• 1 Heading
o 1.1 Topic: Stillness Meditation
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: Stillness Meditation
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, Dear spiritual parents, dear close friends and companions of all of our days on earth: welcome. We gather together in this sacred space. We come together to meet you, and discover to our delight you’ve already come so far to meet and befriend us. We truly appreciate this. Thank you for helping us understand the transcendent nature of our human lives–so difficult to grasp from the inside-out. You give us the subjective feeling to help us understand the objectively stated truths of our text, the Urantia book, for it was surely put together under your auspices. And for this too we give thanks. So say on, dear parents. Abiding in your love and peace, we are here to listen. Amen.
MICHAEL: Good evening, my dear children, this is Michael. Tonight I would like to go deeper into what Mother Spirit and I have mentioned before, and that is the nature of the meditation we invite you to bring into your lives. When the Urantia book was conceived and then put together by many different spiritual personalities coming from far away to co-author the book, we were aware you had so many traditions of different kinds of meditations, we didn’t think it necessary to more than briefly allude to them. Yet recently we’ve decided to make this a principle point in our lessons, not so much to add one more kind of meditation to those you’ve evolved over the years, but to point out the reflective essence of all of them.
MICHAEL: This is a way of introducing stillness–to some, at first, a foreign-seeming activity which has often been expressed as a paradox or a self-contradiction, stillness being a not-doing as contrasted to your usual activities. We choose to avoid this contradiction and call it an activity, a definite doing, especially in your very time-regulated modern lives where you literally take your manufactured time as some kind of natural law, as if Mother Nature were wearing a wrist watch. You can become enslaved to this kind of time and so we remind you that, in addition to this mechanical time, there is also organic time. Mother Nature has a beating heart, not a wrist watch. It was upon her rhythmic cycles that you first conceived the notion of measuring this moving dimension, this dimension of motion. One of the gifts of meditating is taking her time out of clock time to feel your organic reality.
If it helps you to meditate, my children, consider it a paying of profound respect for the psychical dimension of your lives you often overlook–or even consider with disdain, as if you were pure spiritual beings already and having a body was such a drag on your lofty thoughts. Rather, with being distinctly aware of your organic reality by contrast, you can grow in appreciation of being already a personality, a changeless, timeless being directly created by God, capable of being very distinct from the real, divinely evolved and living body you possess.
It is upon breaking the unconscious identification with your body that you can have an appreciation of it as a possession, perhaps–hopefully, something to respect and take care of. It is your body and its senses–millisecond by millisecond–that give you the instantaneous awareness of not only itself, but the whole world it puts you in contact with. So as you meditate and feel your breathing, feel your heart beating, you can return again and again to this part of your home base–this marvelous vehicle you were given free to take care of and enjoy.
Some consider with bitter, deep irony the pain they feel, because without this information, most of the few, rare individuals ever born without any pain receptors generally lived very short, terrible lives. It pays to respect and understand pain this way as a source of information that is intrinsically difficult to ignore. Remember well your childhood accidents and realize what a necessary gift pain is to put you in the correct, respectful attitude towards your body. Think of your modern medical society that constantly offers pain relievers, a godsend to some, but which, if misused, can be a way of suppressing symptoms so you can go on doing the very thing that is harming you. There is also a thin but very critical line between understanding pain and accepting the information it is giving you, and being masochistic, crossing the line and thinking that somehow pain is to be sought. An extreme form of this is asceticism, the mistaken notion there is spiritual glory or reward in pain itself.
Transcendence (Transcending your body/mind by keeping in touch with them)
One mental activity we give you to start your meditation and realize a deeper stillness is the technique of counting your breaths from one to ten as a kind of handle on the physical, a way of staying with your body as your mind tends to wander off and leave it, unaware, as may be your normal habit. To remain continuously aware of your body while being still is quite a challenge. So start with ten minutes or so. It’s a further challenge to watch your breath so closely without affecting it, but something to experience–you body breathing by itself. You’re learning to observe the ineffable power and presence of life–your very own–without disturbing it.
This brings us to the question of mind and what you experience of it in your meditation. Just as you slowly acquire an ability to break the unwitting identification with your body so you can bring it into conscious consideration and health, so too you can evolve an ability to stop associating directly with your habitual thought patterns. This is your personality’s power to observe even the thoughts that come and go in your mind. Some call this the practice of detachment, and it is generally difficult for the beginner whose mind is swarming with all kinds of thoughts and impulses. It’s why even a few minutes of meditation can at first seem like an eternity because they are so immediately filled with such a blizzard of thought unanchored to any physical activity.
As soon as you sit down to be still and you break the connection of thought with some physical activity, suddenly your thoughts, deprived of this physical anchor, can go wild. Since your inner perception of time is, at first, so directly related to your thinking, you can feel that long minutes have passed; your whole twenty minute meditation is finally over. Then you check your watch and find it’s only been five minutes and the remaining fifteen seem like some agonizing eternity to endure. So yes, Mother Spirit and I do know well, my children, what you go through in your first attempts to be mentally still and deep.
Many simply try to hold their minds a blank. They concentrate on thinking of nothing, but this is only another kind of busywork that doesn’t work for long. You need to arrive at the very subtle ability of letting your mind become still of itself, and this you do by, again, like your breath, just observing without disturbing. Each thought or impulse or emotion is observed without acting on it, especially with no inner judgment. Let them happen. Then let them go: whatever they are. You begin to identify more and more with pure awareness, and this attitude, my children, is something you organically grow.
This attitude of detachment towards thoughts that you normally think of as yourself?–this is where you begin to break down those limiting identifications with all you have been so far, in order to become more present and creative. You begin to see your normal, conscious ego/activity as an evolving way you continue to be self-aware of who you are and have been: you as an object to yourself. It’s a great mode of consciousness you evolve as an inner tool–this sense of yourself, yet too its particular conditioning is a product of the culture and family in which you were raised. People in different cultures and home life do have different forms of ego–ways they were taught to consider themselves and other human beings.
Along with this increasing awareness, and as a function of it, something begins to emerge simply called the present moment. This is your true spiritual home base. Only upon personally experiencing its freedom can you understood then, ironically, it is the reality in which all that past you felt yourself to be–that you defended so strongly, and all those future plans you really need to make provision for, are not destroyed if you relax their grip in this emerging now.
This is a fearful thing–this letting go of the seeming certainty of who you’ve always felt yourself to be, and all the notions of who you want to become–to experience who and what you are, as there is no top or bottom to this. It takes great courage and you can only do so a little bit at a time. We once compared this ability to feel an ever more creative and decisive presence of oneself to picking up a musical instrument. It takes a lot of determination and courage, and, in the case of meditation, real faith to keep contributing to this strange activity you’ve brought into your life.
This is why, at first, stillness meditation can be experienced as such an intense not-doing. In this sense, my dear children, you are definitely paying your dues and earning a kind of freedom. This is also why so many of your religious traditions include thanking all those who came before and passed on this strange activity. Being still highly consciously–just feeling yourself living–paying respect to this ultimate gift of God’s just as it is in its pure state: and so you sit and fidget and wonder: am I enlightened yet? What time is it? How long has it been since I felt my last breath? What are these enormous looping circles I’m going on in my mind? Who am I? Is this really necessary?
The human mind has been likened to a wild horse that takes a great deal taming, yet that taming can only be done with love, and consideration, and respect, with hope and faith in achieving something beyond thought that cannot be grasped, let alone perfectly articulated. But it can be experienced. And meditation not only adds these moments of reflection to your soul, this living presence can actually be a doorway to your soul. Here in this ever expanding consciousness of just being alive, you can relive moments in your soul because you are not grasping them as with a particular memory. You’ve all known these wonderful moments of realization, of enlightenment, that seem all so brief as soon as you try to capture them. It seems a miracle how complete and moving they can be, and you have to find a way of letting them be. This is how you can know in deep reverie that your soul is there, and it is a spiritual creation, far, far beyond your ability to imagine or remember on your own.
Soul (Contacting your soul)
Here in your deep stillness these spiritual transcripts of moments of your life come to you as a sure touch of timelessness just in the way they feel. So while in one way stillness is like other activities, say some beloved hobby, as an exercise of your willpower, something you are choosing to create that has its own continuity in your life day to day, it’s contra-distinct from habits which are characterized as intrinsically unconscious repetitions. Rather, it’s the means to break out of habitual, knee-jerk, unthinking and unreflective ways of doing things. It’s the expansion of a living consciousness of now, the eternal now that is your true home. It’s getting in touch with the creative spirit that’s also your possession. It becomes an opportunity to create in highest consciousness that which is not so strictly bound by the past.
This is where you rediscover yourself anew. This is also where you have some choice, some say in re-inventing yourself, for it takes all that willpower, first to start, and then to continue doing this strange thing. Ultimately, my children, this is nothing Mother Spirit nor I, nor anybody else, can prove to you insofar as these are moments of self-discovery. We can only tease you into giving it a try. The experiences will be unique for each one of you and, as we’ve mentioned before, there will be a large quotient of what you experience in stillness that will remain effable beyond your ability to grasp, or even share with others; but nonetheless real.
This ineffable reality is what you share with God, and is your truest link to Him and His presence within you. This is the way, the means by which you establish a relationship with the Mystery Monitor within you. Here in this swelling, burgeoning sense of now you become ever more still and clear of all your concerns coming out of the past, all your worries about the future. It is within this growing clarity you can distinguish His ever-present gift of discrete ideas and ideals. Again: I cannot anticipate what this will be for each one of you for that is truly between you and our Father, for here you find yourself more truly.
Once you have begun to experience this ever so subtle but ever increasing certainty of your real actuality, you’ll find that it is truly tenacious indeed. This detachment of constant letting go of oneself, this self-forgetfulness that is one and the same with open-mindedness, begins to stick with you more and more through the day. Your soul begins to pop up all by itself, sometimes as an ironic reflection on what you’re doing.
So be not afraid of this, my children, even though it will challenge and break through your habitual identification with this or that group, this or that set of values. Initially it seems to destroy the security of whom you have always thought yourself to be, but you will find that for every iota of yourself you forget, you will be rewarded ten-fold or even a hundred-fold with a real living world that has lain hidden to you before. For this is how you grow. It is how you break through all of your immature prejudices, how you see through all the screens of generalities and cultural conditioning, how you find the courage to open yourself to the yawning chasm of the future opening at you feet–your true human condition.
Security (Real security)
For this is your only real security. This is your spiritual self, possessing the pure awareness in which everything else takes place. All perception is a matter of contrast and it is only by breaking identification–the unconscious habituation with things–can you realize the degree to which they are, or aren’t, part of you. Realize that as you withdraw your seemingly necessary prejudices of who or what reality is supposed to be, you have the opportunity to discover more and more what it is in itself. You may make the amazing discovery that not only are no two persons identical, neither are any two things. This becomes the sure hallmark of God’s creativity, something that can be a constant marvel.
So I can only tease you to come on in: the water’s fine. This is Mother Spirit’s and my true nature. This realm of an eternal now is what we and all the spiritual community inhabit. Here is where you find us. Here is where you can truly experience the moment by moment completeness of your being. Welcome home. If you have any questions or comments this evening, this is also where they come from.
Student: Thank you, Father Michael, for the insights and encouragement on meditation and stillness. But I still don’t understand it. I don’t even know if it’s available for understanding, but I look forward to meeting you and Mother and my Father Fragment in meditation.
Experience (The inside and outside of experience)
MICHAEL: Yes, my son, again, rather ironically, you grasp the ungraspable essence of it: it is truly nothing you can understand from the outside. That is why tonight I wanted to pay my own due respect to what a strange, strange thing it is to so many who have yet to try it. As I said, this is why in some of your religious traditions folks give thanks that this activity has been passed down generation to generation.
In one way it is not so strange as it happens in brief moments all through your day. Any time you feel a little stumped and perplexed you have a little mini-meditation of stopping until a thought comes to you of what to do next. Meditation is just deliberately prolonging these moments. So when you sit down for the first time to meditate, we suggest you do it for a certain period of time. This way you don’t associate it incorrectly right off the bat with some specific result. It’s a little like this transmitting. It’s entering into a realm in which you cannot fully anticipate what’s going to happen next, and that’s its value. You’re just sitting down to open your mind as best as you can, and suspend your need to control what happens next. Generally, at first, it’s quite busy in there; or should I say–in here.
Deep stillness only comes gradually, but it can become a new continuity, a strong link in your life, a way of achieving an experience of this eternal now that, shy of the experience of it, my son, is quite impossible to imagine. So yes, I have to say there is definitely an inside and outside to meditation. Like so many other things in life, it is its own particular kind of experience and there those who have known it and those who have not. It’s no fault you cannot yet fully grasp it. This is the requirement of faith–to try it and then persevere. Just ask yourself if you can see even the possibility of discovering yourself ever deeper and more real. As such it’s a precursor to the next stages of your life to come. It’s opening yourself to your Morontia being, this soulful combination of pure spirit and your own unique physical/mental life. It’s something you have to earn, just like your soul. So give it a try.
Student: I’ll do that. I could see while you were speaking that a lot of the resistance I have to sitting down and doing all this is a fear losing control. I need to see what’s going to happen next, and that seems to be important, but not as important as it once was.
MICHAEL: I think, my son, you’re beginning to see how your need for control can be a great limitation.
Student: It is indeed.
MICHAEL: You need to experience how the realm of spirit is the realm of spontaneous creativity, and true creativity is exactly that which you cannot always anticipate. It’s that which does not necessarily follow on what came before it.
Student: Yes. Thank you, Father Michael.
MICHAEL: You are welcome, my son. I don’t mean to push you into a corner here–(Michael and student chuckle)–for that doesn’t work either.
Student: I don’t feel as though I’m in a corner.
MICHAEL: Good. It’s just something you have to choose to do and stick with for a while to give it a real chance. Sometimes it helps to meditate in a group, for this is one true spiritual activity of churches or religious groups.
Student: Well, I’m in a twelve-step program that suggests a half hour stillness each day. So this is perfect.
MICHAEL: I look forward to meeting you there. I hope you find just a little bit more of my peace.
Student: Yes, I look forward to meeting you there also. Thanks a lot.
Student: Yes, Michael, a thought just came to me as you were talking about if I gave up uncertainty. The reason why there is anxiety about uncertainty is because we’re caught in terms of duality, in that something bad is going to happen if I make a wrong decision, or don’t do anything out of fear. But it’s like what you said about stillness. It’s just letting go, letting go of controlling the outcome, and meditating without trying to grasp anything to make something happen, or try to get a certain attitude.
When we do that the dread that comes with uncertainty kind-of dissipates. We allow ourselves to drop anticipating, proclaiming, in a sense, that in fact we are opening up to what is beneficial for us. As I tell my daughter and other people, life is always for you, never against you. But it takes a leap of faith to allow ourselves to drop anxiously anticipating, knowing that we are being taken care of in a wholly positive way beyond duality.
The reason why there’s anxiety or uncertainty is because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next moment. There’s the interplay between good and evil–that kind of thing, but if I allow myself to rest and be still in this moment of uncertainty, then I’m open to what is more beneficial for my soul’s growth. So this is something that just came to me as you were speaking.
MICHAEL: Very much so, my son. As you are more and more able to tune into God’s will for you, you are simultaneously tuning into His creativity. His will is the expression of His creativity, and literality is what is most beneficial for you from His greater vision. Yet you can only manifest this in your life by being more creative yourself, like stepping out of the repetitive and unthinking patterns you habitually live in. So it’s not that the concern about bad things happening to you is unreal. You are surrounded by a thousand and one examples of bad things really happening to people. You just need to take a deep break from concern to feel your truly invulnerable self.
Manifestation (Manifesting God’s will for you)
This is potentially in store for you. You very righteously have to make provision for the future. You have to consider things with your God-given potential insight leading to foresight so you’re not always behind the curve and just re-acting to things too late. You have to consider all this. But you also need to take a break and return to your home base of true spiritual security that does, admittedly, transcend this life with all the pain and bad things it contains for so many. If you will, the struggle between good and evil is real moment to moment; you really have to deal decisively with it. But to be able to take a break from it and rise above it to get in touch with your own creativity is also the best way to deal with it. Sometimes this is expressed as the power-potential within this everlasting now that you can feel more and more.
This is the home base of your particular self, this unique awareness that you are. You can have a great sense of this, and with this security you then go out into the world and are able to manifest a generosity of spirit, an acceptance and forgiveness, starting with yourself before being able to be this for others. What a marvelous gift to give yourself and them. What a great creative sharing that is the essence of God’s beneficence towards you both, that you do indeed earn. In that sense it is definitely a doing, an activity, though it may be a highly conscious suspension of all else.
Student: So when one experiences stillness it’s kind-of like the ultimate in humility because you are setting yourself aside to be open to God.
MICHAEL: Very much so, my son. Humility is that feeling you get when you are faced with something enormous.
Student: Then when you face something enormous, you are just seeing yourself, and the idea of generosity is that it’s not contrived, it’s organic. There’s a difference. It’s not even thought about–it just is. So, I just notice the difference with that.
MICHAEL: It is true, my son, you can have a sense of the enormity of your own soul in this state. But what I think of as humility is being aware of the enormity of all that is not you. This can be very scary at first if you don’t have a parallel feeling that it’s not intrinsically inimical, that life itself–as you say–is definitely for you. I used the example one time of being on a beach looking out at the ocean with a sense of awe of all that out there. It’s the enormity of God’s creation that is not you. At that moment you can feel humiliated by being just a tiny little speck, or you can feel a grateful humility that you are able to perceive even a bit of how enormous it is. These are two distinct attitudes.
Student: It’s funny. I can relate to it when I sense and see the enormity of everything of this cosmos, and God. I can’t exactly see it but I can feel it; I can feel secure in that; I can feel at home in that. I can feel I’m being taking care of. I don’t see myself as just a little speck. I see myself as a part of all of this great matrix of inter-connected-ness. I don’t see myself as apart, but a part of all this. In that sense, I am that–because there is so much more that I can’t even perceive or comprehend. So I feel more at home in this understanding and this awareness.
MICHAEL: There, my son!–you’ve just gone beyond duality. (Michael laughs) You no longer feel apart from it all, and that is the glory of humility.
Student: Well!– thank you. There’s just so much in the moment, in the eternal now, that there’s no uncertainty here.
MICAHEL: Your Urantia book makes a distinction between certainty and security pretty much in a matter of levels, if you will. It speaks of marvelous uncertainty in the endless need to discover what is, the endless journey of adventure. Yet no matter how large this uncertainty grows, or how large grows your contact and appreciation of all the other, there is this inner spiritual security of knowing you are not apart from it. Beyond that is the ineffable awareness that you are!–and in this you participate, you feel one with the I AM, for you too can say this: I am!
Student: I am!
MICHAEL: And there you find my peace.
Student: Thank you.
Student: Good evening Michael. I just want to thank you for such a beautiful, loving explanation. I don’t have the words to describe it, and my feeling, except that I really, deeply appreciate everything that you’ve given us–coming here and living a life here on earth, and giving so deeply of yourself.
MICHAEL: Thank you, my daughter. It’s was glorious indeed, yet, in being human, not always at the same time. (Right) But without that suffering I could not truly have been one of you.
Student, with much emotion: Thank you.
(Forgetting yourself to rediscover yourself anew)
MICHAEL: So tonight, my daughter, I wanted to show you the door by which you too could enter and live your life as I lived mine. It is ironic that the detachment of meditation–which seems to the overly-impassioned soul a kind of death or giving up–is actually the key that gives you your life by way of a deeper awareness of it as a gift, as a possession. Once you no longer identify solely with your ego–who you’ve felt yourself to be up to this present now, life is an obviously transcendent reality of forgetting yourself to rediscover yourself anew, over and over again. So you are really both. To yourself you are your ego–who you feel yourself to be, yet too an ungraspable, uniquely personal awareness.
You also have a soul that you cannot yet even begin to encompass. But you will some day when you join with its co-author, an individualized fragment of God. Think what a glory it is you can know so much of this now–if you so choose, and are willing to pay the strange price of determined meditation. We thank our Father that He has such surprises in store for us–to tickle our souls with such gladness. And I thank you, my daughter. I thank you that we can share what is so far beyond these words. Thank you for feeling and sharing my peace with me, and with all of us here.
MICHAEL: My children: we carry these moments with us out into the world–however threatening, however inimitable it can really be. That too was part of my experience here–to accept the crucifixion looming before me, trusting that: I am!–and I will survive! I’ll even go on to know my Father face to face some day. So it was with me, and so it can be for you. You have my word on this. Truly: be in my peace. Good evening.