1951 Second Portland Series
Joel S. Goldsmith
612B:1 – Questions on Treatment & Astrology
& the Maker of Your Destiny
Does God have a plan for each person before he is born or is a person the maker of his own destiny? There are two answers to that question. This person, who is a selfhood apart from God, may of course, be a maker of his own destiny. We have known cases of people who, so far as ability is concerned of any kind, were total failures, probably couldn’t have earned a living if they had to go out into the world and compete for it, but they became President of the United States just the same.
A human being can decide on a career and force it through. They may end up broken by it, but they receive it in their ways. It is possible, of course, for a person, let us say, who is a salesman, to desire to be a big salesman, or a big money-making salesman, and if he has enough lack of scruples, if you can word it that way, he can push that through too.
Yes, a human being can be a maker of their own destiny. A little corporal over in Germany got to be a dictator. Illiterate, entirely so, unmoral, probably even immoral for all we know, no scruples, no conscience, but he upset the world. He was the maker of his own destiny.
If you think of yourself as a human being, and decide that I will do this and I will do that, you may be able to accomplish it. Sometimes it can be done; and sometimes after it is done, you will be very sorry for it, because it can have a disastrous end: Napoleon at Alba; Caesar, it was for his ambition that he was slain. There are many cases where people achieve their human goal, and it can be done with drive; it can be done with effort; it can be done with singleness of purpose.
So from that standpoint as a human being, I would say that given enough of that drive, a person could be the maker of their own destiny. But that definitely is not the truth of being. That definitely is not the spiritual truth of being. The truth of being is this: God manifests Itself as individual being. And as such, God has a purpose for Itself and all of its individualized forms of expression. You may say that God has one purpose for Itself as an orchid, and an entirely different purpose for Itself as a rose. God has one purpose for Itself as an artist, and an entirely different purpose for Itself as a musician.
If you have ever met a child who was a painter at six or eight or ten years of age, or a musician, an artist of any sort, you will certainly know that that child is not the creator of its own destiny. God was working Its purpose out as the gift of that child, and that child had no possible way of resisting. Probably could have been nothing other than a pianist, and probably one of the best, because whatever it was that God was doing as that soul, wouldn’t let it rest until it came to that fruition.
And so with our great artists or sculptors, designers, any form of art or writers, composers, authors. You couldn’t possibly say that these people worked out their destiny. Now I don’t mean the writers of Forever Amber or something like that. They were working out their own destiny, perhaps. But I mean the serious writers—those that have given true literature, true poetry, true art to the world. You can’t say they were working out their destiny, because they had no control over their gift. It was a gift that they found within their own being and had they desired to let it lay, they couldn’t have done it. There was something that went with that gift that forced them to give it outlet and expression.
Oh, no. You are not the maker of your own destiny when you are working from the standpoint of your spiritual identity, then you have dropped your personal sense of desire or ambition and you have let God have Its way with you. Then it’s not you working out your destiny, it’s God working out Its destiny as you.
Certainly, this man in San Francisco who was a criminal, and such a good one that at twenty-six years of age, he had four terms and the last one twenty years, was working out his destiny all right. But once he’s relaxed and let go and realized the depth of what he had brought himself to, and surrendered himself, and shrieked out, “Oh, God,” then God was given the opportunity to work out his destiny as his being and from that day to this, he has been one of the greatest missionaries, one of the greatest reformers of prison work and a metaphysician of sorts because he has had his contact with God, that has enabled God to work out God’s own destiny as this man’s soul.
Yes, if you look at yourself as a human being, from the standpoint of out here, and want to determine what you’d like to do and then want to pay the price in study, work, energy, and all the rest of these things, you can work out your own destiny, but from our standpoint, that is not true. Our standpoint is this: We don’t look at the world from effect, but from cause. We see God as the mind, the soul, the spirit, the all of every individual. And therefore, we must acknowledge that God, the creative Principle, God the divine Intelligence must include an intelligent and loving plan for Itself in all of its infinite form and variety.
Anyone then that relaxes sufficiently and humbly, to open themselves for this inflow of God, can say, “No, I’m not working out my destiny, God is working out Its destiny as me,” or if we like, we can say, “God is working out my destiny for me.” To me, that seems like a sense of separation there; so I like better, “God is working out Its own plan as my individual being.”
And so, when we are born, as we seem to be in this human activity, and our parents decide for us that we are to be business men or women, and we become that, in that sense then, either we, or our parents are working out our destiny. But if we come to some place or other where a drive, a sense, a desire for God comes, and we make the contact, from then on, all that business is wiped away and you find yourself out in a metaphysical or spiritual activity. And then you can say that God has taken over, and God is now fulfilling Its function.
That’s why I’ve said that when we are about our ordinary human pursuits, we are not fulfilling God’s plan. Those are the human activities that have come to us because of our sense of separation. When we come to that place of opening ourselves and receive that divine impulse, our ways then are led into actual expression of spiritual activity, and that would be of course, in the arts, in the literature, in the spiritual work, in anything that is the direct portrayal of God activity.
I would like to have your opinion on astrology. Astrology is a belief just the same as any medical theory. If you were to ask any doctor if he is using the textbooks that were given to him when he was in college, he would probably throw one of them at you. They have been discarded over and over and over again. And the things that were taught to a doctor twenty years ago probably wouldn’t even be seen in a book today.
They recognized that that was a theory at that time. Now we have a different theory. So we keep on. However, even though they were not laws, but theories, they worked in an average amount of cases; they worked in proportion to the faith that was placed in them. Just as today, there are people receiving a great benefit, a great help from a glass of water. There is a form of medical practice which takes all the cases of any other materia medica doctor would take, and yet they treat it only with plain water. Oh yes, they take one drop of medicine and dilute it in about eight quarts of water. Well, you know how much medicine is left, and then give you a teaspoon full of it. But they have the same percentage of cures that any other form of materia medica has. And there is no reason why not. Because all of this is the faith that you can have either in the doctor or the bottle of medicine or whatever it is that is prescribed.