Original Iwihub.com transcript. Transcriber: Eunice Lee and proofread by Zane Maser.
Discovery of My Self
1962 Chicago Closed Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
And you know what we want more than anything else is to keep this as simple as possible. It already sounds a bit complicated with all of the writings and all of the translations, but the message itself isn’t complicated. The way of life isn’t complicated.
It comes down to almost a matter of choice, and yet I wonder how much of a choice we do have today. This country, in particular, is a land of movements. We have liberal movements, conservative movements, right-wing movements, left-wing movements, spiritual movements, religious movements, anti-religious movements, and, now, very popularly, atheistic movements, too, and materialistic movements. One would almost believe that we have a choice between a spiritual way of life and a material way of life. We may have, but it sounds to me more like Hobson’s choice, you know. Surrender or be sunk.
How much of a choice do we have when we begin to think in terms of the material way of life and the spiritual? The outstanding examples of the materialistic and atheistic way of life we have before us in the form of Red China and Red Russia, and within this past week, we’ve had the leaders of both of these movements tell us how tremendously they have failed and why. Mr. Khrushchev reminded us that in Red China there is only one pair of trousers to twenty men, and when you divide up one pair of trousers among twenty men, nobody has any trousers. And, of course, he told us also of his own troubles in feeding his people and keeping them contented, contented even with the guns that guard them and the brick walls that have to be built to hold them in. Not much of a recommendation for the materialistic way of life.
In our own country, our Wall Street—the personification of materialism—has shrunken about fifty percent in the last few months, and if our newspapers report truly, the Wall Street situation isn’t a very happy one, healthy one, or prosperous one, in spite of its great materialistic government and control. Banking and currency, well, we’ve been told this past month by some of the greatest banking houses and brokerage houses that we face the loss of our currency within the next twelve months. A total collapse of it is predicted, in spite of the fact that our currency is based on perhaps the best materialistic system that can be devised. This morning the Canadian government announced that it will cost a dollar and seven-and-a-half cents to buy a Canadian dollar.
Oh yes, materialism is a great way of life, if you can be satisfied with these reports and with the picture that confronts us. All of our industrial world is built on the very highest forms of materialism, and they confront us with four-and-a-half to five million unemployed continuously and with the prospect that this will grow.
Probably one of the greatest tributes to materialism is the growth and the membership of Alcoholics Anonymous. The faster this grows, and it is growing fast, as a nationwide movement, it is growing very fast. The faster it grows, the greater testimony you have to the fruitage of the materialistic life, because the Alcoholics Anonymous is not made up of happily contented, spiritually minded people who have found a way of life in meditation and contemplation of the spiritual values.
So is there really much of a choice? Is there really a choice between a materialistic way of life or a spiritual way of life? Or are we not being presented with a picture more like this? But the further and deeper we go into materialism and atheism, the deeper we go into bankruptcy, alcoholism, drug addiction, and the rest.
Some of you undoubtedly know that desperate efforts are being made to save the American dollar from collapse. But I wonder if you know that one of the methods that has been suggested to the president of saving our dollar is a system whereby we will bankrupt tens of thousands of business firms in order to save that dollar. This is materialism at its very highest, materialism at its most intelligent form. There’s no choice. No one has a choice, really. What you are presented with is either turn to a spiritual way of life, find your at one-ment with your Source, with the creative Principle of life, or drown, or be destroyed.
No one has devised a materialistic system of saving this world. No one has devised an atheistic system of saving this world. And so the question may arise in the minds of some of you. Has anyone devised a spiritual way of saving the world? And the only answer is this. There are millions of people who individually have saved their lives, their sanity, their fortunes through spiritual means, and what these millions can do, the tens of millions can do, if they will follow the same or similar paths. There are millions of people all over the world who have not had to succumb to bankruptcy, to alcohol, to drug addiction, to unemployment, to poverty through their own search for a spiritual way of life.
Now, when we speak of a spiritual way of life, do not for a moment understand that we mean an ascetic form of life, a way of life that demands that you give up business, or give up your home, or your art, or your profession. What we mean by a spiritual way of life means continuing in your household, in your business, your art, your profession but changing its base from the materialistic concept of life, the atheistic concept of life, to a search for, and an ultimate discovery of, that which is called, “The kingdom of God that is within you.”
The most wonderful part of this spiritual search is that you do not have to go to holy mountains to find it. You do not have to go to holy temples to find it. As a matter of fact, the one who laid out this path, the particular path that we follow in the western world, has said that the kingdom of God is not to be found in those holy mountains or holy temples, that it is not to be found “lo here or lo there,” that it can only be found within you—within you, within me, within individual you and within individual me.
And this simplifies it, first of all, because it becomes almost literally true that it can be found without money and without price. Not entirely so. As long as books must be published, as long as halls must be occupied, as long as travelers must travel, there will be some measure of expense. But oh, in comparison to the fruitage, the expense is so minute. We measure expense on the spiritual path by dollars, but we measure the fruitage by lives of success, harmony, peace, safety, security, even in the midst of the world’s dangers. Yes, comparably speaking, the spiritual path can be attained without money and without price.
To start, it becomes necessary to realize that the search is going to be conducted within ourselves. Now, this needs a little explanation. What do we mean by, “Within ourselves?” What do we mean by, “Within me?” The search is not to be conducted within my body, because the kingdom of God is not within my body. Surgery has never revealed the kingdom of God in anybody’s body; and so we can quickly forget searching for the kingdom of God in our spinal cord, or in our stomach, or in our heart, or even in our brain. And more especially, we can stop searching for it in drugs or stimulants of any nature and take the Word within, within, within you. And this leads us to a question. Who are you and where are you? Now, you cannot begin your search for the kingdom of God until you understand who you are and where you are.