1961 Los Angeles Closed Class
by Joel S. Goldsmith
396A – Evolving Our Spiritual Capacities 1/5
There are two functions of this class—one is to awaken a dormant faculty. Everyone has a spiritual consciousness, a divine consciousness. Sometimes we refer to this as the soul faculty or the soul faculties, the faculties of the soul. We know the faculties of the mind: seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, thinking, reasoning. But, beyond this, there is a greater faculty, and that is our spiritual faculty. When we live as humans with only the human faculties, we present to each other only a human selfhood: human qualities, human faculties, human awareness. And this is always limited, always finite. It consists of our humanhood: mostly of what we have learned through either education, personal experience, environment, and a little bit of prenatal influence, family influence.
But behind this is the real self of us, that which really is meant to be alive and to live on this plane of life, the earth. The attainment of that Paul describes as I live yet not I, Christ liveth in me, remember that: I live yet not I. There is another being, there is another selfhood, there is another something besides the physical and mental me, and he called that something “Christ” which really means Son of God. And Son of God or Christ, you know is neither Jewish nor Christian, neither Buddhist nor Vedantist, nor Taoist. The Son of God is the spiritual identity of our being, and actually the Son of God is the reality of us and that which was supposed to be our selfhood, until what is called the fall of man, that is, the acceptance of two powers. That stopped us from being the first Adam who lived in the Garden of Eden and was spiritual and was perfect, and lived not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of God. And that selfhood, our true selfhood, that is the way we are meant to live.
Now, this sense of separation from God has resulted in our limited humanhood in which we have only our own gifts to live by or lack of them, our own education or lack of it, our own home experience or lack of it, our own environment or lack of it. These are the things that govern the human being, and yet all of this time there is dormant within the human this spiritual entity, this spiritual selfhood which is called Christ, or is called spiritual consciousness, or Christ consciousness. In Oriental languages it’s called Buddha, or Buddhahood or Buddhi. In other words, still meaning the spiritual nature of our being.
Back in what may have been caveman days, or the days when man lived more as an animal than he does even today, there was far less of what we call civilization, far less of culture and inner refinement, than there is today—life was much more on the animal plane. But into that consciousness, someone or other must have caught a glimpse, must have had an inner awakening, must have realized something greater than that animal self. I’m trying to think whether it is in … I think it is in the April Letter this month where thought goes back perhaps to the first man who discovered the powers of meditation. (May? Oh, it’ll be in next month’s Letter, May. You can look for it.) In this, you’ll see just a contemplation going on within me that carried me back to perhaps a vision of the first man crossing the desert country, and probably through contemplating the stars at night on the desert, or perhaps contemplating some other phase of nature, found himself awakened inside; found himself in possession of another dimension of life, and saw something greater than his surroundings; saw something greater than his own mind or brain; saw something greater than his own wisdom; and so came into the awareness of the fact that there is a dormant power within us, a dormant presence or faculty, which when awakened, enlightens us; enlightens us on things which we could not possibly know just through education or human knowledge.
Throughout the centuries of Eastern teachings, this faculty was aroused, taught through meditation, meditation and contemplation. Inner contemplation leading to an experience in consciousness where contemplation ceases, where we no longer think even on spiritual things, and thought seems to settle down into a cradle, into a stillness, into almost a rocking motion, or a complete stillness, an awareness, a listening attitude, a hearing attitude. And through this we have these expressions “still small voice” and others like that: “hearing the still small voice.” To hear a still small voice one must be very silent, because it cannot be heard in the clamor of the human mind. But attaining this silence, attaining this inner listening, is not an easy achievement; and is brought about, usually through the power of contemplation; that is contemplating—thinking upon some phase of spiritual reality, of truth. For instance, “What is God, what is God?” Well, you know if the world knew what God is, we would all be living in peace, in harmony, in spiritual brotherhood—if we knew what God is. Since we don’t, we’re trying to get along on the law of self preservation is the first law of nature. In other words, scratching our way through life, fighting our way through life.
If God were something that could be prayed to, “Oh, dear God, give me my health, give my child her health, give my mother her health;” if there were such a God, and if such prayers were answered, none of us would be interested in any further spiritual message, because it would only be necessary to pray to that God and receive the answers of that God. But, since the world has been praying to that God for centuries—many, many, many centuries, and still having to find other means of getting healed or getting supply, we must acknowledge there is no such God. If we study the gods worshiped by peoples of different religions, all of whom are so convinced that their god is the true God, and see whether or not it is true that they are so much better off than the rest of the world, you’ll find they aren’t, and you’ll find that the god of one is no better or more correct than another. And by a process of elimination you will come to the fact, till you come to the realization that the god of this world isn’t God; the god that’s worshiped by this world isn’t God; the god that most people turn to and look to for their protection, for their safety, for their security, isn’t God, because those things are not coming forth.
And so it is that if you do this within yourself, you are contemplating. You are contemplating the question, “What is God?” Actually all we’ve been doing is finding out what God isn’t. We haven’t even come to the first idea of what God is. And that’s the way it goes. We begin to empty out the old vessels because we know that you cannot add new wine to the old bottles. We know that we must empty ourselves of our old convictions, beliefs, theories about God before we will ever come into an awareness of what God really is. We must be thoroughly emptied out, and that is why we may have periods of contemplation day after day after day, month after month after month, always finding something that God is not, before we come to the realization that we are so very nearly empty, we’ve almost convinced ourselves there is no God. The only reason we are not wholly convinced of that is that we are living, and the very fact that we are living proves there is life, and the very fact that there is life proves there must be a creator or a creative principle. And you know with that we have come to the very first glimpse of what God is. Now we are beginning to understand God as a creative principle or creator; God as the source of the life that is evident as our life or the life of the tree, and at least we have now a first glimpse.