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.
In addition to the National Conference, it is my hope that next year we will also stage a mini virtual conference, once again via Zoom, which will enable readers and members in remote parts of Australasia and Oceania to connect and participate in a spiritual program together. I hope to have more details for you in our next edition.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome ANZURA’s three new board members:
Ian Campbell, who is our new Vice-President,
Daniel Swadling, who has become our new Treasurer, and
Susan Hemmingsen, who is our new representative for New Zealand.
I would also like to thank their predecessors, Neville Twist and Trevor Swadling, for the valuable contribution they made to the delivery of ANZURA’s service program.
Of course, it would be very much amiss of me if I didn’t acknowledge and thank sincerely ANZURA’s dynamic duo, Kathleen Swadling and Rita Schaad for their remarkable service throughout the year. The organisation simply wouldn’t function without the tireless efforts of these two!
It is almost impossible to read The Urantia Book without being challenged by its extraordinary messages. Here are a couple that I personally find compelling:
Never forget there is only one adventure which is more satisfying and thrilling than the attempt to discover the will of the living God, and that is the supreme experience of honestly trying to do that divine will. And fail not to remember that the will of God can be done in any earthly occupation. Some callings are not holy and others secular. All things are sacred in the lives of those who are spirit led; that is, subordinated to truth, ennobled by love, dominated by mercy, and restrained by fairness — justice. The spirit which my Father and I shall send into the world is not only the Spirit of Truth but also the spirit of idealistic beauty. [Paper 155:6.11; page 1732.4]
Remember that you are commissioned to preach this gospel of the kingdom — the supreme desire to do the Father’s will coupled with the supreme joy of the faith realization of sonship with God — and you must not allow anything to divert your devotion to this one duty. Let all mankind benefit from the overflow of your loving spiritual ministry, enlightening intellectual communion, and uplifting social service; but none of these humanitarian labors, nor all of them, should be permitted to take the place of proclaiming the gospel. These mighty ministrations are the social by-products of the still more mighty and sublime ministrations and transformations wrought in the heart of the kingdom believer by the living Spirit of Truth and by the personal realization that the faith of a spirit-born man confers the assurance of living fellowship with the eternal God. [Paper 178:1.11; page 1931.2]
Finally, on behalf of the ANZURA board, I encourage you all to let us know if there is any way in which we might serve you better. Constructive criticism or comments are always welcome. It would be wonderful to hear from you!
In closing, I would like to wish you readers and your families a safe, joyful, and peaceful festive season.
DUE TO THE CORONA VIRUS WE REGRET TO SAY THAT THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE IN NEW ZEALAND HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
WE PLAN TO RE-SCHEDULE THE CONFERENCE AT THE SAME VENUE IN 2022. STAY TUNED…
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.
Over three days in Auckland we will look back and explore what we have learned from the past that can guide us today; we will study the deep truths that illuminate our current existence, and look into the future and speculate on how God’s plan for us and our universe could unfold.
We will ask these questions:
Hindsight—what have we learned from The Urantia Book about mistakes made in the past that can inform our current and future decisions?
Insight—what deep understandings have we gained about our world today and how complicated problems might be solved?
Foresight—what does God have in store for us, and how can we conduct our lives in the best way possible to assist the unfolding of this future?
Mark your calendars and get ready for a trip to Auckland next year! For those who didn’t attend the 2014 New Zealand conference, Vaughan Park is just gorgeous! It’s positioned at the south end of Long Bay Beach in the East Coast Bays and is nestled in the hill at Long Bay, one of the most beautiful bays on the North Island of New Zealand.
Watch this space for more information as plans unfold or contact us at: [email protected]
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:
Some of these presentations are published in this issue of the Arena which you’ll see as you read on, and others will be published in future issues. Some of them can be found on our website at https://anzura.urantia-association.org/. (From the main menu go to Study/Topical Index of Study Aids (or follow this link: https://anzura.urantia-association.org/topical-index-study-aids/) and look for the tag titled 2019 Conference-Canberra. There you will see the titles and the first four lines or so of each article. Click on the title to view the entire article.)
In addition to the plenary sessions we broke up into small groups for a workshop on Spirit in Society – Overcoming Resistance which was orchestrated by Dylan Roberts. Dylan presented us with a series of questions that we discussed in the workshops, then we came to together in the larger group to share highlights of our discussions. Later we split into smaller groups again for a topical study group on Spirit Dominance.
On Saturday evening Phillip Marriott from Adelaide presented us with a very interesting presentation on Sir Hubert Wilkins, a famous Australian polar explorer, pilot and photographer who was knighted for an historic trans-Arctic crossing from Alaska to Norway in addition to his prior work in exploration. Wilkins was introduced to The Urantia Book in 1942 (prior to its publication), and after meeting Dr. William Sadler in Chicago became a member of the Forum. He became thoroughly devoted to the book and would visit Chicago between assignments to read the papers. He has been quoted as saying, “Those of us who go to the far corners of the earth cannot help but be God-conscious…. And when we travel in the lonely, desolate spaces of the polar regions we have time for contemplation. There we feel conscious of the greatness of God….”
On Sunday evening we enjoyed a social evening with plenty of fun and laughter as we played “Celebrity Heads” where the person in the hot seat had to guess which character out of The Urantia Book was written on his or her headband. This photo says it all:
As usual we held ANZURA’s AGM during free time on Sunday afternoon. The usual business matters were discussed and elections for Vice President and Treasurer were held. Ian Campbell from New Zealand was elected as Vice President and Daniel Swadling from Sydney as Treasurer. Julian McGarry continues as President and Graeme Chapman as Secretary. Susan Hemmingsen replaced Damian Hall as the New Zealand Representative. Next year’s conference in Auckland New Zealand was discussed and it was reported that plans are well underway (read more on that in this issue or on our website at https://anzura.urantia-association.org/2019/12/13/annual-conference-auckland-new-zealand-2020.) Phillip Marriott from Adelaide volunteered himself and other members of his study group to host the 2021 conference in South Australia. Stay tuned for more details on that one—this is exciting news as it will be the first time a conference will have been held in South Australia.
Thank you to the members of the Canberra study group and all those who made this year’s conference such a meaningful and enjoyable event.
Enjoy this photo gallery of some shots taken at the conference:
William Wentworth, Canberra - Presented at Canberra Conference
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.
It is, of course, a matter of everyday experience for us inhabitants of the Grand Universe to recognise that spirit and energy-matter are utterly different. But the Father’s requirement that the Grand Universe should be perfected leads us to realise that they must be integrated with one another. And it turns out that it is the job of us Grand Universe inhabitants to bring this about. For the task of completing the evolution of the Grand Universe involves:
The subjugation of energy-matter by spirit through the intervention of mind in the unifying presence of personality.
The exact quote is:
“The goal of the evolutionary universes is the subjugation of energy-matter by mind, the co-ordination of mind with spirit, and all this by virtue of the creative and unifying presence of personality.” [Paper 116:6.1, page 1275.1]
This is stated directly a number of times; in fact eight by my count. Here they are: Page Paper and section 9.10 0:6.8
I might have missed some. But the same thing is implied numerous times without being explicitly stated. In fact, if any concise description is required of what is taking place in the Grand Universe, this is as good as any.
The Supreme Being
The Grand Universe exists in time and space—in finite reality. Paradise Deity exists in absolute reality—timeless and spaceless. It is not possible for absolute realities to interact directly with finites without some attenuation of absoluteness. So provision is made for a sub-absolute deity to interact with finite reality. The Paradise Trinity provides a finite deity—a deity with a beginning in time and a presence in space—to preside over the Grand Universe and to participate in its evolution. This is how God—the existential God in Paradise—enables his will to be done in finite—experiential—reality. This finite god is the Supreme Being and the Grand Universe is the realm of supremacy.
The Supreme grows and evolves as the Grand Universe grows and evolves. He begins as a spirit presence in Havona—on the sixth circuit—and he evolves in capacity and attributes with the superuniverses through the agency of the Supreme Creator Personalities, who are the activating influences endeavouring to subjugate energy-matter to spirit. The Supreme himself does not act so much as react to the performances of his creator personalities, and his growth is a consequence of their activities. But it is undoubtedly his spirit influence which gives direction and purpose to finite evolution.
It is here that the great opportunity for creatures is revealed, for deity wants the energy/matter of the superuniverses to be perfected—conforming to God’s will—by being subjected to spirit. And spirit can reach energy/matter only through mind. So creature mind, brought into being by the efforts of the supreme creator personalities, is given the task of subjecting energy/matter to spirit through the mediation of mind directed by personality. This is how deity directs the evolution of the grand universe, bringing it to perfection by the action of creatures who are themselves evolving the capacity to undertake the task.
Everything evolves to bring the grand universe to perfection, the Supreme Being to completion and the universe age finalised by the action of creatures doing the will of the Universal Father.
The Supreme Creator Personalities
The beings who are actually responsible for doing the work of the Supreme are known as the Supreme Creator Personalities, and they constitute the first three levels of God the Sevenfold—namely the Seven Master Spirits, the Ancients of Days in the superuniverses and The Creator Son/Creative Spirit partnerships in in the local universes.
Each one of the Master Spirits sponsors one of the superuniverses, which are all different from one another and which are kept in isolation from one another. There is no direct communication between one superuniverse and another so that they develop individually without outside interference. Each Master Spirit is projected by the Infinite Spirit as one of the permutations of threefold deity, and each one distributes the cosmic mind which pervades his superuniverse. The cosmic mind is as much of the infinite mind as can be made manifest in finite reality. But nevertheless, this mind is sufficient to sustain the phenomenon of reflectivity which enables the reflective spirits on the superuniverse capitals to keep the Ancients of Days on those capitals informed of the doings of the entire superuniverse. This is the only aspect of supremacy which is complete. Reflectivity has actualised all its potentials and in this aspect the Supreme is complete, and has personalised this completeness as Majeston.
The Ancients of Days are the executives of the superuniverses, three in each superuniverse capital. They have enormous executive power, including the power to extinguish life, and they remain at the superuniverse capital as foci of the reflectivity system through their associated reflective spirits. They function with a huge host of seconaphim who participate in reflectivity, but they do not contact their fellows in other superuniverses. The revelators are not able to explain to us much of what they do, but like the Master Spirits they are engaged in helping to perfect their superuniverses by causing spirit to subjugate energy-matter through mind, and thus progressively evolving the Supreme.
The real workshops and laboratories of evolution are the local universes and it is there that the Creator Son/Creative Spirit partnerships make their contribution. Inheriting the finite realm of energy-matter from the Force Organisers, they spend many billions of years bringing some kind of basic harmony to the chaotic state of their chosen region, which has been governed only by Paradise gravity prior to their acceptance of responsibility. In this they are assisted by the power centres and other physical controllers who mostly must work within the laws of physics—using mind to bring energy-matter under control. (Some of them do have extraordinary powers, such as anti-gravity, but most must work by understanding the laws of energy-matter and applying that understanding.)
Once mind has established basic control of energy-matter, the Creator Son and Creative Spirit can begin to populate their universe with beings who respond to the spirit circuits of the Eternal Son, and subjecting mind to spirit becomes the dominant goal. This proceeds in a straightforward fashion as spirit creation unfolds, from Bright and Morning Stars and other ministering spirits of the local universe are created and integrated. Melchizedeks, Vorondadeks, Lanonandeks, Material Sons, Seraphim and others are created. This is when the Creative Spirit becomes the Local Universe Mother Spirit as she herself evolves. But when physical life evolution produces humans of will dignity the work is not so straightforward.
The Mortals of Time and Space
This is interesting for us because we come to spirit through mind. Our animal evolution is guided by mind in the form of the adjutant mind spirits, which are part of the mind of the local universe Mother Spirit, and she is a daughter of the Infinite Spirit—the god of mind.
As our animal ancestors evolve, the life carriers co-operate with the adjutants, each adjutant making contact with whatever life forms respond, until eventually the sixth adjutant manages to connect with a pre-human. In our case this was with Andon and Fonta—Fonta first—and when the worship urge was activated the seventh adjutant quickly followed, and human life had evolved. And so it is in all Local Universes. When the seventh adjutant makes contact, the animal contacted is a human—a free willed mortal of time and space.
It is only at this point that true spirit, the spirit of the Divine Minister becomes involved. Up to this time evolution had proceeded with the adjutant mind spirits which although part of the Mother Spirit’s mind, are really mindal realities, not spiritual ones. Now that animal mind has become human, the mother spirit can exercise her divine ministry, and the way is opened for the three cosmic intuitions to function. One of these is the worship urge, reinforcing the sixth adjutant, and it functions unless specifically inhibited. And the free willed mortal is eventually eligible to host an indwelling thought adjuster.
Mind evolved animals whose minds gradually dominated their bodies. At first the lower animals had very little conscious control of their material activities. Insects are largely robotic, with only a small degree of individual choice. As the species evolve, increasing intelligence gives them a greater level of control over instinctual behaviour, until eventually human will appears, and even thought adjusters will not abridge human free will.
But the thought adjusters are now devoted to attracting the freewill minds of mortals to the goal of allowing spirit to dominate them. They are attempting to spiritualise the thinking of men. Mind dominated matter in evolving men, now adjusters are engaged in causing spirit to dominate mind. The growth of the Supreme and the progress of the universe are integrated so that spirit is required to dominate mind just as mind has subjugated energy-matter.
All the local universes must undertake this process, and in our case, here on Urantia of Nebadon we are making heavy weather of it. Because of the Lucifer Rebellion and the Adamic default the civilizations we have developed seem pretty good at mind dominating matter but rather slow in allowing spirit to dominate mind. We seem a bit slow in showing forth the brotherly love which results from spirit dominance and tardy in putting aside the competitive conflict which mind without spirit dominance seems to generate.
Of course this does not alter the fact that individual humans such as us here now, can make contributions to the growth of the Supreme. Whenever a mortal responds to the indwelling adjuster and makes a choice in accordance with the Father’s will, then does the Supreme grow a little. In a small way, spirit has subjugated energy-matter to spirit through the intervention of personal mind.
But on a planetary scale we are a long way from contributing much. Urantia’s civilisations by and large are secular, and as the revelators say:
“The inherent weakness of secularism is that it discards ethics and religion for politics and power. You simply cannot establish the brotherhood of men while ignoring or denying the fatherhood of God.” [Paper 195:8.11, page 2082.3]
They warn us about the problem of mind dominating energy-matter while failing to allow spirit to give direction to mind. That’s where we are today. Lots of clever people working in science, in education, in the humanities, in the arts, in finance, in government—all of the fields of human endeavour—working for mind to establish control over energy-matter, and often succeeding, but without interest in causing spirit to dominate mind. They are secular intellectuals without knowledge of or interest in spirit, regarding God as a primitive superstition which all sensible men should grow out of. Thus their efforts lack the purpose and direction that true spiritual values impart to their activities and are devoid of survival value. Tut-tut, I thought when I first started thinking about this (conveniently overlooking that I was, for a while, myself, in the same position!).
But after thinking about it a bit more I began to realise that these secular mortals are all adjuster indwelt, or most of them are. Adjusters are trying to spiritualise their thinking just as they are with those of us who have the advantage of the Urantia book. They are not wicked, and they exhibit the normal range of concern for their fellow man. When they do something unselfish they feel good, and they learn sometimes to do good to others, enjoy doing it and would like to do it more. Remember:
Love is the desire to do good to others. [Paper 56:10.21, page 648.4]
And this constitutes spiritual experience. So even though many of these secularists reject the notion of spirit, they are nevertheless exhibiting some spirit leading without recognising it for what it is.
The great circuit of love is from the Father, through sons to brothers and hence to the Supreme. Paper 117:6.10, page 1289.3]
So I have come to realise that many secularists are not as secular as they think they are, and some of their thinking is influenced by their indwelling adjuster
I have therefore concluded that spirit is subjugating mind rather more than I previously thought. Then it occurred to me that it might be thought that these mortals were being spiritualised against their will, and we know that God would never do that. He regards free will as sacrosanct. But of course, the adjuster can only do what the freewill mortal allows it to do. When the so-called secularist thinks so deeply that his mind impinges on spirit then he has an experience which he regards as purely mental but which in fact is spiritual, or has a spiritual component. In fact, I have great difficulty in discerning which of my experiences are spiritual, and which are only mental, and I know of no reliable method of distinguishing the difference. Perhaps that would be a good subject for a conference in the future.
Now of course such experiences would be much more frequent and profound if the secularist was not secular, believed in God and desired to be like Him and enjoyed the advantage of the Urantia book. But it is a start.
Skin in the Game
An aspect of the Supreme’s growth which interests me is that all the agencies involved in it are themselves evolved by their participation. To the extent that we mortals contribute, we add to our survival prospects and grow our souls. If we consider our Creator son, his successive bestowals as his own creatures wins him the sovereignty of his universe. The Creative Spirit begins as a barely differentiated part of the Infinite Spirit and evolves to the mother spirit of her universe and a fully personal Divine Minister. About the Ancients of Days we must be less certain as we are not given much information about their evolution, but we know that the Master Spirits will evolve with the Supreme because when the Supreme has finished his growth the barriers between the superuniverses will be removed and everything will be reorganised as one Grand Universe.
I realised that all the personalities involved must themselves grow as the Supreme grows when I read the message which a thought adjuster gave to his indwelt subject on P 1213.5 and I realised that adjusters are interested in our progress, not only because they love us, but also because they have something to gain from our progress. Altruism is there, but it is not the sole motive.
“And I exhort him to survival, not to disappoint me, not to deprive me of the reward of my patient and intense struggle. On the human will our achievement of personality depends. Circle by circle I have patiently ascended this human mind, and I have testimony that I am meeting the approval of the chief of my kind. Circle by circle I am passing on to judgement. I await with pleasure and without apprehension the roll call of destiny; I am prepared to submit all to the tribunals of the Ancients of Days.” [Paper 110:7.10, page 1213.5]
So I reason that if thought adjusters—fragments of absolute deity—have skin in the game, then probably all evolving beings do to.
Humans have their own survival to gain, Creator Sons have the sovereignty of their universes to gain, Creative Spirits have full individual personality to gain. We all have “skin in the game”. It’s worth remembering that we grow as we simultaneously contribute to the Supreme’s growth.
As we are told quite a bit about Our own Creator Son—Michael of Nebadon—it might be worth tracing his bestowals, as they illustrate how he, himself, benefits from his efforts to contribute to Supremacy and to perfect his universe. For with each of his bestowals he advances towards his own goal of achieving full sovereignty of Nebadon. He bestows himself first as one of his own Melchizedek Sons—the senior order of teachers and emergency personalities. Next he becomes one of his own Lanonandek sons, serving as a system sovereign in a system where the original system sovereign had rebelled against his father, Michael’s rule. The third bestowal is as a material Son on a planet quarantined by rebellion of which he becomes the Planetary Prince. Next he bestows himself as a supreme seraphim serving as a master teacher on 22 different planets ending as an attachment to a Paradise Trinity Teacher Son. The fifth bestowal was as an ascendant pilgrim on the superuniverse capital, Uversa. This pilgrim was of course a spirit form. The sixth bestowal was in morontia form as a pilgrim on a constellation headquarters, where apparently his achievements were too remarkable to be revealed to us. And of course his seventh bestowal was right here on Urantia, born as a mortal as Jesus, where he traversed the entire path of a perfected mortal as a man of the realm.
At each of these bestowals he progressed towards his personal goal by serving his own universe until finally, exclaiming “it is finished” as he died on the cross, he fulfilled the final requirement of his Father to earn the sovereignty of Nebadon.
The progress of science and technology has transformed the material conditions of life for much of the planet’s population. If that transformation is to contribute to the permanent progress of humanity towards the condition of light and life then it will need to be subjugated to spirit. For the Supreme to grow spirit must increasingly become dominant.
As the revelators say:
The great circuit of love is from the Father, through sons to brothers, and hence to the Supreme. [Paper 117:6.10, page 1289.5]
And that’s where we are today.
The Supreme grows and is gradually perfected as the Supreme Creator Personalities succeed in causing mind to dominate matter, and spirit to dominate mind. As men evolve by following God’s will, planets become settled in light and life, and when all the inhabited planets in a system, constellation and local universe are so settled then God’s plan is progressing. Apparently there are some local universes in this position, but Nebadon has a long way to go.
The revelators state definitely that no major sector of any superuniverse has achieved stabilisation as yet, but that suggests that there are minor sectors which have achieved it, and this means that there must be at least one hundred local universes which have perfected themselves, and possibly more, so that gives pause for thought.
Eventually all the seven superuniverses are settled in light and life and stabilized. God’s will has been done, energy-matter has been subjected to spirit through the intervention of mind in the presence of personality. The Supreme has completed his growth, he emerges as God the Supreme and takes control of his grand universe from Uversa, the capital of Orvonton.
This will constitute the greatest event since the propagation of the superuniverse space level, and has consequences unimaginable to us involving sweeping changes in the entire organisation of the seven superuniverses.
If we stop to think about what has been achieved at this point, then we must find ourselves amazed. A process has been begun in which the perfection of the Grand Universe has been undertaken by beings who must develop the capacity to achieve the task by taking their innate abilities and learning to apply them towards the goal as they go along. Everyone involved is learning on the job and for all but a few of them this is a faith journey—for they not only have little understanding of the goal itself, but have only faith to guide them towards it. An unexplained perfection comes into existence through the action of beings who find out what it is that they are doing only by the process of doing it—a work in progress where those who achieve it must discover what they are to achieve by trying to do it, and learning how to do it by experience. The Supreme evolves to completion, and those responsible for it themselves evolve by learning how to do it. Everything results from the desire to do the will of the Father.
Speculating about the purpose of God the Father may be futile, but this synthesis does tempt us!
Look at what has been achieved.
The Supreme has finished his growth.
The supreme creator personalities have been the active agents in achieving this, and in the process have made personal progress themselves.
The local universe ministering spirits have gained experience and many have progressed to Paradise ascent.
The physical cosmos has been stabilized and harmonised.
The local universes have been settled in light and life.
And countless mortals have survived physical death and proceeded to Paradise and membership in the corps of the finality.
The stage is set for the invasion of the first outer space level and the inauguration of the Ultimate adventure.
Julian McGarry, Hobart - Presented at Canberra Conference
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?
The Urantia Book presents us with this challenge:
Is unselfishness — the spirit of self-forgetfulness — desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. [Paper 3:5.13; page 51.12]
Does this sound familiar? Have we not all experienced “the incessant clamouring of an inescapable self for recognition and honour”? Is not the “self” in this context just a reference to the human ego, what we might call our animal origin mind or “adjutant mind”? But then the quote goes on to say that man has a choice: to dynamically choose the divine life while forsaking the self-life. What enables man to make such a choice is the Father’s gift of personality.
Throughout a universe of created beings and nonpersonal energies we do not observe will, volition, choice, and love manifested apart from personality. [Paper 107:7.5; page 1183.7]
So it is this endowment of personality from the Father that enables us to make choices. But do we exercise that ability to choose? When we’re caught up in our egos, it doesn’t feel as if we have much choice, or we seem to make poor quality choices.
As a psychologist, I help people to make high quality choices that will lead to positive mortal life outcomes. But The Urantia Book alerts us to the reality that the choices we make now have a profound effect on the quality of our life to come – life after death. My hope is that this article will help you the reader to make better life choices that will enhance not only this life but the life to come.
The Mortal Dilemma
When the Father gave us free will choice, from a human perspective he took a huge risk!
The mortal dilemma consists in the double fact that man is in bondage to nature while at the same time he possesses a unique liberty — freedom of spiritual choice and action. On material levels man finds himself subservient to nature, while on spiritual levels he is triumphant over nature and over all things temporal and finite. Such a paradox is inseparable from temptation, potential evil, decisional errors, and when self becomes proud and arrogant, sin may evolve. [Paper 111:6.2, page 1222.1]
Did all higher universe beings hold their collective breath when the Gods decided to give mortals moral free will? Mortals are subject to the physical limitations, instincts, and urges of the biological organism, the ‘selfish gene’, while at the same time possessing the freedom of moral choice and action, fuelled by a high intelligence animal brain supercharged by the 6th and 7th adjutant mind spirits. The potential for error and sin is very real.
But the Creators could also see other possibilities!
But through the intelligent use of the body mechanism, mind can create other mechanisms, even energy relationships and living relationships, by the utilization of which this mind can increasingly control and even dominate its physical level in the universe. [Paper 111:6.5, page 1222.4]
Through the power of his adjutant mind, the human creature has harnessed matter and energy to probe the mysteries of the universe, to construct complex super-cities, to build high-tech communication systems and to eradicate debilitating illnesses and disease. But man has also learned how to destroy himself and the many species that he shares the planet with. Ultimately it all comes down to choice!
Not surprisingly, human history has been dotted with crises that required the intervention of the Most Highs:
A Most High observer is empowered, at his discretion, to seize the planetary government in times of grave planetary crises, and it is of record that this has happened thirty-three times in the history of Urantia. [Paper 114:4.4; page 1253.7]
The Goal of the Evolutionary Universes
The solution to the mortal dilemma lies in our ability as mortals to subjugate energy-matter to mind while simultaneously subjecting the ego mind to the benevolent influence of divine spirit.
In the evolutionary superuniverses energy-matter is dominant except in personality, where spirit through the mediation of mind is struggling for the mastery. The goal of the evolutionary universes is the subjugation of energy-matter by mind, the co-ordination of mind with spirit, and all of this by virtue of the creative and unifying presence of personality. Thus, in relation to personality, do physical systems become subordinate; mind systems, co-ordinate; and spirit systems, directive. [Paper116:6.1, page 1275.1 emphasis added]
The key player in all of this is our personality. Through the power of choice, personality is the creative and unifying presence that makes it all happen. The presence of the Thought Adjusters (spirit) and our electro-chemical adjutant minds are obviously critical components of the system but unless the personality consents to the process, spirit will not be able to achieve mastery of the mind. In harmony with the prime directive, “be perfect as I am perfect”, spirit domination of mind is the prime goal of the evolutionary universes, to be fulfilled in the age of light and life.
Mortal man is a machine, a living mechanism; his roots are truly in the physical world of energy. Many human reactions are mechanical in nature; much of life is machine-like. [Paper 118:8.2, page 1301.7]
In our day to day lives, we behave like living machines. Our bodies host amazingly complex autonomic biological processes which we are only now beginning to comprehend. Even our minds display machine-like qualities. To demonstrate this, try focusing for just one minute on the sounds you can hear in your immediate environment. Do nothing for one minute other than notice different sounds. Don’t think about them or describe them; just hear them. We soon discover that our mind finds it very difficult to maintain this simple focus. Before long (usually as little as ten seconds), we notice our thoughts beginning to intrude on this space. We might renew our focus, but once again extraneous thoughts start to invade our consciousness. The ego mind is clamouring for your attention. Indeed, our minds seem to be ‘addicted’ to thinking! This brings us back to my initial quote: “Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamouring of an inescapable self for recognition and honour” [Paper 3:5.13; page 51.12].
But God has given us the solution to this problem: mind and spirit. Personality experiences consciousness through the faculty of mind. But personality can choose to alter that consciousness in such a way that we can tap into and execute the spiritual urges of the indwelling Thought Adjuster. This is something that we can learn to do. We can learn to consecrate our minds!
But man, a mechanism, is much more than a machine; he is mind endowed and spirit indwelt;and though he can never throughout his material life escape the chemical and electrical mechanics of his existence, he can increasingly learn how to subordinate this physical-life machine to the directive wisdom of experience by the process of consecrating the human mind to the execution of the spiritual urges of the indwelling Thought Adjuster. [Paper 118:8.2, page 1301.7]
Lower animals have limited functional ability due to their machine-like nature. There is however an inherent stability in this mechanistic existence. Lower animals don’t threaten the very survival of life on this planet; humans do! With the addition of superior intelligence comes the danger of imperfect choice. However, when coupled with indwelling spirit direction, humans can escape the limitations of their biology but preserve stability by aligning with spirit direction.
The spirit liberates, and the mechanism limits, the function of will. Imperfect choice, uncontrolled by mechanism, unidentified with spirit, is dangerous and unstable. Mechanical dominance insures stability at the expense of progress; spirit alliance liberates choice from the physical level and at the same time assures the divine stability produced by augmented universe insight and increased cosmic comprehension. [Paper 118:8.3, page 1301.8]
The great danger that besets the creature is that, in achieving liberation from the fetters of the life mechanism, he will fail to compensate this loss of stability by effecting a harmonious working liaison with spirit. Creature choice, when relatively liberated from mechanical stability, may attempt further self-liberation independent of greater spirit identification. [Paper 118:8.4, paper 1302.1]
As man shakes off the shackles of fear, as he bridges continents and oceans with his machines, generations and centuries with his records, he must substitute for each transcended restraint a new and voluntarily assumed restraint in accordance with the moral dictates of expanding human wisdom. These self-imposed restraints are at once the most powerful and the most tenuous of all the factors of human civilization — concepts of justice and ideals of brotherhood. [Paper 118:8.10; page 1302.7]
The future of the individual and of the planet depends on our willingness to impose these spiritual restraints on our behaviour. It still ultimately boils down to what we as personalities choose to do!
How Can We Achieve Spirit Over Mind?
As we break free from the restraints and limitations of our biology and learn how to subjugate energy-matter systems through the intelligent use of our electro-chemical minds, we need to simultaneously subject ourselves to the spirit guidance of our indwelling Thought Adjusters. But how can we do this?
In a nutshell, by dis-identifying with our adjutant minds and instead, shifting our identity to our morontia minds or souls which inhabit the superconscious realm of our existence. What exactly is superconsciousness?
It is “consciousness of consciousness” [Paper 130:4.9, page 1435.1]. In other words, it is a state of mind characterised by heightened awareness of the present moment. When I am superconscious, I have momentarily escaped from the “incessant clamouring” of the self or ego. It is not so much that I have stopped thinking, but that my thoughts have attained a much higher quality of expression, in contrast to the automatic, reactive, instinctive thoughts of the animal mind. This ability to attain superconsciousness is something that the human personality can choose to develop. It is our ability to experience superconsciousness that defines us as humans; it is not something that lower animals can experience.
It is in our superconscious mind that our Thought Adjuster dwells and functions:
But there is also a domain of prayer wherein the intellectually alert and spiritually progressing individual attains more or less contact with the superconscious levels of the human mind, the domain of the indwelling Thought Adjuster. [Paper 91:2.6, page 996.4]
Effectively, humans possess ‘two minds’, the electro-chemical animal mind or adjutant mind, and the morontia mind that functions within the evolving human soul. But what is the soul, within which this supermaterial mind functions?
“The soul is the self-reflective, truth-discerning, and spirit-perceiving part of man which forever elevates the human being above the level of the animal world. Self-consciousness, in and of itself, is not the soul. Moral self-consciousness is true human self-realization and constitutes the foundation of the human soul, and the soul is that part of man which represents the potential survival value of human experience. Moral choice and spiritual attainment, the ability to know God and the urge to be like him, are the characteristics of the soul.” [Paper 133:6.5; page 1478.4]
The soul is the new creation resulting from the cooperative relationship between the human personality via the material or animal mind and the indwelling Thought Adjuster:
The inevitable result of such a contactual spiritualization of the human mind is the gradual birth of a soul, the joint offspring of an adjutant mind dominated by a human will that craves to know God, working in liaison with the spiritual forces of the universe which are under the overcontrol of an actual fragment of the very God of all creation — the Mystery Monitor. And thus does the material and mortal reality of the self transcend the temporal limitations of the physical-life machine and attain a new expression and a new identification in the evolving vehicle for selfhood continuity, the morontia and immortal soul. [Paper 111:2.10; page 1218.8]
It is exceedingly difficult for the meagerly spiritualized, material mind of mortal man to experience marked consciousness of the spirit activities of such divine entities as the Paradise Adjusters. As the soul of joint mind and Adjuster creation becomes increasingly existent, there also evolves a new phase of soul consciousness which is capable of experiencing the presence, and of recognizing the spirit leadings and other supermaterial activities, of the Mystery Monitors. [Paper 5:2.5; page 65.1]
It is through soul consciousness that we are able to experience the spirit leadings of the Father fragment that indwells us. But this is not an automatic phenomenon! It requires a conscious choice from the human personality. We have been given a life machine and we have been given a pure, undiluted fragment of absolute deity, our Thought Adjuster. But we have also been given the gift of personality and the adjutant mind which enables the personality to experience self-consciousness.
Material evolution has provided you a life machine, your body; the Father himself has endowed you with the purest spirit reality known in the universe, your Thought Adjuster. But into your hands, subject to your own decisions, has been given mind, and it is by mind that you live or die. It is within this mind and with this mind that you make those moral decisions which enable you to achieve Adjusterlikeness, and that is Godlikeness. [Paper 111:1.4; page1216.5]
And as a self-conscious being, we have the divine ability to make moral choices, to make decisions that have eternal repercussions. Even the Universal Father, as represented by our indwelling Thought Adjuster, will not override our free will moral choices.
Having thus provided for the growth of the immortal soul and having liberated man’s inner self from the fetters of absolute dependence on antecedent causation, the Father stands aside. Now, man having thus been liberated from the fetters of causation response, at least as pertains to eternal destiny, and provision having been made for the growth of the immortal self, the soul, it remains for man himself to will the creation or to inhibit the creation of this surviving and eternal self which is his for the choosing. No other being, force, creator, or agency in all the wide universe of universes can interfere to any degree with the absolute sovereignty of the mortal free will, as it operates within the realms of choice, regarding the eternal destiny of the personality of the choosing mortal. As pertains to eternal survival, God has decreed the sovereignty of the material and mortal will, and that decree is absolute. [Paper 5:6.8, page 71.3]
As self-conscious moral beings we can use our minds to effect a transfer of our (the personality’s) identity from the material to the spiritual, from the adjutant mind to the morontia soul mind. And we do this by making sincere conscious (mindful) decisions to reach out and connect with our Father.
But selfhood of survival value, selfhood that can transcend the experience of death, is only evolved by establishing a potential transfer of the seat of the identity of the evolving personality from the transient life vehicle — the material body — to the more enduring and immortal nature of the morontia soul and on beyond to those levels whereon the soul becomes infused with, and eventually attains the status of, spirit reality. This actual transfer from material association to morontia identification is effected by the sincerity, persistence, and steadfastness of the God-seeking decisions of the human creature. [Paper 112:2.20, page 1229.7 emphasis added]
Jesus and the Spirit of Self-Forgetfulness: Choosing the Divine Will
The very heart of the prayer which he taught his disciples was, “Your kingdom come; your will be done.” Having thus conceived of the kingdom as comprising the will of God, he devoted himself to the cause of its realization with amazing self-forgetfulness and unbounded enthusiasm. [Paper 196:0.8; page 2088.3]
Jesus devoted his life to the doing of His Father’s will; a close examination of his life and teachings (the religion of Jesus) provides us with a model to follow: forsaking the self-life and choosing the divine life.
The keys of the kingdom of heaven are: sincerity, more sincerity, and more sincerity. All men have these keys. Men use them — advance in spirit status — by decisions, by more decisions, and by more decisions. The highest moral choice is the choice of the highest possible value, and always — in any sphere, in all of them — this is to choose to do the will of God. If man thus chooses, he is great, though he be the humblest citizen of Jerusem or even the least of mortals on Urantia. [Paper 39:4.14; page 435.7 emphasis added]
In every moment of our lives, we face this choice: to identify with the material life or the spiritual life, to choose the self-life or the divine life, to be selfish, or self-forgetful. But how did Jesus achieve this goal of total surrender to his Father’s will? What was the secret of his unparalleled religious life?
To him (Jesus), prayer was…..the mighty mobilization of the combined soul powers to withstand all human tendencies toward selfishness, evil, and sin. He lived just such a life of prayerful consecration to the doing of his Father’s will and ended his life triumphantly with just such a prayer. The secret of his unparalleled religious life was this consciousness of the presence of God; and he attained it by intelligent prayer and sincere worship–unbroken communion with God–and not by leadings, voices, visions, or extraordinary religious practices. [Paper 196:0.10; page 2088.5]
Jesus lived in a perpetual state of superconsciousness…he was always conscious of the presence of God, his Father.
How was Jesus able to accomplish this?
Rodan asked a similar question:
“How best can I awaken these latent powers for good which lie dormant in your souls?”
Look to your Master! Even now he is out in the hills taking in power while we are here giving out energy. The secret of all this problem is wrapped up in spiritual communion, in worship. From the human standpoint it is a question of combined meditation and relaxation. Meditation makes the contact of mind with spirit; relaxation determines the capacity for spiritual receptivity. And this interchange of strength for weakness, courage for fear, the will of God for the mind of self, constitutes worship. [Paper 160:3.1; page 1777.2]
Yes, Rodan exhorted us to follow the Master’s example of unbroken communion with our Father through sincere prayer and worship.
Prayer did not bring the spirit on the day of Pentecost, but it did have much to do with determining the capacity of receptivity which characterized the individual believers. Prayer does not move the divine heart to liberality of bestowal, but it does so often dig out larger and deeper channels wherein the divine bestowals may flow to the hearts and souls of those who thus remember to maintain unbroken communion with their Maker through sincere prayer and true worship. [Paper 194:3.20; page 2065.8 emphasis added]
Jesus taught his followers that, when they had made their prayers to the Father, they should remain for a time in silent receptivity to afford the indwelling spirit the better opportunity to speak to the listening soul. The spirit of the Father speaks best to man when the human mind is in an attitude of true worship. [Paper 146:2.17; page 1641.1]
What a contrast we would experience if we were to forsake “the incessant clamouring of an inescapable self for recognition and honour (our egos), and instead, as “listening souls”, choose the silent receptivity of true worship!
“It is not so important that you should know about the fact of God as that you should increasingly grow in the ability to feel the presence of God.” [Paper 155:6.12; page 1732.5]
How can we “maintain unbroken communion with our Maker” and “grow in the ability to feel the presence of God” if we are endlessly caught up in the compulsive chatter of our ego minds?
The Master admonished us to distance ourselves from the frenetic activity that characterizes modern existence and our animal minds.
Believers must increasingly learn how to step aside from the rush of life—escape the harassments of material existence—while they refresh the soul inspire the mind, and renew the spirit by worshipful communion. [Paper 156:5.12; page 1739.7 emphasis added]
…In the evolutionary superuniverses energy-matter is dominant except in personality, where spirit through the mediation of mind is struggling for the mastery. The goal of the evolutionary universes is the subjugation of energy-matter by mind, the co-ordination of mind with spirit, and all of this by virtue of the creative and unifying presence of personality. [Paper 116:6.1, page 1275.1]
In the microcosm of our personal mind experience, we can participate and cooperate with the fundamental goal of the evolutionary universes: the coordination of mind with spirit by means of the creative and unifying presence of personality! As self-conscious personalities, we can lessen the struggle for mastery that the spirit experiences in this process by choosing to consecrate our minds to the achievement of God-consciousness.
The great goal of human existence is to attune to the divinity of the indwelling Adjuster; the great achievement of mortal life is the attainment of a true and understanding consecration to the eternal aims of the divine spirit who waits and works within your mind. [Paper 110:3.4; page 1206.2]
We have been blessed with the gift of personality from the Universal Father, which means that we have the ability and responsibilty to choose our destiny through the decisions we make within the mind arena in which we live as personalities. [Paper 111:1.3; page 1216.4] Let us resolve to choose the divine life and forsake the ‘self’ life. Let us be determined like Jesus, to be self-forgetful and to make it our will to do the Father’s will. Let us aspire to God consciousness by being receptive to the leadings and urges of our Thought Adjusters in the realm of superconsciousness.
The great challenge to modern man is to achieve better communication with the divine Monitor that dwells within the human mind. Man’s greatest adventure in the flesh consists in the well-balanced and sane effort to advance the borders of self-consciousness out through the dim realms of embryonic soul-consciousness in a wholehearted effort to reach the borderland of spirit-consciousness — contact with the divine presence. Such an experience constitutes God-consciousness, an experience mightily confirmative of the pre-existent truth of the religious experience of knowing God. Such spirit-consciousness is the equivalent of the knowledge of the actuality of sonship with God. Otherwise, the assurance of sonship is the experience of faith. [Paper 196:3.34; page 2097.2 emphasis added]
James McGarry, Hobart - Presented at Canberra Conference
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.
My Initial Impressions of the Book:
The level of detail was quite astonishing for me. The precision of language to convey specific meanings and definitions, the order of universe beings and realities, and the immense detail on God (being far more balanced — a mix of western and eastern concepts attributed to God) and making God far more detailed in regards to how we can come to understand and have a relationship with Deity. God became far more real to me as a result.
The logical consistency of the book. Everything just seems to make sense because nothing contradicts itself as far as I can tell from having read the whole book.
What Parts of the Book Resonate with Me the Most, and Why?
The first few papers on the Universal Father because:
It’s the greatest revelation of God as a personality and his perfect nature (truth, beauty, and goodness – love) that I have come across.
It is truly personal and makes God easier to relate to. The father concept helps to relate to God, and implies we are all a part of the same spiritual family.
God’s personality is not presented as a great mystery that only few people can uncover – anyone can come to know and love God through their own capacity to receive him.
God loves us unconditionally – we don’t have to prove ourselves to him to be worthy of his love. Nor is he a respecter of persons (God’s love is universal). It is also easy for God to forgive – infinite mercy.
We are taught that salvation is based on faith alone (even a small flicker), not conformity to dogma or creeds. Furthermore, the concept of hell being a real place is proven to be false according to The Urantia Book, as it would be a contradiction of God’s loving nature.
God does not get angry or wrathful. The God of The Urantia Book is wholly beyond the human level, so naturally it is not reasonable for God to have negative human emotion. Divine affection is what we should solely expect from God.
The Thought Adjuster papers because:
We come to know that we are guided through life with the help of the Spirit of Truth and the Thought Adjuster (TA), which brings great purpose and direction to my life.
The TA gives us the ultimate opportunity to become perfect like God is perfect, in the qualitative sense.
Greatest act of God’s divine ministry.
The level of detail regarding how our mind is being spiritualised by the TA which makes it easier to devote my life to the will of God. Also helps form a more intimate relationship with the divine spark within me.
The Jesus papers because:
They are liberating – they free you from the bondage of fear-based religion and the natural uncertainties of life.
Studying the religion of Jesus has real practical significance for both the world and our individual selves. It re-orients our personality to the divine will – knowing about the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man replaces the old, immature attitude that you have towards life and other people.
We are taught that Jesus did not come here to redeem us for our sins. He came here to teach humanity what it means to demonstrate God’s love and to reveal God to us personally. This is a radical improvement upon the old Christian view of Jesus’s life.
Has the Book Removed any Fear or Uncertainties About Life, Death and Beyond? How So?
Life situations are not perceived as daunting prospects as a result of the guidance of the Thought Adjusters.
The wonderful detail of the afterlife is so reassuring that it obliterates the fear of death.
Has the Book Changed the Way You Live in a Positive Way? If So, How?
It helped me to integrate all the previous spiritual/religious teachings together in a unified manner in accordance with the teachings of The Urantia Book. Buddhist teachings on mindfulness helped me to separate my seat of identity with the mind – to see the mind as a tool. However, these religious teachings on mindfulness (being present) merely talked about the cessation of suffering as the goal, rather than a powerful tool to access higher states of thinking in the superconscious, and for the use of effective prayer and worship (getting closer to God). The Urantia Book, therefore, helped me to go beyond what evolutionary religion could provide – it helped me to understand that Truth without goodness (service to humanity) is incomplete. The teachings from The Urantia Book have had profound implications on my life in several ways:
Letting go of old habits and cultivating positive daily habits (e.g. even small things like what I eat and drink) that help me to align closer with the spirit. In other words, cultivating a philosophy of living.
Shifting my consciousness away from the old adjutant mind towards the soul mind. Being conscious of spending more time in spiritual communion (i.e. prayer, meditation, and worship) helps facilitate this and thereby facilitates greater receptivity to spirit influence on my mind. I’m now much more conscious of every small, or big, decision that I make in my life in accordance with God’s will.
It’s helped me interact with others and form relationships far easier because you know everyone has a spark of divinity within them. I am now more conscious of forming my relationships with others based on unconditional love, as well as being conscious of how the ego interferes with my interactions with others. I’m also more aware of looking for opportunities to be of service to people around me.
Daniel Swadling, Sydney - Presented at Canberra Conference
or…”How We Get to Heaven”
Firstly, I would like to thank the Canberra group for this conference and its intriguing theme of Mind Over Matter—Sprit Over Mind, and for inviting me to contribute! I would also like to thank the custodians of this revelation and in particular the authors of Papers 111, 112 & 40 that have guided me through this topic.
It was an historic day when Jesus laid down his carpentry tools in the boat shed for the last time, after hearing that John the Baptist had been arrested, and went into the temple to begin his public teaching ministry and preached on the ‘kingdom within’ where he said:
This kingdom is an everlasting dominion. Those who enter the kingdom shall ascend to my Father; they will certainly attain the right hand of his glory in Paradise. And all who enter the kingdom of heaven shall become the sons of God, and in the age to come so shall they ascend to the Father. And I have not come to call the would-be righteous but sinners and all who hunger and thirst for the righteousness of divine perfection. [Paper 137:8.16, page 1537.3]
I’ll come back to this but first (since it’s the day for footy Grand Finals!) I want to talk a bit about goals.
We are naturally target-oriented creatures. If we ever want or need something, our attention is drawn to it and our behaviour becomes aimed at obtaining it. This applies to everything in life from the simple, like food, to more complex things like getting an education or a career. Take the simple example: you are driven by a hunger urge to get food, so you think for a moment and plan how you are going to do that, then act out those plans to obtain it. (I call this simple, which of course it is now for us, but it wasn’t so long ago that it was complex and used to take all day, and in some parts of the world it still does). It’s no different for the more complex things we want or need, they require the same process: it starts with an idea that attracts our attention and we establish it as a target or goal, then we think about and plan the steps required to achieve it, then diligently carry out those plans. So if you ever wanted something/anything in life, then you are setting yourself a goal.
Setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. Goals show you exactly what you want to achieve and where you need to concentrate your efforts. Goals provide a long-term vision and motivation; they help you to stay focused on what’s relevant and to organise your time. Of course you don’t have to have goals, but if you don’t, life might just seem like an endless, meaningless grind.
You are on a journey. You need to set some goals on what you want to achieve or where you want to go and plan the steps needed to get there. It’s how you turn an idea into reality. When we travel anywhere, it usually helps to know the destination and work out how we will get there. You actually set a goal to get to this very room today. You thought about what was required to get here and then carried that out.
It has long been wondered where we are going in this life, if there is any meaning to it and if there is any point. And we have been so kindly shown and reminded by the Urantia Papers that indeed there is a point, that in this life we are on a thrilling and essential journey that in actual fact goes beyond this earth, traverses the universe and has a destination at its centre.
Paradise is the Goal. The Urantia Book states:
…to mortals the most important thing about eternal Paradise is the fact that this perfect abode of the Universal Father is the real and far-distant destiny of the immortal souls of the mortal and material sons of God, the ascending creatures of the evolutionary worlds of time and space. [Paper 11:9.8, page 127.6 emphasis added]
Paradise is unique in that it is the realm of primal origin and the final goal of destiny for all spirit personalities… Paradise (is) the goal of desire for all supermaterial personalities. [Paper 11:9.1, page 126.6 emphasis added]
If you know what your goal in life is, you can live your life with purpose to achieve that goal.
So, Paradise is the main goal, the biggest goal that can ever be set in our entire lives, far surpassing any goals we might have in our work, family or social life. And to attain such a stupendous and far-reaching goal is going to take some significant planning, and a genuine commitment from us to conduct our lives in accordance with that plan.
These Urantia Book Papers outline that plan. The Papers tell us there is a universal plan in place to help us achieve this goal, if we so choose it, and it all starts here in our seemingly insignificant lives. This is such a relief! The book conveys with certainty that there is a purpose to this life, that we’re not just some random accident of wandering space elements, come from nowhere going nowhere!
The plan is: to transform us from material hunks of matter, in ever increasingly spiritual increments, into “supermaterial personalities”, “immortal souls”, purely spiritual beings. Why? Well, ponder this:
The material beauty of Paradise consists in the magnificence of its physical perfection; the grandeur of the Isle of God is exhibited in the superb intellectual accomplishments and mind development of its inhabitants; the glory of the central Isle is shown forth in the infinite endowment of divine spirit personality — the light of life. But the depths of the spiritual beauty and the wonders of this magnificent ensemble are utterly beyond the comprehension of the finite mind of material creatures. The glory and spiritual splendor of the divine abode are impossible of mortal comprehension.[Paper 11:0.2, page 118.2 emphasis added]
And so we have the Ascension Plan; the spiritual transformation required to get to Paradise and meet the Father of all creation:
The Main Steps:
On Urantia you pass through a short and intense test during your initial life ofmaterial existence. On the mansion worlds and up through your system, constellation, and local universe, you traverse the morontia phases of ascension. On the training worlds of the superuniverse you pass through thetrue spiritstages of progression and are prepared for eventual transit to Havona. [Paper 14:5.1, page 158.4 emphasis added]
In Havona, our attainment is intellectual, spiritual and experiential, we attain full comprehension of God on many levels through traversing its seven circuits:
seventh: attain full comprehension of our superuniverse Master Spirit
sixth: realise God the Supreme
fifth: attain the Infinite Spirit
fourth: attain the Eternal Son
third: recognise the Universal Father
second: become more familiar with the Paradise hosts
first circuit: further spiritual attainment. Our arrival here signals our acceptance into the service of Paradise. Then when we are considered ready, we pass inward to what now becomes our Paradise home, and admission into the Corps of the Finality. [Paper14:5.4]
The Jubilee Markers:
The first jubilee marked the mortal agreement with the Thought Adjuster when the purpose to survive was sealed; the second was the awakening in the morontia life; the third was the fusion with the Thought Adjuster; the fourth was the awakening in Havona; the fifth celebrated the finding of the Universal Father; and the sixth jubilee was the occasion of the Paradise awakening from the final transit slumber of time. The seventh jubilee marks entrance into the mortal finaliter corps and the beginning of the eternity service. The attainment of the seventh stage of spirit realization by a finaliter will probably signalize the celebration of the first of the jubilees of eternity. [Paper 27:7.8, page 305.1]
The plan has been put into place to help us gradually fulfil that universal mandate of ‘Be you perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ It allows potential reality to become actual reality. And there is a raft of beings and spirits ministering to us along the way to assist us ever upwards and inwards.
We are given the freedom to choose this universal career or not; we are not obligated or forced in any way; we are given ample mercy, patience and opportunities (prior to fusion) to say ‘no thanks.’ But the simple fact of the matter is: if you want to continue being YOU, and don’t want to perish into oblivion, then you need to follow the ascension plan laid out.
And I hasten to add, I don’t think there need be any trepidation in following such a plan, just because it seems unfamiliar or incomprehensible, it’s not such a frightening or ‘out there’ notion. The ascension plan, put simply, is the technique of transforming us from physical to spiritual beings. You can just think about it in a technical way. Just like the way we live and grow physically follows a set plan, a technique, so too does our spiritual growth. This material life on this planet has been provided to us by the ‘gods’, and as we live it day by day, ‘loyally’ as the tadpoles turning into frogs, we are living according to its plan. The main difference with the next phase of the plan is, we get to choose it (or not).
And let us not forget just how important this material life actually is. If it was important enough for our own Creator Son to incarnate himself down here as one of us, then it ought to be treated with the utmost seriousness, respect and awe. Including all of its problems.
Said the Mighty Messenger, a one-time mortal come back out here from Paradise to tell us:
…What dignity of destiny and glory of attainment await every one of you! Do you fully appreciate what has been done for you? Do you comprehend the grandeur of the heights of eternal achievement which are spread out before you? — even you who now trudge on in the lowly path of life through your so-called “vale of tears”? [Paper 40:7.5, page 449.3]
Putting the Plan into Action
So how do we do this? They’re basically saying if you want to get to Paradise, a place where beings are wholly spiritual, then you have to become a spiritual being too. It’s not fanciful, it’s technical: it’s the technique of salvation. We know the goal, we understand the overall plan, but it’s huge so we have to break it down into smaller, manageable targets.
These are the main levels of attainment, which are both geographic and spiritual, stepping back down to us from Paradise:
Havona (spirit perfecting phase)
The Superuniverse (true spirit phase)
Our Local Universe (morontia phase), and then
Our planet Urantia (material phase)
We can’t progress to the next level up until we’ve achieved what we need to, spiritually, on the level we’re currently at. So if we’re serious and motivated to attain the ultimate goal, we need to take it one step at a time. We need only, for now, focus on the next attainable target, which for us material beings … is fusion. (This is more than enough for us to deal with right now, there will be ample opportunity to consider the proceeding targets after we fuse!)
The secret of personal survival is spirit identification (fusion) with the Adjuster. [Paper40:5.4] They say:
Mortal man may draw near God and may repeatedly forsake the divine will so long as the power of choice remains. Man’s final doom is not sealed until he has lost the power to choose the Father’s will. There is never a closure of the Father’s heart to the need and the petition of his children. Only do his offspring close their hearts forever to the Father’s drawing power when they finally and forever lose the desire to do his divine will — to know him and to be like him. Likewise is man’s eternal destiny assured when Adjuster fusion proclaims to the universe that such an ascender has made the final and irrevocable choice to live the Father’s will. [Paper 5:1.11, page 64.2]
If fusion doesn’t occur during the mortal life, then it typically happens during the phase of existence immediately following this one, usually by the sixth Mansion World. They describe these worlds as ‘dematerialising’ or ‘demortalising’ worlds, gradually chipping away our human-ness.
There (we are)
…a human mind housed in a morontia form — a material body of the morontia world but not a mortal house of flesh and blood. You really pass from the mortal state to the immortal status at the time of Adjuster fusion, and by the time you have finished the Jerusem career, you will be full-fledged morontians. [Paper 47:9.5, page 539.2]
On the evolutionary worlds, selfhood is material; it is a thing in the universe and as such is subject to the laws of material existence. It is a fact in time and is responsive to the vicissitudes thereof.Survival decisions must here be formulated. In the morontia state the self has become a new and more enduring universe reality, and its continuing growth is predicated on its increasing attunement to the mind and spirit circuits of the universes. Survival decisions are now being confirmed. …When the self attains the spiritual level, it has become a secure value in the universe, and this new value is predicated upon the fact thatsurvival decisions have been made, which fact has been witnessed by eternal fusion with the Thought Adjuster. And having achieved the status of a true universe value, the creature becomes liberated in potential for the seeking of the highest universe value — God. [Paper 112:7.6, page 1238.1]
So this is our short-term target: fusion with that sample of divinity within us.
There is something you can be doing every day to be working on this target: decisions. Decisions and more decisions! The decisions you make clearly have an impact on your life. Make good decisions and your life will improve, make poor ones and you suffer. Obviously, many decisions have purely material effects, e.g. choosing chocolate over fruit. But many decisions we’re faced with contain an opportunity for spiritual growth, e.g. choosing good over evil, right over wrong, truth over the lie or falsehood, beauty over ugliness, love over hatred.
The Urantia Papers frequently refer to truth, beauty and goodness, which they’ve borrowed from the ancient Greeks (Plato). They are referred to as the Transcendental Ideals of being. The Urantia Book has recognised them as examples of some of the highest ideals we’ve ever developed—because they approach being divine, because they transcend time and have the potential to be eternal—thus they are God-like values. When you make choices that are guided by these types of ideals of being, they are God-like choices; they a) improve your life immediately, and b) contribute to the growth of your (potentially immortal) soul. And the more we grow spiritually, the closer we are to fusion.
Material evolution has provided you a life machine, your body; the Father himself has endowed you with the purest spirit reality known in the universe, your Thought Adjuster. But into your hands, subject to your own decisions, has been given mind, and it is by mind that you live or die. It is within this mind and with this mind that you make those moral decisions which enable you to achieve Adjusterlikeness, and that is Godlikeness. [Paper 111:1.4, page 1216.6 emphasis added]
When a moral being chooses to be unselfish when confronted by the urge to be selfish, that is primitive religious experience. No animal can make such a choice; such a decision is both human and religious. It embraces the fact of God-consciousness and exhibits the impulse of social service, the basis of the brotherhood of man. When mind chooses a right moral judgment by an act of the free will, such a decision constitutes a religious experience. [Paper 103:2.8, page 1131.7]
This is where the soul becomes involved. Soul is something that evolves and grows. It is the by-product of the relationship between material mind and divine spirit.
Though the work of Adjusters is spiritual in nature, they must, perforce, do all their work upon an intellectual foundation. Mind is the human soil from which the spirit Monitor must evolve the morontia soul with the cooperation of the indwelt personality. [Paper 111:1.1, page 1216.3]
Why do you need soul, and why is it important?
During the life in the flesh the evolving soul is enabled to reinforce the supermaterial decisions of the mortal mind. The soul, being supermaterial, does not of itself function on the material level of human experience. Neither can this subspiritual soul, without the collaboration of … the Adjuster, function above the morontia level… During life the mortal will, the personality power of decision-choice, is resident in the material mind circuits; as terrestrial mortal growth proceeds, this self, with its priceless powers of choice, becomes increasingly identified with the emerging morontia-soul entity; after death and following the mansion world resurrection, the human personality is completely identified with the morontia self. The soul is thus the embryo of the future morontia vehicle of personality identity.[Paper 111:3.2, page 1219.1 emphasis added]
The soul is the receptacle in which the personality of YOU resides after death. So, if you want to survive after death and keep working on your target of Adjuster fusion, then you need to grow your soul. It’s nothing fanciful, just technical.
This is what Jesus meant when he advised us to ‘build up your treasures in heaven.’ And that day he put down his carpentry tools for the last time and went into the temple and began to preach on the ‘kingdom within,’ saying:
“This kingdom is an everlasting dominion. Those who enter the kingdom shall ascend to my Father; they will certainly attain the right hand of his glory in Paradise. And all who enter the kingdom of heaven shall become the sons of God, and in the age to come so shall they ascend to the Father. And I have not come to call the would-be righteous but sinners and all who hunger and thirst for the righteousness of divine perfection.” [Paper 137:8.16, page 1537.3]
Mortal mind is a temporary intellect system loaned to human beings for use during a material lifetime, and as they use this mind, they are either accepting or rejecting the potential of eternal existence. Mind is about all you have of universe reality that is subject to your will, and the soul — the morontia self — will faithfully portray the harvest of the temporal decisions which the mortal self is making. Human consciousness rests gently upon the electrochemical mechanism below and delicately touches the spirit-morontia energy system above. Of neither of these two systems is the human being ever completely conscious in his mortal life; therefore must he work in mind, of which he is conscious. And it is not so much what mind comprehends as what mind desires to comprehend that insures survival; it is not so much what mind is like as what mind is striving to be like that constitutes spirit identification. It is not so much that man is conscious of God as that man yearns for God that results in universe ascension. What you are today is not so important as what you are becoming day by day and in eternity. [Paper 111:1.5, page 1216.7 emphasis added]
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.
The programme was, as usual, fairly loose, but on the agenda were a couple of sessions dealing with next year’s ANZURA conference theme, “2020 Vision Through a Cosmic Lens: Hindsight, Insight and Foresight.”
View from balcony: Lake Taupo at Sunset
Marion lead these discussions with her trusty notebook and laptop on hand and there was valuable and lively input from all. We all felt confident with the theme, the agenda and the activities planned for the conference and we look forward to seeing you there.
There was quite a bit of study too and we completed Paper 112, Personality Survival (continued from section 4. Adjusters After Death).
Saturday evening was spent (by majority rule) watching the All Blacks lose to England!
For me, it is always a thrill to spend time with other readers where I can feel free to discuss anything, knowing I can use references and quotes from The Urantia Book and that they will be accepted by all.
Ian had to dash off early Sunday morning after a phone call saying his daughter was in labour in Auckland. He is now the proud grandfather of a lovely baby boy. Congratulations Ian and Robyn.
Online Study Groups
Our regular online study group has just changed from Tuesday to Thursday. The study group runs from 7.00 to 8.30 pm and the link to join the meeting is: https://zoom.us/j/2212675799. The Papers are usually chosen beforehand and it usually takes more than one session to complete each Paper as we have an option for anyone to input personal experiences, insights or questions as we go.
Diana is wanting to start a “face-to-face” group in Gisborne where participants (from any religion) are able to share their spiritual experiences. If you are interested in joining Diana’s group, please contact her: Diana Whakapapa, [email protected].
(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?
“Creating paradigms is a very long process. It is much easier for the individual than for a societal group.” (Travis Binion, 23 October 1999)
This is an obvious but important insight. Clearly, this notion of an “inner world” applies not only to that potential shared heritage of all mankind, but also to the private worlds we each build. Consider how, within each of us, an inner world is created by the adjutants, then lit by Michael’s spirit of truth. This is an auspicious start: our inner stage is built from near divine material. But how do we furnish these private apartments? How do we open these unseen rooms to our fellows? By what process do we as individuals engage a shared reality?
For the most part, our fantastic Phantasitc dreamscapes, woven from experience, from truth and myth and fact, remain private — a personal evolutionary essay. They represent our conscious effort to understand, and to respond to the challenges of life. (How much this essay is influenced by the spirit of Michael, and by the echoes of Adjustment that well up from within, remains mysterious.)
Of course, we are free to make a mess of this interior design. But remember, the Adjuster makes no mistake. Our best efforts, however many or few, are salvaged and organized into the fabric of our soul. With this level of security and guarantee, all fears become foolish.
Recently we have been exploring the idea that humanity needs an epic backdrop, a description of reality that is consistent, describable, sharable and arousing. In past epochs, cultures spun myths to act as their universe.
When the spiritual tests of greatness are applied, the moral elements are not disregarded, but the quality of unselfishness revealed in disinterested labour for the welfare of one’s earthly fellows, particularly worthy beings in need and in distress, that is the real measure of planetary greatness…[Paper 28.6.2, page 317.1]
Revelation is a technique whereby ages upon ages of time are saved in the necessary work of sorting and sifting the errors of evolution from… [Paper 101:5.1, page 1110.4]
These Papers are an ideal tool to help coordinate, integrate and elevate the myths and ideologies that currently sustain and restrain the cultures of our world. (And surely we will not make the mistake of merely swapping old myths and fables for a new credo. A valid concept can evoke truth, or be caged as dogma.)
Approaching this idea via the word “myth” helped trigger in me deep reflection about the way we individually and communally furnish this inner world. A better term might be “paradigm”. My personal favourite is “description”, since, at least for me, the process of furnishing this inner world has felt like building a “description of reality”.
But the problem remains of how we share these private inner worlds with our fellows. Even though as individuals we may converse with our Adjusters and cavort with Michael’s spirit in an ecstasy of intuitive experience, how can we, as a community, share these private descriptions, and by so doing, enlarge our private little worlds? This communal task requires some accessible form, and a language familiar to the group.
Enter the Urantia Papers, a set of fine-tuned concepts, designed to decorate our inner worlds.
This may at first seem abstract, but consider how we pass to our children echoes from our own inner worlds. Our friends and associates soon sense whether our inner world is full of beauty, or embarrassing mess. On a normal world, the people of each generation can expect to receive and pass on some more-or-less valid description of reality, one that had taken root in revelations from the civilizations of both a Planetary Prince and an imported Adamic race. But on Urantia, and in particular during recent generations, we have faced the problem of having no serviceable myth, no sufficiently valid description, to pass on to our children.
There is a way that “Things Are”. In each succeeding age, humanity has evolved some extended and more appropriate way to describe it. The Most Highs appear to be suggesting that, for this fifth epoch, we try the version presented within their Urantia Papers.
As early recipients of this fresh description, after we first repair and redecorate our own internal worlds (an effort in which the whole universe is conspiring to help us succeed), we are invited to join a project sponsored by these Most Highs: launching Urantia’s fifth age.
As readers, each of us have had this seed of revelation planted within. It is around this seed, upon this core of fundamental truth, that we have begun to build the first halting, evolutionary, versions of this fifth epoch frame. The difficult next step is to so extend our small understandings, our private “inner worlds”, that we can contribute to the establishment of this “inner world of mankind”. A worthy contribution to the advance of true civilization.
The advances of true civilization are all born in this inner world of mankind. [Paper 111:4.3, page 1220.2]
Future generations will live within some paradigm. As readers dedicated to the Father and our Michael, we are powerfully equipped to help the Most Highs build it. But many early recipients seem to be clients, not servers. Many appear ready and keen to enjoy this future “inner world”, neglecting the fact that it is not yet in place. While all of us will enjoy drinking the wine, we cannot yet press the grapes we have just begun planting.
Life is but a day’s work—do it well. [Paper 48:7.13, page 556.13]
And never is it necessary that any influence be brought to bear upon the Father to call forth his loving-kindness. The creature’s need is wholly sufficient to insure the full flow of the Father’s tender mercies and his saving grace. [Paper 2:4.2, page 38.2]
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
“It is I who send my spirit
“To indwell my earthly ones
“It is I who has Mothered your mind
“It is I who Fathers your soul
“Though you look and cannot find me
“My thoughts are concealed within
“Come now let us reason together”
Says the high and holy one
“I have spent many long days creating my precious ones
“Though your bodies be of the dust
“Though your bodies be of the fields
“When your death lays the sickle
“It is your soul I long to yield”
The Arena newsletter keeps students of The Urantia Book throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in touch with Urantia related news, activities and events from our local region as well as from the global Urantia Book reader community. It also provides interesting articles written by readers on a wide range of subjects from the book which we hope may be helpful in assisting with your studies.
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