Saturday, July 11, 2009

Joel Goldsmith (1892 - 1964) and "The Infinite Way" spiritual path

When Eckhart Tolle appeared on the Oprah show, someone asked him for suggestions for further study. Tolle recommended Joel Goldsmith's "Infinite Way" teaching.

There is a weekly Infinite Way study group at the Escondido Philosophical Library. The group listens to "The Infinite Way" tapes each week with an ensuing discussion. The monthly calendar announcement goes like this:

Hear Joel's direct teaching on mysticism, meditation and principles. Learn how to attain conscious union with God.

I love all the New Thought teachers. When I want to strengthen my connection with God, Source, the One, however, I pick up one of Joel's books and read. He is one of the most passionate mystical writers I have read and easily moves into a meditation on each principle he is explaining throughout each book. In his meditations, it is the infinite "I" speaking. To read his meditations is to join him in union with the One.

There are two things I read about Joel early in my study of "Science of Mind" that has had a profound effect upon my practice. One is the importance of daily meditation - communing with the Presence of God. The other is dropping whatever you are doing and immediately treating/ praying when a request is received. I have been doing both ever since and discovered, not surprisingly, that it has not only strengthened my practice but has strengthened my faith and deepened my in-sight into the unity of all things in God. (As I type this, the words "one nation under God indivisible" echo in my mind. How often have I spoken these words without regarding the profound meaning underneath them!)

Toward the end of my practitioner study, I was again reading Joel and came upon another of his practices that really resonated with me. He believed that anyone with a sincere desire to know the Truth and be lifted into wholeness would experience a healing as a result of his treatment. Anyone! It did not have to be the person who came to him requesting treatment; it did not have to be someone he knew or who knew him. Anyone who was open for it would be healed! With this belief, Joel did a treatment every day at 4 pm. He was a dedicated practitioner and teacher who worked to deepen his understanding, his connection and his skill his entire life. He was a sought after teacher then and is a sought after teacher now through his still-popular books, audios and his spiritual path, "The Infinite Way."

Joel came to the teaching early as a result of his father's healing from a "terminal illness" through Christian Science treatment. He was so moved by this demonstration that he studied and soon became one of the best practitioners in the Christian Science church. He eventually left the church and went on to develop and teach "The Infinite Way."

What is The Infinite Way®?
Below is the definition on the official Joel Goldsmith website, http://joelgoldsmith.com/:

"The Infinite Way is the name of the first book published by Joel S. Goldsmith. While he continued to write books, Mr. Goldsmith also carried on with his healing and practitioner work, and conducted lecture classes. Subsequently, Joel received many more requests to lecture across the country and in many parts of the world. Early on, students came to Joel and asked if he would audio record his lectures. In 1951, Joel established an office and called it ‘The Infinite Way’, and therein deposited all of his original writings and book manuscripts, and all of his original recordings. Students refer to Joel's work as The Infinite Way message. It is a blueprint for the attainment of God realization.

The Infinite Way message was brought to this world through the spiritual revelations of Joel S. Goldsmith. It is a mystical message by which students are taught spiritual Principles to live by and practice for God-realization and harmonious living. Joel’s healing and practitioner work was a demonstration of the spiritual Principles of this message. He traveled the world and lectured extensively by invitation. Joel did not advertise. The Infinite Way remains a world-recognized name by the sheer momentum of its spiritual application.

This message is an individual experience. We have thousands of stories from students who found this message in a wonderfully timely and mystical way. Infinite Way students are all around the world. One tenet of The Infinite Way instructs us to seek God aright in the secret, sacred silence of our inner Kingdom. There are many of us in the world, yet we are not a congregation. Our bond comes from the shared desire to seek God aright, to live in this world harmoniously, but not be subject to it.

The Infinite Way remains the same office that Joel S. Goldsmith established in his lifetime, and where all of his original materials continue to be preserved and maintained. Interested students are invited to contact us for more information on The Infinite Way materials."

On the same site, you will find Joel's principles of meditation: http://www.joelgoldsmith.com/meditation.html.

Additionally, Joel had students study 132 "wisdoms," one per day. Here are 4 examples:
  • Spiritual Truth is not true about humanhood, but about Spirit and Its Universe.
  • Humanhood is a state of mesmerism and only as the illusion breaks is one’s life in God.
  • Attainment comes only as one is loosed from all concepts of Truth and this comes only by Grace.
  • Prayer is not an activity of the human mind.
For more details about Joel's background or to order his books, go to http://joelgoldsmith.com/, http://www.christianscience.org/goldsmith.html or http://joelgoldsmith.wwwhubs.com/. You can also order his books through http://www.devorss.com/, the largest New Thought book publisher. Although amazon.com and other online booksellers also offer his books for sale, many also carry a line of his books edited by bnpublishing which took the liberty of changing and deleting some of his key material. Make sure the books you purchase are published by deVorss.

"The Infinite Way" and "A Course in Miracles"
In my research for sources selling Goldsmith's books, I found this reader's review of THE INFINITE WAY taken off of amazon.com and referencing Ken Wapnick's site for A COURSE IN MIRACLES students:

[beginning of review]
"I consider A COURSE IN MIRACLES to be a continuation of Joel S Goldsmith's THE INFINITE WAY (I am using this as a term for his entire teaching, not just this book). Joel died just months before Helen Schucman began scribing ACIM. I like to think of Joel helping out in some way with A COURSE IN MIRACLES on the other side of the veil. In ACIM, the principles of the Infinite Way are further developed and given depth and sophistication. Of course, this is all my humble opinion.

That said, I got this off of facim.org: [Wapnik's site]
Q #783: I notice many similarities between A Course in Miracles and The Infinite Way teachings of Joel S. Goldsmith. Would you please comment on this?

[Ken Wapnik's reply:]
A: "Because all authentic spiritual teachings are leading in the same direction -- towards an experience of oneness which transcends the false self, the finite ego -- it is very likely that similarities and parallels in content can often be identified between paths. Certainly that can be said for the teachings of Joel S. Goldsmith and A Course in Miracles . Both, for example speak of our real existence as spirit, that the material world is an illusion and the body is merely an idea that expresses what is in the mind, that error or sickness is in the mind and not in the body, and that healing is the result of correcting a false belief in the mind.

And yet there are differences. For example, Joel Goldsmith speaks of God as Consciousness expressing itself. The Course, in contrast, speaks of consciousness as "the first split introduced into the mind after the separation" (T.3.IV.2:1) . The Holy Spirit, the Voice for God in the dream according to the Course, is more nearly equivalent to the concept of Consciousness that Goldsmith refers to in his teachings. In addition, Goldsmith speaks of God as the life, mind, body, and substance of individual being, and of the body as existing as the idea of God. And therefore, we will never be without conscious awareness of the body, nor without the body. The Course, in contrast, views the body as the embodiment of the ego's wish that the separation be real (W.pI.72.2:1,2,3) , and teaches that the body nevertheless can be give a different purpose, that of healing and forgiveness, under the Holy Spirit's guidance. The body then will simply disappear from the mind once its usefulness to the Holy Spirit for healing is complete. And the emphasis of the Course, therefore, on looking at the ego and its thoughts of hatred and attack and guilt, is simply not reflected in Goldsmith's approach.

This is not to say that one is right and the other is wrong -- they are merely different. For as Jesus reminds us near the end of the Course, "A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed" (C.in.2:5,6) . To the extent that both teachings lead us to release all of our preconceptions about how things should be, what our physical and emotional lives should be like, and any effort to control the external to achieve our personal goals, they are both fostering a nonjudgmental acceptance, which is what the Course means by forgiveness. And so both would be leading us toward the same universal experience.

Although addressed to the issue of different teachings on the Course itself, Question #48 provides a helpful perspective on thinking about the relationship of the Course to other spiritual paths, such as Goldsmith's." [end of Wapnik's response]

"The Infinite Way does not have the psychological component of ACIM, yet what it does have is the love of a man whose very presence was a blessing upon this planet.

I came back to Joel's work after being diagnosed with a serious illness and cannot even begin to express in words the healing (that is a rising in consciouness) I am still experiencing, much less the deepening of my work with A Course in Miracles. "
[end of review]

Future direction for MV Science of Mind and New Thought Group:
Much enthusiasm was generated in the discussion about The Infinite Way and its relevance to Christian Science, New Thought and A Course in Miracles, practices familiar to many group members. The group decided that "The Infinite Way" would be the next book study to tackle after we complete "Science of Mind." (All decisions should be so easy!)

1 comment:

  1. Regarding Eckhart Tolle's recommendation of Joel Goldsmith's "Infinite Way" teaching, I must confess that I have reservations over Tolle's grasp and understanding of the teaching, as well as his motive. This is based on certain passages in Tolle's own books which go against the grain of Joel's nondual teaching of spiritual oneness. I have long suspected that Tolle's endorsement of Joel's mystical teaching is largely a token gesture after having lent his own name to one or two of Joel's book titles, in the form of a favorable (paid?) cover review and recommendation. Just sharing some discernment and insight here.

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