Home/ Dave Holt

What is Spirit Anyway?

Monday, May 07, 2018    

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The Arrow of Time

Saturday, April 21, 2018    

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From the Supreme to the Three person’d God: Seven Levels of Total Deity

Saturday, April 07, 2018    

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Part 2: Trust: Learning to Trust Our Fellow Human Beings

Monday, March 26, 2018    

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The Spirit of Trust

Tuesday, March 13, 2018    

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Four Steps, The Kingdom Steps of Inner Righteousness

Sunday, February 25, 2018    

"It is in the consideration of the technique of receiving God's forgiveness that the attainment of the righteousness of the kingdom is revealed … the reception of the forgiveness of God by a kingdom believer involves a definite and actual experience and consists in … four steps, the kingdom steps of inner righteousness:" UB (170:3.3)

There have been several revelations of what The Urantia Book calls the Seven Psychic Circles, some that happened before The UB’s publication, including a couple of poets we’ll consider. “The psychic circles are not exclusively intellectual, neither are they wholly morontial; they have to do with personality status, mind attainment, soul growth, and Adjuster attunement. The successful traversal of these levels demands the harmonious functioning of the entire personality, not merely of some one phase thereof.” (110:6.3, The UB)

For the Anishnabek (Ojibwe Indians) and other indigenous people’s groups, the medicine wheel, an ancient circle symbol, evokes their history, old trade relations (stone medicine wheels were areas set aside for negotiations), tribal memory, the covenant with Creator to protect the Earth, the loss of a peaceful empire. The journey around the wheel is one of spiritual healing, seeking cultural roots for the restoration of identity, learning the art of storytelling. This passing along of personal accounts of the journey to others is highly valued. Acknowledging pain and sharing it is part of a healing path to self-mastery for all peoples. This is one reason the medicine wheel is so compatible with twelve step programs. On an individual level, the wheel can be used to symbolize covenants or agreements we’ve made with ourselves. Have we been loyal to our decisions? How can we do better?

At the center of the 4 directions on the medicine wheel is the seventh direction “the fire within,” (up and down being the 5th and 6th directions). It represents the kingdom of heaven within you, the spirit guide, our Thought Adjuster.

You may be on the linear track, life in the fast lane; it’s one way to measure progress. However, if overemphasized, you could get caught up in the accumulation of possessions, or the choosing of outer goals that have little or no foundation on an inner life. This linear direction is highly respected in our society, but we criticize those we perceive to be going ‘round in circles.

Those living on the linear path are tempted to move away, not deal with “insignificant” challenges, and leave difficulties behind. Just like those oil and mining companies who don’t clean up the pollution and toxic waste left after they complete the extraction process. Rather than face such problems, we go down a “Lost Highway” both personally and as a society. Portia Nelson’s poem portrays the journey of the addictive personality as one of several traversals of the same recurring challenges/problems in our psychic landscape. The person in the poem is rescued from the destructive pattern by recognizing the higher orbits that can be traveled, such as no longer blaming others:

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson: “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk”

Chapter One

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in. I am lost . . . I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault . . .

It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in this same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

 

Chapter Three

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there.

I still fall . . . it’s a habit . . . but,

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

Chapter Five

I walk down another street.

Although the medicine wheel symbol is often used for therapeutic purposes in twelve step programs, for healing, I’ll take it further and connect it to a cosmic future. There are overlapping aspects with Carl Jung’s wheel of personality types. Jung also presented his wheel, usually seen as a graph or map of psychological outlooks rather than an action plan, to help patients understand how one aspect of their personality dominates the rest of “the quadrants.” In his therapy he helped them develop the usually unconscious, repressed or sublimated part to achieve balance, “harmonious function” as The UB calls it. For example, for a person whose intuition into the invisible realities is highly developed, it is important to face the reality of physical facts (shown in the opposite quadrant) with intellectual honesty, grasp those realities that may even contradict what he or she has learned from the invisible spiritual realities, for true spiritual health.

The famous singer and actor, Paul Robeson, had everything: wealth, fame, artistic gift and integrity. At one point, he even owned a mansion in England with a staff of servants. But he hadn’t achieved equilibrium, balance, in his life. Was it because he hadn’t developed a philosophy of mind, “a philosophic technique for meeting disappointment” as The UB describes it (193:4.7), a rational, critical thinking approach? Blinded by his political and emotional passions (the feeling side) for Socialism and communism, he may have been unable to accept the factual reality of Stalin’s Reign of Terror in the 1930’s, and this may have led to his several suicide attempts.

Our healing here on Urantia is the first stepping stone we’ll take to an ascension career on the mansion worlds. “The co-ordination of idea-decisions, logical ideals, and divine truth constitutes the possession of a righteous character, the prerequisite for mortal admission to the ever-expanding and increasingly spiritual realities of the morontia worlds.” (101:6.7)

The Medicine Wheel and Jung’s Wheel of Intelligences (also found in the Upanishads) are pre-Fifth Epochal Revelation attempts to grasp the reality of the Seven Psychic Circles (110:6).

In a passage about the assignment of guardian angels, we read, “You start out in your mind of mortal investment in the seventh circle and journey inward in the task of self-understanding, self-conquest, and self-mastery; and circle by circle you advance until (if natural death does not terminate your career and transfer your struggles to the mansion worlds) you reach the first or inner circle of relative contact and communion with the indwelling Adjuster.” (113:1.6)

“Every decision you make either impedes or facilitates the function of the Adjuster; likewise do these very decisions determine your advancement in the circles of human achievement. It is true that the supremacy of a decision, its crisis relationship, has a great deal to do with its circle-making influence; nevertheless, numbers of decisions, frequent repetitions, persistent repetitions, are also essential to the habit-forming certainty of such reactions.” (110:6.6)

We can visualize the seven circles as successive spirals of development imposed upon the original pattern, our starting point—the seventh circle, of our medicine wheel. We grow, progress, climb higher if you will, ascend, but it is upon the foundation of original experience symbolized by our human models of “the wheel.” We can look back and see where we’ve been; indeed, since growth is unconscious, we more easily recognize in retrospect that it took place.

The symbol of the wheel with higher orbits superimposed upon the first is a model of understanding more conducive to our personal growth than the linear track of achievement favored by the West (which is perhaps a feature of the Andite mind.) So in growth and progress we ascend to new orbital pathways. As Don Beck might say we approach, “the less recognized vertical aspects” of a problem (http://www.spiraldynamics.net/dr-don-beck.html) The poet Rainier Maria Rilke appeared to have been given a revelation of the Seven Psychic Circles when he had this amazing insight into the process which he then described in a poem.

“I live my life in growing orbits that move out over the things the world. Perhaps I can never complete the last but I give myself to it.

“I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I’ve been circling for a thousand years and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song?” (Rilke was a Bohemian-Austrian born in the Czech Republic)

Sometimes I have fallen back into old positions of servitude to those old masters “depression and defeat” (130:6.3) who are cruel and punishing and promote an old unprogressive reality. At such moments, I repledge myself, if I have the strength and resolve, to the task I had agreed to undertake, revisit the place on the medicine wheel, the seventh circle, where I started out. It may require therapeutic help to end our slavery. Once again, we should remember we don’t necessarily begin to learn “self-government for the benefit of all concerned,” until the mansion worlds and then we are happy to have the assistance of those fourth order seraphim (administrator seraphim) known as the Quickeners of Morality. (39: 4.10).

We can call upon even higher assistance, beyond and above using our minds and the help of seraphim or therapists, “it is entirely possible for the indwelling spirit to make direct contact with the decision-determining powers of the human personality so as to empower the fully consecrated will of the creature to perform amazing acts of loyal devotion,” (67:3.7)

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“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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