2006-07-24-General & Individual Evolution
• 1 Heading
o 1.1 Topic: General & Individual Evolution
o 1.2 Group: Marin 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: General & Individual Evolution
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, Tonight we want to thank You for helping us broaden our contact with, and understanding of, the spiritual dimension in our lives. Yet we find ourselves in the awkward position of often knowing more than we can implement. We often find it difficult to make the transition from general ideals to specific, good, useable ideas; and so we ask Your help in bringing down to earth, into our own lives, some of these principles we have been discovering. Amen.
MICHAEL: Good evening, My dear sons, this is Michael. I welcome your prayer this evening for it indicates you are ready now to take a few more steps along this path you have chosen to share with Mother and Me and, indeed, your whole spiritual family. For the human race this path is one of general and utterly unstoppable evolution, but it is not imposed and inevitable when you consider an individual human life.
You remember back a few years ago in your own United States culture, when there was such a generational kind of revolution that, while some folks couldn’t wait for things to change fast enough, others were expressing their own reaction as “future shock” as if things were happening far too fast–good traditions and the accumulated value of the ages, if you will, were being lost.
We have told you plainly there is a kind of universe-wide evolution that is inexorable. It’s part of the growing soul of time and space, the growing wisdom that all personal beings are evolving from their life experiences. This is the basis for both personal and general evolution. You have the potential of growing your wisdom, especially considering that part of your mental acuity derived from the Universal Mind of the Infinite Spirit, expressed as the Cosmic Mind abroad in the physical universe, and funneled down to the Local Universes through each Mother Spirit, each daughter of the Infinite Spirit.
You are beginning to realize and accept that what you call mind, your own personal thinking, is also part of this dimension of universal mind. So also on the level of mind, as well as that of spirit, there is an evolution happening and We, of course, teach some of the general principles, the spiritual laws involved.
Now, My children, with the help of Our enticing and teasing, you are turning around and re-orienting your attitudes away from being so exclusively captured by the past, to looking towards the future. You are feeling this gap, as you expressed it, of being in the uncomfortable or awkward position of understanding these principles, yet uncertain on how to implement them in your day to day life.
The most simple, straight-forward, true and accurate prescription is one We have been recommending from the first: the practice of stillness. Bring to a halt as profoundly as you can, on a regular basis, your habitual ways of doing and thinking. I would ask you to consider that in every major religion of Urantia, there’s a great similarity of approach for those who wish to dedicate themselves to living what they feel is an overtly religious life, in other words, the monks who dwell in monasteries throughout the world.
In every religion their days are tightly scheduled to allow for a great deal of stillness or meditation. They start and end their days this way, and all through the day, at regular breaks in their activities, they dedicate themselves solely to meditation, to reflection on what they are doing. Even their vows of silence serve to augment this inner reflection.
Mother Spirit and I have suggested you bring as much of this into your life as you can with small, spontaneous moments of stillness all through your day. For when you look at the momentum of habit and tradition, the continuity of value and meaning that individuals absorb for so many years from their families, their immediate associates, and now from so much incessant media, all the news and entertainment that fills peoples’ days; this gives you some estimation of what it might take to re-examine all of this.
But stillness is the best way you yourself can create these specific, good, useable ideas, and plans, and projects. Mother Spirit and I are always hesitant to supply these specifics for you, My children, only because We realize this is the effort you most need to exercise. This is the spirit of experimenting you need to welcome, generating your own good ideas and projects: what you need most to establish a real self-confidence.
There is no shorter, more direct way. By all means read your self-help books. Enjoy exposing yourself to hundreds of ideas. But they all come down to feeling, feeling which of these apply to you, feeling which you can use.
In practicing stillness, in setting aside part of your day to meditate, you are uniquely and immediately face to face with certain primal fears: fears of nothing happening, fears of wasting your time, or missing out on some great action that’s somewhere else. You wonder: Why am I setting here? Am I enlightened yet? What is this? My mind is just filled with all these mundane things. And so an immediate requirement of good meditation is faith.
Faith is what Mother Spirit and I call an offering of trust–one of the most valuable activities you can do. Faith is what all religious traditions of Urantia have evolved, something very similar, as a way for their religiously ambitious members to get in deeper contact with spirit. Faith is what so many great historical personages from your own near past have given credit for their creativity during their moments of being quiet, talking with who they experienced as God, then listening for His suggestions. Think of all the great scientists, and artists of every kind, who frankly stated they didn’t know where the good ideas came from. They simply learned how to let them come.
A few lessons ago I suggested that one small way to get a handle on what to do is to divide your human reality along the lines We’ve suggested so often, even though all three—physical, mental, spiritual–are inextricably intertwined.
Think in terms of physical idealism, getting into some activity that is just intrinsically interesting to you, that forever teases you forward to greater and greater physical dexterity, agility, flexibility, and balance. Consider seriously your diet, your periods of rest.
Mentally strive for an ever clearer, more open consciousness, welcoming all the physical facts, then the persons you meet–all that you say, and is said to you. Think of the mentality you share with those you love, and those you associate with every day. Stretch yourselves intellectually. Don’t shy away from certain understandings simply because they are complex.
Then practice your stillness. Let this physical/mental part of your being relax in such a way that your spiritual home base swells forth, and you can welcome the re-evaluation of your life. This is where it will come to you, My children: what to try differently today or tomorrow, whichever is next.
In your present-day pop culture there is an attitude that if you feel a great effort is needed to change your life, to grow, to understand; you are doing something wrong. There’s some failure involved. This is a notion that if you are doing it right, life should be easy. True happiness is effortlessness. So Mother Spirit had Her lesson last week on the need to feel the inner experience of effort involved in what you are doing. This, My children, is one fine measure of the value of it.
I’m not talking here about being inefficient, or of doing some meaninglessness activity simply because it involves effort. You don’t take the physical and mental considerations away in order just to feel this spiritual effort. But simply in all your physical and mental activities, you don’t shy away from feeling the effort involved. Feeling is your connection with creativity. It is how you know you are–doing. It is even your contribution to the Supreme Being, just as this is the gift to your own soul. This is your engagement with life. This is what strengthens you and gives you the ability for more life. This is how you get from general desires and principles to specific actions. This is how you open yourselves to the ideas that will be both yours, and Ours, and our Father’s. As Mother
Spirit said, this is where Her wisdom and your own co-mingle.
Think about it, yes, of course; but practice it. Do it. I’ll meet you there.
If you have any questions or comments this evening, this is also something we share, is it not?
Student: Father Michael, last week, I mean last lesson, You mentioned the word “moral” several times, and I’m wondering if You could say some more on the subject of moral, or morality, please?
MICHAEL: Yes, C. I mentioned that when God creates personality of the human order, even though no being other than God can exhaustibly delineate what personality is, We are certain of certain characteristics or properties with which He endows you. One is the ability to discern in personal behavior and activity, a contrast of right and wrong, better and best. You are even capable of welcoming this as a conscious evaluation in every small phase of your life, from the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you go to sleep at night.
But you are also endowed with an ability to ignore this possible consciousness. You can remember from your own teenage years how it was almost imperative you go through a phase of challenging all the values were raised with, all the do’s and don’ts, rights and wrongs of your particular culture heritage. You did this largely through the exercise of indifference, the general attitude of: Who cares? Don’t bug me with these considerations, I know what I want to do. I think you can even see a certain necessity for each generation to go through this phase of re-examining the values it was given.
Tonight We’re encouraging you to keep going, to make this re-evaluation incessant, and find a way of living in transition, feeling yourselves growing, changing. This means welcoming an inner feeling of right and wrong back into your life, recovering, if you will, from the drastic medicine of indifference as the only way your younger self could get some separation. You may have been living for awhile in a calculated, rather cynical kind of indifference as to whether all the small routines of your life are actually good for you, health-wise, mentally-wise, spiritually-wise.
If you have been used to license, indulging yourself along these lines for a while, it takes great courage to welcome the sense of right and wrong that can lead you to greater health, greater sanity, greater spiritual value. This is the essence of morality: feeling this dimension of right and wrong, better and best in everything you do. Exercise this sense, experiment with it, keep track of which decisions worked, which didn’t, and why. For in discovering what works, what truly works, and what doesn’t, and why, you are discovering God’s will. You are discovering His laws, whether it be in your own life, or in your inter-personal relations–society and culture and government. You have only to accept the discipline of sincerely striving to know what is right and wrong, and then doing it, in order to achieve the glorious rewards. Does this clarify your understanding, My son?
Student: Yes, Father, quite a bit. I’ve always wondered what is this thing called God’s will. Now I’ve got a clue as to what it is, I also see that I’ve taken some steps that way, but I’ve been slack in the discipline it takes to find these things out–which is really like…which is really wrong, which really works, which really doesn’t. I look forward to doing that again.
MICHAEL: Yes, My son, like all disciplines it seems rather constricting at first. Then you make the ironic discovery that this is actually the way to true liberation. (Yes) The more you can bring your own will in accord with God’s will, which is just another name for Reality, the more success and happiness you will find.
There is a delight in discovering a constant refinement of abilities. You are most familiar with this in terms of craftsmanship, but it applies to all facets of your life–in your present life, and even more in your Morontia/soulful phases to come. For this refinement is also infinite. Is there anything more you wish to know or say? Student: Yes. I look forward to the discovery of more refinement. I hadn’t looked at it that way, but that is actually what it is. Thank You very much, Father.
(You don’t automatically know God’s will)
MICHAEL: You are very welcome, My son. These are all those little ways you find of teaching yourself what you need to know. This is the adventure. You don’t automatically know what God’s will, what Reality is. But you’ve been given a way to find out. (Yes) So be in My peace.
Student: Yes, Michael. I first want to thank You, and Mother, and the other teachers I have listened to and put into action their teachings over the past four years. It has enriched my life tremendously. I can’t fathom where I would be if I hadn’t made that initial phone call to Donna. (Ed: Donna D’Ingillo—Center For Christ Consciousness–Marin’s initial T/R) I also appreciate the people who have come here, and those I meet with on Saturday in the city: they’ve enriched me as well. What keeps me going is coming to these experiences on Monday, and all the others I’ve participated in.
When I spoke privately to Mother last Saturday, about what I want to do with my life, I’m at a loss because I don’t have any specific idea. It’s all kind of general and nebulous. Some of it is ego-driven, with a strong error of romance involved, so I don’t want to deceive myself. I sense that’s what holds me back. All I can do is be in the moment, to the best of my abilities. I do have inklings, but I don’t…I just…do not know.
Trying to find something that is uniquely mine to give is quite a challenge at this time. I know it’s in there… But how to find it in the days and weeks to come…
MICHAEL: Yes, My son, I too can feel the progress you’ve made these last few years, mainly because contact with spirit has been a matter of real experience for you. It is one way you’ve been able to ground yourself: because these meetings are real events. The people you have met have become your soul-mates on this spiritual path. You are finding out too that experience such as this cannot, by its very essence, be anticipated.
As an aside, this is the essence of transmitting, of stepping off and not knowing what is coming next, but just trusting in the process. (Ed: This was said by Michael, not me—JL)
(The inside and outside of human experience)
So you too, My son, need to break down these desires you have and realize that these various things you are interested in are somewhat opaque from the outside, because they are human experience. You have to step off and get into them to know what they are on the inside. You can only anticipate so much. This calls for the need for real experimentation, actually trying small, discrete activities in order to know what they really are.
You are beginning to recognize this, for I can say the word “experiment,” but it too has little meaning until you have actually done one. So many folks wonder what would happen if they gave up certain habits—is this habit really addictive?—but there is no way shy of actually giving something up to know this.
This understanding also helps you respect you cannot see fully into what other folks are doing—from the outside. You are not only infinite and bottomless to each other for the limitations of your perceptions—the fact you are not mind-readers—you are also somewhat opaque to each other in experience. A thorough understanding of this helps curb your tendency to judge others.
So consider this, My son: the inside and the outside of experience. Sometimes you just have to step off to see what happens.
Student: Two words came to mind as You were speaking. One is connection, connecting to the other people who I am gathering with—the idea of exchanging ideas, exchanging experiences, as we share a common experience of being together. I find this thrilling and magical, and that is so important to me considering how solitary I live. My intention is to nurture my connection to God—the Source of everything, and to experience that 24/7. I know that’s quite a challenge, and takes a lot of effort, but my intention is connection.
Then the idea of freedom: this is the essence of my desire; the freedom to do what…I desire to do. If I desire to travel, then I have the freedom to do so. If I desire to not work, then I have the freedom to do so—without any negative results.
MICHAEL: Well, I’m sure you will enjoy reading and rereading tonight’s lesson then, for this was the object, the focus—on how you implement and actually use that freedom.
Student: It’s so amazing, the synchronicity of what I’m experiencing in my life, and this dialogue we’re having, and the dialogue I had on Saturday with Mother. It’s like all these are the same theme. Like what I’m experiencing, You’ve expressed. It’s been remarkable all these four or five years, since I’ve been coming to the Teaching Mission. MICHAEL: This is what We refer to as spiritual unity, which can be found in a multiplicity of expressions of it. But it is only available to you when you give up the need for uniformity of expression. This is what you are discovering.
Student: I do feel… I do feel! (laughs) I do feel a pull toward greater expansion and awareness… I do feel a shift.
MICHAEL: This too is a reward of your faith—these years.
(Self-doubt vs. self-questioning)
A certain amount of self-doubt… Correction: I should say self-questioning, not self-doubt, for that is mostly an unconscious kind of pall that hangs over you. A certain amount of conscious self-questioning is very healthy. It keeps you out of realms of ego-driven, self-congratulatory hubris. But it should lead you; it should have good results. You should find the answers to these questions. It should be a refinement, a transformation taking place so you know you are not getting stuck going around and around in some kind of rut. It should help you bring these general desires down to earth, My son.
This I feel you are striving to do. You call it being more here-and-now: thinking of those nice things—travel, and finding some other kind of work—yet realizing you have a loyalty to what you find at hand, be it the little weed or flower in front of you, right now. In your effort to feel God 24/7, be careful not to make the mistake of putting another head on top of your own. To the degree you try to see God in the flower, you can miss the flower itself, which in a more direct way is God—God’s creation.
Student: Right! I do find myself getting too caught up in concepts, and, like You say, missing the flower: too caught up in my head. It takes a while to appreciate it. So I do understand what You mean by that.
One final thing: Mother mentioned to me, Don’t tempt God. But is there a fine line between faith and tempting God? Do You know what I’m saying? Like for example, let’s say I’m really tired of the work I’m doing and don’t want to do it any more. So I just say, OK God, I’m quitting this: take care of me. But there is a belief I will be taken care of.
(Faith vs. tempting God)
MICHAEL: Yes, My son, another example of tempting God would be to pass a car on a blind curve and say, OK, God, save me. I use this example for it shows the difference between faith, and tempting God to save you—from yourself: save you from your own irresponsibility. So I say that fine line is one where, on one side, faith is the willingness to accept the full responsibility for your decisions. In other words, you do all you can with the fullest respect for your own life, as well as for any others affected. I think this is a good enough rule of thumb, don’t you?
Student: Yes. Is this the same as when Jesus asked the Apostles to give up what they were doing to follow Him? They had to let go of a lot, right then and there—to follow Him.
MICHAEL: Yes, this was real faith—true, based upon their own perception of who I was then–but, as you know, I met many who could not recognize who and what I was. For My Apostles and disciples, this was very much an exercise of faith because they were striving to be more responsible with their lives.
Student: I think that is the key right there—to be more responsible for my own life. And have faith in its upward, expansive abilities.
MICHAEL: There are those who see it as a matter of their faith to trust in God for their livelihood, but this only works when they are willing to accept that God is also within them. The closest two helping hands are on the ends of their own arms. It does not work if you set God totally apart from yourself as some kind of paternalistic Being who is going to indulge you as His immature child.
Rather it is part of His wisdom that these folks will find a great disappointment, so that their souls might learn.
Student: I just thought it was important to explore the distinction between faith and tempting God (Indeed!) Thank You. (starts laughing) This is great!
MICHAEL: This is how you feel your way along, sometimes through the densest darkness of not knowing–still!—that very thing can be approaching a greater truth, especially if you have been burning the candle of your life at both ends, selling your body and your mind and your spirit short for some little illusion of vainglory.
But to struggle to grow, to extend yourself with faith, praying for God’s help and acknowledging that He will be a large part of any success you find, still all the while being willing to accept the full responsibility for what happens—this, My children, is courage. This is the right way to go, the better method, the best life you can live. This potential is inherent in your human reality, so I invite you to sincerely join the hunt for it. I will say it again: you do not automatically know God’s will, but it helps in terms of your modern philosophy to equate it with Reality itself, and to credit the search as an adventure without parallel.
Enjoy it well. It will lead you to My peace. Good evening.