Topic: Personality, Body, Mind, and Soul
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, We thank you for your straight talk, especially the last lesson of your Nightline teleconference, Michael, in which you helped us be aware that though we do exist in a world of real objects--like the Urantia book you talked about—as well as all the unique personal beings we come in contact with every day, it remains our responsibility of how we take them. And so, how we associate people in our minds by age, sex, race, social class, religion, nationality, ethnic type; all of these associations are of our own limited creation: people are individual. And just as we differ from one individual to another so do these collective-perceptions differ from one of us to another. Thank you for helping us keep in mind that to transcend these differences we must begin within ourselves in order to see individuals through all of these habitual, lazy, often outdated generalities. We thank you for your help in this. Amen.
MICHAEL: Good evening, this is Michael. Thank you, dear children, dear friends, dear students--and teachers, for indeed Mother Spirit and I enjoy learning from all of you. Each one of you is a wonderful example to us of God's creativity—that he can create unique personalities such as yourselves and endow you with creative spirit. Truly the future is wide open not only for us but for each of you too, for you surprise and amaze us and fill us with wonder with what you can come up with, right out of yourselves. This is the wonder of personal creation, not only of all this stuff floating around in galaxies beyond number, but also of all the personal beings who live on all of these worlds, of all of the different orders you will come to know as you encounter them.
- Personality, body, mind, and soul
Tonight I would like to review a few points that Mother Spirit and I made and that you alluded to in your introduction, and that is the question of objectivity and subjectivity. There is a very real objective universe all around you, right down to your world and the room you're sitting in. It is very definitely there. Yet as your Urantia book reminds you, you are a spiritual being, a creative being, and this co-creativity of your personality is incessant. It is involved in everything you perceive and register within you for, from the standpoint of your personality, this includes even your own body and mind and that other transcendent reality co-authored by a presence of God—your soul. This co-creative relationship of yours to all that is both you and not you extends throughout the cosmos and will be your responsibility for the rest of eternity. Let's call it the part and the whole, and look at your co-creative relationship between them.
It starts with your personality, the fundamental reality that you are--the unique observer, the participant/experiencing-living-being of your life. What is your relationship to the whole of your being? We say you are little infinities not only to each other but even to yourselves, for while your living body with all its sense perceptions is definitely finite and material in itself, how you register it and its perceptions is a function of your extra-material mind. For while your mind is in turn influenced by your body and everything you take into it, it is also influenced by the totality of your life’s experience captured in your soul--this combination of your memories, plus your life as it is also experienced and taken on by an individualized presence of God. So immediately you have an unfathomable, subjective component in the experience of your own body/mind/soul and how these material/extra-material/Morontia parts of you influence the perception of everything else moment by moment.
You have a very real life and this life is being captured not only as you experience it but also as a presence of God within you influences and understands it as well. This can give you an enormous amount of trust within yourself that, though your memory may fail someday, though your body/mind are, in a way, scheduled to come all apart, not only you as a personality will continue but all your spiritually valuable experiences will continue with you as your soul. In your meditation and in your prayers you can experience moments of this soul of yours and feel how enormous and how complete all of it is, and becoming ever more replete.
Let us offer once again for your understanding: a feeling of humility on your part, to the whole of you--as well as to everything else—can be a marvelous recognition, a marvelous glory that you can feel in the presence of something enormous. While there is the possibility of feeling small and helpless and humiliated, as some do, you can instead be thankful that you have the ability to perceive this enormity and relate to it. This is why we consider humility to be such a spiritual blessing. You can feel you are a real part of such an enormity, and even beyond that, consider that you were given the ability of co-creating all of that--for you. It’s the unfathomable marvel of God-created personality itself.
- God’s co-creativity
You have the saying that you were made in God's image, and in this co-creativity is where you are most like him. For our Father also co-creates everything by giving each personal being their own creative autonomy, their own freedom--even from himself else there would be no ungodly behavior. This is his relationship to the whole of his creation that, though he is creating it, each personality within it has their own unique autonomy. Every personal being endowed with creative spirit is their own co-originator of their experience of reality. What a power this is! What a shame there are those who go throughout their entire first life as a human being somewhat unaware of this, their own co-creativity is so seamless, so incessant, and so all-pervading. They do not experience this co-creation--their world and their self--in terms of response-ability; and take creative responsibility for them. They do not have the humility, but then neither the wonder, of accepting that how they take things is individual and unique to them. This is understandable because things seem so objective, other, and immutable to one if one has this attitude.
Yet too some of you have had the experience recently of how several different people originally interpreted Mother Spirit’s lesson on the human races, and also how each then interpreted the Urantia book’s chapter differently again, for themselves, on the second or third reading. Each of you experienced and took something different from that stream of words so objectively there on the page. And then after entertaining each other's viewpoints, and Mother Spirit’s, you were able to go back and reread it and get yet another interpretation of these supposedly unchanging words.
Can you get a sense of what a changing organic experience you have of reality, my children, not only of your understanding as you entertain different viewpoints and reconsider things, but that the very reality around you is also then changing with your understanding? That could seem kind-of scary. What is there--there? Is there really an objective reality out there? This was an ancient philosophical problem. How does each individual personal being know that he or she is not God, creating everything, and has only self-forgotten that he or she is? Is there any way to escape one's own subjectivity and directly and finally know something solely in itself? Or is one forever cursed to be doomed to uncertainty?
What does the Urantia book speak about marvelous uncertainty with security? Where can this security be found if there is no way to get to a strictly objective viewpoint, especially if some folks feel, mistakenly, they already have it? On a very practical level, are the different viewpoints of people you mentioned in your introduction--these reactions to sex, age, race, nationality, religion, politics and so forth you seem to encounter: are these distinctions forever doomed to be at odds with each other? For the individual: is their reality like a dog chasing its tail round and round with no catching up to, and touching, the ever changing real, inside and out? Or is there a way to perceive and appreciate the overarching glory in everyone’s infinite diversity?
You've all come across this basic human dilemma as soon as you start to form some comprehensive and cohesive philosophy of life that includes others. This is an ancient problem that came up very early on as people started to compare notes on what their lives were like on the inside. One thing that emerged a few centuries ago was what is called the empirical method. If you make some statement about reality, you have to be able to demonstrate it. And if human life is composed of, roughly, physical facts, mental meanings and relationships, and spiritual values, this method is one way of sifting out the physical facts which can be repeated and demonstrated. What was demonstrated came to be known as Natural Law, the understanding of which has gotten you standing on the moon, living in outer space, and replacing living, beating hearts from one body to another. It's all the classified knowledge you call science, derived from the scientific method.
Still, as we've pointed out, there is that other aspect of universal reality that is not repeating itself. This moment has never happened before and it will never happen again. It is not open to demonstration because it cannot be repeated in its entirety; i.e. there may be no agreement on what happened with which to reconstruct an event. Think of how the facts, in legal matters, are only what your courts of law determine, and not just by preponderance of evidence, but as a human judge or jury evaluates that evidence based on what is admissible, and on their own varied experiences of life.
- The changing and the changeless
So how do you find security in our living, dynamic, not-repeating cosmos if also you too--your understanding and perceptions--are changing, and changing everything else? Is there some part of you that in its essence is not changing? We get back to what Mother Spirit and I mean by personality--the assertion we ask you to entertain that personality is that changelessness; a discrete living being that is unchanging in the midst of all of this incessant change. Because of that unchanging nature, coupled with a creative spirit and the possession of a growing soul of real experience seen not only from the individual’s viewpoint but from God's unchanging viewpoint as well; this is the fundamental, even the supreme possibility for security we ask you to entertain. Ultimately it’s your choice moment by moment. Though you cannot grasp your personality as some demonstrable object, by your very continuing you can find security in all this uncertainty, even to the point of being thankful for the blessing of the un-repeating, growing adventure this uncertainty provides. The future is truly impenetrable. But to know that what is impenetrable to you really already exists, not only as your own potential eternity, but also that of every other personal being you will meet with their equally ungraspable personality and soul, their own unique experience of life.
You can know this for sure, and this is the great liberation, this paradoxical-seeming realization that actually transcends paradox or contradiction: that this uniqueness of experience and soul-wealth and security of an unchanging personality; this is what we all have in common. This is the real transcendent viewpoint that is literally the advancement of civilization. It is this realization that allows you to trust, to reach across the divisions and find agreement, to discover ways of being civil with each other for all the ferocious, territorial natures you also have. Here I mean territorial not only with respect to land and possessions but with respect to ideas and beliefs, religions and philosophies as well.
This civility starts right within each one of you, my children. This is where you find the resolution of any conflicting viewpoints: within yourself. This is your creative spiritual effort and generosity we speak of, your gift of unmerited grace toward others mirroring God’s own grace showering down upon everyone as life itself. In this too you can strive to be more like him. This giving of oneself, this forgetting oneself to share your spontaneous soul with another; this is the glory of the diversity that is being presented to you every time you meet another. This is a possibility of agreement, of sharing, for in this you become most like our Father whose divine nature is one of sharing himself with all his creation of a nigh infinite number of autonomous personal beings whose freedom he respects and encourages. You too can escape the limitations of your own creativity by setting each other free, by realizing that others are infinitely more than you could ever imagine on your own.
This is something real you can experience. It takes courage to open yourself this way, to trust before you know for certain--to extend a hand, to be genuinely charitable with what you have both materially and spiritually. And so I offer you this invitation and this challenge, my children. As you look out upon the turmoil, the very real problems of your world, reach across all these divisions you see. Approach everyone with interest and curiosity. Resolve all contradiction within yourself first. Take full responsibility for how you react to things--where you are coming from, and another’s point of view. This is, if you will, the purpose for all of this out here in time and space--this never-ending adventure, all for the purpose of sharing ourselves with each other in an ever new and growing situation. It all adds to the Supreme soul of existence. We are all indeed made in his image, and we all share in his creativity and his unchanging essence. We can all glory in the diversity he sets before us and be exceedingly glad.
- Genuine contact
In this holiday season, poised as we are between your giving of thanks and your celebration of my birth and my life, and the birth and life of every unique person born on your world, we pause and are still for a few precious moments to feel our deeper self that God has filled with a wonderful yearning for genuine contact, genuine relationship. In a way we are independent, free, and self-sufficient, totally an autonomous part, but a part like every other, capable of standing in thankful, freely given worship in the face of his whole creation we are blessed to perceive and relate with. We are all related.
So if you have any questions or comments, we can share these too.
Student: Yes, Michael. The idea that seems lost in talk about human beings--their race, and gender, and status and everything, is the idea of human value that overrides or trumps all of that. Every human being is of the highest value possible no matter what their sex, or race, culture or nationality, abilities or disabilities, education, wealth or lack of it--any of that. It's the value of simply existing. That gets lost in all our opinions and beliefs. I relish the day when we are able to simplify our value in being in the image of God, and truth.
Human value trumps market value; you can't put a price on it. It's priceless. You can't even quantify that. Human being is always worthy, even if they lack of self-worth. If everyone saw themselves as worthy and everyone else as worthy, there would be far fewer problems in the world, less prejudice and chaos, less anger and hatred towards others.
It's been in my head ever since one of my clients was going to raise the rent on one of his tenants, like $400, because he said that was the market value. But I thought, what about the human value? They have their stories; they have their lives. Fortunately he didn't raise the rent (chuckle) because he got a lot of flak. But we seem to disregard human rights. Why are we even questioning the right to have food? Every human being should have the right to have food and shelter, clothing, and a decent wage. Why is there even debate about that?
- A shared recognition
MICHAEL: Yes, my son, that's a very good statement of the spiritual side of man-- the innate value of each. Tonight I hoped to offer a way for individuals to, first, realize this value within themselves, then strive for the ideal of seeing through all the superficial divisions that might categorize others, to the unique individuality in each one. But it requires courage to go from here to there--to go from whatever judgmental situation they are in here, as you say, lost to this greater spiritual value--to there, to being able to see in another pair of eyes--that can be so frightening, so intimidating—still: to see a shared recognition of each other’s human soul. Here is where each finds that truly infinite value in another.
One step at a time; one person at a time, for they are individual, coming from their different upbringings and conditioning in how they were raised, and what they–as individuals–value. You can only, within yourself, do your best. Take some comfort and rest in that: and start again tomorrow.
Student: They say that in the first four or five years of our lives it's so important that we live in a stable and secure environment, to feel that way within ourselves and discover more who we are. Then we can carry that all through our lives. If we don't have that sense of security, that home base within ourselves, then we’re grasping for some sense of security outside of ourselves. We’re not open to self-discovery, that sense, as you said, of who I am. We see that played out. People hang onto what seems to them real points of view that no longer serve them. But they believe they’re true, because without this belief they have no sense of themselves.
- A good parent or teacher
MICHAEL: Yes, and this is further reinforced by those in power who derive their authority from their followers’ un-self-questioned allegiance. Rather, it is the sign of a great parent or teacher who grants his children or students a freedom to be themselves, and delights in their curiosity and independence when they openly question him or her. But how we make progress with those who were not blessed to have had this experience in their youth is by trusting there is a yearning in the human heart for the recognition of truth and freedom. It's Mother Spirit's adjutants; it's my Spirit of Truth; it's their own Thought Adjuster--the presence of God within them; it's their own intrinsic human creativity that offers this possibility.
And so rest assured, my son, we do see this happening. We do see a civilization coming about that you can value all the more, with a sense of history, of just how uncivil the human race started out. The Urantia book talks about whole colored races of people being wiped out. There’s been a million years of incessant warfare starting with clubs and rocks, anything that came to hand; people bludgeoning and smashing each other, so delighting in combat that when, as your Urantia book says, the peace between tribes became oppressive, they would start another rock battle for the sheer excitement of it. There are still those who delight in making war.
Try to get some appreciation too for the disasters that befell this planet because of mistakes made by high spiritual beings in the past. Consider the resulting absence of powerful and loyal Local Universe Sons, and a Material Son and Daughter, on the surface of your world, who could show the way. Still there is always hope, a trust in the human heart coming from your own feeling of security within yourself; then recognizing this heart in others by way of a hunger to share your life with theirs. We see this happening on this world. We see this coming about more and more as all of these divisions we talked about this evening are being transcended. There is more and more of that recognition, one person to another, one nation to another, one culture to another, of their mutual human value.
Just think of all the people you've known in your life, there in your soul forever.
Student: Sometimes when I’m just driving around, I do look around with a sense of impermanence about everything I'm seeing. It could all be gone—changed--in a few years. But I also know what you just said--a sense of me lasting through it all. That, to me, is my soul, my inner home base. That's always there, and here. There is nothing to hold onto, in a sense. It just is.
MICHAEL, laughing: It’s a true adventure!
Student, laughing along: Yeah! I wish sometimes it were a little more fun. I wish the progress would proliferate a little faster, but that might just be… more chaotic. Maybe a slower pace is the only way.
- The yearnings of the heart
MICHAEL: But also, my son, it's the yearning in your own heart for these very things that gives these things some possibility, for you and for those you will share them with; that good fun.
Student: We’re supposed to be enjoying the simple things. You see people after Thanksgiving getting up at three in the morning to go shopping--I mean, to get something cheaper. Did they enjoy the sunrise getting up so early? That's my own opinion, obviously.
MICHAEL: Yes. They too may, someday, for their own benefit, discover a hollowness in all of that stuff all around them. May they face that situation with courage, and wonder what else there might be. Maybe come back home inside, and rediscover what's there, and how their attitude changes everything.
Student: And then you're open to what is really necessary, to live. What do I really need to live in this world--a fulfilling life? How can I live my life to the best of my ability? I've gone through a lot of suffering because an organization I've been attending has really been pushing for a commitment to their four Noble Truths: direct awareness; the teaching; the community; and to have one's own teacher or trainer.
I've always resisted that kind of formality, because I've had all of that. I know the pitfalls of all of that. But I know too they have their organization as a way to support each other in their own growth, or progression--a deepening confidence in their own understanding of who they are--of clarity.
In other places I've read where-- it might be in the Urantia book--to go to that sacred place within you, to talk to God in secret in that kind-of a home base. From there you extract the wisdom for yourself; and to live from that place of quiet and silence, and not go out professing to know everything. But just to live from that place.
So there is that dichotomy: do I want to be part of an organization that has all of this formality to it, even though there is an openness to it all? Or do I want to go within myself and be silent and still, and be one with the Force of all of this?--in my own way? People seem to relate to organizations, and books like the Urantia book, or A Course In Miracles, as if these are the end-all, be-all of everything. But they’re all only drops in the ocean of all of this. There's part of me that does not want to be confined to any one organization, book, teaching, or anything. Do you understand the dilemma?
- What groups need
MICHAEL, laughing: Totally, my son. This again is that relationship of the part to the whole; in this case, the individual to the group. (Yeah!) I think your own sense of freedom can you lead you to: I'll suggest one resolution, and it's by no means (Michael laughs) the only one; and that is: the group needs nothing so much as being composed of truly free-thinking individuals. Unfortunately, so often the leaders themselves do not realize this, or accept it. Rather, as with a good parent or teacher who encourages their child or student to be free and think on their own, to be their own person, so a great leader finds ways to encourage his or her followers to be more fully engaged in the group by being more creative and spontaneous and independent in their thinking. Everyone in the group contributes; the group brings out the best--the creative in everyone.
Your experience of groups stifling this liberty because of self-identification with a particular text, or philosophy, or whatever; this is what I think your own experience and instincts caution you about. So you have to find the resolution within yourself. If the particular group you know cannot support that decision, go find another group, or start one yourself, that can.
When the leaders of a group have too much power, and everyone else is just being an unthinking, unquestioning follower—granting their leaders all this unconsciously projected authority; so often this goes to the leaders’ heads. They come to resent and resist any signs of de-centralized autonomy—the equally-shared-by-everyone group spirit; for without spirit there is no living, developing, unifying thing holding the group together. The ensuing dis-integration is the unfortunate fate of so many well-meaning groups becoming segregated within, so rigidly, into leaders and followers.
Student: Yes, but the group I've been talking about seems to be genuine, and genuinely good; and it is taking off worldwide. But about teachers: there's this implicit notion that they've been there and done that, so to speak, and they've resolved certain issues in their lives; and they're willing to contribute to my life. That's how they look at it. And the teachings are beautiful.
Am I not being humble enough in not letting someone contribute to me, who wants me to be the best I can be? Am I being too arrogant or self-centered? Or am I not following my path? These are things that bother me, but I always come back to: this is an organization of like-minded people, but it's just a drop in the ocean of consciousness. Just one little drop. I enjoy everything about it-- the teaching, the people, the community. I just don't want all the formality. Then I'm back to myself again. (he laughs) Arrgh!
MICHAEL: My son, this is part of the price you pay for your freedom. You have to keep making this choice over and over and over again. Freedom is having choices, and you only have those decisions you try, and learn from the results.
Student: I guess it's a fear of being left behind, that maybe this is the opportunity I've been wanting, and if I don't grab that brass ring then I'm stuck in my own… stuckness. If you know what I mean…
- The thing about adventure
MICHAEL: Sometimes it's simply a matter of: you can't know until you give it a try. That's the thing about adventure: you can't always see what's going to happen even five minutes from now; maybe even a few moments from now.
Student: Then it wouldn't be an adventure, would it?
MICHAEL: Exactly! That's its nature. You might be hanging onto the side of a mountain with only your fingernails, literally or figuratively. In the case of a teacher there is the selecting process; selecting a teacher, and accepting that relationship.
Student: They say it's a friendship that will last forever; which is a beautiful thing. I do desire to be stretched, to experience more than I am experiencing now, to open up to new ways of being. So... That's all I've got. (chuckle)
MICHAEL: Well, my son, even in this you're not alone. Living in a state of question: that is a possible feeling of all of the challenges I've thrown at you tonight, of the uncertainty that surrounds and penetrates being human; and being a changing, growing being yourself. This realization changes all that heretofore seemingly-objective world out there. Where can you find security, moment to moment, within all this shifting uncertainty?
Part of it is in your attitude, your willingness and ability to relate to all that is not-you, and make the marvelous discovery that it, or she, or he, responds! The ability of response. The acceptance, earned through living experience, of the necessity to live in such a state of question, and discover a glory in it. It's the curiosity, the wondering, that, from our standpoint, Mother Spirit and I can only encourage you never to give up. Some might see it as a curse: why was I constructed with such desires, such longing for both independence and genuine sharing? Yet you yourself realize that the stifling of that questioning would be selling yourself short.
So right in your home space, my son, your stillness: keep opening yourself to these things. You’ve achieved a remarkable amount of freedom, and yet you hunger for more, more everything; and that's good. That's what you have in store. (Michael laughs) We promise you that. There is no end to it.
Student, laughing: Can’t there be a little bit more now?
MICHAEL, joining in: It is now.
Student: Can I accelerate it? I want to show people—others, other possibilities. There is a way out of what we've dug ourselves into.
MICHAEL: Then you first must find it yourself, must you not, in order to lead the way? If it's true contentment in genuine discovery, this is what you have, to offer. Those with eyes will be able to see you. Those with ears will be able to hear you.
Student: Thank you.
- Marvelous uncertainty, with security
MICHAEL: This is your marvelous uncertainty, with security, in the creation, because of your absolute faith in the Creator. You have an ultimate trust in that the very Being who created life and death, and such enormous, incessant change, also has something of his own unchanging nature that he shares with you as well.
Be in my peace, which is largely, just accepting it of your own free will. (Michael chuckles) Let me leave it with you. Good evening.