GOODNESS

 

It is time, my friends, to again discuss the matter of goodness. You may be thinking have we not had many, many lessons on this topic? Why do we need yet another? Goodness is a very basic, very critical concept that has great depth, ranging from the most superficial aspects which are easily grasped by mortal beings all the way to mota and far beyond mota. You will go on learning about goodness all through your ascension career, so it is not redundant to have a lesson about goodness at this time.

Goodness is a manifestation of our Father. When we behave in good ways we are imitating Father. We are showing Him to our fellows, and we are sending a message to Paradise in that unique way that all of our actions are transmitted. The message is a good one, and is greeted with pleasure by the Most Highs. And it makes this planet shine a bit more brightly in the cosmos.

Goodness is a building block. Your good act will stand for a long, long time as - I do not know the words to describe it, so I will use the word “spiritual” – as a spiritual entity on Urantia. And the good acts of you and your fellows through the history of Urantia go to build a solid edifice of worship to Father, like bricks or building stones, if you will. Those who have spiritual vision are able to see the good that has been done on Urantia just as if they were viewing building blocks, which is quite wonderful indeed.

We have discussed in previous lessons this matter of the vision of the one who is in material form as opposed to the vision or perception of the one who is in the spiritual form. What is seen by the material person is barely or not seen at all by the spiritual and vice versa. It is rather sensed by the spiritual.

Spiritual beings perceive spiritual things such as goodness just as firmly as you would perceive a table or a chair or a car or a stone. And the car and stone that you perceive and consider to be your real world are only sensed by the spirit. Therefore your perception, as a material being, of goodness and other spiritual things will be more of a sense, a sensing, a feeling, if you will, although that is not a good word. If you can grasp this concept and use it in your future observations as you go about your activities on Urantia, it will help you greatly to understand the dealings of the spirit, and it will also enable you to perceive more clearly the promptings of your Thought Adjuster - which are, among other things, urgings for you to do good.

This perception of spiritual things has been described as being of gossamer quality, like the faintest of breezes blowing across one's face, in some of the Urantia religious tracts. This is a good way of describing it. Again, I want to remind you that when you work on your spiritual perception, the more you work on it, the stronger it will become. When you work on your goodness and its expression in your acts, the more you strive, the more good you will manifest.

There is an unfortunate fact of semantics in this language that equates goodness with value, but that is not the meaning of the spiritual concept of goodness as far as the material aspect of value. For you know that Father loves us all with no favorites. You will not become a teacher's pet by striving to do good. You are not in a competition with all others for Father's favor by striving to be good. That is not how the universes operate. I know that it is difficult for mortal beings to let these ideas pass, and that is why I am reminding you. It is not good, better, best. One strives to be like Father because it is right. One strives to be good, to be honest, to be loyal, to be merciful because it is right - not because it is to be superior.

As you, my friends, become more spiritually attuned and develop your spiritual muscles through your actions, you will become more humble. And as you become more humble, more truly humble, the notion of superiority as it falls off your shoulders will seem increasingly to have been an unnecessary burden and hindrance. And your life will become easier for having discarded that notion, and that, too, is good.

Now, it has been said by some of your thinkers in the past that one should never let go an opportunity to do good. This is a most interesting utterance. Does this mean that as one comes at you with knife bared intending to harm you, you offer a bouquet of flowers? A fistful of money? A kiss? No. Jesus faced with that situation would surely have protected Himself, but He would not have necessarily drawn His own knife. And in not drawing his knife, His act would have been good. Do you understand? (Yes). In doing good do you feel it is appropriate to offer things to people without any effort on their part? For example, giving food to the indolent, clothes to those who are capable but will not work, housing to those who will not maintain it, and so on. Is that good? Think upon this, my friends. Would Jesus do that? Did He?

But then, of course, we have another matter, the matter of healing. Disease is a complex matter which involves the interplay of physical factors with spiritual factors. Every disease known on Urantia contains both elements, and you will remember that Jesus did indeed heal those who came to Him without question. You may say, but is this not the same as giving a house to the man who will not work or clean his home? No, because a house is a material thing and disease is not a wholly material thing. A full understanding of the contrast between these two situations is a mota exercise which may be beyond the scope of this mission, but it does no harm to work on this, my friends. And attempt to resolve what may very well seem to be paradoxical. As you all strive to be good, you will in a sense be healers.

Be careful now, though, to differentiate between healing illness and catering to greed. Do not deprive your fellow Urantians of the personal adversity that is so necessary to their own spiritual growth. Certainly you may help, but it is important to understand where the line is to be drawn. And it is very much an art to learn this method of discernment.

The life of Jesus is a study in goodness, and as I have often asked in previous lessons, I again ask that you turn to the account of His life as an example for you. Is there perfect goodness? Yes, in Paradise. Is there perfect goodness on Urantia? No, not at present, but there is the potential for movement toward light and life which is in the direction of perfection in spiritual terms. Is there goodness in animals? No, goodness is an advanced spiritual concept. Is there goodness in humans who are savages? That depends on the level of development, but if the savagery is deep enough it is possible to find savage humans who are bereft of goodness. Can a good person become ungood? Yes, by turning from God and plunging into iniquity. Can the reverse happen? Yes, by all means, with great effort and faith.

When does the human begin to grasp the notion of goodness? Shortly before the Thought Adjuster arrives there is in most human mortals a beginning of understanding of goodness. Certainly the pre-Adjuster mortal responds positively to goodness in other humans. But the capacity to behave in good ways is not truly present until the Adjuster arrives. That is not to say that infants cannot mimic goodness quite well.

We will stop at this point in our discussion and take questions, if you wish.

Q: Thank you for a very, very deep lesson on goodness. You said some things that I certainly haven't thought about. Up until now I've had a rather simplistic definition of goodness as being roughly that which is in accordance with the will of God and evil as being that which is not in accordance with the will of God. Could you address that aspect of goodness?

R: Can you be more specific, please?

Q: Yes, I think that I tested almost everything by whether or not I thought it was in accordance with the will of God. If it was, I thought it was good. And if not, I thought it was evil. This is a rather simplistic view, but it's the test that I used.

A: Of course it is the will of God that goodness be done, that goodness characterize the actions of freewill beings and, of course, the actions of perfectly created beings. However one can act not perfectly in accord with the will of God and yet still be doing good. There can be flawed good at the material level. It is not such a binary concept. If I understand you correctly, that is, it seems that you are presenting the idea of good as either good, in accordance with the will of God, or not good, not in accordance with the will of God.

S: That is correct.

R: The aspects of the spirit are not so black and white. It is more a matter of what you call quanta.

There is the first step toward goodness which is perceived by one and all in Paradise as a positive move, and the second step and the tenth step and the hundredth step and the millionth step. All are in the realm of good even if they are not wholly and completely a part of a life which is dedicated to the will of God. Material beings are understood to be flawed, to sometimes do the right thing with the wrong motive.

The wrong motive is not the will of God, but the right thing is. Do you understand?

S: Yes, I certainly do. Thank you. (You are welcome.)

Q: Rayson, would you say then that all goodness which mortals do in attempting to do the will of God, is within God's will even though it may not be His perfect will?

A: That is correct. That is closer to the concept. Yes. (Thank you.)

Q: During your lesson on goodness you spoke of spirit sensing. Do we have spirit sensors that sense some phase of spiritual reality as we do physical sensors to sense some phase of physical reality?

A: Yes. Yes, you do. The lifelong promptings of your Thought Adjuster have laid up a store of information in your deep mind that enables you, if you will it to be, to sense along these lines. Think to yourself of your observations of random strangers and the senses you have had about them. Have you not had these feelings?

S: Yes. I deal with that in several chapters in my book.

R: So you see that spirit sensing does truly exist. (Yes.) Have you found in your personal experience that you are able to work with this ability and cause it to be enhanced?

S: Yes, I certainly think so. Human beings saw many, many centuries before they ever understood sight. And they realized that it came through the eyes before they understood the mechanics of its coming through the eyes. We probably have spirit sensors which are spiritual in nature that we utilize all the time but don't really understand. Is that correct?

A: Yes. This is a small digression, but I think it is useful at this point. The sensation of pleasure that you all possess has been present, of course, since the earliest days of emergence from animal status and, of course, pleasure has been sought in many ways. But as man on Urantia continues to evolve toward light and life, the sensation of pleasure will increasingly be sought through spirit growth and attempts to carry out the will of Father rather than through animal strivings. (Thank you.) Just as sight was present for many eons before it was understood, so too was pleasure. And the pleasure that the ill person experiences when spiritual healing occurs is something that can be used to advantage by the one who wishes to do good. Do you see? (Yes.)

Q: You were talking about us having senses of goodness and that we're able to increase our ability to sense goodness. Can you help with how to do that? Sometimes you sense goodness in somebody you don't know. Sometimes you don't sense goodness in somebody you don't know and you find out later that you're wrong - one way or the other. What happens when we sense something, maybe incorrectly, and how can we learn to sense it, do better at it? It probably has something to do with the fact of goodness not being all good or all bad, but I was wondering if you might say something more on that?

A: Yes, that is a very good question. You are right that it is not all good or all bad. It is important when you put out your feelers - so to speak - for goodness that you look beyond the physical demeanor of the one you are viewing. It is easy to form a snap judgment without having enough information about the spirit of the one you are watching. This is particularly common at the beginning of your ventures along this line. As you work more and more to look for this in people, it will be useful for you to confirm your observations by gathering more information about those you observe. For example, by talking with them, by watching their behavior over a longer period and comparing what you amass in terms of concrete information to your initial impression. You will know that you are advancing along the line of spiritual perception when your instant assessment becomes more and more congruent with your assessment after long association. Does that help?

Q: Is this what the Master meant when He said judge not lest you be judged?

A: Yes, among other things. He meant much beyond that when He said that, too. That particular saying had very far-reaching ramifications in terms of the administrative structure of the cosmos. Do you understand? (Yes I understand.) I am sorry if I seem vague in giving you instructions on spirit perception, but I am still working on this myself.

Q: Rayson, is goodness a state of being having to do with spirituality as well as a form of doing?

A: Yes, and many, many other things as well. It is a basic spiritual concept that has many, many layers, many dimensions, many outworkings, and learning all of these will take you a very, very long time.

S: I think my Thought Adjuster's been working on me along those lines, trying to understand this.

R: But make no mistake, others can and do perceive this in you, even those of very limited vision, and you will sense this, too. You already have, many of you. Is that not true? (Yes.) It is magnetic. So be ready to deal with those who are drawn to you in a gracious and God-serving fashion. Did not our Master always have time for His supplicants? (Yes.) (10/09/93)

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Today's lesson is on a subject that we have covered numerous times in the past, however today's presentation will add a new dimension, hopefully, to your understanding. We are going to explore the topic of goodness and its role in your lives now, particularly now, but also later in your ascension careers.

I have sensed that some among you have been distressed by what you correctly perceive as a lack of goodness on the part of some of your fellow mortals on Urantia. This is painful even to Father in Paradise, and, of course, to myself and the other beings who are here as observers and participants in the present Urantia mission of upstepping and reconnection to the universe at large. So, of course, it is to be expected that this would be painful to you who must live in its presence. And as your spiritual growth proceeds you will become more keenly aware of spiritual retardation in others, as you have most likely already noticed.

So, you may ask, what can I do about this? How in my small way, as a lone individual, can I help? What would Father have me do? What is the right way? And your Adjuster will always, always say that the way of goodness is the proper path, if you would help Father to further the work toward eventual light and life on this planet.

Leading a life of goodness sounds simple, and yet even for Michael, as Jesus, it was not easy. Why should this be so? After all, it seems logical that to be good, to behave in good ways, would be simple.

There are many reasons that goodness is elusive to mortals of imperfect creation. You are all aware of your animal origin and the strong influence that animal desires exert upon you in your daily activities.

This is a very powerful force in pulling the individual away from the direction of goodness. And it is true that, on a material world of imperfect origin, behaviors that are not wholly consistent with goodness of intent can be very rewarding in terms of material success, accumulation of prestige, perceived mating desirability, access to leisure activities, all of those things that are so prized by the animal within you.

But your Thought Adjuster is always there, ever attempting to communicate with your deepest mind, and when you sincerely desire to commune with your Mystery Monitor about your own life and actions, you will each and every time be answered in detail with regard to the structure of your behavior in the direction of good and truth and love and beauty.

And, yes, it can be painful, as I myself know so well, to turn away from the well-learned and heavily practiced animal gratifying styles toward Father on the basis of faith alone and inner promptings that may seem at best vague. But, my friends, to do this, to consult with your inner fragment of God increasingly, and to heed, as much as possible, the promptings which you receive, is the way, the best way and the only way, for you to help to correct the deficiencies of your fellows and of course of yourself.

How can this be, that your own behavior, without a direct interaction with others, can yet act to undo or correct spiritual deficiencies in them? Even I do not fully understand this phenomenon, but I will describe it to you as best I can. All of what is exists in such a way that it works well when the ways of Father are followed. Things work well and most efficiently when the will of Father is heeded, and work poorly or not at all when Father's will is defied. That is why the acts of a good person are so powerful, because you, my dear friend, acting as an individual of good will and Adjuster prompting, set off a chain of events with each proper and Father-focused act. This chain of events is most efficient, far-reaching and ripples across time in a most interesting way to have the most magnificent effect on all of Urantia, and indeed, on all of the universe. And it will penetrate each of your fellow Urantians to the core of his being.

I do not know why this is, but if you can imagine an arrow shot by an expert hand with a perfect bow flying through space with no friction, no resistance, that might be an analogy which would be helpful to you.

And what of the act of the one who is deficient, the one who rebels against the Adjuster, who wishes not to be good. The act of that one falls at his feet and truly goes no further. So ineffectual it is. You may ask but what of the one who murders? What of the one who steals? What of the one who enslaves, beats, or in many other ways seeks to dominate and harm other beings? Does not the act of that person penetrate at least one other? Materially, yes. Spiritually the only effect that wrong-doing can have on another being is to promote the spiritual advancement of the other, for remember that adversity always leads to spirit growth, as long as there is will to follow the ways of Father.

What of the one who harms a being who has not yet been endowed with an Adjuster, such as a baby?

How is the baby with no Adjuster benefited spiritually by the adversity of its own murder or harm in other ways? Prior to the arrival of the Adjuster in beings of animal origin, there is more of an animal-like response to pain and suffering than after the Adjuster arrives. Yes, pain is indeed felt and causes suffering in the baby, but not as you would experience it, not at that level of intensity, so the baby is somewhat protected in that way. Spiritually there are guardian entities that surround the baby and enable it to depart the material body more quickly when conditions of inappropriate material action are being applied. And it is recorded in the life account of this person, the baby, that such events occurred.

And when the Adjuster meets again with this being on the mansion worlds an increment of spirit progress is allotted to compensate for that which was lost.

Father suffers with you, my friends, as do I and all of the teachers present now and all of the beings present now at the most unfortunate behaviors inflicted upon Urantians by those who are unwilling to heed Adjuster promptings or who have even dismissed their Adjusters. It is our fervent hope that this mission will assist the human cultures of Urantia that presently exist to adjust themselves in such a way that such beings will be expunged. This must happen on Urantia. I cannot tell you when that will occur. It must happen on this planet in order for the next step to be taken toward light and life. Until that step is taken, the suffering will continue, and for now it is more important than it ever has been that you continue to strive for goodness in your lives.

Your glow will increase and be perceived, and the power of your actions will be magnified. Now that the circuits are open again there is more potential for the spreading of your own goodness than there has been on this planet for many ages, and as each upstepping of energy occurs, so too will the capacity for the magnification of goodness increase. Father waits for your progress and as you step forward, He meets you with a step forward toward you. He loves you very, very much, and has given you all that you need to fulfil your destiny.

I will stop at this point and receive questions.

Q: Thank you again for a very good lesson on goodness. I'm glad to see you're continuing on that subject. Will you please address the problem of the individual who denies that God exists, who has no faith that he or she will survive, and yet, according to all human indications, goes about doing more good than those who believe otherwise, believe in the existence of deity and their own survival. What do you have to say about these individuals?

A: There is no good behavior without faith in God, be it admitted or not. Were such individuals to truly disbelieve, they would not be good. How many have you known who have earnestly avowed deep and sincere faith, and yet their actions were not good?

S: Well, I've known quite a few that disavowed faith, and yet their actions were good according to human standards. I've also heard of those who avowed faith and believed they were going to survive whose actions were not so good.

R: Perhaps the ones who deny faith and yet are good are not denying what you understand to be faith, but are actually denying established religion, as you know it. There is no requirement for participation in established religion for one to have faith or be good, is there?

Q: Are you saying that one can have living faith without knowing it?

A: Yes, certainly. It is shown in the behavior of the individual. We all know the difference between right and wrong. And yet it is only the one who has faith who behaves in right and good ways, although it may not be recognized as faith-driven behavior by the one who is acting.

Q: That adds new meaning to the parable of the man who had two sons. He asked them each to do something. One said he would not. The other said he would. Yet the one who said he would, didn't; and the one who said he would not, did. Is that illustrative of the point you're making?

A: Yes.

Q: On one occasion an individual addressed Jesus as good Master, and He responded by saying, “Why do you call me good? There's no good except God.” Had He forgotten His Deity and looked only to His humanity at that moment? Did He put aside His Deity?

A: No. His response was appropriate. But you must remember that it was His mission to set down learning for the entire period of human habitation on Urantia, and so He often answered in absolute terms rather than the relative terms that I am using for these lessons, as I have been instructed. In absolute terms, that answer is correct, but we are yet in kindergarten, my friends, and so we shall proceed at our pace for now.

Q: Is honesty part of goodness?

A: The search for truth is connected to goodness.

Q: In relationships, to be honest although you know it's going to hurt the other person, particularly if you're dealing with people who you think are spiritually retarded, may create a big rift. “I know, or I feel, what I'm doing is the correct thing because what I'm doing is honest.” Is that good?

A: It is always a good thing to behave in a truthful way.

Q: I can see no other way to act. Are there others?

A: There are others, but they may not be consistent with the promptings of your Adjuster.

S: Anybody who questions that should study in depth the history of the earth and the way conditions really were 100, 200 years ago - maybe even before that. Things are getting better in the long run.

Regarding people who deny God's existence yet do good in the name of humanity - those who profess a secular reason for doing good rather than a religious reason - the Urantia Book somewhere says that those who do good without believing in God, who deny God, when they do good there's not as much soul growth because that is a social thing. They act for social benefits. It does do good socially, but there is not much growth in their own soul because of their denial of the existence of God. That's more of a comment than a question.

A: Truly doing good requires good intent. You cannot have good intent without faith of some sort. And while the person may deny adherence to teachings of formal religions, there must be faith and response to Thought Adjuster promptings in order for good intent and good behavior, truly good behavior, not social posturing, to occur. Supposed good action which is undertaken for show without sincere good intent underlying it may lead to no spiritual growth whatsoever. An animal may mistakenly do good, but does it grow spiritually? No. To undertake any act without consideration of spiritual consequences is to behave in an animal-like way, and the animal behavior does not promote spiritual growth.

S: Well, in all honesty, I don't agree with that completely. I have a very good friend who denies God, yet who does good. There are others with whom I'm not familiar whose active secular goodness is because they really feel that in order to keep civilization on an even keel and to have social brotherhood they feel an obligation to do good things. And so they do these good things. It's not a social posturing, it's more like a business transaction; they do something good and they feel better, and believe that eventually that good will come back to them. And they feel that that is all, something that takes place without necessarily believing in God or any kind of Deity.

R: Do they have good intent? Or self-serving intent?

S: It would depend on the person. But I think they have good intentions, at least they are not bad. I mean, they do something that we consider as good. And they have an intent that it's going to do good to somebody. But they do it for the sake of humanity, for the belief that humans should act that way, not because of a belief in Deity who mandates or suggests the doing of the Father's will.

R: Do you believe that these people are Godconnected? Even if they may not be aware of such connection?

S: Oh yes, they're all sons of God, and they have a Thought Adjuster, and they have a soul. My point is that when they do do these good things their soul does not grow as much as if they did believe in God. And that is my only point.

R: Thank you for your comment. (12/12/93) See Also TRUTH (12/18/93)

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