Iwihub.com original transcript by Eunice Lee and proofread by Zane Maser.
Prepare the Soil for Spiritual Seed 1/5
1957 New York Fisher Hall Open Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
I think there was a time when if I had said that I’m happy to be back here in New York, I wouldn’t really have meant it. There was a time when I moved to the west after New York, and how wonderful it is that this chapter is ended.
I know better now. It is really and truly a pleasure to come back here to New York. It is equally a pleasure to go wherever I’m called. In these years, I’ve learned a tremendous lesson, and that is that there is no such thing as a good city or a bad city. I had already learned years and years ago through my travels abroad that there’s no such thing as a nation of good people or a nation of bad people. There are good and there are bad in a land, but it has nothing to do with the land itself. It just has to do with the fact that in human nature there is both good and evil. And so when we learn that there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so, that is an accurate statement. That is a truthful statement.
In the same way as many of you perhaps refer to those good old days, I have done that many, many times, and then had people who were suffering either disease or poverty, unhappiness of some sort in those very good old days say, “What was so good about them?”
And so it is that in these days that so much of the world is calling very bad days, hard time, not necessarily economically, because temporarily there is in many places in the world a false prosperity, but even those that are enjoying that false prosperity realize that it is false, that underneath there is nothing substantial to support it and wonder just when the balloon is going to burst.
So that, if you were to judge from appearances, there were good old days, and these for many will someday be called good old days. There are some cities better than others, some climates better than others, some localities better than others, but that is all in accord with one’s attitude at a particular time.
I was in a flower shop one day in Hawaii, and the lady who was managing it had just been explaining to me that she had come over some months before on a visit, loved it so much that she went home, broke up her home where she had married children and had some grandchildren, came over to Hawaii where she would have to live alone, no family and no friends, and work for her living, but that she would rather be doing that than to be home with her own family and her own relatives and to be supported, because Hawaii was so wonderful. Now, while she was explaining that to me, a guest at the hotel came in, ordered something in the way of flowers, and she began to speak to him about how wonderful today is, and “don’t you find Hawaii enchanting?” He said, “You know, I’m getting irritated with this thing about Hawaii. I can’t see anything good here, and I’ve made my reservations to get out of town.”
Well, there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so, until you find a principle of life that changes your entire attitude; and you begin to see that really and truly not only that there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so, but actually there is nothing good or bad. The only thing that is, there is a world and this is it, but the complexion of it depends on our approach to it, or our attitude to it, or our reaction to it. There really is no such thing as a world that is good and bad or a city good and bad. There is no such thing as a people good or bad.
The world has, in my day, and that means in the day of many of you here tonight, gone through two terrific world wars and a third one somewhat less in intensity and duration and certainly all of this time with the prospects of another one just around the corner; and so you might say that we have been a generation, except in the very earliest days of our experience, a generation living on the edge of a volcano. And there are some younger than most of us who have no recollection even of those good old days of peace or intervals between wars and who have only the recollection of the wars, the Depression, the lack, and the jazz age.
Now, a student of history can tell you that this same picture has been going on since time began. There never has been a time that could rightly be called “the good old days.” There were wars, rumors of wars, continuation of wars all through that period of the Hebrew history before Christ, and famine, and drought, and locusts, and all the evils that you read about in one paper. And after the time of the Master, during and after, there were persecutions; there were wars; there were tyrannies. Civilizations have disappeared from the face of the globe and again the continuity of warfare—Hundred Year War, Thirty Year War, War of the Roses, War of the American Independence, Indian Wars, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War.
There just seems to be no end to wars and to depression. This is the history of mankind. This is the history of the human race, and the question that comes to the mind of every thinker is this: Are these to be the histories also of the future generations, and, if so, why should we go on having children? Why be so happy about having grandchildren? If they have nothing to look forward to but being cannon fodder and worse, because, whereas in the old days it was only the soldiers and the inhabitants of the cities under attack that had direct danger, but now there isn’t anyone in an isolated place on the face of the globe that isn’t subject to the terrors of present-day warfare. And a man and woman would rightly be able to say to themselves, “Why should we have children? Why should we encourage our children to have children, if warfare and depression and locusts are to be the future of these children?”
The answer to all of that is this. From the earliest days of which we have record, men have been, and women, have been reaching out for something greater than themselves. Men and women have been reaching out for something upon which they could lean, something upon which they could depend to relieve these conditions of mankind, of warfare, of humanness, and in some measure, a few have found the answer to that riddle. Those few have found peace on earth. Some of those have been able to say with the Master, “I have overcome the world.” Some have been able to actually live in the world and not be of it. Some have been able to go through their entire lifespan without feeling the effects of warfare, depressions, lack, limitation, unemployment, drought, but those few are those who attained some measure of spiritual realization.
In the libraries of the world, you will find books on mysticism, books that were given to the world by mystics, that is, those who attained their conscious realization of God; and you’d be surprised how many of those all came to the same conclusion as the others who had attained that realization. In other words, whether the mystics were of China or Japan, later of India, or whether they were of the Hebrew days, or the latter Christian days, every mystic, every individual who attained inner realization found the self-same thing. They called it by different names. Naturally, their languages differ; and so it is that it is only natural that in China they should have called it “Tao,” and in India they should have called it “Brahma,” “Atman,” that in Japan they should have called it by some other name—“darshan.” It is only natural that the Hebrews should have called it “Emmanuel,” or “God with us,” or that when the Greeks translated the Hebrew documents that instead of Emmanuel, they should have called it “Christ.”
For these words mean, in every language, they mean and refer to one thing—the spirit of God that is in every individual. Now what name you give it makes no difference. What your language is or what particular era you were born in will determine the name that you give it, but that which you are naming, remember, is the spirit of God that dwells in man. You can call it a “Messiah.”