1951 Second Portland Series
Joel S. Goldsmith
604A – A Higher Meditation
This is Joel in Portland. We’re still in the midst of the Second Portland Series. The subject tonight is a higher meditation, and the thought for this came from a note in my notebook.
How can we look upon a flower without letting the thought wander gently back of the flower, to the divine influence that could give us such beauty of form or color, such perfume and grace. Is it possible to view the grandeur of mountains, valleys, and seas, without thought going back of the visible to the invisible.
Students, pay particular attention to this entire reel. You have some deep ideas for study.
Love—to understand the source of these flowers, trees, oceans, mountains, is to better enjoy and love the outer symbols, just as to know and understand the mind and soul of an artist gives greater appreciation of joy, of realization, in his work.
Before me is a tiny carved ivory figure, and at once there flashes into my thought the invisible man who carved this bit of grace and beauty, and even further, to the beauty of soul and purity of mind that guided and gave skill to the fingers of the artist.
Feeling something of his love for his subject, sensing something of his affection for the piece of ivory itself, so carefully selected, I feel more the life, beauty, art, and skill which is shown forth in this tiny figure.
And so, understanding God, even a little, I am better able to discern the life, the love, the joy He has embodied in man and the universe, and so I am enabled better to understand and to love all creation. Because of this my own life and love expand and become more pure, joyous, and understanding.
This step that we are taking tonight, in higher meditation, will make clearer to you the fact that The Infinite Way leads us into a higher dimension of life. We live in a higher dimension of life. We live not so much in the world of effect as in the world of cause. We find our good, not in effect, not in things, not in persons, nor in places, but in the cause of all that exists.
And the more we understand Cause, God, Spirit, the more enjoyment we get out of all effect, out of all persons and things. We understand them better, love them more.
Now, you all see here this beautiful little ivory carving that is on this desk, and first of all, let me tell you of the love, invisible love that surrounds that piece.
To begin with, it came to me as a gift from one of our students in Rangoon, Burma, who had what we would call a nice healing, and as a token of her appreciation, and knowing that I have a collection of little art objects gathered in many places in the world in my travels, she brought back from Burma to me in Honolulu, on Christmas Day, this little piece.
And so, while sitting up here, all that is visible of it is the ivory figure, actually now we know a little more about it, and we can appreciate it more, because now we know something of the invisible love that brought that to me and from me to you.
And I would like to know what in particular struck you as you saw or handled this piece. Would someone tell me of something that struck them about it? “The position of the hands.” “Serene expression on its face.” Very good. That’s what I’m waiting for. Yes, the cause of the inspiration.
Can’t you just look at that figure and picture the man who carved it? Can you imagine what was in his heart, in his mind, as he selected that particular piece of ivory? Watched the grain of it, the color or it, the purity of it, and then as he went to work on a little piece of ivory.
Now remember that this entire figure is at most two inches wide, at the widest point, and two and three-quarters inches high, at the highest, and there is the full figure of a man seated on the lotus—the Buddha seated on the lotus.
Now can you imagine what love, probably for the subject of Buddha, what love for the ivory, what love for his artistry and skill went into that; that in that small space, he could show what one lady saw: the unusualness of the hands, and another one: the serenity of the face. Think of that, on a tiny little piece of ivory, the serenity of the face.
Now, to the world there is nothing sitting there but an ivory carving, and yet, to us here, there is now the love surrounding it that brought it here, the evidence of the Christ in healing that is responsible for its being here.
There is not only the beauty of the hands and the serenity of the face, but there is to us, an actual awareness, an actual feeling within us of the love that was in the heart, in the soul, and in the mind of the man that did that piece.
Now, don’t you see, that because we know the love of the student who sent it, and we know the love under whatever else you can perceive in the consciousness of the artist, we can appreciate that visible figure the more. We can appreciate it now, much more than we saw at first; when it was nothing more nor less than a piece of carved ivory.
Well, and so it is here. Here we have the branch of a little tree, a plant, and so far as the visible eye sees, it’s nothing more nor less than that, just a little branch with some buds and a few colored flowers on it.
And now, I ask you to look at it again. And, as you look, try to see into the invisible realm that surrounds this, and try to understand what produced it. The life, the presence, the power—that which is summed up in the word “nature.”
Just think what was in operation on a seed. Think of what is in operation in a seed, in the soil, that would appear outwardly as buds and blossoms and leaves of such beautiful shape and color.
Try, if you can, to look through this branch, back of it as it were, into the invisible realm, and see the operation of an intelligence, and of a love that could appear to us in this magnificent form.
As you do that, you will begin to see that this branch, in and of itself, is nothing, just like that figure, in and of itself, is nothing, until you begin to perceive the miracle of that which produced it, of that which is really the life of it, the love of it, the soul of it, that which gives unto it its color, grace, form, perfume, usefulness.
As we learn to look upon every figure, whether of art, or whether of nature, and not spend too much time in admiring or valuing it, but immediately get into the background, and try to perceive something of the nature of the cause of it, of that inspiration that appears here outwardly as form, beauty, color, usefulness, so forth. You know all the qualities are here in this plant and in this figure.