Where the Spirit of the Lord is
1956 Steinway Hall Practitioner Class
by Joel S Goldsmith
Good morning. I’ve been very grateful for the fact that the subject of meditation is clarifying itself to some of you, because meditation is without doubt the most important part of our work. As you know, there is the letter of truth which it is necessary for us to know so that we have a foundation on which to stand in our meditation. But, the actual consciousness of truth, the actual power of God, is realized in meditation. Probably, some thousands of years ago, the Hindus knew meditation, its meaning, its purpose, and how to achieve it. Evidently, in the centuries that have gone by, they have lost this. They still meditate; they spend most of their time in meditation, but it isn’t really a meditation at all, it’s an escape from life. It’s an escape from our daily experience, for most of them. There are some Hindu mystics, spiritual teachers, who still know the art of meditation, what its purpose is, how to achieve the harmonies through it, but they’re few. And of the people, there seem to be none. Meditation went from India across into China, from China into Japan, with the result that even without a really good knowledge or understanding of meditation, you will find the Oriental people inwardly quiet, peaceful, serene, able to meet the problems of everyday living even when they’re severe, with a far greater degree of serenity than the Occidental world, with a greater degree of fortitude than the Occidental world. And that comes because, regardless of how inadequate our sense of meditation may be, it is still better than none. Regardless of how inadequate our realization of meditation may be, it still brings some measure of inner peace, inner harmony, inner poise. The Occidental world never took up meditation, with the exception of the Quakers. In monasteries, convents, religious institutions, those of higher religious learning have always known some forms of meditation, prayer, communion, but it never went from them out to the people. So that, back in the last century, outside of the Quakers, there were very few in the Occidental world who knew or understood anything about meditation or even heard the word. With the beginning of Christian Science and later Unity, the term “mental work” was introduced. And mental work was a form of meditation. Probably you might call it the first step in meditation. That part of meditation which precedes the true meditation. In other words, when you sit quietly, and usually with eyes closed, thinking of God, knowing the truth, declaring truth, thinking truth, stating truth, doing what is called “mental work”, you are really in the first stage of meditation. And even that which is called meditation in this country, is but mental work. Because very little of it actually reaches the second stage. The second stage of meditation is where you finish knowing the truth, declaring the truth, affirming the truth, pondering the truth, cogitating, and become silent and still, and enter a state of awareness; an inner state of receptivity in which you are waiting for something to take place, something to be said, something to be felt. You’re waiting to become aware of something. That is the second step in meditation. The third step, of course, is when you begin to feel that presence within, when you begin to receive a response within you. Now, the purpose of mental work, as it was introduced, was to know the truth so as to bring about conditions of harmony in our outer experience. But, when this subject opened to me, a whole new light was given to me on the subject of meditation, and I really don’t know whether or not meditation, as we understand it in the Infinite Way, is accepted by anyone other than ourselves. We haven’t yet had the opportunity to find out, because no one outside of our Infinite Way readers has any knowledge of what we mean by meditation, or our purpose in meditating. And so, we do not yet know what the world may think of our sense of meditation. They may call it by other names. Now, this was the unfoldment that came to me. At this particular period in my experience, this was 1932, I knew that I was missing some part of life. So far as healing work was concerned, I was successful. That was alright. I could get still inside. I could wait. I would get a click, and healings would be accomplished. That part was alright. But, there was still no satisfaction in it. There was still no certainty. There was still no knowledge of why. There was no knowledge; well, there was something missing in my life. Call it whatever you will, that was really the answer.
Something was missing that I hadn’t discovered. And, it was in that year that the voice told me what it was that I was missing; I didn’t know God. It said it in plain English. “You don’t know God.” And here I thought that I did because I was doing healing work. I thought I knew God because I was reading Christian Science and going to church. I thought all that meant that I knew God. And more especially, that the healing work was successful. And still, the voice told me that I did not know God. Now, if you were told that you didn’t know God, and you found something missing in your life, you probably would feel, as I did; “Well then, that’s the missing link. I will have to find God.” And the next thought comes to you; “How can I find God? Where will I go to find God?” And, at least in my case, the answer came; “The Kingdom of God is within you.” And evidently, that’s where I will have to go to find God. And so began this attempt to meditate. Now, the secret that ultimately revealed itself to me was this; meditation is not for the purpose of healing anybody or supplying anybody. Meditation is not for the purpose of finding a home or accomplishing anything on Earth. Meditation is for the purpose of coming face to face with God. Now, that is the purpose of meditation in the Infinite Way. Whatever else may come out of the meditation, is an added thing. The purpose of meditation is not to heal, not to save, not to reform, not to redeem, not to enrich. The purpose of meditation is coming face to face with God, meeting God in the secret place of the most high, which is within you. The Kingdom of God is within you. You may find the Kingdom of God with the help of a teacher, or with the help of the right books, but you will not find Him through the teacher or the right books, because you must find the Kingdom of God within your own self. I’ll let that be clear, that the purpose of books and the purpose of teachers is to help us get back to the Kingdom of God within ourselves. Not to learn a new healing method, not to learn a new way to get rich quick or slow, not a new way to bring peace on Earth. Heavens above, there has been peace on Earth lots of times.
All of my earlier years were lived with peace on Earth; look where we are now. It won’t do anybody any good if you do bring peace on Earth, except for those temporary years such as we have all known, most of us have know before; some of us anyhow. But, if we can contact God, if we can bring the Kingdom of God to light in our own consciousness… Or, let me put it this way; if Jesus the Christ ever achieved the realization of the Kingdom of God, that means that we can do it. If at any point in my experience, I have actually touched God or been touched by God in the withinness of my own being, and I’m convinced that has happened hundreds upon hundreds of times, but if it has only happened once that is the proof that it can happen to you. If it can happen to you, it must eventually happen to the whole world.
Now then, if you meditate for things, for people, for thoughts, there is nothing wrong about it, as a step. For instance, every artist, every composer, every inventor, meditates, whether or not they call it that. They get very still inside at times, and then, from the within their ideas come, whether for new stories, new plays, new forms of art, new forms of music. It all unfolds from within their own being. Inventors do the same. They find their inventions within themselves and then draw them out and put them on paper, and then ultimately manufacture them. That’s perfectly alright, as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough. Because, God Itself is the source of art, literature, music, inventions. And, if you could contact God, you would have more than an unfoldment of a particular piece of art, literature, or music. You would have the whole of art, literature and music, pouring itself forth through you. And so, instead of meditating for a new idea of a book, or a picture, or a statue; if we were to meditate for a realization of God, then the new picture, the new book, the new art, the new invention, would pour itself through infinitely and eternally.