Dear Friends and Students of The Urantia Book,
Another big year is rapidly drawing to a close. I sincerely hope that this has been a good year for you all. If not, I hope that you have been able to derive comfort and direction from the pages of this incomparable modern revelation.
Once again, ANZURA’s big event of the year, the National Conference, was a most successful and enjoyable occasion. Our brothers and sisters in Canberra did an amazing job hosting the conference, with the fascinating theme: “Mind Over Matter, Spirit Over Mind”. I would like to extend a big thank you to the whole crew! If you were unable to attend, this edition of Arena contains samples from the conference program. Next year, we are crossing the Tasman again to gather with our New Zealand friends at our National Conference in Auckland in October. More details should be available in our next edition of Arena.
This year for the first time, we endeavoured to provide a live coverage of the conference via a Zoom session. Being our first attempt, we not surprisingly encountered a few technical problems which affected the quality of the feed. We have hopefully learned a lot from this experience and will aim to do the same again in Auckland but with a much better quality visual and audio experience.
2020 Vision Through a Cosmic Lens—Hindsight, Insight & Foresight
Next year’s ANZURA conference returns to Vaughan Park, Long Bay 2—5 October, 2020 where we held the last New Zealand conference in 2014. Again, it will be hosted by our very capable and dynamic team in New Zealand.
About the theme: 2020 is the year of clear sight, so it seems timely to examine what we have learned through the cosmic lens of The Urantia Book. The information we have been so lucky to receive in the pages of our beloved book has shed new light on the past, not only of our planet but of the whole universe, on the present, in terms of the celestial presence on Urantia and the oversight and guidance of planetary affairs, and on the future, the amazing universe career that is open to us.
Mind Over Matter – Spirit Over Mind
This year’s ANZURA conference was held 27th to 30th September at the Green Hills Conference Centre, Stromlo in a gorgeous bush setting just outside of Canberra. The members of the Canberra Study Group hosted the conference and readers travelled from the various cities, towns and environs in New Zealand, ACT, NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS and SA.
The conference was a great success, and thanks to the delightful and capable Canberra crew and the team of presenters and workshop leaders, there was never a dull moment and we were treated with inspiring sessions and much food for thought.
Here is a list of the plenary session titles and their presenters:
- Utilising Urantia Book Science – Nigel Nunn
- Growing the Supreme – William Wentworth
- Spirit Dominating Mind – Vern Verass
- Spirit and Psychology – Julian McGarry
- Spirit Aotearoa – Neville Twist
- As the Spirit Moves You – James McGarry
- Living with Truth – Andrew Swadling
- The Ascension Plan – Daniel Swadling
- Evening Slide Show – Nigel Nunn (for reference see video series at: https://anzura.urantia-association.org/2017/10/20/video-introduction-to-urantia-book/ (Choose videos Part 4, A, B & C)
2020 ANZURA Conference
I am happy to relate that things are going well in New Zealand and preparations/organisation is well underway for the ANZURA conference in Auckland next year (2020). We are using the same venue as our last New Zealand ANZURA conference, Vaughan Park, which is in the northern beach suburbs of Auckland. (https://vaughanpark.nz/venue)
Gathering of New Zealand Readers, Villa Ika, Taupo
Each year NZ readers try to get together somewhere in the country to connect with old and new readers for study and socialisation. This year from Friday 25th to Monday 28th October, we gathered in Taupo at a lovely Airbnb.
Attendees were: (see photo) Neville Twist, Frances Potter, Susan Hemmingsen, Matt Hall, Norman Weiss, Diana Whakapapa, Ian Campbell and sitting in the front, Marion Steward. Missing from this photo, Doug Cook, who joined us on Saturday. It was so good to meet the two new members of our online study group, Diana and Norman, in person and to find they are long-time readers and valuable members of our NZ group.
Mining the Archives
(Editor’s Note: Mining the Archives is a collection of articles that have been published in various newsletters over the years and have been lying buried in the archives. A team of volunteers have been “mining the archives” for the gems, so now we can bring them into the light of day to share using modern-day technology. This one is from the Arena Newsletter, Volume 6 No 4, Summer 1999)
The Inner World of Mankind: Seeking a Description for the Fifth Epoch
The advances of true civilization are all born in this inner world of mankind. [Paper 111:4.3, page 1220.2]
Mankind has not yet shared an inner world. So far, the inner worlds of our tribes and nations have been fragmented and local. Instead of a rich tapestry of truth and fact, the backdrops to these partial inner worlds have been more or less crude collages, woven from dreams, fears and ambitions, sometimes sprinkled through with dislocated gems of revelation.
In the past, the heritage our tribes and nations passed to their children was a complex reflection of shared delusions, augmented with whatever skills and techniques each generation had acquired.
As we enter this fifth epoch, we have an opportunity to change this unimpressive cycle: together with Michael, his Most Highs, and the United Midwayers of Urantia, and armed with the truths offered via the Urantia Papers, there is at last a real hope that we can lay out a valid frame for this intended and inevitable planet-wide “inner world”. With such a frame in place, the fabric of truth will weave itself through the minds of sincere mortals, anchoring to and filling this frame with splendour, forming an “inner world of mankind” with centre stage reserved for the truths of Michael and the facts of Nebadon.
So how do we proceed? How on earth do we contribute to this noble construction?
See the young man gird himself
For the mountains he must climb
Yes and see the young ones prepare themselves
For their winding roads of time
The river of life it is wide
Oh the river is long and deep
Flowing never stopping
Or slowing for anyone
Like the cycles of nature
Returning from whence it come
In eternity God the Father separated spirit from energy-matter and put spirit under the control of the Eternal Son and energy-matter under the control of Paradise. But interestingly, the revelators point out that on Paradise, from which both forms are distributed to the universes, the two energy forms are indistinguishable—they cannot be told one from the other. In Havona, we are told, they are distinguishable but the harmonious nature of Havona and its inhabitants means that there is no difficulty in relating one form of energy to the other. But by the time those two energy forms are projected to the superuniverses, however, spirit and energy-matter have diverged so far that they do not relate to one another. And thereby hangs a tale so pregnant with possibilities that the culture of the Grand Universe may be said to derive from it. For the only way in which spirit and energy-matter can interact is through mind, as mind is the only reality with which both can interact. Mind can contact spirit, and mind can also contact energy-matter, so through mind the two energy forms can relate to one another.
Spirit Conquest of Energy-Matter
Mortal man has a spirit nucleus. The mind is a personal-energy system existing around a divine
spirit nucleus and functioning in a material environment. Such a living relationship of personal
mind and spirit constitutes the universe potential of eternal personality.
On Paradise the three energies, physical, mindal, and spiritual, are co-ordinate. In the evolutionary cosmos energy-matter is dominant except in personality, where spirit, through the mediation of mind, is striving for the mastery. Spirit is the fundamental reality of the personality experience of all creatures because God is spirit. Spirit is unchanging, and therefore, in all personality relations, it transcends both mind and matter, which are experiential variables of progressive attainment. [Paper 12:8.14, page 140.10 emphasis added]
Mind is a unique phase of reality, centred upon the gravity of the 3rd Great Source and Centre, also known as the Infinite Spirit in The Urantia Book.
The Challenge of Choice
As a clinical psychologist, I often present my clients with the assertion: “Most of our life is spent in a mindless state!” This is usually met with expressions of bemusement or puzzlement, or a knowing nod of the head. But what am I getting at when I make such a bold claim? The word “mindless” conjures up other words that add shade and texture to the underlying meaning: trance, automaton, mechanistic, and zombie. All these words aptly describe the human mind’s default condition. Even when we’re awake or “conscious”, we are in a perpetual state of ‘mind drift’; our minds seem to function independent of conscious choice. We have a sense that our minds just do their own thing, following their own agenda, while we as ‘personalities’ just go along for the ride!
One of the big names in the mindfulness movement, Jon Kabat-Zinn, made the following statement: “When unattended, our thinking runs our lives without our even knowing it.” (Coming to Our Senses, p. 406) A moment’s reflection will undoubtedly attest to the disturbing truth embodied in this aphorism. The human mind or ego seems to have a mind of its own which we often feel powerless to control. This has profound ramifications for life as we live it on this planet, Urantia. But what are its implications with regard to our prospects of future life beyond this mortal existence?
In this presentation I speak briefly about my background with The Urantia Book, my favourite parts of the book, and how it has changed by life. This document outlines a general summary of the main points of my presentation.
How I Initially Came Across The Urantia Book
From a very young age (roughly eight to ten years old) I was introduced to The Urantia Book by my father who had been a reader for several years prior. Almost every Sunday we had a reading, focusing on short sections, and paraphrased according to my capacity to receive the teachings of the book. I always enjoyed these study sessions and remember asking countless questions to the point that we would often not complete a single section of a paper. This continued on for a few years, on and off.
What Motivated Me to Read and Study the Book?
Having reached adulthood, at the end of twenty-one, I felt a great need to deepen my understanding of life and all its complexities. I would say that my general fears and anxieties about life were naturally starting to become apparent, as is normal at this time in one’s life. This was part of my motivation to begin reading The Urantia Book, as it was always at the back of my mind. Other than that, I felt the need deepen my relationship with God, which was largely limited beforehand. It took me roughly six months to finish reading it, and by the end I felt greatly satisfied by what I’d discovered.