Original Iwihub.com transcript. Proofread by Zane Maser.
Meditation and Its Function
1961 Stockholm Closed Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
Indeed, I’m very happy to be back here in Stockholm. This is really my third visit to this city; and this, as you must realize, means that there are students here who have benefited by this study of this message. Those of you who are not familiar with our work may I call to your attention the fact that we started the evening with a meditation. In our work, the basis of all work, the basis of all living is in our meditations, and the reason is to be found in the 15th chapter of John in the Bible. Here we are taught that if we live, if we abide in the word of God, if we let this Word abide in us, that we will bear fruit richly. If we do not abide in the Word, if we do not let the Word abide in us, live in us, we will be as a branch of a tree that is cut off, withereth, and dies.
You recognize, of course, that the human race is that branch of a tree that is cut off and is dying. It is always dying and always has died—in disease, or in sin, or in war. It is always going through a dying process. Rarely does it know long periods of peace, or long periods of health, or long periods of happiness; and the reason is that it is cut off from the Source of life. We, each one of us, while we’re living the purely human life, live like branches, as if each one of us is a branch, but each one of us is separate from the other, and each one is separate from our Creator.
When we turn to the spiritual life, we are supposed to be reunited with our Source. We are supposed to once again live in the secret place of the most High, abide in the Word, let the Word abide in us. But, a question arises. How is this accomplished? In past years, many people believed that if they attended church, or if they lived the ordinary life of a good Christian, or a good Hebrew, or a good anything that they were abiding in the Word and that they received the blessing of God. Many people have believed that if they prayed very much that they would be under the government of God. None of this has been true, because the proof of it is in what happens to this human world, even when it goes to church a lot, even when it prays a lot. The mere act of being a good human being does not bring one under God’s blessing or law. The mere act of being a good Christian or a good anything else in the religious world does not ensure that one will receive the protection of God, the supply of God, the health, or the grace of God.
All of this is a matter of history throughout all of the centuries. As a matter of fact, Christ Jesus himself told the Hebrews that he was teaching that their being good and that their being good Jews was not sufficient, that your righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees; and the scribes and the Pharisees were about the best of the Hebrews in the entire synagogue—and yet that wasn’t enough. He even went so far when he was asked why John the Baptist was suffering imprisonment. Why wasn’t he receiving the protection of God? And, the Master answered that even though John the Baptist was the greatest of all the Hebrew prophets “the least of you will get into Heaven before him.” In other words, his good religiousness, his living up to the laws of the church, and the rules of the church did not constitute the quality that would gain him God’s grace. Paul brought the same thing to light when he said that, “As creatures, you are not under the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Only—and remember this—only if you become children of God are you under the law of God, the grace of God, the blessing of God.
So, as we trace the history of what we might call “righteous people,” we find that it is not necessarily those who live up to church rules and church regulations who are the righteous but those who have in some way received in them the spirit of God. “If the spirit of God dwell in you,” says Paul, “then do you become the children of God.” If the spirit of God dwell in you. He did not say that all those to whom he was talking were children of God and neither did the Master. If so be the spirit of God dwell in you, then do you become the child of God; and if you become a child of God, you are then heir of God, joint heir to all the heavenly riches. But, there is always this “if.” If the Spirit of God dwell in you. If you become the children of God.
Strangely enough, we have overlooked a great deal of the Master’s teaching, because he made it clear that you do not become a child of God by going to holy mountains or holy temples, that you do not find the kingdom of God in these holy mountains and holy temples; because the kingdom of God is neither “lo here, nor lo there.” The kingdom of God is within you.
Now, this may not sound like a radical teaching, but I can assure you it is very radical. It is so radical that if you understand it correctly and if you hadn’t heard it before and begun to change your life, you’ll find that it is not a very simple thing to come under the law of God. It is not a very simple thing to receive God’s grace. There are many steps to be taken before the spirit of God dwells in us. First of all, there is that very point that we are not going to get the spirit of God by going some place. We are not going to get the spirit of God just by being good human beings. And yet, the Master left a blueprint for us—a map—to show us how we can get the spirit of God to dwell in us, how we can come under God’s grace. And, one of these ways that he pointed out is that instead of spending all our time praying for our friends that we must pray for our enemies. And here, you see, is a point that, in our human lives, we have neglected. We have forgotten that you do not get to be a child of God by praying for yourself, or your friends, or your relatives. You get to be a child of God when you begin to pray for your enemies. Very clearly stated in the Scriptures.
Again, we are told that instead of praying where we can be seen of men that we have to learn to pray secretly, silently, sacredly; to enter into a sanctuary, not in a holy mountain or in a temple but in a sanctuary within ourselves, for the kingdom of God is within you. And, we have to enter into prayer within ourselves, and let no man see us praying, and tell no man about our praying but be satisfied that “the Father that seeth in secret will reward us openly.” He also told us that when we do alms, when we give our charities, our benevolences that we must be careful to do those secretly, not to be seen of men, not to receive the praise of men because of our charity, but that we do our charities and benevolences and kindnesses silently, secretly and again “the Father that seeth what we do in secret, rewardeth openly.”