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There are so many challenges we human beings have to face and resolve in order to have a life of dignity, purpose, fulfillment, and happiness. In many places on the planet millions of people have much to overcome in order to merely stay alive; they don't even consider improving the quality of their lives, just that they physically survive another hour or another day.

In considering my own overcoming-and-transcending processes throughout the years, I have come to the conclusion that the largest blockage to my peace of mind and enjoyment of life has been myself.

The Smeagol-Gollum Syndrome

One of the most notable characters in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien, which were also made into a series of movies, is the creature Gollum who was consumed with getting his "preciousssss" back. When the good and sincere hobbit, Frodo, met Gollum, he recognized something in him. Frodo recognized that at one time Gollum had been a more comely, kinder, lovable personality. In fact, Gollum belonged to a people similar to the gentle hobbits. What happened to Gollum? What circumstances and choices led to Gollum's monstrous physical appearance and his pitifully devious and deadly ways?

As the story of the battle between good and evil forces unfolds in the Lord of the Rings stories, we not only observe the rise and fall of well-intentioned persons, but the perseverance and steadfastness in the stronger, more godly ones. We observe the continuous challenges that the characters (heroes or villains) have to face, the choices that they have to continually make—for good or for evil. Individuals have to overcome many temptations that tantalize with the promise of power, glory, fame, riches, beauty, acceptance, ease, and so on. Some are able to overcome the temptations to give in to error, sin, and iniquity, and some buckle under.

A long, long time ago Gollum gave in to his desire for something that belonged to someone else. He succumbed to covetousness and envy, and with that one choice followed other choices of betrayal and murder that resulted in an isolated and lonely life of continual flight from those who would have what he had. Gollum also spent the rest of his life fleeing from the voice of his higher self. Each time Gollum made a choice for the lower way out of divine pattern, he became a little uglier, inside and out, until he becomes a pitiful, but dangerous, slimy creature, with barely a glimmer of what he had been before his fall.

After years of living in filth (I speak literally as well as metaphorically), Gollum meets Frodo who is able to see that glimmer of what is left of Gollum's higher self, of what he had been before in a higher world of friendship, meaningful labor, laughter, and beauty.

We viewers of the Lord of the Rings films watch Gollum, after encountering and staying with Frodo, fluctuate back and forth between his higher and lower selves. It is a brilliant presentation of a personality's struggles to reach for something that was lost long, long ago; something good and decent that used to be a part of himself, when his name was Smeagol.

The Smeagol-Gollum syndrome, this struggle between the higher and lower self, is something each one of us experiences on this fallen world. For some it is more intense than for others. For some the Smeagol part is stronger, more dominant; for others it is the Gollum part. Sometimes we may have a week of being Gollum-like, and then regain our higher selves, and Smeagol dominates.

Note that I have put Smeagol first in naming the Smeagol-Gollum syndrome. I do that because, in reality, the higher self is the real identity, the connection to the personality circuitry of the Universal Father. In this adjudication where each of us must realign with that broken circuitry, the good in us that we once had, as well as our potential greatness, is more real than the false identities that we have acquired in our brokenness.

In one of the papers in The Cosmic Family, Volume 2, we are told by Celestial Overcontrol, when referring to the rehabilitation and reconciliation process that we humans are going through here in Divine Administration, they prefer to use the term realignment instead of repentance. From my perspective, that change in usage of terminology is huge. Realignment includes repentance, but it also encompasses change, transcendence.

The Importance of Guidance From Eldership in Order to Overcome Gollum

All of us have to overcome the Gollum within us, on a daily basis. I am sure you are all familiar with the saying, "Your greatest enemy is yourself." Thank goodness there are the Frodos and Aragorns and Gandalfs here in Divine Administration who see the Smeagol in us and—whether in the Mother-, Son-, or Father circuitry—challenge us to overcome the lurking Gollum who would bury Smeagol.

Gollum felt unjustly treated, attacked, and even violated when Frodo gave him an opportunity for a new identity, one that he had before on a higher world—Smeagol. And yet, there were times when the Smeagol in him felt gratitude and a sense of loyalty to the strong love that Frodo extended to him.

Can you too relate to the back-and-forth of the Smeagol-Gollum syndrome? Like Gollum, you too have much to overcome within yourselves in order to become Smeagol, in order to become your higher identity that is within your personality circuitry.

Like Gollum was with Frodo's strong stance in being on the side of right, I too have been very angry with my elders—Paladin and Van of Urantia —in their strong stance in truth and shedding light on my own dio (error). Haven't all of you had similar Gollum-like responses to your elders—human and otherwise?

My feelings of resentment, anger, and hurt have always been very temporary, for I know that the message I am receiving is "right on," even though I may not like what I am hearing. As I have grown and ascended, those feelings and attitudes towards my elders have lessened considerably, and the times that I experience them are very brief now, lasting only seconds or moments. With the help of the Threefold Spirit of God within me, I am able to overcome those lower, debilitating emotions, reactions, and attitudes quickly and regain my sense of balance, dignity, compassion, and enjoyment of life.

Admonishment and counsel often feel "bad," at least initially. Often my own children feel that I am attacking them when I am merely disciplining or giving guidance as a responsible, loving parent.

Experiences With My Elders—Paladin and Van of Urantia —and With the Adjudication Process

We here in Divine Administration have to overcome many misunderstandings and misjudgments of who and what we are, especially the leadership. One of the complaints I hear is that Paladin and Van do not reflect a loving, merciful, forgiving God; they reflect punishment and fear, etc. etc. That is how Gollum saw sweet, gentle Frodo, but Smeagol saw something quite different.

I have experienced (and continue to experience God) in so many ways, but always divinely loving, merciful, and just—even within the adjudication process. I see Paladin as very loving and gentle, as well as strong and admonishing, and I have benefited tremendously for about thirty years from his presence in my life with the audio fusion material complement, Van of Urantia.

I recall my first two encounters with Paladin. At the time of these encounters I did not know him as Paladin, the finaliter. He presented himself to me before I even met Van or had seen The URANTIA Book.

The first encounter was a year or two before meeting Van, during a time where I used transcendental meditation techniques that I had adapted to my own personal spiritual life. Daily I spent about twenty minutes in each session—one in the early morning and one after work in the afternoon—sitting in solitude and quiet, emptying my mind of my thoughts so that I could hear from God and divine mind. (I still practice this discipline, just adapted to my current reality.) During one afternoon session I had a "sensing" of a male spirit presence, and suddenly a face appeared in my mind's eye. It was all so quick, and, frankly, I was shocked. Usually my meditations are very gentle and restful, with realizations and impressions flowing into my mind that enhance my worship and help spiritize my perceptions. Occasionally other experiences would happen, like visual or audio impressions, but this was the first time a personality who seemed more human-like was so present. And though he seemed familiar, as if I knew him, I was not very comfortable with him, for he seemed so strong and so male!

My strong feminist leanings came to the surface, and I bristled. But another part of me felt an attraction to this figure, for I "knew" he was wise and saw much of me that I did not see in myself. Part of me had always wanted to see the worse parts of myself, but part of me feared and resented this personality knowing me, all of me. It was all so brief, seconds, but the intrigue I felt never left.

In my second encounter at Red Rock Crossing at the base of Cathedral Rock (in the Sedona area), in July 1987, five months before I met Van, I recognized this male presence who had appeared previously to me. I have referred much to this second encounter in previous teachings, so I will not go into detail.

What I do want to share is that I experienced the same mixed feelings and resistance that I did in my first encounter. As you probably can recall from reading The Divine New Order and the Dawn of the First Stage of Light and Life, when Paladin first introduced himself to Van, he presented himself as Sky Hawk. When I first met Sky Hawk through Van, I immediately recognized him as the personality I had encountered twice before in a meditation and in an “awake vision” at Red Rock Crossing.

In the ensuing weeks and months, I often struggled with Celestial Overcontrol's information and guidance, for it challenged my own ways of seeing certain things. I recall that the primary midwayers who were our first unseen counselors and teachers telling Van and me that they and other celestial personalities of Overcontrol, who would be working with us, would give us information and guidance that would at times "go against our grain." (They actually used those words!) I found that immediately to be true, and often I would argue with them, get angry with the human vessel Van, and so on, but I usually would see their perspective if I gave myself some time with the Threefold Spirit of God.

Occasionally I was not able to see or agree with the celestial perspective (or the human Van's), but I chose to follow through with their guidance anyway or to just give myself even more time. I still do that at times, and these choices I refer to as my “choices in faith.” Frankly, there have been a few times when I obstinately did it my way rather than the differing celestial way (or human Van's) and have realized after the fact that I made a mistake. In hindsight, I can see that every choice in faith that I made, in deference to my elders, worked out for the highest good, regardless of my initial struggles and opposing opinions.

Over the years I have come to trust the process, and, as I have grown and matured spiritually, I disagree less and less with the celestials, or with the human Van for that matter. With Van I find that he continues to share with me his own perceptions, etc. concerning almost every aspect of our reality, and he usually does not make decisions without consulting with me. We usually agree, though sometimes I submit to his discernment that is different from mine. I have also found that Van usually asks me my opinions about something before crystallizing his own. I have always known his respect and love, though at times in the past, in my less mature self, I have felt angry and resentful when he has confronted me about something that does indeed need to be addressed.

Since meeting the human Van and our celestial friends, I have been more challenged than I had ever been before. For the first time in my life I met "persons" who saw me in a more complete way; they recognized and acknowledged both my virtues and my shortcomings at a very deep level.

I was used to being around people who loved, respected, and looked up to me. Sure they saw some of my limitations and imperfections, but not to the depth and breadth that those in Celestial Overcontrol did! And Van was the first human being who discerned at the level he did, and sometimes I wanted to squeeze his head for it! In spite of all this, I knew that I had never (in this current life anyway) been loved and valued the way I was with this crew. It was a coming-of-age experience to discover that divine love wasn't just mushy, sentimental, good-feely stuff.

Of course, growing up in an orderly and harmonious home with loving Christian parents who "practiced what they preached" contributed to my ability to accept the challenges of being aligned with Divine Administration and accepting the adjudication process. When growing up, my father was the strictest parent of all of my peers. Though there were times when I disliked him for his following through with consequences when I disobeyed him or broke certain rules, I never doubted his steady love for me. Though I did not always like my father's stern admonishments over my selfishness, I knew he would always be there for me. So, as any child, I had mixed feelings about my parents. My lower self wanted them to let me slide and get away with my shenanigans, but my higher self (which at that time was often in the background) appreciated my parents' discipline and tight reign, for I felt protected.

I share all of this with you because we humans, no matter how old (soul-wise) or how accomplished and skilled we are, are but mere children before Grandfather Paladin and the rest of those in Celestial Overcontrol. Remember how pitiful, and at times amusing, Gollum seemed in his shenanigans, in his back-and-forth routine between his higher and lower selves? I think we probably present similar scenarios to Celestial Overcontrol in our fluctuations between levels of understanding and responding.

I have learned that all of us ascending human beings need time to process difficult realizations, situations, and messages that confront us, for it does feel like confrontation when we encounter something that does not gel with our plans or beliefs or expectations.

We do not have to choose Gollum's outcome. Our destiny is much greater and nobler. As you give yourselves time to grow into a higher understanding of the counsel of your elders (human and celestial), overcome moment to moment the Gollum-like whinings and snivelings that try to overtake your minds and hearts. Remember who you really are.

Niánn Emerson Chase

Niánn Emerson Chase co-founded Global Community Communications Alliance, a 120+ member intentional community located in southern Arizona. Niánn is the Director of the University of Ascension Science and the Physics of Rebellion, as well as serving on the Board of Elders. She is a counselor and a pastor.

Niánn is a spiritual leader, educator, activist, and a prolific author with many articles on culture, society, spirituality, and sustainability. Her spiritual-based philosophies and peace-motivated efforts have positively impacted countless individuals worldwide.

Her personal ideals and pursuits are to fuse revelatory spiritual teachings with the philosophical and spiritual truths from all cultures and religions into the classroom and into mainstream consciousness.

Niánn shares her visions and teachings to reveal a global outlook toward a future of world peace and harmony as one planetary family.