Practising the Presence

No-one is going to pick up this book and read it unless it is someone who has already known quiet moments of inner reflection, someone who has been plagued by frustration, lack of success or lack of harmony, and who has pondered long and seriously why life should be so unsatisfactory.

Because this was my experience, and because that experience led to the writing of this book, only those who have had a similar experience and have been goaded by that same unfathomable question will be interested in reading further to discover what I have found and how it has benefited me.

There have been many times in my life when I have had reason to be dissatisfied with the way life was going, dissatisfied to the point of quietly, inwardly wondering and pondering the possibility of finding a way out. Long periods of success and happiness followed by dissatisfaction and unhappiness, finally led longer and more frequent periods of introspection, cogitation and contemplation of life and what it was all about.

In one of those experiences, while I cannot say I heard a voice, I do know that I received an impression that was something like an inner being saying to me,

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.

I must admit that this was a startling experience because up to this time I had been almost totally unfamiliar with the Bible; it had not been a daily companion but merely a matter of occasional reading.

Later, more thoughts of this same nature unfolded, and I began to realise that throughout Scripture we are told

... Lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths....

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty....

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.

As passage after passage unfolded and revealed itself, I was led ultimately to that grandest experience of all, in which the great Master, Christ Jesus, revealed that if we abide in the Word and let the Word abide in us, we shall bear fruit richly, and that actually it is God's pleasure that we shall prosper and bear rich fruitage.

Always there was the reminder that the price is

Abide in Me; let Me abide in you. Abide in the Word, and let the Word abide in you. Dwell in God, live and move and have your being in God. Seek Him while He may be found.

Gradually it dawned on me that all Scripture was revealing to the world that man whose breath is in his nostrils, man separate and apart from God, is not to be accounted of, for he is nothing.

I began to understand why Christ Jesus could say I can of mine own self do nothing – of mine own self I am nothing; the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

I could understand St Paul when he said, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me, and then I knew what the missing factor was in my life.

I had been and was living an ordinary everyday life. All that God meant to me was an occasional reading of the Bible and an occasional attendance at Church. Now I saw that the principle of life, the secret of all successful living, was making God a part of my very consciousness, something which Paul describes as praying without ceasing.

At first, you may not understand what praying without ceasing or thinking about God has anything to do with being happy, successful or healthy. You may not even be able to see what connection God has with the mundane affairs of life.

This of course you are only going to discover through your own experience, because, regardless of any testimony I may offer you of what it has done in my life, or in the lives of thousands to whom I have taught this way of life, you will not be convinced until you yourself have had the actual experience.

The reason you are reading this book is because you are being irresistibly drawn to God.

There is a compulsion within you to find the missing factor in your life, that which will restore you to your original state of harmony, joy and peace. Your having read this far is an indication that this is what you are seeking, this is the need which clamours for fulfilment in you.

And be assured of this, that from now on your mind will turn again and again to God, until one day, whether sooner or later, it will be made evident to you that your life will only be complete when it is lived in God and has God living in it. You will never feel entirely separate or apart from God, because never again in your life will you be able to go for long periods without bringing God into your conscious awareness and in some measure abiding in Him.

Think for one moment what is taking place in the mind of the person who wakens in the morning and realises,

Without God, I am nothing; with God, all the powers of harmony unite in me to express themselves.

or who ponders some scriptural passage such as,

He performeth the thing that is appointed for me to do...

The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me....

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.....

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.

Think of what it means to a business man, leaving for his office, or a mother, sending her children off to school, to know that they are not alone – wherever they are, the Spirit of God is with them, and where that Spirit of God is, there is liberty.

Never again can they feel alone or that their life is dependent wholly upon what they do or upon what others may do to them, for good or evil, for never again can they forget that there is a He closer than breathing, nearer than hands or feet.

There is a Presence which goes before them to make the crooked places straight, a Presence and a Power which goes to prepare a place for them. Never can they be separated from the Spirit of God as long as the Spirit of God is kept alive within them.

As you contemplate this, you will begin to discover that whether you are one of those who pray in holy mountains or in great temples in Jerusalem, or whether you do not pray in any particular place, the truth is that the place whereon you stand is holy ground as long as you are contemplating the presence and the power of God within you.

The truth is that the place whereon you stand is holy ground.

That does not mean that you may not continue to worship in the church of your choice. This book is not meant to take you out of any church where, at the present time, you may be enjoying the association of those on your particular religious path, nor is it meant to put you into any church in which you may not already be worshipping. Its purpose is to reveal the Kingdom of God – where it is and how to achieve it. The Master said The Kingdom of God is neither lo! here, or lo! there, but is within you and you will learn through this study that that Kingdom is established in you the very moment you begin to contemplate His presence and His Power within you.

God is. Of that you may be sure. This is only true in your experience however in the degree in which you contemplate, meditate, and keep your mind stayed on God, living, moving and having your being in the conscious realisation that God will never leave you or forsake you.

God's grace is your sufficiency, but this is only made practical in your life by your contemplation of that grace. Only in the degree that you live consciously in the realisation of God, and let this realisation of God dwell in you, does it become true that you do not live alone – that the place whereon you stand is holy ground, for God is with you and he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Every person who has known dissatisfaction, incompleteness and frustration will some day learn that there is only one missing link in his entire chain of harmonious living. That is the practice of the presence of God – consciously, daily and hourly, abiding in some great central truth of Scripture, and it makes no difference which Scripture: Christian, Hebrew, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, or Moslem.

The Word of God, given to man through inspired saints, sages, seers or revelators – that is what we need, in any language, from any country, just so long as it is a universal truth.

I have been a traveller for nearly fifty years, and I have found peace, joy and companionship wherever I have journeyed. In my opinion, the reason I have enjoyed such satisfying experiences around the globe is because I have carried with me the great truth given us by the Master,

Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father which is in Heaven.

This truth has been my passport and has been the open sesame to freedom and joy in all countries, for wherever I have travelled, I have consciously remembered that God is the Father, the creative principle, the life of all with whom I come in contact. No-one can change the fact that whatever the name, nationality, race or creed, there is only one God, one Father, and that we are all children of that one Father; but this truth serves only those who consciously remember it, realise it, believe it, and trust it.

In my lifetime I have known abundance and the absence of abundance, but in every case, wherever there has been lack of any kind, harmony, wholeness and completeness have been restored through the realisation that

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God....

I have meat to eat that ye know not of..

Have you ever wondered what the Master meant by those words? Over the years I have spent weeks and months pondering them, sometimes weeks at a time, and the next year more weeks until I understood their meaning. I realise that he was talking about an inner substance, which made meat on the outer plane of comparative unimportance – not that he would not eat in due time, but when there were more important things to do, he had another kind of meat and bread to sustain him.

After the years I have spent in this work, I can say to you that the inner meat, the inner water, the inner wine and the bread of life – all these are brought into tangible experience through inner communion, and in no other way. They cannot be brought from the outside into the inside. Not even reading the Bible will do this for you. It is taking the truths of the Bible into meditation and gaining an inner realisation of them which changes the words that you read in a book into the Word of life, the bread of life, the meat, the wine and the water of life.

Spiritual truth in a Bible is only a power in proportion as it is brought alive in your consciousness and kept alive.

This is not my word to you: this is the word of the masters who have told us that we shall be kept in peace by keeping our mind stayed on God, and that if we abide in the Word of God and let the Word abide in us we shall bear fruit richly.

We shall then have an inner water, an inner bread, an inner wine, an inner meat to bring to the development and the growth of the fruit that is to appear in the without.

You can only feed the tree of life from within, not from without.

The bread of life, the meat, the wine, the water – these are formed inside of us through the contemplation of God, the things of God, and the Word of God. These are formed within us by communion with the Spirit. Always remember: the Spirit of God is within you, but it is only the few today who seem capable of spending hours with spiritual literature, and more hours in inner communion – only the few. Their earnest desire to know God will insure their success in the spiritual path.

The message of this book is not a personal message. It is an age-old wisdom that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word remembered in consciousness, by every word and thought of God held within us. By this we live.

When we try to live without God, we are living only with the carnal weapons of this world. When however we take this great truth into our consciousness and let it abide in us, then we are clad in spiritual armour, and the only sword we need is the sword of the Spirit. And what is the sword of the Spirit except every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

I have learned and so I endeavour to pass on to you: Keep the Word of God alive in your mind, in your thought and in your experience, and you will never know lack or limitation. Keep consciously before you the truth that no man on earth is your father – there is only one Father, the creative Principle of all mankind – and you will never know anything but love from the men and women of this world.

As you keep the word of God alive in your consciousness, you are practising the principles of spiritual living. In this book you will find an exposition of those principles, which I refer to from time to time as the letter of truth. In and of itself, this is not sufficient, for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

This book is my personal life revealed. This book, The Art of Meditation, and Living The Infinite Way, reveal all that has happened to me in my entire spiritual career, and not only to me but to those who have been taught in this way, whether by me or by any other spiritual teacher on this particular path.

For it is not I alone who has learned this secret of the Master; it is an ancient wisdom, lived many times by many men. Throughout all centuries this way of life has been practised, but it has been lost, except to those few who live the mystical life.

The world's troubles in these past generations have driven men to seek that which will restore the lost years of the locusts, that which will establish peace on earth, and good will to men. I have found it – and in this book, you will find it.


The Core Teachings

The New Horizon

God is One


Break the Fetters that Bind You

Contemplation Develops the Beholder

Introduction (Practising the Presence)

Love Thy Neighbour

The Relationship of Oneness


The following passage is an epigraph for all of Joel's published books.

Illumination dissolves all material ties and binds men together with the golden chains of spiritual understanding;
it acknowledges only the leadership of the Christ; it has no ritual or rule but the divine, impersonal, universal Love; no other worship than the inner Flame that is ever lit at the shrine of the Spirit. This union is the free state of spiritual brotherhood. the only restraint is the discipline of the Soul, therefore we know liberty without licence; we are a united universe without physical limits; a divine service to God without ceremony or creed. The illumined walk without fear.