The Identification Process: Urantia Book Insights Into Personality
by Henry Begemann, Wassenar, Netherlands
The Urantia Book reveals that our personality is of such a majestic grandeur that, unchanged, it can function even on the borders of the absolute! (*1226) That same personality which we have now does not evolve to that unimaginable level, nor grow up to it. Personality remains unchanged.
To reconcile this supernal truth with reality as we know it, it seems inevitable to conclude that personality does not know itself, or, at least, only very incompletely. And it takes all that long, long time, and even more than time, for personality to get that actual self-knowledge and attain that level of self -realization where it can be truly said: i am that i am. (Capitals would be presumptuous here.) Even the authors of The Urantia Book are not sure if there is such a finality for a son of an Infinite Father.
Secret of Evolution
To attain true self -realization is "the secret of evolution." The attainment plan of the Father is based on self-realization through experience, and this involves the identification-process. The majestic personality that does not know itself is bestowed on an evolutionary living organism that includes mind, and is of animal origin.
Through lack of self-knowledge this primitive beginning of self-consciousness must necessarily take the form of identification with the organism. And without such a full identification to start from, it would be hardly possible to live this life of action in and reaction to the environment.
We can observe this in a child. Before a child has developed sufficiently to acquire moral capacity and therefore to be able to choose altruistic service, he has already developed a strong and well-unified egoistic nature." (The Urantia Book, 1131:9) This strong and well-united nature appears to be a necessity as a good stronghold to start out from for getting self-knowledge on a higher level: "When the growing child fails of personality unification, the altruistic drive may become so overdeveloped as to work serious injury to the welfare of the self. A misguided conscience can become responsible for much conflict, worry, sorrow, and no end of human unhappiness." (*1132:1) Something for parents and educators to be aware of.
With the arrival of the Thought Adjuster a new phase in the identification process begins. Personality unification and moral capacity have been sufficiently acquired to add the drive of the Thought Adjuster for making altruistic decisions. This process of change has to be very gradual so as not to disrupt the personality-unification. A mentally healthy child can, without harm to himself, venture out upon this expansion of the identification process. He discovers that the altruistic drive also belongs to his nature.
Now a child cannot remain a child. Growth is a natural process, but though natural and unconscious, it needs to be fostered, on the material as well as on the intellectual and spiritual levels. The higher the level, the greater the need for this fostering. On the spiritual level the best way to do this is our dedicated seeking for and doing of the Father's will. The growth processes are related to the identification process. Growth is unconscious, identification is more conscious. They mutually influence each other. If, for example, identification with life on the material level and its duties is shunned, growth is stopped. Growing persons are loyal persons.
But even in the normal growth process of the child the initially achieved unification of personality-identity is challenged again and again by discovery of new factors that also may be part of that mysterious, inexhaustible personality, in which everything already potentially exists, but not experientially. Such factors, before being integrated in the identity, often manifest themselves in a feeling of lacking something, in uncertainty and anxiousness. As these new factors in experience are integrated, the center of the identity, the seat of the "I," moves upwards. Initially it was located in the material mind, now it begins to move to the intellectual mind, and it may move upwards to the spiritual mind. This means that man recognizes values in the intellectual and spiritual domain. "Where your treasures are, there your heart will be." The ego gradually changes into selfhood.
So the identity is in a process of continual change. Life is in a way a discovery expedition into the unknown, but fascinating, domain of personality with its endless potentials. But this expedition goes mostly over rough ground. And progress is mostly not in a straight line either, it may even change into regression. Mortal life is a short, but relatively severe, testing period. However, the loving Father has provided help and guidance. Besides the many spirit influences around and with us, there is the Father fragment, the Mystery Monitor, that indwells us.
We might interpret this name in different ways: the Monitor that constitutes a mystery in itself; the Monitor that enters into a mysterious relationship with a mortal mind; and in our context we might also say, the entity that monitors us in the mystery of its own nature and in the mystery of the nature of our true personality and in their relationship.
Anyway, its influence on the identity is great. With its arrival the soul comes into existence, though in embryonic state. I think we should not consider the soul to be a change in the old identity, but as the creation of a new (embryonic) identity, in the sense that now there are two identities. This is a paradoxical situation, characterized by divergent urges and giving rise to much struggle in decision making. Which values are more valuable, are more real? Which identity is more real?
Birth of the soul is not equivalent to rebirth, the prerequisite for entering the kingdom of heaven. The soul that comes into existence when the Thought Adjuster arrives is not yet immortal. The soul also can die. (see The Urantia Book pg. 1229:9) Rebirth, being a spiritual phenomenon, can hardly be defined intellectually. But an essential factor in rebirth is conscious identification with the soul. "The personality of the mortal creature may eternalize by self -identification with the indwelling spirit through the technique of choosing to do the will of the Father." (*1295:2) Though this may sometimes happen as an apparent sudden breakthrough, it most times is a process.
And the identification process, the upward shifting of the center or seat of identity, goes on. On the morontia worlds the soul becomes the vehicle of life, even as mind was on the material plane. "Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain." (*1217:5) The soul is the seat of identity of both the human personality and the Thought Adjuster, who also partakes in its own way in the identification process. I speculate that these soul-identities gradually overlap until fusion is attained.
And then the long preparation begins for acquiring a spirit-vehicle. The seat of identity has to be shifted still upwards into the spirit-energy system. Mind, instead of being a spiritual mind, becomes a true spirit mind. When we leave the local universe no longer a body or form will be provided, but the ascendant spirit is capable of projecting his own spirit form.
When will this identification process end? Does it go on when this universe age of the Supreme will be succeeded by the age of the Ultimate? And after that? Will there ever be an end? We don't know and can only speculate. But even speculation on this far distant and utterly foreign situation seems to be not very profitable. Anyhow, a majestic career lies before us. The important thing to do now is to identify ourselves more and more with our soul. Growth is fostered by "sincerity, more sincerity, and by more sincerity." Identification is fostered by "decisions, more decisions, and by more decisions." (*435:8) Identification with the soul means cooperation with the co-parent of the soul, our Father-friend within. The Mystery Monitor is the will of the Father. We cannot do the will of the Father without communication with the Monitor, and we cannot communicate with the Monitor without doing the Father's will. How can a child prosper if there is no communication between the parents? How can the soul prosper if there is no communication between its two parents, the mortal mind and the Adjuster? If we honestly and sincerely seek that communion in loving prayer and worship we may not hear his voice ' may not even feel his presence, but if we are alert, we shall surely discover the results of such communion.