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Chapter 6: “Demands of the Spiritual Life”

The Recording for This Chapter 

The basis for this chapter is Recording 429B, from the 1961 Seattle Special Class, titled “Demands of the Spiritual Life, continued.”  It continues the class that we heard for Chapter 5.

*  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, in this class, Joel told a story that was not included in the book chapter.  One of the points that Joel emphasizes in this chapter is that God is not separate and apart from our daily experience.  This story is helpful in that it illustrates how even people of spiritual status may not connect God with their own life or experience.  This is a summary of the story:  

Joel was visiting India, and a swami came to pay his respects to Joel.  The conversation came around to the subject of prayer, and the swami told Joel that he never prayed for anybody or any thing, because that would be “commercial.”  Later in their talk, the swami confided in Joel that he had painful ulcers.  He invited Joel to visit him in his cave, and when Joel went there, the swami was experiencing a great deal of pain.  He asked if Joel’s prayers would relieve him, and Joel told him that they would.  He asked Joel to pray for him, and Joel did.  The swami’s pain stopped.  The next day when he came to see Joel, he was joyful because he was still pain-free.  So Joel returned to the subject of prayer, and he asked the swami, now that he had been freed from pain, if he did not think he could be of greater service to the people he was meant to serve.  The swami replied that he would consider it.  

Optional Study Suggestions

(To download or print these, click here.)

Once again, this chapter is a call to practice—to practice consciously connecting God with our lives.  In fact, Joel uses the word “consciously” or “conscious” over 25 times in this chapter!  “Consciously” means “in a way that is deliberate and intentional; in a way that shows one is aware of what one is doing.”  Joel suggests that we be vigilant about  consciously knowing the truth with every situation that arises in our experience from the moment we awaken in the morning; consciously acknowledging God in all our ways; consciously keeping our mind, heart, and soul alive and alert in God.  So practice is really the best “study” for this chapter.  As Joel says at the end of the chapter:

“Is it not clear why following the spiritual path is difficult? It is difficult because the very simplicity of the principles makes us think that they do not have to be practiced. We do not awaken in the morning and consciously embrace God in our day. We do not go through the routine of realizing that God is responsible for all that is in the earth. …

“Everything is God’s, and whatever is God’s is yours and mine. ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine,’ but we must consciously embrace that truth in order to manifest it. The fact that it is the truth will not help us. ‘Ye shall know the truth’; then the truth we know will help us. But if we are not consciously embracing God, the activity of God, the substance of God, the law of God, the life of God, and the mind of God, we are not experiencing it.

“It is like having money in the bank that we do not know about. As far as we are concerned, it is of no use to us. It is the same with God. We have all the God that anybody else has, even as much as Jesus Christ had. The difference is that Jesus Christ knew God so thoroughly that he lived with Spirit morning, noon, and night. He went away for forty days occasionally to contemplate It, meditate upon It, glory in It, rest in It, relax in It, and to let that Spirit so fill him that wherever he went, he was a benediction. Even his clothes were filled with the spirit of God, so that when a person touched his clothing he was healed. Why? There was no more of God in him than there is in us, but he was more consciously aware of It.

“The whole secret is consciousness. Consciousness! Be conscious, know the truth: I will never leave you, nor forsake you. I will be with you to the end of the world. Know this truth; be conscious of it; live with it morning, noon, and night; pray without ceasing, and you will bring it into your experience.

“The hypnotism of this world is so great … that we are all receivers of the world’s sadness and badness, and if we do not consciously separate ourselves from it and bring ourselves consciously into our oneness with God, we do not experience it and we do not enjoy it. If we get mentally lazy and just decide to read a book about it, we will lose it. …

“Reading the thirty odd books recounting my experiences on the path will not help anyone very much. … The benefit that students can get from my thirty years is not in reading my books or hearing my tape recordings but in taking these principles of life and embodying them in their consciousness.

 “If I had not had to do the same thing, I would not tell students to do it. I have to keep it up as much as anyone else. I have to live morning, noon, and night in the conscious remembrance of these truths.”

Resources for Practice

Many of you are already familiar with Joel’s recommendations for how to go through your day consciously connecting God with your life.  If you are not familiar with these, or if a review would be helpful to you, we recommend a few resources.  The idea here is not to just give you more reading, but to give you some focused references that can assist you in practicing.

1.  In several of his classes, Joel recommends that students work with specific passages in his book The Infinite Way, which provide a guide to living the day in spiritual consciousness. [Please note: In the quote below, the page numbers that Joel cites may not be the same page numbers in your book because there are many editions of the book, and the page numbers vary among editions. However, you can find the passages he references in the chapter titled “Meditation.”]  Joel says:

“Now, here is Scripture: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee. The important word there is the word ‘stayed.’ … “Lean not unto thine own understanding; acknowledge him in all thy ways.’  Do you see the important phrase in there—‘acknowledge him in all thy ways.’ … Or the 91st  Psalm, first verse: ‘Those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, none of the evils will come nigh their dwelling place.’  … The dwelling place of whom? That individual who dwells, who lives in the secret place of the Most High, who lives and moves and has his being in God.

“And of course, the question comes, ‘How do you do that?’ There are probably many ways, but our way, the way I have discovered, and the way that is taught in The Infinite Way is this: in the book The Infinite Way, on pages 97 to 103, you will find an outline—not a formula but an outline—of a daily practice, beginning with waking in the morning and going through until bedtime at night, for a way of continuously reminding oneself of this presence of God, this power of God, this function of God in one’s life.”[1]

2.  Sometimes in his classes, Joel would take students through the day, recommending ways in which to practice connecting God with your life. To read a few of these commentaries, click here.

3.  Virginia Stephenson is one of the five teachers personally appointed by Joel to teach the message of The Infinite Way. She wrote a beautiful pamphlet titled “Establishing Love’s Day,” which provides a wonderful guide for living each day in the Spirit.  Aloha Mystics has graciously made this pamphlet available as a free download.  To read, download or print the pamphlet, click here.

4.  Joel’s book Practicing the Presence also provides wonderful guidance on how to live in the Spirit.

 

[1] Recording 65B, 1954 Honolulu Lecture Series, “Meditation on One Power”