1959 San Diego Special Class
Tape 269 Side 1
The Nature of God
By Joel Goldsmith
Part 4 of 5
I wrote a book review on a book which was written by a minister in which he said he made experiments with plants and found that prayer would help to grow them and that prayer could be used to destroy them. And you know, of course, that that’s not true. There isn’t one of you here who has any right to believe that because you must know that prayer concerns God. You must know that prayer is an activity that brings you into the orbit of God, and you wouldn’t want to believe for a minute that God – even in answer to prayer – would be destructive or harmful or injurious. Therefore, what this minister experienced wasn’t prayer; it was mental work, mental treatment, and he demonstrated beyond all doubt that you can use mental treatment and grow plants beautifully, and you can use mental treatment and wither them and destroy them. Don’t ever let them convince you that that is prayer. Reserve the word prayer for something sacred, for something which has a God connotation, and then you will never have to be afraid of prayer, whether your own or the practitioner to whom you go. But once you accept prayer as mental work, you are accepting the possibilities of good and the equal possibility of evil, and how are you to know how it’s being used?
Now, in our work of The Infinite Way, we start with this understanding of the nature of God so that you will come automatically to accept the truth that God is forever functioning and God is forever functioning in you, as you; that God is forever about Its own business of maintaining and sustaining harmony. Therefore, you need not go to God for the solution of your problems. You can turn within yourself and bring yourself into adjustment where the law of God can operate in you, through you, and for you.
Now, not only all of The Infinite Way writings reveal these principles whereby we begin to bring ourselves into that adjustment so that we are the Sons of God and we are under the law of God and the grace of God, but all of the classes reveal it, all of the tapes reveal it, and you will have still more of it. So please know this then, that since God is infinite and eternal, since God is omnipotent, and since God is omnipresence, the presence and power of God is now and forever functioning within you, and the longer you dwell on this truth, the more you bring it into active expression.
And so we come to this subject of which we have this book, Practicing the Presence, Now the purpose of the book Practicing the Presence is this: It really is a fulfillment of scripture, even though the title was given to us by Brother Lawrence. I learned the subject and the practice from scripture and then learned in my later reading that Brother Lawrence had beaten me to it and had also written about it before I got around to it. Reminds me of a practitioner whom I met some years ago. He had been introduced to the book The Infinite Way and one night, the first night he had it, he read it through from cover to cover and something hit him and so he read it through a second time from cover to cover before breakfast and then he said to his wife, “This man stole this book from me, if I had written it.” And, of course, Brother Lawrence could be paying me royalties except that he did it first. If he were here, I should be under obligation to pay him royalties.
The subject of the book is the greatest wisdom in scripture. You will recall now as I repeat it to you thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee. There you have it – that’s the secret – practicing the presence, and, just as that Hebrew prophet discovered it was true, so did another one: Lean not unto thine own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all thy ways and He will give thee rest. There you have it again – that is practicing the presence. If you awaken in the morning and acknowledge that but for the grace of God, you wouldn’t have awakened, you have practiced the presence of God. If you sit down to your breakfast and realize but for the grace of God, there wouldn’t be cattle on a thousand hills or crops in the ground or diamonds or coal or oil, aluminum, plutonium and all the rest of these things, you will again be practicing the presence of God. If you leave your home for any purpose and get into an automobile or bus or streetcar or any other form of transportation, and there realize that the grace of God is the mind of every driver on the road, you are again practicing the presence of God.
Whether you receive your income from a firm or an individual, a business, or whether you receive it from your husband or wife or child or parent, if you can acknowledge that God is the source of it, that without the presence and activity of God in human consciousness we might all be completely barren, you are practicing the presence of God. You will find yourself at peace if you can make a hundred opportunities during the day for the realization that whatever is transpiring is transpiring as an activity of God, whether it is the sunshine or the moon, the movement of the stars or the tide, or even the movement which we call time. If you will realize a hundred times a day – if you will consciously bring to your remembrance that the activity of God is responsible for every bit of harmony, every bit of good, every bit of support, supply and law, you will be practicing the presence of God; you will be keeping your mind stayed on God, and it will not be long before you will find yourself at peace.
It is a good thing, of course, to be grateful to your firm or your husband or your wife or parent or child; it is a good thing to be grateful to your practitioner or teacher, but remember that that is only incidental to the true gratitude. The true gratitude is that which makes you realize that but for the grace of God, there wouldn’t be a spiritual teacher or practitioner; but for the grace of God, your mind would not have turned to spiritual things – you would be out with the rest of the world. Through this practicing the presence of God, you will learn why it is not necessary ever to pray God for anything, or to do mental work for it because the very act of keeping the mind stayed on God eventually results in what we call realization, and sometimes it is called illumination.
End Part 4