1959 Hawaiian Village Closed Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
265A – Spiritual Power – Mental Power
Now unfortunately, for this particular era, there is a mistaken idea loose in the world that the mental realm and the spiritual realm are the same one; that the realm of God and the realm of mind is the same. And this is leading to quite disastrous results, mainly because as long as this belief persists, there will be teachings combining the spiritual and the mental, and going nowhere—actually preventing progress, because of their failure. One of these that I can point to is the New Thought movement, which in the last thirty years has dropped ninety percent. There is not ten percent of the New Thought activity in the world today that there was thirty years ago. The main reason is this very mistake: that they are continuously using God and mind as if they were synonyms. They’re using God power and mental power as if they were the same thing, and they’re just getting nowhere with it.
Now, this same mistake has, within the last ten or fifteen years, been brought into the religious world; and believe it or not, there are teachings circulating in the churches that would indicate or teach the people that mind power is God power. One of the tragedies that comes out of this is really the years that are lost before those mistakes are corrected. I had occasion a short time ago to mention this: that a minister has written a book about the power of prayer in plant life. A minister of the church. And in this book, he reveals the experiments in which he instructed a group of people how to pray for the plants over here, and make them grow and flourish, beyond their natural growth; and taught another group over here how to pray so as to wither them and destroy them. And this led him to the conclusion that prayer, properly understood, can be destructive as well as constructive.
Now, when I say to you that this is sad, that this is tragic; you must understand why I say it. The power of God is all good, and no one can ever use the power of God for a selfish purpose, for a personal purpose, for a destructive purpose, for it cannot be done. The nature of God is good, the nature of God is love, the nature of God is life eternal, and no one on the face of the globe will ever be able to pray, or to make use of spiritual powers, for a selfish purpose or a destructive purpose. And that is why so many of the so-called prayers of the world are powerless. They’re prayers to do this for me or for my child, or for my nation, or for my soldiers; and there can’t be answers to such prayers, because God cannot be used in that way.
God is a universal good, the same today, tomorrow, and forever, and in the sight of God there is neither Greek nor Jew, bond nor free, and anyone who attempts by any manner of means to utilize the power of Good for a personal, a selfish, or a destructive purpose might just as well be touching a hot wire; they’re on their way to self-destruction. God is no respecter of persons; God’s rain falls on the just and the unjust; God’s presence is the power of forgiveness to every phase of discord, whatever its name or nature.
Now this minister was not mistaken, in that these plants did grow, and these were destroyed. His mistake was believing that it was spiritual power or prayer or contact with God that was responsible for either one of them, for God wasn’t. Anyone could duplicate that experiment, that wanted to work at it a little way. It is entirely mental.
Now the modus operandi of it is this: mind—your mind or mine or anybody’s mind, imbued with truth, will produce harmony. Mind, the same mind, imbued with ignorance or error, will produce an opposite effect.
This we learn, long long centuries before modern civilization entered the picture. The Aborigines of Australia are especially gifted, in both healing and cursing—they can heal and they can kill. They know how to bring health to an individual, and they know how to strike him dead, with mental power, not by turning to God.
I have said this over and over again, until some people really believe I’m anti-Semitic. I’m really not, but I must repeat this: that it was the ancient Hebrew God that you could appeal to, to destroy your enemy—God didn’t do it, but the Hebrews believed that God did or that God would. But that is no fit prayer, or modern civilized thought, or belief that the power of that which created the universe and maintains and sustains it so perfectly, can be called upon to destroy it. No, it is not the power of Spirit, but the power of mind.
Now, the Hawaiians, until the missionaries came here, could also heal and could also kill. They had their good Kahunas, with the gift of healing; they had their bad Kahunas, to whom you could go and have your enemies murdered. And doubt not that your enemies died if you went to those Kahunas, they did—because the Kahunas knew how to do it. So do the “Hexers” in Pennsylvania; so do some of the old Central and South American tribes; and down in the South Seas, the power of the mind was so well known, that if someone or some ship or group landed on one end of the island, everyone instantly knew it on the other end of the island. That wasn’t a power of God; that was a mental power, and it is one which can be duplicated. Anyone can train the mind to any degree, and for good or for evil.
No one really knows the extent of the power of the mind; no one has ever experimented to a far enough degree to learn what the actual power of the mind is. I had the pleasure and privilege of being taught by a teacher who taught me how to leave this body and how to travel to any part of the globe that I wanted to be in. And for many years I enjoyed that experience, practically every night wandering out into this world, not that it proved anything from a spiritual standpoint. It merely proved that the mind is not encased in a body. To me that was only the step leading up to the realization that I am not in this body; I am not in this room; I do not occupy space; I cannot be confined either in time or space—and I can transcend either, at any time, spiritually; but only because I learned first that the mind is not confined to this shell.
Now the mind can read other minds. The mind can read minds close at hand and far apart. The mind, when it transcends itself, often as in wartime when mothers are almost living with their sons thousands of miles away at the front—Mothers, over and over and over again know actually what is happening and when it’s happening, at the front. Mothers know more about their children than the Army Board does; because in living so in such identification with them, they transcend their own limitations of body and find themselves in far places.
Now the mind is not something separate and apart from body; the mind is not something separate and apart from that plant; the mind actually is the very substance of body. Mind is actually the essence and the activity of body, and it is for this reason, leaving God out of the picture entirely, that you can work on the purely mental level and produce healings, and produce harmony.
There is one metaphysical teacher, who has taught for years and years, “mind healing,” merely from the standpoint of mind and body; and of how mind, when it is holding to certain truths, can produce an effect upon the body.
Now anyone who will stay away from trying to mix up Spirit and mind and remain purely on the mental level, can produce harmony in their bodies, in their business, in all of the affairs of their life; as long—and this is of course the major requisite—as long as they maintain their integrity. In other words, as long as they never try to use their mind power selfishly, injuriously, or to anyone else’s discomfort; as long as they remain pure of mind, using this power only for the purpose of producing harmony, whether in themselves or others—there’s nothing selfish about producing harmony in one’s self, because harmony is the normal natural state of being—but to produce harmony at someone else’s expense, or to use the powers destructively is, of course, a sin against the Holy Ghost, it must result inevitably in harm to the one who does it.