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Michael - The Reality of Pain - The Purpose of Pain - Tithing - Aug 15, 2005 - Marin TM; Mill Valley, CA

Michael—August 15, 2005

Marin TM Group—Mill Valley, California—U.S.A.


(The reality of pain)

(How to help someone suffering)

(The different kinds of pain)

(Objectivity and subjectivity)


(The purposes of pain)

(Respect for pain and difficulty)

(The importance of understanding)


Prayer: Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, Tonight we offer our prayers for Your help, not for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters who are suffering and living in pain. This may be the physical pain of injuries or disease; it may be the mental anguish of suffering some terrible loss of someone very near and deeply loved, or some natural catastrophe that wiped out their home or whole community. And for some it may be a spiritual pain--the sense of meaninglessness, as if nothing means anything any more, and there’s no value to what they do or what they see in life. We ask You to minister to them. Be in their hearts. Offer them hope and the courage to face another day. For ourselves, we ask You to help us be generous of our resources and our time to help those who so desperately need it. Amen.

(The reality of pain)

MICHAEL: Good evening, My sons, this is Michael. I hear your prayer and I take it into My own heart and send forth My strength that beats in the living hearts of all My children. Pain is one of the great and deep mysteries of life, not only for you human beings with respect to your fellows, for your suffering affects the whole spiritual community. It is not an exaggeration or any play on words to say that the angels weep when they see the suffering that so many go through on Urantia. This is especially so when caused not by some natural catastrophe of time and space--due simply to being on an as yet unsettled evolutionary planet, but that very egregious kind of pain and suffering that is a result of the deliberate acts of your fellow human beings.

On a large scale this is what you are familiar with as warfare, and yet it exists in all of the world on a smaller scale as what you call crime--where one individual very knowing and very deliberately causes someone else to suffer, either to rob and steal, but sometimes with a very deliberate and malicious attack, just to gratify their own sense of power.

The deep mystery is in acknowledging this reality when you yourself are not caught up in it. Here Mother and I ask of you to be aware of your own limitations in realizing the suffering that another is going through. Too often folks, sometimes all too casually, imagine they can experience this suffering themselves, and yet, simply biting ones lip or pinching your finger a little bit can bring home to you: pain is it’s own reality. And no one can even begin to imagine the severe pain that someone else might be going through. Psychically you can have some awareness, such as if you walk into a hospital room where a friend of yours has been injured, you can sense, in a way, the pain filling the room. So We ask you to be very careful about assuming you know what this feels like, and the same goes for mental pain, that anguish which accompanies a terrible loss.

One experience We would have you feel is a very natural one of your heart going out to those who are suffering. You can actually feel this all the greater if you realize the limitation of experiencing their pain with them. Here it’s a matter of opening your heart with a deep respect for the fact you cannot share their suffering directly. But you can open your own mind and spirit and ask yourself: how then, can you help alleviate their suffering? What can you do?

(How to help someone suffering)

Where close friends who are injured or have suffered loss, just your being present, your company is often the most precious thing you can give someone else. Pain is of such a reality that focusing on it usually does not help, but only fills your mind with it’s actuality. Having dear friends near by for company offers the opportunity for a respite and distraction. You can simply fill your mind with another person’s presence and chase the pain away for awhile. It is this mental and spiritual sharing that is actually most useful. This is what works. So often just holding someone’s hand--that basic human communion of touch--is worth more than anything else at the time.

Here in offering to be with a friend in pain, even though you can not directly experience what they are going through, still it takes courage to acknowledge the reality of pain, for you are admitting it’s possibility into your own life. This too is a kind of sharing of one’s basic human situation, and acknowledging that each small individual is truly just a part of an enormous physical world. As I often taught while I was among you as Jesus: there are, from a human standpoint, truly accidents of time and space, natural disasters which no one has caused. I even cautioned My Apostles and My true and faithful followers that even the deepest belief and faith in our Father does not preclude these accidents from happening to you. Your Mother and I promise that We will always be with you. We very literally bear your burdens with you. In times of pain or injury or even extreme stress, do your best to keep Us in mind. Offer Us your prayers. Let Us fill you with Our presence as much as you are capable of receiving. If you do have terrible times to go through, don’t assume there are any particular limits to the help We can give. Our help is limited only by your capacity to receive.

(The different kinds of pain)

This is a very difficult subject to approach, for it is natural and altogether fitting, no matter how much or how little you have suffered in your own life, to wonder about the necessity for pain. Why did God include this in His created reality? Obviously on a physical level, it is part of the very meaning of life. It’s an almost undeniable reality in itself. It calls attention to something going wrong, whether it’s a toothache, a headache, a cut finger, or even something more serious. It demands your attention. This is very contra-distinct from the kind of physical injury you do yourselves through certain unhealthy habits which can lead to terrible physical injury, yet are not immediately painful. Here I’m referring to various bio-chemical addictions.

Just so, mental pain calls your attention to the fact that reality has changed in a very undeniable way. Someone or something that you thought was very much a part of you, is no longer. Parents can lose their children; children their parents. You asked several weeks ago how it is possible in God’s way of creating the world, that a natural phenomenon like a tsunami can come along and so thoroughly devastate those it does not kill outright? And I could only answer this was a consequence of living on an unstable, evolutionary planet where the very crust of the earth shifts from time to time due to strictly natural, impersonal forces.

Last week Mother Nebadonia mentioned a kind of very severe mental and spiritual pain which is the experience of meaninglessness, where for various reasons, all of a sudden nothing seems to mean anything. Things seem to be disconnecting from each other and losing their relationships. She mentioned the experience of having the wonder and curiosity go out of your life, and somehow losing the freshness you once had as a youngster when the world was so strange and new. This pain is also very real and can be more debilitating than the physical kind. It can settle around you like a kind of psychic glue, holding you back from wanting to even try anything. Many human beings suffer what you call depression, where all the joy, all the enthusiasm seems to have drained away somewhere.

I bring these examples up tonight to let you know that those of Us in a spiritual dimension do acknowledge their reality in your lives. We would ask you to also keep their reality in mind, especially with a humbling realization if you yourself are not suffering at this moment. How blessed you are; and yet too, how much you must open your heart and let a very natural and spontaneous out-flowing of help go to those who are suffering. Pray to Us, My children, for generosity, for that wonderful feeling of sharing what you have with your fellows in need. For those of you who feel you cannot do this directly, you can search out--by putting time and the effort into studying--which organizations are worthy of your support. Which of the many organizations that exist put their resources directly to those who are most in need; and then support these organizations to the best of your ability.

No, there is simply no denying the reality of pain and the particular meaning it holds and gives to life. Perhaps this above all challenges your faith in God’s wisdom. But it is certainly one of God’s laws, one of the realities He created. Somewhat like the passage of time bringing about those changes you find yourselves resisting or wishing they were not quite so necessary, there are also certain truths which alike await the passage of time to be put in a proper perspective and relationship to the whole of life, to finally make sense. So in the meanwhile, it is very much a matter of faith, in the basic sense of trust. If something truly exists, if it has the mark of God’s creation, it really must be--else life would lose another dimension of meaning. This is a subject best not avoided, but fully acknowledged, and even appreciated--as a mark of maturity. This is so you can live your lives without fear in the courageous acceptance of all that is possible. Use it all—everything--to fuel your devotion to discover, then align yourselves with God’s will. Open your hearts, My children. Look reality in the eye and accept all that is. Ultimately you will find it is not other than you.

If you have questions this evening, on any subject at all touching your heart, let us share it between us.

Student: Father Michael, I would like to thank you--I do thank you very much for all the changes You have wrought in me in the last few months. I feel much closer to You and Mother, and I appreciate Your being here tonight.

The question is: Your last statement--does that mean that I perceive what I see… Wait a minute. Is my perception of reality all that I have? Like the way I see things; is that it? There’s obviously a reality quite separate from the way I see things. I thought I had that figured out at one time, but I’m not sure any more. Any enlightenment would be very nice—helpful.

(Objectivity and subjectivity)

MICHAEL: Yes, My son. I call your attention to a lesson We gave some weeks ago on the difference between what you term objective and subjective. This has been a puzzle for the human need to understand oneself and ones place in the world. Many of your finest thinkers and philosophers have taken it head-on.

Very strictly speaking, everything you experience has a mark of subjectivity attached. Everything you see, or hear, or touch, or taste, or feel physically--coming through your physical senses, is being interpreted by your brain and then projected outward as exterior reality. For example, everything you see is registering and being realized by you in your brain, yet there is a true objective reality outside you, and it’s the light rays bouncing off of it and entering your eye which your brain interprets.

So within this subjective reality of what you experience, there is, in part, an objective reality. A classical example is two people standing side by side and looking at the same painting, then trying to discuss it and come to some agreement as to what it means, or what it’s saying, or even what it is. For each person has their own unique personal value of spirit that they see in this object.

So you may be assured that there is indeed an enormous objective universe out there. Yet just last week Mother Spirit gave a lesson on the limitations of a very narcissistic person, where the subjective part of their perception is totally overwhelming the objective part--to the degree that this person is almost paralyzed in experiencing anything independent of himself. All of his attention is caught up in his own perception of himself. This is precisely why We have encouraged you to let go of yourselves and turn your attention outward. Strive for the ideal of objectivity.

If you will, grant the world an independent existence and then do your best to wonder what this might be. Within this wonder and this curiosity is your acknowledging to yourself you cannot assume you know what is what. Don’t be caught in any particular viewpoint or stereotype, but feel free to move around things--not only physical things but mental things: concepts, ideas, notions, evaluations, judgments--all these mental things you inherit with your family and your society and your culture. Wonder about them. How much objective reality do they have?

So, fundamentally, objectivity becomes an ideal, an orientation; and the more you are in tune with spirit--its spontaneous and creative aspects, the less bound up you are by your own subjectivity--the more you can be in tune with My Spirit of Truth. You become aware that there are alternative ways of seeing things and knowing things--of realizing things. All the while, you’re maintaining the humble attitude of being aware of your own subjectivity. Does this help…clarify the picture, My son? (group laughs—the pun was obviously intended)

Student: Yes, it does in many ways, Father. It brings up more questions…to ponder on!-- otherwise we’ll be here all night answering questions. Thank You very much.

 MICHAEL: You’re very welcome. It seems you’ve taken My lesson to heart immediately. (group laughs) And be in My peace.


Student: Dear Michael, You’ve seemed to answer my question. I had a thrill listening to Robert Cricket talk about tithing and it--I was driving home--I had this idea of why not tithe one hundred percent? I didn’t know why I was so thrilled with that ‘cause it’s, I don’t know, it seems too absolute. But now I realize when You were talking earlier--that when you are more ready to share your exuberance, or good luck, or freedom from pain, with others--maybe in the sense of compassion and empathy and, like Moses, you just do even more… This one hundred percent tithing is maybe an old-fashioned way of looking at it, but it was a help to me and I wonder if You could elaborate, for the record, and for our own enlightenment. Thank You.

MICHAEL: Well, My son, there’s nothing much I can say as to the amount a person should tithe. Tithing is a kind of good habit, a regular routine of giving so much to a spiritual community that can put it to good use. It’s a reminder to give, an inner dedication or commitment to set aside so much of your wealth for others.

But as to how much, this is strictly between you and our Father. But I would suggest that here, as in other aspects of your life, We can only recommend you stay open—literally: experiment. Try one hundred percent if your heart tells you to do this, and then see what happens. Again: it may work, it may not. As I mentioned in My last lesson, it is only by these experiments can you gain the experience to know what is what, and assess the spiritual value of what is worth what. So yes, by all means, give it a try. Then open your heart and your mind to accept the results. Does this help you with this particular puzzle?

Student: (laughing) That’s another lighthearted way, and I can’t wait to see You on Salvington some day surrounded with the Melchizedeks and all the glorious, helpful beings. Thank You.

MICHAEL: You are very welcome, My son. Be in My peace.

Student: Yes, Michael, if pain’s a way for us to see that we are not following, in a sense, God’s will, that we are separating, in our minds, from His reality… Because if it is our true nature to be in joy, then pain is showing us that we are separating ourselves from this reality.

(The purposes of pain)

MICHAEL: Yes, D, this is fundamentally correct. Severe pain of whatever sort is a signal that something is going wrong. The only limitation I would put upon your definition, or your understanding, is that this is not always intentional. A lot of pain simply happens to a person, especially when you are rather immature and you almost have to, of necessity, find out all the wrong ways of doing things, in order to discover the right one. Here pain is like the guide-rails along the side of a broad path of what is right to do, which let you know when you are straying off to one side or the other.

This is especially true for mental or spiritual pain showing you that you are deviating from an ideal way in which God would have you live in joy and fulfillment. And as you know, there are certain mental aberrations which you call masochism, where a person’s mind is so disordered that they find a kind of bogus meaning in pain, and begin to indulge in pain in such a way that it is truly harming them physically as well. This can be indulged in to the point where they are institutionally committed by those who really have their welfare at heart.

There is a definite borderline between masochism and where one could say you have to be a connoisseur of pain. Here I am referring to the kind of pain that is intrinsic to effort, to good productive effort, either in work or in play or, say, in sports. For example, one of the best things you can do for your body, especially as you get older, is stretching--keeping all the joints and ligaments and muscles of your body very flexible. In this instance pain is just a caution that you are getting near the limits of your normal range of movement--that range of movement which will naturally decrease unless you stretch and go somewhat into pain.

This is what I mean by being a connoisseur of pain--being very familiar with it so that you know when it’s a good pain just telling you to be cautious, you are getting near a limit. With caution and care you can safely go into this limit in order to increase your mobility. Think of great dancers who live their whole lives in this kind of pain, maybe much more than what the average person will know, yet in the advanced age of their eighties, even their nineties, are moving with a flexibility and truly awesome agility that many do not know when they are twenty. This type of pain, simply being a caution, is not the kind of pain you meant as deviating from God’s way.

Student: Yeah, in a sense this pain actually leads to release and even pleasure. I notice that when I do stretch, I feel renewed and invigorated and refreshed, my body feels alive, so even as I go through the pain, there is a release. It’s like the adage: no pain, no gain. So I can see that in the pain of working… sometimes I feel exuberant after a good day’s work, even though it may be painful at times, using my muscles and whatnot.

MICHAEL: This is part of that slowly acquired experience that leads to wisdom and discrimination--to discriminate between types of pain. Certainly there are individuals who are so afraid of any pain whatsoever, they become totally oriented toward their own perception of comfort. Then they can very quickly and at a fairly young age find themselves terribly handicapped because of this refusal to accept any pain or discomfort at all. They are soon almost paralyzed.

Student: And the paradox there is, those people, in a sense, create more pain for themselves in the long run.

MICHAEL: Exactly. They find out that in seeking only comfort, the world very quickly closes in on them to where nothing is comfortable. So this is a matter of wisdom.

Student: There are times though, with pain, where I feel like--this is what I have said before in the past--my finite being is rubbing up against the Infinite. I feel, I feel limited and want to live more fully, and there’s pain in that, in that limitation, that experience of limitation. But then I look at that and I say: this is where I am now, this is who I am now. The more I try to push, or coerce, or want, the more frustrated and painful I feel. I’m not being in joy, which means I’m not being in God. So if I realize this, the pain, in a sense, releases.

(Respect for pain and difficulty)

MICHAEL: I think the realization you’re trying to reach is one of respect. This is one of the meanings to life that pain definitely augments--let us say a respect for a healthy, very flexible body. It demands that you see pain in the sense of an unavoidable means to an end, not an end in itself which it is in the case of masochism. In almost every sport there are those who have no respect for their bodies, or for pain, who can very quickly injure themselves to the point of having to give up this desired activity, because they are literally tearing themselves apart.

Whereas you have the example I gave of some great athletes who are, clear into their nineties, amazing examples of grace and movement. Probably this is with the realization of respect, of acknowledging these limitations you say you encounter when you start going headlong towards something. In all humility, you can accept these limitations for what they show you of this greater reality you just ran into.

Student: It’s like my reality wants to catch up with my…my idealism. Sometimes my idealism is out there, and my reality is back here, and that’s where I feel the pain. But I’m learning to just to be in this reality.

MICHAEL: Well, it’s interesting you have a differentiation between an ideal--which you might think of as self-generated, and reality--which shows you the moment to moment limit of what you can achieve--pursuing that ideal.

Student: Hmmm, that’s good. It’s like I’m keeping my ideal out there, but not bringing it into my present reality…which obviously is not true… Hmmm… But I know when I try to leapfrog ahead, that’s when I feel the limitations and the pain.

MICHAEL: As I discussed with C earlier this evening, you might think of the ideal as being the subjective portion. It’s what your heart tells you would be nice, this could be something to strive for. Yet you acknowledge there is an objective reality surrounding you, that is God’s creation, and deserves respect--even though it limits, at this particular moment, what you can ideally accomplish.

But you have to keep striving for your ideal to make the great discovery that in some ways, God’s reality is a bit plastic. It can be molded, it can be shaped to your desire--as your soul grows, as your experience deepens. As you learn more and more about what it is, it responds to you.

Student: That’s our free will; that is: free will.

MICHAEL: Here I was referring to the fact that God’s reality is God, and it is not fixed. God does respond to you as an individual human being, and so you cannot assume you fully know what God is capable of doing.

Student: Yeah, ‘cause we’re a part of it, Hugh? Yeah.

MICHAEL: And you are just beginning. As Welmek reminded you many years ago: you’re still tadpoles, and it is only by being very faithfully a tadpole can you grow into a frog someday.

Student: Just to let You know, I’m not really thrilled with that analogy. (everybody laughs) I don’t feel that way. I don’t feel like a tadpole, I really don’t. That’s like a couple of weeks ago when we last spoke, You said to me, considering a decision to be made: What do I want? And that was really important to hear--in conjunction with God’s reality.

MICHAEL: Well, My son, this is just Me teasing you--from time to time--with the very real fact you are only beginning a very long journey into eternity.

Student: (laughing) You’re always saying we’re just beginning! When can I be…more on the road, I guess. Maybe we’re always beginning.

MICHAEL: Ah!--now you have it! (group laughter)

Student: Yeah: there is no end. (laughter) Yeah. Thank You very much.

MICHAEL: You are very welcome, My son. Be in My peace.

(The importance of understanding)

Well, My children, tonight I felt it necessary for us to open our hearts to confront the reality of pain as directly, as head-on as we could. The important thing here is understanding. And any understanding demands, first of all, coming in intimate contact with what you would encompass in your soul. Even if you are blessed to have never had a serious injury--physically, or mentally, or spiritually--remember carefully about your childhood. There were all those dozens and dozens of skinned knees, and cut fingers; and then heartaches and disappointments, and so forth, that contributed so much to the wisdom you have grown.

For there are rare cases of children born without any pain receptors, without any experience of physical pain. Only in very recent times have they had a chance of living very long at all. This is part of the reason this is such a very rare condition--so very few of those afflicted this way survived to the age of procreation, to pass on the trait. We have been encouraging you to regard your own past with some wonder, some creative curiosity, and tonight I wish to reopen the subject with this awareness of the different kinds of pain you have experienced. It is important you do not fear these memories, so you do not exclude them from all your re-realizing your own past experiences. Let them be included, no more nor less than as they affected you originally, for this was simply part of your life. Considered this way, they form no small part of your understanding, your wisdom, and ultimately the meaning of your life.

Pain truly deserves your respect, especially when you consider those who may be suffering terribly. Respect that you do not really experience their pain, but at the same time open your heart. Let your heart go out to them with compassion and empathy so that, rather than reacting with fear, or aversion, or denial, you find the courage to reach out and take their hand, and at least acknowledge the reality of what this other person in going through. This sharing is truly one of the strongest and most wonderful kinds of love.

Now rest in My peace. Good evening.