Home/ Dave Holt

“What you Are Becoming … What you Are Today”

Friday, February 09, 2018    

I always encourage my piano students to practice, as I know all music teachers surely do, so that the kids will make progress with their natural gifts. I ask them to set aside some of the time they devote to video games (often hours) and spend it enjoying the beauty of piano music. This is the typical music teacher’s lament, of course. “If they could just apply themselves a little every day,” the pieces would be played more smoothly, and the moments of stopping to search for the right note would be few and far between.

All my students are gifted, although in different degree, with a bit of talent. I use this metaphor of piano practice to show how we can also progress with a little spiritual culture every day. By training the fingers to play scales, arpeggios, and cadence chord patterns, the gift of talent can emerge and express itself. But do they experience growth? “Man cannot cause growth, but he can supply favorable conditions. Growth is always unconscious, be it physical, intellectual, or spiritual” (The Urantia Book, The UB, 100:3.7).

As the technical skills increase (making progress), I hope for an increase (spiritual growth) in soul expression and depths of emotion in their playing. Making progress strikes me as a more conscious process, growth being “unvaryingly unconscious," as The UB says (100:1.8). We can resolve to do a service project, impose self-discipline, meet the challenge, achieve progress. With a little faith in the spirit guide within (the gift of talent and creativity), some time spent in communion, our lives would go smoother and we’d make beautiful music.

Thomas Merton had an insight into the interplay of progress and growth, how the regular practice of prayer would lead to episodes of growth, gifts of God. “All through the life of faith one must resort constantly to prayer, because faith is not simply a gift which we receive once for all in our first act of belief. Every new development of faith, every new increment of supernatural light, even though we may earnestly work to acquire it, remains a pure gift of God,” (Life and Holiness, 1963).

Jesus also reassured his followers about the certain result of their efforts to grow and progress. “My children, if there exists a true and living connection between the child and the Father, the child is certain to progress continuously toward the Father's ideals. True, the child may at first make slow progress, but the progress is none the less sure. The important thing is not the rapidity of your progress but rather its certainty. Your actual achievement is not so important as the fact that the direction of your progress is Godward. What you are becoming day by day is of infinitely more importance than what you are today.” (147:5.7)

The UB has refined the interrelationship between growth and progress in this way: “growth is not mere progress. Progress is always meaningful, but it is relatively valueless without growth. The supreme value of human life consists in growth of values, progress in meanings, and realization of the cosmic interrelatedness of both of these experiences. And such an experience is the equivalent of God-consciousness.” (100:3.6, pg. 1097)

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A Red Race Perspective on the War in Heaven

Thursday, January 18, 2018    

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Mother Spirit, Mother Earth

Thursday, January 11, 2018    

Native American philosophy begins from the perspective of “Mother Earth” spirituality. This is not surprising once we find out in The Urantia Book that worship and wisdom are adjutant mind spirit bestowals of the Creative Daughter/Divine Minister, partner of the Creator (Son). She is the first bestower of mind. “Man's first supermind endowment is that of personality encircuitment in the Holy Spirit of the Universe Creative Spirit; and long before either the bestowals of the divine Sons or the universal bestowal of the Adjusters, this influence functions to enlarge man's viewpoint of ethics, religion, and spirituality.” (The UB, 103:0.1)

Natives in their rituals of “worship” and “wisdom” return naturally to their source, Mother Earth. “The Great Spirit is in all things: he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us.” (Big Thunder [Bedagi], Wabanaki Algonquin.)

The Navajo, in ceremony, when they’re about to blow tobacco smoke and incense to the six directions, sing a song of the corn and growth, like this one:

“Ha-o, my mother, ha-o, my mother,
Due west, blue corn ear, my mother,
Due eastward, blooming blue-bird flower,
Decorate our faces, bless us with flowers,
Thus being face-decorated,
Being blessed with flowers,
We shall be delighted, we shall be delighted.
Ha-o, my mother, ha-o, my mother.” (sung by Agnes Mary Shattuck Dill, 1913 – 2012, , Isleta Pueblo)

I was inspired by October’s women’s retreat in San Mateo that was sponsored by the Golden Gate Circle Urantia Society, to put behind me for a time the greedy machinations of the world, to reconnect with the mercy and compassion of the Creative Daughter of the Infinite Spirit, to re-explore relationship with the Creative Holy Spirit, Corn Mother, Divine Minister.

“There are many spiritual influences, and they are all as one. Even the work of the Thought Adjusters, though independent of all other influences, unvaryingly coincides with the spirit ministry of the combined influences of the Infinite Spirit and a local universe Mother Spirit.” (The UB, 8:5.4)

Mother Earth appears in many cultures. In Mexico she is Tonantzin, an Aztec earth goddess who appeared to a Nahuatl man, Juan Diego, as the Virgin Mary in December 1531. According to tradition, the Virgin appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, north of Mexico City, where there was a shrine dedicated to the female Aztec earth deity, Tonantzin. To this day, in Nahuatl-speaking communities, and in others as well, the Virgin continues to be called Tonantzin, “Our Sacred Mother” in the Nahuatl language. A new structure was built over the remains of the ancient Aztec shrine—a Catholic Church, The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

One night recently, my Korean student and I discussed Kwan Yin, or Guanyin, the Buddhist bodhisattva, another manifestation of the divine mother who came to China from India in the first century. An unusual kind of quiet seemed to pervade the room as if a scent of blossoms wafted in on the wind. Her spirit of kindness and compassion hovered around us and later lingered in the car on my drive home. Did the students feel it? Was it the presence of seraphim, or maybe it was a higher ideal that was highlighted in our minds?

We call her name, Kwan Yin, Chinese saint,

Bodhisattva who enters the room soundlessly,

as my student and I are caught up in an epiphany

in our pursuit of wisdom.

An unusual quiet that consoles, brings calmness,

strength, settles around us, scent of cherry blossoms

wafted on a sweet wind of spirit.

Her kindness, compassion embraces us,

a visiting seraphim hovering

and later lingering, even as I’m driving home

on the busy freeway where there is fear,

no happiness, her presence abides

like a faint perfume, bringing joy, reborn hope.

If you’re looking up Mother God references in The Urantia Book, Creative Daughter is mentioned 5 times, Divine Minister 39, Mother Spirit 79, mother earth 1 time (by Jesus to a rich man), earth mother once (in regards to the Chaldeans religion), Creative Spirit (local universe daughter of Infinite Spirit, known on Urantia as the Holy Spirit) 66 times.

"We are the unconquered aboriginal peoples of this land our mother; The creator has given us our mother, to enjoy, to manage and to protect; We the first inhabitants, have lived with our mother from time immemorial; Our Okanagan Governments have allowed us to share equally in the resources of our mother; We have never given up our rights to our mother, our mother's resources, our governments, our religion; We will survive and continue to govern our mother and her resources for the good of all for all time." - Okanagan Nation Declaration

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Holiday Cheer, Wassail! Wassail!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017    

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Student Visitors

Monday, December 04, 2017    

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Religious Assurance and Cultural Confidence

Wednesday, November 15, 2017    

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Practicing the Presence of God

Sunday, November 05, 2017    

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“This is the Way; Walk Therein”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017    

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