Log in

Dave Holt

  • 2014-03-21 8:43 AM | Dave

       “As God is your divine Father, so is the Supreme your divine Mother in whom you are nurtured throughout your lives as universe creatures.” (117:6.2, pg. 1288)

       Wendell Berry once said, “The creation is not in any sense independent of the Creator, the result of a primal creative act long over and done with, but is the continuous, constant participation of all creatures in the being of God.” He added, “Nature (and here we capitalize her name) is the impartial mother of all creatures, unpredictable, never entirely revealed, not my mother or your mother, but nonetheless our mother.” (2012 Jefferson Lecture)

       Those who live a life close to the earth such as farmer-poet Wendell Berry, or the more traditional American Indian cultures, instinctively understand the nurturing idea of God as a Mother, an Earth Mother.

       Maria L. Von Franz, the Jungian analyst, perceived the coming into being of a fourth element of Deity. “In the manifestations of the unconscious found in our modern Christian culture … Dr. Jung often observed that there is an unconscious tendency at work to round off our trinitarian formula of the Godhead with a fourth element which tends to be feminine …” (Man and His Symbols). She saw this development in terms of new symbols of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Ghost, a renewed accord with the earth, perhaps dimly aware of God the Mother as an aspect of the Holy Spirit.

       In The UB cosmology what is known as the Holy Spirit on Urantia is revealed as the Divine Minister on Satania, and “this personalized presence of the Infinite Spirit,” is “the Creative Mother Spirit of the local universe” (34:1.4, pg. 375). She is the bestower of our initial mind circuit known as the adjutant mind spirits (103:0.1; 34:5), the partner of the Creator Son, and, I believe, she is the Mother Goddess of our evolutionary religions.

       We encountered the mother goddess in previous epochs of our religious evolution, long before that stage where we could grow in our consciousness of the Supreme’s ministry. The Mother Spirit was the main archetypal influence on human psychology through her gift of the mind circuit, before there was a broad awareness of the endowment of the indwelling spirit of the Father, known to us as the Thought Adjuster, and the arrival of the Spirit of the Son, the Spirit of Truth, “the mind of Christ.” Thus we see a cultural development taking place wherein the early mother goddess cult, once ascendant, is often overthrown by a male warrior or Father God cult.

       Jesus observed a remnant of mother goddess worship on his trip around the ancient world: “On leaving Athens, the travelers went by way of Troas to Ephesus, the capital of the Roman province of Asia. They made many trips out to the famous temple of Artemis of the Ephesians, about two miles from the city. Artemis was the most famous goddess of all Asia Minor and a perpetuation of the still earlier mother goddess of ancient Anatolian times.” (133:6.1, pg. 1477)

       The Melchizedek teachers encountered it. “Never did the Salem teachers fully overcome the popularity of Ishtar, the mother of gods and the spirit of sex fertility.” (95:1.5, pg. 1042)

       The Earth Mother religions of the American Indian were also trampled and mostly supplanted by the warrior religions of the European descendants of the Andites. Among my ancestors, the Ojibway, whose creator goddess was Giizhi-go-kwe, Skywoman, there was a widespread conversion to Christianity in the 17th and 18th centuries.

        Perhaps, in a sense, Jung’s theory of the fourth element of Deity prophesied the increase in consciousness of the Supreme Being, a present goal of our evolution revealed in The UB. It is a development about which The UB makes more concrete statements than have been encountered before in religious teachings.

       “During the past dispensations of partial understanding, your priests and prophets failed clearly to differentiate between … the Supreme Being, and the Universal Father,” (among other universe authorities). (4:5.2, pg. 60)

       Jung was more concerned with symbols and metaphors of what was developing in human consciousness, than with a real literal presence of a personal god. Universal Father is a powerful symbol in his psychology. He didn’t recognize a loving God who is real and approachable. Though psychology in general asserts that all we can know is the “psyche,” leaving us trapped within a world that exists only in our minds, Mother God, as the Supreme, emerges to nurture the realization of the reality of God, the literal, earthy presence of the divine existing beyond the borders of our perceptions. The UB reasserts the truth that we can know spiritual reality in itself, that Jung’s symbols are literal, representing concrete realities to our minds.

       Scientists like Jonas Salk and Ervin Laszlo (founder of the Club of Budapest in 1993) began in the late 20th century to express the idea of humankind taking control of its evolution. The science magazine, Omni, predicted “Humanity will become deeply and creatively engaged in the process of evolution. First, we will understand the nature of our minds, and second the evolutionary purpose they serve.” As Carl Sagan observed, “We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.”

       Our partnership with the Supreme consists in the great task of achieving spirit dominance over matter-energy. “With God the Supreme … one must do something as well as be something.” (115:0, pg. 1260) In our experience with the Supreme, we are being invited to attend the great marriage of the masculine and feminine on cosmic levels of reality.

       “There is no adventure ... more enthralling than to enjoy the exhiliration of becoming the material life partner with spiritual energy and divine truth,” Jesus told Anaxand, (130:2.4, pg. 1430) and what he was describing is in essence the experience of God the Supreme.

       “Experiential growth implies creature-Creator partnership—God and man in association,” 

    (The Almighty Supreme; 116:0.3, pg. 1268) partnering in the service of our brothers and sisters and in the care and preservation of our planet.

  • 2014-03-08 8:41 AM | Dave

       Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new series, Cosmos, A Spacetime Odyssey, will premier this Sunday night, March 9th on Fox network, and again the following night on the National Geographic Channel,

     &nnbsp; Tyson would probably find much of what The Urantia Book (The UB) says about the physical universe to be unbelievably ridiculous. He tends to speak out sometimes overly simplistically about science, like a remark he made on Bill Maher’s show, "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it," or about religions, “Any time scientists disagree, it’s because we have insufficient data. Then we can agree on what kind of data to get; we get the data; and the data solves the problem. Either I’m right or you’re right or we’re both wrong. And we move on. That kind of conflict resolution does not exist in politics or religion.” Such comments go “viral” on the internet and Facebook, offending some religionists, delighting some atheists. Recognizing that many scientists are religious, Tyson is usually respectful of that fact.

       In his interview with Bill Moyers on PBS, he said, “96 percent of what's driving this universe [is] in the form of dark matter and dark energy … You can make all manner of measurements and not know what's causing it. We measure this thing we're calling dark matter.”

       The terms dark matter and dark energy don’t appear in The UB.  In paper 15:6.11 (pg. 173) we read about The Dark Islands of Space. These are the dead suns and other large aggregations of matter devoid of light and heat. The dark islands are sometimes enormous in mass and exert a powerful influence in universe equilibrium and energy manipulation. The density of some of these large masses is well-nigh unbelievable. And this great concentration of mass enables these dark islands to function as powerful balance wheels, holding large neighboring systems in effective leash. They hold the gravity balance of power in many constellations; many physical systems which would otherwise speedily dive to destruction in near-by suns are held securely in the gravity grasp of these guardian dark islands. It is because of this function that we can locate them accurately. We have measured the gravity pull of the luminous bodies, and we can therefore calculate the exact size and location of the dark islands of space which so effectively function to hold a given system steady in its course.”

       DeGrasse Tyson talked about our measurements of both dark matter and dark energy: “We measure this phenomenon dark energy that's forcing the universe to accelerate. When you add up what we know with those two things about which we don't know what's driving it, we only know 4 percent of what's driving the universe.”

       Here is a speculation he made while talking to Bill Moyers. “One of the more intriguing accounts I've heard is if you have multiple universes, it turns out gravity can spill out of one universe and be felt by another. And if we have another universe adjacent to ours, it could be that these sites where we see extra gravity is ordinary gravity in a parallel universe. And here we are, looking at it mysteriously like, "What is this?" It's like the blind man touching the elephant. … Maybe the elephant is ordinary gravity in another universe and we're feeling it and we're making stuff up just to account for it.”

       “The universal circuits of Paradise do actually pervade the realms of the seven superuniverses. These presence circuits are: the personality gravity of the Universal Father, the spiritual gravity of the Eternal Son, the mind gravity of the Conjoint Actor, and the material gravity of the eternal Isle.” (The UB, 15:9.1, pg. 176)

       The UB gives us a picture of seven universes which exist in a “parallel” sense perhaps different from what Tyson means. Although sometimes science writers of all kinds have speculated that a parallel universe exists in another time dimension, deGrasse Tyson’s use of the word adjacent indicates that he must mean a physical location.

       The UB describes the elliptical motion and direction of the “parallel universes,” in some detail, for example, “We have long since discovered that the seven superuniverses traverse a great ellipse, a gigantic and elongated circle,” (15:1.2, pg. 165) and “Your local universe of Nebadon belongs to Orvonton, the seventh superuniverse, which swings on between superuniverses one and six, having not long since (as we reckon time) turned the southeastern bend of the superuniverse space level.” (15:1.5)

       Another phenomenon described in The UB probably also has something to do with our perplexing observations: “… The dark gravity bodies encircling Havona … and their drawing power discloses both forms of physical gravity, linear and absolute,” (11:8.7) but this exceeds my capacity to understand the physical cosmos. Perhaps some of the physicists and scientists reading this article can share what they know with us.

  • 2014-02-27 8:39 AM | Dave

       Grappling with the mysteries of faith-trust these days, trying to keep a hold on it, at times I fall into doubt. I think about how many people need God’s help, and wonder how can he possibly look out for everyone who prays for help? It calls to mind an old passage in Matthew 6:32-33 about the “lilies of the field,” one also found in Jesus’ teaching in The Urantia Book. The UB retells the story we probably first heard from the Bible in more detail:

       "Consider the lilies, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is cut down and cast into the fire, how much more shall he clothe you, the ambassadors of the heavenly kingdom. O you of little faith! When you wholeheartedly devote yourselves to the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom, you should not be of doubtful minds concerning the support of yourselves or the families you have forsaken. If you give your lives truly to the gospel, you shall live by the gospel. If you are only believing disciples, you must earn your own bread and contribute to the sustenance of all who teach and preach and heal.” (The UB, 165:5.3, pg. 1823)

       Notice his distinction between disciples and gospel ambassadors. "Yes, Andrew, I will speak to you about these matters of wealth and self-support, but my words to you, the apostles, must be somewhat different from those spoken to the disciples and the multitude.” (165:5.2)

       The lesson, preserved in the Gospel of Matthew for disciples and apostles alike to hear, continues: “Devote yourselves to your work, believing that both the Father and I know that you have need of all these things. Let me assure you, once and for all, that, if you dedicate your lives to the work of the kingdom, all your real needs shall be supplied. Seek the greater thing, and the lesser will be found therein; ask for the heavenly, and the earthly shall be included.” (165:5.3)

       We find more background to this message in The UB. A feature of Jesus’ bestowal mission was that we learn to develop a trust that is unshakeable. As he prepared for life on Urantia, his brother Immanuel told him, “And when you shall have finished this bestowal experience, you will know in very truth the full meaning and the rich significance of that faith-trust which you so unvaryingly require all your creatures to master as a part of their intimate relationship with you as their local universe Creator and Father.” (120:1.3, pg. 1326)

       What does the UB mean by hyphenating faith-trust? I’m not completely sure but I have a theory that faith refers to spiritual matters, “the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1) whereas trust pertains to the life we live in the material world, having a confident expectation that an agreement, a covenant will be fulfilled. Faith is a gift, whereas trust, we learn.

       There were two young women musicians I once knew up in the country, friends as well as musical partners, but they were like oil on water. Though they made beautiful music together, they were at completely opposite ends of the spiritual spectrum; one an atheist and a believer in socialism, the other an ardent fundamentalist Christian. Whenever some difficulty in life arose, the Christian woman would tell her partner not to worry, “God will take care of it.” The atheist was offended by this way of thinking, living as if faith in God would rescue you even from your own human foibles. She saw it as irresponsible—that no matter what difficulty her friend fell into, even as a result of her own carelessness, God would reach down and pull her out of the mire. I once listened as they argued about it. In church, we would refer to this attitude as presuming on God’s mercy. It was this presumption of the fundamentalist woman that offended her non-believing friend.

       “Jesus' earthly life was devoted to one great purpose—doing the Father's will, living the human life religiously and by faith. The faith of Jesus was trusting, like that of a child, but it was wholly free from presumption. He made robust and manly decisions, courageously faced manifold disappointments, resolutely surmounted extraordinary difficulties, and unflinchingly confronted the stern requirements of duty. It required a strong will and an unfailing confidence to believe what Jesus believed and as he believed.” (196:0.14, pg. 2090)

       It is so easy these days to feel “at a loss,” as a friend described his emotions when observing how far away the “spiritual renaissance” seemed to be in our present world crisis. I really think the only thing we can rely on is faith. “Keep your eyes on the prize,” and “your hands on the gospel plow.” We can only do whatever works to restore flagging courage and lost strength, the same way Jesus did in his last hours. He recited Psalms to himself as he suffered on the cross, shoring up his dwindling resources. “During this hour of approaching death the human mind of Jesus resorted to the repetition of many passages in the Hebrew scriptures, particularly the Psalms.” (187:5.2, pg. 2010)

       I have to do something like this almost every day. When joy and hope begin to slip away, I use my strategies, like singing those gospel songs I quoted above, or re-reading inspirational quotes. In my case, another thing that also works well is to plunge myself into a writing project even though I do not feel up to it at all. In an hour or so, I have regained energy and enthusiasm.

          In following the Father’s command to “Be you perfect,” I once decided I couldn’t perfect my character, but I could perfect my faith. As I continually pursue and deepen my spiritual habits, I’ve felt my soul also beginning to help me have faith, confirm my faith, keep the faith, perfect my faith attitude; “the immortal soul craves and initiates worship,” (5:3.8, pg. 66) and helps us hold on to courage.

       Jesus taught us, “My Father will ever respond to the faintest flicker of faith.” (155:6.17, pg. 1733)

       “Your secret of the mastery of self is bound up with your faith in the indwelling spirit, which ever works by love. Even this saving faith you have not of yourselves; it also is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8; The UB 143:2.7, pg. 1610)

  • 2014-02-16 8:37 AM | Dave

                “Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living.” My school friend Mark and I were talking while walking the tree-lined, leaf-strewn path that took us to the University College Refectory. Of all the crazy notions, me telling him what Socrates said. Mark was a classics scholar who lived in the same dorm as I did at University of Toronto. He had probably read Socrates’ remark in the original Greek by Aristotle, and was wondering if I was trying to impress him, telling him what this Greek guy said. Maybe I was. It was typical of things boys did then. But this thought picked up from class had lodged in my brain. I was finding out philosophy was attractive to me—a way to impose order on the rabble of emotions.

                Mark just gave a kind of dismissive snort in reply as if the notion was irrelevant to his life. “You know Socrates never actually wrote anything down, don’t you?”

                Although I watched as he also tried out the role of rock and roll organist in a local band on the weekends, he seemed to have very early on decided his direction in life. Learning and teaching the Greek and Roman classics was probably the one thing he felt he could do well, and ultimately, he did become a tenured Classics professor. I think examining his life was not something he needed or cared to do at the time. And anyway, if I felt my life was unexamined, what did I hope to find out by examining it?

                Mark wouldn’t stay at the Refectory for very long. This student hangout at U. of T. was a refuge for those avoiding responsibility, seeking relief from the strain and boredom of their classes. He would say hello to friends and be off to his next class. He didn’t goof off that much, only if he could get his schoolwork done at the same time, which he was usually quite capable of doing. He could work well with distractions in the room. It astonished us at the dorm one night when he revealed he was high on acid while taking notes and studying Greek history.

                The Refectory like other college coffee houses of the old days was full of talk as well as clouds of cigarette smoke, the room all astir with the excitement of change, changes in society, our personal lives, our shifting identities. Beneath the haze of tobacco fumes, the scent of patchouli. Sometimes people made change sound like something you could take down off the shelf if you just paid the right price—or took the right drug. Find a guru, wear a fashionable outfit—Presto, Chango. You could be transformed, have a new liberated lifestyle.

                The talk about psychology, birthed in our now godless scientific age, figured in our discussions in a big way, post-Freudian pioneers blazing new pathways to integration of the self, opened up for the immigrant fugitives of the church who lagged behind.

                It may seem we frittered away valuable time that should have been applied to learning Chaucer, Milton, J. K. Galbraith and Herodotus, but we were actually making new discoveries of useful, more relevant paths to pursue. Some were actually skipping class of course.

                So maybe you think I’ve been found out, caught rationalizing this deviant behavior, portraying the college goof-offs as higher minded than they really were. Some grasped at the opportunity to test ideas for real change that was in those discussions. We looked outside church and school to find ways to grow and self-realize, concepts that fought to emerge above the fatalistic din in my head that said, “No change is possible.” 

                Maybe our collective disappointment with blood families and relations was why we began to refer to the group of friends as “the family.” Later on some of us even founded a commune and tried living together.

                One couple, Michael and Sue, had discovered the Vedanta teachings of Vivekananda (Hinduism) and were planning a trip to India. Sue and I got to talking in the Refectory one day and I learned more about it. It was a day I shared my enthusiasm for Carl Jung who I was reading for the first time. “Jung says, Christ is a symbol of the self, an archetype representing the whole person, not just centered on the ego. I think that’s what I’m aspiring to be—a whole person.”

                “That’s what you can obtain through yoga teachings and meditation, a knowledge of the consciousness behind the Universe—Satchitananda, Dave, Bliss! Consciousness existed behind the Universe before the Earth was even created.”

                “I think Jung says something like that also.” I believed in Jung’s ideas about the symbol-producing aspects of the unconscious, myths to reintegrate us into a healthier life, but it was an intellectual path. Sue and her boyfriend were taking action, studying the path, but also planning to have a teacher, a guru they called it. “Where will you go in India?” I asked her.

                “We’ll join the Sri Auribindo ashram, an educational center he started a long time ago. We’ll learn to overcome all this Western materialism and junk we were raised with.”

                Western society seemed to have decided against the reality of God and gone along with Nietzsche’s declaration, “God is dead,” so the orphaned children turned to other sources where something like God might be found again. A power drawing us forward to some indefinite goal also led me to Asian religions, at first specifically Hinduism from India, probably because of Beatle George Harrison, his fan-followers, and Sue and Michael of course, who’d left for India. We expected them to come back. But they never returned.

                When my hometown friend Chris, an architecture student, undertook his search for truth, he settled on the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. My college dorm friend, Mark, was led by his love of blues singer Robert Johnson to make a pilgrimage to the unholy crossroads of the Blues, where music from the South Side of Chicago intersected with country blues of the Black American South. Another friend, Peter, went north during summer break to work on a road crew under the hot sun. He came back ennobled by labor, extolling the virtues of the working class and the life.

                Each of us followed his muse, his grail, and shared their inspiration with the others. We enjoyed each other’s discoveries. It was a time before choices solidified, before we went our separate ways. Not long after however, the family broke up; most of them moved away. Chris was killed in a freak accident on a construction job in Labrador, crushed by a pile of heavy pipe that came loose. He’d only completed his second year at University. I still see and talk with Mark and some others now and again.

                The examined life can help you choose a direction that brings more pleasure, wisdom, spiritual guidance, even wealth, maybe leading you to find a role in which you serve the community. Unfortunately, dear Socrates, I did not take my next step on the path based on any logical examination of my life. It was a whirlwind of emotions and crazy, out of control circumstances that ordained my future, and blew me down an unknown road.

  • 2014-02-09 11:26 AM | Dave

       A miracle happened in California this week. It began to rain. It continued off and on for several days. In fact rain is still falling as I write this. We didn’t care that some days there was only drizzle, or the moisture-laden clouds stalled at the Berkeley Hills, leaving just the smell of rain in the air. The aromas of a renewed, rehydrated earth caused much rejoicing. Folks in the northeast, drowned in precipitation in all its forms, including frozen icy ones, probably think we’re daft. But for Californians who watched reservoirs drop to the bottom, and saw the rise of old drowned ghost towns lost for years, and redwood tree stumps suddenly emerging like apparitions from an ancient past, we experienced a real fear of running out of water.

       Do you ever sing while you walk in the park in the rain? I’m like Gene Kelly, “Singing in the Rain,” except I’m not as good a dancer. On a walk between the raindrops this week, nourished spiritually while Urantia received heaven’s blessing, the words of a song that I’ve known for decades (actually much older, written in 1912) came back to me. It was “In the Garden,” and for the first time, the meaning of the words truly came alive for me. The lyric described the experience I was having here in 2014, over a century since it was written. I too had a very strong sense that he “walks with me, and he talks with me, and tells me I am his own.”

  • 2014-02-01 11:24 AM | Dave

       The Urantia Book (The UB) portrays the Supreme Being as, “the actualizing Deity of the evolving universes of time and space (113:3.6, pg. 1244).” This aspect of the 5th epochal revelation, the depiction of a God still evolving, was unusual in religion when I first came across The UB in 1978, and a concept that drew me into a deeper study of the book. Here religion had finally met science and formed an alliance in a world created by God, but a greater god who used, “the creative technique known as evolution,” (20:0.5, pg. 223). “Evolution is a cosmic technique of growth.” (100:3.7, pg. 1097)

       The Supreme is also described as the Oversoul of Creation (117:5, pg. 1285), a term that we first encounter in the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

       “Ineffable is the union of man and God in every act of the soul. The simplest person, who in his integrity worships God, becomes God.” (The Over-Soul)

       In the Foreword, we find The UB’s initial more expanded definition, “God the Supreme – [is] ... personally experiencing the achievement of Deity unity as the … God of the evolutionary creatures of time and space.” (0:2.15; #4, pg. 4) We are also introduced in the Foreword to the seven levels on which Total Deity functions (as a unity), culminating in the Supreme and Ultimate levels.

       The Supreme Being has been experienced and named by religious teachers in the past (for example by the authors of the Upanishads), but before The UB, the term Supreme Being was virtually a synonym for God. The UB is the first sacred text to clearly delineate it as a separate discernible reality from the Universal Father and has reserved the term Supreme for this specific sixth level of Total Deity.

         Much more new information about the Supreme Being is revealed in The Urantia Book. I can suggest here a few questions that the concept of the Supreme answers for us.

       Is Creation finished?  Science has confirmed via pictures from space (first from the Hubble and later by more advanced telescopes) that stars are still being born, that creation is not completed.

       Is God contentedly complete in the three persons of Trinity, removed or somehow outside of the Creation that is still unfolding? The statement, “God is himself still evolving” is a radical one in the context of traditional Christianity.

       For those accustomed to the security of a religion of authority, a vista of imperfect, unstable, and unreliable situations arise. Disturbing to traditional religionists is the idea that if God is evolving it suggests he is not yet perfect, further leading to the implication that the previous revelations of God are only partially accurate, perhaps obsolete.

       If new revelations of God are continuing to unfold, how do we assess the revelations we’ve already received in older sacred texts, the Bible, the Koran, the Torah? If they are in error, is it reasonable to continue to use them as guides to our decisions? We learn in the UB that, “in this way the sacred books of many religions have become fetishistic prisons incarcerating the spiritual imagination of man.” (88:2.6, pg. 969)

       The important idea that God moves out of the “static” and “potential” aspects of eternity, the first two levels of Total Deity, into the “associative, creative, evolutional,” levels is hard for mortal beings to comprehend. My Catholic relatives could neither understand nor accept it.

       Notice by the way how the first letter of each of these five Deity levels spells out the word SPACE.  A joke, right? Possibly--but a good one. And also a useful way to memorize the seven levels of Total Deity. The last two levels, Supreme and Ultimate, spelling SU, prompted The UB study group leader, David Glass, to teach his mnemonic device, Space-Su(it).

       In our era, process theology teaches, “a process must be inherent in God’s nature whereby his infinity is acquiring realization,” (A.N. Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas) and progressive Christianity is beginning to absorb such new thoughts.

       On the back deck of a beautiful home in the mountains of Santa Cruz, a fellow reader and I stood together one cold winter night and watched the blazing stars of Orion dance across a clear, unpolluted sky like an unfolding spectacle of the Supreme, “He is seated upon the circle of the earth, and …he stretches out the heavens as a curtain (Isaiah 40:22). He was moved to the thought that if only people could come to know the Supreme, we might be better equipped to solve the planet’s problems, “… action, completion of decisions, is essential to the evolutionary attainment of consciousness of progressive kinship with the cosmic actuality of the Supreme Being.” (pg. 1211; 110.6.17)

       I think my friend in Santa Cruz is right. We can rely on God the Supreme to reciprocate in any choice that has something to do with the further evolution of spiritual dominance over matter-energy, our spiritual natures finding greater control over material life circumstances.  We are a harmony, a rhyme, with the purpose and destiny of the Supreme when our decisions help write this mighty song, this great poem.

       “During the present universe age the evolving personalities of the grand universe suffer many difficulties due to the incomplete actualization of the sovereignty of God the Supreme, but we are all sharing the unique experience of his evolution. We evolve in him and he evolves in us.” (31:10.12, pg. 353)

       “The purpose of cosmic evolution is to achieve unity of personality through increasing spirit dominance, volitional response to the teaching and leading of the Thought Adjuster. Personality, both human and superhuman, is characterized by an inherent cosmic quality which may be called “the evolution of dominance,” the expansion of the control of both itself and its environment.” (112:2.15, pg. 1229) Talk about a path to solving environmental problems! Please join us on that path.

  • 2014-01-19 11:21 AM | Dave

       I find it sad at times to observe that my artist, musician, and literary friends seem to run the opposite direction as soon as they hear or see any hint or appearance of Jesus’s presence in their midst. With poor vision distorted by old fears, it is the Christian version of Jesus they see, the one they likely grew up with, who inspires anti-abortion protesters to become terrorists, and fundamentalists to abhor advocates of gay marriage; not the Jesus we love in the Urantia Book (The UB). People of the arts also fear that their self-expression, their art is threatened, that it too will be negated, devalued, perhaps destroyed by a religion associated with the Master.

       The UB seems to sympathize and show some understanding for the feeling, though from a somewhat different perspective: “Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.” (195:9.6, pg. 2083)

       Jesus tried to correct a misperception that serving God and man required one to adopt the religious career of an evangelist, or minister of some kind, “Fail not to remember that the will of God can be done in any earthly occupation. Some callings are not holy and others secular. All things are sacred in the lives of those who are spirit led; that is, subordinated to truth, ennobled by love, dominated by mercy, and restrained by fairness—justice. The spirit which my Father and I shall send into the world is not only the Spirit of Truth but also the spirit of idealistic beauty.” (155:6.11, pg. 1732)

       Idealistic beauty, hmmm … now there’s a goal for an artist to strive for! So let us look at how the noble occupations of artist, musician, poet, painter and the rest are supported and encouraged to make art that guides our civilization to a higher purpose.

       “The domains of philosophy and art intervene between the nonreligious and the religious activities of the human self. Through art and philosophy the material-minded man is inveigled into the contemplation of the spiritual realities and universe values of eternal meanings.” (5:4.4, pg. 67)

       “The high mission of any art is, by its illusions, to foreshadow a higher universe reality, to crystallize the emotions of time into the thought of eternity.” (48:7.23, pg. 557)

       Einstein once wrote, “In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this [cosmic religious] feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.”

     (fr. Science and Religion, 1930.)

       “Art faces the same problem now … that it did then: namely, how to generate and articulate what Kandinsky called "the all-important spark of inner life," . . . As he said, "It is the core of spiritual experience." (Donald Kuspit)

       “Beauty, art, is largely a matter of the unification of contrasts. Variety is essential to the concept of beauty. The supreme beauty, the height of finite art, is the drama of the unification of the vastness of the cosmic extremes of Creator and creature. Man finding God and God finding man—the creature becoming perfect as is the Creator—that is the supernal achievement of the supremely beautiful, the attainment of the apex of cosmic art. (56:10.3, pg. 646)

       “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts—such is the duty of the artist,” (Robert Schumann)

       “Art proves that man is not mechanistic, but it does not prove that he is spiritually immortal. Art is mortal morontia, the intervening field between man, the material, and man, the spiritual.” (195:7.15, pg. 2079)

       “In a secularising world, art has replaced religion as a touchstone of our reverence and devotion,” Alain de Botton. Perhaps what Monsieur de Botton said might still be true today but in an enlightened age to come, art and religion will combine forces to evolve a higher reverence for the Supreme, and friendship with the Creator, the greatest artist of all. 

       “Literature, music and art are the first and most sensitive spheres in which this spiritual revolution makes itself felt. They reflect the dark picture of the present time and show the importance of what at first was only a little point of light noticed by few and for the great majority non-existent. … they turn away from the soulless life of the present towards those substances and ideas which give free scope to the non-material strivings of the soul.” (artist, Wassily Kandinsky)

       Keep the faith in that “Spirit of Idealistic Beauty” bestowed by Michael, our local Creator Son! From “a little point of light noticed by few” we artists can make a lighthouse to guide the travelers home.

  • 2014-01-13 11:19 AM | Dave

       I had a chance to see Werner Hertzog’s famous documentary movie, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, (released April 2011), now available on Netflix. The film is about the Chauvet-Pont D’Arc cave in southern France and its cave paintings, older than the date fifteen thousand years ago given in The Urantia Book (The UB) as the height of prehistoric art. Latest information shows that usage of the cave has dates (not undisputed) that fall “into two groups, one centered around 27,000–25,000 BP (Gravettian culture) and the other around 32,000–30,000 BP (Aurignacian), obtained from radiocarbon dating of the charcoal on the wall, and on the floor of the cave.

       The UB tells us the cave artists were from the blue Sangik race. These UB terms, blue race and blue man, are similar to the European term “Blue Blood” that originated with royal families claiming Visigothic decent, also a term going back in some sources as far as 2,500 BCE. Blue bloods may represent Europe’s historical memory of Sangik heritage.

       “They had courage, but above all they were artists; the Adamic mixture suddenly accelerated creative imagination. The height of the blue man's art was about fifteen thousand years ago.” (80:3.7, Pg. 892) Rarely does The UB employ our anthropological terms, but the Archangel of Nebadon who authored paper 80 uses Cro-magnon in section 3, “The Cro-magnoid Blue Man.”

       Richard Klein, a Stanford professor of anthropological sciences, has what many consider a controversial explanation for the sudden development of cave art. "I think there was a biological change -- a genetic mutation of some kind that promoted the fully modern ability to create and innovate." In an interview last year, he stood by his theory despite disagreements. “We know that over the course of evolution, there’s been a huge amount of genetic change. We start with people with brains one-third the size of ours, and then we have us”, bringing in a sudden revolution in human culture.

       This idea of a biological mutation would be supported by the The UB account that individuals from the blue race and the Adamic race were mating. “The Adamic descendants preferred them to all of the later persisting colored races.” (64:6.21)

       “The blue men, then dominant in Europe, had no religious practices which were repulsive to the earlier migrating Adamites, and there was great sex attraction between the violet and the blue races. The best of the blue men deemed it a high honor to be permitted to mate with the Adamites. Every blue man entertained the ambition of becoming so skillful and artistic as to win the affection of some Adamite woman (80:1.6, pg. 890).”

       It appears their accomplishment in the arts was a result of this intermixing with the Adamites.

       However, it was not the first time in The UB’s history that the blue race excelled in art. The leader of the Planetary Prince’s “planetary council on art and science” was Mek. Mek did a great deal to advance the culture of the Andonites and to improve the art of the blue man. A blend of the blue man with the Andon stock produced an artistically gifted type, and many of them became master sculptors.  They did not work in stone or marble, but their works of clay, hardened by baking, adorned the gardens of Dalamatia.” (66:5.26) Artistic gift was a potential the blue race always possessed as a genetic endowment, a gene first expressed or enhanced through the Andonite combination, then later through conjugal unions with the Adamites.

       Chauvet Cave was also in the news when a research article was published in the May 2012, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” Several scientists from the University of Savoy, Aix-Marseille University and the Centre National de Prehistoire confirmed the paintings that were created by people in the Aurignacian era (named after Aurignac site in France), between 30,000 and 32,000 years ago. The findings are based on analysis using geomorphological and chlorine-36 dating of the rockslide surfaces around what is believed to be the cave’s only entrance. Analysis showed that the entrance was sealed by a collapsing cliff some 29,000 years ago, information that agrees with what was deduced from radiocarbon dating. Support for these dates also came from analysis of cave bear DNA found in Chauvet cave.

       In The Urantia Book history, this time period follows just after Adam and Eve’s occupation of Eden and of the Second Garden.

       Because of this long ago landslide, the Chauvet cave art was perfectly preserved. The general public has never been allowed to enter however director Werner Herzog received special permission from the French Minister of Culture to film inside the cave. The film consists of the cave footage as well as interviews with various scientists and historians. Herzog used 3-D in Cave of Forgotten Dreams to help "capture the intentions of the painters", who incorporated the stone wall's subtle bulges and contours into their art.

       The Chauvet cave has been sealed off since its discovery in 1994 partly because of the previous problems at Lascaux Cave (discovered earlier in 1940). The admission of 1,200 visitors a day breathing out carbon dioxide led to the growth of mold on the walls that damaged the art. This led to the closure of Lascaux in 1963 and the creation of a facsimile, the so-called "Faux Lascaux." A replica of Chauvet Cave is also being planned and is scheduled to open to the general public by the end of 2014.

  • 2014-01-06 11:16 AM | Dave

       January is the customary time in our society when we make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t usually participate in the ritual because I try to make resolutions or “decisions” whenever the time is right and I am ready. “Revelation teaches mortal man that, to start … a magnificent and intriguing adventure … he should begin by the organization of knowledge into idea-decisions.” (101:6.7, pg. 1112)

       Here is a story of a time when I made some important resolutions. Not in January. It was the springtime of a year during one of our intermittent economic recessions, when I was laid off from my employment at a music publishing house in downtown San Francisco. The only solid opportunity that came my way was a possible job as a security guard at the California Academy of Sciences, a museum in Golden Gate Park that included the Steinhardt Aquarium, very popular with kids. I was offered the job through an employee there, a neighbor we were friends with, and I took it gladly so I could keep us in the apartment with food on the table.

       My wife and I used to jokingly refer to my new job as “guarding the alligators at the museum,” because central to the Aquarium was a display that had been built to simulate a swamp with flowing waterfalls and lush jungle growth. The “swamp tank” was used to house live crocodiles and alligators. The security guards were expected to protect the reptiles from being bothered by children (mostly) who dropped nickels and pennies on their backs. Our description of the job made my daughter laugh. She would tell her friends, “My dad used to guard the alligators,” when her class took their field trips to the Steinhardt.

        Before I made the evening rounds with the round checker device we carried, I’d written out favorite quotes, mostly from The Urantia Book (The UB), some from other sources like an old Lakota prayer I loved. I used index cards to write the quotes out for purposes of memorization. The cards fit perfectly into my blue work shirt pocket, nicely concealed by the buttoned down flap. Some passages were about taking charge of my mental life, achieving self-mastery. I realized my personality was not under my control. Fears and subconscious needs overruled my conscious ego. I wondered if I brought failure on myself. One of my favorites was the speech Jesus gave to Fortune, “the young man who was afraid” in The UB, Paper 130. Jesus was instructing him like the Buddha, “teach your mind,” asking him to courageously face his problems and to refuse the bondage to fear and depression. I used this speech to Fortune to help myself gain “directionization” of my personality.

       “Set your mind at work to solve its problems; teach your intellect to work for you; refuse longer to be dominated by fear like an unthinking animal. Your mind should be your courageous ally in the solution of your life problems rather than your being, as you have been, its abject fear-slave and the bond servant of depression and defeat. But most valuable of all, your potential of real achievement is the spirit which lives within you …” (130:6.3, pg. 1438)

       I told myself, "you must give yourself a direction even if you only take one step at at time."

       “You are at full liberty to reject any part or all of the Thought Adjusters' program. It is their mission to effect such mind changes and to make such spiritual adjustments as you may willingly and intelligently authorize, to the end that they may gain more influence over the personality directionization; but under no circumstances do these divine Monitors ever take advantage of you or in any way arbitrarily influence you in your choices and decisions. The Adjusters respect your sovereignty of personality; they are always subservient to your will. (110:2.1, pg. 1204)

       Although on the surface this museum guard job represented an unproductive phase in my life, it became an opportunity to set in motion achievements that came later, proof perhaps of the idea that our spiritual growth happens unconsciously. “The factors of religious growth may be intentional, but the growth itself is unvaryingly unconscious.” (100:1.8-9, pg. 1095)

       This quirky practice that I hid from the other guards, the study and recitation of The UB quotes, made the quiet uneventful hours of guarding the museum more interesting. It also led to several good changes that flowed from a deeper intimacy with wise teachings. I resolved to develop my just discovered ability to write well. Already I was journaling on my lunch break in the guard’s locker room, or discussing poetry with Fritz, one of the guards who looked like a beatnik. Not long afterwards, I went on to earn B.A. and Master’s Degrees in writing. While I was still in school, we got pregnant and my wife and I joyfully undertook the work of raising a wonderful daughter. I began a new career with Wells Fargo, a well-known California bank.

       Though the results registered unconsciously, it was the first time I created a conscious partnership of mind with the spirit and it bore fruit.

       In seeing Jesus teach like the Buddha himself in these passages, “inspire your mind to control itself … release the body from the fetters of fear,” I learned to appreciate the universality of these religious teachings. I better understood being established in the dharma, the eight-fold path to righteousness. I found both plans of mental discipline more accessible to my understanding than the well known injunction, “Be you perfect,” also given in Christianity, which seemed to me to require rationalizations about your imperfections. Both the paths of Buddha and Jesus required fighting “the good fight of faith,” to perfect my faith, if not my character right away.

       But there was more than a call to focus spiritual and mental strengths in Jesus’ speech, there was his call to action, “do great things with your body … activate the body … begin your deliverance from the evils of inaction,” and Fortune responded. He left the solitary mountain byways and went on to perform great acts of service for the believers in Crete. Let us all find ways to act in service to the Father. The time is here for our actions to help actualize the Supreme on this troubled earth, “… action, completion of decisions, is essential to the evolutionary attainment of ... kinship with ... the Supreme Being.” (110.6.14, pg. 1211)

  • 2013-12-19 11:14 AM | Dave

       A haze lay upon the conjoined waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. With Carquinez Strait in the distance, hidden from view, I turned my gaze back south to the peaks of Diablo and thought of the ancient psalmist who sang, “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence comes my help,” (Psalm 121). I think of this passage as a statement not only of his faith, but of a personal spiritual experience. I too have felt as if angels swooped in over a cleft in the rocks, from out of a mottled gray, late autumn sky, like God, literally rushing out to meet you in the middle of the air. Even when I don’t feel their presence, I try to remember they are there.

       As I enter into contemplation and prayer, I soon discover God’s generosity, his loving kindness, his readiness to visit as soon as you are ready and willing to receive him. Jesus taught us this about our Father, "You have been admonished by the prophets from Samuel to John that you should seek for God—search for truth. Always have they said, 'Seek the Lord while he may be found.' And all such teaching should be taken to heart. But I have come to show you that, while you are seeking to find God, God is likewise seeking to find you.” (The Urantia Book, The UB, 169:1.2, pg. 1850)

       The more I experience this, the less I perceive the need to work at preparations, chanting mantras, counting breaths, perfecting a posture, pulling and stretching my body parts into a reverential pose like Swami Vertebraeka. Nevertheless if old rituals help in the approach to him, then of course they are right and good.

       The spirit helpers or angels bring joy from the heart of God. From a place of weakness and struggle, I sense the strength of it flowing into me, as I learn and understand the law of my being, how to go about the integration of ego-self with spirit, incorporating the elements of a total self, not leaving anything behind, not climbing out of an old skin, but finding the new wiggle room, getting more comfortable in the old one, using the power of my wounds, learning new ways to love one another better, and to value our families and friends more dearly.

       “Man's sole contribution to growth is the mobilization of the total powers of his personality—living faith.” (The UB, 100:3.7, pg. 1097)

       The call of a red tail hawk enters my meditations as it roosts in a nearby tree. Then the sound of flapping wings as it leaves its perch to fly further uphill, calling out a few more times until quiet returns. He’s settled somewhere, to peruse the blue oak forest and meadow below. The woods, silent again; the still calm of the fall season resumes. Joy comes and also peace for a time. We wait for winter rain to ease the drought in California.

       I wish you all Merry Christmas and Joy and Goodwill on Urantia for all children, women and men. Let us find strength to accomplish the projects of Peace and Joy throughout the coming New Year.

Recent Blog Posts

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software