Topic: Personality and Selfhood
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Mother Spirit and Michael, Greetings and salutations dear divine parents, dear friends. A few meetings ago we blew right past our sixth anniversary, totally unmindful, so tonight I wanted to thank you for all these years of so much enlightenment and enjoyment, so much laughter and tears of joy when, at the end of the meetings when you signed off, we all burst out laughing with the wonderful sense of having been in touch with our spiritual parents. We enjoy your lengthy discussions simply because they give us a longer period of time to be in your presence and understand things from your point of view. So say on dear parents, dear friends. We are beginning to realize and accept the complexity of our being, and we especially appreciate those lessons of yours that help us realize all that we are so we can become evermore responsible for all that we are doing with our lives and with those with whom we come in contact. We thank you very much. Amen.
NEBADONIA: Good evening, my children, this is Nebadonia. Thank you for your gracious welcome. Michael and I are happy to celebrate with you these years we’ve come together and had so much fun exploring the human condition and your place in the cosmos.
Indeed you are such a complex being and your consciousness is constantly shifting around between all these various parts of you which are more or less integrated and united, and more or less not yet. Still, your personality does have an amazing ability to identify you with various parts of your being. As you are living with a time-and-space conditioned physical manifestation, you can experience and identify—totally at times--with some physical sensation, your hands doing some joyful, amazing thing; or a big toe you’ve just stubbed. At times you can identify with some concepts and spend hours on your own, thinking about a project you’re involved in; making plans, considering dozens of alternatives. You can be wrapped up in the soulful meaning of different experiences you’ve had: all these super-animal associations and wealth. For there is your spirit part of you that evaluates and quite literally experiences value or, at times, even the sad lack of it in some activity you’re doing, or some memory of something you’ve done.
But for the most part you are a living combination of all of these simultaneously, your personality identifying with a complex, ever changing combination of all these factors. You’ve only to think how a severe toothache can radically change what you can concentrate on and the value you are giving these moments of pain because they seem to affect everything. Or on the contrary, those of you with great inner discipline and soul can to a large degree not let such physical discomfort or pain of mental anguish disturb your spiritual awareness and realization. This reality your Urantia book freely acknowledges in the chapter--Personality Survival--by immediately stating there’s no way personality can ever be exhaustively defined in words or concepts, no matter how subtle they are. A book can only list and offer some of the qualities and functions personality has.
A bedrock concept you can build on in referring to the creation as it exists and has existed, is that one primal division of cosmic reality is into its personal and impersonal aspects. God is personality and your word God refers to those aspects of deity which are personalizable to you. God is the quality of being a personal being, a quality of creative abilities, in His case the ability to create other personalities and grant them a relative autonomy from Himself. He is the origin of personality and it is distinguished from impersonal reality by this individual creativity: personal beings can even share His will, and have individual intent. This distinction is most apparent compared to the inanimate part of impersonal reality--pure material and energy, but also in your own human experience with the lower forms of planetary life, all the way from a single-cell amoeba up to the most intelligent and highly developed primate.
Impersonal reality is not individually creative. It follows absolute natural laws of chemistry and physics, living biology, and even what you might call higher animal mind. Consider how the highest primates with a fantastic associative ability are still not creative in the sense that a human being is. They are still responding to stimulus no matter how complex and subtle it is. They do not have truly creative, wondering personalities and initiative such as you have. Individual creativity or the lack of it is a prime difference between impersonal reality and unique, discrete individual personal beings, of which you’ve been informed there are thousands of orders in the cosmos, the human being, being just one.
This is the reality of personality. Each one, being created unique by God, though similar to others of its order, still has something which is theirs alone to share as best they can with each other and with their Father. Michael and I gladly, humbly acknowledge and respect this ultimate connection between the Creator and each of His children, and the love you have for each other.
This is your absolute reality, my children. This is the reality of who you are as you persist through time. All of creation is complete as it is moment by moment and within each moment because it is God’s creation, yet this very completeness is capable of growth. Though that might seem to be some kind of science-fiction temporal paradox, it is nevertheless the expression of both the potentiality and actuality of supreme reality. You too are complete in each moment, but by God’s will there is something called universal time and change, something of a universal development and evolution of which you are a part. As your personality is the unchanging persistence of you, this growth of yours is what we call your soul. It is the complete story of your life as co-authored and taken on by an individual presence of God within you. The growing, evolving culmination of God’s awareness of every individual soul out here in space and time is what we call the Supreme Being. This is a facet of our Father, of God. It is God’s experience of all the personal beings’ experience and it is growing--as time goes by as yet another aspect of His will.
As we said in our last few lessons, this soul reality of yours, my children, is the fullness within your memories. The spiritual dimension of your personality makes reality for you, a co-creation along with the creation itself—your world. You—your personality real-alizes what is happening. Those of you who have known deep meditation and prayer, or a kind of highly conscious reverie--not just day-dreaming but the opposite—a highly conscious appreciation of your life akin to worship--know there is no bottom or top or sides to your soul. Your own soul is a transcendent reality to your conscious awareness of it. It’s part of the light you will come to know more and more, this special reality we call Morontia Reality, a combination of your personal experience as it is also being experienced and taken on by an individualized presence of God.
These are the great facts of human existence: that there is a single source and center of all creation, and it is personal. Personality is real. It is a persisting essence of selfhood by God’s will, enduring through another dimension of His will—time. Personality grows soulful experience and keeps building upon experience to the endless reaches of time. Since you have a soul co-authored by an individualized presence of God making a transcendent record of your own life for the both of you, everything you do of spiritual significance in your life, no matter how you may look at it from moment to moment with a time-limited viewpoint, this is your possession. You were created with the potential to become one--absolutely consciously united--with this soul of yours and its co-author. This is another great cosmic/personal event you have to look forward to--becoming utterly united, fused we say, with the presence of God within you that has been with you, and a part of you, from the beginning.
You can experience this. You can experience this depth and breadth of your own soul for, setting aside your ongoing experience of all that’s around you and in you in deep meditation and revere, you can re-experience previous moments of your life almost as when they first happened. They are still there in a soulful embrace, still transcendent, still reassuring you that you are more, so infinitely more that what you can yet fully experience momentarily. This brings up, then, the question--not that you need another one (Mother Spirit chuckles): but this does bring up the question: who and what is this self-conscious you?
Your personality is capable of identifying with self-made constructs we call your self-conscious-self. This is when you are aware of yourself. This is what your psychology nominally calls ego. There have been thousands of books written on this construct and their definitions differ enormously from one psychology to another, even from one historical culture to another. We liken it to your bathroom mirror which is very handy for shaving or putting on your makeup in the morning. Your reflection is apparently three dimensional, but limited to sight alone, and so your ego is a similar kind of construct/reflection, but limited with respect to the God-created personality and soul of you. It’s a socially necessary way of you being aware of yourself, for those who are not capable of creating such a self awareness have to be institutionalized. There are some human beings who unfortunately live barely above the stage of an intelligent animal and for that very reason cannot function socially and have to be more or less taken care of.
The interesting thing I want to look at tonight is how this self-conscious-self is the seat of your decisions, your decisiveness, what you call free will—that God-shared individual intention I mentioned earlier. To get a better feeling of this, think of the times you had success, a temporal victory doing something, and how your creative imagination blossomed forth with a hundred other notions of all the things you thought you could do now. You see yourself doing amazing things. This is your ego. It is also the feeling/reality you get when all of a sudden one of those projections fails miserably. Adjusting, you feel deflated as if you had puffed yourself up with all those expectations that time has proven impossible to fulfill: the moment is gone. Another person may deliberately try to hurt you with an insult, and you may feel that pain for days, but where?
This self-conscious-self of yours feels both glory and suffering and both are undoubtedly real because this self-construct—who you think and feel you are right now--has some cause and effect in your life. Your ego is not a total illusion as some philosophies consider it to be. It is the seat of your conscious decisions: they are all made in part within your ego’s notions of what is possible, especially when an ego-maniacal personality identifies totally with this self-made structure to the exclusion--or the ignorance, or the ignoring--of soul, within themselves and others. Think too of the imagined assumptions—some correct, some not--you infer from your experiences to get a sense of possibilities, alternatives with which to step off into another adventure of life and give them a try, and see the results.
Your ego is no pure illusion but a tool you use even if, ironically, it is a tool your personality can be captured by. A person can identify so much with this part of themselves, they can choose death rather than a diminution of what they consider to be their conscious free will. You have those famous words of your statesman: Give me liberty or give me death. People can give their lives for their loved ones with this sense of themselves and their dedication. So to a large degree this self-conscious-self of yours, my children, is an experience. It is also a basis, another point of view for experience. It’s both what you create and what the world around you reflects as how they see you--and how you register that, or not. A product of your own essential creativity, your ego is also a basis for your projections that interpret what you perceive.
One of the greatest illusions people can have is that they have totally eliminated or gotten rid of their ego, and now they are some kind of un-self-conscious, purely spiritual personality. It’s equivalent to a claim they have totally eliminated all their subjectivity to arrive at some kind of purely objective, fundamental reality. The saving grace is that this you--this ego you identify with—you are capable of growth and enlightenment. By tuning in to your soul and adding that experience to who and what you consider you are, you can be aware of spirit, you can be aware of your own incessant co-creativity. You can be self-consciously aware of the fact that you are more than this temporal construct. Your personality was created by God, and your soul, as we’ve said, is a transcendent, enormous reality of your experiences you can only tap into and fully relive for a few precious pure minutes—so far.
You can self-consciously acknowledge spirit in prayer and meditation as appreciation, as worship. You can identify as well with your deeper personality and the morontia reality of your soul. The realization that you are, with respect to your ego, so limited by time and space and the often anxious, ever-changing present moment: all of these realizations, my children, just because they are real, give you greater freedom to accept your own constant creativity and response-ability. You are more than a self-conscious self that can be blown up out of proportion, or hurt by insults. As you identify less and less with your ego while still being aware of it, you can more and more identify/recognize the encompassing of your larger self. You experience more and more of your soul’s participation too in your life as both cause and effect.
You can grow to recognize more and more soul and character in all those you meet, right from the littlest baby’s potential to the oldest gentleman’s or lady’s fulfilled life. You need not seek some kind of self-oblivion. You need not in any way try to punish yourself. Rather, simply see through any ego-puffing, self-centered, narcissistic type of behaviors for what they are. Ironically, as Michael and I have taught, when you realize how many times you’ve been taken out of yourself since you were a baby--in both glory and suffering--and still survived, you get ever greater confidence that you can trust and relax into self-forgetfulness too, and grow your interest in everything and everyone not you. You begin to feel this greater spirit encompassing which is not only your Father, and Michael and myself, but even your own creative spirit.
This is the freedom you seek. Spirit is unity, all-encompassing. By this power you realize and unify within more and more. You become more internally consistent and less self-abrading by identifying more and more with what is persisting and growing: wisdom. This opens you to God’s will so you can perceive and humbly acknowledge your temporal limitations: a priceless gift: what to work on next. You can feel more and more that your potential is right alongside your actuality: what might be as part of what is. You have your life moment by moment as you live it, as you are self-conscious, yet you also have the ability to forget yourself, to give yourself away, to enjoy being focused on some work, some art--some creative thing, some loving and helping another.
You let yourself go. You forget yourself to fill your soul, trusting that once again, like so many times before, you will pop up again to yourself. Your ego just kind-of comes and goes unafraid, for now it exists within a larger personal consciousness that it is not all that you are. It is not the only, nor even the greatest continuity of you persisting through time.
So consider these things, my children, how God, the origin of the human pattern of a living spiritual being, put your freedom within the limitations of your consciousness, along with how to grow that consciousness ever more beyond what it has ever been. This is how you grow and come to ever greater experience, so even as your present body and mind fade away, as they must--that too is in The Plan--you identify more and more with this soulful character you’re earning. Then, my goodness!--what beauty, what love there is, being able to perceive and appreciate this in others, for they are your true soul-wealth.
They are your companions in this great adventure and by being this extra-ordinary self you are literally demonstrating what is possible. People who live their lives not only with a great sense of themselves, but live their lives for other people--your saints, if you will--are those who continue to be the greatest gift to their fellows.
We thank you, Father, for the original idea--(Mother Spirit chuckles)--of such amazing creatures, such creative beings of yours and ours. These are Your children; these are our children. But above all You have given them themselves and each other. It is for this freedom we do thank You.
If you have any questions or comments, you might wonder where they come from.
Student: That’s a good question, Mother: where do these questions come from? I was wondering what happens to the people who do really, really bad things on this world?—like dictators who kill thousands and thousands of people; people who start wars and things like that?
NEBADONIA: Yes, my son, as I said, these are experiences of theirs captured in their souls as well as in the souls of their victims. These are the lives they have known. This is what they have done with the potential given them, limited about and conditioned by their experience of life. This is why the human soul holds both of what you might consider both positive and negative experiences. Yet their souls are also co-authored by an individual presence of God within them--however ignored--with nigh infinite understanding of all the causes and effects of their lives and how they came to be what they were.
Every human being who survives to the Morontia realms will awaken to their soul-wealth of experiences, seen a little more spiritually sensitive to God’s point of view. Obviously they will also have to face and deal with those they have treated so, for these will be their companions over there. And so they will come to realize, as will you, what they have done from the soul-perspective of those they have affected. For some who have caused such pain and loss of life, this will be a horror; for others who have lived a loving, giving, sharing life, a glory.
NEBADONIA: Remember and consider what we’ve taught about reawakening on the Mansion worlds with an enormously expanded consciousness based upon and in an enormously Morontia-evolved matter/energy body, soul-infused mind, and expanded spirit awareness and sensitivity. That experience alone, and continuing, that none will ever forget in all of eternity, has a great…healing effect--shall we say. They will have survived!—and in this survival can try to put to rest so much of the fear and agony they knew as human beings which lead to the acts they did. There is great mercy built right into this pattern of human survival, my son. It is hard to express in a few minutes like this, but everyone will reap the spiritual effects of their soul, and, as we’ve taught so many times, eternal life is not forced upon anyone. That choice is the ultimate freedom of the created being.
As you wonder where ideas and concepts come from, they come from your very own nature. You are a being endowed with [[creative[[ spirit, and you using it all the time, even as you sit here reading this and evaluating what I’m saying.
Nebadonia: You’re welcome, my son. It is true that to go about your busy lives you are mostly unconscious of the fact that you are, as we say, co-creating your reality. It seems so objectively real!—(Mother Spirit laughs)—and there is a real, objective universe out there, but experienced in part—made real for you--through your own creative spirit unifying all input. It’s why tonight I spoke so much on your experience of the self-conscious-self you create from the time you were a small child in concert with your family, playmates, and the others in your work and leisure; your education and training. All these contribute to your sense of yourself. You can control your focus and, in meditation and prayer, let it turn everywhere-outwards in a relaxed opening to the encompassing of spirit, and what spirit—including your own—has for you these few, unique minutes this particular time. You begin to identify more with this all-encompassing within which you live; but don’t worry if you cannot always keep it in mind. Just keep wondering!--and be in my love.
Student: Thank you, Mother.
NEBADOINA: Tonight I spoke to the ways in which your free will is conditioned by your understanding, and it’s to your understanding Michael and I give these lessons, to give you a feeling for the reality of personality and the reality of your creative spirit. Though your free will is limited about by your sense of yourself and your personal philosophy of what human life is, both are capable of growth in parallel with your soul. By becoming aware of the personal limitations of your ego, as well its necessity and tenacity, from the perspective of spirit; this humility also gives you the perception and the appreciation of something so much greater than your ego. You can will yourself to grow, to be more and more conscious of both your limitations and yet too the enormous encompassing of which your own potential is no small part. You persist through time, and you can choose to persist more and more in tune with all that is not-you and grow your response-ability.
Don’t worry too much about over-reaching; just be open to accepting results. There is no way to resolve this trial-and-error except by experience, and if you don’t over-reach at times, you’re not fully exercising your part of the adventure. It’s just that you also need to learn as you go along. (Mother Spirit laughs)
Student: I guess that’s what you mean by us being experiential beings. That’s how we learn.
NEBADONIA: Yes, that’s what we’re doing out here. We understand this as the deepest reason for the universe of all these thousands of different orders of experiencing personal beings, all creative, all acting and reacting with each other. It’s not just the physical universe your telescopes reveal, but these personal beings your Urantia book was designed to present. It’s why it teaches about angels, and Midwayers, and Melchizedeks, not only because it’s true, but also to increase your wonderful spiritual blessing of humility of: Oh my goodness!—look at all that out there!--as well as all of this in here.
Student: It’s interesting how you talk about our limitations and yet you’ve also taught about our being little walking infinities. Is that a paradox? I guess that is what stillness meditation is all about, to open up and discover that’s where free will comes in. We open up and allow without coercion or anything manipulating or forced upon ourselves; allow that infinitude that we all are. Without categorizing or labeling we just allow and gain familiarity with that potential.
NEBADONIA: Yes, my son. This is the truest worship, being aware of and appreciative that all you experience has a Creator—God initially, then all of us out here, individually co-creating with Him our own lives and souls. This realization helps diminish any feelings of fatalism, that you can play no part in your life. Ironically, a feeling of fatalism is only part of your own created philosophy of life. You can grow out of it.
NEBADONIA: Yet a child’s sense of separation, of being a separate living being due to their initial identification with only their little body and uncontrollable emotions, this felt separation is a natural phase of creative human spirit. This identification develops first, and comes before any later, life-changing experiences of conscious spirit awareness of, and connection with something universal. The child feels so painfully helpless and vulnerable at times because their world does break down. It utterly collapses in fearful anguish and tears, or rages of anger and temper tantrums. Remember? That is the true nature of a child. You’ve all come through these early birthing pangs of self-awareness, quite naturally, as you learned how to---as you say to each other later: Get it together! A human being’s “true nature” is this changing nature of theirs. Any lasting difficulty is not that you naturally go through these stages of awareness and identification, but that you may get stuck along the way and refuse to evolve.
Student: But that separation is not necessarily true—the truth. I’m trying to make that distinction.
NEBADONIA: However their separation may seem illusory or untrue from a point of view outside them, their own experience of separation can lead to real agony and suicide: real enough for them. It’s true for them, a true experience, precisely because they cannot consciously touch the totality of their being which includes the life-affirming awareness of spirit-connection with God.
Student: So, in a sense, they renounce their free will.
NEBADONIA: No. It’s a matter of their never having had that freedom—consciously—in the first place. You cannot renounce what you have not yet known through living experience. Free will is not an abstraction but a personal, creative ability which only exists in the use of it. It has to be experienced to be personally real.
The experience of free will is an endless growth as you become more in tune and understanding with the absolute and infinite wisdom of God’s will, not only in all your physical sciences and psychologies, but also in the realm your Urantia book calls Morontia mota, or spiritual law, you are capable of learning through your own soul’s recognition. Else these lessons would be pointless—fruitless. Rather, they are resonating with something within you.
God himself is the only, singular and ultimate possessor of truth for only He, in His omniscience, is able to respond to—and responsible for—the totality of the creation. There exists His absolute and infinite truth always, but each personal being’s ability to access this varies from one individual to another.
NEBADONIA: Yes, that is their potential. The degree to which they can realize their potential and make it actual is a measure of their maturity. As you become more mature through ever greater contact and awareness of God’s presence and will, your life can actually become more real to you.
Student: Well, thank you.
NEBADONIA: Thank you, my son, for wanting to explore all this complexity of human selfhood and free will. Some might consider it a mistake of God’s to have placed so much decisiveness, or lack of it, within a person’s consciousness that is so provisional, so dependent on so many changing factors. But there it is. The saving grace, as we’ve said, is that your ability to decide is capable of growth, on and on forever, if you wish. That is also a choice.
Dear Folks, Sorry—ran out of time with ten minutes or so to go. Will continue--Jerry