1959 Maui Advanced Work
Joel S. Goldsmith
247B – The Spiritual or Mystical Life
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain, that build it. Here you have the major secret of spiritual living. You have confirmation of this passage in many others. “Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.” “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.” “Acknowledge Him in all thy ways.” “Lean not unto thine own understanding.” Then the 15th Chapter of John: If you abide in the word and let the word abide in you, you will bear fruit richly. If you do not abide in the word, and let the word abide in you, you will be as a branch of the tree that is cut off, and withereth.
Now, such passages as these are to be found in the Hebrew and in the Christian scripture, but they’re also to be found in every one of the Oriental scriptures. And the meaning is clear. Since even the great Master could say, “I of my own self can do nothing; the Father within me, He doeth the works.” How much more true must that be of us that we can do nothing, except God do it through us, or for us, or as us? He that is within me, is greater than he that is in the world. He performeth that which is given me to do.
All of these, you see, are confirmations of the great revelation of all time—that we are as nothing, except insofar as we are led by the Spirit of God; guided by the mind, intelligence of God; empowered with the love of God; and of course have God’s grace at every step of our journey. The presence goes before me to make the crooked places straight. That presence walks beside me, it comes behind as a rear guard. I go to prepare a place for you.
All of these bring to light the secret of spiritual living, without which no individual can prosper spiritually. Now, by human might and human will, it is possible if one is strong enough to go out and battle the world and be a great success. Without any assurance of course that it will last forever, and that one may not be pulled down, in the end.
But for one to go through life joyously, fearlessly, successfully, harmoniously, it is absolutely necessary that one have that which is called “the Father within,” or “the presence,” or “He that is within me.” To make these statements about God, and about the presence and power of God, is only a first step toward spiritual living; and it is only an important step, because without it, we will not reach that second step.
Let us see now, as human beings, we exist very much as pendulums…a pendulum standing right here and hanging right here; but, of itself it cannot move, neither to the right nor to the left. It must be acted upon, and it will move in accordance with the way it is acted upon. It has no control, none whatsoever; it must obey whatever energy moves it and in whatever direction it is moved.
That is the ordinary human being who awakens in the morning, gets up, gets dressed, eats, rushes out to work, and is ready to be moved by any influence that is in the air. If it is infection or contagion, he will come up with infection and contagion; if it is headlines of war or rumors of wars, he will come up with fears and anxieties: if there’s the sign of a commercial layoff or strike, fear will strike at his heart and almost stop it. Surely in times of prosperity, the average man prospers to some degree—in times of panic, he suffers. In wartime, if he stays home, he probably gets rich; and if he goes to war, he gets killed or injured, or wounded, or loses his ideals.
This is not true of a man who embarks on a spiritual path, and who learns not merely to recite scripture, but to apply it as if it were … which it really is, a principle of life, the Book of Life, the Book of Life harmonious, the Book of Life eternal.
So let us go back to our start for a moment, and agree that we have embarked on a spiritual way of living. Now this does not mean that we will change our occupation for the moment; or that we will change our family life or community life. It means that we will introduce a new note into our present life, and that new note will be the application of certain scriptural principles of life.
The first one, and the most important that must be embodied is this which Brother Lawrence has called, Practicing the Presence of God. In other words, living and moving and having one’s being in the word of God; keeping the word of God alive in one; abiding in the word and letting the word abide in one; so that on rising in the morning or, even before rising … on first awakening in the morning, it should become necessary to consciously remember:
This is God’s day and God has gone before me, to make the crooked places straight. God has gone before me to bless. God will be with me every step of my way. Omnipresence guarantees that, That if I go up to heaven, I will find God; and if I make my bed in hell, I will find God if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will find God; and therefore, there will be no time during this day in which I will be outside of the realm of God. I will keep my mind stayed on God. I will acquaint myself now with Him and acknowledge Him in all my ways.
We rise out of the bed, we start our physical preparations for the day; we sit ourselves down to breakfast; and here comes a glorious opportunity of realizing that without God, there is no food. God is the very life of all that is. God is that which has given us our daily bread. God is that which has provided infinite abundance: the cattle on a thousand hills are there; the fields are ripe, the sun, the moon and the stars bear witness to God’s glory. The earth sheweth forth His handiwork. Everything testifies to the presence of God supplying us, blessing us.
In this modern age of fast automobiles and faster airplanes, it really becomes necessary for us to consciously remember that, in the car, on the road or up in the air or down in the sea: God’s grace is with me. The place whereon I stand is holy ground. Whether that place is heaven or hell, or the valley of the shadow of death—the place whereon I stand is holy ground. Why? Because where I am, God is. Omnipresence assures us that “I cannot walk outside the kingdom of God, ” as long as I abide in the word of God, and let the word of God abide in me.
We go to business and we have business problems, and in that old human life these business problems can be very serious ones. We even have a new disease called vocational diseases. But, these do not come nigh the dwelling place of the individual who, when he tackles his problems remembers:
He performeth that which is given me to do. He that is within me is greater than any problem that I can be faced with. I am not alone. If I walk through the waters: God is with me; if I go through the flames—God is with me. There is no place where I can be that God is not present where I am, as long as I am where God is: in the word of God, and that word is me. As long as I abide in Him and He abides in me consciously, how can I step outside of God’s grace?