Mental Science Approach to Prayer?

From: 1952 New Washington Series by Joel S. Goldsmith tape 7B-1 – Questions and Answers

Q:  Yes, yes, let me voice that … the question involves really the mental science approach to prayer in that the law or God being impersonal doesn’t know our need, and we tell It our need, we impress upon It our desire or need, and then It fulfills it for us.

A:  Now, that teaching entirely leaves out God and has no God. It merely has a universal law which is not infinite, and which is not all-knowing, and for that reason we acquaint It with our vast knowledge of things, and then It becomes a servant and performs a function for us.

Now, it has been proven true that in the human scale of life, if you want to leave God out of it, and think of yourself as an individual with a mind that you can impress your mind with things and then bring about their expression or demonstration. That is perfectly true just as if you want to leave God out of the universe and just have us here, I can think thoughts and draw your attention to me. I can think some good thoughts and make you feel good, and I can think some pretty bad thoughts and start to make you feel miserable. You see? Or I can just concentrate on you and draw your attention to me, and that’s just you and me and the two minds—you see? We’ve left God out of that picture entirely, and that’s what mental science does, even though it once in a while refers to a God, it does it with the fingers crossed because then you have to tell God what things you need.

Now as we are approaching it from the standpoint of the Master’s teaching, we are accepting a God that is not merely an impersonal law, but is the Father/Mother principle, and is an all-knowing mind, and is love. Now, according to Jesus—we just take him at his word—this heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things, and therefore, it’s none of your business to ask for them because you can’t be omniscient. You can’t be the all-knowing mind and know what’s good for you, and therefore, you do not know what to pray for or how to pray, but there is a mind expressing itself, there is a wisdom expressing itself, and as you bring yourself into oneness with It, It pours Itself forth as your particular form of expression.

Now, that brings up this important point: Do you really believe that anyone of us here actually knows where we ought to be next year? Or what would be good for us to be doing? No. We may be in some business or some art or some profession and yet through this ever-increasing light in our consciousness a year from now we may be miracles of spiritual healers or teachers or messiahs, if you will—no reason why not. How would it be then if we keep on praying for more business or more customers or more students, and all this time—an unfolding consciousness is preparing us for greater things? Or, supposing that in our oneness with God where we understand that we receive divine protection, how can we pray for a home in Seattle when it might be wise for us to be out in Alaska or South America somewhere when next year comes. Do you follow what I mean?

Now, the major thing that I want to bring to your attention is this: that whereas mental science and the psychological approach to life has many solutions to human problems, they have no way of submitting themselves to that infinity we call God and being God led, God directed, God supported, God maintained, and God sustained, so that as you turn in consciousness to the realization of the Divine, which is your real being, if that Divine wants to unfold beautiful music for you to give to the world, that’s your function, but if a year from now, It wants you out proclaiming Its message, you can’t do it if you’re still outlining that you want musical students or more melodies to give to the world. Do you follow?

And so it is with all phases of existence—the mentalist does not want to resign himself or admit there is something greater than itself. It is even great enough to tell—we had that one time when I was lecturing and the leader said, “You know, Joel is all wrong about this matter of supply. You can’t leave it to God. You must tell the divine mind what you want and then It goes out and gets it for you.”

Well, I mean on the face of it, that’s making you greater than God isn’t it? And even though it does operate on that level, it does not operate to give you the fullness and completeness of life, because if you were Moses leading the people out of Egypt, I doubt whether you would know enough to ask for a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, but by opening your consciousness to the inflow of God, if that was your need that moment you would have it, but tomorrow you have manna falling from the sky—no more clouds by day, no more pillars of fire by night, you have manna falling from the sky. Why? Because the infinite, all-knowing mind knoweth your need before you do and it’s His good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

And so it is a question now—and here’s your vital answer—it’s a question of whether you’re living out from the word I or the word I. It’s a question of whether I, Joel is the all-knowing great I AM, or whether I, God is.

Now we accept the spiritual teaching because of our own inclination towards the spiritual more than the mental, and in that we have discovered this—that even though I and the Father are one and all that the Father hath is mine, yet the Father is greater than I, and at no time will Joel assume to tell the Father, but Joel will listen for that still, small voice, and then follow the guidance that comes. My Father worketh and I work hitherto.

You see, all the way through, the Master has that same principle—I can of my own self do nothing. The Father within me doeth the works. The Father worketh and I work hitherto. I and the Father are One, but the Father is greater than I. Seek not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed. Your heavenly Father knoweth of your need of these things and it is His good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

So the whole answer comes whether or not one is on that mental level where they humanly and personally want to be the master of their fate, or whether they’ve come to a point of self renunciation in the realization that there is a greater Self, and that neither you nor I can say, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” but that there is Something within us that can say to us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. If you go through the waters you will not drown. If you go through the fire, the flames will not kindle upon you for I in the midst of you am mighty. Before Abraham was I am with you, and Joel, I am with you to the end of the world.

When then we come to that place of spiritual illumination where that inner Self, called capital “S,” capital S-e-l-f, where that Self takes over—it’s the point that Paul came to when he said, “I live, yet not I. Christ liveth in me. It’s Christ then that determines where I shall go on a missionary trip, and when. It’s Christ that determines what experiences shall come to me.

And so on that you just can know this: that you can live a life on a material plane and do well with it, and you can live life on a mental plane and do well with it, but the only time that you will find your life eternal is when you lose your physical sense of life, and your mental sense of life—stop trying to tell God how to run Its universe, and resign back into that inner Infinite Invisible.

And of course, that mode of life isn’t for everybody. As a matter of fact, it’s only for a few people. That is the reason for the Master’s statement that few there be that find it. The work—there’s a lot of it, but the laborers are few. You see? Why? Because a spiritual nature is a development. It is a development or evolution up from the material, through the mental into the spiritual, and some people find their spiritual level from birth—they bring it right here with them. Other people come into the world grossly materialistic, and evolve up into something mental, and ultimately something spiritual.

And of course, the vast majority of people never touch the spiritual on this plane of existence. They live their complete lives physical beings in which all of their good is physical—their sensations are physical, their wealth is physical, everything about them is physical, their homes are physically magnificent, when they get that far, so forth.

Then there are the people who develop mentally and they have mental arts and mental culture and mental intellectual greatness, so forth and so on, and then they go through that to the spiritual. Now, as they get through to the spiritual they come back on this intellectual and material and find that both the mental, the intellectual, and the physical are really spiritual, and then they have the same forms of expression, the same music, the same art, the same literature, and the same physical bodies, and the same physical pleasures, but on a different level of consciousness.

Now they’re so spiritual that there’s nothing mean about them, nothing ugly about them, nothing nasty about them, nothing cheap about them—do you see what I mean? Nothing immoral about them, nothing vulgar about them, whether it’s physical or mental, but that’s only after you’ve attained the spiritual, then you’ll find that you bring the mental and the physical into line with it. And so it is that the very thing that on a physical level of life may be called evil or not nice or vulgar, the moment you’ve come into your spiritual realization you’ll find it takes on a different complexion. You see? So it is.

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