Today's lesson will be on a most interesting subject: the subject of Spiritual Growth and Achievement. This is a topic which is well-timed to be presented and discussed now, for there has been reached in this mission a threshold level of information and experiential growth among the participants such that you will be better able to appreciate and incorporate the teachings that are included in this chapter of our lessons.
Spiritual growth is one of the most - if not the most - important subjects of each ascendent mortal's educational process from birth through eternity, certainly extending far beyond even that glorious moment when you shall behold the Father in Paradise. You shall never stop growing spiritually as long as you continue to exist, and indeed with each fragment of time that adds to your personal existence, you become ever more proficient at the process of spiritual growth and attainment. This is an inevitable result of experiencing the universe as an active participant, engaging in freewill decision making, expending effort - and indeed much, much effort shall be expended, my friends - worship, prayer, interaction with all of the father's creatures near and far. All these activities and many, many more beyond reckoning are integral, essential components of each of your individual missions - which is your own spiritual growth and development.
For some ascending mortals this begins at a very early stage to blossom into a more enhanced and aware process, even while on the planet of origin - or shall I say in your physical form and presence. This is true of all present in this room now. You have worked - each of you - very diligently, have striven to embrace the Father's will and have appropriately engaged in worship behavior, and therefore you have earned your present level of development. Others who are less wanting of spiritual growth progress more slowly. This is not to belittle them but rather offers some perspective and an answer to the unasked question of why there is not more evidence of advancement among your peers on Urantia.
You see, my friends, so much - so very much - is tied up in your own freewill decisions. The Father gladly offers you the whole universe and all that is within creation, but you must wish to have it and must work and work very hard in order to experience the delight and wonder that awaits. Do not think that once you pass from your life in the flesh that things will necessarily become easier. I do not say this to disappoint you, my friends, but again to help you to gain some necessary and appropriate perspective. Mortals in particular, especially while living in the flesh, desire comfort and ease of living. And this desire has led many toward sin and iniquity, and has led others to delay their own spiritual growth. It is indeed true in your mortal existence and beyond that you never receive anything for nothing. Now and forever that shall be true.
The Father has not set up a system of rewards and punishments as you understand it. Rather you are rewarded - to use a poor word, but it will suffice for now - you are rewarded for your effort, your striving, your earnest wish to do the Father's will by personal growth and spirit advancement now and beyond this life, at all of the levels of your ascendent great careers and far beyond the Paradise visitation that will certainly come on one blessed day for each and all of you.
The only real punishment that occurs is the delay of your growth, or - in extreme and rare cases - the cessation of existence, but this is indeed rare. It is unfortunate that the notion of punishment has been used as it has in some of the worlds, Urantia's, existing and extinct religious forms. Nonetheless it has. As you progress with your own personal individual growth, the nature of your service mission during your life now and beyond your sojourn on Urantia - will become clearer. It is unlikely that you shall awaken one morning and perceive this mission in its entirety with all details in place, which may be a disappointment to some. Instead, your perception will increase as grains of sand added to a small mound then becomes a hill and then a mountain. The accrual of knowledge in this respect may seem unbearably slow for you, my friends, but on the cosmic scale it is really quite rapid.
You must bear in mind that with each bit of growth that you achieve there are responsibilities, new responsibilities, incumbent upon you. Not only do you not achieve growth for free, in the sense of needing to expend effort, but your step forward brings you more work, more responsibilities, a greater requirement for service. Embrace this as it occurs and you will be much gratified, for doing so is a form of worship and brings you ever closer to the Father. And a sense of increasing inner peace will ensue, and the trials and tribulations of your physical existence will diminish accordingly.
Be not afraid! There is nothing to fear in this wonderful creation we have been given. Whether you progress rapidly or slowly is of no great - it doesn't matter that much. Spiritual growth is not a contest. God does not give blue ribbons, gold medals, plaques, for fast achievers and humiliation for slow achievers. There is no place in the great scheme for this sort of thing, and in fact, the difference in velocity of progress, if you wish to look at it that way, is so small that it is barely perceptible at the higher levels.
Once you leave the mansion world existence your perception of time will be greatly altered. You will not experience creation in terms of days, minutes, and seconds. There is a much different method of time reckoning at that level. And of course, by the time you reach that, your growth and your ability to learn spiritually will have matured to such a level that you will need these greater expanses of time for your activities. That is, your growth becomes greater and greater. It does not reach a certain level and then slow down and stop as you understand the growth process on Urantia. Rather, as you advance spiritually and grow to understand more and more the universe and the Father's plan, you become better and better able to guide your own growth, more facile in growing, and possessed of greater ability to grow. You will be able to expend much greater effort in this direction, and then you will be most gratified. But it will not be easy.
This is not a creation of lying around and taking it easy. We all work very very hard, to the limit of our capacity. Not to say that we are slaves, for we work of our own free will and in loving service, though we work - indeed we work. So, the idea of a heaven where the lucky lounge about on a cloud doing as they wish mostly nothing - is absurd. And indeed, if that were the case it would be extremely irresponsible of advanced creatures who had achieved survival status to loll about in such a way.
Fear not, there will plenty to keep you busy and it will be fascinating, always interesting. None of us in this room, mortal or beyond, will have a dull moment in the service of the Father.
What does this mean to you, each of you, personally, individually? And what does it mean for your group? You may look at our mission as a flower which has been carefully nurtured which has grown to maturity, and is in the process of blooming. And soon the petals will fall and the seeds will be dispersed by the wind. For, my friends, you have progressed well, and there will indeed be a shift in mission. Your group may certainly continue to meet and add members as you see fit. But those who have done their homework, so to speak, are ready to become more deeply engaged in individual activities aside from the group.
This does not mean drastically changing your life, nor does it mean selling books, appearing through mass communication forms, and proselytizing. Rather, it means you will - if you wish - become increasingly adept at imitating the life behavior of our master, Michael, while incarnated on this planet as Jesus of Nazareth. Of course you will not be crucified, but you will become better able to exemplify the art of living. And this, my friends, will have a very profound effect among your associates and even the most casual of acquaintances. You see there is no being on Urantia that can fail to detect, consciously or unconsciously, the glow that you will emanate and this will become increasingly strong as you work and progress.
It will not always be easy. But it will be, as I was saying, most gratifying. And it is likely that you will prosper materially - not as a reward from the Father, but as an inevitable result of spiritual consonance as opposed to spiritual dissolutes among your fellows. You will be the seeds of a new Urantia, a new era for this planet which has had such difficulties.
Those whom you influence will, in return, be motivated to seek spiritual growth themselves, and so on. And this will spread rapidly. It will be wonderful to observe. In fact, it has already happened and we are pleased. I therefore commend you all and encourage you to continue your efforts. Seek your inner voice. It is there, always. Trust that feeling that you have that guides you. And the blessings of the Father and all of His faithful servants shall go with you.
This is the conclusion of this lesson. I will be happy to accept questions.
S: Thank you for a very timely, inspiring and informative lesson on Spiritual Growth. I'm just delighted to know that our change in mission is not going to involve a change in teachers. I was a bit concerned, particularly after Ham left the Woods Cross group, and now he's coming back. I anticipated that that might be the message that would be issued today.
Your other students didn't know you were coming here today and made other plans. I did not get the word to them until late yesterday. It was too late to change some of their plans. I know they want to be here and I will give them copies of your lesson.
R: Yes, (S) The substance of these lessons has been designed such that the important elements shall be repeated many times so that those who may be absent from a given session will not miss the teaching. But thank you for your consideration. And as far as the teachers, if anything, there will be more teachers as the mission continues its progress and growth. As the first group of students goes forth as individuals and other others are touched there will be greater numbers of persons requesting teachers. We are ready for the call.
Q: I'm a little bit confused as to what you mean by our being seed, specifically, in this mission, and its nature and direction, or more or less specific spiritual goals? For example, I find that there are at least three arenas in which I am in contact with many people, and perform different roles. In a leadership position there is a natural flow of people who seek counsel, advice, and information from me. I am noticing lately that there have been more opportunities to talk about spiritual issues, points - God even - in situations where I would not normally have brought it up. Is that the kind of thing? I've been feeling more at ease in doing that, and also a bit of a pull to do that. Is that what you are talking about? Or is it specifically about the mission, and Machiventa and that sort of thing?
A: Yes, yes. Your question is a very good one. You are sought for spiritual information because your own level of spiritual growth is perceived by others. And by all means proceed. Be discreet and protect yourself, of course. But you have done very well and will continue to do so. Your individual mission is inextricably intertwined with the mission on Urantia of restoring the spiritual balance on this planet now that the universe circuits have been reopened and the planetary government restored. You might say that you have had the luck to be born at the right time.
Of course, once you pass from this physical life there will be others who take your place as far as reuniting Urantia and bringing Urantia up to speed, so to speak, in terms of planetary spiritual development. However your own personal mission and personal spiritual growth will be enhanced and much - very much - influenced by your role here on Urantia, first as student and seeker, developing into teacher. Does that answer? (S: Well, great.)
Q: I would like to see if I understand parts of today's lesson correctly. You were talking about punishment, the doctrine or theory of punishment, and you said that it was rather unfortunate. Is it more accurate to say that it is the natural consequences of breaking spiritual laws instead of punishment? Can we look at it that way?
R: Could you elaborate?
S: Yes. When we sin we merely - as I see it - break a spiritual law. And the results - instead of being a punishment for sin - are really the spiritual consequences of doing whatever it was that we did. Is that a better way to understand it?
A: Yes. Yes. You put it very well. There is an established harmony in all of Father's creation. Sin, iniquity, break that harmony. It is like trying to swim against a river. It is much, much easier, and more productive, to go with the river than to swim against it. Yes.
But mortals are created imperfect and therefore have great difficulty with naturally following the flow of the universe. There are very strong animal urges such as the one I alluded to earlier, the desire for comfort and ease.
Look at the lower animals on Urantia. You will observe that they spend much of their time sleeping. When they are not seeking food or procreating they generally sleep. This is the way of all animals, and it is a very strong urge in man on Urantia, and of will creatures of animal origin on other planets as well. It has taken many millennia for man to accept the work ethic, let alone embrace it, and even now as you are well aware there are many who spurn that work ethic to their detriment and, of course, to the detriment of the planet. A very important part of the work assigned to the first Planetary Prince and the first Adam and Eve of any planet is the teaching of work to the will creatures of that planet. And it is done through a system of rewards.
It is interesting that you bring up the topic of punishment. It is the higher way not to punish for misdeeds but rather to withhold rewards. To do so helps the spirit to grow from experience more than out and out punishment. However, where there are animals involved, punishment inevitably becomes necessary in order to maintain civil order so that work can be done. As Urantia continues to progress as a planet spiritually you will see less need to invoke corporal punishment, but that day is not here yet. Indeed, it is far off.
Lucifer erred greatly, and part of his doctrine was the idea that the desire to work would evolve of its own volition if will creatures of animal origin were given their own hand. This, of course, is faulty, and has led to much suffering and has retarded progress greatly on this and other planets involved in the rebellion. But that is behind us now. Lucifer did not recant despite the abundant evidence that he was incorrect. The basic notion that one will get something for nothing has been proven again and again to be incorrect. Does that answer?
Q: Yes. It seems to me that when I'm trying to reach the stillness - and most of the evenings I make the effort - that I am still not able to communicate with either you or my Thought Adjuster, but during the day time when I'm working on the editing of the papers which I hope we will call Rayson and Friends that I seem to be guided by you and by my Thought Adjuster in my selection of concepts and in editing. Is that correct?
A: Yes, we are there helping you when you ask. (06/19/93)
Today's lesson is on education and spiritual growth. This is an interesting topic in many ways. As you may have guessed, a very important part of this teaching mission is, as its title says, education. The way that we understand education varies somewhat from the concept as grasped in the material life. There is the presentation of a novel concept to the student. And the act of presenting the concept requires not only diligent effort on the part of the teacher but also the spiritual ingredient of love for the student and the sincere desire to impart that which has been gained through effort, that is, information. Without these two elements, as well as a third element, namely the sincere receptivity of the student, himself or herself, and the student's reciprocal love of knowledge and search for truth, then no real learning will occur.
This is like a chemical reaction you may say. And, in fact, physical and electrical forces are very much involved in the education process. There is actual exchange of energy between the teacher and the student when true learning occurs. I am sure that everyone here has sensed that at one time or another during your lives. Think back, and remember the occasion when you acquired knowledge - and the teacher - and the occasion was marked by that different feeling within; not just a pedagogic exercise, but not so different from a dance in which both partners must coordinate their efforts and actions in order to achieve a successful result. There is nothing passive about education, about the learning process, and it may well prove to be the most difficult work that you perform for much of the first part of your eternal career.
Additionally, part of the mission for each and every will creature created by the Father is to continue learning for the full period of your existence. Father has placed in all creatures abilities that are geared to assist in learning. Even the virus of Urantia is able to learn. And the act of learning can most definitely be placed in the category of miracle.
Like the secret of life, the secret of learning is unfathomable to the mortal mind. And like life, the mortal is able to perpetuate learning. And the analogy extends further for - as you are aware - many mortals believe they are responsible for life, and they are responsible for learning - lacking humility - in ignorance and denial of truth.
As you grow in your ability to worship through your efforts, you will find that your capacity to learn is enhanced - yet another beneficial result of spirit growth - not a reward as you understand rewards, but more a result of following Father's plan rather than resisting.
There has been talk in some of our recent lessons about Caligastia. And it is interesting to note here that the moment Caligastia received the idea of rebellion during communication with Lucifer was the moment at which his ability to learn ceased, and his ability to worship. And it could be said that he started to die at that moment, truly die, not a material death, but the profound death of the spirit. This can happen to mortal beings, of course. It is rare, but these are the ones who elect non-survival.
You are given all of the perceptual qualities that your particular brain is able to accommodate to assist you in learning in the form that you now assume on Urantia. Your capacity to see, hear, feel, tastes, smell, are major tenants of your perceptual cognition. And there are a great many sub-categories that are also very useful. The entire human brain participates in learning, although this may not yet be recognized by your scholars. And in fact the entire body also participates, but not with exactly the intensity that the brain does.
How is education and learning different among will creatures compared to those who lack free will? Because of the capacity to make free will decisions, an extremely important dimension in processing information belongs to the will creatures. Without this added sense - for it is a sense as your vision is - a being is unable to learn sufficiently to achieve the requisite spiritual growth needed for survival. So you see, that is why the appearance of creatures capable of freewill decision making is such a critical event on a planet. A critical and wondrous and miraculous event indeed.
When you pass from this life and move on to the next level, the joy that you have now, from such experiences as procreation, will be imparted through learning and through worship and through assisting Father and His loving servants in creating that which is. Your memories of joy will most definitely be preserved as this emotion is really important in spirit growth. Since you are of animal origin and nothing is wasted, those strong feelings that are beneficial to animal survival - procreation, hunger and seeking of food, the desire to rest the body, aggression in the face of danger - once free will arrives, it becomes possible for the possessor of free will to channel these strong animal emotions into the service of the spirit most constructively. For each of you here doing that, channelling these emotions into your own personal spiritual growth is a part - an important part - of your own personal mission here on Urantia. Many of the components of these lessons are aimed at teaching you how to achieve this end. We know that this is very difficult.
Do not have remorse for your animal behaviors. Remorse is not very useful in service of Father. If you regret some of your actions, reflect on them and learn a way to - in future - direct such emotions and energy toward your own personal spiritual growth. Review these simple lessons that have been presented and the most excellent presentations provided in your Urantia Book which go into great detail in this matter. Think of The Urantia Book as your textbook for learning in conjunction with this teaching mission. In this way you will aid in your receptivity of spirit teaching. Now that the universe circuits are open, fully open, it is possible for each of you to tap into the transmissions, albeit less than a fully conscious level. You can do so through worship, through acts of loving service - not servitude, but service - through your own earnest desire to grow, to improve yourself and those about you, and through sharing in discreet ways that which you have gained with others. Not your material acquisitions. But those which are spiritual. When you do this you complete the final part of education and learning, which is that the student shall always become teacher. The true test of learning resides in this act.
There is no teaching without somewhere in the being a love for the Father, even though it may not be acknowledged. That is teaching as we understand it as will creatures. And this is also required for true learning. Every step that you take in your spiritual growth career you shall be receiving from those who are one step beyond you and you shall be giving to those who are one step behind you. There will be further lessons about education and teaching but because your transmitter tires, we shall stop at this point now, and I shall take any questions.
S: Rayson, I have two statements that are related to the lesson but not related to each other. My first comment is that The Urantia Book says that the universe is one vast school. That thought is quite appropriate to underline your session.
R: Yes, very much.
S: The second comment: I found it amazing, even astounding, that Caligastia lost the only two spiritual qualities or components that make the difference between animals and humans in this lifetime. He lost the sixth and seventh adjutant mind-spirits, the equivalent of wisdom and worship. I know the adjutant mind-spirits do not work beyond the animal level, but I think it is fascinating that the spiritual equivalent of these two adjutant mind-spirits are what he lost. So he then became a spiritual animal for all practical purposes. Is that correct?
R: Yes. That is most astute. That is what happened, and this is an illustration of the true extent of Father's - of what Father will allow His creatures to do. But you can see the results, can you not? (S: Yes, I sure can.) (06/26/93)
Q: Is it normal for us to have periods of forward growth in our spiritual growth? There is an old saying: one step forward, two steps back. Is it normal for us to have periods of regression or that seem like regression? And are they really regressive? Is it possible that we come out of those black periods with more resolve, better understanding? Or are we just starting over again?
A: Well, remember again that spiritually only the positive is perceived, so it is most likely that what you personally experience is not regression, but rather stasis. That is, the forward progress you make may slow or even halt for periods. It is unlikely that anybody in this room today has actually regressed in their spiritual growth, because a true spiritual regression requires iniquitous decision making, and none of you have done that. But as I said earlier, at the spiritual level - and this will be far more apparent to you once you pass from the material life - it is the sense of awe and wonder that one gains from forward motion in the terms of spiritual growth that is such a strong incentive for beings to journey Paradiseward. And a slowing or a delay in that journey in not necessarily painful, nor is it regressive, but the wonder and awe stop. And the cessation of the wonder and awe just is not a desirable state to be in.
You are probably experiencing that yourself. Do not be so harsh with yourself. Accept the fact that you are not created perfect and that you are very much feeling your way in your spiritual growth on this planet that has had so much misfortune. You are not in conscious contact with the universe circuits, as are beings on other planets. Rather, your guide is your own faith, and that is far more difficult to follow, far more difficult. And you have done very well, and will continue to do so.
Think about the factor of faith, and remember that Father punishes no one for a stuttering journey. In fact, He does not even punish those who decline to take the journey. The only spiritual punishment that exists in the universe is the lack of spiritual perception, or eventually, the state of non-being. But this is a choice. You have not made that choice. None of you has made that choice.
Do not let the fear of pagan religions and of your own animal heritage seep into your spiritual journey. There will be no punishment. You all know that deep inside. Think of it during the static periods. Even the best need to rest from time to time. You have read in your books about the need for reversion directors. Does that answer? (08/28/93)
R: Remember again, my friends, that spirit growth in man does not occur by virtue of outside influence, material outside influence,. It cannot be forced, persuaded, bought or arranged in any way by another being. It is, and always shall be, a matter of an individual decision to accept and work with the indwelling Thought Adjuster.
There is every example imaginable of this happening in the face of love, kindness, terrible cruelty and torture, enormous handicap and great wealth. There is no easy formula that you can follow to influence your fellows. You must lead your own personal life as you, in contact with your Adjuster and your own sense of universe message, deem appropriate. You are responsible for yourself while on this planet, and by conducting yourself as Jesus did you will be doing the most that you can do to positively affect this planet and your fellow beings.
I know that this is hard for you as it was for me. One asks, But is there not more that I can do? Please, please tell me where can I spread my wealth? How can I spend my time? Who can I speak to? What can I do? It must be more complicated than that. Well, the material acts of giving, speaking, doing, while well-intentioned are not the way to influence spirit growth and actually are far easier than working on one's self. As you endeavor to lead your life truthfully, kindly, with loving and goodness, your example will be observed by one and all, and your light will be perceived at least by the Thought Adjuster of others, if not by their conscious minds, and there will be a deep awareness of your goodness and your courage and faith. It requires great patience to persevere in this way. Have faith.
But consider the lighthouse. It does not go to ships, swim across waves. It faithfully turns. And as the lighthouse mechanism turns, the searchlight flashes across the waters through the air, rendering service to one and all who perceive its brightness. Be like the lighthouse, my dear. Does that help?
S: Yes. Thank you. It's a beautiful image. It does help indeed. (10/23/93)
Q: Rayson, I keep pondering things about the ascension plan. Sometimes questions come up that I'm not sure you're permitted to answer. But I'm going to ask anyway. In Urantia years, such as this is 1993, would you tell me the year of the last dispensational resurrection?
A: I am truly not permitted to give you such information.
S: I rather thought you weren't, but one does wonder.
A: You will know soon.
Q: When I get there. No, I was thinking about others who have preceded me on the journey, and wondering where they were along the way, and so forth. I believe I understand the plan well enough, but I'd like to know; a person who does not know about God's ascension plan in the manner of the teachings in the Urantia Book, but who has a religious relationship with Father, is a believer, is a loving person, lives in his belief, can he or she actually skip the long sleep and be resurrected on the mansion world on the third day, if they were prepared spiritually?
A: Yes. At present this is quite rare. Remember as you ascend with each step Paradise-ward your power to perform spiritually increases. With that power goes greater responsibilities, and it would be most unwise to allow too rapid progression of the unprepared. This does not mean that there are not beings on Urantia who are most virtuous and devoted and work-oriented and service-driven. But imagine that you are in a storm at sea and every bit of your effort is required to keep the ship afloat ... [end of side of tape] When that storm subsides and you find yourself at a distance from land, what would be the point of giving you a wheeled vehicle?
Q: Yes. Thank you, Rayson. Then, carrying this further, the sleeping survivor is not aware of the passage of time. Is there preparation going on during this sleep to undertake the next journey?
A: Well, yes, in the sense that there is something of a remodelling of memory that occurs not unlike that which happens when you emerge from your mother's womb. The newborn baby recalls nothing of life in the womb, and the newborn mansion world inhabitant recalls nothing, really, of life in the flesh, but does take the benefit of that life forward. And when there is reunion among those who once shared material life experience, you are permitted a glimpse of that memory. But it is not specifically preserved within your being. It is reposited elsewhere. You will not find this to be very interesting anyway, once you become fully aware of the mansion world life. [laughter]
Q: By that you mean we will not find our mortal memory plan interesting? The plan that I'm asking you about, that you have just told us, I think is beautiful and we might find that still interesting.
A: Exactly. What do you care about sensations you might have dwelt upon at length while you were floating in amniotic fluid? [laughter] (11/13/93)
S: Is Prince Melchizidek here today?
R: He is not directly present, but is observing from afar. He is always aware of these proceedings but cannot always be physically present.
S: I would like for him to observe my commendation of you and your presentation of the lessons which he's helped you write. The lessons themselves are marvellous, and your presentation of them is wonderful. You have very, very high marks.
R: Thank you for your kind comment, however I am judged by the effect upon your lives and the lives of those with whom you interact, no matter how kind your comments may be.
S: Even by that test you're number one. I see changes, spiritual changes, spiritual growth in every one of your students.
R: You would be amazed, each of you, to know how far your own personal spiritual work actually goes. There is so much that you touch with each passing moment. It is truly astonishing, truly a chain reaction. The benign contamination of spirit growth is a very fast growing thing, indeed. I shall now bid you farewell, and I shall look forward to seeing you anon. (12/18/93)
© 11:11 Progress Group.
"Michael est toujours au Volant."
(Michael is always at the Steering Wheel.)