The Maturity of Any Religion Is...
The idea of the personality of the Universal Father is an enlarged and truer concept of God which has come to mankind chiefly through revelation. Reason, wisdom, and religious experience all infer and imply the personality of God, but they do not altogether validate it. Even the indwelling Thought Adjuster is prepersonal. The truth and maturity of any religion is directly proportional to its concept of the infinite personality of God and to its grasp of the absolute unity of Deity. The idea of a personal Deity becomes, then, the measure of religious maturity after religion has first formulated the concept of the unity of God. ~ The Urantia Book, (1:5.10)
Evolving Mind and Immature Human Nature
Mind, on Urantia, is a compromise between the essence of thought perfection and the evolving mentality of your immature human nature. The plan for your intellectual evolution is, indeed, one of sublime perfection, but you are far short of that divine goal as you function in the tabernacles of the flesh. Mind is truly of divine origin, and it does have a divine destiny, but your mortal minds are not yet of divine dignity.
Too often, all too often, you mar your minds by insincerity and sear them with unrighteousness; you subject them to animal fear and distort them by useless anxiety. Therefore, though the source of mind is divine, mind as you know it on your world of ascension can hardly become the object of great admiration, much less of adoration or worship. The contemplation of the immature and inactive human intellect should lead only to reactions of humility. ~ The Urantia Book, (9:5.6)
Monotony is indicative of immaturity of the creative imagination and inactivity of intellectual co-ordination with the spiritual endowment. ~ The Urantia Book, (14:5.8)
You will learn that you increase your burdens and decrease the likelihood of success by taking yourself too seriously. Nothing can take precedence over the work of your status sphere—this world or the next. Very important is the work of preparation for the next higher sphere, but nothing equals the importance of the work of the world in which you are actually living. But though the work is important, the self is not. When you feel important, you lose energy to the wear and tear of ego dignity so that there is little energy left to do the work. Self-importance, not work-importance, exhausts immature creatures; it is the self element that exhausts, not the effort to achieve. You can do important work if you do not become self-important; you can do several things as easily as one if you leave yourself out. Variety is restful; monotony is what wears and exhausts. Day after day is alike—just life or the alternative of death. ~ The Urantia Book, (48:6.26)
Relative Maturity in the Ascending Career
When ascending mortals have completed the mansion world training, the first student apprenticeship in the universe career, they are permitted to enjoy the transient satisfactions of relative maturity—citizenship on the system capital. While the attainment of each ascendant goal is a factual achievement, in the larger sense such goals are simply milestones on the long ascending path to Paradise. But however relative such successes may be, no evolutionary creature is ever denied the full though transient satisfaction of goal attainment. Ever and anon there is a pause in the Paradise ascent, a short breathing spell, during which universe horizons stand still, creature status is stationary, and the personality tastes the sweetness of goal fulfillment. ~ The Urantia Book, (39:4.7)
Political Wisdom and Emotional Maturity
Emotional maturity is essential to self-control. Only emotional maturity will insure the substitution of international techniques of civilized adjudication for the barbarous arbitrament of war. Wise statesmen will sometime work for the welfare of humanity even while they strive to promote the interest of their national or racial groups. Selfish political sagacity is ultimately suicidal—destructive of all those enduring qualities which insure planetary group survival. ~ The Urantia Book, (52:6.6)
Of all the perplexing problems growing out of the Lucifer rebellion, none has occasioned more difficulty than the failure of immature evolutionary mortals to distinguish between true and false liberty.
True liberty is the quest of the ages and the reward of evolutionary progress. False liberty is the subtle deception of the error of time and the evil of space. Enduring liberty is predicated on the reality of justice—intelligence, maturity, fraternity, and equity. ~ The Urantia Book, (54:1.1)
...maturity is proportional to the substitution of higher meanings for personal pleasure, even loyalties to the highest concepts of diversified life situations and cosmic relations. ~ The Urantia Book, (100:1.1)
The Seven Psychic Circles and Maturity - Cosmic Growth
The sum total of personality realization on a material world is contained within the successive conquest of the seven psychic circles of mortal potentiality. Entrance upon the seventh circle marks the beginning of true human personality function. Completion of the first circle denotes the relative maturity of the mortal being. Though the traversal of the seven circles of cosmic growth does not equal fusion with the Adjuster, the mastery of these circles marks the attainment of those steps which are preliminary to Adjuster fusion.
The Adjuster is your equal partner in the attainment of the seven circles—the achievement of comparative mortal maturity. The Adjuster ascends the circles with you from the seventh to the first but progresses to the status of supremacy and self-activity quite independent of the active co-operation of the mortal mind. ~ The Urantia Book, (110:6.1)
As the circles are traversed, the child of material evolution is growing into the mature human of immortal potentiality. The shadowy reality of the embryonic nature of a seventh circler is giving way to the clearer manifestation of the emerging morontia nature of a local universe citizen.
While it is impossible precisely to define the seven levels, or psychic circles, of human growth, it is permissible to suggest the minimum and maximum limits of these stages of maturity realization:
The seventh circle. This level is entered when human beings develop the powers of personal choice, individual decision, moral responsibility, and the capacity for the attainment of spiritual individuality. This signifies the united function of the seven adjutant mind-spirits under the direction of the spirit of wisdom, the encircuitment of the mortal creature in the influence of the Holy Spirit, and, on Urantia, the first functioning of the Spirit of Truth, together with the reception of a Thought Adjuster in the mortal mind. Entrance upon the seventh circle constitutes a mortal creature a truly potential citizen of the local universe.
The third circle. The Adjuster's work is much more effective after the human ascender attains the third circle and receives a personal seraphic guardian of destiny. While there is no apparent concert of effort between the Adjuster and the seraphic guardian, nonetheless there is to be observed an unmistakable improvement in all phases of cosmic achievement and spiritual development subsequent to the assignment of the personal seraphic attendant. When the third circle is attained, the Adjuster endeavors to morontiaize the mind of man during the remainder of the mortal life span, to make the remaining circles, and achieve the final stage of the divine-human association before natural death dissolves the unique partnership.
The first circle. The Adjuster cannot, ordinarily, speak directly and immediately with you until you attain the first and final circle of progressive mortal achievement. This level represents the highest possible realization of mind-Adjuster relationship in the human experience prior to the liberation of the evolving morontia soul from the habiliments of the material body. Concerning mind, emotions, and cosmic insight, this achievement of the first psychic circle is the nearest possible approach of material mind and spirit Adjuster in human experience. ~ The Urantia Book, (110:6.11)
The seven circles embrace mortal experience extending from the highest purely animal level to the lowest actual contactual morontia level of self-consciousness as a personality experience. The mastery of the first cosmic circle signalizes the attainment of premorontia mortal maturity and marks the termination of the conjoint ministry of the adjutant mind-spirits as an exclusive influence of mind action in the human personality. Beyond the first circle, mind becomes increasingly akin to the intelligence of the morontia stage of evolution, the conjoined ministry of the cosmic mind and the superadjutant endowment of the Creative Spirit of a local universe. ~ The Urantia Book, (110:6.21)
Group Maturity = Finding The Supreme
A human ascender can find the Father; God is existential and therefore real, irrespective of the status of experience in the total universe. But no single ascender will ever find the Supreme until all ascenders have reached that maximum universe maturity which qualifies them simultaneously to participate in this discovery. ~ The Urantia Book, (117:6.21)
Some of the amazingly fortuitous conditions occasionally prevailing on the evolutionary worlds may be due to the gradually emerging presence of the Supreme, the foretasting of his future universe activities. Most of what a mortal would call providential is not; his judgment of such matters is very handicapped by lack of farsighted vision into the true meanings of the circumstances of life. Much of what a mortal would call good luck might really be bad luck; the smile of fortune that bestows unearned leisure and undeserved wealth may be the greatest of human afflictions; the apparent cruelty of a perverse fate that heaps tribulation upon some suffering mortal may in reality be the tempering fire that is transmuting the soft iron of immature personality into the tempered steel of real character. ~ The Urantia Book, (118:10.9)
Time and Maturity
There is a direct relationship between maturity and the unit of time consciousness in any given intellect. The time unit may be a day, a year, or a longer period, but inevitably it is the criterion by which the conscious self evaluates the circumstances of life, and by which the conceiving intellect measures and evaluates the facts of temporal existence.
Experience, wisdom, and judgment are the concomitants of the lengthening of the time unit in mortal experience. As the human mind reckons backward into the past, it is evaluating past experience for the purpose of bringing it to bear on a present situation. As mind reaches out into the future, it is attempting to evaluate the future significance of possible action. And having thus reckoned with both experience and wisdom, the human will exercises judgment-decision in the present, and the plan of action thus born of the past and the future becomes existent.
In the maturity of the developing self, the past and future are brought together to illuminate the true meaning of the present. As the self matures, it reaches further and further back into the past for experience, while its wisdom forecasts seek to penetrate deeper and deeper into the unknown future. And as the conceiving self extends this reach ever further into both past and future, so does judgment become less and less dependent on the momentary present. In this way does decision-action begin to escape from the fetters of the moving present, while it begins to take on the aspects of past-future significance.
Patience is exercised by those mortals whose time units are short; true maturity transcends patience by a forbearance born of real understanding.
To become mature is to live more intensely in the present, at the same time escaping from the limitations of the present. The plans of maturity, founded on past experience, are coming into being in the present in such manner as to enhance the values of the future.
The time unit of immaturity concentrates meaning-value into the present moment in such a way as to divorce the present of its true relationship to the not-present—the past-future. The time unit of maturity is proportioned so to reveal the co-ordinate relationship of past-present-future that the self begins to gain insight into the wholeness of events, begins to view the landscape of time from the panoramic perspective of broadened horizons, begins perhaps to suspect the nonbeginning, nonending eternal continuum, the fragments of which are called time. ~ The Urantia Book, (118:1.3)
Omniscience and Predestination
The function of Creator will and creature will, in the grand universe, operates within the limits, and in accordance with the possibilities, established by the Master Architects. This foreordination of these maximum limits does not, however, in the least abridge the sovereignty of creature will within these boundaries. Neither does ultimate foreknowledge—full allowance for all finite choice—constitute an abrogation of finite volition. A mature and farseeing human being might be able to forecast the decision of some younger associate most accurately, but this foreknowledge takes nothing away from the freedom and genuineness of the decision itself. The Gods have wisely limited the range of the action of immature will, but it is true will, nonetheless, within these defined limits. ~ The Urantia Book, (118:7.1)
Error in finite choosing is time bound and time limited. It can exist only in time and within the evolving presence of the Supreme Being. Such mistaken choosing is time possible and indicates (besides the incompleteness of the Supreme) that certain range of choice with which immature creatures must be endowed in order to enjoy universe progression by making freewill contact with reality. ~ The Urantia Book, (118:7.3)
Jesus Speaks of Evil as "Immature Choosing"
"...Evil is the immature choosing and the unthinking misstep of those who are resistant to goodness, rejectful of beauty, and disloyal to truth. Evil is only the misadaptation of immaturity or the disruptive and distorting influence of ignorance. Evil is the inevitable darkness which follows upon the heels of the unwise rejection of light. Evil is that which is dark and untrue, and which, when consciously embraced and willfully endorsed, becomes sin." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (130:1.5)
The Mature Soul
"The human soul, when matured, ennobled, and spiritualized, approaches the heavenly status in that it comes near to being an entity intervening between the material and the spiritual, the material self and the divine spirit. The evolving soul of a human being is difficult of description and more difficult of demonstration because it is not discoverable by the methods of either material investigation or spiritual proving. Material science cannot demonstrate the existence of a soul, neither can pure spirit-testing. Notwithstanding the failure of both material science and spiritual standards to discover the existence of the human soul, every morally conscious mortal knows of the existence of his soul as a real and actual personal experience." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (133:6.7)
An Exercise for the Mature Mind
1. "Happy are the poor in spirit— the humble." To a child, happiness is the satisfaction of immediate pleasure craving. The adult is willing to sow seeds of self-denial in order to reap subsequent harvests of augmented happiness. In Jesus' times and since, happiness has all too often been associated with the idea of the possession of wealth. In the story of the Pharisee and the publican praying in the temple, the one felt rich in spirit—egotistical; the other felt "poor in spirit"—humble. One was self-sufficient; the other was teachable and truth-seeking. The poor in spirit seek for goals of spiritual wealth—for God. And such seekers after truth do not have to wait for rewards in a distant future; they are rewarded now. They find the kingdom of heaven within their own hearts, and they experience such happiness now.
2. "Happy are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." Only those who feel poor in spirit will ever hunger for righteousness. Only the humble seek for divine strength and crave spiritual power. But it is most dangerous to knowingly engage in spiritual fasting in order to improve one's appetite for spiritual endowments. Physical fasting becomes dangerous after four or five days; one is apt to lose all desire for food. Prolonged fasting, either physical or spiritual, tends to destroy hunger.
Experiential righteousness is a pleasure, not a duty. Jesus' righteousness is a dynamic love—fatherly-brotherly affection It is not the negative or thou-shalt-not type of righteousness. How could one ever hunger for something negative—something "not to do"?
It is not so easy to teach a child mind these first two of the beatitudes, but the mature mind should grasp their significance. ~ The Urantia Book, (140:5.7)
Learning to View God With Maturity - Jesus Speaks
"When your children are very young and immature, and when you must chastise them, they may reflect that their father is angry and filled with resentful wrath. Their immaturity cannot penetrate beyond the punishment to discern the father's farseeing and corrective affection. But when these same children become grown-up men and women, would it not be folly for them to cling to these earlier and misconceived notions regarding their father? As men and women they should now discern their father's love in all these early disciplines. And should not mankind, as the centuries pass, come the better to understand the true nature and loving character of the Father in heaven? What profit have you from successive generations of spiritual illumination if you persist in viewing God as Moses and the prophets saw him? I say to you, Jacob, under the bright light of this hour you should see the Father as none of those who have gone before ever beheld him. And thus seeing him, you should rejoice to enter the kingdom wherein such a merciful Father rules, and you should seek to have his will of love dominate your life henceforth." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (142:2.4)
"In the kingdom of heaven, which I have come to declare, there is no high and mighty king; this kingdom is a divine family. The universally recognized and unreservedly worshiped center and head of this far-flung brotherhood of intelligent beings is my Father and your Father. I am his Son, and you are also his sons. Therefore it is eternally true that you and I are brethren in the heavenly estate, and all the more so since we have become brethren in the flesh of the earthly life. Cease, then, to fear God as a king or serve him as a master; learn to reverence him as the Creator; honor him as the Father of your spirit youth; love him as a merciful defender; and ultimately worship him as the loving and all-wise Father of your more mature spiritual realization and appreciation." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (149:6.8)
Jesus Speaks of Divine Forgiveness
After a short silence Jesus looked significantly at all four and answered: "My brethren, you err in your opinions because you do not comprehend the nature of those intimate and loving relations between the creature and the Creator, between man and God. You fail to grasp that understanding sympathy which the wise parent entertains for his immature and sometimes erring child. It is indeed doubtful whether intelligent and affectionate parents are ever called upon to forgive an average and normal child. Understanding relationships associated with attitudes of love effectively prevent all those estrangements which later necessitate the readjustment of repentance by the child with forgiveness by the parent." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (174:1.2)
"When a wise man understands the inner impulses of his fellows, he will love them. And when you love your brother, you have already forgiven him. This capacity to understand man's nature and forgive his apparent wrongdoing is Godlike. If you are wise parents, this is the way you will love and understand your children, even forgive them when transient misunderstanding has apparently separated you. The child, being immature and lacking in the fuller understanding of the depth of the child-father relationship, must frequently feel a sense of guilty separation from a father's full approval, but the true father is never conscious of any such separation. Sin is an experience of creature consciousness; it is not a part of God's consciousness." ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (174:1.4)
The Answer to Prayer
The child is always within his rights when he presumes to petition the parent; and the parent is always within his parental obligations to the immature child when his superior wisdom dictates that the answer to the child's prayer be delayed, modified, segregated, transcended, or postponed to another stage of spiritual ascension. ~ The Urantia Book, (168:4.11)
Prayer may be the childlike plea for the impossible or the mature entreaty for moral growth and spiritual power. A petition may be for daily bread or may embody a wholehearted yearning to find God and to do his will. It may be a wholly selfish request or a true and magnificent gesture toward the realization of unselfish brotherhood. ~ The Urantia Book, (91:8.6)
Social Maturity: The Philosophy of Rodan of Alexandria
The more complex civilization becomes, the more difficult will become the art of living. The more rapid the changes in social usage, the more complicated will become the task of character development. Every ten generations mankind must learn anew the art of living if progress is to continue. And if man becomes so ingenious that he more rapidly adds to the complexities of society, the art of living will need to be remastered in less time, perhaps every single generation. If the evolution of the art of living fails to keep pace with the technique of existence, humanity will quickly revert to the simple urge of living—the attainment of the satisfaction of present desires. Thus will humanity remain immature; society will fail in growing up to full maturity
Social maturity is equivalent to the degree to which man is willing to surrender the gratification of mere transient and present desires for the entertainment of those superior longings the striving for whose attainment affords the more abundant satisfactions of progressive advancement toward permanent goals. But the true badge of social maturity is the willingness of a people to surrender the right to live peaceably and contentedly under the ease-promoting standards of the lure of established beliefs and conventional ideas for the disquieting and energy-requiring lure of the pursuit of the unexplored possibilities of the attainment of undiscovered goals of idealistic spiritual realities. ~ The Urantia Book, (160:1.3)
When men dare to forsake a life of natural craving for one of adventurous art and uncertain logic, they must expect to suffer the consequent hazards of emotional casualties—conflicts, unhappiness, and uncertainties—at least until the time of their attainment of some degree of intellectual and emotional maturity. Discouragement, worry, and indolence are positive evidence of moral immaturity. Human society is confronted with two problems: attainment of the maturity of the individual and attainment of the maturity of the race. The mature human being soon begins to look upon all other mortals with feelings of tenderness and with emotions of tolerance. Mature men view immature folks with the love and consideration that parents bear their children. ~ The Urantia Book, (160:1.6)
Prejudice blinds the soul to the recognition of truth, and prejudice can be removed only by the sincere devotion of the soul to the adoration of a cause that is all-embracing and all-inclusive of one's fellow men. Prejudice is inseparably linked to selfishness. Prejudice can be eliminated only by the abandonment of self-seeking and by substituting therefor the quest of the satisfaction of the service of a cause that is not only greater than self, but one that is even greater than all humanity—the search for God, the attainment of divinity. The evidence of maturity of personality consists in the transformation of human desire so that it constantly seeks for the realization of those values which are highest and most divinely real.
In a continually changing world, in the midst of an evolving social order, it is impossible to maintain settled and established goals of destiny. Stability of personality can be experienced only by those who have discovered and embraced the living God as the eternal goal of infinite attainment. And thus to transfer one's goal from time to eternity, from earth to Paradise, from the human to the divine, requires that man shall become regenerated, converted, be born again; that he shall become the re-created child of the divine spirit; that he shall gain entrance into the brotherhood of the kingdom of heaven. All philosophies and religions which fall short of these ideals are immature. The philosophy which I teach, linked with the gospel which you preach, represents the new religion of maturity, the ideal of all future generations. And this is true because our ideal is final, infallible, eternal, universal, absolute, and infinite.
My philosophy gave me the urge to search for the realities of true attainment, the goal of maturity. But my urge was impotent; my search lacked driving power; my quest suffered from the absence of certainty of directionization. And these deficiencies have been abundantly supplied by this new gospel of Jesus, with its enhancement of insights, elevation of ideals, and settledness of goals. Without doubts and misgivings I can now wholeheartedly enter upon the eternal venture. ~ The Urantia Book, (160:1.13)
The Art of Living and Marriage: Rodan of Alexandria
I repeat, such inspiring and ennobling association finds its ideal possibilities in the human marriage relation. True, much is attained out of marriage, and many, many marriages utterly fail to produce these moral and spiritual fruits. Too many times marriage is entered by those who seek other values which are lower than these superior accompaniments of human maturity. Ideal marriage must be founded on something more stable than the fluctuations of sentiment and the fickleness of mere sex attraction; it must be based on genuine and mutual personal devotion. And thus, if you can build up such trustworthy and effective small units of human association, when these are assembled in the aggregate, the world will behold a great and glorified social structure, the civilization of mortal maturity. Such a race might begin to realize something of your Master's ideal of "peace on earth and good will among men." While such a society would not be perfect or entirely free from evil, it would at least approach the stabilization of maturity. ~ The Urantia Book, (160:2.10)
But just so long as society fails to properly educate children and youths, so long as the social order fails to provide adequate premarital training, and so long as unwise and immature youthful idealism is to be the arbiter of the entrance upon marriage, just so long will divorce remain prevalent. And in so far as the social group falls short of providing marriage preparation for youths, to that extent must divorce function as the social safety valve which prevents still worse situations during the ages of the rapid growth of the evolving mores. ~ The Urantia Book, (83:7.8)
The Lures of Maturity - More From Rodan of Alexandria
The effort toward maturity necessitates work, and work requires energy. Whence the power to accomplish all this? The physical things can be taken for granted, but the Master has well said, "Man cannot live by bread alone." Granted the possession of a normal body and reasonably good health, we must next look for those lures which will act as a stimulus to call forth man's slumbering spiritual forces. Jesus has taught us that God lives in man; then how can we induce man to release these soul-bound powers of divinity and infinity? How shall we induce men to let go of God that he may spring forth to the refreshment of our own souls while in transit outward and then to serve the purpose of enlightening, uplifting, and blessing countless other souls? How best can I awaken these latent powers for good which lie dormant in your souls? One thing I am sure of: Emotional excitement is not the ideal spiritual stimulus. Excitement does not augment energy; it rather exhausts the powers of both mind and body. Whence then comes the energy to do these great things? Look to your Master. Even now he is out in the hills taking in power while we are here giving out energy. The secret of all this problem is wrapped up in spiritual communion, in worship. From the human standpoint it is a question of combined meditation and relaxation. Meditation makes the contact of mind with spirit; relaxation determines the capacity for spiritual receptivity. And this interchange of strength for weakness, courage for fear, the will of God for the mind of self, constitutes worship. At least, that is the way the philosopher views it.
When these experiences are frequently repeated, they crystallize into habits, strength-giving and worshipful habits, and such habits eventually formulate themselves into a spiritual character, and such a character is finally recognized by one's fellows as a mature personality. These practices are difficult and time-consuming at first, but when they become habitual, they are at once restful and timesaving. The more complex society becomes, and the more the lures of civilization multiply, the more urgent will become the necessity for God-knowing individuals to form such protective habitual practices designed to conserve and augment their spiritual energies.
Another requirement for the attainment of maturity is the co-operative adjustment of social groups to an ever-changing environment. The immature individual arouses the antagonisms of his fellows; the mature man wins the hearty co-operation of his associates, thereby many times multiplying the fruits of his life efforts.
My philosophy tells me that there are times when I must fight, if need be, for the defense of my concept of righteousness, but I doubt not that the Master, with a more mature type of personality, would easily and gracefully gain an equal victory by his superior and winsome technique of tact and tolerance. All too often, when we battle for the right, it turns out that both the victor and the vanquished have sustained defeat. I heard the Master say only yesterday that the "wise man, when seeking entrance through the locked door, would not destroy the door but rather would seek for the key wherewith to unlock it." Too often we engage in a fight merely to convince ourselves that we are not afraid.
This new gospel of the kingdom renders a great service to the art of living in that it supplies a new and richer incentive for higher living. It presents a new and exalted goal of destiny, a supreme life purpose. And these new concepts of the eternal and divine goal of existence are in themselves transcendent stimuli, calling forth the reaction of the very best that is resident in man's higher nature. On every mountaintop of intellectual thought are to be found relaxation for the mind, strength for the soul, and communion for the spirit. From such vantage points of high living, man is able to transcend the material irritations of the lower levels of thinking—worry, jealousy, envy, revenge, and the pride of immature personality. These high-climbing soul s deliver themselves from a multitude of the crosscurrent conflicts of the trifles of living, thus becoming free to attain consciousness of the higher currents of spirit concept and celestial communication. But the life purpose must be jealously guarded from the temptation to seek for easy and transient attainment; likewise must it be so fostered as to become immune to the disastrous threats of fanaticism. ~ The Urantia Book, (160:3.1)
The Balance of Maturity - Rodan of Alexandria
While you have an eye single to the attainment of eternal realities, you must also make provision for the necessities of temporal living. While the spirit is our goal, the flesh is a fact. Occasionally the necessities of living may fall into our hands by accident, but in general, we must intelligently work for them. The two major problems of life are: making a temporal living and the achievement of eternal survival. And even the problem of making a living requires religion for its ideal solution. These are both highly personal problems. True religion, in fact, does not function apart from the individual.
The essentials of the temporal life, as I see them, are:
- Good physical health.
- Clear and clean thinking.
- Ability and skill.
- Wealth—the goods of life.
- Ability to withstand defeat.
- Culture—education and wisdom.
Even the physical problems of bodily health and efficiency are best solved when they are viewed from the religious standpoint of our Master's teaching: That the body and mind of man are the dwelling place of the gift of the Gods, the spirit of God becoming the spirit of man. The mind of man thus becomes the mediator between material things and spiritual realities.
It requires intelligence to secure one's share of the desirable things of life. It is wholly erroneous to suppose that faithfulness in doing one's daily work will insure the rewards of wealth. Barring the occasional and accidental acquirement of wealth, the material rewards of the temporal life are found to flow in certain well-organized channels, and only those who have access to these channels may expect to be well rewarded for their temporal efforts. Poverty must ever be the lot of all men who seek for wealth in isolated and individual channels. Wise planning, therefore, becomes the one thing essential to worldly prosperity. Success requires not only devotion to one's work but also that one should function as a part of some one of the channels of material wealth. If you are unwise, you can bestow a devoted life upon your generation without material reward; if you are an accidental beneficiary of the flow of wealth, you may roll in luxury even though you have done nothing worth while for your fellow men.
Ability is that which you inherit, while skill is what you acquire. Life is not real to one who cannot do some one thing well, expertly. Skill is one of the real sources of the satisfaction of living. Ability implies the gift of foresight, farseeing vision. Be not deceived by the tempting rewards of dishonest achievement; be willing to toil for the later returns inherent in honest endeavor. The wise man is able to distinguish between means and ends; otherwise, sometimes overplanning for the future defeats its own high purpose. As a pleasure seeker you should aim always to be a producer as well as a consumer.
Train your memory to hold in sacred trust the strength-giving and worth-while episodes of life, which you can recall at will for your pleasure and edification. Thus build up for yourself and in yourself reserve galleries of beauty, goodness, and artistic grandeur. But the noblest of all memories are the treasured recollections of the great moments of a superb friendship. And all of these memory treasures radiate their most precious and exalting influences under the releasing touch of spiritual worship.
But life will become a burden of existence unless you learn how to fail gracefully. There is an art in defeat which noble souls always acquire; you must know how to lose cheerfully; you must be fearless of disappointment. Never hesitate to admit failure. Make no attempt to hide failure under deceptive smiles and beaming optimism. It sounds well always to claim success, but the end results are appalling. Such a technique leads directly to the creation of a world of unreality and to the inevitable crash of ultimate disillusionment.
Success may generate courage and promote confidence, but wisdom comes only from the experiences of adjustment to the results of one's failures. Men who prefer optimistic illusions to reality can never become wise. Only those who face facts and adjust them to ideals can achieve wisdom. Wisdom embraces both the fact and the ideal and therefore saves its devotees from both of those barren extremes of philosophy—the man whose idealism excludes facts and the materialist who is devoid of spiritual outlook. Those timid souls who can only keep up the struggle of life by the aid of continuous false illusions of success are doomed to suffer failure and experience defeat as they ultimately awaken from the dream world of their own imaginations.
And it is in this business of facing failure and adjusting to defeat that the far-reaching vision of religion exerts its supreme influence. Failure is simply an educational episode—a cultural experiment in the acquirement of wisdom—in the experience of the God-seeking man who has embarked on the eternal adventure of the exploration of a universe. To such men defeat is but a new tool for the achievement of higher levels of universe reality.
The career of a God-seeking man may prove to be a great success in the light of eternity, even though the whole temporal-life enterprise may appear as an overwhelming failure, provided each life failure yielded the culture of wisdom and spirit achievement. Do not make the mistake of confusing knowledge, culture, and wisdom. They are related in life, but they represent vastly differing spirit values; wisdom ever dominates knowledge and always glorifies culture. ~ The Urantia Book, (160:4.1)