--you can see it in a whole new light. A book is a physical thing; it hasn’t changed: the new reading is giving you a sense of how you have changed and grown in the meanwhile. And this is not only what we call material mind, physical brain and nervous system changes; this is your soul. This is the meaning and value of life itself that you’ve acquired, being reflected in everything you perceive, especially a great work of art or something like the Course in Miracles.
- (Nagging feelings of unfulfilled potential)
I might suggest, my son, that the nagging feeling you expressed is a kind of reverse intimation of your own potential, that there is more you can do and learn. In some this leads to a severe dissatisfaction with anything new because they have a notion firmly fixed in their mind from erroneous teachings that there is a kind of ultimate enlightenment experience after which, from then on, life is all downhill. They will have this huge experience and they will know everything there is to know, and from then on their life will be all settled and done with and they can kick back and coast the rest of eternity. Whereas we say that, in spite of all that is--the completeness of reality at each moment--the realization of which is a huge human experience--there also exists the potential for eternal growth in the infinity of spontaneous creativity, both your own and God’s in His presentation to you of a growing, changing universe.
The creativity of spirit, this lively dance that is going on, is so spontaneous in its essential nature it need never stop. The creative spirit of God’s will present itself to each personal being--even Mother Spirit and I--as an endless universe adventure, and we define adventure as not knowing, and with no way of knowing, exactly what’s going to happen next. (Michael laughs) That can be all the way from not knowing if your car is going to start because the battery might be run down, to clinging with your fingernails to some cliff-face over a three hundred foot drop; from a minor inconvenience to a major risk. As I talked about this evening, in the future you’ll be awakening on a different new world with a different kind of body and mind, to look around and see a wholly different organization of physical energies and material in the life forms of the plants and animals; yet you’ll still be you.
So part of your feelings of a nagging incompleteness is your wisdom letting you know: it ain’t over yet! There will always be another step to take. One of your poets expressed the acceptance of this fact by writing: Dear Lord, let me continue to be unsatisfied. It means you realize there is more to come and you need to avoid being smugly self-satisfied in order to embrace it.
Student: Yes. There are those times where, after I participate in these profound teachings, I feel so full of love and so moved, and so open, that when I leave, it’s: now what! What can I do? What am I going to do with this energy? There is that feeling that there is nothing in the world that can approach what I’m experiencing. But what the lesson is: OK, I’m still in this space, and I still have things to do. I can meet every person with love and respect--real and genuine. I can enjoy whatever I need to do.
I think what happens is people have grandiose ideas of what enlightenment is, and they think life will be all bells and whistles, and they don’t realize they will still have to live on the earth with day to day things to do. Maybe they see it as some kind of escape from things, but enlightenment is really supposed to enhance them. What it really takes is faith to be open to the adventure.
After some great meetings there seems to be a feeling of a void, and what do I need to do to fill the void? Or do I need to fill the void with anything? Maybe I just need to experience it and go from there. It’s just interesting watching it. So…thank you.
- (Apprehensions of survival)
MICHAEL: There definitely is a kind of anxiety at times that grows up in a living being such as yourself, just in being hyper-aware you are alive and susceptible to so many things to stay alive. Yet right in the midst of these, shall we say, apprehensions of what it takes to survive, you can have an equal realization of the positive completeness of your whole being. You exist. You’re happening. And that is enough. (Michael laughs) Compared to the anxiety, it’s more than enough. And so you glow for a while, until, as you note, the day-to-day things make themselves known and once again there arises a feeling of anxiety to meet them.
Here is where wisdom from long experience can lead you to trust this feeling is only--if profoundly--your animal nature’s instinctual way of revving you up to meet the challenge. Your heart starts pounding and you feel yourself coming awake, anxious and alert, like a little animal inside you is pricking up its ears to scan for a threat. To feel this as a positive thing, to trust this--and trust yourself--that even this fearfully anticipating part of you is trying to help you survive and succeed; this does take wisdom and understanding as well as determination. All those who have succeeded in intense competition have learned how to trust and use this upwelling surge of anxious energy.
Student: Some of the times though, like yesterday, where even though I feel at peace, and at one, and connected with everyone, there’s also a feeling of acute aloneness. I’m having this great experience, but there’s no one to share it with. It’s only a momentary feeling, just noticing that it would be nice to share this with someone. But I realize it’s only filling the void with some preconceived notion, some distraction.
Student: Yes!--that’s why I said that.
MICHAEL: This can be a deep intuition of whom and what you are as a unique, God-created personality. Again, it’s nothing you can get a hold of concretely, but it is something you can be aware of, and that you can share it only--completely--with God, whatever your longing to share it with someone else.
Student, laughing: Yes! Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with love that it’s hard to contain it. (Michael chuckles along) I think that scares people sometimes, like: well--OK. But that is true what you said about aloneness. Sometimes I feel it is just me and God. And then I realize: that’s OK.
Student: One last thing. A person I met years ago had a tragic, life-altering experience when her husband shot her and then killed himself. This was back in 2003. Anyway, I kind-of lost touch with her, but she was always in the back of my mind--a beautiful woman with beautiful kids. Then last Sunday, on Mother’s Day, I saw a picture of her for a fundraiser. Apparently she survived, but she’s a quadriplegic, and she needs assistance; but she’s very determined. Since I always had her in my mind, I’m asking: would it be wise for me to see her and connect with her somehow?--maybe be of assistance or just to talk with her about things. I think she always admired me because I always seemed so happy, you know, doing her landscaping. I would see her and would feel something wasn’t right in her relationship with her husband. But she would see me and comment on how happy I seemed--stuff like that. So anyway, I was just wondering if it would be wise for me to communicate with her--if I’m able to do that.
MICHAEL: My son, I have two words for you. Can you guess what they are?
Student: I don’t know: go for it?
Student, after a long pause: I guess I would like to be of service to her--if it’s possible.
MICHAEL: It may be something you can’t know until you get there. But if she’s been in your mind all these years, someone with whom you shared a bit of soul there for a while, you needn’t put any label on it except for that: something shared. So: why not?
Student: Yes. OK. I’ll go for that. Thank you very much.
MICHAEL: Be in my peace.
(Stages of personal civilization)
We’ve had some wonderful discussions this evening. I did want to give you a sense of the development, not only of the way each individual recapitulates evolution as an embryo, but also recapitulates the evolution of culture as they grow up through childhood and adolescence, all the way from the constantly warring primitive tribal level--think of your little two- and three-year-olds squabbling out in the sandbox with, fortunately, the inability to do one another in--all the way up through your Machiavellian plotting of high school gangs; to, hopefully, each person continuing to grow beyond their parents’ generation’s understanding. Each individual’s maturity adds to the society’s maturity as well--ever more free; ever more allowing of each individual’s freedom because it is accompanied with responsibility--deeply caring for each other, wanting to be able to respond to another.
So keep that in mind. It’s part of the orientation of my Spirit of Truth. Ask yourself: what about this lesson is true in your own life? Hopefully, you’ve been able to recognize something all along. Be in my peace, dear ones. Good evening.