Another Original Iwihub.com Transcript for you. Transcript by Katy C. (welcome Katy to the Iwihub team!!) and proofread by Zane Maser.
The Way of Prayer 1/5
1960 Chicago Open Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
Sometimes we make mysteries of things that really should be clearly understood, that should be better known, and the spiritual life has been one of the subjects about which much mystery or to which much mystery is attached, and this shouldn’t be.
In the days, let us call them ancient days, before much illumination had come into the experience of the world, there were, of course, individuals, there have been individuals throughout all time and in all places who have received spiritual illumination, but naturally we know little about these experiences until we come into the days of manuscripts, printing presses, and so forth. But this we do know that man in his normal, human estate is unillumined, and he is the man of material sense, probably the man that Paul referred to—the man of earth.
In the ancient schools of wisdom, in the ancient brotherhoods and religious organisations, initiation always took the form of going from darkness to light, going from material sense to spiritual consciousness, going from the unillumined state to the illumined state. And while the process of study, practice, unfoldment might differ in one place or another, one era or another, the goal and the result was always the same and that was the development of a transcendental state of Consciousness. In other words, men went from their unillumined human state to a degree of Consciousness that was called illumined, enlightened, but also was known by many other names. For instance, anyone in India, at any time, who has received any measure of spiritual Light has been said to have attained some measure of Buddha mind, the Buddha mind or the Buddhi. In Christian mysticism, this is referred to as Christ Consciousness or spiritual Consciousness. Of the Master, Christ Jesus, we learn that he becomes the light of the world or the enlightened one. The Buddha is also called the enlightened one. All of the great spiritual Masters have been known as enlightened, as having received illumination.
Now, as Buddhism went down the long, dry period of organisation and materialistic growth, at least one illumined Buddhist went to China, and failed to open the spiritual life of China, and finally went to Japan, and out of this came Zen Buddhism. And in Zen, there is the term satori, and satori—to receive satori—means exactly to receive light, or illumination, or divine grace. So we have it in Japan, and we have it in India. We have it in the Holy Land that whenever an individual attains light or illumination, they are said to be enlightened and not necessarily all to the same degree. But some, at least, like Gautama the Buddha, or Jesus the Christ, or the Bodhidharma, these, of course, have been declared to have received complete illumination and to have become the light of their particular world.
Now, all of this actually means that they went from the ordinary human state of consciousness to that which may be termed spiritual or Christ Consciousness, which is a transcendental state of Consciousness, because it is that beyond the human. It is that which is beyond the ordinary human. It is not beyond the possibility of any human in some degree. But it is beyond that which is experienced by the human.
Now, when a measure of light comes to an individual, a measure of this transcendental Consciousness, it brings with it new faculties, new experiences. And Hall tells us of some of these, but we understand, we recognise that among these are the healing gift, which some enlightened leaders have had. Others have had a spiritual teaching gift, that is, the ability to lift students above their own humanhood into this enlightened state. Others have received, by Grace, an inner power of prayer, which enabled them to release many, many, many people from their discords and inharmonies.
A case in point, of course, is Moses. You will remember that Moses had no talents, except those of the ordinary human. Moses was just an ordinary man, born perhaps in high society and well educated, but not otherwise set apart from men until that one experience, the “mountaintop experience,” in which he comes face to face with God, comes face to face with truth, with illumination, and now has this transcendental Consciousness to such an extent that a whole new faculty develops within him. And he is enabled to go to Egypt, and without fighting wars, without taking up the sword, he is enabled to take the Hebrews right out from under Pharaoh. And, again, under the guidance of this transcendental Consciousness, under its protection, he is enabled to take them out into the wilderness and across the wilderness into view, at least, of the Promised Land. In other words, he takes them out from slavery, from lack, limitation, ignorance, superstition, and brings them into some measure of freedom, some measure of Light—the measure, of course, being only that of which they were capable at that time. It wasn’t too much. That you can imagine from their background.
So it is then that this individual, Moses, who up to that moment was no different than any other man, and had no other powers, and no other talents, as of that moment of attainment, he becomes a leader of a race of people, a liberator, and takes them into this measure of freedom. So it is that all across the history of the Hebrew race, from Abraham right on up to Christ Jesus, you will find that wherever an individual attained this transcendental Consciousness that they, too, were enabled to bring a measure of freedom, of light, of grace, of healing to the people under their care, within their care.
You know, of course, as well as I do, how little is actually known of the life of Christ Jesus until he enters his public ministry. We do have every reason to believe that he was educated as a member of the Essenes and that he was one of its rabbis until he left that order. But, so far as anything like absolute proof is concerned, it is not yet available and may become so through what is being revealed in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other manuscripts that are now being translated. But certainly, as of this moment, very little is known of the early life of Christ Jesus beyond the fact that he was of a family of carpenters, that he himself acted as a carpenter, worked as a carpenter, that he was trained as a rabbi, and that eventually he went out to preach. And in doing so, he preached contrary to the teachings of the Hebrew faith and religion.
Again, the very fact that, for two thousand years, there has been no contradiction of the fact that he is Christ Jesus the anointed, Christ Jesus the illumined, Christ Jesus the saviour, Christ Jesus the Son of God. All of this points definitely to the fact that we are dealing again with an individual of transcendental Consciousness, possessing now gifts that the other rabbis of the synagogues did not have—the great gift of healing, the great gift of supplying, the great gift of leadership, the great gift of teaching, the great gift of revelation. All of this the ordinary rabbis did not have. Even the great Hebrew teachers, even the greatest, such as Gamaliel, did not have these powers. And so we know that these powers came only with this transcendental Consciousness, this opening of the spiritual centers of the man.
During this period, all the way, oh and before it, for a thousand years or more before it, there were schools of wisdom in Egypt in which men learned the hidden secrets of the spiritual life. Now, these secrets are not the same in every school, because when we come to the subject of truth, we find a very strange thing. Truth is revealed on two different levels—one, the mental, and one, the spiritual. On the level of mind, great works can be done, great magic performed, great feats revealed. And sometimes this fools people into believing that they are witnessing God in action, or God power, or spiritual power when it is nothing more nor less than the action of the mind. It is for this reason, then, that two schools developed—those schools that went in for the great magic of Egypt and the great mental powers, and then those spiritual schools that revealed only the ability to unfold spiritually and develop this transcendental Consciousness. This wisdom drew from Greece some of the greatest of the philosophers, and they went to Egypt to be taught and returned to Greece to teach. And so this wisdom goes from Egypt to Greece, and Greece to Rome, and Rome into the Holy Lands. And we have, side by side, those of the mental school, those of the purely spiritual.