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

The Contemplative Journey – Finding God Within

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For almost twenty years I have been traveling deeper in search for the God that is closer to me than my every breath. I am attracted to many aspects of this journey and will write a series of articles about what I have discovered. The focus of these articles will be about the idea that God dwells within all and is there for our taking. God is within, not out there somewhere.

This journey has some characteristics that I am attracted to:

– The three S’s: Silence, Solitude and Simplicity
– Becoming aware of an Inner Presence
– Being spiritually energized by a balance of meditation, exercise and diet
– Meditative discernment
– Contemplative and silent retreats
– This spiritual path is inclusive of all faith traditions
– Prayer methods including meditation, chanting, labyrinth etc…
– Reading the contemplative mystics
– Going deeper to be with the God who is already there

TransformationI am personally drawn to this path as a way to sense the closeness of an inner presence which my tradition calls The Divine Indwelling. I plan to investigate various aspects of this holy concept. Where is this Presence specifically located (heart, brain, DNA, soul…)? How would your life change if you realized that God dwells within you and you are “one” with the creator of all? How do the many faith traditions recognize and name this Presence? Why is this kept a secret in many traditions? Why did so many of the great historical mystics have a clear understanding of the Divine Indwelling? I hope to investigate the holy literature (Bible, Torah, Koran, etc…) to locate truth about God’s home in the creation. And finally I invite readers of the coming articles to submit your thoughts and understanding on this concept.

Jan Phillips says it best:

“Strange as it sounds, there is only one of us, and each of us is a cell in that Great Holy One. Each of us is a carrier of sacred wisdom, a prophet announcing the world to come, a mystic bewildered by the God in our bed. We are part of an ongoing new creation that is unfolding through and in and with our bodies. Through our senses, we experience the miracle of the Divine Indwelling every day, in our own beings, and in everything that exists around us. The world is our altar, our communion table, our laboratory, our stage.

And these bodies of ours, these are our souls’ sacred vessels, the instruments through which the Great Beloved sings, laughs, labors, and loves. We are the eyes through which God sees, the Mind through which God ponders, the hands through which God touches. As we dwell as cells in the body of God, God dwells in us as our vital force, pushing outward, awaiting release, prompting communion, awareness, and joy. To love ourselves is an act of faith, a sacrament of acknowledgement, a gesture of solidarity with the Holy One within.”

Jan Phillips, http://www.janphillips.com/home.htm

Welcome!

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Welcome to The Contemplative Path… Join us as we journey towards our Source.

Those who follow the Contemplative Path bear endless witness to the words of Saint Augustine: “Lord, you made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” There is nothing certain about the journey. No matter how far down the path we progress toward God, we will always be impatient. The path can be difficult and dangerous. As spiritual travelers on the road to God, we often lose our way, take wrong turns, grow tired. But, there are also sacred moments of rest. At these times of quiet we may even feel that we have somehow reached the end of the path. Yet, even these times of peace and restoration are short-lived. We grow impatient once again; we thirst for more. If we are serious about our trip, we soon come to realize that the path home to the Divine forever calls us to keep moving ahead. God calls us ever deeper down the path. And the path has no end!

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