Original Iwihub.com transcript by Sebastian Pigott, proofread by Michael Collie
The Fruit of the Art of Meditation
1957 Chicago Open Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
Lorraine, this is getting to be a habit. A good habit. One that’s giving me a great deal of joy. Probably you won’t mind if I take a few minutes to speak on a subject that is very close to me and one that is not always understood, more especially by our students.
Too often, I hear the word “impersonal” in our work. “Impersonal truth” or “impersonal God” or “impersonal relationships” and I’m not very strong for that impersonality. First of all, I don’t know whether I said this in Chicago’s meeting or not, but I know that I have on some other occasion; to me, God is very personal. I would never be at all understood if I were to say that, “I understand an impersonal God.” I don’t. I can understand the impersonal nature of God, in the sense that God would not have favourites, or God would not pick out some one person on whom to confer Its or His benedictions and blessings. I can understand that the nature of God is impersonal, in that Its rain must fall on the just and the unjust. Its blessings must be equally those of the saint and the sinner, and if there is any shade of difference it would be on the part of the sinner getting the benefit. Saints often have a way, you know, of being very very self-righteous and goody goody, and thereby lose much of God’s grace. I remember the Master saying something to the effect that, God has more pleasure in one sinner that was redeemed than the ninety nine good ones, and I think the proportion still holds good.
I have found, in the ten years in which I am teaching this message, that my relationship with the students is not impersonal. There is something very very personal about it. Personal in this sense; with every student that comes to my attention, or that brings themself to my attention, their life becomes important to me. Their spiritual progress becomes important. I glory in every step of spiritual unfoldment that they experience, and every bit of fruitage that comes into their lives. And when they’re struggling towards that, it’s my joy to work with them, whether in person, as I have done with many with whom I have had the opportunity to be present, or by mail. Those who are here who have experienced that know that there’s no limit to the amount of letter writing that I can do when the occasion warrants it and when the student is able to accept the instructions, even if sometimes it comes in a very severe way. All of that to me is personal.
In the same way, when students are going through difficulties, that becomes personal to me. and I go far out of my way to help them through those periods, to stand by them, and it’s just as personal to me when they fall by the wayside as some inevitably do. I’m sure there was nothing impersonal in the relationship between Jesus Christ and his disciples, and his apostles, and the two hundred. I’m sure that his teaching and his relationship with them was both close and personal, and I’m sure that when he saw Judas about to fall away, that he grieved in a very personal way too. Not for his own life, but for what he knew Judas would have to go through to get back on the beam again. Having had three years with Judas, I’m convinced that he knew that Judas was made of good stuff; that Judas Iscariot had deep spiritual possibilities and potentialities, and that therefore he knew that eventually Judas Iscariot was going to be back in the fold. I’m sure that he must have grieved, as he stood there and saw Peter hiding; Peter denying him. I’m sure that was a very personal feeling, and not for himself but for Peter. And I’m sure he must have rejoiced in a very personal way when he saw Peter come back into the fold so quickly and show as clearly as he did that it was a momentary aberration, and one quickly to be forgotten.
I am sure that the spiritual teachers whom I have met around the world feel a deep love for their students, a deep rejoicing in those that prosper spiritually, a deep regret for those who do not seem to have the capacity to grasp the meaning of a spiritual way of life, and I know it has always been that way with me. As a matter of fact, I am aware of the fact that it is often said of me that I have pets, that I have favourites, and you may be assured of this; that it’s true, I have. There’s never been a time when I haven’t had favourites and pets, and I don’t believe there ever will be a time. And the reason is, that having gone through deep struggles to achieve even a tiny measure of this spiritual light, I can remember clearly those practitioners and teachers who were faithful, loving, kind, generous in their work with me. I can remember the patience that some of them had to exercise with me because I wasn’t an easy student, and knowing what I went through to achieve even a small measure, I have that same feeling every time I see a student anywhere trying to break through this mesmeric sense, this personal sense of self. And it is for that reason that when I find students struggling, with sincerity, that it is my joy to work harder with them and perhaps outwardly seem to be making a pet of them. Clearly, it isn’t so much making a pet out of them, as it is giving them the additional time or effort that they may require at some particular point of their unfoldment. A year or two later, that may not be necessary. And probably by that time it is said I have another pet.
So it is in this work, I have a very tender feeling, and I call it a personal feeling, when I think of cities like San Fransisco that gave us First, Second and Third San Fransisco Lectures; Metaphysical Notes; Consciousness Unfolding; The Master Speaks. Now you know you just couldn’t sit in the presence of several hundred students, who could bring such a message out of you, without feeling a deep personal feeling of warmth for them and for the city that brought it through. In the same way, I don’t suppose that I ever will be able to pass through Seattle, Washington or Portland, Oregon, without stopping for the self same reason. Hundreds upon hundreds of students have been through class after class with me there, and some of the finest messages that are in the Infinite Way writings have come out of those cities. So it is that here where we also have had very special messages; I’m thinking now of that little small group at the reading room and then this last Chicago class, when several wonderful experiences took place on this platform, it would be an impossibility to think of this city and think of the students who have been here in this work, without a personal feeling of love, of warmth and of a desire to pour out all that the Father could possibly give. Because it has already been demonstrated, the degree of receptivity that is here in this room among you who have been through so much of this work with me.
Now, I bring this to your attention for this reason; as you know I do not like to hear the message of the Infinite Way referred to as an absolute teaching, because I have seen through inner revelation that the only absolute teaching there can be is one that is imparted without words and without thoughts. We have had teaching of that kind in our work.
Every once in a while, I find a student or two or three, able to receive such teaching and we have it. We have long periods of complete silence in which no word is spoken and none thought and yet the message is conveyed. That’s an absolute teaching because no personal sense enters into it, either in imparting or receiving. It is completely accomplished on a spiritual plane. You may recall the fact that the things of God are foolishness with man. That the natural man can not receive the things of God. Well, when you come to the absolute and you are in the divine consciousness and the human sense of truth has dropped away, truth itself imparts itself through the teacher.