1960 Maui Work

Tape 368 Side 2

The Tree of Life

Joel S. Goldsmith

Part 1 of 5

Good afternoon.

        We are trying now to understand the nature of the contemplative way of life, the mystical way of life. And to understand it fully, you will first of all understand that in our human identities there is a conflict between us.  There is a conflict between every man and woman on the face of the earth.  Even in families, even husbands and wives and parents and children – there is a conflict, and the conflict is one of the ego. Each one wants to be something of himself or herself, and that something comes in conflict with that which wants to be something of himself or herself on the other side.

        And so it is that, throughout the human scene, we have always had conflicts –even, even when there is a so-called “peace.”  That is why scripture speaks of peace . . . peace where there is no peace.  There is an outer seeming of peace, but underneath, as long as each of us has an ego, each of us will be trying to cater to that ego, manifest it, express it or benefit it.

        That is why in prayer almost all prayer is a waste of time.  Well, let’s not put it that badly, just ninety-nine percent of it. Ninety-nine percent of all prayer is a waste of time.  The reason for it is that ninety-nine percent of all prayer is an attempt to get something for one’s self or for another– in other words, to add to one’s ego, by virtue of one’s own powers, even if it is the power of prayer. Afterward then we can take pride in, “Oh, my prayers are so effective,” or “I have access to God,” or “I understand how to receive God’s grace.”  Again, it is a feeding of the ego.

        Now, the real peace, the true peace, can be established between us when there is a lessening or a subjugating of that ego in the realization of the truth that there is but one Selfhood – one Self, and God is that Self, and God constitutes the Self of every individual. Therefore, now instead of being in conflict with each other, we are in union with each other.

        That is why it has been mistakenly said that in union there is strength.  Now as a matter-of-fact, ever since time began tribes have been uniting, countries have been uniting, churches have been uniting.  But so far, there has been no strength among them because they last a while and go down.  Some other combination comes up on top for a while – they go down.  And another combination comes up on top, and they go down.

        And the reason is:  there is no union; there is no strength in union.  The only strength there is, is in spiritual union.  But then, there can’t be really a spiritual union because there are not two to unite – there is only one Self.  And as long as I recognize that the Selfhood of me is the Selfhood of you, Icannot be antagonistic to you or with you.  But neither can I unite with you because there are not two of us, there is only one.  There may be many forms, but there is only one.

        For instance, there may be a hundred papayas on one tree, but there is only one life, one tree.  And anything that would injure the tree would injure every papaya on the tree.  Therefore, there is no union on that tree because there is only one tree, and that one tree constitutes the life of every branch and of every piece of fruit on it.

        If you were to view that tree as if each papaya had a life of its own and a dignity of its own and an identity of its own, you could soon have warfare.  It is only because of the oneness of the fruit with the tree that they can all abide harmoniously.

        Therefore . . . try for a moment to visualize a branch of a tree that is cut off from the tree – set off by itself, having no relationship with the tree whatsoever, and you have the idea of twoness.  And of course now, if an ego got in there, you might have the branch getting jealous of all the good that’s on the tree, and wanting some of it; or, you may have the tree seeing the weakness of the branch, wanting to subdue it or possess it.

        But visualize now that branch back on its tree, and then you have one tree, one life and the same life of the tree is the life of every branch on the tree.  And therefore, there is no union there because there are not two, there is just one. There can be dozens of branches, but there is only one life, only one intelligence, only one source of supply – just one.  Therefore, no one branch recognizing itself to be a branch of a tree, no one branch could ever be in conflict with any other branch of that tree.

        Then as you understand that there is a tree of life, there is a central source of life and we are all parts of that life.  We are not separate branches, as we outwardly appear to be, but actually we are bound together with an invisible tie, which is life.  Life itself, the central theme of being – life is the tree of which we are all branches.  And we all derive our life from the same source.  We all derive our intelligence from the same source; we derive our love from the same source, our care and our protection.

        Now, again if you go back to the branch of a tree that is cut off from the tree, and let us say that the branch of the tree at this moment has a lot of fruit on it, and then imagine that branch of the tree, proud of its wonderful fruit, thinking, “What a glorious thing I am, that I can have such wonderful fruit, I can be so beautiful, I can have such wonderful flowers.”  Then imagine what’s going to happen to it in just a few days when, because it is a branch cut off from the tree, life is no longer feeding that branch, and it has to wither, and then has no more flowers and no more fruit to be proud of.

        Then you will see what happens when the individual believes that they are intelligent, or they are good, or they are strong, or they are wealthy, or they are healthy, or they are moral.  Think what happens to them when, one of these days wandering around as a separate branch, they begin to feel themselves withering up inside.  And, someone says, “Oh, well that’s natural, you’re getting old.”  But it isn’t natural at all from that standpoint.  It is natural only from the standpoint that you are feeding your ego in believing that you of yourself are something – when you are something only because you are one with the tree of life.  And we are all one with that same tree, and we all derive from that same tree.  Therefore the Master says, Why callest thou me good, there is but one good, the Father within, the life, the soul of man?

End Part 1