Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
May 24, 2007
The Intuitive-Connections Network

Practical Mysticism—Humanity’s Next Step

Walter Starcke

Walter Starcke


An Interview with Walter Starcke

By Kathy Juline

Walter Starcke is a person of extraordinary accomplishments. Beginning his many-faceted career as an actor and Broadway producer, notably of I Am a Camera, later made into the film and musical Cabaret, he has devoted his life to the study and practice of universal truth principles.

Currently a business entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and “Closing the Gap” workshop teacher, he is also the author of a number of books, including This Double Thread (1976), Homesick for Heaven (1988), It’s All God (1998), The Third Appearance (2004), and his most recent, Joel Goldsmith and I (2006). One of today’s most inspired New Thought writers, he lives the life of a practical mystic.

SOM: Your new book Joel Goldsmith and I tells of your eighteen-year spiritual mentoring relationship with Joel Goldsmith. How did you come to be his student?

WS: I was an officer in the Navy in World War II and when I got out I went to New York. (I was in pretty bad shape and desperately needed tracks to run on when I had a kind of epitheny experience and was told that I would be led to a teacher. Son after,) I auditioned for and was given a part in a play by John Van Druten.

One day he and I (somehow got to talking) about religion, and he offered to let me read some letters he had received from a Christian Science practitioner, who happened to be Joel Goldsmith. I took them home, read them, and bells went off in my head. It was the first time I had run into something that said God is within you. So that put my foot on the path. Then John said that I should correspond with Joel, who was in California, and I did.

That play came and went, and I got in another play with the English actress Dame May Whitty, who (also turned out to be)was also a student of Joel. I thought this was beyond accident. So as soon as I could I flew out to California and met him. (That was the year Joel left Christian Science and as I had no metaphysical background I was perhaps his first Infinite Way student.)I had no metaphysical background at all, so that was the beginning of a whole new understanding for me.

SOM: You have said about your relationship with Joel that he instigated a spiritual metamorphosis in you. What happened?

WS: It was a gradual thing, and it changed my life in incredible ways. For example, I began to get into meditation, which became very important to me. I’d have to get up early in the morning to meditate before going out to look for jobs. So I lost all the friends I had, because they were theater people who stayed up until three or four in the morning, and I couldn’t do that.

Before too long, I had new, different friends. Another gradual change was that I began to listen to my intuition—that still, small voice within. We all do this all the time but we don’t consciously realize it. Well, I began to (recognize rather than realize) realize it. Nowadays when I say to people that “my guidance” tells me something, they ask what I mean by that. I say it’s like any other thought, but it comes from a different place inside of me.

It’s not a thought I think; it’s a thought I hear. By listening in this way, I began to live more and more by my intuition and I went on to have some remarkable successes, such as being the youngest producer on Broadway (at that time) to win the Drama Critics Circle. The intuition is infallible, and learning to pay attention to it has changed my life.

SOM: Is this why you speak of being both a spiritual and a human self?

WS: Yes. From the beginning I intuitively knew not to reject the human as being less important than the spiritual. To me one did not exclude the other. I was uncomfortable around people who did not recognize the spirit within them and also (uncomfortable) around those who were denying their humanity—and just trying to be “holy.” I’m happier today than I have ever been, because there are so many of us now who are consciously expressing (their divinity without rejecting their humanity) both our humanity and our divinity.

SOM: Do you view these two aspects as a unity?

WS: Yes. (The goal of most teachings is to eliminate duality; however by saying God is omnipresent but not over there or that we are made in the image of God but not him, we create the very duality we say does not exist.). When we deny our humanity, we’re saying that there is another place than our divinity. To me we are facing today very clearly something that has never been done before.

Most of the world’s major religions say there is an omnipotent God, a supreme being, Allah, Brahmin, that is all-powerful and everywhere present. Then they turn around and create a duality, because they say you have to get rid of your humanity in order to understand or experience God. They say to put your humanity in a cave, lock it into a theology, or imprison it in a morality, instead of asking what it’s here for. (If God is the only power what’s its purpose?)

SOM: So moving from a material to a spiritual consciousness involves the integration of the human and the divine?

WS: Absolutely. But I’ll tell you what the difference is. It’s a matter of priority. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” means to seek first the subjective aspect (or reality)of life, and then the objective (appearance). Unfortunately our society today—and that includes corporations, governments, churches—is built on a different priority: the bottom line. (Getting results is more important than how you go about getting them). So we do have both the material and the spiritual—and we do have to have both of them.

We can’t have just one; life is not just all material or all spiritual. We have to join the two together. In the two commandments, Jesus says, “Love God and love your neighbor,” and if you do those perfectly, they are like unto each other. The point is, we (should) start with the subjective (value), and then we materialize it (objectively).

We don’t start with the material and then spiritualize it. That shift took place in me, and I think many of the successes I had were possible because I (first) turned within for intuitive guidance. That’s what I mean by starting from the subjective and then the objective follows.

SOM: You’re saying that your intuitive guidance would lead you to take a certain action?

SW: Yes. The spiritual life works in this way because we are multidimensional beings. We’re not operating from just one level. We’re operating from a number of levels simultaneously. We get to the point where we can realize which level we’re coming from at that time. If we’re at a purely objective level, we can take some time to meditate in order to move into the subjective level of consciousness.

I believe we can (all) do something today that wasn’t possible just fifty years ago (except for a few), because we understanding more now about the inner mind and nonmaterial reality. We can be aware of our level of consciousness, and we can think several different things at the same time without losing sight of the spiritual or material nature of each of those things. (I call it double thinking.)

Ultimately all is spirit, but there is a human reality in which we live and express. Together, they comprise a unity of subjective and objective. Knowing this, we can let the objective flow from our subjective consciousness.

SOM: What is the central idea of Joel Goldsmith’s teachings?

WS: Joel’s work is alive today because of his mysticism, not primarily because of his metaphysics. You have to have both, but Joel’s strong point was his mysticism. I feel that Ernest Holmes was a (cut much) better metaphysician than Joel was, since Joel chose to focus exclusively on mysticism; whereas Holmes—who was himself a mystic—felt that teaching metaphysics was also important.

When I wrote Homesick for Heaven a copy of the manuscript was sent to Rev. Peggy Bassett when she was president of United Church of Religious Science. She read it and called me on the phone. I kicked that book off at her church in Huntington Beach, California.

At that time I reread Holmes’ book The Science of Mind and was blown away by it. (He had it all, Jesus, mysticism, the works, but) His strong point is in the use of the mind, and he does this so well. (On the other hand) Joel’s strong point—and really the (main rather than entire) focus of his teaching—is the mystical experience.

SOM: Would you clarify what you mean by mysticism and metaphysics?

WS: Metaphysics deals mainly with the programming of our mind, putting the right thoughts there, having a definite and specific intention. (It is like programming the computer) Mysticism, on the other hand, is not about thought. (It’s about turning the computer on.) It is an experience. It has to do with consciously and personally experiencing yourself as the presence of God.

I tell people that it’s no good to say, “I and my Father are one” or “God is within me” if we don’t experience it. But if we don’t have the knowledge of that principle, which is where metaphysics comes in, then there’s nothing to experience. To further clarify, Joel, as a mystic, taught that the mind is an instrument of spiritual awareness; whereas metaphysics views the mind as the means by which we direct thought in order to attract material things or heal an imperfect condition.

SOM: So metaphysics applies to the practical needs of living?

WS: Both uses of the mind are needed. Michelangelo couldn’t scratch the Pieta out of a piece of marble with his fingernails. He had to have a chisel, and he had to keep that chisel sharp and know how to use it. If you were a fly on the wall and you saw all those chips flying, you’d say, “Oh, what a wonderful statue that chisel is creating.” Well, you’d be wrong. It’s the consciousness of Michelangelo using the chisel. Now the chisel is equally important, because if you don’t have the mind programmed right, you can’t create the beautiful statue.

SOM: How is the consciousness of Michelangelo achieved?

WS: That’s the mystery! In the 1950s when people were using machines to change and measure their alpha waves and other dimensions of thought vibration, I was chagrined at first to realize that I had put so much time and attention to learn the practice of meditation and now they are saying that you can just turn on a machine and achieve a deep meditative state of consciousness. Well, you can’t.

You can get a hint of it that way but eventually you have to do it the only way there is, and that is to spend time each day going within. I find that for me the best time of the day to meditate is when I first wake up in the morning. (It’s like taking a psychic bath. I’ve taken on a degree of personal sense in the previous day, and) My consciousness has been off guard during sleep, so my morning meditation is the time when I let go of the personal sense, get rid of it all, and open myself to the experience of the presence. This is when I am most likely to experience that inner “click” of realization.

As we know, mystics talk much about going into the silence. But it’s not a silence of sound. It’s a silence of mind. And as long as the monkey chatter is going on, there’s no silence. Meditation is a way to quiet the monkey chatter and to cleanse the mind so we can hear our intuition. I expect that Michelangelo was able to access his intuition on a very deep level, and Joel Goldsmith’s absolute approach to spiritual realization teaches us to do the same.

SOM: What do you mean by his absolute approach?

WS: I mean that Joel, in teaching his students to cultivate a conscious union with the inner presence, recognized the Kingdom or the Father within as being the only actor and the only activity. Joel taught that the allness of God lies within (or as) us and it is this inner Source that supplies our every need, even without our needing to ask or affirm anything.

He always told his students to take no thought for their life or their supply; going to God with a request or desire isn’t necessary, because God is infinite, active being, so all that God has is flowing constantly into manifestation and form.

SOM: You’ve said that the value of metaphysics is its practical use in demonstrating things or experiences. Are you saying now that mysticism also has a practical usefulness?

WS: Yes. They work together. (It’s a co-creation.) Let’s think about the contribution of quantum mechanics. It tells us exactly what Mary Baker Eddy said at the turn of the 20th century in her formulation of Christian Science—that everything is consciousness manifesting in form. If we want to change the form, then we change the consciousness by establishing in our mind (Kathy,

Joel would not say to have a definite idea...he would say to establish the” principle” we want to manifest) a definite idea of the form we want to manifest. However, thinking goes only so far—it only provides an outline. If we don’t have the energy of conscious creation, the form does not come to life. So both the metaphysical work and the mystical consciousness are equally important. Human beings have the power of “energization.” Our mind is working from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to bed at night. There’s no God sitting on a cloud out there running our lives.

Self-fulfilling prophecy is creating our life for us. That’s why I believe that mystics, who say to forget everything in the world and just experience the presence, are leaving out a vital part of spiritual living. We may be attuned to the presence but if we allow our thoughts to go random, what we create in our life is going to reflect confusion. When we’re clear in our thoughts and motives, and we remain attuned to the infinite presence, then the idea (idea is good here) that we want to manifest is energized into experience. (Kathy, excellent)

SOM: So Joel Goldsmith’s mysticism and Ernest Holmes’ metaphysics need to be combined?

WS: I think it’s a must. Discovering the part played by the mind was a great contribution, because it taught us that we have to have a chisel. But there is this universal higher consciousness that’s in every single one of us, and it is always open to us. One of the main reason’s I’ve written Joel Goldsmith and I is that the time has come to close the gap (between the human and the divine.).

Holmes taught spiritual mind treatment; while Joel said just to experience the presence because God knows your need. They were saying the same thing! But Holmes didn’t go along with Goldsmith’s absolutism, because he believed in the need to program the computer. Joel saw this as being too mental.

SOM: But if they were both alive today, they would agree?

WS: Yes, I believe so. You see, we’ve come to the point where we recognize that it’s all God—both the work you put into it as well as the result. Joel summed up his teaching by quoting the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was made flesh and dwells among us.” Then Joel would add, “But being flesh it is still the word,” meaning that everything around us is consciousness manifesting in form. I sometimes say (I don’t see people).

Well, of course, I see them. What I mean is that I see consciousness manifesting as a form. The point I’m trying to make is that we’re here for one reason—to become conscious beings. That means that we don’t identify ourselves as form only.

SOM: What is the impact on New Thought today of the kinds of ideas that Joel Goldsmith brought forth?

WS: I believe that the metaphysical movement is at a very crucial turning point today. Over the past hundred-plus years it has given us an invaluable understanding of how mind works. But if it doesn’t move now from the mind into the experience, from the thought to the mysticism, it’s not going to continue to expand. That’s where we are now. Unity, Religious Science, New Thought must direct their focus to spiritual experience, which is mysticism. We have to make that shift; otherwise, these movements will not be able to move us forward.

SOM: To many people, mysticism suggests a withdrawal from the outer world. Is mysticism relevant to the world today, with the problems of hunger, poverty, homelessness, and war?

Starcke: Mysticism means that you can go within and contact or realize universal truth, the spirit. If we want to be creative in the outer world, we have to go within and realize that connection, that oneness. (Then we must go out and do) It is the only way we can be truly creative. That’s why I say this is a new day.

We have to close the gap (that) we have believed exists between the human and the divine—and we’re going to do it, because science has proved to us that if we don’t do it we’re going to destroy the planet. The way to turn this around is to individually experience ourselves as the divine presence.

That’s mysticism. It means to experience the presence and then go out and be that presence. We’re seeing this happening. For example, people are taking responsibility for the environment because they’re concerned about the welfare of the planet. This is their way of being the presence.

SOM: What is our next step?

Starcke: Our next step is to reverse the priority. By that I mean we need to (primarily) approach life subjectively rather than objectively. In other words if we want peace, then we think how to get it—for example, by building hospitals and schools—instead of thinking that we (can) get it by dropping bombs.

The latter approach is taking the objective way, and we’ve seen that it doesn’t work. I think it’s a most exciting time now. There’s a shift going on in all of humanity. We’re ending thousands of years of the human (objective) approach to life. The metaphysical movement is so important, because it has the seeds of how we can make this transformation—through the use of the mind and the spirit.

*Reprinted by Permission from Science of Mind magazine.

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