1996-07-25-What Is Character, Fruits of Spirit
• 1 Heading
o 1.1 Topic: What Is Character, Fruits of Spirit
o 1.2 Group: Pittsburgh TeaM
• 2 Facilitators
o 2.1 Teacher: Tomas
o 2.2 TR: Gerdean
• 3 Session
o 3.1 Opening
o 3.2 Lesson
o 3.3 Dialogue
3.3.2 Character, Growth
o 3.4 Closing
Topic: What Is Character, Fruits of Spirit
Group: Pittsburgh TeaM
TOMAS: Good evening, my friends. I am Tomas, your teacher, your guide and your companion in our association, in our aspiration to ascend to Higher levels of understanding and being. It gladdens me to return to our study of human character, and before we proceed into the work at hand, I would like to offer up a few words to our supernal teachers, those who abide over us and watch our journey in the spirit.
[Tomas’ Prayer]Divinity — healers, fathers and administrators — we are your subjects. It is to You that we approach for understanding of the vastness of the universe and our place therein. It is to You that we look for the comfort of knowing that the galaxies are all in place, that the balance of nature is harmonious, that justice and mercy are distributed in accordance with Your will. It is our supreme desire that Your will be done and that we can become cooperative, co-directors in this march of the ages toward perfection attainment.
You who have knowledge of our origin, You who see beyond the apparent to that which is hidden in each of us, You who see and know from whence we come, give us the guidance and nurturance which will bring us forward in our manifestation of divinity in our lives, in our work, in our presentation of You. In adoration of our Creator Michael who understands our yearnings, in His name we pray. Amen.
TOMAS: Character. In this evening’s discussion regarding character I would like to have it be understood that in the large I am addressing that aspect of character that is born in the lives of spirit-born and God-knowing individuals. It is, of course, true that character lives and functions in unconscious minds/ in minds unconscious of its immense potential. And so you may take exception to my words on behalf of those who have not yet attained knowledge of sonship/ daughtership of the living God, but recall my preface, that the study of character as it relates to you and to me will have to do with those of you who, in spirit consciousness, choose to do His will, and to carry His loving message into your arenas, not only outward into your society but into your immediate society, your relationships here with one another, with your other brothers and sisters in the Kingdom.
It has been said, regarding the fruits of the spirit, that if these characteristics, these fruits, are not growing on your tree, then your tree is worthless and is good only to be hewn down and cast into the fire. All of you who have grasped your relationship to divinity have, at your heart/ in your sap, the Life that is necessary to see to it that your tree grows to bear fruit. Oftentimes, it is not the entire tree that needs pruning, but only a branch or two, and it is in that context that any assignments will be given as to character, for the only character that you can negotiate is your own character. I smilingly say, then: it is not for you to saw off the branches of your neighbor.
I asked you last week to give some thought as to your understanding of character. I am not certain that the assignment was consciously embarked upon. I am eager, however, to engage you openly in ascertaining your understanding of character, your thoughts on character, perhaps your favorite character-istic. It is reiterated in the text, in the paper about the Apostles, that each or them had a favorite characteristic in the Master that they admired.
I am at leisure in approaching character. I had originally thought to take a more administrative approach and discuss the fruits of the spirit individually, as they are indicative of a fruit-bearing character, but I am willing to dally with you in a less formal fashion if you should be inclined to parlay with me. Let me ask you then your thoughts.
Hunnah: We frequently use that expression, “he is quite a character,” or “she is a real character.” It’s something that we make reference to here that’s more like a personality trait more than a quality of fiber. I think of character as being a virtue, someone who is dependable and makes good decisions and who is unselfish. That’s all I’ll say.
TOMAS: Thank you for your contribution. I believe you have broached on mota here, for true character is far more than cleverness, and cleverness is often the trait of one who is “a character,” and your society has found great delight in fools, and so the development of true character has often gone by the wayside in lieu of learning skills of wit and sorcery.
To assume the depth of character that is ideally sought entails such things as responsibility and service, yes. It is in this context that we look at character. How is it that you, that we, as spirit-born and God-knowing individuals can apply our character in service fields in order to feed the sheep who hunger for reality and righteousness? Leah?
Leah: Oh, you hear me! (Laughter) You hear me clicking here, huh? Uh, well, I’d like some editorial freedom here in relation to what I’m going to ask. Your question “how can we serve” struck me immediately since [paraphrased for simplicity] I’ve been giving a woman a lift, even often going out of my way to accommodate her, although she could take the bus and she could offer me a dollar now and then but she never has. She acts like it is my duty to take her when and where she wants to go. Recently she even reprimanded me for being late. Today I just didn’t return her call. It seems to me that there should be some expediency in wanting to serve, but I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. I feel guilty about not having guilt about not doing something about it, whereas before, I would have just done it.
Hunnah: What Tomas has to say, people can apply it in other directions. It’s not just that situation. You don’t want to be an enabler.
Leah: Right. I don’t want to be an enabler but to serve. I would like to serve, but if I understand what we’re talking about, character here is making a decision to serve and to not let the human stuff get in the way.
TOMAS: Let me respond.
Leah: Thank you.
TOMAS: We are discussing loving service.” It is a fruit of the spirit. Loving service. Let us break that down even more: Service. What is service? God is love and love is the desire to serve others. Service. Love. Loving service. A qualifier. Not as an obligation but in love. If indeed you are not feeling that your acts would be loving service, then you are correct to not follow through with something that is inharmonious to your innate understanding of loving service and your innate desire to be of loving service.
It is redundant what individuals present themselves to you for. What we are concerned about here is not those individuals or those instances. What we are discussing is Leah’s character and how is it that there is some facet of Leah that has historically opened herself to allow such an influx of neediness in the realm of transportation.
Perhaps it is because, Leah, you have established yourself in your own eyes as a woman of wheels, and perhaps, too, this has colored your approach to life and, therefore, has reflected a discoloration to these fellows who approach you in this area. It is not your responsibility to see to it that everyone gets where they need to go, and yet, in your approach to loving service, you have done what you knew how to do, and that is to drive and to move people around from place to place — with good intentions, with good motives — but your understanding of loving service has been expanded and is no longer restricted to transportation.
Indeed, your panorama of loving service has begun to see the usury that you allowed, and your newer decisions are allowing you to see that you are attaining a new level of character which is not as a driver but as a human being with needs and desires of your own. When individuals purport themselves as something, then others will respond to that which you have purported yourself to be, and this is a matter of your developing character, all of you, for as you learn and as you grow, as you experience life and realize that what was once valuable is now no longer serviceable, you may evolve your attitude and your behaviors accordingly. You still have loving service, but your loving service has broadened and your service capabilities now can include new and higher realms.
Do not berate yourself for being unavailable in certain facets. The adage that “when one door closes another door opens” can be applied here, for you are correct to aspire to new and greater doors and to enter them when they open to you. It is also a character development facet for others to find alternative methods, not the least of which is in direct prayer and supplication to the Father and his agencies for a new and better avenue of functioning. And so character grows within you.
Hunnah: Tomas, when you said character growth, it’s sort of like putting our house in order? It’s almost like character is an administrator within us who helps us clean out one thing after another. Also, as we speak, I want to say thank you. One of the reasons I came into this group, I think, was that I waned to learn more about how Jesus taught. It meant a great deal to me. And how you talked her, I felt that’s the way He would have approached her. He always spoke to them in an attitude of directing them toward their growth, and it’s very exciting to be able to witness it. Thank you.
TOMAS: Dear child, it is also very gratifying to be part of it, even as it involves our personal relationship as we, too, have had discussions of this sort and our relationship has bloomed and you have blossomed. It is highly complimentary that you should equate my teaching methods to the Master’s but I would like to expand that. I indeed have learned from the Master and you will also teach as you pass by. And so again, we help one another. Be not surprised, then, when you observe yourself in your own teaching fashion, in your own counseling methods, performing this same act of loving service.
It is an indication of character, that being that which is born in you as a daughter/a son of the living God, to hone those skills and to wend our way into those situations which will enable us individually to plant further seeds and to fertilize the soil for growth. It is in a being of well-balanced character that you can prevail with men and women in your society and not forsake/ abandon/ sacrifice your spirit nature, your spirit character.
Part of our effort here will be in allowing you to accept within you the high character that you have and aspire to, while recognizing your lesser character facets in a loving way, and helping one another to work beyond those character facets which stunt growth and provide barriers to loving communications. Most of these are unconscious, are mere conditionings, but it is much, as you say, like cleaning house, and how do you even know what to do with the stuff in the closet if you are not aware that the closet is there!
Hunnah: You ‘ re getting kind of personal there. (More laughter)
Leah: He must’ve been visiting us all this week.
Hunnah: One of the things I found is when something is going on in another level in me is that I start acting it out physically and I have been cleaning out my basement.
TOMAS: I find that interesting, inasmuch as a basement is, by and Large, a subterranean realm, one which could be happily equated to the subconscious realms or subliminal realms, and so, my dear, I wish you well in your efforts and if you should seek assistance, do not hesitate to invite the hosts into those realms with you. I myself have delved into some rather primal depths and have no objection to a revisitation if indeed the pipes are eventually cleared f or the free-running Living Waters.
Hunnah: Well, it hasn’t been too painful. I am rather enjoying it. That’s exactly the way I related it. I was dealing with some stuff that wasn’t necessary and I have enjoyed doing it. A kind of a ‘sing along with Mitch” situation. (Laughter) That helped. Is there any requirement that a person has to have someone near with a clipboard keeping track of your progress? (More laughter) We have these little things going on here.
TOMAS: I understand that you are being clever …
Hunnah: Yes, I am being–
TOMAS: . .. and are being a character.
Hunnah: Yes. (Group laughter) Yes, you caught me.
TOMAS: It is a survival technique.
TOMAS: You may be assured, daughter, that your survival is guaranteed and we have now reached realms wherein we are aspiring to not just survive but to truly thrive in the abundance of the spirit, and so you may leave your cunning in the basement.
Hunnah: Okay. While we’re talking about these feelings, like Leah brought up, there are things that I don’t enjoy anymore. I was talking to Gerdean about it. And I miss my silliness. Now, if I wasn’t on a spiritual journey, or since I have been, you might be able to say, “well, she’s menopausal” or “she’s not as much fun as she used to be” or “they’re getting older”. We have stigmas like that here, and it makes me uncomfortable. Just like Leah’ s describing missing a part of her willingness to do something she used to enjoy, and now she’s in a different situation and you have mixed feelings. You miss that joy of doing something. You never thought about it much; you just go ahead and do things. I miss some of that. In my case, some of my silliness. Is that normal?
TOMAS: I will respond and yet I must say that I am not convinced that the example that you set out is on a parallel with the example that Leah set out, but in terms of your childlike need to feel innocent and carefree and silly, that is not in opposition to the responsibilities of being a teacher or believer. It is that light-hearted joy is appropriate only in certain circumstances. It is, as the scripture states, “As I became a man I put away childish things,” and although some may regard a mature woman being silly as an embarrassment to them or less than acceptable character, it is not so, for the ability to laugh at oneself and be foolish is a great antidote to the exaltation of the ego.
Bear in mind in your need to be childlike that it is ever true that you are a child of God and that in order to feel that parental guidance which assures you of your innocence and your youth and your need to be taken care of, you may always find that in the fellowship of the Spirit of the Father/Mother. Be understanding, however, of your compatriots who may not appreciate the character of a toddler in a grown-up. I observed Abram today went with his chums to the amusement park and they acted very much the boys, but in a manner which is appropriate to their age and stature. Having maturity is not a reason to preclude your childlike-ness. Childlike-ness in and of itself is not a character defect. Indeed, in the spiritual sense, it is an asset and necessary to anyone who would be born of the spirit.
Leah: So are we saying that . . . Could we summarize this with something like, um, character is response rather than reaction?
TOMAS: We cannot say that for that is not always true. Most, often, in fact, our character is a reaction and this, you will understand me, is in need of correction. (Quiet group) In your silence, which hangs heavy, is it possible you do not understand?
Hunnah: I was going to ask you to dwell on that. You said it’s a reaction, not a response. A response is something that’s . .. untimely? And a reaction is more of a what, a conditioning?
TOMAS: A response is the more mature, for it involves responsibility for the way the information was received, the way it was processed, and the way that it was responded to. A reaction is more of a fear-stimulus or an inert reaction without thought but only provocation. It is the fact that so many of your behaviors are reactive, rather than responsive, that your communications want, that your relationships are divided and so on. And so we would aspire, in understanding character, to respond rather than react.
Hunnah: Your discourse this evening is a response. All the time when you speak you respond . .. (indistinguishable) our realm. In other words, your talking to us is a good example of response.
TOMAS: I do respond to you, yes. I will add that I have the advantage, not only of many years’ experience, but also the fact that I am no longer so heavily influenced by the electrochemical system which your material bodies operate in and with. Much of your reaction to life is animal reaction to stimulus, some of which has been around for thousands of years. It is part of your survival aspects in the most honorable sense. And so it is perhaps somewhat easier for me to respond, but do not mistake this either: I do have occasional reactions to you. I just try not to act upon my reactions but rather to embrace you in good character and respond to you.
Leah: So the character is the decision to embrace a fellow rather than judge them and–
TOMAS: Character is, as we discussed last week, on one hand a facet of the spirit and in that context it is an integral part of you. The spirit within you has character, has the fruits of the spirit within you. But the mortal, the human, the animal, is a being largely of conditioning, and its character is not always in its own best interests and not always in the best interests of the Kingdom. This duality can cause conflict within the personality and what we would hope for is a coordination of the two facets of character to present a well-unified personality, a well-balanced character that is responsive to life in the spirit and in the flesh.
Evangel: Would the word “care” be related to the word character?
TOMAS: In and of itself, no. However, taken in the more transcendental tone, it would hold true, for as we said earlier, God is love. Love is caring; it is a desire to be of service. It is a desire to do good to others and that is caring, and that also is character.
Hunnah: What about the development of the traits of character? Is this something that develops racially . . . that’s carried through?
Leah: You mean through generations?
TOMAS: Human character is a learned response, and so it would certainly be hereditarily passed down, but it is not necessarily in the genetic make-up, in the DNA of the being. Indeed, as a creation of the Creator, even in the flesh, the flesh, too, knows what harmony there is in its natural state of being. There is grace and honor in the human animal. It is the behaviors which have been passed down in culture and it is character that you have learned from your forefathers and your environment, but it is not true character; it is learned character.
Leah: Tomas was certainly accurate when he said we could spend several years on this discussion.
TOMAS: I will not carry on our discourse this evening, as I perceive that your plates have been piled high with stuff to ingest, chew, swallow, or spit out, and so in hope of your eventual satisfaction and nourishment, I will close for the evening, but of course I will ask you to ponder our lesson well of this evening and perhaps in particular you might observe yourself as you go about your business this week and observe (and it is up to you not to your neighbor to carry that clipboard and pencil) and ascertain if you have reacted or responded to the myriad individual situations which are presented in a day in the life. My friends and loyal companions, how I cherish your presence(s) here with me and I ring out to my fellow teachers the honorable position we share as friends and neighbors in this vicinity. Farewell!
Group: Thank you, Tomas. Farewell.