1959 Tuesdays at Halekou
Joel S. Goldsmith
255A – To Know Him Aright Is Demonstration 4/5
The first is “prosperity.” This is probably the most difficult form of temptation to overcome, it is the form of temptation that wrecks more people than all the other temptations in the world—prosperity. Why? Because prosperity brings with it the temptation of personal aggrandizement—the belief that I am successful, or that I am wise, or that I am powerful, or I am great. Next it brings with it the temptation to indulge the things of this world at the expense of our spiritual practices. In other words, with prosperity we can very well get so occupied that we do not have time for, or a sufficient time, for our meditations, and our spiritual work, and our benevolent work, and our sharing with others.
Also pride of possession comes with prosperity. Oh there’s so many different things that makes prosperity the number one temptation in the experience of the spiritual student because prosperity is one of the first things that come to those who attain some measure of spiritual Light, and that’s why it first becomes a temptation to them until they know how to handle prosperity and make it subservient to them, instead of masters of them.
The second temptation is “lack”. Many people as they come to the spiritual, to the place of illumination, lose all that they have. Sometimes they lose home, business, position, savings, family. Sometimes spiritual illumination deprives a person of everything on which they had had their hopes and faith—circles of friends, relatives drop away.
And then of course that makes of lack a temptation, because now one says, “Well if that’s the price of being good and spiritual, lets go back to the old way, it was much more pleasant and fruitful and profitable, comfortable.
Also it brings the temptation to use human ingenuity. In other words, the temptation again to use human means: evasions, falsifications…Oh you know the story of false advertising, erroneous advertising and again the human element would come in, and deprive one of the opportunity of demonstrating that “Thy Grace is my sufficiency in all things,” and I will sit here and wait to prove it and demonstrate it if I have to… starve, if I have to go to the last mile.
I knew a practitioner in Detroit in handling that very situation for a student said,
“What are you afraid of? That you’re going to miss a few meals?”
“Well yes, money’s running short.”
“Oh well, the Hebrews have a fast day every year and they miss three meals, and nothing terrible happens to them.”
“That’s right. But what about the second day or the third day?”
“Oh well, people go on fasts for a week or two week and nothing terrible happens to them. It has been known that people have fasted for thirty days—nothing has happened to them.”
“Oh well that puts a little different light on it then.”
“Why not stand fast even if you have to fast thirty days. It isn’t likely that anyone who stands fast for that reason will find themselves without a God. That’s a drastic attitude to take, but a reasonable one for a person on the spiritual path…”
The third temptation of course, is that which is second only to “death.” We are told that death is the last enemy that shall be overcome, and next to death there is “sex” that’ll be the next to the last temptation that is overcome. And on the spiritual path that plays a part because the relationship of people who are on the spiritual path is one that embodies and embraces so much love that if one isn’t careful there is a step across the boundary. And that makes the third temptation that has to be watched for on this spiritual path.
Now, I don’t know why we’re off on that subject that’s far from where we started, and far from where I meant to be. All I had meant to bring out is that we must, until illumination comes, we must make efforts ourselves, to live in accord with the Sermon on the Mount, and to demonstrate the principles that we learn there—difficult as they may seem.
Now…I want to give you today two principles, which will help you, first of all, to bring about the spiritual illumination for yourself, while you’re doing it, will help you in your healing work. These two principles really brought about the whole foundation of the message of The Infinite Way.