Infinite Way Letter
By Joel Goldsmith
Part 5 of 5
I Have Overcome the World
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
As you know, the Master wasted no words, and every statement He made must be considered in the light of a world shattering revelation. Every word must be considered as a truth, the understanding of which is vital to your individual experience. Upon reading these words of the Master, your first inclination might be to believe that He has overcome something external to His own state of consciousness: perhaps you might think that He has overcome people, lack, imitation, or war. It is possible that you may never have considered what the Master really meant when He said, “I have overcome the world,” and in that case this is a good opportunity for meditation and reflection on this tremendous revelation.
The world is within you, and within me. There is no world outside of you or of me. The world exists nowhere except within the consciousness of the individual. The world is embodied within consciousness, and it appears to us as thought, and as our thought about the world. And so it is that our world is constituted either of a consciousness of Truth, or a series of universal beliefs which we entertain about the world. These beliefs may be somewhere near the correct understanding, or they may be far from it.
As humans, our world is made up of concepts of that which we behold, and of those people and things of which we become aware in the ordinary course of existence. It is for this reason that our world consists of love and hate; of confidence and fear; of health and disease; of riches and poverty; of sin and purity. The world which we entertain in thought is made up of two powers—good and evil. We love and desire that which we accept as good; we hate and fear that which we consider evil.
Our world consists of people, some of whom we like and trust, and others whom we do not like and in whom we have no confidence. We go to extremes of loving some and hating others. Our world is made up of concepts and our reactions to these concepts. It is this world which the Master said He had overcome, and, indeed, He had overcome the world of human beliefs, material concepts, theories and opinions.
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing; and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”.
“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve”.
And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee; And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
“And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” (Luke 4:1-13)
Each of these temptations, in its turn, had to be met within the thought of the Master, and pondered and wrestled within His own consciousness until He had overcome them. You will note that it is written, “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season,” and by this we gather that there were recurring experiences of temptation in the life of the Master.
When the Master met with the multitudes he had to overcome, within Himself, the universal belief of sickness and death, lack, danger—the belief in conditions and activities outside the government and control of God. These temptations were met and overcome in proportion to His complete reliance on the understanding that the government of His universe was upon the shoulders of “The Father within Me.”
These temptations of the world appeared to the Master as if they were outside of His own being. They appeared as people undergoing disease and death, lack and limitation; as men who were sinful; as men who were betrayers and who were false to their trust. All temptations appear to us in this way. Never do we stop to realize that these appearances that touch our lives are not something external to us. We accept the appearance as if it were something outside our own consciousness, and our effort is to make the correction, improvement, or healing outside our own consciousness.
One of the high points of the Message of The Infinite Way reveals that although appearances may testify to the fact that there are evils outside our own being (that is, evils connected with people and conditions), we, as students, must immediately recognize that we are being tempted to believe that these are external people or conditions. We must realize that we are being tempted to do something to, for, or about them; whereas, all of this is taking place within our own consciousness, and must be met there.
If there are sick and sinful people in your experience, this temptation must be met within yourself until you come to the realization of God as individual being. If there are thieves in your world, meet this, too, as a temptation to accept the testimony of the senses. If there is lack and limitation in your experience, wrestle with the tempter within you until you come to that point of realization wherein it becomes clear that God is the Selfhood of individual being; that God constitutes all being.
As you overcome temptations within yourself, you overcome those phases of the world represented by such temptations: As you meet each temptation as it comes along, you too will reach that place in consciousness where you will be able to say, “I have overcome the world.” And until then, even if you overcome it in a measure and by degrees, you will have been achieving harmony in your experience.
End Part 5 of 5