From – Beyond Words and Thoughts
by Joel Goldsmith
Progress Cannot Be Judged By Appearances
To remedy this misconception of your relationship to God, the first thing that must be remembered is not to judge by appearances. Do not judge by the fact that today you may be very ill or very poor, or that you may be entertaining sinful thoughts or even be committing a sin. Do not judge from any of these things as to whether or not you are one with God. All such conditions can tell you is that at a particular moment you have a sense of separation from God. It does not prove that you are not one with God.
It may be that you will go on being sick for a while, or being poor; it may be that you will go on having carnal thoughts or sinful appetites, and that you might even at times succumb to them. Do not let that fool you, because that, too, is only an evidence of the sense of separation from God, set up during past centuries.
You have not yet attained the actual consciousness of your oneness with God, but the truth is that you are; you are still one with God. You will succeed in proving that oneness, however, only in proportion to your attainment of the actual awareness of the relationship that already exists. Therefore, you must not judge by the appearance of today, nor must you try to judge your progress, because no one on the spiritual path can ever evaluate his own progress.
Actually, what happens is that you go along, sometimes for years, feeling that you are making absolutely no progress. There may not be any outer sign of progress, and then all of a sudden, one day or one night, in a split second, as with Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus or as with any of the mystics of whom you may have read, it happens.
Every mystic has discovered, as he meditated, studied, practiced, and did whatever he was instructed to do, that in spite of not seeming to make much progress, in one minute of one day, or one second of one night, “whereas I was blind, now I see.” The “old man” was dead, and the “new man” had been born.
The reason that you cannot feel any progress in yourself is that you cannot feel spiritual. There is no such thing as a person’s feeling spiritual. That is as impossible as feeling that you are honest or feeling that you are moral. You can be honest or you can be moral, but you cannot feel it; you can just be it. There is no feeling about it, nor is there any feeling about being spiritual. Being spiritual is a state of consciousness, which you are, but you have nothing to compare it with, since the “old man” is gone.
Furthermore, regardless of how spiritual you may become, always there are human traits remaining. “Jesus went into the temple… and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers,” which spiritually a Christ would not have done. He called the scribes and Pharisees and the multitudes vipers, which spiritually is a form of malpractice. This was only because in every person – even in the mystic – there is always a trace of his human identity. It is for this reason that you never feel wholly worthy; you never feel that you are really successful or that you are quite making the grade.
It is good that it is so. That was what Paul referred to when he said, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Certainly Paul was aware of how far he had to go before he could fully claim Christhood. So you, too, must learn to disregard appearances. You must learn to disregard the many days when you will feel very human, when you will have reason to think that you are failing. You must ignore all that.
By Joel Goldsmith