13 Aug Neville Goddard: “Life is For Acting” (1966)
LIFE IS FOR ACTING (11/7/66)
Life really is for acting. Time to act! “God only acts and is in existing beings or men” (Blake). God is not some passive spectator observing the great passage of life. He is the supreme actor. Now, to play a part an actor must to some extent feel the part and imagine himself as the character he is depicting. Now God became man that man might become God. He is not pretending that he’s you, he became you. He so feels that he is you that there is no separation. He is you. That’s God. Therefore, we conclude that life is for action.
How do we act? If I tell you that an assumption, a mere assumption—which is God’s way of creating—though at the moment that you’ve assumed it, reason denies it, your senses deny it, if you persist in it, it will harden into fact. If you demand from me proof before you dare to assume, you will never come to action. To act I really must assume, and the assumption is the act of faith; and without faith it is impossible to please him, as told us in the unknown author’s letter to the Hebrews. Without faith it is impossible to please him, and faith is simply this bold assumption. I dare to assume that I am the one that I would like to be. If I would dare to assume, then I have proven to my own satisfaction that I have made the great act of faith.
Now we are told in Ephesians, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, “Be imitators of God as beloved children”…if this is how God creates (Eph.5:1). He became me and made me alive. And then becoming me, now he plays all the parts that I would ever play—the rich man, the poor man, the beggar man, the thief—whatever I dare to assume that I am. If I judge from appearances and then from appearances I accept what it suggests and then play its part, well then, he’ll play the part. He plays every part in the world; there’s nothing but God.
Now we are told in scripture, “Commune with your own heart and be silent”—the 4th chapter, the 4th verse of Psalms, commune with your own heart. Well, the word heart, the word mind, and the word self is really the same in scripture. So commune with your own self, for the self is God. Now you commune with self, dissect every little action of the mind, dissect it. If you do, you will find the very fount of the primal truth. And who is the truth? “I AM the truth.” “I AM the way.” What way?—commune with self. If I dare to commune with myself and dissect every little action of the mind as I commune with self, I will find the fount of truth. And finding it, I find myself…and I am he. Now we are told, he comes to us through the gate of dream. Yes, God comes through the gate of dream and he builds in our mortal thought immortal dreams to haunt us. He paints the entire picture within us through the gate of dream; that we can’t let go, we must find this that was painted on the inside as it were. But he comes through the gate of dream.
Now let me share with you tonight a couple of letters. One gentleman, I know he is here; the other, undoubtedly because of weather could not make it. But his is equally lovely. I’ll take the one who is here first. Quite a while ago, I’m going back quite awhile, a year or more, he wrote me a letter and he said it’s not for publication. But that’s a year ago and he’ll forgive me, because I’m not going to reveal the entire letter. Much of it is very personal. There’s no need to share it with anyone but the two of us. But, the first part of it, he will love this. He said, “In my dream I was a spectator observing a lecturer. He was a little small unpretentious man, unusually homely…little tiny, very, very homely man. Not a thing about him was, I would say, desirable. Yet his subject was this, he was speaking of the necessity of transforming one’s own self by one’s own Imagination. Then the lecture ended, and as it ended, he left the stage and as he walked he grew and grew in stature and his face became completely transformed into the most incredible beauty. Then, with his head held high in pride of what he had become, he departed, and then I woke.”
The Bible only recognizes one source of dreams: All dreams proceed from God. He’s telling me his experience, but who’s having the experience? Would he not say to me if I asked him, “I am having it.” Well, his name is I AM. Here was this marvelous revelation. Here, this little tiny almost dwarf-like creature, not a thing was ___(??) save his pity for it, yet he’s talking about the necessity of transforming oneself by one’s own power of Imagination. And then, as he departed, he grew and grew and grew in stature; and the face that was so homely became completely transformed into the most incredible beauty. But that’s what I’m talking about every time I take the platform. God became man, every child born of woman, that every child born of woman may become this incredible beauty that is God. And how does he do it? Just like the actor; to play the part the actor must believe to some extent and feel to some extent that he is the character that he’s depicting. As he loses himself in it, he becomes it. So that is the story.
Now, from the same letter came this one…and this only happened this past week. He said, “I found myself driving down Beverly Boulevard. And strangely enough although I was seated correctly I was looking backwards and holding my car in the proper lane. My wife is telling me that I should simply turn around and I told her it was much easier to drive this way, looking back and down, once I kept my car in the lane, perfectly alright. Along side of me was a police car and he kept on gesturing that I should turn my head around and look where I’m going. Well, I knew I wasn’t breaking any rules. As long as I kept the car within the proper lane, I wasn’t breaking a rule. And so, I simply aloofly ignored him.
“Then I found as I turned around, which I occasionally turned around, at this junction I turned and as I looked forward, here was a crisis. I found myself on La Cienega and I had to make a turn. Well, I made a wide turn and came into the wrong lane. The police car drove up along side and then the policeman said to me, ‘Do not mind looking where you have been, look where you are going.’ Then he gave me, or rather, he had the ticket all written out and before he could give me the ticket, I woke.” So it didn’t cost me a nickel, he said. Then he said, “I learned a great principle from this: Sleep may bring counsel, but waking saves you money.” Now he’s a very wonderful humorous writer, a very successful writer. But even in that closing remark he revealed to me in this, “Rouse thyself! Why sleepest thou, O Lord? Awake! Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.” If I awake…yes, I realize the whole vast world is mine. And if I were hungry then, why should I tell you? I would slay and eat, for it’s all mine…if I awake. If I’m not awake, well then, I play the part of the rich man, the poor man, the beggar man, the thief. If I awake, I am the supreme actor playing all the parts. And so, he said, “I learned this principle, and the principle is: Sleep may bring counsel (and it does), but waking saves you money.” You dwell upon it. It’s a humorous tagline for the end of his letter to me. But I got so much out of his letter. Don’t look back and down.
Now, I must bring this out, whenever a vision breaks forth into speech, the presence of God is affirmed…as the Bible teaches in the 3rd chapter of Exodus and the 6th of Isaiah, whenever it breaks forth in speech. Well, the policeman is law. Here is the embodiment of law; secular law yes but law. And he’s warning him not to look back where he’s been, look forward to where he’s going. But the voice broke forth in speech and wherever in dream the voice breaks forth in speech then the presence of Deity is established. And God is speaking to him: No matter what he has accomplished, forget it. There is infinity before him; that nothing in this world that he’s ever accomplished compares to what is before him. Leave everything behind and start moving on.
Now the other chap, who undoubtedly because of the weather isn’t here, he wrote this story. May I tell you, his hunger to have an experience of God is all possessing. I never met anyone more hungry, more desirous of experiencing God. He’s successful in his work, doing very well…but that hunger for God. And he said, “In my dream I found myself in the presence of friends. Strangely enough I thought they were my brothers, but I cannot really remember that they were my brothers. But I know they were my friends. And one said to me, ‘The silver serpent is here. The most powerful of the serpents is here.’ Another one said, ‘And when he strikes, he strikes suddenly.’ Now they take me in this house. When I went into my room, they all entered, and the one who first spoke, spoke again, and he said, ‘The all-powerful silver serpent is in this room.’ I started looking all over to find the serpent. I was lifting the blankets from my bed, looked under the bed, looked all over. Another one said to me, ‘Looking here and there you will never find him. When he appears you will see him, but he will find you. He comes suddenly, but he finds you.’”
Well, the serpent is the symbol of Christ awake. That’s the symbol of Christ, the great serpent who fell, bringing with him all of us. “I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal.2:20). The name of God, the primary name, Yod He Vau He, the verb He Vau He means “to fall or to cause to fall; or to blow, or the one who causes the wind to blow.” So here, the serpent fell taking with him all of us. It is Christ, it is God who became man that man might become God. And here this power, the greatest power of all, he was told, is right in this room. And he started looking, he’s so eager to find him. “When he appears you will see him, but he will find you” as told us in the end of Job, after all the trials are over, “I have heard of thee with the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee” (Job 42:5). You’ll see him.
Now here, we are told…but how would I go about doing this? I want to change my life. I want to become something greater, something better in my own eyes. The world reflects it. Doesn’t matter what they think at the moment. If I change myself, the world is only an echo. It only responds to all that I am and it will mirror me, just like a mirror, whatever I am. I will see reflected in their behavior the man that I am. Well, how do I do it? You’re told, “Commune with yourself upon your bed and then be silent” (Ps.4:4)…commune with myself.
Well, a lady gave me a book last week. You know, people seldom read a book given to them? If I ___(??) read the book that I buy, I will pay a nickel for it. I’ve paid $100 for a book. But when I buy a book I read it. And I have paid a hundred dollars for, say, three volumes that I wouldn’t even give room to after I read them. But I was hungry to find out what it contained because of the promotion behind it. There are others that I’ve bought only for a nickel…and what I got out of it! When she gave the book to my wife to give me, she said to my wife, “I bought it at a rummage sale. I only paid a dime.”
Well, when I went home after the last lecture, I read the letters first, and after we had discussed, and I just talked for a while with the chap who brought me home, when he left and I closed the door and relaxed in my chair, I simply took up the book and started to thumb through it. As I turned over and started to read it, I couldn’t put it down. Couldn’t put it down until I finished the entire book…one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. She said she only paid a dime at a rummage sale. You know, people have a library, they don’t know the value of the library—I don’t mean in dollars, I mean in the actual content of books—and then a church comes by, they want something to sell at a rummage sale, and they give the book.
Well, this is called—I never heard of the author’s name before, T. Howard Wilson, whoever he is, printed here in this city—it’s The Quest Everlasting. That’s the title. It’s all about Lancelot and Guinevere, that’s the cycle. Every page is something that we should drive right into the brain. But here, concerning now “Commune with yourself upon your bed.” You want to help someone in this world? As Job said, when he prayed for his friends, forgetting himself, all of his limitations were lifted; and then all that seemingly was taken from him, all came back a thousand-fold. Every thing he lost came back multiplied and multiplied when he prayed for his friends; and in the praying for himself he forgot himself.
Now this is the love story. One who unnumbered ages ago saw this face, and then after unnumbered years he encountered it, and now he knows “I have looked upon this face before.” So when she heard his name after he heard her name…and this one little thought, it’s so altogether lovely, “His name upon her lips was like a prayer breathed by some holy nun at vesper hour.” Have you ever gone to church at the vesper hour, when you sit at sunset and everything is so quiet? The organ may be playing, but it’s always that eventide lovely music, soft, it isn’t blaring. No one talks, no one speaks audibly, it’s all communion within self, and you sit in the silence. These are the best I’ve ever gone to. You walk in just at sunset into St. Thomas’ church in New York City, where I live only two blocks away. And I just pop into that lovely church at vesper hour. Just a few people coming from work, before they go home they drop into it, and the organ is simply playing that lovely soft wonderful music. You sit alone.
But just imagine that you have someone that you want to really see lifted up in this world. And you can call it her or can call it him, depending upon who you are. But in this, it was his name, Lancelot. His name upon her lips was like a prayer breathed by some holy nun at vesper hour. Well, can’t you imagine that? Well, who is breathing it? In the Bible, when God calls man, the first recorded calling is “Moses, Moses.” God called him. So what is his name, if he called Moses? He said, “I AM.” Well, if I sit in the Silence and I call your name, who’s calling? Am I not calling? Is it not God calling? If I sit in the Silence and then I actually call your name, and then feel that you are all that I would love you to be, that I want you to be, and with complete acceptance of this assumption, breathe like a holy nun at this vesper hour, wouldn’t it work? I tell you, it works.
But, I can’t tell you my thrill in reading this book, page after page after page. I can’t begin to tell you the beauty in the book. She got it for a dime. Quest Everlasting is the title. Now, if they’re still in print, I don’t know. It’s a beautiful job, lovely printing, nice binding. But maybe no one fully appreciates it, so they’ll open the book and go, “Silly,” and throw it away. And then came the rummage sale, get them together, give it to the church, and if they sell it for a dime, they get a dime. Luckily she got it and fortunately for me she gave it to me.
So here, I tell you this is how we commune. “Commune with your own self upon your bed and be silent.” To commune is simply to inwardly call the name of the one you love, your husband, your child, your friend, anyone, and as you call him, who’s calling him? God is calling him. Well, are you not calling him? Well, his name is I AM. As we said earlier, God is not pretending that he’s man; God became man. For to play a part, the actor, the supreme actor, as all other actors, must first of all to some extent feel the part and then imagine himself as the character he is depicting. Well, he has imagined that he is the being that is talking to you. And gradually he actually steals through my dreams, my visions, for he comes to me through the gate of dream, and then he builds in my mortal thought immortal dreams. The immortal dreams are recorded in scripture. So he builds in my mortal thought these immortal dreams and then when I am haunted by them and I experience these immortal dreams, I know he wakes in me…he wakes and wakes and wakes, having first built in me these immortal dreams.
So I say to every one of you it is time to act. The act is not getting out and ranting all over the world trying to change the world; we change it from within. “God only acts and is in existing beings or men.” Now we are told in the 4th chapter, the 17th verse of Romans—there are many translations of this but I like the one from the Catholic Bible; there are many and they’re all lovely—in the Catholic Bible, “He calls a thing that is not now seen as though it were seen, and the unseen becomes seen.” Now, my Bible, what I call the Protestant Bible, the Revised Standard Version, “He calls a thing that does not exist, and that which does not exist as he calls it comes into existence.” Well, that’s alright, it’s lovely, but I’d rather have the other: He calls a thing that is not seen by mortal eye and that which is not seen as he calls it becomes seen.
So his name upon her lips is like a prayer, nobody hears it. She just simply comes from within herself the name of her lover, the one she’s known through the ages, and she hears that response. And to her, though she is a person come back from Macy’s after a hard, hard day’s work, she is like some holy nun at that vesper hour. For that vesper hour need not be sunset in a church, it can be when you are on your bed. That’s the vesper hour, that’s the eventide.
So Christ wakes in us. But he comes through us through the gates of sleep first, and then upon our mortal thought he simply paints these immortal dreams and you and I experience them. And the immortal dream painted you…find it right in the Bible; it’s everlasting. Having painted it, it haunts us, like my friend with the silver serpent. He’s haunted by it. He’s not here to hear the interpretation, but he knows it because it happened to him. So whether he hears it from me or not, it doesn’t really matter, he knows now. But here, in his own house and in his own room…but he can’t find it by searching for it; his hunger brings it. And when he comes he’ll see him. But he will find you; you don’t find him. It strikes suddenly, one said. So in his case, too, the vision broke forth in speech and whenever vision breaks forth in speech Deity is affirmed.
So here this lovely thing: it’s always time to act. So to every one of us, now is the time to act. Don’t wait for tomorrow, now. And that vision that I told earlier of my friend’s, this little man, very, very homely, not a thing to look at, in fact, you would pity him. Yet his subject was to transform oneself by the power of one’s own Imagination. And when he got through telling it and he started to depart, he grew and grew and grew in stature. As he grew, his face became completely transformed into the most incredible beauty. Here was a complete demonstration of what he was talking about.
So here, I act, time to act. It is time to act, time for everyone, because God is not something on the outside. God became man that man might become God. And God is not some passive spectator observing the great pageantry as it unfolds, he is the supreme actor in man. But it takes a tremendous actor to play the part of the buffoon, the fool, the poor man, the this. But maybe you don’t like playing that part. Alright, the supreme actor can change it over night and play another part, and the world—it’s all a stage anyway—will reflect the change in you.
The story is “transform oneself by the power of one’s own Imagination.” Well, I will simply assume. For the assumption is the act of faith and without faith it is impossible to please him, you can’t please him. So I will simply assume that I am…and then I name it. Then I take those that I love and then call their name, and let it be to me like some lovely breath as I call it at this vesper hour. I tell you, who is calling him? I am calling him. But what’s his name?—I AM. Therefore, what is impossible to God? Nothing is impossible to God. So you call it and you feel the reality of it, and then it’s done. All you do is simply wait in confidence that it cannot return unto you void. For you’ve spoken; and “My word cannot return unto me void, but it must accomplish that which I purposed, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is. 55:11). And here you stand, completely in control of transforming self, and by it, the world transforms itself relative to you. So, no screaming on the outside. And this goes for every one of us. There is nothing but God, but God is in man. Where else would you find him? He became man in the most literal sense that man might become God.
Now let us go into the Silence.
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Q: Neville, in John 17, you said that this was a prayer by one who had already experienced it, as yourself, and been lifted out of the world. Why then is he saying “Glorify thou me with thine own self” because, has he not been given that self?
A: Natalie, that begins the entire chapter, “the hour has come”…he begins it, “My hour for departure is come.” Now, he wants returned to him the same glory that he had before that the world was. And what was the glory? The glory that was mine, now, “Glorify thou me with thine own self.” That was the self he gave up; he gave up divinity. He abdicated his divine form to become man. He’s asking now for the return. And then how can you find in mortal words, words better than that to express it? It’s only expressed for us on this level. It’s all a communion within self. Because, who would have known it? How could any writer have recorded it? For this is all communion of the risen Christ. What evangelist was present to hear this communion with self? So then what could be the revelation but the evangelist’s own experience of the Christ in him? For, who was present? No one was present. The hour has come and now, “Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory that I had with thee before that the world was.” And then, he simply goes through “I have kept them in thy name.” And he gave…“everything that he gave me I have given to them that they may be one as we are one.” It goes through the entire oneness…all through the entire 17th, the most glorious prayer that one could ever conceive: “I in them and thou in me that they may be one as we are one.”
Q: Are you speaking then of something that is coming to you in fullness after you leave this body?
A: You are told it before you leave this body, but you remain in this body to complete the story. It is all done within you. And you know it, you have experienced it all, and although you hunger…as Paul said, “It is my desire to depart and be with Christ, but for your sakes it is better, the need is greater, that I stay on in the body.” And so he has to stay on until he tells it and tells it ‘til the body can’t take it any more. When the body can take it no longer, then he has to depart. At that moment, he is one with what he was when he walked the earth as he experienced it. So God actually became us and in each one he awakes and awakes and awakes and awakes.
And then the same story, it is all within us, and it all came through that wonderful gate of dream. So I ask you for your dreams, to let me know at the moment where you are in the unfolding dream. Because, the dream is so important, for he comes through the gate of dream and then he builds in mortal thought immortal images. It’s all there. In the mortal thought?—yes in my mortal mind. But I am haunted by what he’s done in the immortal state. Can’t rub them out; they are there forever. And when you have experienced them, then the whole thing is over. And you really hope to depart, but the work isn’t finished as far as telling it and telling it, so that everyone will know that he should not despair. No matter what happens in the world, don’t despair, for the very one who created the whole vast universe is in you. You’re not some little puppet on the outside. And this goes for every child born of woman regardless of race, regardless of nationality, regardless of anything. But every child born of woman, God is housed in that child when he says “I am.”
Q: When you’re on your bed in the Silence and you mention this person’s name, do you just
___(??) or do you try to focus on some of their problems?
A: No, not problems. For instance, when I call one that I love dearly and call her name because I’m separated, say, in space or I may be a thousand miles away, and your heart longs for the comrade, and you call, hoping in your own heart first that she’s right, that everything is perfect, and then you just simply call the name. When you call the name, it’s God calling the name, because I am calling it. But you whisper it from within. Call the name…for in the beginning of Genesis, and “he named everything and it was as he named it.”
Q: When you call is it her name, the first name, or as you know her?
A: By whatever. If you call her “Sweet”, let her know what you mean by Sweet. Her name may be Joan, but you call her Sweet if you can call her Sweet. It wouldn’t make any difference because it’s all something within. You know what you mean when you use a certain endearing term. I call my wife Bill and every time I speak publicly about Bill and I went to bed, I have to stop and explain it because the association is a man. Well, she’s always been to me Bill. And so I speak of her and I call her Bill, but I rarely call her Bill. I mean, every day I have occasion to call her and it’s always either the word Sweet or Darling or Dear. She knows what I’m talking about. These are terms that I use in calling her. Occasionally I might call her Bill. I’ve never called her by the name given to her at birth, which is Willa. When others call her Willa, I don’t know who they’re talking about, because to me she’s either Bill or she is the names that I always speak when I speak of her as Dear or Sweet or Darling, and she knows exactly what I’m talking about.
So if tonight in the Silence were I separated, say, across the country 3,000 miles, and I naturally think of her, I wouldn’t call her Bill. I might use the word Sweet, but there are millions of things that are sweet in the world, but I don’t mean many ___(??) of things, I mean only one. And I would know exactly what I am calling. It’s all in me. “For all that you behold, though it appears without, it is within, in your Imagination of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.” All objective reality is produced through imagining. The whole vast world comes out of God and God is your own wonderful human Imagination. And so, I would call her, and then commune, embrace her, do anything, hold her, kiss her, and then see her as I would like to see her, and go to sleep. Well, God called her when I did that. Am I not calling her? What is his name? I AM.