1956 Chicago Open Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
156A – Start Healing Today 1/6
Good evening…Chicago, October third, and unexpectedly, talking to you at our Reading Room. You know of course, that I did not expect this. I was invited; my arm was twisted. And some of you already know that actually this is the kind of work that I prefer above all of the work that we do, except healing work. Healing work always has been and always will be my first love.
But next to that, talking to individuals or to very small groups is my favorite way of working, my favorite way of teaching. Circumstances make it so that I have to give talks or lectures to large groups, but I try to keep even those as small as possible by not advertising for more people to come. And of course, our classes have grown in these years. It’s necessary that we have these larger classes because it isn’t possible to give as many small classes as would be necessary.
But it doesn’t change the fact that I like my work with individuals and with small groups much better than the work with larger groups. The reason is this: truth is a very sacred thing, and if truth is to be understood and demonstrated, it must also be a secret thing. In the sixth chapter of Matthew, the Master makes it very clear that we are not to pray where we can be seen of men, but that we are to enter our closet, our sanctuary. Close the door and pray in secret. Then the Father that seeth in secret, He rewardeth openly.
There’s a deep mystery behind that little passage in Matthew and in some of the latest of our classwork, I’ve gone into that quite at length and I know that soon you’re going to have it here in the Australian tapes. So I won’t speak too much about that as you’ll have plenty of opportunity to hear it, study it, and gain a deep inner meaning as to secrecy and sacredness.
Now, the sacred part of course, you well know. The secret part isn’t so well known, because again it has become customary to build large churches and for people to gather in enormous arenas and auditoriums, and of course, they don’t know what they’re losing by it. They don’t know what we can know in this room tonight; what we’ve already known in the past in this very room and in some other very small gatherings that we’ve had here. And that is this: those of you who came here tonight, came here not to be seen of men, but to hear a message.
Yes, that reminds me too: I’m substituting for a tape recording—so you’re even willing to hear a substitute! Because truth itself is what you came to hear, whether you heard it from a voice or whether you heard it on a recording, as long as it fulfilled the thing you were seeking, that is: truth itself, revealing itself, you were here for it. So your very coming here was a very sacred thing. And the mere fact that you came in small numbers, to a small place and without fashionable surroundings shows that you’re willing even for it to be secret, quiet, peaceful.
Now don’t you see how an atmosphere can develop in this room that couldn’t develop at all if we were meeting in the baseball park? And don’t you realize that there is a certain—let’s call it love, a love, a feeling of love that can fill this room, can fill your being and my being because of our mutual interest and our love for God that couldn’t be if we were just ten thousand strangers in an auditorium?
And so it is with the whole message of truth: the closer you can come to one person or a dozen people or a hundred who know each other, who know the message, who know the integrity of the work itself and who come with all barriers down—Just open wide to God. You see an atmosphere can flow here that couldn’t otherwise take place. That is why I’m happiest when I’m with a small group. That is why, whenever possible we have classwork, that there’s always a period set aside for our students who conduct these meetings: that is who conduct Reading Rooms or tape recording sessions or do healing work in The Infinite Way. More would have a small group of those and the atmosphere is high; the expectancy is high; the healing consciousness is high; the love that flows back and forth is pure because it’s really God Itself that is enfolding all of us.
Now, it is for that reason that I suggested, if through your studies or meditations, if some question has come to your mind that heretofore hasn’t been answered, and there’s any way for me to answer it, write it out on a slip of paper before we leave here tonight and see if I can’t be of help in that way, because that really and truly is spiritual teaching at its highest level, when there’s just a teacher and a student asking and answering questions and a small group opening themselves to some problem that is common to them and not to the world at large.
There are some things that I can speak about to you and I may not be able to speak about at the open lectures, and there may not even be an occasion during the classwork, because there are occasions and I think this is going to be one of them, when we can be a little bit more personal than we would be at a lecture or even a large class, when it’s possible for a teacher to speak to the students who are, or have demonstrated that they are serious in the message—they’re not merely people who drop in to hear a lecture; they’re not merely those who are seeking some particular loaves and fishes for the moment. But a group, such as you are, who are regular in attendance at work like this; faithful in the study of the books. To you I can say some things that couldn’t be said to others.
And so, let me start with this: there are certain premises in the message of The Infinite Way; certain basic themes that, if you do not keep continuously in thought, you will not readily demonstrate because they are so radical, they differ so greatly from what the world acceptance of religion is, that it is a very simple thing to forget them. And this one in particular has great significance when it comes to healing work, whether the healing work is for oneself or for others.
Now of course, our primary interest is not in healing for ourselves. If our major interest were in healing for ourselves, I can tell you in advance that we might fail. We attain greater harmony in the degree that we give our attention to the healing of others than when we seek a healing for ourselves. The principle behind that was voiced by the Master when he said, “The only way to gain life eternal is to lose your life.” You must first lose your life before you can gain life eternal. You must seek your own in another’s good.