Book by Joel S. Goldsmith (This title is published by HarperCollins Publishers and Acropolis Books.)
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If you remain on this path, you will inevitably have spiritual experiences. You will tabernacle with God within you; you will witness the Spirit of Christ in some experiences; you will receive Truths in consciousness; you will hear the still, small voice. But when you do, do not advertise it. Do not try to convince anyone. Do not think you can save anyone by telling them of your wonderful experiences, because they will make mockery of you. At best, they will challenge you to “remove a lump” or heal them in some way, and you will wonder if that is all they got out of what you said. Their response will show the shallowness of their understanding.
Remember that the first and most important principle of the mystical life is SECRECY. Keep locked up within you what you know and what you experience. Let it remain within you as though it were a seed planted in the ground. Nourish it, let it come to fruitage, and then share of the fruitage. (Chapter: “Secrecy, the Primal Mystical Principle” 21-22)
THE PRINCIPLE OF CONTEMPLATIVE MEDITATION
Most religious teachings tell us that the Spirit of the Lord is everywhere. If that were true, everybody would be free, healthy, wealthy, independent, joyous, and harmonious, and there would be no slavery, bondage, lack, or limitation. But that is not the condition of the world, so that teaching cannot be true.
It is like saying that electricity is everywhere. However, until it is connected to your particular use, it does you no good. So it is with the Spirit of the Lord. In an absolute spiritual sense, the Spirit of the Lord is everywhere; but if you do not realize God, if you do not make contact with God, if you do not feel the actual presence of God, then as far as you are concerned, it is not there. The Infinite Way principle is that the Spirit of the Lord is only where it is realized.
The whole secret lies in the word consciousness. If you are conscious of the presence of the Lord, if you are conscious of the activity of God, then it is so unto you. To develop this consciousness we meditate or reach out to practitioners for help. Until we ourselves have realized the Spirit of the Lord, we turn to a practitioner who has the capacity (either inborn or developed) to realize God. If you can contact the consciousness of a Jesus Christ or of a John or of a Paul, your troubles are over and harmony is instantly restored to you because you have touched the consciousness of one who has attained God-realization. It makes no difference whether the practitioner is an Infinite Way student, a Christian Science student, or a Unity student as long as the practitioner is of a realized God-consciousness. On the other hand, if the practitioner is not of realized God-consciousness regardless of what teaching he or she follows, you will get no benefit except possibly a little human comfort. You will have no demonstration of health, harmony, wholeness, completeness, or perfection.
The Infinite Way practitioner has every possibility of meeting your need more quickly or surely because of The Infinite Way’s advanced teaching on attaining God-consciousness. But the teaching itself will not meet your need. It is the practitioner’s degree of attained God-realization or God-consciousness that meets the need. The only value of any truth is in the degree of your realization of it.
Yes, you can find a practitioner to give you help or to give you some particular healing, but be assured that if you do not develop your own spiritual consciousness, you cannot expect your permanent freedom from human ills. The Master made it clear. “If I go not away; the Comforter will not come to you.” If I, Joel, make all your demonstrations every day, what happens to you when I leave? The very thing that has happened to many whose practitioners moved away. Do not get caught in that position! It is ye who must know the Truth. Study and practice the principles of The Infinite Way, begin to understand Truth, declare it, live it, and work with it, and make yourself permanently free from human ills.
Our only reason for being on the spiritual path is to build spiritual consciousness. It is true that when we are on the path, we find that most of our human ills disappear and greater harmonies are established in all of our human relationships, but these are not the reason for being on the spiritual path — these are only the added things. But the only way we can successfully overcome the inharmonies, discords, sins, diseases, and ultimately death is through the development of spiritual consciousness.
What is spiritual consciousness? Spiritual consciousness is faith and reliance on the Infinite Invisible for all things. Spiritual awareness or consciousness reveals that there is only one God and that there is only one Life, one Love, one Substance, one Law, one Activity, one Cause, and one Effect — every synonym of God that you know.
A material consciousness relies on something in the outer world. For example, a materially minded person says that to go from here to San Francisco is dependent upon having so many dollars. The spiritually minded person says that the trip is dependent upon the Grace of God, which cannot be seen, heard, or touched.
The materially minded person says that aspirin will cure a headache. The spiritually minded person says that health is an activity of God and that the Grace of God is the source of health.
The spiritually minded person knows that what is visible is only an outer manifestation of what is invisible. How did the Bible come into existence except from the invisible consciousness of the saints and prophets who spoke or wrote these words? Out of the invisible came their words into visible, tangible expression — the Bible. But these words will only help you get back into the invisible from which more words begin to flow through you. Living on the printed words alone is living on an effect, on a husk, and you will miss the opportunity to hear more words from the same source. Living in the realization of the invisible as the source of the visible is living on the actual substance of life, for we do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Bread is not the staff of life; the word of God is the staff of life, those words that flow from the invisible within you to the visible.
The human belief is that if you go to enough stores, you will eventually find a particular item at the right price. That is the human way. The spiritual way is realizing that it cannot be found in a store. It is a gift of God within you; it has already been given to you within and you desire to see it made manifest without. When you realize that it is already established within you in the invisible, in some way or manner you are led to the very store at the very moment it is being put on the counter, and you will find it waiting for you!
Never go to the market for food without realizing that the real substance is within you. Then, when you do your marketing, you will find that the spiritual realization has directed you, and you will save both money and time.
Before undertaking any activity in life, turn to the Source, which is God. The source of everything in the world is God — even a vacation. God is the Source, the Activity, the Substance. Becoming spiritually minded is being reliant and dependent only upon the Infinite Invisible. As we become less and less dependent on the external values of life, we develop our spiritual consciousness. Developing our spiritual consciousness must become the major part of our lives.
As you embody Truth, you become a healer. You may not necessarily become a public practitioner, but you become a practitioner to all those within your circle who desire spiritual healing.
Developing Spiritual Consciousness
We develop spiritual consciousness through the activity of Truth in our consciousness. This is accomplished in two steps.
The first is when, as beginning students, we read and hear and expose ourselves to Truth. The more we read and contemplate scriptural statements and absolutely true metaphysical statements, the more we associate with those on the path, and the more we spiritualize thought — the more we maintain the activity of Truth in our consciousness. All the years that we have spent in reading truth, hearing truth, thinking truth, attending church services or lectures or classes — all those years are fruitful in leading us to the second and more important step, where inspiration flows from within our own being.
Having gone through our initiatory experience of maintaining the activity of Truth in our consciousness, we come to the second stage when through meditation, we are able to receive Truth from within our own being. At this stage, we no longer think Truth, read it, or hear it with our minds. Instead, we have developed the inner ear and the inner eye and are now aware of the still, small voice and receive impartations of the Word from God. The most important phase of the activity of Truth in consciousness is when truth comes to our consciousness from within our own being. Once this flow starts from within, it really makes no difference if we never see each other again or read another spiritual book or attend another church service or lecture or class, because we get our sufficiency from within our own being. If we wish, we can still attend classes, lectures, or church services. But it is no longer our dependency; it is now for the pleasure of association.
Spiritual Consciousness Through Meditation
The first stage of meditation is when you are pondering, cogitating, or contemplating God and the spiritual universe. For example, “I wonder what God is. I wonder what God’s spiritual universe is. I know very little about God, if anything. I wonder what the activity of God would be if we could actually see it or hear it.” That is what I mean by pondering or contemplating, and we do this quietly and peacefully. That is the stage and state of meditation that helps us to contact spiritual consciousness.
Meditation in and of itself will not do anything for you except to the degree that it enables you to make your contact with God. In The Infinite Way we meditate many, many times a day for this purpose. We quietly and peacefully contemplate a passage of Scripture such as, “Thy grace is my sufficiency,” or “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” or “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God.” We contemplate for three, four, or five minutes and then sit for a minute or two in complete quiet and then go about our business. We do not sit there waiting until the contact is realized. During meditation we merely open ourselves to a state of receptivity and then go about our business, because the actual “click” or contact may come ten or twenty minutes later, an hour later, or after a night’s sleep.
This morning, after several hours of sleep, as I awakened, I found myself in contact. All of my meditations of yesterday added up, and during the complete relaxation of sleep, contact was realized. And so it will be for you. You may meditate in the morning before starting your day’s work, and then an hour later you will suddenly find yourself right in the middle of the Spirit, or it may happen later.
It is not wise to sit in meditation waiting for the contact, because the waiting is apt to be a mental strain, and you will never make contact while there is any such strain. It is only in the moment that thought is still that “the bridegroorn cometh.” It is only in that moment when there is no mental activity that God-contact is realized. Contact with God does not happen when there is a reasoning, thinking process going on.
An inventor may have a problem and give it much thought and work and yet find no solution. But when he or she completely leaves the problem by going out to play tennis or retiring to sleep or rest, when the inventor’s mind is completely distracted, the solution pops right up. In our work it happens the same way. The moment the mind is off the subject, the mind that was also in Christ Jesus is on the field.
In order to make this contact we have frequent periods of meditation and go inside quietly and review and remember and declare within ourselves one or more of these Truths. In this way they become so much a part of our lives that we are really not living so much by bread as we are by the Word of God that is entertained in our consciousness.
It takes a very small statement of Truth to spark our consciousness into action, and it is this activity of Truth in our consciousness that brings about the development of our spiritual consciousness. It is not what we read that does it; it is what we do with what we read that does it. Far too many students study too much. The study of Truth is the smallest part of our life’s demonstration. “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” is a beautiful statement. But it is only a seed of Truth, and reading it and repeating it does not increase your spiritual consciousness. You must take it into your consciousness and live by it.
You must make it a practice to pause every few minutes, every half hour, or every hour and remember some passage of Truth, some quotation of Scripture, some statement from the textbook you may be studying. Some Word of God must be entertained in your consciousness over and over throughout the day and night. Eventually you will find that you are fed, clothed, and housed by those very passages of Truth more than by the food you eat. You will find that your business is nourished or your talents and abilities are increased — more by the Word of Truth in your consciousness than by any natural ability.
We call this practice practicing the Presence of God or contemplative meditation. It means that we are contemplating, cogitating, mulling over, or pondering the Word of God and maintaining it in our consciousness. Contemplative meditation primes the spiritual pump, because after only a few months of this type of living, a new experience will come to you. You will find that “in moments when ye think not” a Word of Truth will come into your consciousness from the Invisible — something that you did not consciously think of. In some moment of need, in some moment when a Word of Truth is necessary, in a moment when you are not consciously thinking Truth, God will put the word in your ear. This is the actual stage of spiritual consciousness when you begin to live by Grace.
When you can open your ear and receive impartations from within, when you receive the Word of God within you, that is when you are living by Grace. That is when you are taking no thought for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, but are actually finding that there is an Invisible Presence bringing harmony into your experience without conscious human effort on your part. It is then that you know that there is an Invisible Presence, and this is when you come into the fuller attainment of spiritual consciousness.
There was a time when I was not aware of this indwelling Presence. Like Saul of Tarsus, I knew myself only as Joel Goldsmith, a businessman. I did not know that there was anything other than that until a particular day when I also “beheld the light.” Thereafter I knew that the Spirit of God dwells in me and goes before me. The Spirit of God is the light unto, my countenance. The Spirit of God is a lamp unto my feet. The Spirit of God is my high tower. It is my abiding place or my hiding place. It is my bread and my meat and my wine and my water. It is this Spirit of God that provides for me the words that I speak, the message that I write, the funds that carry it around the world, and the publishers who publish it. All of this is provided by the Spirit of God that dwelleth in me and that made Itself known to me in the moment of my attaining some measure of spiritual consciousness.
God is no respecter of persons; therefore you can be assured that there is a Spirit of God that dwells in you, call it what you will — the Christ, the Son of God, the Indwelling Spirit, the Messiah. It is invisible; It is incorporeal. You cannot see It or feel It; but you can experience It and know It by Its fruitage because with the realization of Its presence, you instantly lose all fear. No longer can you fear life or any of life’s experiences, nor can you fear death. You come to the realization of Paul’s revelation: “Neither life nor death can separate me from the love of God, the life of God, the will of God. Whatever the will of God is for me — on earth or on the next plane — be assured that the will of God will be done, because He planted His Son in me to see that it happens.” This is true of you as well. If it were ever true of one individual and not of all others, there would be no true God. But there is one God, the one Father, and this Father is yours and mine. If this Father provided His Son to be born in me, He has provided His Son to be born in you — in proportion to your ability to open your consciousness to It, to surrender yourself to It, to be willing to live not by might nor by power, to put up your sword, to stop being angry, to stop being resentful, hateful, fearful. You cannot do it humanly, but the Grace of God makes it natural for all of these to disappear from your consciousness.
Open yourself to the Truth that the Spirit of God dwells in you, closer to you than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. Above all, stop believing the theological nonsense that God deserts you in your moments of sin. It is in those very moments that you need God most, and do not believe that God could desert His own.
In any moment that you open your consciousness to the realization that a Son of God dwells in you, you will find the Master pointing His finger at you and saying, as He did to the woman taken in adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee. Thy sins be forgiven thee.” You will hear Him saying, as He said to the thief on the cross, “I will take you with me into paradise this very night.” In any moment that you open your consciousness to the realization that there is a Son of God, He will appear to you — not necessarily in form, but in consciousness — and you will hear or sense, “I am forgiven. I am free.”
Principle of Prayer
The Infinite Way principle of prayer is that true prayer does not attempt to influence, manipulate, or use God. True prayer is not a prayer of petition because, as Scripture tells us, we do not know how to pray or what to pray for; we do not know how to go out or how to come in. We do not know what to pray for because we have no idea what our good tomorrow may be; it may have no relationship at all to today. Trying to continue our lives today as they were yesterday is what causes our discords.
It is difficult to give up our old habits when praying. However, the day comes when we are so desperate that we say, “Father, I don’t know how to pray. You will have to take over.” Before that day comes, learn to let God pray in you.
Attaining this attitude is difficult, but the way itself is simple. Simply agree that you have no desires. “I do not know what I want; I do not know what I need; I do not know anything about today or tomorrow; I am perfectly satisfied to wait, Father, for You to reveal Yourself. Thy will be done, not mine.” As you wait in this attitude, you develop the ability to attain a state of receptivity in which God prays, God meditates, God communes in you.
Constant Conscious Abiding in Truth
The Infinite Way student cannot go through the day merely reading some Truth in the morning or anticipating hearing some Truth in the afternoon. There has to be a conscious activity of Truth going on all the time. That does not mean neglecting our human lives, duties, and activities. It means that we train ourselves to have some area of consciousness always active in Truth. Whether we look at the passing nature — trees, flowers, oceans — or whether we are constantly meeting people, we are active in our consciousness in finding some measure of God in the scene. In some way we have to train ourselves to behold the Presence and activity of God around us and to abide in the scriptural truths.
Proper Use of Scriptural Passages
Contemplating a scriptural passage for the purpose of accomplishing something is an improper use of Scripture. For example, to declare and repeat, “He perfometh that which is given me to do,” hoping to make it come true or to bring it about, is improper use. But when you have a task to do, occasionally remember that passage, then let the weight of the task drop off your shoulders and say with a smile, “Thank heaven there is a He.” This is the proper use of that quotation. In other words, reminding ourselves of that which is, without trying through the use of an affirmation to make it so, is a proper use of a scriptural passage.
I am often told that I contradict myself by saying that we should not use an affirmation and then later using one. An affirmation as an affirmation is worthless, but an affirmation of Truth as a reminder that it is true is spiritual wisdom. Saying, “Thy Grace is my sufficiency in all things,” and expecting that statement to do something for you is a mistake even if you recite it fifteen thousand times a day. That is a form of self-hypnosis. But occasionally repeating it within yourself as a reminder and saying, “Thank you, Father, for that reminder,” and then letting the weight drop off your shoulders is a correct use.
In the fifteenth chapter of John we are told, “You are the branch, and Christ is the vine.” We are reminded that if we live in that Truth and abide in that Word, we will bear fruit richly. That is, we will live harmonious, spiritual lives. But if we forget to live in that Word, if we do not abide in it and do not let it abide in us, we become as branches that are cut off, and we wither. Remembering the essence of the fifteenth chapter of John is a correct use of Scripture because once we know it and remember it, it is almost impossible to forget that “I and the Father are one,” and we can then go about our day’s work and let the day take care of itself.
We should all know such scriptural passages as the eighth chapter of Romans and realize that only if the Spirit of God dwells in us are we the children of God. If the Spirit of God is not dwelling in us, we are mere mortals; and mortal means “of death.” We are men and women of death if the Spirit of God does not dwell in us. How do we know if the Spirit of God is dwelling in us? If we are opening ourselves to the Spirit of God, then It is dwelling in us. If we are ignoring or neglecting It, then It is not dwelling in us. It is like saying that the Spirit of the Lord is everywhere, but the Spirit of the Lord is only where it is realized. The Spirit of the Lord potentially dwells in everybody, but It must be realized before It is an actuality. (Chapter: “The Principle of Contemplative Meditation” 28-41)