"Now, how do we love that individual? First, we have to understand individuality as God; we have to understand that God is individuality, the only individuality there is. But that individuality appears infinitely, and it appears as individual you and individual me. Then, in honoring or respecting the individual, we are worshiping God.
"That is why at the beginning of this work, I said that the first duty of the disciple, or student, is that of gratitude. Now, gratitude is a tangible idea, and it must be expressed tangibly. And it cannot be expressed tangibly in the abstract, therefore it must be expressed TO an individual. Only, in expressing gratitude to an individual, you are expressing gratitude to the individuality of God in one of Its forms, and you are recognizing God as the source of that for which you are grateful.
"Never should we receive or give out money, never should we take food or drink, without that recognition of gratitude to the infinite Source which, also, is the infinite Source of our own being. Yet, to do that, but fail to be equally grateful to the individual through whom the good came, would be an attempt to be grateful in the abstract. It would be holding the head in the clouds without keeping the feet on the ground.
"There are many ways, or forms, of expressing gratitude to the individual. One form, of course, is with money. Another, is through recognition. If only we would recognize the part that each one of us plays in each other's lives, and be willing to let that gratitude flow ot to that individual in some tangible form. It may be in the form of service, it may only be in the form of the spoken word, or it may be in the form of money. Whatever form it takes, it must come out, it must be expressed, and it must be expressed to an individual in order for it to be expressed to God, since God is appearing to us as the individual."
Joel tells us on tape 509 side 2 that we are not to charge specific fees for healing work. At one time, Joel did have fees as was the custom in Christian Science, but he stopped and allowed each student the freedom to give their own gift of gratitude for the practitioner's time and for healings themselves.
In the 1940's, the Christian Scientist practice was to charge $15 to $20 per treatment, similar to the fees doctors charged for a visit. Today the materia medica model is no longer followed and Christian Science treatments are billed according to the practice of the individual practitioner.
Students in The Infinite Way have come to feel that because our Infinite Way practitioners do not charge, the work and the healing are free. Patients often do not realize the blessing for themselves in an expression of gratitude. Gratitude is not something we can teach, it must bubble up from within us, an expression of love and thanks.
One of the reasons why people are reluctant to accept the healing work, and for some to remain in the healing work, is that they simply cannot afford to be available to people when there is no expression of gratitude. Practitioners have expenses in their work. Telephones, internet, postage and stationery all cost money. Time away from work is a sacrifice. Tapes continue to be bought and studied to maintain the practitioner's consciousness. They also attend classes.
Infinite Way healings are often very quick, but they may cure very serious illnesses or problems. Imagine the consciousness that is able to heal a cancer in one treatment.
We hope that patients and students coming to The Infinite Way will realize that practitioners need to be treated with the same loving courtesy and good manners we use in the material world. In our everyday world, we remember to thank those who do kind deeds and favors for us. We often given them a gift as a token of our appreciation. We must do no less for our practitioners. If we call upon them for healing work and help, we need to be sure that we do what we can to support and thank them so that they can remain to be there for us and others. Gratitude is a function of our consciousness. May we all come from "I have," and express our love and thanks to those who have dedicated themselves to helping others.
When working with and Infinite Way practitioner/teacher, the typical gift of gratitude ranges from $25 - $100 or more per hour. Please ask your practitioner for further details about shorter sessions or other arrangements. Very often meditation will be part of your lesson. Never hesitate to ask for help with your practice. All are welcome regardless of ability to pay.
From Across the Desk
1957 Letters - November
The world-wide acceptance and success of The Infinite Way has attracted the attention of some unscrupulous people who are attempting to exploit The Infinite Way or to use my name in order to obtain money fraudulently. Already some of our students have been misled by the false claims of these people. There seems to be no way of preventing these unprincipled people from preying upon the public except as individuals exercise discrimination and prudence. Religion is a prolific field for the unscrupulous because the law usually protects people who operate under its guise. But the law cannot protect you from the machinations of such individuals, nor can The Infinite Way: You either have spiritual discernment or human intelligence to guide you.
Since I myself have never at any time asked you for money, you may be sure that I also have never authorized anyone else to ask for financial help for themselves or for their activities. Should anyone approach you with a request for funds or with any kind of a proposition to secure your support, monetary or otherwise, on the basis of their alleged association with me or with The Infinite Way, and should you be in doubt as to the proper course of action, you may cable me for information - Inway, Honolulu - and I will gladly and quickly inform you as to whether or not you are dealing with one of our students.
There are people traveling about claiming to be associated with me, or claiming that they are students close to me. Do not accept such claims without some knowledge of their authenticity. It is not difficult to recognize our true students or to learn who they are. Our students use only
This admonition is merely a call to exercise wisdom in giving, spiritual wisdom, and is in no sense intended to lessen your giving or sharing since the principles of The Infinite Way are not demonstrated by withholding, miserliness, or a lack of free giving. In fact, true giving is a very important principle of The Infinite Way.
I feel that it is the function of students of The Infinite Way to support its activity. Furthermore, as members of a community it is their responsibility to support the local activities of that community, such as the YMCA, YWCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Community Fund, the Red Cross, and any other worthy activity. Students who are members of fraternal orders should also support the benevolent activities of these orders, and certainly all of us should be liberal in helping to provide educational opportunities and summer camp activities for children. Beyond that, any purely personal appeals for help must be prayerfully considered and accepted or rejected on their merits and not because of claims to some relationship with The Infinite Way.