April 16, 2014
When a woman came to their door and announced that “something had happened to her husband,” The Sadlers sprang into action. They donned robes and slippers and followed the distraught woman to her apartment. In the bedroom they found a middle aged man lying on a bed. He was apparently sleeping, but his respiration seemed disturbed. He would take a couple of fast breaths and then stop breathing for an almost alarming interval. Dr. Sadler quickly took his pulse, and was surprised to find it normal. However, the depth of the subject’s sleep was quite profound. Dr. Sadler attempted various ways to awaken the man, but without success. Finally, there seemed nothing left to do but wait.
Nearly an hour went by. The man’s body made several rather violent movements during this period. Then, suddenly, he sat up and looked around. “Who are these people?” he asked his wife. She explained that they were doctors whom she had called from upstairs when she could not wake him. He exclaimed: “What? What has happened? Is something wrong?”
Dr. Sadler asked: “How do you feel?” “I feel fine,” the man replied. “What is it you have been dreaming about?” asked Dr. Sadler. “Why, nothing.” the man replied. “But you have been jumping all around the bed,” said Sadler. “Well, I don’t know anything about that,” the man replied. “I feel fine.”
After a bit of small talk, Dr. Sadler said: “Look, I believe it will be wise if you come in for a complete examination tomorrow morning. This is quite unusual, and we want to be on the safe side.” The man and his wife agreed.
The next day Dr. Sadler made the examination and found the gentleman to be in excellent physical condition. After thoroughly testing him, Sadler checked into the man’s family history. There was no record of insanity or of epilepsy. Dr. Sadler suggested that he would like to keep the patient under observation for a while, and the patient consented.
Several weeks passed. Then the wife called and informed the Sadlers that her husband was in the peculiar deep sleep again. The doctors responded, and discovered him to be in the same profound sleeping state as before. They attempted to rouse him, even sticking pins in him, but nothing worked. Fortunately the pulse remained normal during the strange breathing sequences and abnormal movements, so nothing appeared life-threatening about the extraordinary state. Then, he awoke as before, completely oblivious of any unusual behavior during his sleep. Both doctors were puzzled.
The phenomenon occurred several times by the fall of that year, when the Sadlers’ new residence was ready. The lease on the subject’s apartment was expiring at the same time. He and his wife elected to move so they could be near the Sadlers. It was at this new address that the peculiar “sleep” of the patient became considerably more remarkable and perplexing.
The First Contact
The Sadlers were soon called to the new residence of the subject. The customary procedure was followed, and the physicians sat by the bedside, observing and waiting for him to awaken. Lena Sadler noticed the subject was moistening his lips. “Perhaps he wants to say something. Perhaps we should ask a question,” she said. “How are you feeling?”
To the great astonishment of everyone, the subject spoke! But the voice was peculiar, not his normal voice. The voice identified itself as a student visitor on an observation mission from another planet!8 This “being” apparently was conversing through the sleeping subject by some means. Both doctors thought they were simply observing a phenomena known as automatic speaking. This activity involves the subconscious mind, and can take place without the awareness of the patient.
NEXT: A profound mystery begins to unfold.
April 7, 2014
ONE SUMMER BETWEEN 1906 and 1911, there was a remarkable encounter involving two couples. One of the couples was Dr. William Sadler and his wife, Dr. Lena Sadler; the identity of the other couple is not known. The event would completely alter the lives of all four individuals, and would have implications that are still not fully grasped over a century later.
The exact date and nature of the meeting of the two couples has been an object of much discussion. The 1911 date of this episode can be documented by two references from the Appendix in The Mind at Mischief. Dr. Sadler simply states that he was brought into contact with this case in the “summer of 1911.” He also states: “Eighteen years of study” had taken place at the time of publishing The Mind at Mischief, which occurred in 1929, again placing the meeting at 1911. Some researchers have called this a printing error, claiming that Dr. Sadler came into contact with the so-called “sleeping subject” as early as 1906. It hardly seems likely that two printing errors were made.
A date of 1908 is suggested by other researchers, and is supported by evidence that the Sadlers, while they were waiting for a new residence to be prepared, lived in a temporary apartment in La Grange, Illinois, during the spring and summer of 1908. This interim residence situation seems to have occurred only once, and fits the version of Dr. Sadler’s description of the seminal events that was disclosed by author Harold Sherman. Sherman’s information is based upon a conversation with Dr. Sadler that took place in 1942, in which Sadler stated the first encounter with the sleeping subject had been about “thirty-five years ago,” more closely matching the earlier dates.
Long and tedious efforts have been made to establish the date of the Sadlers’ first contact with the sleeping subject based upon records of their various residences. It may have been that they met the sleeping subject in 1906 or 1908 — we cannot be sure. Some believe Dr. Sadler intentionally created confusion about the date to protect the identity of his patient, the individual who would become known as the sleeping subject. It is also possible that in the early days the sleeping subject appeared to be nothing more than a patient with some kind of a sleeping disorder. As we shall see, the sessions with the sleeping subject took a remarkable and baffling turn somewhat later in the process.
Some writers, with agendas to discredit the authenticity of the Papers, have detailed biographical information on Dr. Sadler and others to set the stage for one claim or another. In this history, we are less interested in establishing factual dates and exhausting the biographical backgrounds of the participants than we are in following the authentic historic development of the Revelation.
It is important to relate here that all the people who were involved in the early stages of the contact (and all subsequent stages) were quite ordinary human beings. Notwithstanding Dr. Sadler’s status as a psychiatrist and prolific writer in his field, both he and his wife were simply ordinary folks with foibles and strengths just like the rest of us. To my knowledge, no one associated with the Urantia Movement has demonstrated any special spiritual status or unique “power.” In the early sessions, we can know for certain that only Dr. Sadler, Dr. Lena, the sleeping subject and his wife were involved. Dr. Sadler’s son, Bill Sadler, Jr., was not involved in the early contacts, he was only three years old in 1911.
Dr. Sadler estimates in the Appendix ofThe Mind at Mischief that about 250 night sessions with the sleeping subject had taken place by 1929. We have only the testimony of Dr. Sadler about the events that took place prior to the commencement of the Forum and the enlargement of the Contact Commission in the early twenties. We will see that the activities were significantly altered as other personalities became involved. Although Sadler has written virtually nothing about the primal events that set the Revelation into motion, Meredith Sprunger supplies a great deal of the information that he had personally learned from Sadler.
Less reliable information about the seminal events has been provided by Harold Sherman, (a writer and a self-proclaimed psychic) who was generally hostile to the Urantia Papers. Even so, Sherman and his wife were reporters, and they claimed to have a candid interview with Dr. Sadler in August of 1942, in which he described the early episodes. They said they wrote their recollections down immediately after hearing the story.
Generally, what Sherman wrote in his book,How to Know What to Believe, is self-serving and configured to support his own views of psychic phenomena. However, in the particular segment of his book referring to Dr. Sadler’s story of the early contacts, a great deal of his information correlates with that of Dr. Sprunger and other early Urantians. Also in support of this portion of Sherman’s narrative are the comments of Carolyn Kendall, who briefly worked for Dr. Sadler as a receptionist and who has been closely associated with Urantia Foundation. Carolyn states that when she was “almost 19 years of age” (in 1951), Dr. Sadler related to her the story of the sleeping subject. Carolyn recalls that it was “essentially the same as in Sherman’s book.”
If, for the sake of argument, we split the difference and use the 1908 date, picture a 33-year old William Sadler, his wife Lena, and a newborn Bill Sadler, Jr., living in a suburb of old Chicago, Illinois. They were temporarily housed in a furnished apartment, waiting for their new residence to be prepared. We know that some accounts relate that late one summer evening there was a knock on the door. Evidently another tenant, a lady directly beneath their apartment, had learned that they were doctors.
“Will you come downstairs with me?” she asked. “Something has happened to my husband. He’s gone to sleep, he is breathing very strangely, and I can’t wake him up.”
NEXT: FIRST CONTACT
August 12, 2012
“Mantras work,” the gurus tell us. And they do, for a while. Eventually, though, they get old and stale. The wheels come off, and we need a new one.
But what if we could find the ultimate mantra? A mantra that contained revelatory words that are timeless and inspired, that would awaken the spirit within? What if we could find a mantra that was “unfailing?” One that could “overcome the world” and restore our faith? Would we say this mantra daily, or better, several times a day? What if such a gift had been given us by the revelators? And what if it was hiding in plain sight in the pages of The Urantia Book?
“The consciousness of a victorious human life on earth is born of that creature faith which dares to challenge each recurring episode of existence when confronted with the awful spectacle of human limitations, by the unfailing declaration: Even if I cannot do this, there lives in me one who can and will do it, a part of the Father-Absolute of the universe of universes. And that is ‘the victory which overcomes the world, even your faith.’” [P.59 - §5; 4.4.9]
September 3, 2011
“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.” [The Urantia Book, Page 1099]
The Urantia Book goes on to tell us that just such a spectacular religious conversion happened to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Saul of Tarsus first appears in the Biblical record as a witness to the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr to the cause of Christ—dying fearlessly and even “consenting” to his death. This experience deeply impressed Saul. Yet he continued on his feverish desire to exterminate the early believers in Jesus from the face of the earth.
Later Saul, carrying arrest warrants for several Christians, left Jerusalem for the ancient city of Damascus, some 140 miles north. As he drew near Damascus, a light “brighter than the noonday sun” engulfed him. A voice demanded: “Saul, Saul, why do you continue to persecute me?” The voice was identified as Jesus of Nazareth! Saul, blinded as a consequence of his experience, was instructed to enter Damascus where he would be informed as to what to do next. Saul was led into the city where he fasted and prayed for three days. Finally, a man named Ananias arrived, restored Saul’s sight and commanded him to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” Saul, the former persecutor became Paul of Tarsus and began a spectacular and influential career proclaiming that Jesus “is the Son of God.”
I must admit that for some it may be quite a leap from Paul of Tarsus to George Foreman. Yet I know of no more spectacular conversion than Mr. Foreman’s. He was an equally unlikely candidate as Paul for conversion. Yet George Foreman’s description of his personal “road to Damascus” experience is, in my judgment, nothing less than a modern day miracle. Foreman encountered Jesus in such a way, and with such vivid power, that the Spirit of Truth permanently transformed him from an especially ferocious prize fighter into a loving servant of God.
I will not attempt to condense Foreman’s experience into this blog. But I highly recommend his book, “God in My Corner … a Spiritual Memoir.” He describes his experience with unforgettable detail and clarity. It is one of my favorite spiritual books.
Some people who know George Foreman only as a boxer and a hawker of grills are unfamiliar with his current commitment to a life of service. Foreman had compiled a record of 37 and 0, nearly all by knockout, before he became heavyweight champion of the world in 1972. He lost his title under questionable circumstances a year and a half later. He was on his way to getting a chance to regain the title when he lost a close decision. It was in his locker room after this fight that George Foreman had his extraordinary encounter with Jesus. Boxing had made George a wealthy man, a multimillionaire. But, because of his experience, he was finished as a prize fighter, or so it seemed. He said that after his experience with Jesus “… my whole world turned upside down. God flushed all the hatred and resentment out of my heart … Because I no longer had hate boiling inside of me, I couldn’t imagine boxing again.”
It was a month before George acquired his first Bible and decided to evangelize his new-found faith. He began contacting celebrities he knew personally to tell them about his religious awakening. Few of the rich and famous were interested.
George Foreman then began to “lift Jesus up” and talk about him with the ordinary folks. first on street corners, then in a very modest little church in Houston. At the age of 28 the great champion retired from boxing and slipped away from public view. In a few years he had been cheated out of all his money and was flat broke. By 1984 he had managed to save enough to open the George Foreman Youth & Community Center. Foreman wanted a safe haven for kids to hang out. I saw a photo of him in Life magazine about that time. He looked nothing like the George Foreman I had known. Head shaven, overweight, and impoverished, he was now a humble preacher sweeping out the modest center for youths he ran in Houston. “Poor guy,” I thought. “Once he had everything and he had let it slip away.”
Barely a year later Foreman’s accountant told him that he would go broke if he continued to use his own money to support the center. Rather than giving up on the youth center or begging for money, George decided to return to boxing. He had been in retirement for ten years and was nearly 40 years old. It took him a year to lose over 100 pounds and begin his second boxing career, ten years after his original retirement. Virtually all the boxing pundits took George’s return as a joke. George fought in a different way than in his pitiless youth. He now prayed for his opponents and dispatched them with the least possible force. Early on he cautiously fought less important, carefully selected boxers for three years for very small purses, avoiding the top contenders. Then, suddenly it seemed, he gained more and more public attention as he began knocking off the important, highly ranked boxers.
George eventually fought Evander Holyfield for the title, not winning but competitively making a good accounting of himself. Then, one final opportunity came at the age of 44. Miraculously, it seemed, Foreman became the oldest man ever to win the heavyweight championship of the world. As the referee counted out his vanquished opponent in the tenth round, George went to a neutral corner. In front of God, the angels, and all the world, he went to his knees and prayed thanksgiving.
From a young mugger and brawler in the streets of Houston, George Foreman is now a successful businessman, minister, and creator of a haven for lost and impoverished youth. He overcame adversity, failure and betrayal and found God. He has lived to serve God, and has lifted Jesus high. George Foreman has helped an untold number of people with his ministry and with the way he quietly walks his spiritual talk in his home city. As I indicated, I highly recommend “God is in my Corner… a Spiritual Memoir.” Check it out.
July 10, 2011
When I was a young man (long before I found the Urantia Papers), I had an experience that gave me my first inkling of what it feels like to have power over thought and a deep sense of self. When I made this discovery, I was certain I had found the secret of the universe. I had yet to learn that having knowledge of something is not the same as knowing it or owning it. We really do not own something until we incorporate it into our experience and share it with others. Yet, even though I would find it necessary to retrace my steps time and again and relearn the value of self-mastery, the original experience was a critical beginning. It was my introduction to the power of mind control and self-induced inner peace.
As an eighteen-year-old, I lived in a dysfunctional home. I was angry, poor, and had little hope. In this shadowy world, there were many temptations and diversions, but few positive possibilities. Or so it seemed. Too bored and indifferent to study, I barely managed to graduate from high school. Soon, I was working as a laborer in a local lumberyard. On the surface, I appeared defiant and confident, but inside I was in constant fear, turmoil, and despair. It was as though I was not really fully awake and was watching the world through a long tunnel. Then, I happened into a barbershop and met a man known in the neighborhood as “Don the Barber.” From there, everything began to change.
A haircut was a rare occasion for me in those days. I had passed the tiny barbershop many times, but had never entered it before. Don was middle-aged and walked with a severe limp. His intensity and friendliness immediately struck me as unusual. We were alone in the shop, and as he cut my hair, he talked about mind power, human will, and other subjects that seemed peculiar to me. I could not imagine why he wanted to discuss such offbeat ideas with me. I answered most of his overtures and questions with a grunt or a few mumbled words.
When I paid this unusual man, he suddenly handed me a small book with a worn blue cover. I turned the old tome over in my hands and noted the title: Raja Yoga … or Mental Development, by Yogi Ramacharaka. “Why don’t you read this book, and tell me what you think?” he suggested. In those days, such books were unusual in our culture. I was deeply suspicious. A yogi, to me, was a skinny guy with a turban who could lie upon a bed of nails.
“You don’t believe all this stuff, do you?” I asked.
He smiled. “Well, just read it. Think of it as a cafeteria of ideas. If one appeals to you, take it. Otherwise, pass it by.”
I tucked the book under my arm and promised to return it. When I got home, I decided to look the book over. I began to read by the afternoon light of my window. I read words unlike anything I had ever read before: “Before man attempts to solve the secrets of the Universe without, he should master the Universe within—the Kingdom of the Self.”
For a young man who had concluded he was fighting a losing battle with a hostile universe, the concept of a refuge within—a Kingdom of Self—was irresistible. The idea that there is another, better self within, with access to powerful resources unavailable to my present state of consciousness, was thrilling. It seemed to me that I had been playing a life role far below my capacities, one I did not relish. Down deep, I wanted to be something else. Raja Yoga declared that my “real” self was hidden by the fake outer persona, a facade that I presented to the world so that I could cope and get along. I was even more astounded by the assertion that it was possible for any normal person to control the mind and achieve inner peace. The idea that I could control thought was completely unique to me. The greatest of all demoralizers is the state of being in which we are helpless victims of our thoughts.
Regarding the many grievances that tortured my mind, I read:
“Yet this is an absurd position—for man, the heir of all the ages: hag-ridden by the flimsy creatures of his own brain … It should be as easy to expel an obnoxious thought from your mind as it is to shake a stone out of your shoe; and till a man can do that it is just nonsense to talk about his ascendancy over Nature, and all the rest of it. He is a mere slave, and prey to the bat-winged phantoms that flit through the corridors of his own brain. Yet the weary and careworn faces that we meet by the thousands, even among the affluent classes of civilization, testify only too clearly how seldom this mastery is obtained. How rare indeed to meet a MAN!”
I read and read. I was unaware of time or space. When the light from the window was so dim I could not read anymore, I looked up and observed the dark disorder I lived in. There is a better way to live, I thought. Of course, I knew that if I had money I could live on a higher material level. But the stunning new idea was: There is a better way to live NOW. I could create my own world within! It could be my own gallery of peace, freedom, and joy. I reasoned that if my mind could generate and sustain thoughts as clear and pure as a mountain stream, no one could hurt me anymore. No matter what others did, they could not destroy, or even affect, my inner kingdom—unless I let them. It all seemed so simple.
The pivotal, enduring insight I gleaned that day was this assurance that I had choices. I gained the knowledge that no matter what circumstances surrounded me, I could master my inner life. At the time, I had no idea how difficult such inner mastery would turn out to be. It would take the better part of a lifetime and what seemed to be endless grief before I could consistently win the battle within. Even so, in times of despair, the original revelation that we can control our thoughts gave me hope. That day, I also accepted responsibility for the secret place, my inner life. The strange book that Don the Barber lent me made me conscious of self, of being, in a way I had never imagined before. LARRY MULLINS
May 18, 2011
“Man can never wisely decide temporal issues or transcend the selfishness of personal interests unless he meditates in the presence of the sovereignty of God and reckons with the realities of divine meanings and spiritual values.” Urantia Book, page 1093
For as long as I remember, I have had a nightmare that comes at unpredictable, irregular times. I have never been able to figure out its meaning until very recently. It is not terribly scary, more disturbing than anything.
This nightmare usually comes in the same general form. I am in a huge, strange building. It has many floors, lots of activity goes on. People are all engaged in manufacturing or commercial activities of various kinds. Part of the building also serves as a hotel. The distressing part begins when I realize I am confused. I am trying to find my room, and have no idea where it is. I wander from floor to floor, and no one pays any attention to me. I am aware that everything I need is in my room, my clothes, my money, and most of all my airplane tickets. The fruitless search goes on and on until I wake up, usually in the middle of the night.
Then one night, after an especially troubling version of this dream, I figured out the answer. The nightmare comes when I fail to pray before falling asleep. My usual prayer is very simple. First of all I thank God for a fabulous day, one that taught me precious lessons. Then I pray for everyone I know who needs special help. Finally, for the world. Last of all, for guidance. This part is an authentic challenge. Because I know I am not capable of hearing God’s message, I just still the mind. I believe God talks to my listening soul. Even though my human mind is deaf to the words, it seems to sense that a wonderful transmission is taking place. In silence I wait, and usually sleep comes.
The inner presence of God can and will guide our intuition flawlessly. He sees around corners and has an unfathomable vision of our destiny. Otherwise, without him, we become lost and confused, regardless of how smart we are, or think we are. One final suggestion. When I awake I try to always thank God for a new day. My mantra is (from some anonymous source I read once): “Today is a day that surpasses all days, because each day surpasses the day before, and all lapse into magnificence. Because that’s just the way things are.”
May 10, 2011
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