contibutor_templageFairytales Always Have a Bad Guy—Learning to Identify the Villain

By SanSkritA Dell Erba

I live in Global Community Communications Alliance, a full-functioning spiritual community located at Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage in Tumacácori, Arizona. I was born in the community and have grown up surrounded by readers of The URANTIA Book. At an early age I attempted to decipher the sacred text like it was some secret code that, once cracked, would reveal every universal secret that we have questioned for centuries. Deep down inside the fiery pits of my practical self, I realized that at some point in my reading sessions I would begin to comprehend a little, but it would not be the assumed fantastical understanding that I had pre-mediated upon. Intellectually I did not grasp the long string of wordy sentences in The URANTIA Book, but I was compelled by the sheer poetry and unquestionable truth that I knew existed in each word.

As a child I began to develop a real love in my heart for our Creator, a core fascination that I knew was essential in some way to my ultimate survival and, in particular, to my everyday life. Our school curriculum (Global Community Communications Schools for Teens & Children) incorporated the teachings of The Urantia Book through different instructional modalities, and it is these beginning building blocks that shaped the students into keen and hungry seekers of spirituality.

The world of my childhood was colored by the following topics:  God, the Paradise Trinity, angels, higher worlds, virtue, higher self versus lower self, destiny, cosmic family, starseed reality, ego versus humility, Jesus, Melchizedek, Lucifer Rebellion, Lucifer Manifesto, music with a message, loving selflessly, service, ministry, elders, Spirit of Truth, Thought Adjuster, Holy Spirit, prayer, and the list could go on, but you get the point. As children our minds were filled with these matters, and our hearts were activated, our minds were developing awareness, and new dimensions of thinking were a daily occurrence.

If this is sounding like it leads to a “happy-ever-after” story, I inform you now that the raw reality is about to be revealed. You could say it is more like a “how-to-create-a-happy-ever-after”. My childhood was kind of like a self-help book, you hungrily read it from start to finish and then… guess what? Time to apply the principles!

There is never an easy solution or a fix-all that can substantiate that God is all the way in Paradise but also right next door waiting for a private audience; just go ring the bell and he’ll let you right in. Actually the path to God will take what seems like an eternity, and while on that path, we will experience discovery after discovery, change upon change, and transformation upon transformation. And it starts in the here-and-now.

So though I live in the “be-here-now”, I reflect back on my childhood and consider the bounty of goodness that I was blessed with. While you can grow up under the most idyllic and supreme circumstances, in the end one must still forge her own path. “The acts of today are the destiny of tomorrow”[1].Though I was given so much, though everything was lined out in good order and my parents are outstanding and wise, I still must personally make choices that improve upon what has been so graciously given to my peers and me.

Surely my childhood upbringing gave me ample opportunity to make higher choices and to extend myself in ways up and above typical childhood behavior. Nevertheless, I struggled with my own little world of “me”. I still had to contend with my own stubbornness, emotional drama, selfish desires, childish viewpoints, prideful response mechanisms, egotistical pursuits and lust for self-seeking freedoms. While I am glad to tell you that I am still alive today after all of that nonsense, I am also still going through all of those lower emotions and probably will for a long, long time.

So what has changed if anything at all? Well, for one thing, gratitude. It is the stuff that grows you wings. What gave me that gratitude was not a showering of more gifts, but actually a time that was provided me in the last few years where I walked through soul-shaking fire. The little bit of pain I experienced opened my eyes more than a thousand perfect days ever could. Through a series of personal bad choices I went through self-inflicted strife, and in this battle of my lower self I began to see that the manual of lifetime-training that my childhood had afforded me was begging to be realized in deeper ways. For instance, what does it really mean to be humble? What does it mean to show love and forgiveness? How do you juggle emotions with rational thinking? My viewpoints before the “Great Strife” (I say this satirically because in relative terms my pain was a smidgen compared with the real and overwhelming atrocities that people all over the world struggle with) changed as I began to identify the villain in the fairytale I was in.

Every good and titillating story has a bad guy, right? When I was a kid, there always had to be a bad guy or else the story was terribly boring. I soon came to realize that the bad guy is a very real part of life on earth; though the villain happened to be closer to home then I wanted to believe. So close in fact, that I knew its thought. . . wait a minute. . . they are my thoughts! It was here that I started on a journey of self-analysis and soul searching.

One of my biggest eye openers came in discerning the difference between false humility and genuine humility. Genuine humility is not sweet smiles and always saying yes when you feel like punching the person instead. Humility is actually admitting to yourself that you were wrong, and then admitting to the person that you were wrong, and to top it off, admitting all of this with love. In my immature thinking I thought humility was bit like martyrdom and that the more you suffered the more humble you were. I also thought that humility was berating yourself when you make a mistake and “beating yourself up” so to speak. I thought you had to feel really, really bad about your poor choice, or else you were intoxicated with pride and ego and blind to your own mistakes. But though you should feel regret, you should not wallow in self-deprecation; you should move forward in your new awareness with confidence and humility.

SanskritaViolin (2)What I first failed to see was that pride and ego (our lower self) often like to play dress up and then call themselves “humility”. Pride prefers the extra make-up and ego adores the extra ornaments, but what they both conspire to add to their superb outfit are the high heels that give a sense of loftiness and superiority. Pride and ego do not like to face reality and would have you smothered in glamour all night and day if they could, but sometimes life gets you in the dumps and you just aren’t feeling so haughty. So they have to come up with a plan B when this happens. Plan B is the “beating-yourself-up” part that provokes cavernous self-contemplation and self-pity. I was tricked by Plan B for several years because I did not see it for what it was, thinking that this “wallowing” was something like humility.

Plan B is less obvious in its inconspicuous and private garb, and my inner world refused to see what was going on. I was handed the best knowledge on these topics, humility included, but until you learn to identify it in yourself and others, it is just head (intellectual) knowledge and not yet an actual experience. Through time and the facilitation of pain, I began to learn the true mark of humility. Humility is not a show; humility is not a performance; humility does not distract you for days, and humility does not pull other people into your melodrama. Humility is simply love for that which is true. Humility is engaged by a thoroughgoing understanding of yourself and of others. As The URANTIA Book teaches, once we truly understand another human being we can come to love them.

Though I am young, I am undoubtedly on a path hitherto forged by titans, and though the need to quicken my footsteps as time goes on, I will indomitably carry on. My childhood gave me the map to life with thorough directions, but I must now learn to navigate the storms, droughts, obstacles, and unpredictable events that come with this package called “Life”. I am grateful beyond words to have been provided a higher understanding of life because of the way that I was brought up. Growing up in Global Community Communications Alliance has been a true gift that I would not think of replacing. This gift is still in my hands as of today, and by my choices I am determining my rate of growth.

[1] The URANTIA Book, Paper 48, Section 7