1960 New York Closed Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
359B – Meditation on the Presence 1/5
This question has to do with desire, the desire to be a practitioner or the desire for bodily health or peace of mind.
In the human scale, desire is undoubtedly a great animating power within an individual that spurs them on to being something more or something better than they already are. What we are trying to do in being on the spiritual path is to leave behind us the human way of living, including human desire, human fear—in order to live purely in and from the standpoint of the Spirit. As long as an individual is attached to the things of this life, they cannot make the transition from being “the man of earth,” to being “that man who has his being in Christ.”
And the difference is this. If I desire something, regardless of how good and how noble it may be, it represents my desire, my thought, my wish, and my will. In any moment in which I find it possible to surrender my desires, my hopes, my ambitions, and say “nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done,” I am immediately thrown into the position of listening, of attentiveness to the divine will, to the divine way. I am always in the attitude of listening for the still small voice, I’m always in the attitude of waiting instructions from the Father within me.
Now, there would be no use of my turning to God for instruction, for guidance if I have already outlined the way in which I wish to go, or the desires that I wish fulfilled. The Father could rightly say “Well, then you have no need of me; you know what you want and you’re going after it.”
Let us not be confused on this point. The human life is lived one way, the spiritual life is lived another way. This isn’t a matter of using a principle of truth to make our human life unfold the way we would like it to. The Infinite Way is not a way of getting God to fulfill our wishes or our desires. The Infinite Way is not a method of using God or using truth to fulfill one’s hopes and one’s ambitions. The Infinite Way is the way of surrendering: surrendering desires, surrendering my will, surrendering my wish.
Is it wrong to desire health? Well of course it can’t be wrong to have health. But, since health is the normal state of being, one doesn’t ever desire health. One is always desiring to be themselves, to be under God’s grace, to be under God’s law—health is a natural fulfillment.
If one dwells on the desire for bodily health, it is only another step to desiring the perfect body, and then that starts a whole routine of diets and exercises and controls, until one has the perfect body. And then after they have it, what? Just what? Look in the papers these coming weeks and watch some of those perfect bodies over at the Olympics. And ask yourself, if you’d like to change places with them?
The perfect body in and of itself, is nothing. It hasn’t even the assurance of being able to live until tomorrow. The body in and of itself, if it were perfectly healthy, would never carry you one step nearer the kingdom of heaven.
I think on this whole idea, there is no better example than that of John the Baptist. You remember John the Baptist, he was so pure that he would only eat honey and whatever. He was so pure that he would never touch anything that defiled. He was so good that he was considered the greatest of the Hebrew prophets. And do you remember what the Master said about him? That the least, the very least of spiritual people would get into heaven, before John the Baptist. The very least of them, would get into heaven before this greatest of all Hebrew prophets. Why?
Because this man was merely great in the human sense. He obeyed the letter of the law, he lived up to the holidays and the holy days and the feast days. And he only took in to his mouth, that which was absolutely pure in his sight, and yet actually, as even the greatest Hebrew prophet, he was less than the least spiritual being.
And so it is that regardless of what you may attain on the human path, regardless of what service you may be to humanity. If you still are living only in the human sense of service, or the human sense of health, or the human sense of achievement—you are not promoting your spiritual one fare one bit.
It is only when your devotion to man is the product of your devotion to God, when in your service to God you are led to serve man that your service then becomes a spiritual dedication.
So it is that, if you attain health, physically or mentally, you’ll feel very comfortable. But, when you have come to taking “no thought for what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, or wherewithal you shall be clothed,” when you have come to the point of taking no thought about your physical welfare, but rather are seeking the kingdom of God—you will find all things added unto you. All things added unto you, but don’t seek them—seek only the kingdom of God.
So it is that, while your thought is out here on your desires, fears, or hopes, you are not centering yourself in the kingdom of God within you to receive the guidance, the direction, the support, the government of the Spirit.