Joel Goldsmith (1892—1964) wrote a book entitled The Infinite Way in 1947, which he claimed was a divine revelation and in which he taught various spiritual principles for living “harmoniously” in the world and how to attain “God-realization.” Goldsmith’s primary focus was inward, looking for the god that abided within. He was considered a “practical mystic” and a healer as well as a teacher. Those who follow his teachings today still consider Goldsmith the “revelator” of “The Infinite Way message.”
Goldsmith promoted a mix of doctrine culled from Christian Science, his own mystical experiences, various books, and the Bible. Goldsmith was a prolific writer; in addition to The Infinite Way, he wrote over thirty other books, many of which are still in print in various languages.
One reason The Infinite Way is appealing is that students can integrate Goldsmith’s teachings into their own belief system without compromising their own, previously held notions of spirituality. Practitioners can follow whatever bits of wisdom they find “true for them” on their spiritual journey. And they can do so with no obligation, at no cost, and without joining an organization.
Goldsmith taught meditation as a way to reach inner peace and hear the still, small voice of God. His guidelines for meditation include the following:
“Make yourself comfortable. . . . Take a breath and count to four. Breathe in and out four or five times counting to quiet your mind. Breathe normally.
“Next repeat silently or audibly, ‘I turn within to the Christ of my own being.’ If thoughts enter, repeat this phrase. . . . Relax. . . .
“Now, move to the subject. ‘What is God?’ You are not interested in another’s concept of God; you are interested only in . . . receiving the answer from God. The kingdom of God is within you, so the answer must come from within your own being. . . .
“Assume a listening attitude as if you were waiting to hear the answer. . . .
“Someday, while meditating and pondering this idea . . . you will suddenly find that you cannot think anymore; you have come to the end of thought about God and prayer. Then you will sit there, quietly, at peace, no more thoughts, no more questions, no more answers, just peace. . . . With that . . . will come divine wisdom, divine guidance, and divine strength” (from Living The Infinite Way, p. 35).
The type of meditation taught in The Infinite Way has nothing to do with biblical spirituality, although it sounds much like the contemplative prayer or centering prayer that some churches foolishly promote. There is no “Christ of my own being.” And the Bible is clear about what to meditate on: not a repeated word or phrase, but on the Word of God. The person “who meditates on his law day and night” is blessed (Psalm 1:2). Our goal is not to empty our minds but to fill them with Scripture.
Goldsmith claimed that he had spiritual encounters that manifested in a power to heal. In his mind, Goldsmith believed he was in touch with God, but, in fact, that could never have been the case. Goldsmith did not come to God through Christ, who is the only way to possibly reach God (John 14:6). Goldsmith believed he had a special “in” with God and wrote extensively to share his many “revelations.” We know that extra revelations are unnecessary; the Bible is sufficient. Somehow, in his Bible reading, Goldsmith failed to see the verses warning of deception. He was not only deceived, but he has deceived many who have followed his advice.
The Infinite Way is a New Age-style teaching that promotes the idea that god is part of us and can be known through meditation and an inward search. Unfortunately, the only god we’ll find looking inward is the god of self.