Neville Goddard Lecture, The True Vine

The True Vine

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Today, as you know, is Good Friday, and undoubtedly millions have attended services and heard some portion of the last seven words of Christ; but I wonder how many of them know who he is and what the words really mean. I tell you: Jesus Christ is your awareness, your I Amness, who became as you are that you may be as he is. I want you to accept this literally, for it is true. Now, each one of the seven words spoken of today is really a sentence, the first of which is: -”Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,-” and the last is: -”Father, into thy hands I commit my Spirit.-” This is only a portion of the quote from the 5th verse of the 31st chapter of the Book of Psalms. The complete thought is this: -”Father, into thy hands I commit my Spirit. Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.-” Here we find the redeemer to be one with the redeemed, for speaking to the Father, he says: -”Thou hast redeemed me,-” yet he has already confessed -”I and the Father are one.-” So you see the redeemer and the redeemed are really one. Let us look at these words through the eyes of the mystic, and not with the traditional eyes of the church: -”I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser.-” This true vine is the imagination. It is man’s eternal body, who is God himself. Jesus is the divine body, of which we are his members in the sense that he is in us. Christ is not a little man, but humanity. He is our own wonderful human imagination. He is our redeemer, yet he is the one redeemed. When I first realized this I was shocked, for I was born and raised in the Christian tradition and knew no other religion. Then I discovered that Christ was not someone on the outside that I should worship, but my own wonderful human imagination, and for a while my world turned upside down.

There is a little poem that fits this perfectly: -”Behold this vine. I found it a wild tree whose wanton strength had swollen into irregular twigs. But I pruned the plant and it grew tempered in its vain expanse of useless leaves and knotted as you see into these full, clean clusters to repay the hand that wisely wounded it.-” Your imagination is the true vine from which everything in your world is drawn. Any misuse of your imagination causes the deformities in your life. It is a shock, I know, to realize that you are the sole cause of your life; and what a responsibility you have, to prune this true vine of awareness! Since the Father and the Son are one, I – as Father AM the true vine and must prune myself. Not realizing a seeming other was a branch growing from me, the true vine, I allowed myself to entertain unlovely thoughts of him. But I didn’t cut the branch, for the pruning is not in that way. Called repentance in scripture, pruning is revision – which is a radical change of attitude towards an individual or a situation. I revised my thoughts relative to that seeming other and accepted this unseen imaginal act as reality.

Then I watched, and in time I became aware of a change in my world relative to this person or that condition. Having found the true vine and the Father who pruned it, I know I must prune it every day; for if I do it will knot and form itself into these full, clean clusters to repay the hand of the vinedresser (the Father) who pruned it. Listen carefully now to these words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians: -”Christ Jesus who – though he was in the form of God – thought it not robbery to be equal with God, emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, and was born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he became obedient unto death, even death on the cross.-” Your body is the cross upon which Jesus Christ is crucified. And it is there he will remain until he transforms your lowly body into the one form with his glorious body. Then he will have fulfilled his purpose. I tell you: Jesus Christ has actually taken upon himself your body of humility and become its slave by feeding it, bathing it, clothing it, and caring for it in every way; yet Jesus Christ is not of this world. But in time he will completely transform you into his glorious body, for he is the redeemer, who – having assumed your body – will redeem it, thereby becoming the redeemed. The true vine is your own wonderful human imagination. When you believe this you will no longer imagine as you formerly did, but will prune your thoughts every minute of every day. You will break the habit of feeling remorseful, depressed, or regretful. You will no longer think unkindly about another, because you will know that he is actually yourself pushed out, and appeared in your world because the Father in you called him. No one can come unto me unless I, who am one with the Father, call him. Even though he brings poison he does it because I gave it to him to bring.

This is the story that is reenacted today, but not understood. Now we are told he took a sop (called -’a morsel’ in some translations) and gave it to Judas, who quickly departed. The sop is a gift of great friendship. In the ancient world, the sop was dipped into a liquid and handed to the honored guest, he who is the closest and dearest friend. That’s Judas. Only one who knows the messianic secret can betray it. No one can betray me who does not know my secret. How could you betray me if I had not taken you into my confidence as a friend, and shared my secret? So Judas leaves to tell the world of the real Christ and gives them a sign saying: -”The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him. Hold him fast.-” Don’t let him go, but eat his doctrine, feed upon it, drink it. Let everything else go, but don’t let him go. When you have found the cause of the phenomena of your life, let every other belief go. Should people urge you to eat certain food or observe certain days do not believe them, for there is nothing you can do on the outside that will ever commend you to God. You are defiled or purified by what comes out of your heart, not by what you eat or observe on the outside. Are you imagining good or evil for yourself, for the true vine is your own wonderful human imagination, and the world without is nothing more than your branches. Now, who is this one that Judas kisses? The Risen Christ! This I know from experience. One night I was explaining the word of God to twelve men, when one jumped up quickly and departed. I instantly knew he was going to tell exactly what I had told him concerning the cause of the phenomena of life. Then he returns. It’s the same being, but now he is richly dressed and so important we all stand at attention at his entrance. Coming toward me he severs my sleeve, revealing my right arm and kisses the one it is said of him: -”Don’t let him go, but hold him fast.-

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Neville Goddard, Summa Theologica, Manly P Hall, A Course In Miracles

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