Questions and Answers from Joel

Many of us enjoy the classes in which Joel answers questions from students.  Sometimes the question is one that we ourselves might have asked.  Other times it is one that might not have occurred to us, but which we find interesting, and we are curious about how Joel will answer it.

On this page of our website, on the first and third Saturdays of the month, we will post a new question and answer from one of Joel’s classes or books.  We trust that you will find these interesting, helpful, and sometimes an answer to just what is on your mind.

You can access previously posted questions by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.

To download or print this Q and A, click here.

Posted on 2/15/20:

This excerpt is from Recording 624B, 1953 Second New York Closed Class, “Questions and Answers, Part 2, and Note from Hawaii”  It is posted with kind permission from the Estate of Joel Goldsmith, which holds the copy protection on the recorded classes and the copyright on the transcripts. The full transcript of this recording is available at www.joelgoldsmith.com or by calling 1-800-922-3195.

Joel said that he gets this type of question over and over again in his mail:  

Q:  “Why is it that I have been studying this, that, or the other metaphysical truth for years—two, five, ten, twenty—and achieved so little result?”  Or,I have had healings, but now they either do not come quickly or do not come at all.”  Or, “Why is it that I must always go to a practitioner for my help, and I’m not able to do my own work or do the work for my family?”

A:  Now, you see, there is a misunderstanding about the subject of truth.  When I speak of truth, I mean truth itself, whether you take it from the standpoint of Jesus Christ and his particular mission and message, or whether you take it from the standpoint of modern metaphysics, as we have known it in Christian Science, as it has been known by others in Unity, or as we ourselves may know it now in The Infinite Way.  Many people really believe that by knowing the words of truth, by reading them or reciting them, that this in some unknown way results in healing.  It is very much like the attitude of people in orthodox religious belief.  They too believe that they either can go to a church and pray or remain home and pray—pray to God—and receive an answer.

Now, in both cases, whether we are thinking of the orthodox thought or the metaphysical thought, let me tell you that living your ordinary human life, devoting yourself to human pursuits, continuing to accept human standards of value, you will not—either through orthodox prayer or through metaphysical teaching—achieve healings or improvement in your experience.  No, no.  It does not come in that way.  God is spirit, and God must be approached in spirit, through spirit, and the response from God can only be received through spiritual consciousness.  “The natural man receiveth not the things of God.[1]

God is love.  God is not withholding your good.  Be assured of that.  God is not withholding good from this universe.  We are in a world of wars, depressions, rumors of wars, fears of bombs, and fears of depressions for only one reason: We do not have access to God.  I’m speaking now of the world at large.  Be assured of this: There are people in the world who are not at war, who are not suffering from depressions, nor are they suffering from the fear of bombs or the fear of lack or limitation, and these people have attained some measure of spiritual consciousness, some measure of that mind which was also in Christ Jesus.

You cannot go to God in the material sense of life and receive spiritual riches.  Ah!  If you studied your Bible—really studied it objectively—you would know that we talk in the Bible of spiritual riches, of spiritual good.  When the Master says, “I have meat,” you know that he’s not talking about the flesh of animals.  When the Master says, “I am the truth,” you know he’s not talking about a book of truth or a book of truth quotations.  When the Master says, “Ask me, and I will give you water, living waters,” you know that he doesn’t mean water from a well or from a river or from a brook.  Oh, no.  You know that he is talking about inner meat, inner wine, inner water. When he says, “I am the bread of life,” is he talking about a bake shop?  Oh, no, and you know that.  You know that.  You know that when he says, “I am the bread of life,” he means, “I am the staff of life; I am that on which you may lean; I am that on which you may rely; I am that which maintains you and sustains you and supports you.”  But that I is God.  That I is spiritual consciousness.  That I is the Christ.

Now then, Paul was very clear on the subject of God, Spirit and the natural man.  That is why you have so many statements of his to the effect that you are only the child of God “if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you.”[2]  That’s why he says, “The natural man receiveth not the things of God;”[3] and “The carnal mind is enmity against God. [4] Do you not see that whether in the revelation of the Master or the later unfoldment of Paul, you have the same idea presented to you—that you must come to God in spirit, “not in this holy mountain nor yet in Jerusalem;”[5] nor should you pray before men; nor should you give your benevolences that men may see them.  

In other words, anything—any conduct, any thought, any approach to God through material sense will not be rewarded.  Why?  Is there a God holding out this good until you conform?  Certainly not.  God is spirit. The language of God is a spiritual language; so much so that the voice of God can only be heard in silence.  God is spirit, and you must make your approach to God through spiritual awareness, through spiritual consciousness.  Then you will find that in proportion to the degree of your spiritual awareness, you will receive healings and you will be enabled to heal, to raise the dead, to multiply loaves and fishes, to comfort those that mourn and perform all of the functions of the Christ.

In our class work here, you received, as I did, the unfoldment of Isaiah’s vision of the Christ, and so you know that Christ was not revealed as a temporal power.  Christ was not revealed as the doer of material things.  Christ was revealed as the spirit of God in man.  Christ was revealed as that which performed Its work not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit.  Surely you have seen that Christ is the spirit of God in man, and only in proportion as you entertain that Christ in your being do you bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.

The fruits of the Spirit are not necessarily physical healings, mental healings, moral healings, or financial healings as such.  No.  Spiritual fruitage is peace, gentleness, humility, kindness, benevolence, and as you find these qualities appearing more and more in your experience, of this you can be assured—health of mind, health of body, health of purse will follow.  These will be the added things.  Added to what?  Added to your spiritual development.   As a matter of fact, they will not be added, but rather they will be revealed as the outer experiences of your inner spiritual development.

If I were speaking to a public audience, they might gather from this a sense of helplessness or hopelessness and say, “Well, since I haven’t that spiritual consciousness; since I haven’t developed that spiritual awareness; it seems like a pretty helpless and hopeless thing for me to go to God with my problem.”  You, however, will not gather any such hopeless outlook from what I have just said.  Rather, this message should fill you with hope and promise, since for a long time, you have been on the spiritual path and are approaching—and many of you are already there in some measure—that mind that was in Christ Jesus.  And what is more important, you know how to achieve spiritual consciousness.  You know how to develop your spiritual awareness.

Every passage of a spiritual nature that you read—whether of Scripture, or of your favorite metaphysical or spiritual writings—every passage that you read, contemplate, ponder, is another grain of developed spiritual consciousness in you.   Every lecture that you hear, every class that you attend, every recording that you study or hear of this message is doing something to you in the within.  You may not notice the result today or tomorrow any more than you would if you studied piano and expected to note the result within a week or month or year.  Spiritual consciousness is not developed as quickly as musical consciousness, but with every grain of inner development there is a grain of outer improved experience, so that from the first week of your study, or the first month of your study, harmony must begin to appear in your experience.

If you say, “Oh no, I have been studying a year—or two or three or five—and my outer experience is not showing forth the fruitage,” then I will say, “You have not been studying  it.”  You have been reading it, or listening to it, but without the inner practice, the open inner ear, the open inner eye.  “Do you have ears and do not hear; do you have eyes and do not see?”[6]  This means, “Are you sitting there just seeing with your physical eyes and hearing with your physical ears?  Or, while you are reading or listening, are you alert inside?  Are you keyed up inside to the point of eagerness, drinking in the message of Scripture and of your spiritual reading matter?  When you hear a tape recording, when you attend a lecture or a class, are you— inwardly at least—sitting on the edge of your seat drinking in as a blotter would drink in ink or water?  Do you soak in this message as a sponge would soak in water?”

If you are sitting, merely listening with your ears, merely reading with your eyes and hoping, a year will pass, years will pass, and it may be many years before the light breaks upon you.  But if you are turning to this message in the same way—well, how shall I say it—in the same way that you would pray on your deathbed for more life, or as a starving man would pray for food, or as a thirsting man would pray for water, wanting to be filled, filled, filled with the Spirit; filled with the Word of God; filled with the very consciousness of the presence of God; you will quickly find that you are developing your spiritual sense and you will be attuned to the Spirit.  Then you are no longer the “natural man who receiveth not the things of God.” Then you are the new creature. …

Now when Paul speaks of dying daily, he is speaking of the natural man dying daily—the man whose faith is in dollar bills, medicines, or any outer circumstance or condition.  The [man of spiritual consciousness] has forsaken that and realized, “No, the kingdom of God is within me. Thy grace is my sufficiency in all things.  It isn’t something in the external that I need.  It isn’t employment that I need.  It isn’t a home that I need.  It isn’t companionship I need.  It isn’t money I need. Thy grace is my sufficiency.”

Well, don’t you see that just reading in the Bible: “Thy grace is my sufficiency”[7] will do nothing for you?  Do you not see that even repeating it parrot-like, will avail you nothing?  But do you not also see that once you ponder within your thought: “Thy grace is my sufficiency. Only Thy grace can meet my needs.  Thy grace it is that goes before me to make the crooked places straight.   Thy grace is my meat, my wine, my water.  Thy grace is my fortress, my rock, my salvation.  Thy grace is the power of resurrection unto this body.  Why, through Thy grace, if this temple were destroyed, it would be raised up again.  Thy grace would be enough to restore it—not my right thinking, not my prayers.  Thy grace would be my sufficiency.”

Now, do you see that with this kind of practice, thought becomes divested of its faith, hope and reliance on anything or anyone in the external realm?  And in proportion as that happens, one’s awareness, apprehension and comprehension of inner values, inner power, increases.  Now this new man is at one with God.  This new man is in tune with the Infinite.  This new man receives the grace of God and shows it forth in his human experience, in the harmonies of being in a body and a pocketbook.

Now, do not ever believe that you can be the same man you were yesterday, thinking the same material thoughts, having the same material fears, and yet go to God today to receive spiritual grace, spiritual illumination or the touch of the Christ.  No, begin at this moment to realize that the grace of God is revealed to you within; that the grace of God can only come to you as you learn to ponder within your being on the nature of God and the real nature of prayer.  Then quickly you will find answers coming to prayer.  Answers coming to what you asked for?  No! You won’t have to ask.  The answers will come before you ask.  You will find it literally true that “Your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of these things,”[8] even before you ask, and “it is his good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[9]  But don’t ask God for externals.  Don’t pray to God for externals.  God doesn’t know that language.  God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.

We are told that we know not how to pray.  We must let the Spirit pray; let the Spirit bear witness with our spirit; let the Spirit make intercession for us.  So, do you not see that in your spiritual consciousness, you will not bother yourself or attempt to bother God with announcing your material needs?  Rather you will learn to be silent within and let God’s grace reveal itself to you.

[1] 1 Corinthians 2:14
[2] Romans 8:9
[3] 1 Corinthians 2:14
[4] Romans 8:7
[5] John 4:21
[6] Mark 8:18
[7] 2 Corinthians 12:9
[8] Matthew 6:32
[9] Luke 12:32

Previously Posted Questions and Answers

2/1/20: Please tell us something about the Transfiguration.
1/18/20: When we turn to God, when we are seeking divine guidance in our daily affairs, how do we know whether or not it is divine guidance?
1/4/20: Would you please explain in your own words this statement: “When we can look at a problem without running from it or struggling against it, this very problem ceases to exist”?

To view questions and answers posted in 2019, click here.
To view questions and answers posted in 2018, click here.
To view questions and answers posted in 2017, click here.
To view questions and answers posted in 2016, click here.