I began my spiritual life as a Methodist. That meant Fellowship Hall dinners, church on Sunday, and be ashamed if you don’t have any idea what is being talked about and don’t care because you are so BORED. As soon as it wasn’t required of me to go to church, I quit going.
In high school, I entertained beliefs that aliens may have created religion. It made as much sense as anything. What I didn’t realize was that I was consistently drawn to God and the Nature of God by my very resistance of it. As an adult, I felt that I was an Agnostic. I wanted more evidence to Believe. The one thing that I did instinctively know was that there had to be more than one way to find out what everything was about.
In 1996, I took my first publishing job with Acropolis Books. They were publishing the works of a gentleman named Joel S. Goldsmith. He was referred to as a mystic. Mysticism was explained to me as the concept of Oneness, as in the experience of Oneness with God. A mystic had a direct connection or experience with god. I had to learn how to sell this concept that I knew nothing about.
I began reading the works of Joel Goldsmith in order to grasp this concept. More accurately, I tried to read the works of Joel Goldsmith. I found it difficult to understand and comprehend. Fortunately, Acropolis Books had a small inventory of other books that also had mystical leanings. In that collection, I discovered the book Coming to Life: Traveling the Spiritual Path in Everyday Life by Polly Berrien Berends. She is best known for her book Whole Child, Whole Parent.
In Coming to Life, Berends begins by talking about “finding the road that leads to the road”. This refers to the notion that people should not be obsessed with only finding a direct path to enlightenment but instead to take a patient, practical approach. She said that in the end you are your own best guru and that your life is your guru. This was great for me because the idea for being self-directed is very appealing. You just need to realize where you are and then take a path. If it resonates with you, then take the next connecting path. Polly Berends was my path to connect to the path of Joel Goldsmith. I read Goldsmith again and suddenly, there it was, understanding.
The path of Joel Goldsmith, which he called The Infinite Way, had two main themes that I keep with me to this day. The first was the Bible verse, “I and my Father are one”. I quickly came to recognize and identify with a related statement, God Is. This really hit home with my logically inclined brain. God Is meant to me that we are not separate from God and that we cannot be separate from God. We can only fool ourselves that we are separate. Goldsmith has several book titles that drive this ideal home: God, the Substance of All Form, Beyond Words and Thoughts, and A Parenthesis In Eternity. He also used another line from the Bible where God says, “I Am.” In his first book, The Infinite Way, I was amazed to hear that Goldsmith referred to Jesus as The Master. All of his work is based on the teachings of Jesus. It forced me to look at the Bible in a new and accepting way.
Goldsmith also broke down my previous beliefs about meditation. I had a clear picture of some guy in India sitting cross-legged and being “out of it”. Now, I had to deal with the idea that meditation is prayer. This concept was startling because it meant that I could not get around the concept of God because God now existed no matter how I looked at it. However, I could now proceed with purpose in a self-directed manner.
He also pointed out that, through meditation, we become aware of the presence of Christ. Additionally, I had yet another concept to deal with, Universal Consciousness. This was very empowering because it meant that I potentially had access to all thought and knowledge. Amazing. I took this new knowledge and would meditate on a non-regular basis. My experiences were more mental than anything but I did feel that I was on my way to the next path. I had learned so much and was ready for more. I wondered what the next path to the path would look like.