The Art of Spiritual Living

Book by Joel S. Goldsmith
 

The few who embark on the spiritual life find it difficult, and it is difficult.  There is no question about that.  The fact that living the spiritual life is not an easy way should not disturb us because, if we are determined to attain the spiritual way of life, we must be prepared for a period of struggle, effort, study, and discipline.

The main struggle for us is that we are the product of centuries of living exclusively in the external.  Not only are there centuries of materialistic living behind us, but right in our cribs we began to live with rattles and dolls, later with marbles and with every of kind of game that would keep our attention centered on the outer world.  Sadly enough, even when we entered school more attention was usually paid to keeping us entertained and occupied with games and sports than with intensive study or with teaching us how to be still enough inside so that we could concentrate.  Because of the preoccupation with nonessentials, there are only a few who have developed the ability to concentrate and know how to study.

An ability to find inner peace and stillness is required in following the spiritual path.  Our entire demonstration rests on our attaining the ability to be so quiet in mind that we can hear “the still small voice” and receive impressions from within. (Chapter: “The New Dispensation of Prayer”)

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When we are on the receiving end in quietness and in stillness, we are in prayer; but when we are thinking or speaking, we are not in prayer and nothing we may think or state ever reaches God.

If this is true — and I am speaking after thirty years of experience — we can readily understand the failure to receive the benefits of prayer.  This explains why peace has not come on earth or why peace has not even come to many individuals and also why God’s government has not come to man.  Man is not God-governed until he is able to receive from God.  Man is never God-governed while he is thinking thoughts up to God, making speeches to God, reading prayers out of books, or reciting prayers from memory.  None of this ever reaches God.

There is a place for words and thoughts in reaching God, but that place is a preparatory one.  When we are about to pray, it is legitimate to engage in a form of what might be called contemplation or contemplative prayer.  If, for example, we wish to pray and have had a busy day in the home or the office, we may not be able immediately to enter a deep enough silence to hear that still small voice or to receive God’s gift.  We, therefore, prepare ourselves with a form of contemplative prayer in which we may have many thoughts.

I am not entering prayer for the purpose of enlightening God.  My heavenly Father knows my need, and it is His good pleasure to give me the Kingdom.  Therefore, I am not trying to influence God or trying to bring God to me: I am going to mold myself so that I may receive the light which is already within me.  The kingdom if God is within me and as I become still, I “open out a way for the imprisoned splendor to escape.”

I am not asking God to destroy my enemies; I am not asking God to help me to give me anything, or to do anything for me.  I know that God knows enough to be God.  I know that God has the power to be God-power, and I know that God’s presence is already here where I am.

 (Chapter: “The New Dispensation of Prayer”)

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You may ask why you do not remember your previous existences.  The answer is that you lived them wholly on the human plane.  You had not advanced spiritually on those planes, and therefore you carried no remembrance of your spiritual life.  But it will be different from here on.  You will carry with you into your next experience the spiritual development you attain in this life, and you will find it to be the foundation for the greater spiritual awareness that is to follow.

Never believe that a man like Buddha, Isaiah, Christ Jesus, John, or Paul came to this earth and attained his spiritual awareness some time between the cradle and the grave.  This would be utter nonsense. Nobody attains that degree of spiritual illumination unless he has a foundation for it in some previous existence.  It merely comes to fruitage in this one.  He may have been perfecting it for several lifetimes.

The spiritual foundation that you are building now or the spiritual treasure you are laying up in your consciousness now constitutes the foundation for all that is to come.  (Chapter: “The Ministry Within”)

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Every day is the beginning of a new year, not just the first day of the year. Begin that new day with the same sincere dedication that is usually reserved for New Year’s Day.  If we begin every day with that attitude of consecration and dedication in which we lend our minds, bodies and work to God’s dedication, each day will take us a step closer to the one great goal of conscious union with the source of all life and each day we will be clearer transparencies for the divine.

Let us think of ourselves as instruments through which God’s dedication and consecration are made manifest on earth. Each day let us open our consciousness that God may consecrate and dedicate it. Then, to the machinations of carnal mind there will be an invisible sign: “Thus far, and no further.” When the carnal mind, the belief in two powers, sees or feels that sign, it cannot get through because God has ordained, consecrated, and dedicated this individual consciousness unto His use.  “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper,” if and when that “thee” has surrendered himself to God’s dedication.   (Chapter: “The Ministry Within”)

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The human mind is forever picking up suggestions to which you and I respond and which act upon us physically, mentally, morally, or financially.

Once you have been taught that there is no power external to you and that the only power is the power of God within you, from that moment on you begin to be free of the world’s hypnotism, the world’s suggestions, and you can protect yourself from these.

You do not protect yourself, as Paul did, from a carnal mind that is “enmity against God,” but you do protect yourself from that carnal mind which is a BELIEF in two powers.  Immediately upon awakening in the morning, your very first thought must be to protect yourself from the universal belief in two powers.  This belief is within you only because you have accepted it from the world. You are free of it when you consciously come out from among those who believe in two powers and make yourself entirely separate from them through your understanding, first of all, of God as one power, all power, the only power, and then that all this power is within you.

The power of God flows out from you, and It enfolds everyone who comes within reach of your consciousness.  No power flows to you: no good power and no bad power.  All power is given unto you from God; it is within you; and it flows out from you, but you must open out a way for it to escape.  You are the one who first must acknowledge:

The kingdom of God is within me, and the kingdom of God is the all-power, the only power, the all-mighty power.  Besides It there are no other powers: no material and no mental powers, for the only real power is the power of Spirit, for the power of Soul, the invisible power that is within me and is forever flowing from me to embrace this world.  

(Chapter: “Consciously Knowing the Truth”)

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In every phase of life, do not try to live on yesterday’s manna. Do not learn formulas and repeat them each day. Act as though you had entrance to the kingdom of God and could go to God any minute, any second, any hour for fresh illumination and for fresh guidance, for fresh instruction, or instruction in different ways or new ways. Never be satisfied with the truth you knew yesterday. God is Infinite. Truth is infinite, so we have no need of anything that we had yesterday. Infinity is pouring Itself through today. Understanding that, the study of truth does not become stale. It is always appearing in fresh forms. We do not have to go over the same lesson day after day. We do not have to go over the same books day after day.

There is no loss if some days we skip reading or hearing truth, because we are making room for Truth to reveal Itself to us within ourselves. We must take time when we do not live in the books or in the tapes. We must make time for saying, “God, You spoke to that man. You can speak to me. If You speak to anyone on the earth, You can speak to me.”

The Art of Spiritual Living

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Regardless of what human circumstance or conditions may be touching me as I teach a class, you are not to look to me for spiritual instruction but to God. Knowing that I am but the transparency, nothing would happen to the truth. In a very short time another transparency would arise. If for any reason I should retire from active work, except for that momentary flutter that we all feel at leaving one another it should not disturb anyone, knowing that this message is of God and that at best I have been but the transparency for it. God has billions of transparencies to raise up to perform His work. The work will go on just the same because the same God will be sending it forth into expression by means of another transparency.

The Art of Spiritual Living

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When you impersonalize, you will never be brought to a state of fear because, regardless of what is destroyed in the physical universe, the same principle that produced it will immediately begin producing another one.

The city of Hiroshima, which was blasted completely off the earth in 1945, today is more magnificent and more populous than ever. The only reminder of that holocaust is the memory and perhaps the fact that it looks a little too new to be natural.

Regardless of what fate overtakes the world, the same principle that brought forth what is destroyed would begin the very next moment reproducing it until in a brief time there would not even be scars left. It is the invisible that is the real; it is the invisible that is the creative principle; it is the invisible and impersonal which produces and reproduces.

The Art of Spiritual Living

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I cannot personally explain the nonexistent. I do not know how to explain that which I have seen has no existence, but there is a transcendental state of consciousness which is something beyond your thinking, reasoning mind, and it is this that is your salvation on the mystical path. This transcendental consciousness is your consciousness which is something beyond your thinking reasoning mind, and it is this that is your salvation on the mystical path. This transcendental consciousness is your consciousness in proportion as you learn the nature of invisible law, invisible power, invisible presence, invisible life, invisible being and further more learn that this visible world is only the outer form of expression and that it is animated and impelled by the invisible just as the invisible being to work through the seed in the ground and begins to send up shoots that break through an inch of asphalt. It is a mystery; it is a miracle; but it is truth.

The Art of Spiritual Living

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The Christ-ministry is within you. In order to attain that inner stillness, be willing to make any sacrifice, every sacrifice. If you have to hide in a corner for an hour at a time and discipline yourself until you make this contact, it is worthwhile. In fact, nothing else in life is worthwhile. Do not believe for a moment that building up circles of friends or relatives, being successful in art, literature, music, or making money is satisfaction. The only real satisfaction is to come to the realization:
I am my Father are one,
and the kingdom of God is within me.
The Christ, the spirit of God,
the son of God dwells in me, and I can tabernacle
and commune with this Father within.

Then all your relationships become a joyous experience, all your money becomes a joyous experience, because you know how to enjoy it, how to share it, how to BE, but until you have that contact within, everything out here is as a shadow.

The Art of Spiritual Living

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Man shall not live merely by external food, climate, and weather. Man must live by every work that can be heard or uttered by the Christ in Its ministry which is within you. The Christ is not a man. The Christ is the spirit of God in you.

Man must live by very word of God. You are not dedicating your life to a man, to a book or to a set of books: you are dedicating your life to attaining an inner stillness whereby the word of God may utter Itself to you, in you, and through you to others. Man shall not live by baubles; man shall not live by the good will of other people; man shall not live by any human factor, but by every word that he can hear within himself.

The Art of Spiritual Living

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Note: Emphasis, such as text bold-facing, italics, or text color highlighting, may have been supplied, with respect to the excerpts posted in this page.

 

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