From The Thunder of Silence by Joel Goldsmith
In the Sermon on the Mount, are set forth two entirely different ways of life
with no common meeting ground. The one is the ye-have-heard-it-said-of-old way exemplified
by the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, which is the way of the great majority
of human beings the world over. It is also the way of almost all religious teachings on earth
today, except for those mystical teachings which rarely reach human consciousness
because most people do not seek for a way of life which is such a radical departure from
the conventional human mode of living; and therefore, except among those who follow the
mystical path, little, or perhaps more correctly, nothing is known of the I-say-unto-you way
The Master's great teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and in all the four Gospels is not
one of weakness, expediency, or compromise, nor is it one of blindly and meekly letting the
world do anything it wants to do to us and of our passively taking all the beating it wants to
give us. Rather is it one in which we resist not evil in the realization that the Father within is
taking care of our interests.
To a person engrossed in materiality, enmeshed in and governed by that tyrannical master,
the reasoning mind, this way of life would undoubtedly be quickly judged and condemned
as totally and impossibly impractical. At first it does seem impractical, but let us stop for
one moment and try to see why it is that we feel we must protect ourselves by battling
and struggling mentally, physically, or prayerfully. Is not all this based on the erroneous
premise that there are two powers in this world? If there were only one power, God, would
there be anything to struggle against or to battle? It is true that if we judge according to
what we see and hear, there are two powers. But upon what are we basing our judgment?
Are we not judging solely by appearances? Are we not judging by the evidence before us?
The Master warned us not to judge according to the appearance, but to judge righteous
judgment. If we judge righteously, which means bearing witness not to what we see or
hear but to what unfolds spiritually from within, we shall soon discover the miracle and
the mystery of this teaching: There are not two powers -there is only one.
In the Sermon on the Mount. we are shown the human way of life as we have been living it,
but we are also given a
glimpse of the spiritual life which can be attained and which is the most practical way of life
there is because it is a life lived by a spiritual principle. and that spiritual Principle is
God-infinite, eternal, universal, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
At some period in our lives. we must all come to an actual demonstrable experience of
that Presence which Jesus called the Father within. Not only must we individually
experience this Presence, but we must contribute in every way possible to making it a
part of world experience.
There are faint rumblings of a new understanding among
nations. Not too many years ago the only way of settling international disputes was by war.
The conference table was tried by a few - but usually failed because lurking in men's minds
was the thought that if talk proved ineffectual, there was always the possibility of calling out
the army and navy, but to what can nations resort in this day of nuclear fission?
Since everybody realizes that civilization could never survive an atomic war, those in
responsible positions are now seeking for some other solution to world tensions.
Some of them have even come to the place where they are wont to censure tbeir allies if
they resort to violence and forgo the conference table. Regardless of how much right
seems to be on any nation's side, the world is slowly ceasing to tolerate the use of force,
even if temporarily a nation loses by virtue of failing to use physical might. That is the first
toddling step toward
the mode of life advocated in the Sermon on the Mount.
Years and years and years ago, before ever The lnfinite
Way was dreamed of, I saw that the solution to all human
problems rested in the ability not to fight back. pot to fight error, but on the ability to rest
in the one Power.
(In his Course in Miracles Jesus calls this ability defenselessness) Once we
are able to do that, we are practicing the Sermon on the Mount and living the spiritual life,
because then there is no more need to seek good health than to get rid of bad health;
there is no more need to seek supply than to run away from lack: We stand still in divine
Being, not in human being.
Those who live by the sword, even a mental sword, shall die by the sword. So put it up.
Stop defending yourself. In every prayer and in every meditation in every treatment
remind yourself to put up your sword. When we no longer use human weapons, physical or mental,
we relax, not into letting the world do what it wants with us, but into that Spirit which is within us in
order to let It take over and govern our experience.
The Sermon on the Mount gives us a choice between two ways of life the law or
Grace. If we choose the law, we will probably have a little easier time of it because we
shall be conforming to common practice, going along with the crowd, and in some measure
we may for a time benefit, until the day of retribution comes. On the other hand, if we attempt
to live by Grace, we shall find ourselves out of step with this world, and we may temporarily
suffer injustices that we do not deserve. In the final analysis, however, we find that we have
come under God's grace, God's government, and God's protection. God's will and not the
will of man is being done in us. And that is an entirely different life.
Some of what Jesus has to say about our belief in war and conflict in his "Course in Miracles":
Peace is stronger than war because it heals. War is division, not increase.
No-one gains from strife.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The ego's voice is an hallucination. You cannot expect it to say I am not real.
Hallucinations ARE inaccurate perceptions of reality. Yet you are not asked to dispel
them alone. You are merely asked to evaluate them in terms of their results to YOU.
If you do not want them on the basis of loss of peace, they will be removed from your
mind FOR you. Every response to the ego is a call to war, and war DOES deprive you
of peace. Yet in this war there is no opponent. THIS is the reinterpretation of reality
which you must make to secure peace, and the only one you need EVER make.
Perception and Wishes
Do you not see that all your misery comes from the strange belief that you are
powerless? Being helpless is the COST of sin. Helplessness is sin's condition; the one
requirement that it demands to be believed. Only the helpless COULD believe in it.
Enormity has no appeal save to the little. And only those who first believe that they
ARE little could see attraction there. Treachery to the Son of God is the defense of
those who do not identify with him. And you are for him or against him; either you love
him or attack him, protect his unity or see him shattered and slain by your attack.
No-one believes the Son of God is powerless. And those who see themselves as helpless
MUST believe that they are not the Son of God. What can they be EXCEPT his enemy?
And what can they do but envy him his power, and by their envy make themselves afraid
of it? These are the dark ones, silent and afraid, alone and not communicating, fearful
the power of the Son of God will strike them dead, and raising up their helplessness
against him. They join the army of the powerless, to wage their war of vengeance,
bitterness and spite on him, to make him one with them. Because they do not know
that they ARE one with him, they know not whom they hate. They are indeed a sorry
army, each one as likely to attack his brother or turn upon himself as to remember they
thought they had a common cause.
Frantic and loud and strong the dark ones seem to be. Yet they know not their enemy,
except they HATE him. In hatred they have come together, but have not joined each other.
For had they done so, hatred would be impossible. The army of the powerless must be
disbanded in the presence of strength. Those who are strong are NEVER treacherous,
because they have no need to dream of power and to act out their dream. How would
an army act in dreams? Any way at all. It could be seen attacking anyone with anything.
Dreams have no reason in them. A flower turns into a poisoned spear, a child becomes
a giant and a mouse roars like a lion. And love is turned to hate as easily. This is no
army, but a madhouse. What seems to be a planned attack is bedlam.
The army of the powerless is weak indeed. It has no weapons and it has no enemy.
Yes, it can overrun the world and SEEK an enemy. But it can never find what is not there.
Yes, it can DREAM it found an enemy, but this will shift even as it attacks, so that it runs
at once to find another, and never comes to rest in victory. And as it runs, it turns
against itself, thinking it caught a glimpse of the great enemy which always eludes
its murderous attack by turning into something else. How treacherous does this
enemy appear, who changes so it is impossible even to recognize him!
Yet hate must have a target. There can be no faith in sin without an enemy. Who that
believes in sin would DARE believe he has no enemy? Could he admit that no-one made
him powerless? Reason would surely bid him seek no longer what is not there to find.
Yet first he must be willing to perceive a world where it is not. It is not necessary that
he understand HOW he can see it. Nor should he try. For if he focuses on what he
cannot understand, he will but emphasize his helplessness, and let sin tell him that his
enemy must be HIMSELF. But let him only ask himself these questions, which he must
decide to have it done for him:
Do I DESIRE a world I rule instead of one which rules me?
Do I DESIRE a world where I am powerful instead of helpless?
Do I DESIRE a world in which I have no enemies and cannot sin?
And do I want to see what I denied BECAUSE it is the truth?
You have already answered the first three questions, but not yet the last. For this one still
seems fearful, and unlike the others. Yet reason would assure you they are all the same.
We said this year would emphasize the sameness of things that ARE the same. This final
question, which is indeed the last you need decide, still seems to hold a threat the rest
have lost for you. And this imagined difference attests to your belief that truth may be
the enemy you yet may find. Here, then, would seem to be the last remaining hope of
finding sin, and not accepting power.
Forget not that the choice of truth or sin, power or helplessness, is the choice of whether
to attack or heal. For healing comes of power, and attack of helplessness. Whom you
attack you CANNOT want to heal. And whom you would have healed must be the one
you chose to be PROTECTED from attack. And what is this decision but the choice
whether to see him through the body's eyes, or let him be revealed to you through vision?
HOW this decision leads to its effects is not your problem. But what you WANT to see
MUST be your choice. This is a course in CAUSE, and not effect.
Consider carefully your answer to the last question you have left unanswered still.
And let your reason tell you that it must BE answered, and IS answered in the other three.
And then it will be clear to you that, as you look on the effects of sin in any form, all you
need do is simply ask yourself,
Is this what I would see? Do I WANT this?
This is your ONE decision; this the condition for what occurs. It is irrelevant to HOW
it happens, but not to WHY. You HAVE control of this. And if you choose to see a world
without an enemy, in which you are not helpless, the means to see it WILL be given you.
Why is the final question so important? Reason will tell you why. It is the same as are the
other three except in TIME. The others are decisions which can be made and then
unmade and made again. But truth is constant, and implies a state where vacillations
are impossible. You can desire a world you rule which rules you not, and change your
mind. You can desire to exchange your helplessness for power, and lose this same
desire as a little glint of sin attracts you. And you can want to see a sinless world, and
let an enemy tempt you to use the body's eyes and change what you desire.
In content all the questions ARE the same. For each one asks if you are willing to
exchange the world of sin for what the Holy Spirit sees, since it is this the world of sin
denies. And therefore those who look on sin are seeing the denial of the real world.
Yet the last question adds the wish for CONSTANCY in your desire to see the real world,
so the desire becomes the ONLY one you have. By answering the final
question yes, you add sincerity to the decisions you have already made
to all the rest. For only then have you renounced the option to change your mind again.
When it is this you do NOT want, the rest ARE wholly answered.
The time he chooses CAN be any time, for help is there, awaiting but his choice. And when
he chooses to avail himself of what is given him, then will he see each situation that he
thought before was means to justify his anger turned to an event which justifies his love.
He will hear plainly that the calls to war he heard before are really calls to peace. He will
perceive that where he gave attack is but another altar where he can, with equal ease and
far more happiness, bestow forgiveness. And he will reinterpret all temptation as just
another chance to bring him joy. How can a misperception be a sin? Let all your brother's
errors be to you nothing except a chance for you to see the workings of the Helper given
you to see the world He made, instead of yours.
What, then, IS justified? What do you WANT? For these two questions are the same. And
when you see them AS the same, your choice is made. For it is seeing them as one that
brings release from the belief there ARE two ways to see. This world has much to offer to
your peace, and many chances to extend your own forgiveness. Such its purpose is, to
those who WANT to see peace and forgiveness descend on them, and offer them the light.
The Maker of the world of gentleness has perfect power to offset the world of violence and
hate that seems to stand between you and His gentleness. It is not there in His forgiving eyes.
And therefore it need not be there in yours. Sin is the fixed belief perception CANNOT change.
What has been damned is damned and damned forever, being forever unforgivable. If, then,
it IS forgiven, sin's perception must have been wrong. And thus is change made possible.
The Holy Spirit, too, sees what He sees as far beyond the chance of change. But on His
vision sin cannot encroach, for sin has been CORRECTED by His sight. And thus it must
have been an error, not a sin. For what it claimed could never be, has been. Sin is attacked
by punishment, and so preserved. But to forgive it is to change its state from error into truth.
The Son of God could never sin, but he CAN wish for what would hurt him. And he HAS the
power to think he can be hurt. What could this be except a misperception of himself? Is this
a sin or a mistake, forgivable or not? Does he need help or condemnation? Is it your purpose
that he be saved or damned? Forgetting not that what he is to you will make this choice
YOUR future? For you make it NOW, the instant when all time becomes a means to reach
a goal. Make, then, your choice. But recognize that IN this choice the purpose of the world
you see is chosen, and WILL be justified.
Would you not do this for the love of God? And for YOURSELF?
For think what it would do for you. Your evil thoughts that haunt you now will
seem increasingly remote and far away from you. And they go farther and farther off,
because the sun in you has risen that they may be pushed away before the light. They
linger for a while, a LITTLE while, in twisted forms too far away for recognition, and
are gone forever. And in the sunlight you will stand in quiet, in innocence, and wholly
unafraid. And from you will the rest you found extend, so that your peace can never
fall away and leave you homeless. Those who offer peace to everyone have found a
home in Heaven the world cannot destroy. For it is large enough to hold the world
within its peace.
You makers of a world that is not so, take rest and comfort in
another world where peace abides. This world you bring with you to all the weary eyes
and tired hearts that look on sin and beat its sad refrain. From you can come their rest.
From you can rise a world they will rejoice to look upon, and where their hearts are glad.
In you there is a vision which extends to all of them, and covers them in gentleness and
light. And in this widening world of light the darkness that they thought was there is
pushed away, until it is but distant shadows, far away, not long to be remembered as
the sun shines them to nothingness. And all their evil thoughts
and sinful hopes, their dreams of guilt and merciless revenge, and every
wish to hurt and kill and die, will disappear before the sun you bring.
In you is all of Heaven. Every leaf that falls is given life in you. Each bird that ever sang
will sing again in you. And every flower that ever bloomed has saved its perfume and
its loveliness for you. What aim can supersede the Will of God and of His Son, that
Heaven be restored to him for whom it was created as his only home? Nothing
before and nothing after it. No other place, no other state nor time. Nothing beyond
nor nearer. Nothing else. In any form. This can you bring to all the world, and all the
thoughts that entered it and were mistaken for a little while. How better could your
own mistakes be brought to truth than by your willingness to bring the light of Heaven
with you, as you walk beyond the world of darkness into light?
The holy instant is the miracle's abiding-place. From there, each one is born into this world
as witness to a state of mind which has transcended conflict, and has reached to peace.
It carries comfort from the place of peace into the battle-ground, and demonstrates that
war has no effects. For all the hurt that war has sought to bring, the broken bodies and
the shattered limbs, the screaming dying and the silent dead, are gently lifted up and
comforted. There IS no sadness where a miracle has come to heal. And nothing more
than just ONE instant of your love without attack is necessary, that all this occur. In that
one instant are you healed, and in that single instant is all healing done.