The following was taken from the 2011 Stamford class in which the following question was asked.
This questioner wants me to elaborate about Internet sites that warn people about practitioners, telling them to “beware, discern the truth from the false.”
If you are looking for a practitioner I’d follow what Joel had said – and this goes back to scripture – “by their fruits shall they be known.” If you get help, you get help. If you don’t get help go to someone else. And what is the evidence of fruitage that you would use? The Fruits of the Spirit are joy, wholeness, love, compassion, peace, harmony and abundance. Are these evident in the lives of those you would call for help? If so, then you have someone you can work with.
But I think this is addressing a bigger issue, the issue of organization. Joel was adamantly against organization. He considered it an organization if you had just one person saying this is what the Infinite Way is, or this is what you should do, or this is what you can’t do. If you have an authority you have an organization. And when you have organization you don’t have freedom. When you have organization you don’t have the ability to let consciousness flow. *(See what Joel wrote to a student about organization at the bottom of this essay.)
Joel asked a number of women to share the platform with him. He did that because they showed that they had the consciousness to impart the Truth. They had the consciousness not only to put the principles into words, but in their meditation, they brought people into an awareness of the spirit. This was completely individual. Joel never told those teachers what they should teach, how they should teach, how they should conduct their tape groups, or how they should conduct their work when he was not around. Joel knew that consciousness carried this message. It is consciousness that discerns the truth from the false; it isn’t human knowledge, and it isn’t an individual with a personal agenda.
Keep that in mind when you are surfing the Internet. We are beginning to see an explosion of spiritual teachings on the web. The Internet has changed in the way we get information, the way we communicate, and the way we connect to that which we are attracted. It’s not only on the Facebooks or the Twitters, or in the newscasts, that we see these changes, it’s also in the way we explore spirituality, or discover what’s going on in the field of religion. The Internet is the Wild West and you have to be more discerning about what you read there. In the past, with newspapers and some journals, an editor vetted the information and the facts were checked. On the Internet you have to make your own judgment call; “Is this fit to print?” or “is this just gossip?” Can this information be substantiated or is this just someone’s opinion? Today, there are very few editors on the Internet. Anybody with a voice can say, “this is truth, and you better follow this because I’m an authority and I heard it from above and it is true.” It makes me think of that passage from Job where the Lord asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”
As spiritual students we are searching for that which can elevate our life’s experience. We are looking for that which frees us from the limitations of human sense. Since there are no restrictions on the Internet, anybody can say that they have the secret of life. And there are plenty who will charge a lot of money for that secret, even if they don’t have it. It’s up to you to decide the facts and if this person knows the truth. It’s up to you to find out where these people are coming from. What’s their background? What spiritual fruitage do they demonstrate?
If we are over fifty our conditioning is that what we read in the press, or what people publish, has more or less been vetted. We have a certain trust that what we read is true. I don’t think that we can say that anymore. Except for some publications that still vet, that still present information in as accurate a way as they can, most information on the Internet is personal opinion. So in a way, yes, be careful. But realize that it is consciousness that is going to direct you, that is going to guide you, and it is consciousness that is going to put you in touch with that which speaks to your soul. It is your awareness of spiritual consciousness that ignites the inner flame of truth, nurtures it and feeds it. What keeps this flame of truth alive? Feeding it the truth. If you feed it error, if you start feeding it opinion, human concepts, you’re going to smoother that flame. And if you feel that flame being smothered I suggest you look for another source for truth, for ultimately truth is within you.
The only truth there is, is within your own consciousness. Everything that is written, even what Joel has written – and you are all here because you have connected with what Joel has written – has to direct you toward the Truth if it is to be of value. And what is this truth? It is a set of principles that if practiced, will lead you to a life that is free of material limitations. These principles are universal and have been available to mankind for thousands of years. Joel had a wonderful way of presenting them, and today these same principles are being presented uniquely and individually. But it’s up to the individual to grab hold of the truth and practice it. Joel was the first to say to his students that if this message doesn’t sit with you, go to something else. He was told to never seek a student, and this is something I’ve followed. We’re not part of an organization. We’re not wanting students. What we’re about is individual freedom. Our job is to help the individual find the truth within him or her self. The principles of the Infinite Way are universal. The principles we present are universal. They have been around since the old testament, since the Vedas of India; we can go back to the Buddha, we can go to any of the great religions and we will find these same principles and see that they are the foundations for those teachings.
To me truth is universal. It has nothing to do with religion. If someone says that you must do something this way and if you do it another way you are wrong, what are they doing? They’re creating an authority. They’re creating a dogma, and the next thing you know you have a religion. The fastest way to kill spiritual revelation is through religion. Look at all the religions of the world; they took a truth that was experienced individually, a truth that freed those who experience it, and killed it. They said we have to put rules on this. They said you can only practice truth one way. Why? Because the human being wants power, he wants to control the truth. And that is impossible. Spiritual power is completely free. Spiritual power has nothing to do with control. Spiritual power is one. What is there to control? Spiritual power is not God and… It’s not spiritual power and an individual. It is one. So no one has the power to control somebody’s behavior, or somebody’s thought – not in truth. Spiritual power is omnipotent, and when you experience that state of oneness, you are omnipotent. You are that spiritual power. There is no authority but the experience of the Christ within.
That’s our passion – freedom. That was Joel’s passion. To be in the world but free of the material limitations that would bind our lives that would create anxiety, that would make us feel inadequate, that make us believe we don’t have the means to pursue our dreams, or to pursue our passions. Success in this world isn’t about anything material; it’s about spiritual consciousness. Joel said in the book we are working from (The Art of Meditation) that if you believe that money is wealth you’ve got it backwards. Consciousness is wealth. Money is an activity of consciousness; consciousness is not an activity of money.
* “I myself will not interfere in any student’s activity… The reason for this is that the moment one person has any authority over another person, or any responsibility for the activity of another person, you have organization, whether or not you incorporate it legally. The moment there is a head to anything, there is organization, and the very moment that one person is responsible for another, there is organization, and the only way that the message of The Infinite Way can be kept pure is for every individual to be responsible to himself or herself in God, and to be sure that their authority reaches nowhere at all outside of their own being. Even in helping other students to set up their own tape groups or other activities, no authority and no responsibility accompanies such an activity. Do not ask anyone to consult you about anything, but if anyone consults you of their own free will and accord, then your relationship to them could be advisory, but never authoritative, and never disciplinary. The moment anyone is asked to consult you we have an organized activity, and this we must not have, because this alone constitutes the purity of the message, in that each one is responsible only to the Father within.
Joel’s letter to a student