Tonight's lesson will be on the subject of happiness. This may seem to some of you present to be a slightly different topic than others which we have studied in recent weeks. Your individual body of knowledge may be looked at as a fabric. The fabric has threads of many different colors running in a variety of directions, and yet all holding together to constitute a unified whole. In order for the threads to hold the fabric together properly during the making of the cloth, from time to time a direction may be changed here, a color may be changed there, and to the uninitiated it may - at the time - seem irrational, but be assured that these lessons have been very carefully planned out in such a way as to help your fabric of knowledge form in a cohesive fashion. With that, let us turn to the subject of our lesson: happiness.
Happiness is a difficult topic to discuss with mortal beings because their understanding - your understanding - of happiness is very often far different from the definition of happiness in the non-material form. Let us start with the material understanding of happiness and then we shall compare the spiritual nature of happiness so that you shall better understand.
The material being is descended from animal forms, and much of the conscious awareness and thought is by necessity centered upon feelings and urgings that have animal origin. Pleasure is such a thing. An animal understands pleasure as the absence of pain, the gratification of hunger and sexual drive, the domination over a competitor or an enemy, the attainment of a material goal other than those mentioned.
Animals spend much time satisfying base drives for survival. And the gratification of such survival instincts is understood by the animal part of man as happiness. I am sure you are all quite familiar with this definition of happiness.
However, all of these considerations have relatively little to do with happiness in the spiritual sense.
Your evolving soul, your embryonic spirit self, strives to be Godlike if it strives at all for growth and development. The gratification of this spiritual urge to be Godlike and virtuous in the ways we have discussed in previous lessons and in other ways that have not been delved into as of yet, this is what constitutes happiness in the spiritual, the soul, sense.
Michael, as Jesus of Nazareth, presented a parable about the glass being half-full or half-empty which has useful application as we discuss the idea of happiness. The animal part of material man seeks always to fill the glass materially. But the spiritual part of man does not grow until there is space in the glass, the half-full glass that the master referred to. The less full glass materially, the greater the opportunity to fill it spiritually.
How, then, to go about the pursuit of happiness in the spiritual sense, true happiness? Well, this is - as you say - where it starts to get tricky. In lessons past we have discussed creativity and the link between creativity and the rate of spiritual growth. There is also a link between creativity and happiness. A Urantia mortal of some repute in your own culture once said I find most men are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Happiness will not come by sitting in a quiet room engaged in deep meditation. Nor will it emerge as the result of long hours of study, or time spent involved in sensate pleasure. Rather, there are two routes of creative work that need to be followed simultaneously throughout your material existence if you will develop your embryonic soul seed and begin to experience a tiny bit of happiness while in this form. They are inward and outward.
Outward creativity is the sum total of your actions. A great deal of this, of course, is your actions with respect to your fellow creatures. Not just the desire to do good, but the actual doing of good, the continuing effort to conduct your life as Jesus of Nazareth lived. And as Jesus was very active in his fellowship with others, He also was a model in regard to the inward creative struggle. The battle that is waged by every God-seeking mortal between animal urges and the promptings of the indwelling Thought Adjuster.
Hard work, yes. When the material form falls away at death, in some respects the struggle is eased. But do not be fooled for the happiness that comes from God-seeking is always elusive throughout your career as an ascendant mortal, like a carrot on a stick before the horse, you may say.
It is this major thread that serves as a guide in the tapestry of your individual knowledge. Father has given us very much freedom in creative expression of our spiritual selves. In fact, this teaching mission - for those of us who participate - is a means of spiritual creativity and soul growth. Only fear and lack of faith can hold you back, can keep you from taking these leaps toward joy, self fulfilment, and ultimate happiness.
You all have striven much and each of you has - as the result of your individual creative efforts - entered into this small group. You are privileged to bear a somewhat greater burden in helping our Father correct this planet. I am honored to be in your presence and commend you on the greatness of your faith. That is the end of this lesson.
Q: Is there any direct correlation between spiritual growth and happiness? I was looking for that in your lesson.
A: Yes. They are inextricably intertwined, (S).
S: That's what I thought I got from the lesson.
R: One follows the other.
Q: Is it possible to be happy in a fear-based religion?
A: Happy in the animal sense, yes, but fear stunts spiritual growth and holds man back from God striving. Depending on the depth of fear, happiness can be achieved to some extent. This varies from personality to personality. Fear-based religions, as you know, serve a purpose in the evolution of mortals, but are not - were never meant to persist indefinitely, but rather to be replaced by revealed religion which is void of fear.
The fear of present religious forms on Urantia is entirely a product of those who would subjugate their believers. Does that answer? (Yes it does.)
Q: I know we have to be very careful not to undermine a religion that's important to somebody. But if we sense that the person is being disturbed by the fear that is being taught them in - by their pastor, for instance - and that person seems to be pulled away from understanding and feeling the love of God, can we - if our instinct seems to guide us - give this person some encouragement by emphasizing Father's love and His caring for them?
A: Yes, but do it as Jesus would have done, that is, be careful to respect the decisions and beliefs of such a person or people as you encounter them, and find the good and praise it in their expressions and beliefs. If you do this then it will help the negative to wither and die. Emphasize the good. Reinforce that which is true and right. You would be surprised how strong that can be.
Q: Oh, good. Thank you, Rayson, I sense from a few people I have met that their concern about the fear has overridden their understanding of the beautiful love that Father has for them, and I would like to give them some comfort without undermining the minister, or the church, or the other teachings that are good. So that will help me.
Q: About people that seem to have physical reasons for not being happy, and they are depressed, and there is some sort of organic reason for that. Could you comment, maybe, on what is really going on?
A: The answer to that, (S), is manifold, but there are two main areas of consideration. The first - and by far most common category of such persons - are those who spend an inordinate amount of their time and energy in the pursuit of gratification of animal urges - greed, pride, fear, anger - these all are animal drives and result in excess when unchecked, the full cup that Jesus referred to. A full cup will drown our spiritual growth.
As spiritual growth slows down or ceases as a result of lack of effort and striving, the individual with the full cup experiences black depression, as if a light has been switched off. No material being can live for long with not a shred of spiritual happiness. And, indeed, such persons very often kill themselves in one way or another, destroy themselves, for such an existence is intolerable. There are, of course, gradations, and by no means do all such persons become suicidal. But the one that seems ever depressed and unhappy, angry, gloomy, downcast, sorrowful, without hope - in one way or other - may well be suffering from over investment in the material and under investment in the spiritual. The way out for such persons is to become active and creative, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. That is the way.
The second great category - although far smaller - of persons who become depressed are those whose cellular chemistry is dysfunctional, as you said, an organic basis. At this point in Urantia bio-technology there is virtually no understanding of how this system functions other than a tiny awareness of its existence. Very little can be done at this point. But Father loves all his creatures and those who are spiritually lazy are loved, as are those who are materially diseased or deficient.
Does spiritual laziness cause organic depression? Yes, because the health of the soul is crucial to the health of the body and its components. So, yes. If you could measure abnormalities in function - chemical abnormalities, electrical abnormalities - you would find them in the first group discussed as well as the second. Does that answer? (Yes.) (01/24/93)
© 11:11 Progress Group.
"Michael est toujours au Volant."
(Michael is always at the Steering Wheel.)