1959 London Closed Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
276A – The Practice of the Presence 1/2
I have been asked to share with you an experience that we often have in classwork in the States, and I’m not sure but what, we may have had it some years ago here; but I know it hasn’t been recently, and so I’m going to ask you to join me in this. First of all, sit back and relax, get as comfortable as you can.
Remember always that on the subject of bodily positions that our only thought, or
object is to get comfortable, so as to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. And that means that in so far as possible we must have the body out of our thoughts; we can only do that by getting comfortable. Now there are those who could not be comfortable in any but a lotus position and if so they’re welcome to take the lotus position. Most of us however are more comfortable sitting in an upright chair; back against the back of the chair, feet on the floor, hands in the laps relaxed. But that is not a formula, and it has no spiritual significance; the only purpose is to get comfortable so that we can forget the body.
And now we’re going to take up the exercise if you call it that, which brings to us a realization of our free and unfettered identity, I. Look down at your feet, and ask yourself the question, “Am I down there? Am I in those feet, or are those feet mine? Do those feet belong to me?”
Naturally it must be clear to you that you are not feet; and that you are not in feet; but these feet are yours. They are yours for whatever purpose feet were made for; yours to use. You are the possessor. I am the possessor of these feet; I am not feet, and I am not in feet but these feet are mine. And now let us go up to the knee; travel up and down the limbs to the knee, and repeat, “Am I there? Am I limbs, or are these limbs, mine?” “No, these limbs are mine. I direct these limbs; I say to them walk this way and they must do so; I direct them; they are mine—instruments given to me of God for use on earth.”
We go to the waist, and we repeat, “These limbs, all of them, given to me of God, instruments for my use; I am not there; I am not in those limbs, but I govern them.” Now let us travel right up to the neck and include the arms. “Am I there? Am I body? Am I stomach? Am I chest? Am I arms?” “No. These are mine. Instruments given to me of God for my use on earth. By means of this body I travel about. I am not in the body; and I am not body. I govern this body; I direct it; I keep it clean; I treat it as a tool given me of God for my use on earth, an instrument for expression. I care for it; I feed it; I clothe it; it is mine. It is not me; it is mine. I am not in it; I direct it; I feed it; I governs it; I bathe it; I clothe it.”
And now right up to the head, and all the way to the tip-most end of the hair. “Am I in that head? Am I confined inside that head? Is that head me?” And the answer is clear. “No. This head is mine; this brain is mine; these ears and eyes. All of this has been given to me as an instrument for my use. I am the law unto it; I govern it; I direct it; I wash it; it is mine.”
And so I take a glance down to the feet, and run right up to the head, and I ask myself, “Where am I? Who am I? What am I?” I cannot find myself in the feet, in the limbs, in the body, in the head; I cannot find myself in my hands, or my arms; I cannot discover myself in my brains; from head to foot, from foot to head, I am not there. And I know by all the reports in the paper that surgery has taken place on people from the toenails right up to the top of the head, and nobody has ever reported finding a man or a woman in the body—nobody has ever discovered man or woman in a body.
A live body in surgery or a corpse in death; nobody has found a man or woman inside. I am not there. I am not confined to this body; I am not body; but the body is mine. It is an instrument through which I am functioning. I walk with it and I talk with it; I eat with it; this body is an instrument given me for my use; but I am no more in this body than I am in an automobile.
“I, where am I? Where can I find me? Who am I? What am I? Why do I exist? What is the purpose of my life? And above all things again and again and again, where am I? I cannot find me.”
As my thought wonders: “Where am I? Who am I? Why am I?” The answer comes to me, “I and my Father are one; I and my Father are one”; therefore God must be my identity. I and my Father are one. This must mean that where God is, I am. Son thou art ever with Me; Where God is I am, and all that I have is thine; All that the Father hath is mine. All embodied in the I that I am because I and the Father are one, and where God is, I am. Therefore I am not confined in a body; I am not confined in a house; I am not confined indoors or outdoors; for Where God is I am; The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Whither shall I flee from Thy spirit? Impossible. Where God is I am; and God is neither lo here nor lo there. God fills this universe; I and my Father are one and this means then: “Who am I?”—God constitutes my identity. “Where am I?”—Where God is I am, for I and the Father are one; The place whereon I stand is holy ground, for God is there; Where God is, I am. “Why am I?”—The heavens declare the glory of God; The earth showeth forth His handiwork; therefore I manifest God’s glory. I show forth the harmony, the wholeness, the completeness, and the perfection of God’s being. My function on earth is to show forth God’s grace and God’s glory. I am the instrument as which and through which God appears on earth.
God the Father, God the Son, we are one; all that God is, I am; all that the Father hath is mine; the very place whereon I stand is holy ground for I and the Father are one. Up in heaven, down in hell, walking through the valley of the shadow of death God and I are one. Why? That I may show forth His glory; my doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If I speak of myself, I bear witness to a lie. God’s glory shines through me; God’s grace comes forth through me; God’s love is made manifest through me.
My purpose then must be to show forth God; to be that place where God shines through. That is why I must maintain my spiritual integrity; I cannot violate my own integrity, without violating all that I know of God; for I and the Father are one. To what end was I born? That I may show forth God’s glory on earth; that I may manifest, not my health but the health of God; God is the health of my countenance.
Not that I may show forth my wealth. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof but, Son all that I have is thine; therefore I am to show forth God’s infinite wealth; nothing less than infinity and twelve baskets full left over. Not of mine, and not for my glory. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.
Then I am here as an instrument, as which God can walk the earth. As in heaven, so on earth, God is the only being; as in heaven, so on earth; God is the only being; and I am here to show forth God’s glory, God’s wholeness, God’s completeness; to show forth the infinite nature of God’s being even the glory of God’s body; for Know ye not, your body is the temple of the living God? Therefore I am to show forth the glory of God’s body, not my body; God’s body appearing on earth as my body.