At an early age, I realized there was no such thing as death, and that there was something out there, but what this ìitî was I did not know. So, at around the age of fifteen, I began an intense spiritual search. I started my search studying Buddhism. I thought that esoteric practices where the way to enlightenment, and set out to find this experience for myself or perish trying. Silly as it sounds now I was that intense. After a couple experiences I quickly learned that this was not the path to enlightenment, but was left with the question as to what was. I rejected the esoteric path, the popular ìnew ageî pop-religions filled with pseudo-religious truth, and began in earnest to study comparative religion to find the answer. Of course, all along, the truth was right inside me, but how does one communion with an Absolute It, or a vague ìnon-self.î At one point I finally reached the question, ìWho is this person called Jesus?, and what did he really teach?î Of course, I had already rejected Christianity due to the absurdity of the atonement doctrine.
One day, while making my periodic search of the bookstores for the latest scholarly works, I stumbled across the Urantia Book sitting on the shelf. I read the table of contents and my first thought was it was just another work of ìnew ageî pseudo-religious pop psychology full of "I feel good, you feel good" platitudes, but then my eyes fell upon the section of the meaning of the death on the cross. I read it; I was stunned; I literally broke into tears. I purchased it and took it home to my little migrant shack I was living in at the time. I read that book all night long, and the next morning when I went to work at the local YMCA where I was teaching gymnastics, I had a revelatory experience in the steam room while meditating on what I read the following evening.
I wrote about his experience in another context saying,
At the time I was giving serious consideration of finding my way to India to find a guru, and realize God or die trying (some of this I am sure was misdirected teenage hormones and romanticism); but prior to embarking on such an adventure I discovered a unique book called The Urantia Book. It was in studying this book that the references to the indwelling divine mind I had been reading about, which in Buddhism is called the 'Buddha mind' or 'true self,' in Islam is called the spirit of Allah, in the Judeo-Christian traditions is called the indwelling spirit of God or Christ, and in the Bhagavad-Gita is termed the 'atman,' or 'inmost timeless self' which is at the same time Brahman, became personally and experientially real.
Prior to this experience I was attempting to meditate, which I was learning through the Buddhist scriptures, but not to any great success. And prior to meditating I had experimented with attempting to use my mind to achieve astral projection, but had some experiences that quickly taught me this was not an effective way to achieve spiritual growth.
At that point in my life my concept of God or Deity was of some great IT or impersonal Absolute, or some mysterious 'non-self' reflected in Zen Buddhism. I had only vague inklings of what this thing called true self might be or how I might approach finding and experiencing for myself this reality. In my studies I surely could see common threads of what I perceived to be truth running through them, but I didn't want to just intellectually knowóI wanted to experience God personally. But my dilemma was, how does one 'know' an impersonal Absolute, or realize one's 'non-self?' It was through concepts and teachings in The Urantia Book that this gulf between the idea of an Absolute and a personal God of infinitely loving and divine parental affection was bridged and synthesized into one and the same reality. Of course now I see clearly that this dual concept of the Divine is harbored in all the great traditions.
The next day I went straight to the YMCA, and while meditating in the steam room as was my habit, and reflecting on what I had learned the night before regarding the indwelling presence of the Adjuster and Jesus' Spirit of Truth, the simple truth of my faith sonship with God, and the joy of knowing salvation, for the first and only time I experienced the presence of a Light, which I cannot really describe in words. It was not a presence outside of me, but within me. Its even funny, at first when I saw this light (not with my physical eyes) I clearly remember thinking it was like staring into the sun, but only infinitely brighter. And then, not of my own doing, I was enveloped in this light, which I can only describe as the presence of the divine love of God. I don't have words to describe what transpired. I don't know how long it was, or god forbid what I looked like sitting there naked in the steam room communing with God, but when I opened my eyes I was overwhelmed with this profound sense of peace and joy, even to the point that tears were streaming down my cheeksóluckily, I was in a steam room so it was not too obvious. I went home immediately and searched the various scriptures in my library for anything referencing light, and the following two statements I found to be particularly relevant to my experience:
The Koran has a most beautiful description of what I experienced upon realizing this divine presence
Allah is the Light
Of the heavens and the earth.
The parable of His Light
Is as if there were a Niche
And within it a Lamp:
The Lamp enclosed in Glass;
The glass as it were
A brilliant star:
Lit from a blessed Tree,
An Olive, neither of the East
Nor of the West,
Whose Oil is well-nigh
Though fire scare touched it:
Light upon Light!
The Urantia Book says the following about Thought Adjusters, which are characterized as a divine fragment of God which indwells our mortal minds:
There is a characteristic light, a spirit luminosity, which accompanies this divine presence, and which has become generally associated with Thought Adjusters.... this Paradise luminosity is widespreadly known as the \"pilot light\"; ... it is called the \"light of life.\" ... this phenomenon has sometimes been referred to as that \"true light which lights every man who comes into the world.\" (Urantia Book 1181)
Most of the spectacular phenomena associated with so-called religious conversions are entirely psychologic in nature, but now and then there do occur experiences which are also spiritual in origin. When the mental mobilization is absolutely total on any level of the psychic upreach toward spirit attainment, when there exists perfection of the human motivation of loyalties to the divine idea, then there very often occurs a sudden down-grasp of the indwelling spirit to synchronize with the concentrated and consecrated purpose of the superconscious mind of the believing mortal. And it is such experiences of unified intellectual and spiritual phenomena that constitute the conversion which consists in factors over and above purely psychologic involvement. (Urantia Book 1099)
Over time, I have come to understand meditation to be an attempt to achieve unbroken communion with the indwelling presence of God through balanced prayer and worship, and an inner dialogue with the divine presence. I also have found in my experience that loving service brings one closer to God through actualizing divine love in our lives through wise service to one's fellows; I view them as two sides of the same coin. I understand this inner communion as my attempt to attune my mortal mind to the indwelling divine mind of God (finding, realizing, and choosing to align my will with the divine will); to realize the spiritual values of truth, beauty, and goodness, and to actualize them in my life. I think any sane and balanced practice, if it leads one to a closer relationship with God, is worthy of our attention. And I certainly will take a warm loving hug any day, and find it easy to see God in the love and compassion of others.
Last edited by Robert Reno
on Tue May 10, 2005 1:44 pm +0000, edited 4 times in total.