Talk on Joel Goldsmith
May 18 2008, Sonoma County, CA
By Michael Isaacs
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Thank you, Vivian and the Church of the Oaks for inviting me to speak to your gathering about the work of Joel Goldsmith, and in particular, his views about happiness.
When I heard that the talk was to be only 15-20 minutes, I said to myself: “How could I squeeze in all the material?”
Then I remembered the comment of President Franklin Roosevelt about public speaking. He said “Be brief, be sincere, and be seated”
Because of the brief time available, I hope you will forgive me for predominantly reading my notes. Otherwise I would succumb to my tendency to wander.
When the term God is used it means the universal God within, not an external being. And, when I say Man, I refer to both men and women.
Also, to save time I will also take the liberty of describing Goldsmith as simply Joel. One syllable instead of two!
Joel was in the long tradition of mystics, those who seek the actual experience, realization, and feeling of God’s presence, love, and power within their own being.
Current spiritual writers Marrianne Williamson, Wayne Dwyer, and Eckard Tolle have all acknowledged the influence of Joel in their spiritual growth.
He was born into a Jewish family in New York City in 1892 and died in 1962. With only a grade school education, he worked with in business with his father. He became a Christian Science practitioner in the Boston area for 16 years. A very successful healer, at the end of this span, he frequently had contact to up to 400 people a day, many of them by telephone. He didn’t spend much time over details in communication about their names, diseases, or other problems. He would merely say something like “Rest assured, I will take care of it. Call me back tomorrow”. The fact that he was in a high state of God awareness and consciousness and that someone was reaching out to him often accomplished the healing.
During the 16 years as a Christian Science healer, his intuition told him that meditation would deepen even more his relationship with God and his healing ministry. In the 1930’s not much was known about meditation in the West. So, he delved into the study of meditation and the ancient Indian scriptures.
Soon after leaving the Church, he published a book “The Infinite Way”, the only book that he actually wrote. This was inspired by his experience in illumination, which commenced when he heard a “clicking” sound while in meditation. The other forty four books were compilations of his many talks and the monthly letters that he sent out to his students.
He continued a private healing practice in California and later in Hawaii. At the same time, he traveled extensively giving lectures, not only in the major cities of the United States, but all over the world.
He labeled his body of work “The Infinite Way.” Though was often asked to start a religious organization, he refused. He felt that spiritual discernment was a personal experience. By the way, he said that if he had to select one religion it would be Zen Buddhism.
A little bit about myself: In my early years I was involved with Judaism; then came a short period of agnosticism; after that, fifteen years studying yogic MY PRACTICE; being initiated by an Indian monk, and receiving a mantra; involvement with Unity, Christian Science, Science of Mind; and finally moving on to the path of the Infinite Way.
My first encounter with Joel came about 20 years ago when I was doing some research for an article on meditation that I was writing. In the footnotes of various articles in my research I noticed the name of Joel Goldsmith next to the name Joseph Goldstein, an American Buddhist I was familiar with. But, Goldsmith, who was he? So I read his book, “The Art of Spiritual Healing.” I was bowled over by his unique method of healing. From then on, I have been reading his books, going to tape groups, communicating with Infinite Way practitioners for healing and counsel, and going to weekend retreats.
Soon after I started studying in the Infinite Way I changed my method of meditation from mantra meditation to the type that Joel espoused called contemplative meditation, which I will describe later.
HIS VIEWS ON HAPPINESS
Joel stated this about happiness:
Happiness or unhappiness in human existence, what does it matter! Happiness is of the Spirit
In the Introduction of his book, “Practicing the Presence” Joel says of an experience in his early years of spiritual seeking:
There have been many times in my life when I had reason to be dissatisfied with the way life was going, dissatisfied to the point of quietly, inwardly wondering and pondering the possibility of finding a way out. Long periods of success and happiness, followed by dissatisfaction and unhappiness, finally led to longer periods of introspection, cogitation, and contemplation of life, and what it was all about. In one of these experiences, while I cannot say I heard a voice, I do know that I received an impression that was something like an inner being saying to me, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee’. I must admit that this was a startling experience because up to this time I had been almost totally unfamiliar with the Bible; it had not been a daily companion, but merely a matter of occasional reading.
To further understand his view on happiness, it will be helpful to summarize his principles of truth. Joel was big on finding principles of truth. He lived by them and taught them. So, I would like to summarize some of the important ones:
Nature of God
Nature of Man,
Prayer and Meditation
Practicing the Presence of God
Why there is evil and suffering,
Impersonalization of evil and good
WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD
God is the creative principle-good, whole, perfect, infinite, and eternal. The most important aspect of good is love.
God is omnipresent-everywhere. God is omnipotent-the only power. God is omniscient-all intelligence and wisdom. God always has operated in the universe and always will, since it is eternal. Since God is beyond mind and thought, beyond the senses, Joel said the best concept he could come up with is the “infinite invisible.”
God does not punish or reward. God does not give or withhold. God is not separate from man. God has no favorites. God can not be influenced.
WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT MAN
Man is God individualized. Man is a child of God. If God is omnipresent good, there is not God and man, but only God appearing as man, with man having all the all the attributes of God-goodness, wholeness, perfection, infinity, and eternality.
There are many scriptural citations from the Bible affirming this truth, but I just have time for just one of Joel’s favorites:
“I and the Father are One”
NATURE OF PRAYER AND MEDITATION
Joel acknowledges the role of prayer, but states that prayers are rarely effective if directed for such individual desires as health, supply, and better human relationships.
On the other hand, prayers for other individuals or world peace may bear fruitage if coming from a point of humility, selflessness, and an earnest attempt to commune with God.
The only valid prayer for oneself is to pray for attaining the attainment of truth and self-realization.
Joel focused more on meditation than prayer because fruitage is greatest when there is emphasis of listening for the word of God. Meditation is an experience from God to man, not from man to God.
His meditation is called contemplative meditation, which consists of two parts:
The first part is to contemplate whatever truth you know about God or a truth from the scriptures. This is designed to induce assurance and relaxation. A truth about God might be:
“There is only one power- God, the good, the omnipotent”
A truth from the scriptures might be:
“Man does not live by bread alone, but whatever proceedeth from the mouth of God”
The second part is waiting in the silence. Among the Biblical authorities for this comes from the words of the prophet Elijah:
“God is not found in the whirlwind, but in the still small voice”
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