2011-10-03-Opening Your Mind 1
• 1 Heading
o 1.1 Topic: Opening Your Mind
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
3.2.2 Spacetime, Experience
o 3.3 Dialogue
o 3.4 Closing
Topic: Opening Your Mind
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, once again we are able to say our favorite word: welcome! And on a cold and dreary night, our first rain of the season here in Marin County, we especially welcome the warmth of your love and the positive attitude you bring with you. And so we try as best we can to be one with you in this: to feel the warmth of our bodies–these living beings that we are; and to maintain that creative spirit, that positive attitude that can take in everything, everything we encounter; and seek, and hopefully find, the single thread of unifying spirit with everything and everyone we encounter.
It’s not always easy for, as you have cautioned us, as we become more and more aware of each other through our modern technology, as the whole world is being brought together closer and closer, a natural process of polarization takes place between all these different points-of-view as more people are more able to articulate the way they see things. So it’s ever more necessary for us to be open-minded and just entertain everything–the widest variety of points-of-view that we can welcome. It means opening our hearts to feel, and that’s a challenge by the very nature of this unknowable adventure we’re caught up in. We can’t see the end from the beginning. All we can do is generate as many beginnings as we can, with as many of these polarized points-of-view as we can, and just trust in ourselves. Trust that there is our own spirit, seeking for true unity that has no need for either uniformity or exterior polarity, but, unafraid, takes everything in–trusting that we ourselves have this hunger for truth and the all-encompassing nature of spirit. So, if you would: help us welcome this stretch and all the uncertainties that come with it. Amen.
MICHAEL: Good evening, this is Michael. Mother Spirit and I definitely second your prayer this evening. This is what we have been encouraging right from the beginning of this series of lessons. So let’s pause a moment and think about what is means to be open-minded, what it means to open your understanding, because this does involve a challenge. (long pause)
Opening your mind and understanding
Think of the understanding you have, that you personally have evolved over all the years of your life, of all the family and friends, and then through your mass media, all the thousands of others that you have come in some small contact with. Everybody, whether it’s conscious or not, everybody has their own philosophy-of-life, their own grasp for the truth as it has appeared and then been understood by them. In this Mother Spirit is truly helping you. She’s part of that internal encouragement you feel, that things are understandable, that things can make sense if you just rise above prejudice and various forms of mental laziness, and open your mind. Open your understanding to those very things that challenge what you know–what you in your own limited lifetime have come in contact with. Now you and the advanced cultures of the world do have the world at your feet. You’re all truly blessed to be able to turn on your television, or tune in to the internet, and bring in literally hundreds of points of view from all the cultures and all the peoples of the world. All this is available now as never before, and it’s growing by leaps and bounds.
Here is where faith in yourself comes in. Trust that there is in you that which can take in a veritable flood of information. This, my children, this is your creative spirit. This is the dimension of personality–the complete person-hood that you are–that is our Father’s greatest gift–in sharing with you. What a mysterious thing this creativity, this ability-to-create is. What a joy, what an assurance to feel this in yourself to, should I say, take in a dozen different contentious, contending points of view.
You begin to see and to understand–as you say—“where they are coming from”–what constituency, what group of people their point of view represents. You begin to ascertain their common humanity, the spiritual dimension they share as a particular group of people. You may ascertain a spiritual dimension that they share even in spite of themselves. You become capable of resolving these conflicts and arriving at a point of view for you yourself that is inclusive. This is the stretch. This is the expansion called for. This is welcoming the challenge to all you understand, all that you’ve known, all that you’ve struggled so mightily to incorporate.
To lay all that on the line and open your mind for more–even that which challenges you or threatens you–all that you have come to understand: to constantly reach for that bigger picture; to really believe deep inside yourself that the word “spirit” above all means all-inclusive. For that is our Father. That is God’s very nature. In theology you call it omniscience–all-knowing, including every personal being on his own private circuit, if you will, experiencing what all personal beings are experiencing. And you have this experience within you. You are capable of this, capable of expanding your ability in this. It’s what you call maturity. It’s what you call being experienced, even glorying in this dimension of yours that we call an experiential being, a being of experience. It’s your prime purpose, justification, and glory out here in time and space, being the complex physical and mental, spiritual and social beings that you are.
Experiential being in time and space
And as you open, open your minds to entertain something new, you open your hearts unafraid to feel something new, even if that new thing you feel is a kind of cold awareness that you have shut off your feeling now for awhile. To feel the need to feel more; this takes courage, takes a deeper understanding. As an experiential being, my children, this is your purpose, and when in many number of ways you try to cease to experience, this is a kind of death-right-in-life, a premature dying, a shutting off of the potential you have as a spiritual being to break out of habit, break out of routine, break out of what you already know and embrace and welcome with a joyous heart a real sense of adventure.
The fact is that you are a time-and-space limited being, but only with respect to your life so far. You were born on a certain date; you grew up with a certain family and neighborhood. You have only so many hours and minutes of experience under your belt, in your mind, and in your soul. But you are standing at a mouth of a funnel that opens up into the future in every dimension; and here it comes. Time is inexorable. Life itself is inexorable. Here it comes. You’re a living being, and everything but your personality is in motion.
So all that you are, all that you have become, all you have experienced requires a constant letting go, a constant not-clinging, and not, as you say, coming out of the past, not backing up through life trying to use a rear view mirror of all that you’ve known. But to turn around and face toward the future with all its uncertainty? To feel within yourself all the thousand and one things that divide people; to understand all these contentious points of view because you yourself have embraced them? How can you expect anyone else to do this–all these warring parties–if you cannot do it?
It’s the human dimension that Mother Spirit and I are constantly pointing at. Certainly there are enormous planetary upheavals happening from time to time, yet even these, when embraced with love, and respect, and sharing, and help; even these natural catastrophes, when taken this way, can make such a difference to one being taken with a purely self-centered, dog-eat-dog, devil-take-the-hindmost kind of attitude that merely compounds the natural catastrophe that did unfold. This is your constant choice for the problems of the world are human. As you embrace these and wrestle with these in yourself with deep faith, deep faith in spirit, you yourself become the example and the possibility for love, for greater understanding, for peace. Peace has no other reality than in you all. This world of yours and ours is no other than the sum total of all these individuals.
So be of good cheer, my dear ones. Embrace the adventure for all of its uncertainty, for all its scary qualities, trusting in your Creator who created not only this overall situation, but created it for you. Trust in your Father. Trust in yourselves that were made in his image. Now if you have any questions or comments, we do enjoy those as well.
Student: If there were a planetary crisis I think most of us humans, and myself too, would possibly take from my neighbors what I needed to survive regardless of their well-being. I would like to move from this low level of consciousness, to open my mind, to be closer to God, even though I can appreciate who I am now.
In times of crisis
MICHAEL: My son, that very desire is like an arrow pointing the way that leads to a spiritual evaluation of what you are doing. And this very detachment, in a way, in wanting to bring into consciousness all that you are–which includes this enormous potential I mentioned, this eternal life stretching out before you; part of the scary nature of this is your own freedom. It’s the ability you have within your situation to, shall we say, bring in more people to share life with.
In crisis situations, time and time again all throughout the hundreds of thousands of years of human life on Urantia, the ability to cooperate has always proven to be the greatest means of survival, both of the individual and their group. It’s the ability to share–share different viewpoints of a situation, hear all the different ideas that come up as how to survive, sometimes just for the next few hours. Think of some of your recent natural disasters and how those people who were able to immediately join with their neighbors and pool not only their power but pool their understanding, pool their comprehension with a selflessness that allows the group to recognize the best idea of maybe a dozen tossed out. It’s the selflessness of everyone immediately following the best idea regardless of who it came from. All through human history this is how leaders have arisen, sometimes very specific to a situation that, as soon as that situation passed, their leadership passed and another leader arose for another situation.
But beyond the self-centeredness of saying, “Well, I’ll accept then that my best chance of survival is to be open and sharing with my neighbors,” beyond this is spirit. Beyond this is a deep love that will choose sharing itself just for the joy of contact, far, far transcending any practical immediate purpose. This goes to the extremes of sacrificing one’s self for the group. This too has been something–this absolutely shining spiritual glory of someone in full consciousness of the cost–to give their life, or their body, or in another case even their mind, their understanding, give it over to this greater thing. This is a very real experience at that moment. This is a transcendence of the small self in the full recognition, the full awareness, the full feeling of the greater unity.
So continue on, my son. I would suggest even more and deeper meditation, and even greater feeling of yourself in your actuality, even to the degree that you can then joyfully, blissfully just let yourself go. Forget yourself. Really open your ears to listen; open your heart to feel another’s. And then wonder if in a crisis you would turn into the tyrant or the thief.
They’re both there–both the realization that you’re survival is greatest with cooperation, and even above that: in that trying moment the ability to see other folks as no other than yourself: to really see, perhaps, how they are looking to you in that terrible moment to lead the way: to be that generous, unselfish spirit that might just save you all. So: I can only ask you to consider this greater part you might play.
Student: Thank you.
MICHAEL: You’re welcome, my son. I salute your honesty. Be in my peace.
Student: You hear about potential everywhere, in every teaching, and I would like to know how I reach my potential–to open up, to be a role model for others who might be polarized one way or another. How can I open myself? How can I be more like God would like me to be?
Potential—the ability to grow
MICHAEL: Well, my son, think about this word “seeking”–of being where you are with a good sense of “I am!” I absolutely am. Here I am, part of the Deity Absolute in the sense I have what is called a creative ability that has not yet been expressed. I know I have it because I’ve gotten to this point. I’ve learned what I’ve learned. I’ve understood what I’ve understood, starting from a little, bloody, bawling bundle of life coming from my mother. And so I know that I have fulfilled, expressed, understood, and enjoyed a growth of ability: and that very ability is what is meant by potential.
Potential is real. It’s not some figment of imagination a lot of people are trying to sell you in their seven week course. They’re pointing at something that has a reality but is not yet realized or experienced. And so you can meditate on this: how did you get to here?
Well, obviously a lot of reality was just forced upon you in those things over which you had no choice whatsoever, starting with your parents and your immediate family, and your immediate neighborhood. Think of all the accidents and misfortunes large and small, all the great glories and wonders in all the things that you have experienced. This very growth is an ability of yours.
In addition to that which was, in a sense, just given to you, or even forced upon you, you had this inner urge, this wonderful, wonderful quality of curiosity that Mother Spirit augments so deeply. Curiosity sets you out looking, actively seeking to fulfill hungers you may not even be aware of until, all of a sudden, there’s a new possibility you suddenly find, or see, or are aware of. Something clicks and it’s instantly recognizable for the very first time. These you feel as little surges of understanding, of fulfilling a potential that was driving you along to this good effect.
Also as you increase your abilities, as your soul expands with more and more that you’re able to do and understand and learn; as these very real abilities–the soul wealth of yours—expands, so does your potential. Simply: the more you are capable of doing, (Ed: in the present) the more you are capable of doing (Ed: in the future.) The more you have successfully done something, your potential expands with that very ability. So just think of potential as unlock-able ability, future expansion.
And how do you be open-minded? Well, you look for those very things that are opposite to where you are now. You entertain those contrary points of view, those other polarities. In your meditation be aware of those you identify with so very naturally; and consider their opposite. Are you simply tuning in to those channels on TV which only agree with you? Or are you seeking out those which challenge your viewpoint, your understanding? Do you seek to understand those cultures which seem inimical to all that you hold dear? Do you wonder why they are the way they are? What is their history? What is their background? All this, my son, you resolve inside yourself for your satisfaction, but also as a possible gift to others. For as I said earlier: if you cannot do this; if you cannot seek and embrace that which is almost opposite or antithetical to you; if you cannot do this, it leads you into a kind of pessimism or despair of: has anybody else been able to do this? This is one way in which fundamentalists see only other fundamentalists. But for those individuals who are able to rise to that higher point of view that incorporates the contention, that very possibility gives them hope that someone else, and then maybe even whole societies, in time, can do this too.
So it’s always back in your lap. That’s the nature of it. That is the way, as you say, you open your mind.
Student: I feel I have been blessed by my life to have traveled and lived among different cultures, which I enjoyed. For the past weeks I’ve been letting go of many teachings and just allowing myself to glean what I can from them. Now I just want to see some truth in the world. There is some anxiety because of what’s going on, the different perceptions. Where is the true reality that will crack open these points of view?
Truth and validity
MICHAEL: Well, my son, again you are just wonderfully expressing the fact that you are looking for it outside, and yes, all you see outside are all these individuals with all their separate points of view and things. That is the reality. Every one of them is real. Every one of them is a human being trying his or her best to express their life. The truth is all of these, as it is in you: every one of them is their own little truth, their individual truth.
But if you’re looking for the Truth of them all, of everything you’ve encountered and taken in; your own deeper need is to say, Yes!—I have been given all these teachings on how to organize all that experience. It’s time for you to come up your own system, and you’ve done this in your writings. It’s time for you to know what your truth is. It’s the resolution, if you will, the common humanity in all of those different points of view. What is the single spirit?
And this is a hard work because the pitfall is one of simple-mindedness. But true simplicity–finding the one thread tying everything together, is what you have to do within yourself. You have to get an inner feeling for this and then, if you will, articulate it. Bring your philosophy to life with the very humble realization that, to another person, you are just another point of view. And so you give up any kind of…and this is hard…you give up any kind of notion that Truth–with a capital T–is just settling for validity. It is actually rising to validity—seeing what is valid within each unique context. This is an all-embracing openness to all of the different points of view.
Student: But that’s why we have so much conflict in the world, when we all are really One–the Oneness that we all are–the singularity. I just don’t get all the conflicts.
MICHAEL: My son, if you can see that, if you really know that: what’s the worry? If you yourself are in possession of this One over-all-arcing-thing that incorporates all them; then what’s the trouble? Let us be very, very careful of a kind of unconscious and unintended condescension of seeing “them” in overly simple terms. Yes, there is war, there is contention, but that is a hundred-thousand-fold overwhelmed with all the agreement, the sharing, the love, the sacrifice–even in the midst of war. One has to be very careful of how one sees other people because almost no human being is capable of absolute, perfect expression, even of their own deepest feelings and understandings. And so many times this does come out as a fairly incomprehensible polarity. But that’s not all of them. That’s perhaps just how they are expressing some political view, or social, or religious view. That’s not the whole person. So see the whole person and you will see the spirit that is tying them all together, without losing any of the distinction of their individuality.
Student: I’m just wondering if my fine education and my having traveled in many countries and having learned their histories; does this kind of experience work as an outlet for the filling of my potential? I value my experiences, even the dark ones what have initiated some of my thinking. So…
MICHAEL: Well: keep thinking. Keep reaching for that greater understanding. This is how… You asked the question, how do you open yourself? In your meditation you can ask of your Father: What am I in denial about? What is it I don’t want to understand, or admit to myself? That would be a very challenging theme, but you can do all of this without ever falling into despair of either the situation or these “others.”
Contention, so long as it is shy of physical violence, is good. Nothing is so deadly as a kind of dull habituation of politics, or society, or religion–in any kind of group. As long as the contention can be kept shy of physical violence or any kind of deliberate mental violence–threats and so forth; let it go. Welcome it. Do your best to not be a fundamentalist. Do your best to see and feel the humanity behind any point of view, and then you’ll be blessed indeed. You have all of that humanity in you. Yet–“fundamentally”–what we call real security is the deep spiritual security right in the midst of uncertainty. You’ll be playing your part then to help resolve all these contentions.
That’s what you have to offer, my son. It’s your own deeper understanding, shall we say your own refusal to be an ideologue with some ideology, and let some polarization capture you. So: keep seeking. Keep opening your heart to all these brothers and sisters. And keep feeling for my peace. That too is part of the potential you can find, then lose, and then find again.
So on that note let us close this evening. This is the great purpose and the fulfillment of just being alone with your Father, spending some time with God. You can realize how absolutely alone you are because you are a single, unique being. That, in one way, cuts you off from everyone because there is within you, in all your experience, that which is inexpressible and can never be fully shared.
But you can try. You can marvel at all your great artists of whatever medium, and their expressions.
Deeply alone with God
And then you can spend some time alone, deeply alone with God. And through that experience know the wonderful humility of the enormity of all that is not-you, a whole creation out there to go out and encounter. And finally, in this aloneness, in this uniqueness of being, you’ve looked into another pair of human eyes, and shared even that: shared that ultimate fact of each your uniqueness. You marvel at how much you’ve chanced to share of yourself. And in this too, you are most like our Father, for he too is a singular being, unique among all, yet sharing so much of himself with all of us. That’s the very mystery–and its resolution, moment by moment. It’s what makes time keep happening. Good evening, my dear ones. Be in my peace.