by Kahlil Gibran
Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of you souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together;
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow
not in each other's shadow.
In the tapes and writings, Joel speaks about so many topics. The focus is usually on health and supply with the occasional reference to companionship and work. He made tapes for businessmen, wrote to salesmen giving them specific advice for their daily lives, but he left a huge gap in specific lessons for couples and parents. Eileen Bowden, a very well-regarded teacher in Vancouver, wrote one of the only supplemental study materials which Joel approved, a book for parents about raising children.
The majority of Infinite Way students come to the message in mid-life. Joel tells us that future generations will come earlier and earlier, but for now, it is rare to find students seriously undertaking this work before 40 years of age. It is interesting to note here that this is a classic age in the Hebrew tradition of priesthood. The Hebrew esoteric, oral, mystical teachings were never taught before the age of 40. This age was very significant. Rarely do we find illumination experiences happening (read Cosmic Consciousness by Bucke - Joel reference book) before 36.
It is somewhat logical that 40 is a significant year. By 40 we have often played out much of the human drama. We have finished our education, been married (perhaps divorced), raised a family, suffered deaths and abandonments, pursued careers, sought human happiness and peace to no avail. By 40 we often are on our knees ready to give up our egos for a glimmer of truth for we have begun to realize that the world offers us only the husks.
My particular path has been one of incorporating spiritual seeking while maintaining a marriage and family. I will try to share the lessons of my own experience and that of my students. Again, you are invited to read and then accept or not depending on your own inner guidance. This will be a section which is grounded in Joel's teachings with references wherever possible to verify the conclusions and the understandings. For additional support, we will look to the work of Mrs. Eddy and the Bible.
Comments, anecdotes and questions are welcomed in the Guestbook. We particularly invite parents, children of IW students, IW husbands and wives, IW GLBT, and celibate students to send us (you may do this anonymously) letters for the site. We will meditate for guidance and use those we are led to share. Thank you, in advance, for your help.
First, let us speak about spouses. When we marry, the Bible tells us we must leave our homes and parents and "cleave" to our spouse. Assuming that we are speaking about in-tact, loving marriages, we must consider what this really means for us. It is a direction telling us to be loyal and supportive of our spouse and marriage before any other outside commitments. We are to take the responsibility of marriage seriously and be devoted to our new family. This is of course, pretty straightforward.
The difficulty comes when we are called by The Infinite Way and our partner is not interested in the Path. What is the student to do? If we are blessed with a spiritual marriage, we have a relationship of love and freedom. In individual freedom, harmony can exist even if both partners are not students of truth.
Let us look at what Joel says in "The Wedding Talk" from Gift of Love:
"Two becoming one does not mean the separation or the loss of individual identity or individuality, for this is utter impossibility. An individual remains an individual, not only from birth to death, but actually long before birth until long, long after death. We never lose our individuality; we never lose our uniqueness. It is an impossibility for an individual to give up, to surrender, or to lose that which constitutes his being, and human marriage tries to make either the man or the woman submit himself or herself and surrender that which is most precious in the sight of God: his or her individual expression of God being. Each of us is individual, each of us has individual qualities, each of us has individual talents and gifts, and these are not to be surrendered in marriage...
"In spiritual marriage there is not bondage but freedom, but this is not true in human marriage. It is true in spiritual marriage, where both recognize that in marrying they are setting each other free. This is the only thing I have discovered in thirty years of this work that will make possible happy marriages, peaceful marriages, successful marriages: the ability to set the other free that each may live his own individual life, and yet share with each other without demanding.
"In human marriage a husband has certain rights and a wife has certain rights, but in a spiritual marriage this is not true. Neither husband nor wife has any rights; they have only the privilege of loving; they have only the privilege of sharing. They have the privilege of giving, but they have no right to demand anything of the other. We do not leave human experience while we hold someone in bondage to our rights.
"In marriage in the human world, a husband undertakes the support of a wife. Spiritually a wife never expects this, because it would be giving up her God-given heritage of maintaining in consciousness her union with God, in which she finds her supply. When she does, the husband is free to share, without the bondage of being legally compelled to do something. None of us likes to do anything under compulsion, whether legal compulsion or moral compulsion, but we all enjoy the freedom of giving. This is natural. No wife feels honored in being called upon to fulfill a duty or obligation, but every woman must feel, as does every man, the great joy of giving and sharing spontaneously, when it is permitted to be through free will-an offering of the heart, not of the law court...
"A marriage, then, which is not to be a marriage of this world but is to be a marriage of MY kingdom, the spiritual kingdom, a marriage that is not to have the peace that the world can give but is to have MY peace, must be a marriage that is not only united in spirit, but one in which the union is maintained by constant meditation, in which we unite with God and with each other."
The following lessons are for individuals as well as couples. If we are alone in our study, we are still able to affect our entire household by individually practicing the principles and sharing only when asked. In time, the family may come to see the miracles brought forth as we live The Infinite Way. The harmony produced touches all in the household in positive, discernable ways.
"We must know that we have this hidden manna, and what it is. We cannot have a blind faith that it is a something-or-other. It is not a charm: it is the understanding that God is our consicousness, that Christ is our mind, that the Christ is the law that operates through us. This is our hidden manna. This is the secret we cannot tell the world because we would be crucified for it, as others have been before us. It will not be crucifixion on a cross, but we will be crucified in our Soul by being ridiculed and laughed at. So we must keep this locked up in our consciousness. Then when the world sees the practicality of this way of life, sees the harmonious lives that unfold, there will be no argument or criticism left. Be still; be still about this hidden manna. Then, even if the world does not believe, there will still be no argument left.
"Everything about our human world---its customs, language, and mode of operation---makes life difficult for us as we try to hold steadfast and maintain this Word in our consciousness. The difficulty is that we pay lip service to the world's conversation, and at the same time always have to maintain our own spiritual integrity within, and yet not voice it without.
"That is why it is imperative to have many periods of ten, twenty, or thirty seconds or minutes for pausing in the midst of the day or night to relax, to remember, and to float back in the Sea of Spirit. That is why it is so essential to close our eyes at times to sense testimony, and remember, 'Thank You, Father. I in the midst of me is my hidden manna.'
"All this time we are lifting up the I in us, lifting It from the personal sense of "I" to the I that we really are. We are crucifying that personal sense of "I," and if we keep it up long enough it will be "dead," and there will be nothing left but the I that we are, and with it My peace, and My grace, My wholeness, My completeness, My harmony, My justice.
"We have to remember often that the Christ-Self is our true identity, whereas the "natural man" is that part of us which was imposed upon us at birth and to which we are now "dying." To the degree in which we lift up the I in us, are we "dying daily" to the personal sense of "I." In the degree that we take no thought, but rest in the Sea of Spirit, are we letting the Christ live our life, and then each moment of the day we do those things given us to do.
"An understanding student will not believe that this is a way of doing nothing. In one sense, it is; but this doing nothing makes us lead a very busy life because the doing nothing is not really a doing nothing; it is doing nothing of a personal nature. It is doing nothing through personal fear or personal doubt; it is doing nothing that is purely of our will or our desire. In this sense, it is doing nothing, but it really is a very active existence because God is fulfilling Himself as our individual experience.
"God is fulfilling Himself and His destiny as our individual experience. This is not your life or my life to do with as we would like: this is God's life which God is living as us. Once we begin to perceive this, we will understand immortality....The more we realize that this is God-life, that this is God-consciousness appearing as us, the more we lose concern for our own life in the realization that God knows how to maintain and sustain His life, which is ours.
"Knowing our true identity is the hidden manna. It is the ability to rest back, knowing that God has no limitation whatsoever, and God lives our life. God cannot die; God cannot sin; God cannot be sick."
Joel S. Goldsmith, The Monthly Letter August 1964
"And so it is, as mothers and fathers you have a greater responsibility to your family than merely cooking and keeping the house clean or earning the living. That is only the temporal part of your duties. Your real duty is a spiritual one, and the spiritual one is to permit the activity of truth to go on in your consciousness so that your consciousness becomes a law of health and harmony unto the members of your family. And if you are not consciously active in truth, you are not fulfilling your spiritual destiny in your family." Tape 6 side 1, Basic Infinite Way
. . on celebrating an anniversary. We would have to look at it not from the standpoint of how many years we had been together, but to what extent is each year increasing our desire to be together; in other words, what spiritual attainment are we reaching? The passing years should bring a deeper and riper relationship between a couple because their togetherness is founded on spiritual qualities rather than human attractions. Consciousness Transformed: Relationship of Oneness 1
Nearly every marriage ceremony contains some version of the statement, "that which God has joined together let no man put asunder." The truth is that what God has brought together in oneness and unity, no man can put asunder. It would be an utter impossibility for man to have power over God and over God's work. No man has the power to undo the work of God. In the world of appearances, there can be temporary strife, discord and inharmony---and there will be, but not for you if you climb into that circle of God and there live in the constant realization that what God has made is forever, and what God has brought together no man can put asunder.
In dealing with a marital problem, you would realize that since God is one, the only relationship that exists is a relationship of oneness, and there can be no division or separation in that oneness---no inharmony or discord in one. The moment there are two, there can be any kind of discord and inharmony, but that is impossible in oneness.
Many people believe that a realization such as this would ensure a couple's remaining together, and that, therefore, no divorce or separation could possibly follow. Nothing could be further from the truth. A couple may be married and may be legally one, and yet they may not actually be one in their being---they may not be spiritually one. Therefore, this realization of oneness might bring about a separation or divorce much more quickly than would otherwise be the case, freeing both husband and wife from the yoke of inharmony and discord and enabling both to find their oneness elsewhere. No two people can realize oneness or true happiness when life resolves itself into a continuous battle of misunderstandings and disagreements. The marital relationship without love is a sin.
From THE RELATIONSHIP OF ONENESS
in the book The Art of Spiritual Healing