Infinite Way Letter
By Joel Goldsmith
Part 1 of 5
Higher Views of God, Prayer and The Self
Very little progress can be made on the spiritual Path of life until we have caught some vision of what God is, and what God’s function is in our experience. This subject must be approached in a very relaxed manner and with very relaxed thought. We are going to ask ourselves questions about God which will lead us to the subject of prayer. We want to take nothing for granted, and so we ask: What is the place and function of God in my life? What kind of a God have I? What do I want and expect from God? What can God do for me?
The normal concept is that of a God, apart from us or within us, who has all our good but is withholding it. Usually, in going to God, we are seeking to get something from God—health, supply, opportunity, companionship—something which we believe is being withheld. Yes, it seems that God has all these things, but is not granting them, so we pray for them. And sometimes, if our prayers are not granted quickly enough, we make all sorts of promises which, often, we have no intention of keeping.
Even now, in our more enlightened state of consciousness, that is the attitude of many. We have in mind a God who can bestow good, but who is not doing it. We often censure ourselves, and believe that some evil act of omission or commission is the reason God is withholding from us. Many physicians will tell you that many of the ills of the world are caused by guilt-complexes, wherein people are holding themselves in condemnation: sometimes for some serious offence committed in the past, but more often for small and inconsequential acts. Even if God had a good memory (which He has not) He probably would have forgotten by now. God has no memory of our faults and failings, and never, in the history of the world, has God punished a sinner. The sinner is punished by his own act of sin, not by any act of God. There are certain Laws of God, and if we violate these laws we pay the penalty. God does not know that the law has been violated so never hold in thought that God is withholding your good because of sin. If you believe that you are being punished by God, your concept of God is entirely erroneous.
God is not a withholding God, neither is He a giving God. God never gives nor bestows anything! God is Love, and because God is Love, God is forever loving. There is no love in withholding and no love in punishment. God is Love. God is being Love. God is Life. God is being Life. God is not withholding life, nor is God going to bestow life, since God, Itself, is Life, and there is no unexpressed Life, in the same way that the sun is not withholding sunshine, it has no sunshine to give.The sun is shining! There is no use praying to God—God is being! If God were withholding something you needed, or if God were waiting for you to be good or deserving, or to find the right form of prayer or method of treatment, He would be a cruel and severe God indeed. God has nothing to give, and God will never give more than He is giving you now!
God Is, Life Is, Love Is—know this truth and this truth will set you free from the belief that you must go to God for anything. We pay lip-service to the fact that God is the All-knowing Mind, but too often we say, “I need this, and I want that.” Far from accepting the Christian doctrine of an All-knowing and All-loving God, we persist in telling Him that we lack rent money, food, clothing, employment, companionship, health. We profess to be followers of Christ-teaching, but are we not contradicting ourselves when we say, “God is the All-knowing Mind,” and then go ahead and pray for things and conditions? The Master tells us it is not necessary to pray for food, clothing, or anything else, because, “Your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things,”…and… “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
James says: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss….” Every time we go to God for something, and every time we expect something from God, we pray amiss. There is only one way to pray, and it is so very simple: “Thank you, Father. Thank you.”God is the All-knowing Mind, the Infinite Intelligence of this universe. No one has to tell God to make grass green or roses red; no one has to tell God when the stares shall come out, or when the tides shall change. Shall we, then, tell God that we are in need of anything? We have been praying amiss for thousands of years.
In recent years we have come to enlightened, spiritual, metaphysical, scientific Christianity, and now we twist our prayers around into affirmations and denials, but for the very same purpose that formerly we used petition. Now, instead of praying, “Oh God! Heal my child,” we say, “My child is perfect,” and then wait to see if God makes him so. We are living in an age enlightened in everything of a material and mental nature. Let this also be a spiritually enlightened age. Let us acknowledge openly that our God is the Infinite Intelligence of the universe; that our God is Divine Love. When we have that kind of a God, our prayer is never a seeking or asking, never a beseeching or affirming: our prayer is a continuous, “Thank you, Father.”
Let us see where we are at this minute with our concept of God and our ideas of prayer. Let us see if we are having an expanding, broader, more comprehensive idea of God. Can we now see, since God is Infinite, Divine, Spiritual Love, that there is no need for our asking God to be love, or to give love? Is it not clear that if ours is a God that knows how to produce a pearl in an oyster, petroleum in the earth, a God that directs the birds in their flight, is not this Infinite Intelligence sufficient to be the governing and guiding influence in our experience without our offering any information or suggestions?
The function of God is really that of an eternal Life, which, at the same time, is an Infinite Intelligence and a Divine Love, operating within Itself. “I and my Father are one…and he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” God the Father, God the Son—functioning within Itself, right where you are. As you relax in that realization, It takes over and It functions harmoniously, joyously, abundantly. But the very moment you turn to It with any sense of getting, informing, desiring or even hoping, you prevent its operation in your experience. You are placing your finite concepts and views between you and the Infinite. You interfere with the flow of God the moment you go to God with a desire, a fear, a doubt, a concern, or even a hope. You go to God with clean hands and a pure heart only when you can say, with conviction and trust, “Thy Will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” and then refuse to entertain any concept of what God’s Will should be. You stand in the Divine Presence, pure of heart, when you have no finite will, no personal desires, hopes or ambitions, but in the utter and complete realization: “I am thine, Thou art mine. I am in Thee, and Thou art in me. Thy Will be done in me.”
End Part 1