03 Oct Neville Goddard Lectures: “Time to Act”
Tonight’s title is “Time to Act.” You’ll find this a very practical evening and yet it is based upon a mystical experience. If God has spoken, what in the world is more important than to listen to what he’s said and what he’s telling you?
But first, let me share with you an experience. It happened thirty-odd years ago. When I tell you I was taken in spirit I mean it literally. You may tell me the whole thing took place within me, and I would agree with that, for the whole vast world is contained within the Imagination of man. But you do have the sensation of travel, and so in this I had that sensation of an enormous journey. I was taken into a divine council. The first one that I stood before was infinite might. You may describe him as almightiness, the first word or the first expression of deity in scripture, El Shaddai. Then I was taken into, well, the area, a huge interior, a courtyard. The atmosphere was one of an ancient world, cobblestones, nothing modern about it. Then I saw, well, I called her a lady, like some angelic recorder, a recording angel; and she used a quill pen in an enormous ledger, the kind you see in great museums or art galleries or sometimes even in a private club, where you’re called upon to furnish your name. She simply looked at me, looked back at the ledger, and simply wrote.
Then I was taken before infinite love. He asked a very simple question, “What is the greatest thing in the world?” I answered automatically, as though I had no choice; it was simply a response. I said, “Faith, hope and love, these three abide; but the greatest of these is love” (1Cor.13:13). At that moment he embraced me; we became one being. And the words of Paul you can take literally, “He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1Cor.6:17). There were not two of us, just one body, one spirit; yet I did not lose my identity. Here I am one with infinite love. While we were in this embrace, sheer ecstasy, a voice rang out, came from out of space, and it said, “Down with the bluebloods.” At that moment I found myself standing before almightiness, the first one that I met when I entered that divine body. I could not find…it spoke, but I couldn’t detect any motion in his throat or his lips. He simply looked into my eyes and I heard what he thought, and he said to me, “Time to act!” with emphasis on act. With this I was whisked out, and there I found myself back in my room, hotel room on 49th Street.
The 82nd Psalm—considered by some scholars the most difficult of the 150, in fact, they say that they cannot grasp its meaning; they seem to have lost today all that it formerly meant when it was given to the world—“And God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment”(Ps.82:1). This is the one where you and I are called gods: “I say, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; but you shall die like men and fall like any prince’” (Ps.82:6). They say they can’t grasp the significance of this, that God could take his place in the divine council and in the midst of the gods hold judgment. I tell you, that Psalm was intended to be taken literally, for the day will come in the life of every man where he will have it fulfilled in himself, literally. He will stand in the presence of the risen Christ, infinite love, and you will know that God does meet among the gods. You will not feel that you are a stranger. You will feel that you not only know him but that you know them. There’s a feeling of intimacy as you enter this wonderful gathering, this assemblage.
When you are sent out, it’s a message, for the message was “Time to act.” That’s my message tonight. Many of us think that we have broken, radically broken with old habits of thought and systems of belief, and yet we find that these old things that we thought we left behind still determine our conduct. We haven’t left them behind at all. Action tests belief. You try to realize how very severe a test to belief action is. We say, “I believe.” That’s a statement I use here all the time and I mean it literally, imagining creates reality. I firmly believe—I do not believe that any other cause or force will be discovered in the world— that these unseen imaginal acts are meant in Hebrews when we are told, “And things that are seen are made out of things which do not appear” (Heb.11:3). No one sees the unseen imaginal act, yet they are causative; they are producing the phenomena of life.
I have friends of mine who would say, “Oh, I believe that!” and they’ll repeat it day after day, ___(??) but never live by it, never. “Imagining creates reality” ___(??) and so that does it. That doesn’t do it at all. The belief that is not strong enough to affect action can hardly be more than a half-belief. And it is always possible to use action to test the force and the genuineness of belief. If I suddenly heard a voice and you heard it, “Fire,” and it seemed to be coming from the only exit in this place, there isn’t one person present who would not make his exit to that door. We would respond to that; it’s part of our training and that’s a danger signal. And when we are told it’s a fire, everyone…some would even stampede trying to get there first. But nevertheless, we would respond to it.
But now, do we really live by the statement “imagining creates reality”? To the point when whether we are on the subway, whether we are walking the street, whether we are at home and whether it’s the morning’s mail as we received it, at that very moment when action is called for to resolve a problem, do we act? And by act I mean not going to the telephone and calling or writing a letter, I mean the imaginal act. Do we at that moment act as we would act when someone screams, “Fire!”? Is it automatic that imagining creates reality with us? For that was the message I was given, “Time to act!” “No longer drink water, but take a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your many infirmities.” Here we have stone, water, wine. And we have those who will go from meeting to meeting, year after year, absorbing more and more water, more and more what they call truth—water being the symbol of psychological truth. And so this one has another…here, we’ll do this water…it seems to come through a different land. This one has another flavor…you want to taste all different kinds of waters. He calls upon us to stop drinking water; start now drinking a little wine—put it into practice. Act upon what you now know, and don’t try absorbing all the more of the water.
So here, we have taken our stone–the stories in the Bible, these literal stories—we have turned them in to water—psychological meaning is given to them—now act upon it. Does it really mean that I actually have an opportunity to do something in my Imagination that I do it or that I wait for the most, well, opportune moment? “I am too busy now.” You’re never too busy to simply act, if you believe in the reality of that unseen imaginal act. All things are possible to God. For we are told by one of the truly great mystics of all time, “God only acts and is in existing beings or men” (Blake, Mem.Fancy, Plt.15). “Therefore, let us to him who only is give decision.” He only is. Where is he?—I AM. Is that he? Well, I believe it. If I believe it and he only is, give all decision to him, and now act. If I act, I have met the test. If I postpone it and I don’t act, I go around repeating like a parrot “imagining creates reality,” and you’re doing everything in the world but imagining the solution…but everything in the world.
Here is a lady whose story I have told you. She is now, well, almost seventy…she was beyond sixty-five. Never confessed it, she didn’t look it…no reason to confess it. But she never earned more than seventy-eight dollars a week in her life. When I met her she was, and through the years that I’ve known her, she was a receptionist in a beauty parlor in New York City. Her gross was seventy-eight. What her take home pay was as a single lady, I don’t know. But she lived in a small, little dinky dark room in a hotel on Lexington, quite near where she worked. She was the intimate friend of a very, very wealthy man, who was a bachelor. He’s now in his eighties. They lived, well, as man and wife, really, but maintained their separate places. He had a palatial home, which he owned on Madison Ave, or rather on Park Avenue, one of those co-ops. Money means nothing to him, has fortunes, and she practically none. So they dined in one of these palatial places every night, night after night. Saw every show that opened, all the musical plays, everything, operas, horse shows, everything. So she saw and heard and did things that many a wealthy person felt they couldn’t afford.
But she didn’t want that, she wanted security. For he had nephews and there were the businesses, and she knew that eventually he would have to make his exit, and they would come into all if he didn’t leave any provision in his Will for her. He always told her he was not giving her a nickel. I said to her, “What are you doing about the law that you know?” “But, Neville, I don’t know of anyone who would give me anything.” I said, “I’m not asking you to know anyone. This whole vast world is yourself pushed out. That’s only response…that’s all that it is. ‘We love because he first loved us.’ There is your cue. ‘Now be imitators of God as dear children.’ That’s a response. So what do you want? You want security.” Well, you know the story. I’ve told the story, but there may be a stranger here tonight. When I was in New York a few years ago, on her way to get ready for her job in the morning, she always took her daily tub; and sitting in the tub she simply re-enacted what she thought the lady out here did to get the security for the rest of her days. She couldn’t dramatize individual scenes, so she did it in a sort of compulsive manner, “Something wonderful is happening to me now! Not tomorrow, next month, next year, but now, right now.” Then said she, “I would feel the way I would expect to feel under such circumstances.”
This is on Monday. On Saturday of that week, at dinner, he said to her, “You know, on Wednesday, you so disturbed me. I saw you go off from the dinner table and I said to myself–I didn’t do it audibly–it’s later than you think. And so I got on the train the next day for my factories in Philadelphia, called in my nephews, and then I said, “This is what I want…no questions asked. I want it done and I want it done now, I mean today. I want a certain sum of money set up, where she can’t touch it, and you can’t touch it, the estate can’t touch it, detached from the estate, and all taxes paid on it, free. So free that when she makes her exit from this world, she may give it to a kennel; she doesn’t have to return it to the estate. It’s hers for the rest of her earthly days, but she can’t touch principle.” And that principle is paying her $550 a month. She was over sixty-five, so she got her Social Security. All told she is getting well over her $600 a month, and she had never earned or grossed more than seventy-eight dollars a week for any part of her life.
Now with all this, to her it was like a billion, and she said to me, “Well, Neville, I would like to go to Barbados for the winter, but, you know, I haven’t had any furniture. When he gave me all this money I didn’t have principle, I had just income from it. Well, I had to start from scratch. Although it’s one big room, it’s a studio room, I needed a carpet, I needed a bed. I needed everything. Well, I went to ___(??) and got the best, and he signed for it. That is, he didn’t pay for it, but he underwrote my charge, as it were, but I’m paying it off, and I can’t afford to go to Barbados. So I bought the best, and having nothing and all things had to be bought, where would I find the money to go?” And I said to her, “Have you forgotten? Could you forget so soon, where in one week you got it all, and now you’re asking me where?”
This is what she did. In Barbados if you come from a northern climate or if you were a Barbadian and went away for quite a while and became acclimated to the northern climate, you would sleep under a net. It doesn’t seem to interfere with the local man, he sleeps exposed, no net, and the mosquitoes never touch him. But you come back from America or Canada or Europe, and then you sleep under a net. If she were in Barbados, she would sleep under a net. So that night she simply slept under a net, which would imply she’s in Barbados. Then she applied this principle, seeing the world from Barbados. He gave her the winter in Barbados as his Christmas present. She didn’t mention it to him, didn’t voice it; it was his gift to her. The second year she did the same thing, she repeated it. Now, she is home, this is the third year…all gifts from him. All she does, she sleeps under the net. The only net she has ever slept under was in Barbados, so she associates it with Barbados. He comes forward giving her her winter in Barbados. She acted upon it.
So I ask you not to repeat like a parrot “imagining creates reality,” act. Do something about it. It’s entirely up to us. If we don’t act upon it, we can hear this and what I know is you can forget it just as though you never heard it, and go elsewhere. The phone’s been ringing all week. I can’t tell you how many dozens have called. Not one will come here, but “Are you closing?” It just got out…he’s closing. And so, they’re either calling for those who are in the field, or just through sheer curiosity for some columnist, I don’t know. You know, it was once said of a very powerful leader in the theatrical field here that when he died he had an enormous funeral. They didn’t go out of sympathy and respect; they went to make sure he was dead. So they came back quite pleased because he really was dead. They couldn’t conceive such a thing ever died, but he was dead. So they didn’t go out of respect.
Yes, I’m closing, closing on the 25th. I’ll be back, though. When, I don’t know, but I’ll be back to still tell the story of “time to act” and tell you what I mean by “time to act,” that imagining does create reality; that, “All that you behold, though it appears without, it is within, in your wonderful human Imagination…and that is God himself.” We become aware of God in the act of being aware of contents. You can catch him in the act if you can only become aware of these unseen realities, their contents, as she became aware of this net around her. Well, who is doing it?—-her own wonderful human Imagination. Did it produce results? It did. Well, does any other creator live in the universe? No. “By him all things are made and without it there is not anything made that is made.” He makes everything, good, bad or indifferent.
Well then, what did it? “Well, I only imagined I was under a net…and a man gives me a vacation in Barbados. Cost him hundreds of dollars; round trip, living in one of the finest hotels, and still living, not just going to a meal, then booking a room, but really enjoying the island.” So he didn’t just send her with just the ticket in her hand; and he had to do it, or someone had to do it. She never thought of him, she thought only of the act. She became aware of God in action by watching, inwardly, content. If I only can assemble the state…the potency is in the assemblage and what it implies. Well, I can get under a net. Well, does it imply anything other than I’m hot? This implied something, and that was its power.
So here, when almightiness sent me the words were “Time to Act.” And he that embraced me, infinite love, he hasn’t left me. That form no eye can see, but the form is not out there in space, it’s here, it’s infinite love…can’t describe it. There aren’t any words to describe the garment of the risen Christ, none, and no mortal eye can see it. Whether that mortal eye be here, walking this sphere, or now slipping over the veil, it’s still mortal. If it hasn’t been resurrected, it’s still a mortal eye and still can’t see it. But those who are resurrected, they could see it, for as they are resurrected they are one with that same body…one body and no loss of identity, none whatsoever.
So here tonight, I ask you to please act. At the very moment that the decision is here, act. “Let us to him that only is (walking among us) give decision. For God only is, and exists in all existing beings or men.” So when we say, “I am,” that’s he. Act upon it and believe it. It will work! I promise you it’ll work. So if you’re called upon, stop drinking water, just use a little wine now. We’ll use it in the true sense of the word, not as so many a person used it to plead their cause. When taken before the judge, you’re called upon to swear on the Bible, and so, many a judge will scoff at that little bait. So if I had to swear on it because it’s the word of God, it’s true, it’s gospel truth, then you pick me up and I’m intoxicated, I will swear that he told me to drink wine. Many of them have done it. Since the judge never saw that passage in Timothy, he has to let them go. But it didn’t mean that. It meant, stop absorbing only the psychological meaning of these fabulous stories and put it in to practice. For it’s time to act, that’s what the story means.
So here, when I was told it’s time to act I really didn’t know what the bluebloods meant. Years went by…for that was the voice that rang out in space…and then I discovered it meant church protocol, that’s all that it means. No external ceremonies, rituals, none of these things are in order: “Down with the blueblood.” Man finds it easier to spend a whole hour in church and all this external paraphernalia than to spend one second in actually acting in his Imagination. He’ll go to church and sit there and watch it all unfold before him and think he’s done God’s duty. Go back on Sunday morning after he’s done it and really believe he’s done something. Spend a whole hour when he could be home actually acting in the true sense of the word.
So when I was told, “Down with the bluebloods,” hasn’t a thing to do with our association with the word blueblood, those who think themselves important because of the accident of physical birth. Hasn’t a thing to do with that. Because in this divine society the only aristocracy that is really admitted, that is recognized, is the aristocracy of the Spirit. No one enters that divine society who has not been called, and you’re called according to his purpose. But no one barges in. Everyone there is an awakened being. Everyone there has a job to be done in God’s fabulous universe. All will be there, eventually. But it hasn’t a thing to do with the outer man, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. And so we are not speaking at any time of the outer man. What you accomplish as an outer being, perfectly alright, do it. I’m all for it, accomplish all the lovely things of the world, and do more and more and more. But it’s what the inner man is doing and this inner man in you is Christ Jesus, your own wonderful human Imagination.
So tonight, act, between here and your departure…if someone you know that you could really lift up in your mind’s eye. And when he was asked, “How often must I do it? Seventy times seven.” Do it until in your own heart you’re satisfied, just do it. But it will come back again. Alright, do it. How often must I forgive him when he sins against me?—seventy times seven. Seventy is an Ayin; its symbolical value is that of an eye. It reduces from seventy to its tone, seven, and that’s a sword, Zayin: Until the eye is fixed and you can’t move from one to the other; you only see what you want to see. When it becomes so fixed you only see what you want to see then it’s seventy times seven. And so, no matter what rumor I hear after I’ve heard what I want to hear, I hear nothing else. I heard it, I am still hearing it, and I will continue to hear it until what I have heard becomes objectified within my world. So no argument trying to escape it outwardly—if I have done it, I have done it. Having done it I will wait now for the harvest.
And so let everyone take it in that light. You can be anything you want to be if you really believe to the point where you put belief to the test. You need action to test belief, and then you act. It’s the most severe test in the world that you can give belief. Did he act? Not yet, he was too tired. Well, he’ll wait until tonight; he has a little moment in time just before he goes to bed, that’s when he does it. Well then, we go to bed tonight after he’s been fired. We’ll wait, because I intended staying here until nine and it’s only…so it’s not yet nine, so we aren’t going to act now, we’ll wait. Don’t wait! The very moment it’s upon you that’s the time to act. No matter where you are or what you’re doing if the opportunity should come, act upon it. You can always put your belief, what you think is your belief, to the test.
Aren’t there many of us who think that we have radically broken with the old habit of, say, numerology or astrology, and the day hasn’t gone quite right, and instantly in your mind’s eye, that no one may see, you begin to reconstruct your chart. You wonder where the moon is, where the sun is, relative to that fixed chart of birth, and then this motion over the fixed, and you will say to yourself, “That’s why.” So you haven’t broken at all with that old habit. We have a fixed chart in the mind’s eye we think we’ve given up. I speak from experience. It took me time to break it. I can’t tell you now where the old chart is. In my mind’s eye I smashed it. But even after I proved it was only my belief in it that made it work, I was still holding on. So I can sympathize with those who still hold on to these archaic false concepts. They will justify it by saying, “Oh well, we had a little fun with it.” How can you have a little fun with something that isn’t? You live by this and forget all these things in the world. Just live by the simple little statement that “Imagining creates reality.” So be careful what you imagine.
I don’t know how many of you read the Los Angeles Times, but this Dr. Rafferty spoke about the books in our libraries. This librarian said that it doesn’t really matter what kind of book that you…we have no evidence that any book ever influenced the behavior of a man. And Dr. Rafferty took one after the other to witness, he said, “Go into any of these homes where they’re arrested for some violent crime—mutilation of the bodies of others—and you’ll see all this literature in their files. They’ve done it time and time again. They feed upon it and then they move under compulsion to do it. They can’t stop it.” He said, “Bluebeard had a library filled with the mutilation of bodies and how to do it. Then he went out and savagely did what he did. He’s left his mark in the world, but he was prompted by what he read.” Are we not told in the Book of James that the teacher who is false, beware, because it goes so harsh with him, others no. But when a man dares to teach and takes his platform and tells the story in his own biased way, let him beware. What he is bringing upon his own head by daring to claim he’s a teacher and then teaching in that manner! For they are all teaching.
Well, that was Dr. Rafferty about, I think, two or three days ago, and he took this librarian to task who doesn’t care what books come into his library. He’s for them all. No culling of the library, no going through the books, anything at all, not knowing this little mind digging it, drinking it in, is acting. It’s putting itself right into the part that it’s reading. It becomes emotionally identified with the part, it goes out and acts. And he said that how can librarians rise to that position in the world and not know the influence of a book upon the reader? He gave example after example, all through history, of what people do when they are exposed to these things. You can still get it, for it happened this past…today is Tuesday…I think it came out on a Saturday or a Friday.
So I tell you, in your own quiet moments you are setting the world afire. When James said that faith without works is dead, he didn’t imply that we should give up faith and prove it only in works. Works are the evidence whether the faith that we confess is alive or dead. In fact, the word “works” in Greek, especially while it is used in the Book of James, is not used more than, say, eight or nine times, this word. And yet the word “works,” you’ll find it dozens and dozens of times. But this particular word is only used a few times and it means “an act.” That’s what it means, as defined by a concordance, an act. So faith without an act, faith without an action, is dead. I say I believe it but I don’t act, then that faith is dead. But you can’t rub out faith, for by faith the world was made. It seems that faith, hope and love are the virtues out of which our civilization is born…can’t rub them out.
So faith is essential. And when you say works, here comes the evidence of our faith. Was it so alive that it prompted action? If it wasn’t alive to the point where it could prompt action, well, then it’s dead. But if it prompts action that faith is alive. And so I go out believing that what I’m imagining is going to become a fact in my world; therefore I become every selective, very discriminating, and only accept as true what I want to be true in my world. If I do it this way, I am acting. So time to act, and down with all outside paraphernalia, all rituals, all ceremonies, everything that would lead you on the outside, forget it, and go on the inside and act. Just as she did with the net and got three wonderful winters in Barbados. Now don’t ask who is going to do it for you. The whole vast world is yourself made visible; anyone could be the instrument through which what you have done or imagined done is brought into your world.
So that 82nd Psalm, which is so difficult to the scholars, I have experienced. I stood in the presence of the gods, and I stood in the presence of the risen Christ, known first as El Shaddai, almightiness, and clothed second, as love. The only being outside that really left the impression was the recording angel, just writing in this enormous ledger…all symbolism yes but taking place within you. The drama unfolds within man. That 82nd Psalm is true, in spite of this great scholar who said that it had lost all meaning…can’t grasp anything it could ever have meant. How can he say that God has taken his place in the divine council…how God stands in the midst of the gods and holds judgment?
Well, the judgment is to answer the question and answer it correctly: “What is the greatest thing in the world?” Let that be your guide now, “love.” That makes you one with infinite love. You’ll actually fuse with it, and he who becomes united with the Lord becomes with him one Spirit. If I am united to him, I’m one Spirit with him, not two. Though you walk the earth as some little person unknown and you have all the afflictions here that flesh is heir to, you still know who you are. And your nights are not the nights that they were before, and your days are not…something entirely different takes place within you.
Now let us go and act. Act with your most glorious dream of what you want in this world.
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Now before we have the questions, I want to make an announcement. My friend, Freedom came down about ten days ago and spent a couple of days with us. I persuaded him, oh, maybe eight years ago to go and do this work in San Francisco. He’s done a wonderful job…he’s still doing it. He doesn’t talk on the Promise; he hasn’t had the experience. Confines himself to what he has experience which is the law that “imagining creates reality.” Undoubtedly in the many years that he has been there now he has found many facets unknown to us. I asked him to come down here once a month, no charge, his own expense, so he’s promised to come on the 3rd Sunday in every month. He has taken a small place at the Woman’s University Club; it only seats seventy. They tell me that the parking space is more than adequate, it’s enormous. There will be no charge for this at all, no taking up for collection. If you want to contribute, you may on your way out. I will remind you that he is now living in Cambria and Cambria is 250-odd miles from here, which means a round trip of over 500 miles. He will come down on Saturday, give this talk on Sunday night at eight, and go back the next day. Then he goes from San Francisco to Sacramento and he’ll be doing this once a month. It will be every 3rd Sunday in the month. He won’t be advertising. I did something I said I wouldn’t do…because he is so close to me, I took the liberty of asking my wife to go through my list of 2,000 and pick out a couple of hundred names, and give him 200 names to send out a card. If you are not among the list, don’t be hurt. I haven’t seen the list. My wife simply quickly picked out 200 names that are on my live list. You may not be on it. I will ask him to send me a few cards that are unstamped that I may put on the table before I close on the 25th. His first one will be on the 20th and I will introduce him that night.
Q: Do you expect to stay through the summer?
A: I don’t know. I’m not making any plans, really. I’m keeping my apartment, if that’s any comfort…I’m not going into storage. The only thing in it that I’m taking will be my clothes. My library that I love I’m leaving behind. I can tell you now the only books I will be taking will be my Bible and The Complete Works of Blake, that’s all I’m going to take, and my entire library will be right there. So everything that I have in that apartment that is moveable belongs to us, it’s an unfurnished apartment. So the whole thing will be left behind. Rent will go on. I’m not cutting off the services. The phone will ring, no one will answer, but it’s there. Lights and gas, I’m not going to sever. So if at any time to be moved to come back, we can come back and it’s waiting for us. But, I’m buying a one-way ticket.
Well, now time is up…until Friday. Thank you.