Session 2: #102B: “Flesh and Flesh”

Session 2: #102B: 1954 Seattle Practitioner Class
“Flesh and Flesh” (7/20/19 and 7/27/19)

The Recording

This class was one of four that provided source material for Chapter 9, “The Issues of Life Are in Consciousness” in Consciousness Is What I Am.
This recording was posted for listening through October 12, 2019.  It is no longer available on this site.
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Summary of the Class

This summary is provided simply as a reminder of the content of the class.
To download or print this summary, click here.  To purchase the full transcript, click here.  

In the course of this class, Joel provides answers to some key questions about the body.   These are not questions that are directly asked by students, but questions that we might have as we consider the topic of body:

*  Please explain further the “spiritual body” and the “concept body.” 
*  Where does the body fit in to the spiritual scheme?
*  How should we interpret the word “flesh” and how does it fit in? 
*  How does consciousness of truth affect the physical, or “concept” body? 

“Great is the mystery of Godliness—God manifest in the flesh.”  The “mystery of Godliness” is that God is your individual being; God is manifest as you.  “God manifest in the flesh” means God manifest as your individual Selfhood, your true being, which you identify as “I”—I, JoeI; I, Mary.  God is that I.  That is the great secret of the Master’s message.  We are not mortal or flesh and blood as we seem to be.  God constitutes individual being.  God is the life, substance, and very form of your being.  As you realize this, you indulge less in your personal selfhood and more in the God Selfhood.  As you live with the idea that God constitutes your being, the more you realize that God is responsible for your supply, your business, your home, and your success.  More and more the responsibility is on His shoulder and less on yours.

We have no holiness, purity, integrity, loyalty, fidelity, or wisdom of our own.  God, the center of my being, the reality of me, is good, and there is only one wisdom, the wisdom of God manifest as my individual being.  Your capacities are capacities of God, not of you.  Jesus said, I and the Father are one,” and “Thou seest me, thou seest the Father that sent me.”  But he also said, “your Father and my Father,” including us in that same relationship with God.  The secret is that we have that same birth and mission as he.  We are immaculately conceived children of God, even though the human belief is that we are conceived and born through human processes.

Creation is an act of an invisible principle, made visibly manifest.  It is God incarnating Itself in manifest form.  The Master said, “Call no man on earth your father,” and the orthodox church interprets this to mean that he was immaculately conceived.  But he also said, “Call no man on earth your father, for one is your Father, which art in heaven.”  He acknowledges that we have the same relationship to God as he had.  God is the creative principle of this universe appearing infinitely in form as male, female, and neuter—but it is the same life appearing.  So the real mystery of Godliness is knowing your true identity; knowing that God is your Selfhood; knowing that you need not depend on what you know, think, feel, hear, or read, but that there is a Father within, the creative Principle, that can reveal Itself and Its plan to you.  This creative Principle evolved the world and made us, and we do not have to tell It what we want.

Now, the great puzzle to metaphysicians is the subject of “flesh” or “body.”  Where does the body fit into this spiritual scheme?  Where does the word “flesh” fit in?  Scripture is clear on this, but it has been interpreted in a confusing way.  We have statements in the Bible like In my flesh I shall see God,” and Let all flesh bless His holy name.”  That seems to make flesh something good.  But then in the same Bible we have All flesh is as grass,” and “No flesh can be saved.”  And we have the greatest passage on the subject: The Word became flesh,” and right after that, The flesh profiteth nothing,” and “They that live after the flesh shall die.”   It is confusing!

To understand the subject of flesh and body, you must understand the meanings of these seemingly contradictory Bible passages, which actually are no more contradictory than when we say, “God is the only power,” and then, “God isn’t power.”  When we say that God is power, we do not mean that God is a power over something, but simply that God is the only power, in the sense of a creative, sustaining energy or law that maintains the integrity of the universe.  God is not a power in the sense that God heals disease or reforms sinners, because those conditions of sin, disease, death, lack, limitation are not conditions.  They are illusions.  When you know the nature of error, you do not need a God to heal a disease.  You need the understanding that disease isn’t a reality, in the same way that to dispel the illusion of water on a desert, you simply have to realize that there is no water there.  This universe is already perfect, so we don’t need God as a power to improve it or heal it.  We need the realization of IS.  

Instead of saying “God becomes manifest as individual being,” we can say, “God becomes manifest as flesh, as form, as individuality.”  That word “flesh” can be used for body, for individual being, for embodiment, and for form, meaning spiritual form.  The word “flesh” can even be used to mean a thought form.  For example, the laws of aerodynamics always existed, but for a time were unknown.  When the Wright Brothers discovered these laws, they “became flesh;” that is, the laws took the form of a thought, an idea in an individual’s consciousness.  The laws now had a “body,” a body in the individual’s mind, in his consciousness.  Then the ideas were externalized in another form of “flesh”—the physical airplane.  That physical form is the flesh that is “as grass,” in that it can flourish today and be burned up tomorrow.

So when the Word, which is God, the unmanifest, becomes manifest as the Christ, or Son of God, it is now a manifested idea.  In the mind of God, you are now “flesh.”  You are manifest.  You are God incarnate in spiritual form, eternal, and immortal.  That which I see as your physical body is not your body.  It is my concept of your body, or a universal concept of body, but it is not your true, spiritual body.  What I behold with the senses has no existence except in my mentality.  You are the Word made flesh, but I can’t see that spiritual form, that body.  All I can see with my eyes is my concept of your spiritual being and form.

As long as I entertain that concept of you, I will never know you as you truly are. That concept of you must die.  When I release that concept, stop judging you by appearances, and let God define what, who, and where you are, the answer will be, “This is My Son, My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”  That is what we are.  We are the Word made flesh, but it is a flesh that is a spiritual form, an infinite body that is eternal.  What I behold with the senses as body is only my concept of that spiritual form.   So when we say, “In my flesh I shall see God,” it means that in my spiritual realization, in my individual embodiment, I can close my eyes and know God.  But if I look out with my eyesight, I can never see God or the Son of God.

“The Word made flesh” refers to God incarnate as individual being; that which we truly are.  God is made flesh, evident, tangible.  But “the flesh that profiteth nothing,” or “flesh and blood that cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” refers to the concept, so when you use the word “flesh” in that sense, you can translate it to “concept.”  When you look at yourself in the mirror, you cannot see your true “flesh,” or body.  What you see in the mirror is the world’s concept of body and flesh, which is changeable.  All concepts change, and the higher you go in consciousness, the better that body concept will look and feel.

But eventually that concept must die.  It can die from old age and disease or it can die by a transformation of consciousness.  The choice lies with you.  If you continue to accept the world’s judgment, then someday your “flesh,” the concept body, will die through age or disease.  But if you “abide in My word and let My word abide in you;” if you keep your consciousness filled with God, realizing more and more of the nature of the “Word made flesh;” that you are begotten of God just as Jesus was, then you will die to the concept through transformation without a so-called physical death.  With that transformation, the concept body will take on an ever better appearance, with more vitality, youth and strength.  That better appearance is your realization, your state of consciousness, made manifest.  You are dropping the mortal concept of body.

So again, “flesh” beheld through the senses, is our concept of our real identity.  “Flesh” apprehended spiritually in meditation, is our spiritual form.  Those that live by the “flesh” of concepts will die.  Sometimes a person perfects a wonderful physical body with diet and exercise, but then it deteriorates because he has built it on artificial values that have no sustaining value.  The person who is sensible with what they eat and lives every day in meditation and contemplation of the word of God will be fed from within.  We live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

The “meat that the world knows not of” refers to “flesh” in the spiritual sense.  It is the inner meat, the inner bread.  The meat on the butcher’s table is a concept of that inner meat, an external form, and is here today and gone tomorrow.  Scripture says that bread is the staff of life, and in that sense, “bread” means “the word of God,” so the Word of God is the staff of life.  When you abide in the Word, you will not have an over-indulgence or an under-indulgence in food.  There will be a spiritual selectivity that will direct you in matters of food and drink.

We don’t have to lay up external forms.  We must be willing to see them come and go.  As you come into higher states of consciousness, the “Word made flesh” that is your real, unchanging, eternal, infinite individuality will continuously externalize itself in new outer forms. If you cling to external forms, you prevent that “Word made flesh” from appearing in those newer and finer forms.  Enjoy any form of good that comes to you, but don’t try to hold on to it.  Likewise, don’t be concerned with what seems to be going on in the concept body form.  Something should be going on, because a transformation is taking place in your consciousness that is breaking up old patterns.  The old patterns must die in order that the newer and higher ones can appear.

Changes in outer forms can be difficult for both children and adults.  But to resist them is to resist something new that is higher, better, and nobler.  Our work is to be clothed upon with an ever newer and higher concept of body.  So let no Infinite Way student talk about a vile body or a mortal body or a material one or an ugly one.  God is the substance of your body, your true form, and the more you realize that, the more beautiful and harmonious and healthy will be the outer form.

To purchase the transcript of this recording, click here.
To purchase this recording, click here. 

Additional Offerings for Study

 1.  Chapter 4 in the book Awakening Mystical Consciousness  is titled “Flesh and Flesh,” and it addresses the same themes that were in recording #102B, which we heard in our tape group session.  Should you wish to pursue the topic further, that chapter is very helpful.  It is based on two other recordings that are also titled “Flesh and Flesh,” namely #94B and #95A, from the 1954 Portland Practitioner Class.  We evaluated those two recordings for our study program, but concluded that the recording we chose, #102B, was the clearest lesson on this topic.

2.  As we mentioned on the introductory page for this study program, when we previewed recordings, we found several classes in which Joel teaches some wonderful lessons about the body, but covers other topics as well.  We chose not to use these for our weekly sessions, but to post the best of them from time to time as “Additional Offerings for Study.”  As a complement to this session, we offered recording 468A, from the 1962 Chicago Closed Class, titled “Discovery of My Self.”  It reinforced several of the themes we heard in our online sessions for this study program.   Among the topics Joel addresses in this class are:

* Does “within me” mean “within my body”?
* If I am not “in” my body, and I am not my body, who, where, and what am I?

This recording was used as source material for Chapter 8, “The Mystical I” and Chapter 12, “The Discovery of the Self” in A Parenthesis in Eternity, and in Chapter 3, “Giving Our Gift to the Altar” in The Altitude of Prayer.  

In keeping with our agreement with the Estate of Joel Goldsmith, which holds the copy protection on all Goldsmith recordings, this recording was available for listening for ten weeks.  It is no longer available on this site.