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Chapter 11: “Impersonalizing the Visible”

The Recording for This Chapter 

The basis for this chapter is Recording 347B, from the 1960 Manchester Closed Class, titled “Made Visible.”

*  This recording was posted through August 1, 2020.  It is no longer available on this site.
*  To purchase this recording from The Infinite Way Office, click here.  (Remember that all Goldsmith classes are available for purchase on iTunes as well.  If you use iTunes, this may be a more convenient ordering option for you.)
*  To purchase the transcript for this recording, click here.

Please note that while the book chapter is essentially a transcript of the class, the content of the transcript may have been re-arranged in some places during the editing process for the chapter.  Consequently, if you are following the chapter as you listen to the recording, from time to time you may have to skip ahead or go back in the chapter to find the corresponding text.  Even so, overall, the chapter covers virtually everything that is in the recording.

However, for this recording, the book does not include any text for the final three minutes of the class, in which Joel speaks about yet another way to impersonalize.  This is what he says, transcribed from the recording: 

“Once we begin to learn how to be grateful, not for what comes to me, but be grateful for what God has placed and made available to all of us, watch how the nature of gratitude changes in your life, and watch its effect upon your life.

“Now we approach that part of prayer where, having voiced all of this orally or silently or in contemplation, we come to the end of that, turn to the Father within: “Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth,” and then we await.

“Once the Master heard the Father say that he was ordained, and he told the people in the temple, “I am ordained to heal the sick.” How did he know that he was ordained? Because the still small voice told him so. At another time, the still small voice said, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” and because God is no respecter of persons, God will speak to you.

“As you listen for that still small voice, sometimes you will hear, “I am with you,” or “I will never leave you,” and you may for a moment believe that that is being addressed only to you.  Don’t believe that.  It is being addressed to all of us, but you are tuned in to receive it.  God does not speak to one individual; God speaks, and an individual hears.  But when God speaks, he utters his voice into consciousness, just like the radio that sends out its message—never to your set, never to my set.  It just sends it out into the air, and whoever is tuned in receives it.

“God is forever speaking to human consciousness, and it is for this reason that as you read the mystical literature of the world, you will find that the mystics all received the same message.  Evidently, God was playing the same platter all of the time, throughout all of the years.  And it is so, for God is forever saying, “Son, all that I have is thine;”  “Son, thou art ever with me;” “Son, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee;” “Son, I will be with thee unto the end of the world;” “Son, I am thy bread and thy meat and thy wine and thy water.”  But really, it’s being addressed to anyone and everyone who will open their consciousness and be receptive and responsive.

“With love and kisses!”

Optional Study Suggestions

To print or download this study suggestion, click here. 

In this chapter, Joel gives us a very powerful lesson on impersonalizing good.  It is one of his most thorough and cogent explanations on this subject.   Joel gets to the core of impersonalizing good when he says,

“In thus impersonalizing good by not claiming it as of ourselves, we open ourselves to an infinite capacity to express good, an infinite capacity to express intelligence, wisdom, love, and life. The moment we claim anything for ourselves, we are necessarily limiting whatever it is we are claiming. When we acknowledge that we can of our own selves do nothing, we then make room for infinite good to be expressed through and as us.”

In other words, by refraining from personalizing good, or refraining from believing that the good we do or the good we receive is the result of our personal capabilities and efforts, we can transcend the limited capacities of humanhood and become instruments for the infinite good of God.  Just think of that—instruments for the infinite good of God!

We can read about impersonalizing good in this chapter, and we can think about how beautiful the idea is.  But as Joel says so often, to make progress in spiritual living, we have to put the idea into practice.  This chapter offers an opportunity for us to reflect and ask ourselves, “Am I impersonalizing good?  How am I doing on that score?” Joel suggests several aspects to consider.  He talks about impersonalizing wisdom, intelligence, forgiveness, grace, wealth, prayer, healing work, gratitude, and even the “Word of God,” or the impartations we receive in meditation.

We can take any of these and look at whether or not we are impersonalizing.  “Am I impersonalizing wisdom and intelligence?  Am I impersonalizing forgiveness?  Am I impersonalizing wealth or supply?  What about gratitude?  What about ‘good deeds?’  What about prayer?”  If we find areas in which we are personalizing, we can look to see what pulls us into personalizing.

For example, we might be susceptible to a human desire for personal credit, or for recognition, for acknowledgement, or for appreciation.  If we feel resentful when someone else gets credit for an idea we had or for something that we said or did, that resentment could be a clue that we are personalizing.  Or, we might be inclined to a subtle form of “spiritual arrogance,” believing that God has given us special spiritual experiences that would not be given to others.  That could be another clue.  We might notice that we enjoy a sense of personal pride in achieving a certain degree of health or of wealth.  That pride might be something that pulls us into personalizing.

Sometimes we personalize simply out of habit or out of ignorance.  For example, for years we may have been saying grace before meals in an attitude of gratitude for the food that is on our table; for what God has provided for us.  Joel suggests that in order to impersonalize gratitude, our prayer should be one of gratitude for the Source of all food, and one of gratitude that food is provided for all of mankind.  This shift from the personal to the impersonal, or to the universal, is a simple change to make once we see it.

Becoming aware of when we are personalizing gives us the chance to consider how we can move more in the direction of impersonalizing and come to know ourselves as instruments for the infinite good of God.  Then we can allow the fullness of the “infinite storehouse of all good” to flow through us, and live from the impersonal altitude of “I live, yet not I; Christ lives my life,” and “I can of my own self do nothing; the Father within doeth the works.”  And, even as we do this, we remember that this Christ, this Father within, this “infinite storehouse of all good,” is not something other than my Self.  It is the mystical I of my being; the I that I truly am.