1959 London Closed Class
Tape 274, Side 1
The “I” Within
By Joel Goldsmith
Part 1 of 4
That’s alright this is the first night of our 1959 London Closed Class. I wonder if you realize how many classes we have had in London and in Manchester, open classes and closed classes since this work began here in England? In thinking of this today, the thought that came uppermost was this: Each year the class groups have become larger, and yet very few have fallen away from the message of The Infinite Way since we began. Each year those who have come have remained; some few have gone, surely; but for the most part, you have remained; and to the number, still more.
This class . . . here are very, very few who are taking our classwork for the first time. I think that is the most remarkable part of this entire experience. It is natural, first of all, that there be small classes, because of the nature of the work, because of that which is really demanded of the students, not by me but by the message. It is natural that some fall away because the demands are too great.
The whole principle of The Infinite Way is one in which the goal is dying daily, being reborn of the Spirit; and it isn’t given to everyone, more especially in this age, to be able to do that because this is the age of the “go-getter”; this is the age of the great personalities; this is the great day of the great “I am’s”; and those who can understand that the true greatness, the true wisdom, the true success lies in the very opposite of glorifying the self, of pushing forward the personality – this is an achievement.
I would like to read you what really constitutes the ultimate goal of our work; that which really becomes our life eventually; and I’m sure that you will find why it is that so many must fall away; and why those who remain will go to the highest degree of spiritual consciousness, spiritual awareness, and spiritual demonstration.
This is something I gave to a small group of students, all of our most advanced students, some years ago. On the table was a glass of ice water, a glass of water in which was a square of ice. Look at this glass of water with the ice floating on it; notice how the ice is resting in that water, cradled in it. The ice has no power to move itself; only the water can propel it from one place to another. The ice itself is quiescent, immobile, passive – its every motion dependent upon the movement of the water. We are the ice, and consciousness is the water.
The archer who practices this form of meditation waits for consciousness to move his hand, and arm. He does not move them; then every motion is unerring. If the archer attempted, by mental calculation of the distance and by correct timing, to perform this action himself, his hand might well falter, and the arrow miss its target. But when he remains immobile until consciousness moves the hand and arm, there is no faltering, and the arrow is sent right to the heart of the target.
As long as we try to direct our thoughts or our actions, the effects will be haphazard – good and bad, successful and unsuccessful. A state of complete quiescence in which there is no thinking or planning must be reached. We must be as completely passive as the piece of ice. Such a state can only be achieved when all desire has been surrendered. Do I know the will of God? Certainly not! My will would be to see everyone instantly healed, but would that result in their awakening to spiritual values, in the opening of the soul? No! I must sit back and wait patiently for the will of God to make Itself known.
Desire nourishes the sense of “I-ness.” In “I-ness” there can be no “isness.” Yesterday and tomorrow must be discarded in “nowness.”
As long as there is a desire, there is a projection into the future; as long as there is a regret, there is a return to the past – both of which are dead – without substance and without life. Now is the only life; now is the only reality; now is the only time; the future is only an extension of the now.
Sap must flow up from the roots of the trees into the branches to form the buds, flowers and leaves of the trees. However, if there could be a tree consciousness, which worried about whether or not there would be enough rain or sun in due season, it would interfere with the normal and natural flow of life.
So do we interfere with the free flowing of life by injecting “I-ness” into the already completed picture, an “I-ness” which manifests as fear of the past or future, concern, anxiety, desire. There can be no desire – not even the desire to give, for that, too, feeds the sense of “I-ness” and bloats the ego. There must be a complete resting, as the ice rests in the water, letting the water project the ice wherever and whenever it will.
You may think at first that this is an impossible life to live, and that it is impractical in the modern world of business or government. On the contrary, it is the most practical form of life ever evolved. The reason is that any other form of life is based on that very “I-ness.” In other words, it would be dependent upon my personal experience, my education, my vision, my idea of what is right and wrong, my idea of what is timely – a right idea at the wrong time is of no use.
Therefore, in the degree that I can relax – attain an inner silence, quiet, peace – I can be led of the Spirit; I can be influenced by an infinite wisdom, an infinite intelligence, an infinite power; and then my actions really become the carrying out of the divine will – not mine. It responds in the right time, in the right manner. The difference between living that life of “I-ness” – I, me, mine – and this spiritual life is really the difference between failure and success, permanent success rather than some temporary sense of success.
This ability to be still and let the Lord speak within us, let divine grace move us – this ability assures us that I am living yet not I, Christ is living my life; my life is God governed; God directed; God impelled.
At first it seems difficult to make the transition from the ordinary “I” life to this life of spiritual guidance, spiritual protection; but actually it only takes a few months of real serious endeavor to come at least to a place where we can gradually take on this divine guidance, divine will, divine movement . . . “Speak Lord” . . .
To be able to retire into that quiet is a practice that should not be of more than at the most two or three minutes, probably even one or one-and-a-half minutes would be better; but repeated as many times in the day and evening as it is possible to be alone for one or one-and-a-half minutes; and to be repeated at night any time and every time that one may awaken from sleep; surely early in the morning again. And the reason is that if we make a habit of turning within even for that one minute, we are preparing our own consciousness for the experience of receiving.
Now you see, living the human life has cut us off from the kingdom of God, which is within us. All that we are doing is reestablishing a contact with this withinness in which our entire good is already established. Let us put it this way: The kingdom of God is within you; the kingdom of God is neither lo here nor lo there; the kingdom of God is not to be found in holy mountains, nor temples in Jerusalem; the kingdom of God is to be found within you!
Now we, who accept, who have responded to this message of The Infinite Way, we are compelled to acknowledge that this is the full and complete truth; that it is a living truth; that it is an eternal truth; that it is now the truth; that the kingdom of God is within us. And as Tennyson has told us – Browning isn’t it, Browning –that this truth is within ourselves, it is within ourselves in all of its fullness, completeness, perfection. This means our lives are established within ourselves –the fullness of life, the completeness and the perfection of life is already established within ourselves from everlasting to everlasting. If we were to live a thousand years on earth, our completeness for that length of time is already established within us – fulfillment, infinite supply, infinite wisdom, infinite grace. But we must open out a way for this infinite Splendor to escape – infinite, infinite, infinite.
End Part 1