From Practicing the Presence chapter V by Joel S. Goldsmith DOWNLOAD PDF

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

MATTHEW 22 : 37-39

The two great commandments of the Master form the basis of our work. In the first and great commandment, we are taught that there is no power apart from God. Our realization must always be that the Father within us, the Infinite Invisible, is our life, our Soul, our supply,

our fortress, and our high tower. Next in importance is the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” and its corollary that we should do unto others as we would have others do unto us.

What is love in the spiritual sense? What is the love which is God? As we remember how God was with Abraham, with Moses in the wilderness, with Jesus, John, and Paul, ministering to them, the word “love” takes on a new meaning. We see that this love is not something far off, nor is it anything that can come to us. It is already a part of our being, already established within us; and more than that, it is universal and impersonal. As this universal and impersonal love flows out from us, we begin to love our neighbor, because it is impossible to feel this love for God within us and not love our fellow man.

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

I JOHN 4:20

“God and man are one, and there is no way to love God without some of that love flowing out to our neighbor”. Let us understand that anything of which we can become aware is a neighbor, whether it appears as a person, place, or thing. Every idea in consciousness is a neighbor. We can love that neighbor as we see him or it possessing no power except that which comes from God. When we see God as the cause and our neighbor as that which is in and of God, then we are loving our neighbor, whether that neighbor appears as a friend, relative, enemy, animal, flower, or stone. In such loving, which understands all neighbors to be of God, derived of God-substance, we find that every idea in consciousness takes its rightful place. Those neighbors who are a part of our experience find their way to us, and those who are not are removed. Let us resolve loving our neighbor into a spiritual activity, beholding love as the substance of all that is, no matter what the form may be.

As we rise above our humanhood to a higher dimension of life in which we understand our neighbor to be pure spiritual being, God-governed, neither good nor bad, we are truly loving.

Love is the law of God. When we are in tune with divine love, loving whether it be friend or enemy, then love is a gentle thing bringing peace. But it is gentle only while we are in tune with it. It is like electricity. Electricity is very gentle and kind, giving light, warmth, and energy, as long as the laws of electricity are obeyed. The minute they are violated or played with, electricity becomes a double-edged sword. The law of love is as inexorable as the law of electricity.

Now let us be very clear on one point: We cannot harm anybody, and nobody can harm us. No one can injure us, but we injure ourselves by a violation of the law of love. The penalty is always upon the one who is doing the evil, never upon the one to whom it is done. The injustice we do to another reacts upon ourselves; the theft from another robs ourselves. The law of love makes it inevitable that the person who seems to have been harmed is really blessed. He has a greater opportunity to rise than ever before, and usually some greater benefit comes to him than he had ever dreamed possible; whereas the perpetrator of the evil deed is haunted by memories until that day comes when he can forgive himself. The whole proof that this is true is in the one word “Self.”

God is our Selfhood. God is my Selfhood and God is your Selfhood. God constitutes my being, for God is my life, my Soul, my spirit, my mind, and my activity. God is my Self. That Self is the only Self there is — my Self and your Self. If I rob your Self, whom am I robbing? My Self. If I lie about your Self, about whom am I lying? My Self. If I cheat your Self, whom do I cheat? My Self. There is only one Self, and that which I do to another, I do to my Self.

The Master taught this lesson in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, when he said: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” 

What I do of good for you, I am not doing for you at all; it is for my benefit. What I do of evil to you, will not hurt you, for you will find a way to recover from it; the reaction will be on me. We must come to the place where we actually believe and can say with our whole heart: “There is only one Self. The injustice that I am doing to another I am doing to myself. The lack of thoughtfulness that I show to another, I am showing to myself.” In such recognition, the true meaning of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us is revealed.

God is individual being, which means that God is the only Self, and there is no way for any hurt or evil to enter to defile the infinite purity of the Soul of God, nor anything at which evil can strike or to which it can attach itself. When the Master repeated the age-old wisdom:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets,” he was giving us a principle. Unless we do unto others as we would have others do unto us, we injure, not the others, but ourselves. In this present state of human consciousness, it is true that the evil thoughts, dishonest acts, and thoughtless words we inflict upon others do harm them temporarily, but always in the end it will be found that the injury was not nearly so great to them as it was to ourselves. In the days to come, when men recognize the great truth that God is the Selfhood of every individual, the evil aimed at us from another will never touch us, but will immediately rebound upon the one who sends it. In the degree that we recognize God as our individual being, we realize that no weapon that is formed against us can prosper because the only I is God. There will be no fear of what man can do to us, since our Selfhood is God and cannot be harmed. As soon as the first realization of this truth comes to us, we no longer concern ourselves with what our neighbor does to us. Morning, noon, and night we must watch our thoughts, our words, and our deeds to make certain that we, ourselves, are not responsible for anything of a negative nature which would have undesirable repercussions.

This will not result in our being good because we fear evil consequences. The revelation of the one Self goes far deeper than that: It enables us to see that God is our Selfhood, and that anything of an erroneous or negative nature which emanates from any individual has power only in the degree that we ourselves give it power. So it is that whatever of good or of evil we do unto others, we do unto the Christ of our own being. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” In that realization, we shall see that this is the truth about all men, and that the only road to a successful and satisfying life is to understand our neighbor to be our Self.

end of part 1/5