I was born to an English father and a Puerto Rican mother in Vigo, Spain. The family lived in Cuba, England, and Puerto Rico before moving to the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, where I grew up and eventually married and had three sons.
In Puerto Rico I had my first near-death experience and it started my life-long quest for answers that would logically explain my experience. In St. Lucia, throughout my teens and young adulthood, I had a series of "spiritual" experiences that kept me aware of my quest amidst a very hectic family, social, and work life.
When my husband and I separated, I moved with my sons to Fairfield, Iowa. I first worked as a marketing manager for a local software company and within a year I left and started my own consulting business - Document It! Inc. Having my own business gave me the freedom to pursue my quest. My "spiritual" and personal experiences intensified along with my questioning.
While in Fairfield, I started a non-profit organization, the Adopt-a-Grandparent Foundation and its mission was to promote meaningful relationships between the elderly and the youth of the community. I developed a unique program for matching grandparents to youth and documented the system so that it could be introduced in any city. During my two years as executive director, I arranged and managed the “adoption” of over two-hundred elderly citizens in nursing homes and assisted living settings, with over two-hundred and twenty-five volunteers. It was a very rewarding time!
A few years after arriving in Fairfield, I began to question my understanding of Reality. This was a pivotal moment in my journey! Prior to this moment, all knowledge gained would be neatly integrated into my Christian understanding of God and the universe. Now - open to the possibility that my perspective was either incomplete or erroneous, I stepped away from the safety of my intellectual comfort zone into what seemed a vast, luring, unknown! The next ten years were a roller-coaster of emotions, intellectual challenges, and inner conflicts that had me deliberately working on my inner and outer "worlds."
A series of pivotal questions eventually led me to The Urantia Book, a book purported to be the latest revelation for humankind. As I critically reconciled my beliefs with the teachings in this tome, I realized that the openness to expand Truth is not about letting go of one's beliefs, but rather of allowing a natural transformation of thought to occur through the discovery of higher meanings and values. In the process of reconciliation, a more comprehensive and satisfying philosophy of the universe emerges that generates harmony in the mind and satisfies the spirit. This journey of reconciliation is documented in my first book Heaven Is Not The Last Stop.
It took five years to integrate the new knowledge and to become aware that there was still another book to write - From Philosophical Fragmentation to Unity of Thought!
Author and Educator
I first “met” Sheila Keene-Lund while working at Urantia Foundation in Chicago. On a regular basis she would phone me with probing questions about the deep concepts of The Urantia Book. Usually I would direct her to the relevant passages in the text and tell her to “dig on her own.” That would elicit her quick humor and faux frustration: “Yes I know… read the book.” We would laugh about this time-honored wisdom and go on to develop a friendship based on our common commitment to growing in God-consciousness.
Sheila did keep reading and digging and calling me with questions that challenged my own grasp of The Urantia Book, honed by over thirty years of study. It got to where I would tease her when she’d call, “Uh oh! I better get ready for tough questions!”
Soon she confided that her tenacity of research into the book had a clear purpose: to gain a full comprehension of the teachings. This formidable undertaking was required as Sheila felt called to write a book about her spiritual experiences with an epochal revelation. It came to be called Heaven Is Not the Last Stop – Exploring a New Revelation.
My initial reaction to Sheila’s book adventure was rather subdued. I was familiar with secondary works based on The Urantia Book and found value in some. It wasn’t until she sent me an early draft that I began to realize the scope of her mission.
Sheila was writing more than a study aid for The Urantia Book, she was writing a companion book that reconciled a wide swath of human knowledge with the revelation. She was also weaving in her personal insights and thus creating the first book in the spiritual guidance genre to incorporate the incomparable teachings of The Urantia Book. In Section Four of Heaven Is Not The Last Stop Sheila offers a practical guide for developing a personal practice to foster the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man on our troubled world.
The obvious question for the potential reader is: Why would any truth seeker in particular, or the population in general, want to adopt these new definitions, offered as revelation without any proof? Why should anyone accept Sheila’s synthesis of The Urantia Book and her reconciliation of its content with our established beliefs, with currently accepted views of origin, history, and destiny?
The answer is simple… Because truth is always reasonable and because reason always salutes the truth. And when truth transcends reason, when it wanders into paradox, that mystery beckons to our super-reason – our capacity to know and grasp the gifts from the superconscious realm. Dancing with divine revelation, whether it is personal or epochal, is an exercise born of the heart. We know the steps because the divinity within us is constantly rehearsing them.
I am certain that her book and mission of introducing the amazing teachings of The Urantia Book will have a profound effect in our world.
James A. Woodward, Editor
Former Manager, Reader Services Department
Former Executive Administrator
Urantia Association International
It took years for me to realize that COMMON UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE is the epitome of living religious pluralism - the urgent need of the time.
We are currently experiencing the perfect storm of philosophical chaos and spiritual stagnation colliding with our brittle global economy. The problems we are facing such as growing inequality, increasing climate disruption, decline of civility, and rising conflicts world wide (to name a few) cannot be solved with only technology and good intentions. It requires a fundamentally new way of seeing and being.
From Philosophical Fragmentation to Unity of Thought, is addressed to the Abrahamic Religions. Why?
According to studies conducted to determine the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion, it was found that 10 percent of the population holding an unshakable belief is needed to be adopted by most of the society. The Abrahamic religions account for more than half of the world's total population today. If 20% of the total number of Abrahamic faithful attain unity in the intelligent comprehension of the universe, it would jump-start a large-scale religious and cultural cohesiveness that would foster meaningful and peaceful progress throughout the world.
Today, the exclusive historic approach to understanding God and the universe has reached its saturation point. By oversimplifying reality, this approach has led to the distortion of facts, perversion of truth and misconception of destinies. The stance that Jews are the “chosen people,” the path of Jesus is the “only way“ and Muhammad’s was the “final revelation, has made it increasingly difficult to keep adherents and attract new ones. A Religious Landscape Study conducted by The Pew Research Center in 2014, found that religiously unaffiliated people has been rapidly growing and that the main reason for being unaffiliated is that they question much of the religious teachings. We need to recognize that our crystallized doctrines no longer hold the spiritual power to transform.
The main purpose of this book is to plant the seed: There is no short cut to ending intolerance: The stagnant theories of even the highest religious doctrines are now powerless to transform human character or to control human behavior.
Humanity’s cosmic philosophy must accelerate in evolution to keep pace with the expansion of the intellectual aspect of human thinking. This book, along with Heaven Is Not The Last Stop, serve as a resource to facilitate and speed up this process of increased collective understanding of the universe.