Q: The idea of infinity and God really frightens me. I feel like I’m going to die or cease to exist.
The first thing that came to mind when I read your question is what we used to call “existential angst.” It is a term that has certainly described me, and others over the years, and it seems to describe what you are feeling. Any deeply thinking and reflective personality might have this kind of feeling from time to time. Sometimes, we are just overwhelmed with the fact of our own existence, and we can just reach a point where we feel very small in the face of God, eternity, and our own place in it all. We may start to question everything we have ever thought about ourselves and the meaning of life, and this can be very disconcerting, as, if we can’t rely on our own conclusions, what can we rely on? What’s the alternative?
Another thing that comes to mind is that your feelings sound a little like panic, or anxiety attacks…that feeling of dread, fear of dying or ceasing to exist sound strangely familiar to me, as I have suffered those at times in my life. I am glad to know that you are sharing these things with a professional. It is the right thing to do, and I encourage you to pursue that. I have no ability to help you in the same way that a professional therapist can.
Part of our job in this first life is to discover who we are — now, that can mean different things to different people. People who have found and embraced The Urantia Book, people who have searched for God and found him in their own hearts, might reach the conclusion that they are a child of God, a personality without duplicate, a potentially eternal and immortal being with a thrilling destiny.
Gaining personal experience with God through the teachings of The Urantia Book can be a comforting place of refuge when the shadows of anxiety darken our consciousness. Personal experience with God is the surest way that I know of to the fears of existential anxiety.
Said Jesus: “Your religion shall change from the mere intellectual belief in traditional authority to the actual experience of that living faith which is able to grasp the reality of God and all that relates to the divine spirit of the Father. The religion of the mind ties you hopelessly to the past; the religion of the spirit consists in progressive revelation and ever beckons you on toward higher and holier achievements in spiritual ideals and eternal realities.”
And maintaining that sense of God-consciousness is a worthy effort. Integration of the self is very important in becoming comfortable in your own skin in the context of life on this world. Here’s something from the last paragraph in the book:
196:3.35 God-consciousness is equivalent to the integration of the self with the universe, and on its highest levels of spiritual reality.
And, elsewhere we read…
103:2.4 Every human being very early experiences something of a conflict between his self-seeking and his altruistic impulses, and many times the first experience of God-consciousness may be attained as the result of seeking for superhuman help in the task of resolving such moral conflicts.
Remember, spiritual things must be loved in order to be known, rather than their being known first. We must decide for ourselves whether we are interested in pursuing truth, goodness and beauty in and for ourselves. And then, we must be willing to go where that pursuit takes us.
You seem to me to be a person who is on that quest … And since you are a reader/student, you surely know that God IS the source of all truth, all goodness and all beauty. You also know that God has sent an actual fragment of himself to live inside your mind, to help you navigate this material life with spiritual insight. There comes a time when we all have to make the choice – do we believe this, or that? Do we have faith in this, or that? Where do we stand?
And speaking of faith, here’s a great passage:
159:3.8 The world is filled with hungry souls who famish in the very presence of the bread of life; men die searching for the very God who lives within them. Men seek for the treasures of the kingdom with yearning hearts and weary feet when they are all within the immediate grasp of living faith. Faith is to religion what sails are to a ship; it is an addition of power, not an added burden of life. There is but one struggle for those who enter the kingdom, and that is to fight the good fight of faith. The believer has only one battle, and that is against doubt—unbelief.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong or abnormal with the thoughts and feelings that you are having; after all, we live here as agondonters – creatures who must believe without seeing – who must live by faith. If at first blush this might seem like a daunting challenge, there are rewards for the effort. Read what the revelators say about it:
50:7.1 On first thought it might appear that Urantia and its associated isolated worlds are most unfortunate in being deprived of the beneficent presence and influence of such superhuman personalities as a Planetary Prince and a Material Son and Daughter. But isolation of these spheres affords their races a unique opportunity for the exercise of faith and for the development of a peculiar quality of confidence in cosmic reliability which is not dependent on sight or any other material consideration. It may turn out, eventually, that mortal creatures hailing from the worlds quarantined in consequence of rebellion are extremely fortunate. We have discovered that such ascenders are very early intrusted with numerous special assignments to cosmic undertakings where unquestioned faith and sublime confidence are essential to achievement.
On Jerusem the ascenders from these isolated worlds occupy a residential sector by themselves and are known as the agondonters, meaning evolutionary will creatures who can believe without seeing, persevere when isolated, and triumph over insuperable difficulties even when alone. This functional grouping of the agondonters persists throughout the ascension of the local universe and the traversal of the superuniverse; it disappears during the sojourn in Havona but promptly reappears upon the attainment of Paradise and definitely persists in the Corps of the Mortal Finality. Tabamantia is an agondonter of finaliter status, having survived from one of the quarantined spheres involved in the first rebellion ever to take place in the universes of time and space.
All through the Paradise career, reward follows effort as the result of causes. Such rewards set off the individual from the average, provide a differential of creature experience, and contribute to the versatility of ultimate performances in the collective body of the finaliters.
And so, as agondonters, we have this great opportunity to exercise faith, as few others in the universe do; and the rewards will be great for being faithful to our highest ideals and deepest longings.
In the end, it seems to me that right now, you are experiencing some unreasoned fear. Try to see it for what it is
48:7.4 2. Few persons live up to the faith which they really have. Unreasoned fear is a master intellectual fraud practiced upon the evolving mortal soul.
My advice is: Don’t give in to it.
It’s good that you’re able to air these things out with a therapist. I hope you will be able eventually to reach a point of comfort with yourself and your life, and with the choices that you end up making as to what you believe.
Here’s a thought from the book that might be helpful to you:
111:1.9 Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain. The master of the mortal vessel should have the wisdom to trust the divine pilot to guide the ascending soul into the morontia harbors of eternal survival. Only by selfishness, slothfulness, and sinfulness can the will of man reject the guidance of such a loving pilot and eventually wreck the mortal career upon the evil shoals of rejected mercy and upon the rocks of embraced sin. With your consent, this faithful pilot will safely carry you across the barriers of time and the handicaps of space to the very source of the divine mind and on beyond, even to the Paradise Father of Adjusters.
And by the way, That’s a great section to read again – The Mind Arena of Choice
I want to thank you again for writing. I do hope that you’ll write again – any time. And in the meantime, I will pray for you, that God grant you an expanded revelation of his presence with you and that you pass over this present hurdle that is troubling you. Please click on the links that I’ve provided in this reply. Read, and keep reading. Visit with God daily in the privacy and intimacy of your own mind, and ask his help.
Remember – happiness is an inside job; it is only in the inner life that real creativity happens, spiritual growth happens, and that is the one thing that can bring real and lasting happiness. You, and only you, are in charge of your inner life. But God is there, too, as close as a thought, to guide you. You are never alone. He loves you beyond measure.
And as a final thought, I’ll leave you with this:
159:3.10 Increasing happiness is always the experience of all who are certain about God.