This beautiful text of the talk of Joel is an original Iwihub.com transcript by Inez Soares and it is proofread by Zane Maser.
1956 Capetown 1st Practitioner Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
Because of circumstances, our work will be slightly different in nature. I had hoped to be here a few days earlier and to have the nature of the closed class and the practitioner class so well understood that no questions could arise, but we will have to extemporize now, and let me begin by telling you that all of The Infinite Way teaching work has been given to us under guidance. Nobody has made up a rule of how the teaching should be conducted, nor have we followed the pattern of any metaphysical, or spiritual, or religious group that I’ve ever heard of.
From the first moment of teaching, different unfoldments were given to me and explanations given to me of how to conduct it. And we have been following that pattern as closely as possible, sometimes without offending students and very often with offending them very grievously. And the reason is this. A spiritual teaching cannot be given according to the way you or I would like it to be given. It cannot follow a pattern of satisfying human beings. A spiritual teaching has to be given in accord with the instructions laid down, and we who receive them have to abide by them, and in many cases we do not like that way.
Now, it was through this that our original work began with closed classes. Why a closed class? To bar out as many people as could be barred out. Seems very strange, doesn’t it? But that has been our object from the beginning to see how many people could be kept from going through class. That doesn’t mean that The Infinite way teaching is exclusive. It’s open to everybody that wants to put in the effort to acquire it. But, by the time one gets to a class, one should be ready to lay down their personal ideas of truth for the instruction of the Spirit. And so, while welcoming all to the books, to the tape recordings, to lectures, the classes very definitely have been so conducted as to attract as few as possible and those few who could not be kept from seeking Truth.
Now the practitioner groups that formed went a step further, and the first rule of the practitioner group was that those who could attend were those who had previously been through a closed class and had had sufficient time since the closed class to put the Principles into operation. Now from that point on, the nature of the teaching changed again. From then on, individuals were selected for further teaching in accordance with the progress that they showed in healing work, so that we have gone from step to step, step to step. Some students have been through ten classes, twenty classes, thirty classes. Some students have been with me for five years, six hours a day.
And some have found it very difficult to get a five-minute appointment. Why? Well, some of the students say, “I have pets.” I have, and we will admit that right now, and the finer healing work you do the greater pet you’re going be of mine, and the less healing work you do the further on the outside you’re going to be. Why? Is it personal? No. It isn’t personal. It has nothing to do with me as a person. I died in nineteen hundred and twenty eight in the end of nineteen hundred and twenty eight, and from that minute on I have had no personal life, no personal family, no personal friends, no personal acquaintances ever visit my home, nor do I ever visit the home of anybody. My life finished. The Infinite Way life began—first in Christian Science and then in The Infinite Way itself. But even in my Christian Science days, no person can ever say that in sixteen years they visited me socially or that I visited them socially.
No, this life has been a death of a human and the rebirth of a Spiritual Ideal. Now for that reason, those who come to this work are cautioned by Paul to die daily that they may be reborn of the Spirit. The Master isn’t quite as gentle as Paul. He has harsher words for it. He says, “Leave your nets. Leave your own way of life to follow me. Leave your mother, and your father, and your sister, and your brother, and your husband, and your wife.” He says, “Sell all that you have in order to buy this pearl.”
Now, you can see that with radical teachings like that as our foundation that they’re not always popular with those who are seeking an easy way of going through life. Now I haven’t found an easy way of going through life. I found a pleasant way, a happy way, a way of service. But it isn’t what you’d call, by any manner of means, an easy way. And it is for this reason that when you hear the tapes and you hear me caution students over and over again, “Please don’t go into spiritual work. Please don’t go into the practice. Please don’t begin spiritual work. Please don’t have a desire to teach or to heal,” you’ll understand what I mean, because to embark on a work like this and believe for a minute that it’s a past-time, or that it can be indulged with one’s spare time, or with one’s spare change is a very, very sad way of looking on a way of life that the Master called straight and narrow and said that only a few could enter.
Now it is as true today as it ever was that this way is straight and narrow and few only can enter. The reason that few only can enter is that the few must forsake their own concepts of truth, their own ways of life, their own personal indulgences, and subject themselves to the school master, the teacher, the disciplinarian, the Divine Presence that keeps us in a straight and narrow path and rebukes us every time we stray from that path.
Now, for us in The Infinite Way, it is a little more difficult than for others for this reason. There is an emptying-out process before there can be a taking-in process. In other words, if you have still with you concepts of orthodox religion, they are going to be such a hindrance to your progress that you may almost make up your mind that you will not make progress. Any remnants of orthodoxy, of orthodox religion left in us must be a barrier to spiritual enfoldment.
Number two, there are several forms of metaphysical work, and I will not designate any of them as right or wrong. I will designate all of them as differing from each other. And there are those of us who are constituted to follow one form, others constituted to form, to follow another form. For instance, there is the mental sciences, any of them, any of the truth teachings that come under mental sciences. How do you know to designate them mental sciences? To begin with, they have a mental cause for a physical effect, or they work from the standpoint that truth overcomes error, or love overcomes hate. In other words, they have two powers. Also, they work from the standpoint that thought is power.