1955 Kailua Study Group Original illustration by: Inez Soares
Joel S. Goldsmith
119B – Praise – Thanksgiving – Adoration
The point that I would like to make is that there is a God, there actually is, and there’s no fooling about it. There’s very few people in all the history of the world who ever come to a position where they actually believe that. I doubt that you could go the whole distance of the world at this minute, and be very fortunate if you could find a thousand or two thousand people who actually believe there is a God. I don’t mean that don’t pay lip service to the fact that, oh yes, I believe it, but I mean actually believe there’s a God through actual experience, who more than believe, who know that there is a God. That’s the word I should have used: know, not believe.
Loads of people believe it or would like to believe it, but knowing it, you can never know anything except through the experience of it, so there can’t be many people in the world who actually know that there is a God. The whole of our work is leading to a point of experience to where we know there is a God, but know it like we know that each other is in this room, just like we know that we are in this room, and if all of the newspapers in the whole of the United States had headlines tonight that we weren’t in this room this morning, it wouldn’t affect one of us here. Not even all the appearances of all the headlines of all the papers in all of the world wouldn’t affect us, because we know by virtue of experience.
Now there may be a lot of people in Honolulu who believe we are here this morning, and who will continue to believe it, but if they saw a headline tonight that we weren’t, they would give up their belief very quickly and accept that which they saw in the newspaper. But that couldn’t happen to us. Wouldn’t be a possibility of anybody convincing us that we weren’t here this morning, and that would be because we have knowledge through the experience itself.
So it is with the subject of God. God is as much of a reality, as much of a presence, as much of a power, as much of entity and individuality as we are, and God can be just as readily known by us as we can know each other. From the moment that we do know God through experience, life changes, because there is a relaxation of our personal selfhood. We relax because we have the experience of something greater than ourselves, greater certainly than our human sense of self, as operating in us and through us and for us. Out of these experiences have come the scriptural passages, He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world…I shall not fear what man can do to me… Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostril, for wherein is he to be accounted of? Put not your faith in princes.
All of these passages…I can do all things through Christ; I can of my own self do nothing; the Father within me doeth the works…All of these passages are based on actual experiences of individuals who have had the conscious awareness through experience, of that presence and power. It is not conversation with them. It’s not an affirmation. It’s not a statement. It’s not a platitude or a cliché. It is the product of an experience, and all the thing called the search for God, seeking the kingdom of God, being on the spiritual path, being students of spiritual truth; all of these things merely mean that inside of us there is a conviction that this is true, but not a knowledge of it. That is, not a knowledge through experience. It is only a conviction.
Those who are not yet on the spiritual path haven’t even that conviction. They merely have the superstitious blind belief that they’ve adopted because “Mama told them so,” and Mama even told them they’d go to hell if they didn’t keep on believing it. And then they went to church later, and were also told by Sunday school teacher or minister that there’s a God, and heaven help you if you don’t believe it. And so most people are in the position of believing it through fear, or believing it because of superstitious early teaching.
Those who have been led to seek the kingdom of God, or search for God, or find their way to the spiritual path, are those who have attained an inner conviction that there is a God. They have not yet achieved or attained the realization or experience of God, necessarily, but at least there is an inner conviction: this is the way; there is a God. And so the search begins, and it begins in different ways. All depends on our backgrounds, depends where we happen to be at any given moment, and what is going on in our particular world around us. There have been people who have begun the search in orthodox churches, and incidentally there have been some who found the answer there.
All have not found it necessary to leave the church. They merely saw through the external of the church and were made free of attachment to it, and found the real thing within themselves, and even continued on in the church as a way of service and sometimes a way of gratitude. Others have come through the mental sciences, and some have come through the teachings that are a combination of the mental and the spiritual sciences. And some few have found pure spiritual approaches. Some have come through books, and some have come through living teachers, and some have made contacts with the spiritual saints and seers who have never died.
Probably this is the time to explain that. Spiritualism has to do with the subject of contact with people who have passed on, people who have to human sense, died, people who are on another plane of consciousness, but another human plane, just like this earth plane. In other words, the act of dying hasn’t made them spiritual, nor has the act of dying lifted them into spiritual consciousness. They are just as much a human being after passing on as they were beforehand.
Now we can have direct communication with each other in this room face to face, but you could walk into that next room or that next room, and we could still have communication, but it would be mouth to ear. It wouldn’t be face to face, because you wouldn’t see me and I wouldn’t see you, but we would hear the voice. And even though we weren’t actually seeing each other, it would still be human communication. We could go further. We could go anywhere from Honolulu to darkest Africa, and we could still have communication with each other by telephone. I mean direct communication, by telephone.
Now the mere fact that we have gone ten thousand miles away hasn’t spiritualized our communication, nor has it spiritualized our consciousness. We would still be the same human being here or in Africa. That is one of the sad things that people find out when they travel to get away from themselves. They find they take themselves right along with them. And so it is that wherever we would travel, we would be the same individual. That is, travel, in and of itself, wouldn’t change us from our human status. It would give us a little more human knowledge of places and people.
Well now that same thing takes place when a person passes on. Passing on, in and of itself, does not make them spiritual. They are just the same human being, with the same appetites, and the same failings, and the same virtues, exactly as they are here and now. But the fact that they have died, or passed on, doesn’t mean that that communication cannot be continued. It can’t be by all people. That is certain, because evidently it takes certain states of consciousness to be able to get through this veil that we call death, or passing on. But there are enough people all over the world in communication with others who have passed on, so that I doubt that anyone can seriously disbelieve that there is a way, or there are those who can continue to communicate with those who have gone on.