2013-09-19-Meditation and Will Power
• 1 Heading
o 1.1 Topic: Meditation and Will Power
o 1.2 Group: Lightline TeaM
• 2 Facilitators
o 2.1 Teacher: Michael
o 2.2 TR: JL
• 3 Session
o 3.1 Opening
o 3.2 Lesson
o 3.3 Dialogue
o 3.4 Closing
Topic: Meditation and Will Power
Group: Lightline TeaM
PRAYER: Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, we thank you for coming to us again this particular way. Strange as it may seem, or just illogical, some of the members of the Teaching Mission actually seem to denigrate this practice as leading to–somehow or another–folks being dependant upon someone else t/r-ing for them. But we would definitely follow your lead in suggesting that everybody give this a try. They can sit down and write it out or, if they’re good enough, they can sit at their computer and type it out; or get one of the little recording devices and record their own attempts at this.
So definitely, we’re all encouraged to try this process of t/r-ing, and give you and Mother Spirit a voice, an objective/physical, written-out or recorded version of what’s coming through. It should help our meditations all that much more, and remind everybody that your presence is right within them. All they have to do is learn how to tap into it, and then either write it down or record it for their own benefit. Hopefully, someday, they’ll start t/r-ing for the rest of us.
Tonight I would like to ask you to give us a lesson, if you would, on both the mystery and the reality of free will. You’ve mentioned so many times, that’s what makes a human being what they are: we’re a creature of free will dignity. So if you could speak to, like I say, both the mystery and the reality of our will power, we would appreciate that. Thank you very much. Amen.
MICHAEL: Good evening, this is Michael. I welcome everybody here, and all those who will come to hear or read what I have to say in the days to come. Mother Spirit and I are glad to have this means of addressing you, and we will definitely back up that invitation for anyone who’s even slightly interested to give it a try–this transmitting-receiving. We’ll do the transmitting, if you’re happy and obliged to do the receiving end of it.
Meditation and will power
MICHAEL: As the introduction went, in your meditations take some time to ask us to come on through. Or you can even invite another celestial being, as a kind of teacher, to instruct you how to do this. That too depends upon your will-power, doesn’t it? It’s your desire and then your actually carrying it out, sitting down in your meditation and receiving us, and giving us voice. So tonight I will address this mystery and reality of will power.
I’d like to tell a story that many of you may have heard before, so please bear with me. I guess some of you would call it a joke, but it’s about a young book salesman who travels the back country roads, looking to sell his rather encyclopedic version of modern farming. Of course he spots an old farmer plowing his fields, so he pulls off the road and walks over to the fence and waves at the old guy. The farmer sees this and turns off his tractor, climbs down, and comes on over.
They shake hands and get to know each other a little bit, and the old farmer does patiently listen to the youngster selling his wares for about ten minutes or so. Finally he holds up his hand and says, just to keep the youngster from wasting his time, that he really doesn’t want to buy the book, and so the young man might as well give up. The young man says, “Sir, you don’t understand. This book would really, really help you be a better farmer.” Then the old farmer reaches over and pats him on the shoulder and says, “Well, son, I don’t doubt that. But you don’t understand: I already know how to farm better than I’m farming.”
Now I like that story because it comes at the human situation from many different angles. Of course it points out the difference in age, the young man with his head full of all the latest scientific, idealistic, you might say, theoretical ways. And then there’s the old farmer with his whole lifetime of real experience working the land. It also points up the open-mindedness of the old fellow–for a while anyway—as he listens patiently and considers what the young man is telling him about his big encyclopedic book there on how to farm.
I think more than anything else it points up what I think most of you can identify with, when the old farmer says he actually knows a better way to go about things than what he’s actually doing.
That’s why, I think, it leads right into this critical thing of will-power—what it is to be a creature of free will dignity, and just how much of your dignity is dependent upon that free will; or whether you have become an automaton, perhaps maybe a slave to convention, or someone else’s authority, or habit.
Let me point out this too about the old farmer. Here is a kind of triumph of spirit in that he realizes the difference and is willing to admit this to himself, and to the young man, that he actually knows within himself–he’s conscious of–the difference between, shall we say, a better way of going about what he’s doing, and what he’s settled into doing in spite of that.
I think this is where most folks identify with this story. You all have this same situation: that is, if you are equally open-minded and not into what your psychologists refer to as denial, where you are really split within yourself but identify totally with what you’re capable of doing, or simply what you have been doing. Because it takes a degree of open-mindedness just to entertain, and keep in your mind, that there might be a better way to go about things.
Mystery and reality
And yet if you’re not in denial, if you do identify with the old boy, it raises this question: why aren’t you actually doing what you know within yourself is a better way of living? Because free will—will-power–only has meaning in the reality of it. True enough, you can ponder the mystery of it indefinitely; spend your whole life just wondering why you can’t do what another part of you tells you, you should do. Also in this there’s that question of morality which your Urantia Book says is a function of your personality, or at least a potential ability of your personality–the question of morality, of the better way of doing things, of living.
You can get lost in what we say is mystery-monitoring, making a mystery out of everything. You’ll be saying, “It’s just beyond me. It’s some kind of ultimate mystery I can’t begin to solve.” Yet the instant you start doing something, especially that better thing, the mystery evaporates and you’re in motion. It’s happening. It’s real. So it’s that first step.
I think Shakespeare wrote a whole play about this, called Hamlet. Hamlet knows from the very first few moments of the play that something has gone wrong, and the only way to remedy it is to take care of the uncle who actually killed his father. As somebody has pointed out, you wouldn’t have a play that way if it was all over in the first few moments, if Hamlet came in, and drew his sword, and killed his uncle. But the play does capture those who are caught up in the mystery of free will. So how do you take that first step? How do you begin to do what you know within yourself might be a better way of life?
Towards this end I’d like to address just the physical part of your being, your body and your health, for I think this is where the crux of this situation is most apparent for those who do know that the way they are living is not the optimal way by any means. Mother Spirit and I have not denigrated your habits just to call them bad; we call them unhealthy. What you’re doing is unhealthy, and most folks with even somewhat of an open mind can admit within themselves that definitely this habit of theirs–whatever it is–is definitely unhealthy. And yet, and yet…
This is where your mediation comes in. This is where your contact with the spiritual presences within you–my own Spirit of Truth, Mother Spirit’s Adjutants of knowledge and wisdom, and courage; and then our Father’s presence within you–can actually help you keep ideal thoughts in your mind of a better way to live.
Here’s where meditation can be that essential break in your activities where you will intensify this wondering, this curiosity, about a better life. It’s where both the ideas and ideals can come to you. You can entertain them and build up some kind of weight, then, that can get you to take that first small step. Towards this end we’ve encouraged you to take notes while you are meditating–to help you keep that open mind, to jot down those things that will occur to you when you are, as much as you can, opening yourself to everything that can occur to you.
Let those ideas happen. Be like the old farmer and at least entertain what’s being suggested. That can be a positive activity, just to write these things down to give them physical reality outside of you. That can be that first step. You can put them in some convenient place where you will see them and remind yourself, because all of these messages are to you in the future, this future you that you want to be healthier, stronger, more alert, more alive.
Then there’s another small step with respect to some unhealthy habit–to put it off even for half a day. Set aside some very special spiritual devotional time because this is a positive activity, my dear ones. This not-doing-the-wrong-thing can seem like a very weak, almost terrible kind of thing: to give yourself credit for not doing something. But if this is where you are, have the courage to accept it. Embrace it.
Take that first small step, for again, you all are familiar with stopping some bad habit for a few weeks–going cold turkey, as you say–then it all collapses again. It’s better take a first few small steps that hold, that hold and keep holding until you can add another little step to it
Sometimes Mother Spirit and I feel that you wish we would speak more to your political or social or even world situation. Yet we keep coming back to the fact that even the world situation, for all of its physical attributes—say, whether or not a large section of the world might not have enough food to eat–in terms of actually going towards that better world, in order to have everyone evolve, it all comes back to each and every single individual. It all comes back to you, to improving your life, to you evolving.
This is what takes will power. This is why your freedom is so dependent upon that. That’s why we call it free will. You actually have to exercise it, first spiritually in embracing and being open to the greatest totality that can occur to you. And then mentally, giving it thought, giving it reason, giving it structure and organization. And then, finally, physically actually doing it, whatever it is.
That’s how it starts. It starts with an embrace, an openness to embrace whatever can occur to you. And that takes courage when you are, you might say, down and out and thoroughly depressed with your lack of will power. It takes so much courage just to take that first small step and then hold it, and continue to hold it, and have that be a little more firm ground under you with which to take the next small step.
This is your dignity as a human being that no higher spiritual being will interfere with. We do all we can. Even the presence of God within you does all he can to encourage you to take that first small step to transform your will from some vague mystery into reality for you. So be like the old farmer in one way–of being open to the fact you may already know how to live a little better life than what you’re actually living. But then too, allow that young person’s idealism of a better way to fill your soul, and step off. We’ll be right there with you, saluting that courage. Now if you have any questions or comments this evening, let’s do that.
Student: Good evening, Michael and friends, J. I got here during the prayer and enjoyed the story you told about the farmer, but I missed the punch line. I still have as much as I could from the dissertation, but I really just wanted to say I have been counseled by my spiritual mentors for many years on making better choices with my free will, and have done some significant re-choosing, and would have done some of them sooner.
But I’ve never really been berated or browbeat for what I didn’t do. It’s been really more encouragement and accolades about what I did finally manage to do. I really appreciate that about Father God and the spiritual hierarchy–that so much of our relationship is encouraging rather than demoralizing. We are good enough at demoralizing ourselves.
MICHAEL: Well, yes, my daughter. You might say the punch line to the joke is when the old farmer responds to the young, idealistic book salesman, with his book of how to be a better farmer, “Young man, I already know how to farm better than I am.”
Student: Yes. Yes. Thank you.
MICHAEL: I was trying to address the whole question of will power, so I’m sure many of you can identify with the old farmer and think of those things in your life that you would rather not be doing or, shall we say, rather be doing. There they are. It takes a certain amount of courage just to be open to that, to know you are within this broad realm depending on your will power–your ability or inability to do the better thing, and yet not be drowning in guilt, or simply taking all your time denying that what you are doing is ruining your health, or losing all your friends, or all those various things that do happen to folks who get into denial.
MICHAEL: Tonight I wanted to give you a way–for those who may not have any comprehension of: How do I start? You start by being open, maybe by making notes to yourself in the future. It even helps to get one of those calendars that has space to write in each day, and make little notes to yourself there on the calendar so the whole dimension of time comes in. Again, you’re doing all of this to help yourself in the future look back and have some continuity of what you’re trying to do. That helps a lot. So congratulations, my daughter, on what you were able to do.
Student: Thank you. I did it with your help.
MICHAEL:: That’s the teamwork.
Student: Right. I couldn’t have done it by myself.
MICHAEL:: Ah yes!–and we do appreciate the part you played. Be in my peace.
Student: Thank you. I was just thinking that so much of this has to do with a low self-esteem. I look around at some of the new generations, some of the attitudes of young people, and they’re just so discouraged. They have no opinion, no worthy notion sometimes. It really is, well, it is a challenge to know how to counsel these people who don’t think they’ve any worth, who don’t believe they have anything to offer, or will have to offer. It’s really very discouraging. One of the first things, when you look back to those who have lost their self-worth, I swear some of these people have never had it in the first place.
Spending time together
MICHAEL:: This is where there is almost no substitute for setting a good example. Some young people unfortunately do not have the good mother or the father. As ironic as it may appear to parents, by taking care of themselves and living a good life, that does more good than being overly concerned for their youngsters and trying to live their lives through their children. It’s not a very good example to set.
The best is spending time, the parent’s time with the children, especially in all the daily activities, all the household chores, getting the children involved in these as much as they might want to go out and play with their friends. It’s having them share the work that shows them this is what a family does, that there’s so much work to do every day, and having the youngsters take part in that. It’s spending time with them because as much, sometimes, as they would rather be out playing, these are actually the things that in the years to come, they will credit so much–the amount of time they were able to spend with their mother and father.
Sometimes there’s a disconnect between the generations where the old folks are put off in a home somewhere. The breakup of the family among the generations this way is also an enormous loss, especially in some of the more so-called developed countries where the sheer amount of wealth makes this possible. It’s ironic that in some of the so-called poorer countries, where you have several generations living together, the youngsters actually have some real contact with people of different ages and different life experiences. That’s where the young, idealistic bookseller can learn from the old gentleman farmer.
But it takes this human-to-human contact. Mother Spirit and I are concerned sometimes too about the endless, endless hours your youngsters spend with their electronic devices rather than learning how to relate with others face-to-face. That’s because of their valuing something so electronic, which is such a tiny part of another living human being. You need to get in personal contact to have your youngsters appreciate and give value to that exchange. That’s why the Urantia Book mentions so many times the basis of civilization—the family–falls apart when the youngsters don’t have all that contact with someone older: there is so much lost. So you are definitely right to be concerned, yet each person can only do what they can to help the youngsters along.
Student: Thank you.
MICHAEL:: Were there any other questions or comments this evening, about anything? Let me practice what I preach here and be open to whatever you wish to suggest.
Student: Hi, this is L. I came in late. I’m sorry. I wanted to ask you about… I’ve been reading a lot about this “Christ Consciousness” that has been on YouTube, and going around on papers. That’s one question. Can you explain that a little for me? And number two, there are so many people out there that believe that we are incarnated. But I don’t understand why they tend to believe that. Can you explain that, too?
MICHAEL:: Well, yes, my dear. About that second question: it’s largely a matter of wishful thinking, I’m afraid. Folks sometimes do feel helpless, and so they look to some kind of savior and hope. They look towards a second coming–of my coming physically to be with you and solve things. I do have the power to wave my hand and make everything good, but that’s not our way.
This whole life of yours is an experiential one. It’s your experience, and the only way out of wishful dreaming is to value your experience–as I was just talking about–especially your experience with each other, for this is what fills your soul–these other folks. Now what was your first question?
Student: It was about this thing called Christ Consciousness. And it’s basically… I mean, I think it’s got a lot of nice aspects to it from what I’ve been reading. But…
MICHAEL:: Yes. That expression, by the way, has been around for a long, long time within Christianity; and every major religion has the same thing, like to have the mind of the Buddha or of Mohammed.
Student: Oh. Okay.
MICHAEL:: It’s merely an invitation for you to think and act, as much as you can, as these ideal lives that are being presented to you, either of Mohammed, or Buddha, or myself. The only way that this goes astray is where you are told is simply copy what someone else’s life is, even that of the Buddha, or Jesus, or Mohammed. The more correct way of looking at this is to live your life as much as you can, in your whole situation, with their consciousness. Here is where your Urantia Book–with respect to my life–your Urantia Book points out so much of the way I lived my life day to day–with all the things I was confronted with–was by staying as close as I could to my Father. He is also your Father, and he indwells you just as much as he did me.
I don’t know how many times I had to tell this to my followers, to introduce them to mediation and prayer. And again, I set the example myself and very freely admitted that sometimes I needed to go off by myself, to be with myself and my Father alone, so I could really tune into his presence within me. It was what he had to offer me so I could get through the next day, so I could do my best to do what I felt was the right thing to do. It’s what I talked on this evening, if you came in late. It was all about how to tune in to spirit–the greater picture, if you will. Then do it.
So this is what it means by having Christ Consciousness; try to do your best to have in your mind this consciousness of a spiritual surrounding. Also, you actually have spiritual presences right within you that you can appeal to in prayer, and then do your best to try their suggestions.
Student: A lot is that–you know–that I would be able to hear some of a midwayer, or someone that I could actually listen to; or even my own little spark of God fragment in me. Yet I’ve been mediating every day, and it just doesn’t seem to happen for me. I’m not quite sure why.
The purpose of meditation
MICHAEL:: This is where it takes a lot of courage to accept what is happening, ever more fully. In other words, part of good meditation and prayer is getting beyond notions of what it should be, in order to accept what is. Here again it helps to have an actual inner conversation because in your prayers, as we’ve taught so many times, the more you can articulate yourself, the better. This is your work. This is what you’re bringing to the moment. Your part is to articulate as much as you can, as precisely as you can, as detailed as you can, what you would like to hear, what you need to hear. For this determines to a large degree how you are opening yourself to what you feel you need, or what you would like to know.
It’s why I encourage everybody in these (Lightline) sessions to come to me with these questions, like you have now, of what you really don’t know. Rather than trying to play some game to test me, make full use of this time; and do so in your meditations. That’s why it really helps, especially when you’re starting out, to take notes. Actually formulate a question in your mind and then write down what comes to you.
After a while this can get into something where you don’t have to ask the questions so much as that your mediations can be a way of reviewing what your life is all about. And so it’s a matter of trusting what does come to you. If it seems like it’s too dull and you’re getting bored just sitting there, wonder about that. It’s about being wondrous and open to whatever is happening. This is practice for your daily living, being wondrous and open to whatever it is.
Student: Okay. Thank you.
MICHAEL:: Right. This is how you can do your part.
MICHAEL:: Approach your meditations with this curiosity. And if it seems like nothing’s happening, well then: stir it up. Start asking questions that you really don’t know but you would love to find out. That itself can be a great thing to do. What don’t you know, but would really love to? And be in my peace.
Student: Thank you.
Student: Michael, I have a question, or I have a question that we can discuss privately. It’s perhaps a curiosity question, but it’s one that has burned in me for a long time and I’ve longed to be able to ask it of someone who would have been there at the time. You spoke of Hamlet, the play written by William Shakespeare. Was indeed that play, and that entire canon of work–there’s thirty-five plays–written by one William Shakespeare, a glover’s son?
(The mystery of genius)
MICHAEL:: Well, my son, you have to realize that part of the genius of Shakespeare was, as you know, with a lot of his plays, the plot and some of the characters appeared in many plays before him. And so some of his genius was in picking and utilizing everything of his age. This does not in any way detract from the final version in the latest folios. Also, as you know, as he put on his plays, a lot of times the audiences and even the actors of those days would make up lines; or, why don’t you do this?
I mean, a lot of the times the audiences would get involved and definitely Shakespeare was brilliant enough to keep all the good lines no matter where they came from. I don’t think you need to get into the composition of where all these things came from, but…
Student: No, no, no. My question was just, you know, there are so many theories… Oh, it was… Well, I can’t think of who now, but, you know, there were many–Mark Twain, William James?–Henry James? It might have been Harry James, the trumpet player, who said this man, this William Shakespeare, could not possibly have written these plays. It had to be someone of the noble caste. And it’s a theory that has gone on for hundreds of years. They say that someone, brought up as William Shakespeare, the actor who has been to whom the plays have been attributed; many people say they could not have been written by this one person. It had to be–some say Francis Beacon wrote those plays. I’m asking: did William Shakespeare write those plays?
MICHAEL:: Oh, certainly.
Student: Okay. Good.
MICHAEL:: My son, this again is part of the perplexity of the mystery of genius. This is something where, with other folks–whether it be Mark Twain, or whoever is facing the enormity of his work–look at all his sonnets and things like that–it’s inexplicable even in your modern day. Yet here too, now, you have writers who have single-handedly created whole entire universes of folks, some of it realistic, and some of it definitely mystical or magical.
So there’s no accounting for genius–as someone put it one time. But most everything that is attributed to Shakespeare was, like I say, not always of origin in his mind, but he made that critical editorial decision of what to keep and what to throw away. And as with his plays, even now somebody writes a play and before they introduce it to Broadway, they put it out on the road for a while.
They introduce it in other small theatres before it goes on Broadway. Similarly, Shakespeare was constantly–as you look through his folios–was constantly improving his plays. But, you know, that’s just the same mystery of genius, of creativity, that you experience in your own mind.
Student: Yes. Great. Thank you very much for taking that tangent with me.
Meaning and value
MICHAEL:: Certainly. Well, my children, now that this question has been raised, let me bring up the point that your own creativity is also somewhat of a mystery to you. It’s because you are a creative being. It’s what distinguishes you as a human being, your co-creativity. And it’s so total for you. We’ve given so many lessons on: half of what you perceive, even though it looks right out there–the chair you’re sitting on, the room surrounding you as you listen to me or read these later–the fact is that you are co-creating all of that. Not the physical reality of it. Not even the physical reality of your own body, but the meaning of it, the value of it: this is your doing.
And this is why there can be what I gave a lesson on last time–suicide, where all of a sudden–for various reasons, all of a sudden the meaning and value can seem to drain out of a person’s reality. Their life becomes so bereft of anything of importance that it’s almost unbearable, and actually is unbearable for some.
Hope, anticipation, creativity
It’s hard to get a hold, then, on how much your own hope is giving motivation to your life because it is, for most of you, it is so seamless. And because it is so strong–your own hope, your own anticipation, your own creativity–it’s hard to convince folks what they themselves are doing! Just by being a personal being, they’re endowed by God with this creative ability.
It only becomes enormously apparent, sometimes, when, rather inexplicably, you have a single individual–whether it’s in the realm of the plastic arts of painting or sculpting, or whether it’s in the mental realm of writing, creating endless characters–they themselves wonder: where’s it coming from?
Ask the writers themselves who are handling a situation of a dozen people moving around in some room and talking and interacting: where’s all that coming from? They’re not even certain. It just happens, and it’s a matter of, as I taught tonight, how to go along with this, and how to initiate it. How to take that first step, especially a difficult step in doing the right thing that you know well of, but have, as yet, been incapable of initiating.
One small step at a time. One small step that holds is so much greater than the most grandiose notions that start only to fail. So: have courage. Know that the Holy Spirit of Mother Spirit, her very being, is in you giving you life and augmenting your courage to step off and at least try something. I’ll be there with you too, with every step you take.
MICHAEL: So be in my love, and be in my peace, my dear ones. We’re here for you and we’re here with you. You are so much a part of our lives, I thank you. Good evening.