Joel Goldsmith – Practicing the Presence

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Joel Goldsmith – Practicing the Presence

July 1, 2013

While on vacation recently, I began to reread one of Joel Goldsmith’s books entitled “Practicing the Presence”, (1958). I first read Joel’s works almost 25 years ago. I sensed he was speaking truth about meditation and how to experience the Divine in that state. After 20 plus years of contemplative readings and prayer, Joel’s writing has begun to make sense to me.

Joel says that there are two main parts of the journey. The first part is the realization that the Kingdom of God is within all of us. The second part is experiencing the Christ through deep prayer and loving intention to experience the Presence that is always available to us. Joel says that this experience could be a feeling of warmth, a feeling of release, a still quiet voice, or something that touches our heart so that we know we were visited by the Christ. This is only the beginning and is enhanced through increased times of deep silent meditation. Joel indicates that the Christ is not reached by words or thoughts but through hours of silent meditation where we open ourselves to the Christ.

The Christian mystics followed Paul’s advice to “pray without ceasing.” The early mystics indicated that the strength in one’s prayer is in stillness and silence. Jesus also says that we also must pray in secret. Mathew 6:6 indicates that we must enter the inner sanctuary, close the door, and pray where others cannot see us. If we pray in public, the ego is on display which destroys our spiritual integrity. The whole mission of Jesus was about the transformation of one’s personal ego to the ego of Christ. One can experience a more sacred and holy relationship with God if praying in secret.

Continuous inner meditation and reaching toward the center of our being will eventually lead to part 2 above – experiencing the Christ within us. Joel indicates that the degree to which we experience the Christ within us, determines the degree of individual unfoldment. Christ becomes a part of our life – by feeding us, supplying us, enriching us, healing us and bringing us into fullness of life. Joel shares his connection to Christ with all of by being a spiritual conduit that has healed many in the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

Contemplative Outreach, created in the early 1980’s, also uses the principles of meditation to help “practice the Presence”; it is called Centering Prayer and references Mathew 6:6 also as a biblical description of reaching inward through silent contemplation to locate and experience the ever present God.

Tilden Edwards, founder of The Shalem Institute, wrote a book entitled “Living in the Presence: Spiritual Exercises to Open Our Lives to the Awareness of God” in 1987. This book expanded the approaches to opening oneself to the Holy One that dwells within all. These exercises and reflections are envisioned to help anyone to live in the awareness of God. Also, the exercises include breathing, praying with icons or scripture and simple meditation in the silent sacred space, and many more. Joel and Tilden both recognize the indwelling presence, realizing that God can be touched through holy silence and that these simple methods bring forth a transformation that allows the Christ to grow in our hearts.

In conclusion, Joel Goldsmith, one of America’s greatest Christian mystics, indicates that this meditative practice is open to all. “Every person who has known dissatisfaction, incompleteness and frustration will someday learn that there is only one missing link in this entire chain of harmonious living. That is the practice of the presence of God – consciously, daily and hourly, abiding in some great spiritual strength of scripture, and it makes no difference which scripture: Christian, Hebrew, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, or Muslim.”

By Phil Stone

2013 The Contemplative Path. Laptop computer.