The Inner Life
The 18th Meeting of readers in Spain began on Thursday afternoon, April 25th at the Hotel Estival Torrequebrada, located just beside the Mediterranean Sea in the town of Benalmádena (Málaga, Spain). Forty-five attendees came from all over the country and also from abroad, including Germany, Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland. Among our guests were Antonio Schefer, Urantia Association’s Conference Committee Chair, and Sebastian Nozzi, European Coordinator. Thank you all for coming!
On this occasion, the conference theme was “The Inner Life,” in connection with the general theme for conferences called “Living the Teachings.” More specifically, we explored the inner life in four subthemes:
On the first day, we welcomed other presentations not related to the main theme. First, and following with the cycle of presentations about the history of the Urantia movement, Eduardo Altuzarra gave a presentation about the history of the movement in our country, more specifically about one of the first people to introduce The Urantia Book in Spain, a civil engineer and truth-seeker by the name of Pedro Valverde Tort.
Then Olga Lopez gave a short speech in memory of Richard Keeler, who graduated last January. She reminded us of Richard’s bond with Spain and its people, and his commitment to translations in general and the Spanish translation in particular.
The next presentation of the day was given by Carmelo Martinez. He gave an overview about the last places that Jesus walked in his final hours in the flesh, comparing information in The Urantia Book to the present geography of Jerusalem. He focused his presentation on Golgotha and the tomb in the garden, where Jesus’ body was laid before his resurrection.
After dinner, and as a last-minute addition, Rafael Mondejar, a Spaniard living in Colombia, gave us a presentation about “The Spiritual Fraternity of the Sons of God,” in which he conveyed the significance of spiritual fraternity in the application of The Urantia Book teachings to the people around us, and in order to make the Kingdom of Heaven a reality here on Urantia.
The next day, we started our activities by watching a film-documentary related to the conference theme: The Shift, by Wayne Dyer. After a short discussion of this film, we began dealing with the four aspects of the inner life as follows: one person gave a 20-minute presentation on a subtheme, after which a breakout session followed.
Attendees were assigned to a group and given a set of questions to discuss. These groups had a moderator-facilitator and were organized so that each one of them was as diverse as possible (men and women, new and long-term readers together), with the purpose that all members in the group got to know each other and felt at ease sharing their insights. After the breakout session, all the groups got together again to share what they had found.
The presenters for each one of the subthemes were:
The Inner Life – Inward: Maria Jose Sanchez. She invited us to consider three couples in The Urantia Book: Andon and Fonta, Adam and Eve, and Joseph and Mary, and she helped us to reflect on the challenges they faced and the way they overcame them.
The Inner Life – Upward: Ana Maria Garcia. In her presentation, she invited us to consider our level of spiritual development by responding to a simple test. There were also other questions related to this aspect of inner life, which were addressed in the later work in groups.
The Inner Life – Godward: Olga Lopez. She focused on the inevitabilities of life as a way to progress through the worlds of time and space and at the beginning of the morontia life, where the possibility of evil as well as physical and mental poisons are pitfalls that we must get over to progress spiritually. In the breakout session, we focused on these obstacles to spiritual development and ways of overcoming them.
The Inner Life – Outward: Santiago Rodriguez. In his presentation, special emphasis was made on service as a key to projecting our inner life. A rich inner life dominated by spirituality can’t be kept within us but is projected outward to help our fellows. In the breakout session, our discussions deepened on this topic.
Friday afternoon we had a special workshop, called “El Juego de los Valores” (The Game of Values). Using the same groups as we had for the breakout sessions, each group was given a deck of 52 cards. Each card had a (moral) value on it and a short text. Each member would pick one card at random and share with the others what this value would suggest to them: if it was something that needed improvement, what experiences related to that value (or its absence), and in general any idea that was related to it. Here is a brief sample of the values discussed: detachment, forgiveness, optimism, compassion, and sense of humor. It was another good occasion to deepen our fellowship.
On Friday night after dinner, we played the quiz game called “La Carrera a Nebadon” (The Race to Nebadon). We created six groups (representing the original six colored races) and we advanced along the game board until the winners arrived at Salvington, the final goal. Like last year, laughter and good humor were more important than the game itself, in which the only prize was personal satisfaction.
Saturday afternoon was time to socialize. We took a bus and went to Málaga, one of the most important cities in the area. After enjoying the beautiful views of Málaga from Gibralfaro in the upper part of the city, we took a walk through the center, ending up at El Tintero, a famous restaurant in the city located next to the beach. This added a plus of fun to an atmosphere of fraternity and fellowship that we all look forward to experiencing in our meetings.
On Sunday morning, we said goodbye. But before this, we had some time to discuss association business and to ask the attendees about their opinion on the meeting. Our deepest gratitude to the Málaga Study Group, they did a great job with the venue and with the excursion to Málaga.