We Are What We Teach

My message is simply that the best approach we can take to assisting the infusion of the Urantia revelation into the world is to incorporate the teachings of the book into our daily lives.

The expansion of our frame of reference resulting from the information the book contains is almost overwhelming at first. Think about it. The description of trillions of inhabited planets organised by superuniverses, major and minor sectors, local universes, constellations and local systems as a single Grand Universe is stunning. The array of personalities inhabiting this cosmos far transcends previous conceptions. And this is just the beginning, the prelude to even vaster and more complex projections in the outer space levels, and maybe even eventually the absolute and infinite realms in which this Master Universe is contained. And that the infinite deity responsible for all this is also the personal God who we pray to and worship and who is interested in us—indeed loves us and makes it possible for us to become more and more like him, and even fraternise with him face to face. Even for our personality to fuse with an absolute fragment of deity.

No previous frame of reference has envisaged anything like the Paradise ascent by the technique of experience. Nor has one ever revealed the post finite experience of the Finaliters in absonite and even absolute reality. No previous revelation has provided such comprehensive information about the four levels of reality—matter, mind, spirit and personality.

And we need to remember that that is what it is—information. The Urantia Book is not a religion so much as information about those realities which underlie religion. It speaks of those matters which lead to the development of religions.

We students of The Urantia Book accept that what we study is information, and not just fantasy, a fairy tale. This being the case we have begun to order our lives so as to reflect the information, and different people have different emphases. Some of the labels might be:

  • Doing the will of God
  • Loving God and serving men
  • Following the leading of our indwelling adjuster
  • Cooperating with our celestial supervisors
  • Being devoted to truth, beauty and goodness
  • Establishing the brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God
  • Achieving the psychic circles
  • Contributing to the growth of the Supreme
  • Loving one another as Jesus loves us
  • Helping the planet towards Light and Life
  • Moving the seat of our identity from the adjutant mind to the soul
  • Living a spiritually fragrant life
  • Living a faith dominated life
  • Living as in the presence of God

All of these amount to pretty much the same thing in practice, because they are all part of the same process of progressively aligning the conduct of our lives with the information supplied in The Urantia Book. Obviously we aspire to more than we can achieve, but it is what we are trying to achieve which is important in this initial life. We do not look forward to life after death. We are trying to live the same life which we live after dispensing with our material bodies. Death is just another experience along the way.

And what I want to emphasise is that all of these things can be done in daily life. And in so far as we teach, it is in our daily life and experience where we are likely to be most effective. Teaching is a form of service, and those we serve are those we encounter day by day. Going the second mile, being a good friend, refraining from insincere manipulation, these are service opportunities in daily life. I just love what Jesus said to the Greek inn keeper:

“Minister your hospitality as one who entertains the children of the Most High. Elevate the drudgery of your daily toil to the high levels of a fine art through the increasing realization that you minister to God in the persons whom he indwells by his spirit which has descended to live within the hearts of men, thereby seeking to transform their minds and lead their souls to the knowledge of the Paradise Father of all these bestowed gifts of the divine spirit.” [Paper 133:4:8]

We tend to do better when inspired by our expanded frame of reference. Knowing that no act of good is ever lost, but always contributes to the Supreme, knowing that our mistakes are learning experiences, that we are all learning on the job, knowing the future in store for all sincere personalities—these things inspire us to keep trying for progress, to keep working for truth, beauty and goodness, always alert to opportunities which may come our way. From little things big things can grow.

A Story

When I was young I took a personal development course at which the tutor asked us to answer the question “what do you really believe?” I was astonished to discover that I had great difficulty in answering this question.

The truth was that I had no idea what my fundamental beliefs were. At that time I did not believe in God—or thought I didn’t. Apart from that, listening to the discussion of others’ beliefs led me to wonder whether I believed anything other than what was convenient at the time. I had rejected the Christian notion of God some years earlier, thinking I could find meaning in intellectual pursuits, but was in fact living without meaning.

This worried me. To discover that I really had little understanding of myself was somewhat chastening. What followed was a long period of introspection and confusion, during which my life was turned topsy-turvy. I abandoned my career and began to drift, living from hand to mouth while I struggled to make sense of things—to discover some meaning in existence. I travelled, working at a number of jobs, and began to read Metaphysics, Theosophy, Science Fiction, New Age material—anything which seemed to address the question of the meaning of life, and the place of the individual in the cosmos. After some years I seemed to be getting nowhere and in fact was beginning to despair of ever being able to make sense of my existence, all the time returning to that simple question: What do I really believe?

Then a fortuitous set of circumstances led to my discovery of The Urantia Book, and I quickly realised that here was something far more significant for my search than anything I had encountered previously. Not that my inner turmoil suddenly ceased—it didn’t. But The Urantia Book introduced a whole new set of concepts to intrigue and mystify me, and my curiosity led me to study it.

I’m sure I don’t need to continue the story for you to guess the outcome, but the story illustrates a couple of things about learning and teaching.

Of course I don’t wish to imply that this was the entire reason for my discovery of the revelation. No doubt my adjuster was preparing my mind for the event without my being conscious of it. But it was a catalyst, a precipitating factor, which brought whatever decisions were being grouped together in my sub-conscious mind out into the open. Small events can have profound consequences.

What this taught me

1. We may not know the results

Perhaps we never do. In the first place, when the tutor of that personal development course asked that question: What do you really believe? he had no idea that it would be the catalyst for a series of events and choices which would completely disrupt the life of one of his students. But at least from my point of view it was a very effective lesson, one which culminated in my discovery of God as the Universal Father and the progressive cultivation of deepening faith in Him. The Mighty Messenger in paper 117 quotes:

The act is ours, the consequences God’s [Paper 117:5:3]

We cannot expect to see or understand the results of our efforts to teach. We teach to the best of our ability and hope that we have made a positive contribution, but the results of our efforts may take decades or more to yield fruit, and the fruit may be in a form which we may not even recognise. The revelators point out to us a number of times that all things work for the good of truth seekers in the end, even though that end may not be manifest for years, decades or longer.

And sometimes it doesn’t take much. The midwayers point out that those to whom Jesus taught the most, he said the least. (Paper 132:4:1)

2. We need to try it out—not just reason about it

In the second place, the story makes clear that when it comes to the discovery of truth, merely thinking does not produce results. God cannot be discovered by reason or logic. The truth seeker must be prepared to try it out, to give himself wholly to the question by incorporating it into his life. The Archangel in paper 48 in trying to illustrate mota says:

The weak indulge in resolutions, but the strong act. Life is but a day’s work—do it well. The act is ours; the consequences God’s. [Paper 48:7:13]

And Rodan said:

Religion can never be a matter of mere intellectual belief or philosophic reasoning; religion is always and forever a mode of reacting to the situations of life; it is a species of conduct. [Paper 160:5:2]

We only learn anything of real importance by giving ourselves to it.

The weak indulge in resolutions, but the strong act. Life is but a day’s work—do it well. The act is ours; the consequences God’s. [Paper 48:7:13]

Teaching

No doubt many of you, just like me, having become fascinated by The Urantia Book, set out to tell our family and friends all about it, to encourage them to study and accept its teachings just like us. And no doubt many of you, just like me, were met with ridicule, boredom, condescension or polite indifference. Most people are not interested.

So how are we to go about the infusion of the Fifth Epochal Revelation into the world?

I believe we serve the revelation best by concentrating on living the teachings in our personal lives. If there are great teachers among us then great teaching will be part of their personal lives. If a reader really is a great teacher, this will be a natural consequence of his living the teachings. What we teach is the conduct of our daily lives.

The progressing personality leaves a trail of actualised reality as it passes through the ascending levels of the universes. [Paper 117:5:6]

Our path through life is like the wake of a ship, and what effect that wake has depends on the direction and speed of the ship.

1. Thought Adjusters

The presence of thought adjusters in all of us allows truth to be lived in different ways.

It is the indwelling adjuster who individualises the love of God to each human soul. [Paper 2:5:10]

The adjusters try to find ways of making us receptive to truth in the many different forms of its expression. When we find truth it is as a result of the adjuster’s efforts. When we conduct ourselves in conformity with the leading of our adjuster, this influence can be utilised by other adjusters indwelling other personalities.

Our teaching thus depends on our willingness to follow the leading of our indwelling adjuster. And it is this same willingness which constitutes our own progress.

2. Children

It begins when we are children. The Melchizedek who wrote paper 100 describes this in the first section where he says:

Children are permanently impressed only by the loyalties of their adult associates; precept or even example is not lastingly influential. [Paper 100:1:4]

Do we not remember as children being admonished by our parents or school teachers to do or refrain from something when we just knew that they themselves did not believe it? And we readily learned what they really valued by observing how they behaved and conducted themselves. Remember how surprised Jesus was to discover that Joseph did not know the cause of earthquakes? A lesser father may have fobbed him off with “God caused it”, but Joseph was not afraid to admit his ignorance, and retained Jesus’ respect as a result.

3. Saying one thing and doing another

As we grow older we almost unconsciously learn to discern what are the true values of those with whom we interact—as they do with us. How often have we had it pointed out to us that we “say one thing and do another”. We all tend to use our own values in detecting the values of others. And we note that this distinction between conduct and professed belief is well established in worldly culture—it is not something new that the revelators needed to introduce. Most human cultures understand that our values are measured by our conduct rather than our professed beliefs. So it comes as no surprise that what we really believe—what we place our faith in—is what determines what we do and strive for. And what we do and strive to do constitutes the “trail of actualised reality” that we leave in the world as we go. When we place our faith in God, and pursue spiritual truth, the trail of actualisation we leave behind us contributes to the growth of the Supreme.

4. Jesus conduct embodied his teaching

In Paper 196 the Midwayer Commission says:

Jesus never argued about the fatherhood of God or the brotherhood of men; he was a living illustration of one and a profound demonstration of the other. [Paper 196:1:5]

It was because of this that people were impressed by what he said. Some favoured, and some opposed what he said, but all who heard him knew that he had something significant to say. He was effective because his bearing and conduct embodied his teaching. He was what he taught. And the Commission also points out that

…what is now most needed is Jesus. The world needs to see Jesus living again on earth in the experience of spirit-born mortals who effectively reveal the Master to all men. [Paper 195:10:1]

The idea conveyed is that the world now most needs men and women living lives inspired by the human Jesus—the Jesus whose bearing and conduct embodied his teaching. In so far as they teach, it is the simple teaching of the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God, a message few could fail to understand. And the effectiveness of the message depends on how well the teachers themselves live it. If the teachers embody their teaching, people are more inclined to listen.

The message is simple and easy to understand. But whether the messenger has an audience or not depends on the degree to which he embodies the teaching. We are what we teach.

5. Brotherhood of Man needs Fatherhood of God

Pretty well everyone agrees that the brotherhood of man is a worthy ideal. But at the same time it is obvious that our planet is a long way from achieving it. What the world does not yet understand is that this brotherhood requires the recognition of the Father for it to be realised. Only when people realise that we are all the spiritual children of the Universal Father will the fact of brotherhood become obvious, and its realisation possible. But only people who sincerely try to live as children of the Universal Father are likely to influence those who do not know of the reality of the Father. Argument, logic, and reason are impotent in the absence of faith and personal commitment. Only those who exhibit in their daily lives the love of God are likely to influence non-believers.

One of my favourite passages from the book is found in Paper 117:

The Father’s love can become real to mortal man only by passing through that man’s personality as he in turn bestows this love upon his fellows. The great circuit of love is from the Father, through sons to brothers, and hence to the Supreme. (Paper 117:6:9)

This describes the situation very neatly. As the love of God passes through us to our fellows it contributes to the growth of the supreme—to planetary advancement. It is the experience of God’s love which transforms lives and initiates faith. It is as channels of divine love that we influence our fellow men.

We do know that we can best co-operate with our celestial administrators by attempting to live the teaching of the revelation. What we say to our fellows has effect only if we they can see that we genuinely try to live by the principles we are trying to teach. If we try to become the channel of the Father’s love to our fellows we are probably doing all that we can to further planetary progress.

What we teach is what we are.

We are what we teach.

Foot note: In addition to the above the last part of my presentation was the showing of part 1 of Nigel Nunn’s video: Universe Frames. Olga Lopez translated the script into Spanish, and the simultaneous translator did the Spanish voiceover while the English version was playing. That meant that the whole conference was exposed to the video in good conditions on a big screen with good sound. It worked really well.