Healthy Spiritual Relationships and Spiritual Healing Therapies
by Dan Massey
This is a partial, informal, and preliminary exposition of some ideas I have been developing as a result of my reading of The Urantia Book. References indicate page and paragraph in the first edition of The Urantia Book.
We have learned that finite existence can be understood in terms of three levels of reality -- material, mental, and spiritual. Our experience of being results from the harmonization and unification of these three levels of our existence by personality. Total health -- personal well-being -- stems from the quality of this unifying process, and is realized on all three levels of experience. On the level of spirit as happiness. On the level of mind as sanity -- mental efficiency. On material levels as bodily health, physical well-being. [2:7.11] [100:4.3] [194:3.19]
The total experience of well-being is affected by the quality of health on all three levels. Two processes are active. Failure of development at any one level will limit the truth receptivity of the mind and the ability of the personality to harmonize the three classes of experience. In addition, failure at a higher level directly impairs the growth potential at lower, dependent levels. [100:1.6]
To put these ideas more positively, true religious growth, attained through prayer, worship, and other authentic spiritual experience has beneficial effects on all levels of being and living. Spiritual growth and truth reception is favored by balanced development on all three levels of being. [91:7.5] [110:6.3]
There is a universal impulse to perfection active in all persons. This impulse is so strong that, even in the absence of a strong spiritual consciousness, it appears as a desire for physical and mental health. In the spirituallly and scientifically backward culture of Jesus' day this was manifest as a nearly universal desire for physical healing and relief from mental and emotional anguish. Even the healthy sought these works for others, taking them as signs of power, and thus bolstering their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. This impulse was so powerful that Jesus was forced to devote much of his service time on Urantia to this particular form of ministry. [146:6.4] [145:3.13]
In Jesus' ministry we learn to distinguish the ideas of health and healing. Health is a dynamic state of well-being, characterized by balanced, harmonious growth on all levels of personal experience. Perfect health is a state of growing, relative perfection, such as Jesus exhibited throughout his life. By healing we mean a related growth process by which the levels of personal being are brought into a unified harmony of relative perfection. Both health and healing imply positive and constructive growth towards final perfection. Health is growth in balance and harmony. Healing growth grows towards balance and harmony.
Spiritual Healing and Spiritual Power
Although there is no sharp boundary, we think of healing in terms of growth for the resolution of a state of extreme, abnormal imperfection or disharmony. In The Urantia Book, we find Jesus practicing healing in at least five distinct ways:
- 1. First, we see a supportive ministry in which he comforts the sick and helps them by attending to their immediate physical needs. This was a novelty for the period.
- 2. Second, we see Jesus applying his superior (superhuman) knowledge of practical material therapies for specific diseases and conditions.
- 3. The third category includes a series of involuntary contact healings in which the faith of the seeker combines with the compassion and power of the Son to bring about physical healing in accordance with the Father's will. [149:1]
- 4. Fourth, Jesus performed a series of voluntary acts of healing which were to help the spiritual growth or service potential of individual believers. [152:0.3]
- 5. Finally, Jesus exercised his power and authority as Creator Son to heal (or, in the case of Lazarus, to resurrect) a person who did not seek or may not have merited such by faith. In these cases, the purpose seems to have been related to the revelation of the Father to a broader audience or the satisfaction of Jesus' unusual sympathy and compassion.
It is clear that Jesus intended that his followers would minister according to this example, and the experiences of the seventy teachers showed that they were able to cure "nervous disorders." [163:6.2] At the same time, many of Jesus' own healing actions were clearly contingent on his personal, incarnate presence to occur, for they drew on spirit energies of divinity or ministering celestial personalities under his direction. To learn what was possible/hoped for/expected of his follower, it is useful to review the story of James of Safed and his demon-possessed epileptic son. [Paper 158, sec. 4, 5, 6]
We should review this to learn the factors which contributed to the failure of the apostles to heal the child, and to discover the extent to which they might have effected a cure. Clearly they started off with an unspiritual, egocentric attitude, and compounded this with boldness and presumption; however, subsequent prayer and meditation still failed to enable a cure. When Jesus arrived, he identified "doubting unbelief" as an obstacle, and then challenged the faith of the father seeking the cure. After reinforcing James' faith, Jesus accomplished the cure according to the Father's will. The healing was both physical and spiritual.
Later that evening, Jesus analyzed the apostles' defeat in detail [158:6]. His summary is noteworthy in that, while criticizing the apostles, it affirms three principles at work in his ministry:
- 1. It is potentially possible to time-shorten natural events when the goal is the Father's will.
- 2. It is potentially possible to perform spiritual work in the presence of spiritual power.
- 3. Willful actualization of these potentials depends on the experience of living faith.
This is, in a sense, an elaboration of the principle that the desire of a true son, when willed by the Father, must be. These principles applied to Jesus' followers, as was shown by the later successes of the seventy in spiritual work. If the apostles had been prepared and grown spiritually, they need not have failed in their efforts.
Modes of Healing Therapy
From Jesus' example in The Urantia Book we can identify forms of healing therapy appropriate to the present day. These include:
- 1. Material therapy--life support, care for the physical body, corrective surgery, for example.
- 2. Scientific therapy--material application of mental discoveries. Material therapeutic intervention, specific actions affecting body operation favorably, based on scientific knowledge, medicine.
- 3. Mental therapy--applied psychology, education, other aids to emotional and intellectual growth and mental efficiency.
- 4. Spiritual therapy-- spiritual power applied to improve the function of all levels of personal being.
Five Modes of Spiritual Therapy
In these terms we find at least five modes of spiritual therapy exemplified in Jesus' ministry:
- 1. To build faith and spiritual health-happiness.
- 2. To enhance emotional stability and maturity.
- 3. To build sanity by augmenting truth receptivity.
- 4. To cure nervous disorders.
- 5. Directly to heal physical disease.
All five of these forms of spiritual therapy are potentially workable for Jesus' true sons.
Jesus' analysis of the apostles' failure with the epileptic boy gives us some idea of the requirements for such powerful spiritual actions. We clearly understand that the presence of total living faith is a prerequisite for the actualization of the healing potentials inherent in such an occasion. While we cannot know exactly what James' declaration signified to himself, his words provide some indication of the kind of faith which is required.
We know that any sequence of events abridging the normal limitations of time must be for a pure purpose which accords with the Father's will. What forms of phenomena might be time-shortened in accordance with the Father's will? What goals would accord with the Father's will?
Finally, we must consider whether the need to assure the presence of the necessary spiritual power constitutes a limitation. Specifically, can we be assured of the presence of the necessary spiritual power?
Jesus told his apostles they would see the Kingdom come in power during their own lives, and this promise was fulfilled in the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth and the universal bestowal of the Thought Adjusters at Pentecost. The remembrance supper, the act of communion, factualizes the presence of God, and constitutes the basis of true worship. While this act, which is the only sacrament established by Jesus, has purely symbolic significance to the intellectual believer, its spiritual significance is increasingly perceived by the more spirit-conscious. To the truly God-knowing faith son, the Maters' personal presence is fully revealed. [103:4] [179:5.6]
Although Michael, incarnate as the Son of Man, is no longer physically among us, this same spirit being, even the Master Son himself, is still with us, whenever and wherever we choose to acknowledge his presence. And this presence is surely endowed with sufficient spiritual power to accomplish all spiritual work according to the Father's will.
When man thus practices the presence of God, and enters into the communion of true worship, he participates with the Creator in his own co-creation by accepting God's will. At the same time, man also participates in a larger undertaking--the eventuation of the brotherhood of man.
Since Michael is the Father-Son, his will is the Father's will and his supreme purpose should indicate to us that will. Our pure purpose must look towards the emergence of human brotherhood.