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Can We Experience God?
by Marcia Meyer

Seven million people walk out of churches every year. Studies today tell of nearly 40 million Americans who are now dissatisfied with organized religion. How do we explain this? Are churches failing to reveal God? Is our society bored with ritual and rote prayer? Have the conveniences and complexities of our lives made us aware that we now need direct experience of God, an inner communion - a ONENESS - with God?

Jesus the Christ, Jadava the Krishna, Guatama the Buddha, Lao Tsu, Moses, Isaiah, Guru Nanak - to name a few of the well-known spiritual illuminators - paved the way for individuals to demonstrate the experience of God in their lives. Each of these world teachers communicated in language and teaching styles unique to their time and culture the fullness of experience that results from a spiritually inner-directed life.

A word in our culture that defines the individual experience of God is MYSTICISM. Webster defines mysticism as "...the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality." Today modern-day mystics, men and women in every society, attain and teach the continuing revelation of these identical yet eternal principles embraced by the great teachers of enlightenment that towered above ills of humankind.

Joel Goldsmith (1892-1964), healer, author, and world-teacher, stands out as such a mystic in our century. He devoted his life to sharing universal spiritual principles that unfolded in his life through more than thirty years spent studying the world's religions, concurrent with continuous inner revelation that began with a remarkable healing gift. Joel taught that realization of the universal Truth revealed by Jesus and by the sages and prophets in all ages is the rightful experience of humanity, and that for individuals the experience of God is an inherent birthright.

Joel left a spiritual legacy of more than thirty-two books and twelve hundred hours of recorded lectures. His teachings are collectively known as "The Infinite Way," the title of his seminal work. The Infinite Way is not a religion; it has no organization; there are no rites or rituals; it has no membership. Students of these teachings are strictly on their own as to how far they want to go, through study, practice and realization. The only purpose of the Infinite Way teaching is to bring earnest students of truth into the actual experience of God. Ultimately, Joel taught, God is an experience beyond the CONCEPTS of religious belief. The highest form of prayer, the only prayer acceptable to Spirit, he said, is absolute stillness and silence. This experience is beyond words and thoughts - perhaps reflecting on the meaning of Lao Tsu's teaching, "If you can name it, it isn't that"; or Jesus' words, "Why seek ye the living amongst the dead?"

A silent, four-day retreat and seminar in the teachings of the Infinite Way is being offered at Cloud Mountain, August 27-30. The teacher, Allen Marsh, will present Goldsmith's teachings in the context of India's ancient VEDAS and UPANISHADS, explaining the foundation for mystical experience of God that was laid thousands of years ago and that has been revealed in every religion. Allen will guide retreatants through a gentle, nurturing experience of silence and contemplation that unfolds inner revelation.

Allen has been a student of the Infinite Way since 1981, following twenty-three years as a renunciant in Self-Realization Fellowship's monastic order, founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. Today he is the managing editor of Acropolis Books, Inc., publishers of Joel Goldsmith and other authors offering mystical works.