by Chuck Thurston

Part 4 of 4

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Photo by Chuck Thurston. Detail of The School of Athens, by Raphael, finished in 1511.

This post is the last of four, published serially over the course of a few weeks.

Cultivating Spiritual Insight

Our engagement with divine presence, whether personal or prepersonal, grows and develops in accordance with the quality of our intentions and the persistence of our efforts.

“…If, then, persistence will win favors even from mortal man, how much more will your persistence in the spirit win the bread of life for you from the willing hands of the Father in heaven. Again I say to you: Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you…” (Paper 144:2.3, page 1619:1)

Even the worshipful receptivity that follows naturally after prayer is an active engagement:

…Worship is effortless attention… a form of restful spiritual exertion. (Paper 143:7.7, page 1616:9)

It is interesting to note, I think, that there is no mention of human “listening” in any of the Religion papers or the Thought Adjuster papers. “Insight,” on the other hand, appears dozens of times in these sections of The Urantia Book, and is mentioned more than 150 times within the book as a whole.

Insight is born from initiative and originality in the inner life. Spiritual insight is inspired by our ability to feel God’s presence, especially during our prayer, worship, and service experiences. The Adjuster’s prepersonal presence in our thoughts and decisions offers unlimited potential for the discovery of new spiritual insights, but it’s up to us to increase our desire and capacity for the reception of these gifts.

…it is sad to record that so few persons on Urantia take delight in cultivating these qualities of courageous and independent cosmic thinking. (Paper 16:6.9, page 192:5)

…So few mortals are real thinkers; you do not spiritually develop and discipline your minds to the point of favorable liaison with the divine Adjusters. (Paper 110:7.6, page 1213:1)

Van utilized both mind and spirit in a magnificent and effective combination of intellectual determination and spiritual insight, thereby achieving an experiential level of personality realization of the highest attainable order. (Paper 67:3.9, page 757:2)

Regardless of our approach to the reception of spirit guidance, we demonstrate our possession of human experiential wisdom by our ability to speak in a God-knowing, human voice about our life experiences. When original insights follow from worshipful problem-solving and challenging service endeavors, these insights become true soul possessions as we act on them and share them with others.

…When man decides, and when he consummates this decision in action… the meanings and the values of this experience are forever a part of his eternal character on all levels, from the finite to the final. (Paper 117:5.13, page 1287:4)

…Cosmically moral and divinely spiritual character represents the creature’s capital accumulation of personal decisions which have been illuminated by sincere worship, glorified by intelligent love, and consummated in brotherly service. (Paper 117:5.13, page 1287:4)

The Inner Voice and the Outer Voice

If we discover God in the inner life through the development of our inner voice, then it would make perfect sense to offer these spiritual discoveries in the “outer” world through the development of our “outer voice.” Here again, I am using the “voice” idea to refer to all forms of expression and initiative. When these efforts are inspired by the love ministry of the Father’s indwelling spirit, we enter into the realm of kingdom service that The Urantia Book associates so clearly with worship.

…The highest levels of self-realization are attained by worship and service. (Paper 140:4.6, page 1572:6)

…a God-knowing person is inwardly illuminated by worship and outwardly devoted to the wholehearted service of the universal brotherhood of all personalities… (Paper 106:9.12, page 1175:1)

The development of our inner voice is not an end in itself, in other words. The true importance of a God-knowing inner life is discovered in the satisfactions of an outer life of loving service. Growth in one arena creates an increased desire and capacity for growth in the other.

Service… is productive of the highest satisfaction and is expressive of the divinest dignity. (Paper 28:6.17, page 316:4)

Service and love are very closely related. The Urantia Book’s definition of love could just as easily be applied to service:

Love is the desire to do good to others. (Paper 56:10.21, page 648:4)

As with love, the urge to serve is likewise born from a desire to do good to others, which grows from the realization that the divine presence we have discovered with ourselves also lives within everyone else. By offering service to others, we are expressing our love, not only for our human brothers and sisters, but also for the Father.

…The essence of his teaching was love and service, the loving worship which a creature son voluntarily gives in recognition of, and response to, the loving ministry of God his Father; the freewill service which such creature sons bestow upon their brethren in the joyous realization that in this service they are likewise serving God the Father. (Paper 92:4.8.4, page 1008:1)

All true love is from God, and man receives the divine affection as he himself bestows this love upon his fellows… 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. (Paper 117:6.10, page 1289:3)

Conclusion

Probably the most important aspect of the development of our inner voice is the growth of our ability to express our love for the Father, in the privacy of our inner personal relationship with him. Loving prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving open our hearts to the possibility of experiencing the uplifting inspiration of his love for us.

…It is literally true, “Human things must be known in order to be loved, but divine things must be loved in order to be known.” (Paper 102:1.1, page 1118:4)
…man’s nearest and dearest approach to God is by and through love, for God is love… (Paper 3:4.7, page 50:5)

God… is eternally motivated by the perfect idealism of divine love, and that tender nature finds its strongest expression and greatest satisfaction in loving and being loved. (Paper 4:4.6, page 59:2)

Loving God, and experiencing his love in return—in both the inner life and in service to others—is the gateway to feeling the transcendent pleasure of being in his presence. This whole-hearted experience of engagement with the Father’s loving attention is the essence of worship, as best I understand it.

Worship is the highest privilege and the first duty of all created intelligences. …the act of worship becomes increasingly all-encompassing until it eventually attains the glory of the highest experiential delight and the most exquisite pleasure known to created beings. (Paper 27:7.1, page 303:5)

…the love of God leads to intelligent and freehearted worship. (Paper 149:6.4, page 1675:5)

…Worship is the act of the son’s personal communion with the divine Father, the assumption of refreshing, creative, fraternal, and romantic attitudes by the human soul-spirit. (Paper 143:7.8, page 1616:10)

While we may feel love in our hearts, love also serves an important purpose in our minds:

…love is the true guide to real insight. (Paper 195:5.14, page 2076:5)

If love is the best guide to true insight, then all of our attempts to know the Father and gain insight into his will should be guided and inspired by our love for him.

We know that the Father already loves us, personally, with a divine affection that we can only begin to imagine.

..It is eternally true, “the Father himself loves you.” (Paper 114:7.17, page 1259:2)

…love is the dominant characteristic of all God’s personal dealings with his creatures. (Paper 2:5.12, page 40:4)

Because the Father loves us, he wants us to become more like him. It is his will that we become more Godlike. This is not only what’s best for us, it is also our only way of really knowing him as a living reality. But he can’t do this for us. He’s given us our Thought Adjusters to show us the way, but our spiritual growth must be our own achievement, and a result of our own initiative.

…The secret of survival is wrapped up in the supreme human desire to be Godlike and in the associated willingness to do and be any and all things which are essential to the final attainment of that overmastering desire. (Paper 110:3.2, page 1205:6)

Becoming Godlike requires a wholehearted and uncompromising dedication of our human will and selfhood. If this is truly our highest goal in life, the Father would never ask us to surrender our inner identity, even temporarily, to seek an inner voice that is not our own. When we seek our Adjuster’s voice within ourselves, we find not only a perfect guide and teacher, we also find our truest self and our own authentic, original inner voice.

God is always with us, and within us. He is always listening and inviting us to find him by talking to him. He has given us an ever-present and potentially eternal opportunity to discover his infinite original nature within ourselves as we evolve and perfect the expression of our inner voice. It is from this never-ending achievement of inner self-mastery that we are inspired to offer the overflow of divine love in our hearts as service to others.

…Always will the Adjuster be revealing to the mortal personality the wonder of God, and never can this supernal revelation come to an end, for the Adjuster is of God and as God to mortal man. (Paper 107:4.7, page 1181:3)

“…Do you not comprehend that God dwells within you, that he has become what you are that he may make you what he is!” – Jesus (Paper 148:6.10, page 1664:2)
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