Given The Urantia Book's marvelous revelations concerning mind, I was naturally drawn to the title of this article in an African newspaper that came across my feed. It is called Taking charge of your mind by Emmanuel Makandiwa, a Pentecostal minister. The article does not really get to the point of "taking charge of the mind" for the first half of the article; instead, the author seems to be very interested in the statement that Jesus made about the foxes having holes and the birds of the air having nests, but Jesus not having a place to lay his head. It is an interesting statement and it is rare to see it discussed, so we'll blog a bit about it below. But the main interest for me - and hopfully for you - is the idea of taking charge of one's mind and thoughts and imagination.
Here's a snippet about that from the article
"Imagination is the power God has given to us and we have to put it to work. We have to keep on practising it on a daily basis until it works. Imagination is the ability you have already but you might just be using it in a bad way. Whatever you imagine can either bring good results or bad results. Like the book of Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he . . . "; you become a product of your thinking. What you continuously think about in life is what you become."
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What is the mind?
Our minds are a part of us that many take for granted. The Urantia Book teachings regarding mind are wonderful. They take the student into places that have never been explored elsewhere and help each reader to grasp the origins and the mechanisms of mind. Take a look at our topical study of MIND to see what I mean. This study is a condensation of many of the book's teachings about mind, and will give the reader a good overview..
The power of mind
In our world of conflict, the war of words between truth and falsehood, and the dismal picture of a planet in distress it is very easy to succumb to negativity. It is more important than ever to safeguard our minds, and to monitor and sift the thoughts that come into our consciousness. In this world of near-constant bombardment by sensory input through printed word, television or social media, we may find ourselves suddenly uneasy, anxious, unhappy or otherwise distressed. We may find that our feelings are inexplicably sad or angry. But since feelings always come in response to thought, we have the power to backtrack and trace the genesis of those feelings...and then choose something better.
Gladly, we are not the hapless victims of our thoughts. We can control them and direct them for our benefit and the benefit of the world around us, rather than feeling at their mercy.
Imagination is a powerful thing; left undirected, or driven by negative feelings, it can telegraph dire happening in our future; but when "spiritized," it can provide a vision of hope that we can look forward to - a future of goodness, joy, and peace. And no matter which way we use our imagination, the end result is that "what we sow, we reap." Our power of choice extends to our thoughts as well as our actions.
Urantia Book reader/students know that there lives within each of us a spark of divinity - a fragment of the heavenly Father - as well as the Spirit of Truth living in our minds and hearts that always points us towards truth, beauty and goodness. We have a "conspiracy" of spiritual forces working on our behalf, if we will just call upon them and co-operate with them.
A State of Mind
The mind and its workings in the inner life of each individual is an important subject in The Urantia Book as well.
One of my favorite passages in this regard is:
101:1.3 The divine spirit makes contact with mortal man, not by feelings or emotions, but in the realm of the highest and most spiritualized thinking. It is your thoughts, not your feelings, that lead you Godward. The divine nature may be perceived only with the eyes of the mind. But the mind that really discerns God, hears the indwelling Adjuster, is the pure mind. "Without holiness no man may see the Lord." All such inner and spiritual communion is termed spiritual insight. Such religious experiences result from the impress made upon the mind of man by the combined operations of the Adjuster and the Spirit of Truth as they function amid and upon the ideas, ideals, insights, and spirit strivings of the evolving sons of God.
Imagine that - the importance of the inner life
111:4.8 You cannot completely control the external world—environment. It is the creativity of the inner world that is most subject to your direction because there your personality is so largely liberated from the fetters of the laws of antecedent causation. There is associated with personality a limited sovereignty of will.
111:4.9 Since this inner life of man is truly creative, there rests upon each person the responsibility of choosing as to whether this creativity shall be spontaneous and wholly haphazard or controlled, directed, and constructive. How can a creative imagination produce worthy children when the stage whereon it functions is already preoccupied by prejudice, hate, fears, resentments, revenge, and bigotries?
111:4.10 Ideas may take origin in the stimuli of the outer world, but ideals are born only in the creative realms of the inner world. Today the nations of the world are directed by men who have a superabundance of ideas, but they are poverty-stricken in ideals. That is the explanation of poverty, divorce, war, and racial hatreds.
111:4.11 This is the problem: If freewill man is endowed with the powers of creativity in the inner man, then must we recognize that freewill creativity embraces the potential of freewill destructivity. And when creativity is turned to destructivity, you are face to face with the devastation of evil and sin—oppression, war, and destruction. Evil is a partiality of creativity which tends toward disintegration and eventual destruction. All conflict is evil in that it inhibits the creative function of the inner life—it is a species of civil war in the personality.
111:4.12 Inner creativity contributes to ennoblement of character through personality integration and selfhood unification. It is forever true: The past is unchangeable; only the future can be changed by the ministry of the present creativity of the inner self.
Talk it over with a friend. Two and two is a good way to go
160:2.8 One of the crowning glories of human friendship is this power and possibility of the mutual stimulation of the imagination. Great spiritual power is inherent in the consciousness of wholehearted devotion to a common cause, mutual loyalty to a cosmic Deity.
Understanding the power of the mind and the power of thought is an important step to take when trying to lead a spiritual life - a Godward life. The Urantia Book teachings take us deep into an enlightened understanding of the mind. And one of the workings of the mind is the imagination, as mentioned in the article above. But we must be sure to use the mind that is directed by Spirit to have the greatest success in life. This is a choice that every person can, and must, make in order to really take charge of one's life. Because it really is true, that Bible verse that states: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."
Please see The Mind Arena of Choice
What Jesus advised
Jesus said it so well, when he counseled "the young man who was afraid" to activate his mind and his intellect to overcome fear and anxiety:
130:6.3"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, and which will stimulate and inspire your mind to control itself and activate the body if you will release it from the fetters of fear and thus enable your spiritual nature to begin your deliverance from the evils of inaction by the power-presence of living faith. And then, forthwith, will this faith vanquish fear of men by the compelling presence of that new and all-dominating love of your fellows which will so soon fill your soul to overflowing because of the consciousness which has been born in your heart that you are a child of God. "
The foxes and the birds
The statement by Jesus about his not having a place to lay his head is an interesting one. So we did want to give some Urantia Book references for it, too..
That phrase about the foxes and the birds of the air is encountered twice in The Urantia Book; first time was the day after Peter's Confession. These passages are from "The Next Afternoon":
157:6.8 "From this time on, if any man would have fellowship with us, let him assume the obligations of sonship and follow me. And when I am no more with you, think not that the world will treat you better than it did your Master. If you love me, prepare to prove this affection by your willingness to make the supreme sacrifice."
157:6.12 "And now can your faith comprehend the truth of these declarations in the face of my warning you that the Son of Man will not meet the expectations of your fathers as they conceived the Messiah? My kingdom is not of this world. Can you believe the truth about me in the face of the fact that, though the foxes have holes and the birds of heaven have nests, I have not where to lay my head?"
157:6.13 "Nevertheless, I tell you that the Father and I are one. He who has seen me has seen the Father. My Father is working with me in all these things, and he will never leave me alone in my mission, even as I will never forsake you when you presently go forth to proclaim this gospel throughout the world.
And the second time he makes this statement is just before he met the rich young man:
163:2.2 One earnest disciple came to Jesus, saying: "Master, I would be one of your new apostles, but my father is very old and near death; could I be permitted to return home to bury him?" To this man Jesus said: "My son, the foxes have holes, and the birds of heaven have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. You are a faithful disciple, and you can remain such while you return home to minister to your loved ones, but not so with my gospel messengers. They have forsaken all to follow me and proclaim the kingdom. If you would be an ordained teacher, you must let others bury the dead while you go forth to publish the good news." And this man went away in great disappointment.
It is doubtful whether Jesus was lamenting the fact that he was essentially a homeless person in making this statement; instead, he was encouraging more of us to forsake the world as he did, in small and large ways, so that we may be less distracted in our desire to build the kingdom.
For the most inspiring picture of just how Jesus strove to build the kingdom in his life, please start HERE.