Being a detailed description of the Future life purporting to be communicated by the late
[Frederic William Henry Myers, 1843-1901]
Containing an account of the gradual development of human personality into cosmic personality through
“For it has been my lot to be concerned in a work more important and more successful than anything in my own capacity or character could have led me to expect. I have been one of the central group concerned in a great endeavor; the endeavor to pierce, by scientific methods, the world-old, never-penetrated veil. The movement which took overt shape in 1882, with the formation of the Society for Psychical Research, was aided indeed by help from other quarters, but in its essential character was the conception of a few minds, and was piloted through its early dangers by a small group of intimate friends. With this endeavor to learn the actual truth as to the destiny of man I have from the very first been identified and, so to say, incorporate. Edmund Gurney worked at the task with more conscientious energy; the Sidgwicks with more unselfish wisdom; but no one more unreservedly than myself has staked his all upon that distant and growing hope.” –Frederic Myers
- Introduction, by E. B. Gibbes
- I This Petty, Puny Age
- II The History Of Consciousness
- III The Immediate Life After Death
- THE METETHEREAL OR SPIRITUAL WORLD
- LIGHT ON THE THIRD PLANE
- TIME ON THE THIRD PLANE
- THE FOURTH DIMENSION
- LOVE AND MARRIAGE
- THE TYRANT’S FATE
- THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE WORLD BEYOND DEATH
- THE FAMILY GROUP
- THE DREAM-CHILD
- HUMAN PERSONALITY AND SURVIVAL
- THE DOUBLE IN ASSOCIATION WITH
- THE LIVING PHYSICAL BODY
- DISEASE AND THE DOUBLE
- IV Reincarnation.
- V Affinities
- VI The Two Aspects
- VII Armistice Day
- VIII November 11th, 1934
- IX The Chart Of Existence
- X Beyond Human Personality
- THE MYSTERY OF MARS
- THE LOTUS FLOWER PARADISE
- ARE THE PLANETS INHABITED?
- XI Solar Man
- LIFE ON THE FIXED STARS
- THE BIRTH OF SOLAR MAN
- LIGHT ON THE STARS
- NON-HUMAN SPIRITS
- LANGUAGE AND RELIGION
- THE ALLEGED LIFE-FORCE
- THE EXTINCT WORLDS
- THE FIFTH PLANE
- ULTIMATE REALITY
- XII Prayer
- COLLECTIVE PRAYER
- PRAYER IN THE VALLEY OF DESOLATION
- PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING
- FATE AND PRAYER
- XIII Hell
- HELL AND THE AFTER-LIFE
- DO WE MAKE OUR OWN HELL?
- THE WICKED MAN FLOURISHES
- XIV The Right Way of Loving
- KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM
- GAUTAMA, KNOWN AS BUDDHA
- CHRIST, BUDDHA AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLD
- THE NAZARENE AND DISCIPLE OF CHRIST
- I Prevision And Memory
- THE CONCEPTUAL WORLD
- THE SUGGESTIBILITY OF MEDIUMS
- II Nature Spirits
- ANIMAL SURVIVAL
- III Insanity
- A SECOND METHOD OF TREATMENT
- THE PREPARATION
- THE VARIETY OF EARTH-BOUND SPIRITS
- SENILE DECAY
- IV Justice
E. B. GIBBES
“Unquestionably the truth or fallacy of the theory of the survival of the soul is by far the most tremendous question that can exercise the human mind. The more you think of it, the more all other questions seem to sink into utter insignificance, for only if survival be true, can the Universe be rationalized at all, because only in this way, and in this alone, can we confront the problem of evil. If survival be not true, then the only possible philosophy is blank pessimism, and the Ruler of the Universe cannot be acquitted of cruelty that would shock any normal man.” Professor E. W. MacBride, F.R.S. (Psychic Science)
The following essays were written automatically by Miss Geraldine Cummins in precisely the same manner as those contained in the book entitled The Road to Immortality. They purport to be communicated by the late F. W. H. Myers, one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research and explain his conception of life after death in greater detail than was possible in the earlier volume.
In the above mentioned book is also presented a series of evidential cases which would seem to answer Professor MacBride’s question (p. 10) and to offer cogent proof of the survival of human personality. It has not, therefore, seemed necessary to include in the present volume these and other evidential cases received through the mediumship of Miss Cummins. For such evidence readers are referred to the previous volume and also to various articles which have appeared in Light, the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research and other psychic papers during the last few years.
In his Foreword to The Road to Immortality, Sir Oliver Lodge describes Miss Cummins as “an amateur trance-writer… an amanuensis of reasonable education, characterized by a ready willingness for devoted service and of transparent honesty.”
The present volume was sent to him and in a letter to me he says that he has “no reason to doubt the likeness to Myers’ utterances except perhaps what is said about solar beings and about conditions of life in stars. At the conclusion of this portion the writer deals with difficult subjects and is not to be taken as an infallible guide. The whole is interesting… I think the chapter labeled ‘Prayer’ is very fine.”
It is of interest here to quote an extract from a sitting which Miss Cummins gave to Sir Oliver Lodge. The communicator announces himself as F. W. H. Myers, and Sir Oliver Lodge has kindly consented to its publication in this volume.
[Extract from sitting with Sir Oliver Lodge, Dec. 10th, 1933]
F.W.H.M. I have come to the conclusion that there is no finished World of the Absolute, erase from your mind this conception of German and Indian thought. For God is imagination, is the illumination or blaze beyond reason. He maintains and preserves the past, and contains the conception or picture of the future. But he adds to Himself, that is an important point.
Now, the soul of man is a finite focus or center for imagination, more especially when functioning on the higher levels though still associated with the material body. This soul manifests dimly a creative power which is akin to, and of the Great Cosmic Imagination. God is many in One, One in Many. The souls and spirits of all things living aim ultimately at becoming one with their Creator. Thus the Imagination of God is altered and enriched by the adding up of the time process. It attains a perfection on a higher level ultimately. Schopenhauer, the advocate of the unconscious, seems to me to be in error. For God reflects, is purposive, and creates with an ecstasy beyond human comprehension….
I am very pleased by the simple and explicit manner in which you have developed the thesis of the ether in your book and in your discussions. I am aware that the scientists dislike this view of yours: but scientists are so often blinded by their own eyes.
The term “ether” is a bad one. I wish we could find a more suggestive word. I agree with you concerning its properties. I would like to find a Greek word which expresses the idea of the English equivalent “life-bearer.” Let us find a word that conveys that meaning.
May I say that you are right in your conclusion that mind does not work directly on the brain. There is an etheric body which is the link between mind and the cells of the brain. I would like to explain certain points in that connection.
I am aware that of late years scientists speak of corpuscular particles. May I suggest that far more minute corpuscular particles than those already known travel along threads from the etheric body, or double, to certain regions of the body and to the brain. They whirl with a very great intensity. I might call them life units.
The threads I speak of are connected with the glands. Medical men have been impressed by the alteration in character caused by certain deficiencies in one particular gland. They will find perhaps in time&emdash;when they discover the etheric body&emdash;that this deficiency is partly caused by some weakening of the thread or wire which carries the life current from the etheric body to these glands. I know I am uttering heresies. But I want you to realize that this invisible body&emdash;called by me the double or unifying mechanism&emdash;is the only channel through which mind and life may communicate with the physical shape. Should a thread snap between the two, there is immediately a failure in control.
O.J.L. The ether seems to me to underlie every material process, but there is no means of getting at it.
F.W.H.M. Yes, the ether is the ancestor of matter. You will only be able to get at it through considerable research, through the making, in short, of a very delicate instrument which will record that mystery and make it intelligible to the sight of the scientist. I will discuss the possibilities of such work with Crookes; he may have some suggestions.
O.J.L. Pragmatically, it is said, the ether does not exist: everything goes on as if it were not there.
F.W.H.M. I see your point. Actually ether does make a difference. After all they know it to be a medium for messages. I think it may be necessary for instance to study the ether through its connection with the physical body. Experiments might be made with animals. Each animal has a unifying invisible body made out of modified ether. It should be possible to devise in time an instrument whereby this body can be perceived. I merely make this suggestion. I am no physicist, but I feel that light will be thrown on your main thesis if the ether is studied in connection with the human being and that unifying mechanism of which I have spoken.
O.J.L. You feel that I am right in sticking to the ether hypothesis? Everything would be in chaos if it did not exist.
F.W.H.M. Yes. You need have no fear that proof will be obtained of the non-existence of the ether. I prophesy that ten years from now the ether will have become a reality to thinking men. After you have joined me here, Lodge, they will find clues to its existence. They will come upon it partly by experiment with a very fine instrument, and also with the aid of chemistry. The ether, as I know it, is the very stuff and material of our existence here. It has a permanency which makes it more difficult and elusive for those who dwell in impermanent matter.
Is it possible for you to encourage the initiation of experiments in connection with the animal? Let the animal be studied not merely as a physical mechanism. Bring to bear on the subject the very finest photographic plates. But do not neglect the idea of an instrument through which the eye may perceive the double, the invisible body of the animal.
May I refer you to some remarks of mine on the etheric body which I made to this lady on the last occasion?…”
Readers of The Road to Immortality will remember the account given by Frederic Myers of the world of Illusion&emdash;the memory or dream-world, to which we pass at death, as well as his comments upon the Fourth plane or world of Eidos which succeeds it. In the present volume he amplifies our knowledge of these states and, passing on to the Fifth plane&emdash;that of the Flame-world or world of Helios&emdash;paints a remarkable picture of the existence that awaits us in the far distant future when we become stellar beings.
The following essays were written for the most part in 1933 and 1934 and it may interest our readers to know that F.W.H.M. was handicapped at first by the “automatist’s” ignorance of certain technical terms. Miss Cummins has never been interested in the stars. He requested her, therefore, to read, in an encyclopaedia, some details concerning astronomy before he proceeded further. This was done. No study was made of the matter indicated&emdash;the details were merely read through. If comparison is made between Harmsworth’s Encyclopedia and Part 2 of this volume, it will be seen that there is very little similarity. What the communicator required was merely the terminology without which he was unable to build up his description of solar man. It will be noted that on page 103 the alleged communicator says that he has “during his post-mortem existence sought for planetary knowledge”; also that he derives some of his information “from other travellers who have journeyed farther along the road.”
Although some of the views herewith set forth are controversial and may not meet with unanimous approval Miss Cummins and I feel that this may enhance rather than detract from their general interest.
It is possible that the objection may be raised in connection with Part 2 that forecasts of life so far distant can have no particular interest to present day man. Nevertheless this part of the book has been included as the suggestion that there are other kinds of intelligent life existing upon the stars will doubtless appeal to that portion of the public to whom our mysterious universe is a fascinating enigma.
The short essay entitled “Finality,” was written in answer to a question posed by a scholar who was keenly interested in this section of the book.
“Our leading astronomers,” he said, “declare that the universe must end in so many millions of years by the second law of Thermodynamics&emdash;the sun and stars exhausting themselves in radiation. Is this likely?” This question I put to the alleged communicator soon after he had started to write Part 2. He replied that he would embody his answer in the essays he was then writing. When they were nearly completed he suddenly referred to the question asking for it to be re-read to him. We had, at that time, forgotten it. He then led up to the answer which ends this portion of the book.
It should be realized that, for a discarnate being, the difficulties of writing on such a theme as the Flame-worlds must be enormous. There are no words adequate in the languages of earth that could possibly be found to describe the conditions which, it is claimed, prevail in that state of being.
This book is complete in itself, but there are some slight allusions to, and repetitions of, The Road to Immortality. This is unavoidable and necessary where new readers are concerned. Owing to the fact that some readers of the above mentioned book expressed the wish that the language used by Frederic Myers had been somewhat simpler, a few revisions have been made in the text in order to clarify the meaning.
If the reader accepts the hypothesis of “spirit communication” it should be regarded to a certain extent as a collaboration between the living and the so-called dead. But the style of the writer when he lived on earth cannot be expected to be identical with that of communications purporting to come from him when he has been dead some thirty-five years. The difficulties of transmission are considerable and his experiences during that supernal period are quite likely to have altered his outlook and possibly to some degree his character.
It would also seem that the automatist reconstructs the ideas and impressions received by her brain from the communicator, and so the essays in this volume must necessarily be limited by the vocabulary and culture of the medium who has been described by the alleged F.W.H.M. as an “interpreter.”
As in the case of the former volume, the title of this present book was suggested by the alleged communicator. In view of his well known work Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, this selection would seem to be characteristic of F. W. H. Myers.
For further details as to the writing of the following essays, readers are referred to the introduction and summary in The Road to Immortality.
April, 1935 E. B. GIBBES.
THE IMMEDIATE LIFE AFTER DEATH
THIS PETTY, PUNY AGE
THE Greek ideal of soundness in mind and body, the Greek reverence for beauty and strength must come into their own again. I perceive the earth now as from a mountain top. I perceive the swarming multitudes, who give no real or considered reflection to the future of the coming generation. You may argue that conditions are perfect if compared with those prevalent in the Victorian era. It is true that there are degrees of darkness in every night. The world draws a little nearer to the dawn and there is a dim pallor in the east. Perhaps it is the portent of a splendid sunrise&emdash;of rose colored clouds, of the coming of a great yellow orb, which, with its life-giving rays, will yet dazzle and delight mankind; or perhaps that ghostly pallor suggests the squalid depression of a fog-bound and imprisoned sun; or more awfully, suggests an angry day of tempest, with the sweep of grey clouds across the sky from west to east, with the sound of the wind raging, tearing and breaking over the hills and hollows, over the wide, tremendous spaces of earth.
No man is permitted to know in full the secret of the coming time. But we souls who dwell in the After-death, we, who live in kindled bodies, with quickened intensity and with fiery delight in the first heaven-world, Eidos, dimly see the trend of man’s thought and therefore, presage his endeavor in the coming times.
It is in the thought and fancies of the children that the future is being imaged. Created before it be flung into the potter’s furnace to be hardened into the mould of the age, it takes on the indestructible sculpture of history and again, an era called “the present” passes, to be recorded in God’s time, in Eternity.
I ask the men and women of your generation who, even now, in their children, are carving and shaping the morrow, to bear in mind the old dream of the Greeks, to remember their ideal&emdash;soundness of mind and of body, to recollect their devotion to beauty and to strength.
It is in no cavilling, destructive spirit that I beg of the men and women of the day to consider the human being apart from machines, to consider life apart from gold. Within the restless jangle of those monstrous cogs and wheels which now turn ceaselessly and bear your so-called civilization upon them, there is little leisure or quiet for the calmness or philosophic meditation out of which knowledge is born; and what sombre destiny may not await the children of the morrow if they, too, are caught in the grip of that creature without a soul, which is known in your age of steel as “the machine”&emdash;that last and final embodiment of the god of Materialism.
Christ, the Son of the Father, descended to earth and took on flesh and, in so doing, He drew down to men, the beauty that is not of this world. In the twentieth century the Machine, the son of the Golden Calf, the son of all materialism, descended to earth and took on body and substance. In these latter days, his creed is practiced in every comer of the globe. Men worship passionately, feverishly at his shrine.
Into many and various sections these ant-like human beings are divided, and these sections are called “nations” and each nation is baptised with another name for the machine which is briefly&emdash;Insulated State.
In a highly civilized country the state to-day runs with the automatic smoothness of any engine that drives the looms in Lancashire: that gives power to the mills&emdash;to the vast industrial enterprises which supply the needs of the swarming lives of earth. The state must necessarily control this multitude with something of the soullessness of the machine, else its population may lessen in numbers, may become the victim of fever and want.
But, because the state has now the character of a very delicate mechanism, there is grave danger of the mechanism running away with the man. The nation may plunge down the hill into war, or it may, in a slower manner, produce and propagate misery by an increase of its millions of human beings, and above all, by its increase of the ineffectives, the weaklings, the degenerates and the insane. Always, the blind purpose of this god of Matter&emdash;the State Machine&emdash;seems to be quantity and not quality, always its aim is the automatic multiplication of numbers and thereby the multiplication of distress.
With the exception of the thoughtful and sincere minority, men are not capable, as yet, of understanding or grasping the implications contained in the words of Christ. But they may dimly comprehend the Greek dream and they will be acting wisely and well if they turn back the pages of history, if they study the old Greek world and, eliminating the primitive elements of that hellenic adventure, take to heart for their children’s sakes the lesson of soundness in mind and body, of reverence for beauty and for strength.
These precepts represent at least human values. They suggest to the soul a conception of idealized form: they declare a reverence for the loveliness of life which is so sadly absent from the feverish thoughts of the men in power who control or are controlled by the cogs and the wheels of State. Further, this Greek vision dimly reflects existence in that world beyond death which I have called “Eidos.” It conveys, shadowily, the spirit of that splendid world, where the subtle body, in glowing perfection, expresses form in its greatest and in its highest intensity, where the mere act of living may be accompanied by an exultation that transcends the lofty ecstasy of the greatest earthly artist.
If men and women will turn their eyes away from the machine, if they will instil into their children the idea that this State Machine and all those other lesser machines in its control, are as dangerous as are wild animals to primitive man, then will there be hope for the future of the race, then will there be a shaping and a moulding of an image of peace for the morrow. If, too, they will remember that judgment is impaired when machine grapples with machine, when economic war impoverishes, and wars of aggression devastate the land; that neither beauty nor health can survive and flourish when nation destroys nation and machine destroys machine, then the spirit of revolt against this monstrous automatism will awaken in their hearts. More and more it directs and rules men’s destinies, dethroning the soul, the kindly understanding of the intelligent, average man.
Once contempt and the spirit of irreverence are roused the god is in danger, the people no longer invoke him, his oracles are no longer heeded. Dodona’s oak,* in time, is hewn down and cast into the fire.
That god, the State, or Super-machine, will thus have to be removed from the dreams and from the hearts of men. And, in its place, there must be set up the Greek view, which, though hedonistic, has
* “Dodona, in Epirus, the seat of the most ancient and venerable of all Hellenic sanctuaries… its temple was dedicated to Zeus and connected with it was an oracle which would seem to date from early times; for the method of gathering responses was by listening to the rustling of an old oak tree; perhaps a remnant of very ancient tree-worship.”&emdash;Encyclopaedia Britannica.&emdash;E.B.G. a sanity that is wholesome and contains in it a respect for the temple of the body, which will eventually lead man to remember that he is essentially a spirit. And so he will, from that issue, be led at last to an understanding of the Words of Immortality and he will then grasp the significance of the Sermon on the Mount.
Man, each separately and privately by his own fireside perhaps, will have to come to the knowledge that the world to-day should envisage the ideal of quality not quantity; the development and creation of a civilization which represents the finest flower of the reigning generation, which does not, any longer, permit ugliness to be bred; suffering, broken bodies to be born; enfeebled and unsound human beings to enter into a world which can be, if man masters his present god, as lovely a paradise as any dreamed of by seer, poet or inspired and illumined philosopher.
I do not advocate the destruction of the machine. I merely ask that its true character should be recognized. A mechanism without a soul should be the servant, not the master of the thinking human being. Man must learn to control and check the mechanical powers that now so gravely influence his life and mentality, and for the sake of his spiritual evolution he will be well advised if he seeks, in the adventures of the mind and in the healthy exercise of the body and the senses, the pleasures and instruction which he now derives from the army of machines with which an alleged civilization has so abundantly provided him.
THE HISTORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS
THE history of Consciousness may be divided into six stages&emdash;that is, if we choose to use measurement as a term which will suggest its character.
(1) Limitation of consciousness through existence in a material world.
(2) Expansion of consciousness through existence in a metethereal world (i.e. the immediate state of life for the soul after death).
(3) Increased expansion. Consciousness as it exists on the Fourth plane, the world of Eidos: the state of being when the soul knows the perfection of form, its sublimation as it were.
(4) Cosmic limitation of consciousness. The soul is once more confined within a body that exists in the visible universe&emdash;that is to say, the traveller in eternity detaches himself from intimate communion with his Group, assumes a body of flame and experiences stellar incarnation.
(5) Cosmic expansion of consciousness. The traveller has completed his stellar experiences. He returns to the group-soul and then, when in its communion, obtains and holds within his consciousness, awareness of the whole visible universe. He can still withdraw and be the traveller, one discarnate being; and he can also be the one cosmic being: in other words, realize all the experiences of his group-soul and through it envisage the universe.
While realizing that the word “psyche” is feminine in Greek, for the purpose of clarity when referring to it the impersonal pronoun is used throughout. It will be noted that F.W.H.M. remarks that the soul is neither masculine nor feminine.”&emdash;E.B.G.
(6) Infinite expansion of consciousness. The traveller in eternity becomes one with his Creator. He holds the universes within his consciousness. He is God and yet he is one of the Many in One.
THE IMMEDIATE LIFE AFTER DEATH
WE are such stuff as dreams are made on.” In truth, we are the stuff of imagination. It is necessary, however, to discard the limited meaning of that word the meaning given to it in the dictionary. “The faculty of the mind for creating idealized pictures of things communicated by the senses,” is indeed a paltry definition of the creative power which, in the highly evolved human being, can make a glory, not merely of earth life, but can envisage eternity in a phrase.
The imagination of man, during his existence on the physical plane, is fed by the senses, stimulated by his group-soul; the larger self of which he is a branch or shoot. It is also illumined, on occasions, by his spirit&emdash;a term I have previously defined as “The Light from Above.” See The Road to Immortality. All similar allusions refer to the same book.&emdash;E.B.G.
It must be remembered that we are not merely short stories on the pages of earth, we are a serial, and each chapter closes with death. Yet the new chapter develops from those which preceded it, and we pick up the threads, continuing a narrative that has always design and purpose though the purpose may be hidden because human beings, as a rule, are only permitted to study the one life, the one period of their history at a time.
These earlier chapters may lend color and warmth to that period, or darken it with sinister and livid hues, cause strange happenings involving man in untoward and, at times, disastrous circumstances. His physical organism, apart from hereditary influences, is the creation of memory but a memory of a past which now lies buried, yet wholly intact, in his larger self.
However, imagination, the ruler and law-giver of our being, has, in its several parts, a freedom bestowed on it by God, and so, because of its limited character when enshrined in man, it creates evil as well as good and destroying the beautiful, seeks ugliness, creating misfortune and sorrow for others.
God, the Creative, Cosmic Power, permits the cruelties invented by the human imagination because only through such excesses may the soul of man evolve and grow, opening into the greater awareness through bitter experience of evil on the earthly level.
In the life after death he enters an intermediate stage, and, in that time, his soul is a spectator and perceives, at intervals, the episodes in the past existence. He dreams; sometimes the dream is a nightmare, sometimes it contains much that is beautiful and fine. The memories of evil must be considerable if these Hades-visions become acutely distressing in character. For, actually, imagination in its entirety dwells in a drowsy state during that period of perceptive existence.
I have already described the casting off of the husk and the development of the body and of the soul which takes place at this particular point on the journey. A man enters into the continuous life beyond death when apparelled in a new form. He passes from Hades into that state of consciousness in which he becomes aware of the world of Illusion. It might more aptly be termed “the world of Finite Imagination” for it is a world still influenced largely by the terrene level of consciousness.
The communicator (F.W.H.M.), refers to the immediate world after death in the following terms: The world of illusion: the world of finite imagination: the third plane: the lotus flower paradise: the illusory-world: the state of subconscious memory: the third level of consciousness; the sphere of terrene imagination: the effortless land: the world of finite reality.&emdash;E.B.G.
Out of the memories of earth the soul creates his environment, builds, through his imagination, the special dream, the primal object of his appetites or desires during this state of Illusion.
Now, it will be seen that imagination plays an important part in his conceptions of paradise. If it has become perverted through his deeds and thoughts when he was a man, it may create sinister surroundings for him, or perhaps, kindle the old fires of hate till they blaze again and continue to flame until their folly becomes apparent and thus, in time, he wearies of the sameness, of the monotony, of this particular kind of experience. Love, on the other hand, will draw about the soul the conditions necessary for its fulfillment. And in this world beyond death, very beautiful surroundings may be built up by the imaginations of those who truly love. These latter are not, however, as numerous as is commonly believed. If there be any soil or stain, any weakness in their love, the picture which they have created as their background will in some way be faulty, and, though it furnish temporary satisfaction, be far from the ideal of the seeker of Heaven.
The Metethereal or Spiritual World
“There never has been and never will be a man who has certain knowledge of the gods. For even if he should utter the whole truth yet he himself does not know it. But all may have their fancy.” I should like to remodel these chastening remarks of Xenophon with the proviso that my words do not apply to those spirits who have passed out Yonder and have become one with the Creative Imagination.
There never has been and never will be an incarnate or discarnate being who has complete and certain knowledge of the realm of “Divine Things.” For, even if he were capable of expressing the whole truth, yet he may not utter it for there is no language created by finite minds which can convey a clear and whole conception of God and universal life.
A discarnate or incarnate being can, in fragmentary fashion, reveal some aspect of the Whole Truth, but each interpretation of the Mystery of God and Creation is colored by the natural and instinctive prejudices of his mind. So what was one vision becomes many visions all differing from each other in some particular. The discarnate being who tries to convey his own thoughts and his conclusions concerning the spiritual world through the physical mechanism of another human being, is hampered to a very considerable extent. The possibility of such communication is not, as yet, universally admitted and he has also to make allowances for physical fatigue, the mentality, and the limited amount of time which the medium can place at his disposal.
I have described the spiritual world as consisting of seven planes, of seven stages in the journey of the soul. I should, perhaps, have called these planes “seven levels of consciousness,” but the word “plane” is of a popular character so I deliberately chose it in order to convey my conception of eternity.
There can be said to be no locality in eternity. Yet, consciousness would appear to the journeying soul, to exist in a region or place. Certainly, this conception governs the lower or less developed states.
The wind of circumstance would seem, to such a being, primarily to influence the conditions under which he exists. He feels, intuitively, that he is the plaything of mighty forces and so he clings to his sense of locality, scarcely realizing that his surroundings are illusory and largely the creation of his soul and subliminal self, the expression of his own level of consciousness, of his aspirations and desires.
If, however, you would wish to study more closely the actual principle or law which governs the metethereal world it would be well for you to eliminate from your mind all preconceived ideas concerning localities or places. Contemplate instead the idea of motion, of varying speeds, then you will the more readily understand the mystery of space.
When I was on earth uneducated men and women frequently contended that it was impossible that human beings survived death because space could not contain the innumerable army of the dead. This very crude argument was never put forward by any intelligent men possessed of astronomical knowledge however slight and, therefore, dimly aware of the vastness of space. But apart from the human astronomical view of the universe, the whole conception of eternity is at fault when it is based merely on our perception of material surroundings. It should be founded, as I have said, on the idea of motion. A discarnate being is invisible to the human eye because the etheric body or vehicle of expression is vibrating at a more rapid rate than the physical body. When the soul passes to higher levels of consciousness, its form, or outward expression of itself, becomes more and more ethereal. That is to say, it is vibrating with greater rapidity and with a far greater intensity.
Numberless discarnate beings vibrate about you and within you, yet they are not of you, and in no sense make what one might describe as “contact” with either your mind or your physical body. When we seek to communicate with men we pass on to a different level of consciousness and can only do so by slowing down our processes of thought. It is not, to me, in any way distressing to do so for if I may compare the experience with earthly ideas, I would describe it as a passing from active life into a still, sleepy world which resembles, in its anaesthetising qualities, the high noon of an English summer’s day when the sun shines and the air is heavy with unshed rain.
So human beings need not fear that they will enter some congested district of tenements, some “greater London” when they shuffle off their mortal bodies, when the cord of life is severed. They will, if their consciousness is of a normal character, enter into a wider freedom and find their ideas of space altered and enlarged. They will, in time, recognize that motion or rate of vibration, and that level of consciousness are the principles which govern their perceptions of existence both in part and as a whole.
Death means the passing merely from one speed to another, the adjusting of the soul to a more intense vibration, to a livelier, quicker state of manifestation.
When I spoke of souls lingering in super-terrestrial regions, I did not intend to convey an idea of locality. I wished to express a lesser rapidity of vibration by the term “super-terrestrial “, lesser when taken in conjunction with the higher levels of consciousness.
The Japanese proverb “See first the person and then preach the law,” contains a profound truth. It is necessary carefully to analyze the construction of the individual when discussing the mystery of eternal life.
I have suggested that there are seven levels of consciousness. I have named them as follows:
(1) The Plane of Earth.
(2) The Intermediate Plane (Hades).
(3) The Plane of Illusion (The Immediate World after Death).
(4) The Plane of color (The World of Eidos).
(5) The Plane of Flame (The World of Helios).
(6) The Plane of Light.
(7) Out Yonder, Timelessness.
For the most part, we dwell in each state or world during the time we are attached to the appearances that constitute that world, though, I would emphasize the fact that, on the higher planes we escape from form and appearance. We can live in an outline. We can express ourselves in color or light, color and light which may not be perceived by the feeble senses of man. However, I would urge that no fixed rule should be applied to our sojourn in each world or state.
Man is a dual being. He recognizes the subjective and the objective aspects of his nature. Certain rare human beings may pass into what is called the subjective state and, enter into other worlds through the power of the Spirit.
St. Paul, for instance, has recorded his visit to the Third Heaven, but he would not tell of his experiences on that lofty level to any man. Others, too, while living in their physical bodies have visited what the Greeks called “The Kingdom of the Dead,” and have passed on to higher states dwelling for a brief while in the world of Eidos, or have entered into the conditions of the solar world which I have symbolised by the term “Flame.”
No human being, however, may for long thus be separated from the physical body. For he must fulfill his earth life, he must gain the measure of experience allotted to him on the plane of Matter.
Light on the Third Plane
The light that illumines the world of the departed souls on the Third plane, or world of Illusion, is not the light of the sun. It is true that certain spirits when communicating with human beings state that their world travels round the sun and receives its rays. But they are mistaken in this belief. For this etheric life of ours is nourished by cosmic rays that splendidly light up the kingdom we have created&emdash;the Lotus Flower Paradise that has sprung out of our imaginative force, our spiritual power.
These cosmic rays change in character according to the beat of our time. But they change for us because mind determines this change. Here, mind gives evidence that it is the mainspring of our daily life far more clearly than when it functions on earth. The very human illusions which certain men and women bear with them from the world lead them, for a while, actually to perceive the cosmic rays as they perceived the sun on earth. Habits of mind are so difficult to shake off that, in this period, they perceive, because they expect to perceive, a sun, moon, stars and other familiar surroundings. They are able also to persuade themselves that they continue to eat and drink although this is purely an act of the imagination and differs, therefore, in every sense from the taking of food for the sustenance of our physical bodies. Consequently because this habit of mind continues it compels them to follow an objective existence on what seems a fairer, larger earth than the one from which they rose. But if we reduce their condition to precise terrestrial terms we would say that they existed in the ether and were sensible of, and nourished by, the cosmic rays.
These emanations from the universe, these streams of light, have a double function. They make objects and surroundings perceptible to the newly dead and, at the same time, they sustain and promote&emdash;in some manner I do not understand&emdash;the life of this pervading ether, and thereby, the life of the etheric bodies of all creatures endowed with a psyche who have passed from earth.
Our etheric bodies depend for their nourishment on these cosmic rays and there are times set apart for the recharging of the etheric being with life. Such periods have some analogy to sleep and the mind puts up its shutters, withdraws from contact with other minds when the discarnate being on the Third plane desires to replenish his nature so that he may function in greater awareness and with a refreshed soul.
While in this passive, withdrawn state the soul reaches up to its spirit and its mind renews itself, receiving a necessary and essential stimulus.
In the immediate life beyond death the soul therefore, depends for its essential needs on the inner and outer light. Equally man depends for his needs on the sun’s rays and on the primal light of his spirit which inspires and sustains him during his earthly journey.
In the lower zones of the Illusory-world the pretence of eating and drinking may be maintained as a part of the structure of each dream. But in this case the desired dinner appears through the man’s act of desire. The epicure will experience the old pleasures if such be his fancy. The ascetic will experience the delight of deprivation when, in accordance with practice, he lives on bread and water. But when the epicure wearies of the monotony of the rare foods so easily obtained, he desires novelty; his imagination is awakened and he becomes conscious of the fact that his etheric body assimilates light automatically if nourishment is required.
These remarks of mine concerning food and light apply to the conditions that exist in the immediate state of life beyond death&emdash;conditions which may prevail for the traveller in eternity over a long period of time as measured in earthly terms.
It is therefore, a level of consciousness which, for the average human being, must always hold a very deep interest and be a matter of greater concern than any loftier state or world. For this reason it is necessary for me to emphasize once again the important part our subconscious memory of our past terrestrial life and our creative faculty play in the building up of a new life, a fresh story which, however, for a time, naturally bears a resemblance to the past out of which it has sprung.
For instance, we were accustomed to wear clothes that belonged to our particular period. The images of these are deeply marked in our subconscious memory. So our first instinct is to appear to those we love as we were on earth. Our minds, though unconscious of the imaginative act, fashion out of this amazingly plastic ether every thread, every inch of the garments which we habitually wore during our earth life. Naturally, after a while, we come to realize the change in ourselves and, aware at last of the creative powers of imagination, devise strange and lovely coverings for our etheric bodies. But as these fancies are largely drawn from it they are limited by the subconscious memory in character and kind.
Owing to the nature of human personality, we naturally seek out those few to whom we were drawn in that past period, whom death had severed from us, but in no way obliterated from our minds. In the creation of our surroundings therefore, of our clothes, of our dwellings and our occupations, we depend to a certain degree on these comrades of ours and we work together in small communities, building up our little worlds, expressing our many unsatisfied human desires in a manner that is at last adequate and sufficient for our needs.
I describe in this instance, of course, the fate of the average human being when he has passed through the gates of death.
Time on the Third Plane
Each community within the group-soul lives in its own space and time. When the traveller wearies of his little world and desires to progress, he develops a greater awareness and becomes capable of visiting those communities which belong to his Group and are therefore connected with him through the one spirit. He may find himself again in the eighteenth, seventeenth or even sixteenth century. Much depends on how long his comrades linger in this Illusory-world or state of subconscious memory.
No arbitrary limit may be assigned to the periods to which these souls belong. Frequently however, they only go back two or three hundred years and then the traveller can find no picture of social life anterior to the sixteenth century. But he soon perceives that his Group is not confined to one nation. He may visit a settlement of Chinese, Indians, Greeks, Italians often divers races are gathered within the radiance of the one spirit.
It is true, however, that, on occasions, the pilgrim meets with only one race when he makes these strange journeys into the past. Perhaps he finds the life of the Victorian era as it existed in London in the eighties, or the social conditions that prevailed in Devonshire during the Napoleonic wars, or the peasant life of the Highland crofters during the seventeenth century. But all have one characteristic in common, all are sublimated: that is to say, suffering, toil and sorrow are absent from each fantasy. Men, women and children bask in the satisfaction of earthly illusions which, through the imaginative processes, are satisfactorily fulfilled. The absence of struggle and effort from such lives gives to them a dream-like quality. In many cases such a condition is suggestive, in its aspect, of the peaceful character of a still, summer day. This may be said to be particularly the case when the dream is fading. Eventually the collective desire for progression shatters this community-life. The units that sustain it seek either the way back to the earth or choose the more difficult path that leads to Eidos, the Fourth level of consciousness.
The Fourth Dimension
I perceive that, through analysis of time, your earthly scientists are beginning to find proof of the immortality of the soul. Therefore, I would like to explain to my readers what is my view of the so-called Fourth Dimension. The closest analogy to this condition of existence as at present viewed by thinkers, is to be found in the higher zones of the world of Illusion.
To each human being his shadow, to each earthly event and scene a shadow or recorded image. Before the traveller in eternity rises to the Fourth level of consciousness, he surveys this memoried life of earth. Vast are the panoramas that extend before his vision. His sensitive perceptions may now register all the loveliness of the Renaissance period in Italy, all the cruelties and brutalities of the wars that ravaged Europe during mediaeval times. He enters the Greek world and may seek&emdash;if he is of a philosophic turn of mind&emdash;Socrates, Plato, Plotinus, all imaged within this memory, and still instructing the earnest young men of their period. But he is immediately aware of the different order of these perceived objects. They are automatic, without life in the sense that no souls dominate these scenes that at first pass one by one before the vision of the observer. None the less, when observing the images graven in the Great Memory, he becomes rapt, absorbed, caught in the excitement of the spectacle, in the strangeness and amazing character of this extensive drama. His own nature casts off its limitations; mind and feeling become fertilised, increasing in intensity and in power. The traveller journeying back to the Stone Age and even farther still, to the Ice Age, may suddenly wheel forward noting the germ of things and events that are yet to be. For already within the Imagination of God lies enshrined the conception of the whole future of the planet Earth down to the most infinitesimal detail. In this manner the traveller is permitted a glimpse of the scenes contained in this vast book of life before he proceeds further along his road in eternity.
As Christ was taken to a high place and surveyed from it all the kingdoms of the earth, so the pilgrim has been led to that pinnacle within the group-soul from which he may perceive the history of the earth extending apparently illimitably. Yet, as he increases in perception, his power to see the whole of a period in time as one act of thought increases also, and a century of eventful happenings may be grasped thus, in, as it were, one single and all embracing glance.
Truly the traveller has emerged from the dark womb of earth and knows it now in detail and as a whole. Out of such experience he rises a resurrected being and passes on to Eidos, the world of perfected form, wherein he experiences the great change which resolves the elements in his own nature, creating out of his limitations a mightier, grander being.
These experiences of which I have written are known only to those who do not have to return to the world of Illusion or the Third level of consciousness, because they have cut themselves free once and for all from the sluggish life of earth. Many travellers visit Eidos who, because they are merely birds of passage, do not, save perhaps in small measure, participate in the experience that I have just described.
Love and Marriage
On leaving the Third level of consciousness we assume a subtle body which, in beauty and in shape, no longer resembles the physical body. When, indeed, the intelligence proceeds on its journey to Eidos it makes a definite break with the material world; and few who have passed that way return to speak to men.
But, in the world after death which I have called the sphere of Terrene Imagination,” men are the possessors of bodies which reproduce in shape and in general appearance the discarded physical form, though they are clothed in an ethereal substance which vibrates with a greater intensity.
In this sphere there is an absence of that strenuous struggle which leads to creative imagining&emdash;creative effort. Women do not bear children though the illusion of sexual passion may be experienced as long as it is the soul’s desire. The woman possesses an etheric body so framed that it can serve her as the material shape served her various purposes, wishes and appetites on earth.
In uttering that famous saying, “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage,” Christ spoke of the circumstances that prevail on the higher planes of consciousness. While existing in the world of Terrene Imagination man remains caught in his earthly memories. He is not, therefore, resurrected and still abides within the fantasy of the earth-dream, retaining, if it be his desire, that part of it which relates to marriage.
The problem of marriage, of two husbands or of two wives, is usually solved after death by the pull of the stronger, finer affection. Each soul is either drawn to the one who is most akin and sympathetic to it, or is absorbed by whatever special passion or desire fills its nature.
A pure but passionate love experienced by a certain number of normal men and women on earth is creative in character. It enlarges and inspires the imagination so death does not put out this fire for ever. On the contrary, in the world of Illusion and in the world of Eidos such men and women know pure yet passionate love again. Thus they create with their whole being and because of their greater sensitiveness such self-creative experiences are often heightened and intensified, and increase the vigour of the soul.
There exists in the higher regions of the sphere of Terrene Imagination and in Eidos a harmony and freedom that may not be the lot of true lovers when their minds are dulled and they are weighed down and oppressed by a heavy material body. On the Fourth plane such love changes in character, the conditions of life and consciousness being very different from those that prevail on earth.
A great scientist may at once seek those surroundings in which he will have full liberty to pursue further scientific studies, though these will naturally now be of a rather different character. In life, for him, the thing and not the person roused and stirred his imagination. So he chooses to travel alone and thereby satisfies the fundamental passion or desire of his nature. Equally men and women who care more for some particular work, pleasure, or pursuit, than for any human soul, or circle of souls, will continue to be engrossed in it until the point of satiation is reached. Nor do they require intimate companionships of the usual kind although, when conditions are satisfactory, they can meet and hold intercourse with dwellers on the same plane who are kindled with like enthusiasms. Or they may be drawn together because mutual interest has been aroused, or because each is necessary to the other in a wider and more intellectual sense.
The Tyrant’s Fate
Infinite is the variety of imagination; infinite, therefore, is the variety of experience in the world beyond death. Indeed, there is no one Cimmerian entrance to the world of souls. We wander down a long gallery as it were, containing the scenes of our past. Each individual perceives portraits and pictures of memoried fancy that are not hung in the other galleries. Each has to react towards these, his own creations, according to the nature of his being. When, finally, he enters the etheric world, he puts from him, in great part, his experience within the echoing hall that lies immediately beyond death.
At first, with the assistance of others, he draws instinctively, from the scenes of earth, building about him, in company with those who were his intimates, the same scenery, the same earth stage. It is, of course, often idealized or darkened by fancy. And herein may be found the key to a vegetative content, to happiness and delight or to strange, sinister and sometimes terrifying dramas.
The tyrant, for instance, who gloated over the victims he cruelly tortured will experience similar sufferings in his soul. His imagination has thrilled with, and delighted in, the ugliness of pain, so that ugliness surrounds, penetrates and overwhelms, in the dark places, of his own creation.
Only, of course, for a time will he experience this feverish fantasy. He comes to a point when his goaded self craves to make the leap in evolution. Either he must go further into the Illusory-world and enter a state of darkness and isolation where he may re-organize his whole being, or he may choose to return to earth. Usually, the latter course is preferred, such men can seldom face a period of existence in darkness and solitude.
If, however, he returns to earth, he faces an existence of frustration and disappointment, of powerlessness in many cases, and thus only may he slowly evolve, coming, perhaps, in that fresh earth life, into the inheritance of pity which he derives from the disasters of his lot.
The various sinister figures of history all pass through such phases and all react differently. Some swiftly learning to control the errors of their imagination process, change fundamentally in a life-time. Some make little progress, but may eventually be rescued by other souls within their Group and be led thus out of reach of harm from the baleful fires of their own natures.
In certain cases salvation is only obtained through the actual destruction of a part of this soul’s imagination, of, indeed, those scenes of evil which furnish it; and, with their suggestion, renew and feed afresh the sadistic streak that darkens the man’s nature.
You may now perceive how vital is the creative activity within each human being, how it is indeed the very core of self, and prepares and builds up a life beyond a life, circumstance and happening for the unborn babe, either in the world beyond death, or again on this earth.
The Construction of the World beyond Death
Every molecule, every cell has its metetheric counterpart. But in the Hereafter, time and place are known as states&emdash;states of mind&emdash;by those spirits I have called “the Wise.” These latter might be described as a divine hierarchy of souls. They serve the great Cosmic Imagination and rule and guide the tides of life and death. Into their charge is given the care of the so-called dead.
The Wise keep order and unity though they cannot alter the fate of the traveller who comes from earth. Each individual creates his future out of his past. He has free will, and is also in a measure responsible for the lives of those who belong to his Group.
Let us take as an example the soul of a wife and a mother whom we will call Margery Fitzgerald. Let us break through the mystery of death and follow her into the next world. She has been a devoted mother, and as a wife she has worked hard and unselfishly for her husband. Among the members of her family she is the first to make the crossing of death. There follows a period of rest and of dream in Hades, the intermediate world which I have previously described.
In time Margery emerges from her chrysalis state and becomes aware of her new existence and of her increased potentialities for living and loving. At a certain point in the journey she finds herself suspended in what might be described as “an air of matter.” All around her stretches immensity of space. It appears to her perceptions as being pale and almost transparent. But Margery is not frightened; she is sensible of an extraordinary exhilaration, of an increased mental vigour, and, for the first time in her history, she feels like a bird floating happily, as it were, on the wind, drifting peacefully within the Unknown. After a while thoughts of those near and dear to her, who have already made the crossing of death, fill her mind; she desires their presence, and her urgent thought sounds like a voice through this apparently soundless world.
Swiftly they appear; for they have loved her dearly, and so are in tune with her mind and may hear its thoughts if directed towards them. She is still a very young soul, though she was sixty when she died. They take her to a radiant country, in beauty, as poetic as a picture by Titian. For these friends of Margery were advanced souls and consequently, when freed from the slavery of the physical body, were able to create out of their fine, sensitive imaginations surroundings that appeared quite material in character, yet were in every respect the creation of their mind and inspiring spirit. They explain to Margery that this world beyond death, which at first seemed empty space, actually consists of electrons differing only in their fineness or increased vibratory quality from those known to earthly scientists. These very subtle units are extremely plastic and, therefore, can be moulded by mind and will. In other words on earth matter cannot, as a rule, be altered by the power of thought acting directly upon it. But human beings, in the After-death, control substance through their freed&emdash;and therefore subtilized&emdash;imaginations.
Now Margery’s unselfish life, her courage, her faithfulness have all perfected her creative instrument, the imagination. So, sweet as gathered flowers at dawn will be her future in the world beyond death. She learns from her companions how to shape and regulate her surroundings, for the creation of which she naturally draws from her earth memories. At first she thinks, for instance, of a garden, and in time, through the imaginative process, it appears. She desires the kind of house which could never be hers in life because of her poverty. Gradually, through pleasant labour and happy creative fancy, her imagination builds this house of dream, shapes it as a sculptor shapes marble with his chisel. She paints her landscape also out of the colors of memory, and she does not work alone. For love has drawn her within the dear, intimate circle of her youth and, in the company of others, she continues thus radiantly to live for a considerable period, until, perhaps, all those she left behind her, husband, sons and daughters, have joined her in the hereafter.
The Family Group
For the clearer understanding of the reader it is necessary to state that this hypothetical family consists of Professor Fenwick and his wife, their three sons, Martin, Walter and Michael, and an only daughter, Mary. Martin becomes engaged to Margaret, who, after his death marries Richard Harvey. This family is entirely fictitious.&emdash;E.B.G.
It is necessary to illustrate the future by taking as an example the story of a united family&emdash;a fairly rare phenomenon, but still to be met with occasionally.
Professor John Fenwick holds the Chair of Physics at the University of B&emdash;&emdash;. He is greatly attached to his wife, Anne Fenwick. She, too, loves her studious husband and is absorbed in his life and in her children.
Their eldest son, Martin, is a student of philosophy and intends to become a fellow of B&emdash;&emdash; University. Their daughter, Mary, dies at the age of ten. This is the first personal loss in that united family and both parents are, for a time, grief-stricken and oppressed by the strange cruelty of death which has so ruthlessly snatched from them this lovely child.
With the passage of years memory becomes dimmed and their sorrow passes away; the image of the child fading from their consciousness. But the problem of a life that has not been lived is not solved for the Professor, who sometimes thinks of his small daughter and ponders on the unfinished character of her experience.
Actually, when Mary before birth, chose to be born again on earth, she was in a state or condition of psychic evolution, that did not necessitate a long sojourn in the world of Matter. The girl’s soul had, in an earlier incarnation, lived to be a very old human being, and so another complete life was not necessary to her development. She was, therefore, spared the experiences of adult existence and she returned to those of her Group who were living in the world of Illusion. Slowly she absorbed the memory of her earlier life, and so her soul entered into its prime and was able to imagine, and therefore create, in time, the body of an adult&emdash;the figure of a woman at its most beautiful period. When she met her parents in sleep she assumed the form that was hers on earth. She imaged it in her mind and so was able to appear in a familiar likeness.
There was between her and Professor and Mrs. Fenwick a strong and permanent bond. They had, in a previous life, some intimate relationship; the mere fact of death, though it might temporarily dim recollection, could not break this tie. So, during sleep, the parents and the daughter met on a level of consciousness which might be described by the term “inner chamber of imagination.” Within this place, upon this level, conscious memory does not function. The double or sleep-body is connected, however, with the record of this experience in the case of the parents. In the case of the daughter the experience is registered on her deeper memory. She cannot, as a rule, bring back to her own world awareness of that meeting of three souls.
But, in this manner, the parents keep in touch with the daughter and come into their inheritance of subjective memory which implies knowledge of these experiences of sleep when they, too, belong to the Great Majority.
Professor Fenwick and his wife pass into the next world some thirty or thirty-five years after Mary’s death. In spite of this gap of more than a quarter of a century they experience no strangeness on the occasion of their meeting with their daughter. As they are soul-comrades, as they belong to the same Group, they have been able to keep in touch with each other during the life of sleep. Sleep&emdash;if you but knew it&emdash;contains its own vivid, constructive existence. It is merely the physical body, the surface awareness, the lower levels of consciousness that rest during the hours of slumber.
Some children who die before they have reached adolescence do not meet their parents in the world between. They had only a fleeting, physical connection with them; they were strangers to each other’s souls; they were not bound to each other through the comradeship of the Group. This being so, desire fades rapidly and, after death, such parents are not united to the children who went before them at an earlier time.
Within the Group there are what might be termed&emdash;for want of a better word&emdash;”psychic atoms.” These consist perhaps of four or five souls; the number varies, as the number in the atom varies. Anyway, these beings are little groups within the Group and may, as with the Fenwick family, have their own intimate life which, during all the earlier stages of evolution, they do not share with others.
When the Great War was declared in 1914, Martin Was deeply disturbed by the news. He had just become engaged to Margaret Ellerton and an interesting career was opening out before him. In a little while the call came which few young men of his age and disposition cared to disobey. He became a soldier though he hated military life. Within two years of his being gazetted to an infantry regiment, he was sent to France and, in company with other young men, was suddenly and ruthlessly massacred in one of the big battles.
In the After-life, during his sojourn in Hades, his young sister, Mary, came to him. She was drawn to this brother through a very tender love that had been theirs, and which remained to them in spite of the years of separation. The two journey together into the world of Illusion or Terrene Imagination. Their imaginations have greater play now that they inhabit the finer etheric body and they create the old surroundings of the university town in company with others, who have previously inhabited it, are in outlook akin to them and who shared their earthly pursuits.
Martin resumes his philosophic studies, pursuing them with the scholastic zeal which he inherited from his father. He is happy in being able to satisfy this desire, and the companionship of his sister Mary makes up to him in some measure for the loss of Margaret, the girl he would have married if his life had not been so suddenly cut short.
As time went on, his brother Walter and his other brother, Michael, went out into the world, took up professions, and more or less drifted out of their parents’ lives, but they were still bound to them by strong ties of affection.
Margaret, however, completely broke away from the Fenwicks. She married, and when a middle-aged woman, in company with her husband was killed in an accident while travelling abroad.
She would seem, therefore, to be faced with a difficult problem in the world beyond the grave. Her husband, Richard Harvey, had died at the same time as herself and accompanied her in the journey through Hades. During that period her soul was in a state of drowsy reflection when pictures of her past life drifted before her inner sight.
The review of that phase in time solved the apparent enigma of the future for the young soul. Margaret realized then that Martin, her first love, alone mattered to her because they were already psychically akin. Whereas her husband held her affections only through the physical tie which vanished with death. So, through the psychic law of gravitation, she was drawn into the life of the soldier who had been killed twenty years previously in the Great War.
In the world of Terrene Imagination she experienced the unfulfilled dreams that nested in her imagination, the love-life that she should have enjoyed with Martin Fenwick if he had not been so ruthlessly snatched from her in the days of their earthly youth. Her husband, Richard Harvey, loved her and was faced with the fact of her loss. In what manner did the Illusion-world furnish him with the compensations which are characteristic of that fanciful effortless sphere?
He was greatly attached to his mother. The old affection revived as he surveyed his past when in Hades. He found her, wise and maternal, with all the protective quality which is characteristic of that form of affection. He turned to her, entered her life and, having been absorbed in sport and in the pursuits of a land-owner, sought again, in her company, those familiar pleasures which now might be so easily created out of the stuff 4 imagination.
Professor Fenwick and his wife are typical representatives of University life. They possess a certain thinness of imagination, they are too entirely reasonable to experience, for any length of time, an existence other than the one they find in the world of Finite Reality&emdash;which is another term for the state of Illusion. But at least they possess warmth of affection for each other and regard the rest of the world with beneficent, if somewhat selfish detachment.
So, when the Professor and his wife pass down the long gallery they do not re-act violently, nor are they led into the dark places of creative fancy. Their lives were not stained with cruelty or any pronounced vices. They were gentle and affable though egotistical, and lacking in sympathy with mankind.
In the world of Finite Reality they experience joy at meeting their son, Martin, and their daughter, Mary, and they live happily for a time in the old surroundings of the B&emdash;&emdash; University. However, Mary, Martin and Margaret, his wife, have deeper, richer natures, and soon pass on to a higher level. In this world they evolve in the spiritual, creative sense, and weary, therefore, of the monotony of an existence within earthly memories.
So they set out on the higher adventure. They bid farewell to their parents and leave behind them the old grey colleges, the Gothic church and the quiet, cloistered surroundings which seemed, at one time, to satisfy all their needs. The cause for this change is to be found in the creative impulse which stirs anew in them; which seeks a higher and a greater awareness, a new enterprise, and surroundings that are no longer shaped out of earth memories, but in appearance, construction and being, are beyond any conceptions they had formed of reality when they inhabited their physical bodies.
These three are, indeed, on the level of the Soul-man and so, though they experience grief at parting with their friends and relations and the old university town&emdash;now imaginatively conceived&emdash;yet they do not hesitate, for they have received the summons to the next state of being, to the world of Eidos. Their ardent and more spiritually active natures compel them to take this upward step, to make a leap in evolution and, because their perceptions have become finer, enter into the enjoyment of a loftier world, magnificent, exquisite, full of strange beauties and forms that may still be, in some respects, reminiscent of earth. These are, however, infinite in variety. They are composed of colors and lights unknown to man. There, on this level, will be found a perfection in outward form, in surface appearances; a perfection only occasionally realized in the creations of the greatest of earthly artists.
There are certain disadvantages attached to membership of a united family. Such unity may lead to selfishness, to lack of regard or thought for other human beings. Mrs. Fenwick was too possessive a mother and a wife, and was principally responsible for the tying of the family knot. Her husband and her two sons, Walter and Michael, all became so closely bound to each other, largely through these qualities of hers, that they failed on earth to make any sure contact with men and women outside the family circle. Walter married but he was an unsatisfactory husband because the mother’s love was still wound about the adult man like swaddling clothes. Bitterness arose, husband and wife quarrelled frequently, and eventually parted. Then Walter devoted himself to making money and remained attached to his mother and his home.
Michael did not marry; his mother’s love and his father’s pride in him having led to his developing an inordinate affection for himself, so that he had no love left for any other living creature. He too, however, revered his father, and always preserved a selfish affection for his mother. He was a man-about-town and towards the end of his days spent most of his time at his club.
It was somewhat startling for Michael to wake up from his egoistic dreams. But he discovered in his gallery the pleasant pictures of his days of childhood and youth, and always in them figured the adoring mother, the proud father. So, when his term in Hades was completed he found himself with Professor and Mrs. Fenwick in the illusory, imaginatively conceived university town of B&emdash;&emdash;.
Walter followed his brother very swiftly from earth; and now all desires would seem to be satisfied. The parents and their two sons might continue to live and delight in their memory-world. On earth they were a united family, and now they were united once more, while the knot, which had been loosened through death and separation, was pulled tighter than ever.
Clearly all four had reached heaven: they might continue old pursuits, seek out old pleasures and admire each other as in past days. Actually, however, they were&emdash;as spiritual beings&emdash;extremely undeveloped and had not, therefore, the capacity to create either a heaven or a hell for themselves. Their souls had shrivelled, as it were, through their entire disregard of all save their immediate selves.
On earth Walter’s favourite pursuit was the making of money. It gave him importance in the eyes of his family and it did not interfere with his love for his mother. So he obtained considerable pleasure from a fortune honestly gained but carefully hoarded, for he was mean and gave nothing to charity.
Here in the other world where, at first, memory rules existence he sought for the old game of barter and exchange, for the sport of buying and selling stocks and shares. He found others of his kind who were prepared to play with him but the adventure of gathering money soon lost its charm. He discovered that, in the world of Terrene Imagination, money was no longer the criterion of worth. The majority of people no longer desired it because their minds and the greater spirits behind those minds provided them with all they desired. The man who had beautiful and vivid memories of life and of faithful love was the rich man, and for him memory yielded up its abundant treasures.
But Walter however, possessed only a mentality impoverished by his pursuit of money, by the absence from his soul of any love for living, for people or for things. It is true that he had a certain affection for his mother; and in his boredom at the failure of the game of stocks and shares, he turned to her and tried to find happiness in the antecedent relationship of mother and darling son.
As he found money-getting in company with his fellow stock-brokers to be a sham, a game in which however great the fortunes gathered they were valueless, so at last he realized that his mother’s love was injudicious and foolish. Her feelings for him sprang from her gratification in possession, she admired him because he was her child. At the same time his father’s pride in Walter was being undermined by this gradual appreciation of the fact that he now lived in a world where financial success was estimated at its true worth. Here men who were money-makers and nothing else were accounted as beggars; ruled by minds that knew but one passion and were deficient in imagination they were incapable of laying up for themselves the treasure which is eternal and which is necessary for the life of the soul.
Walter soon began to suffer acutely. He could obtain no pleasure from existence on this level of consciousness. The values were of a different order from those that had engrossed him on earth. In his leisure hours his mother’s demands wearied and finally enraged him. His father humiliated him with criticism of his failure as a member of that world of Illusion. He longed, therefore, with all his heart for the earth life, for those hours of excitement when he bought and sold on the Exchange, for the satisfaction of being courted and flattered because he was a monied man.
He began, indeed, to dream back, and so there came what is called the earth pull, the birth pull. He returned to the intermediate world, and rested there for a while in the chrysalis state; in that condition he perceived himself and his past as in a mirror. Then, when all that made up his being had floated in procession across that glassy surface, the spirit as judge summed up the vision for him and bade him choose.
It is hardly necessary to declare the nature of that choice. Inevitably the soul of this primitive man looked back towards the earth and clamoured for entry again into world-time, clamoured for a physical body and the conditions in which for Walter it alone seemed possible to exist. In the life beyond death he had been like a fish on dry land, unable to breathe that rarer atmosphere. So he deliberately chose to be reborn;* but this time he came back with a certain amount of knowledge of the poverty of his soul, and was in a condition to learn and to develop, readier to throw himself outward and to live no longer for the sake of one selfish person, one tie.
* At the time of conception the soul of the unborn babe makes a link with the mother. So, psychically, there is a connection between the soul and the germ as soon as fertilisation has taken place. It may be said that life begins for the babe from that moment. When a soul seeks rebirth on earth, its etheric body is absorbed by the double which accompanies it through this incarnation. Let us take as an analogy a seed which is all that is left of the blossom and fruit of a past summer. Yet it contains the potential flower and fruit of a future summer. Equally, the etheric body is reduced to the littleness of a seed and has its dormant characteristics, particularly during the first half of a soul’s new life on earth. But be assured that there will come the time of flowering and the fruit gathered in the After-death.&emdash;F.W.H.M.
During the time of this preparation before rebirth, the spirit, or Light from Above, sought for Walter the earthly conditions which would be best fitted to develop his nascent desire for improvement, and which would also help to enlarge his outlook and enrich his nature. It was decided therefore, that his soul should now inhabit a female form, that he should be born into poverty and meet with insuperable difficulties at nearly every step of his road. Still more importantly, because he had despised and rejected Love he must now be refused it and in loneliness learn the lessons which only adversity can teach.
Thus by going back he made a step forward, and in this new incarnation was able to harvest far richer potentialities for existence on a higher level of consciousness. Through trouble he carved and reshaped himself, increasing his capacity for living in a finer world beyond the grave.
‘Alen Walter deserted his family and returned to earth his mother directed her somewhat possessive attention upon her husband. But the Professor was not satisfactorily responsive. He would not tear himself away from his studies of the construction and nature of the Illusory-world. His scholarly but unimaginative mind still followed the old cart ruts of thought. He was as he had been in the days of his occupation of his Chair at the University. He had not moved on but remained an extremely reasonable materialist, the same beneficent academic figure. Only now he believed that when he had completely exhausted his subject, his ego would disintegrate, give up the ghost, fading out from sheer weariness. This idea satisfied and he found a shallow happiness in meeting other academically minded friends and in ruminating upon, and rummaging in, the and chambers of learning. Mrs. Fenwick could not rouse him, or draw him out of his rut. So she turned to Michael, her bachelor son, seeking her happiness in him.
Of all six members of the Fenwick family Michael might be said to be the lowest in the scale of psychic evolution. When he left the earth he was, in many respects, a mere nonentity, having allowed his mental gifts to atrophy and his interests to become deplorably narrow. He had never really lived. Existence came to him at second hand. It is true that he had no serious vices; he was merely self-absorbed and indolent, unstirred by any creative energy or even, as was his brother Walter, by a perverted love for money. So his mother, who was beginning to wake from the dream of this Illusion-world, could find neither happiness nor any responsive warmth in his society. He offered her merely the conventional respect and regard that he had given to her on earth.
Thrown back upon herself, her passionate, possessive nature caused her to yearn for her favourite son Walter; so she returned to the shadow-gallery where again the choice is made.
And her spirit came with the mirror, showing her more than her own life, casting upon the glass images of happenings and misfortunes in the earth life of her son Walter who now was facing the hard upward road of progress in the world of Matter.
His troubles lit up the unselfish quality which is usually buried somewhere in a woman’s maternal love. She did not want to return to earth. Behind her lay the effortless existence of fantasy where she might contentedly abide for centuries. But Walter’s need conquered; she decided to be reborn, petitioning only, even though it might mean suffering, that she should be permitted in some manner to help him in his new earth life.
Her request was granted; and thus was she cured, thus did she make reparation for her shortcomings as a mother and for her injurious influence on her family in her previous earth life.
The Professor and his wife belonged to the same group-soul. So he soon began to feel his loneliness, to desire something more than intellectual pleasures, than dialectical triumphs over his fellows. His was in many respects a fine mind; now his emotional nature, which had been severely repressed, awakened, he began to feel an urgent need for human love, for special and intimate companionship. The Effortless-world no longer pleased and, though utterly weary of it, the unfortunate scholar discovered that he could not renounce existence, that there seemed no prospect of a convenient disintegration.
A purgatorial period ensued. The Professor yearned in vain for his daughter, for Martin or his wife. The bonds that held the family together had been untied and he was condemned to pay the price of the narrow clannishness which had cut them off from their fellow men during their earth life.
Martin, however, caught the echo of his father’s cry of loneliness as it came faintly to him in Eidos. So he journeyed back and though he might not actually show himself to the Professor, the strong bonds of affection that linked them to each other enabled him to act as his guide. Soon with his help Fenwick rectified the mistakes into which he had been led when on earth. He looked beyond the family circle; he visited the dark places in the world beyond death where strange and perverted souls abide. Thus pity and compassion were roused in his rather desiccated academic soul. And as Paul fought with the beasts in Ephesus so the Professor fought with the monsters shaped by the imaginations of those who, passing over from earth, lived in a hell of their own creation.
Gradually, through this labour for others, the Professor evolved, breaking the hard crust that had inhibited and confined his generous nature. In time so freed was he from the limitations that hindered him he was able to realize the possibilities of the kingdom within himself. He came to know loveliness and began to realize the creative side of his larger self. So his soul flowered and he was permitted to journey to Eidos where he rejoined his son and daughter, where he gained the knowledge of immortality, the knowledge of the stupendous grandeur of the peaks to which a soul may rise if heart and mind, if imagination and passion are directed by creative love and wisdom.
Michael remained for centuries inert on the Third plane, becoming more and more of a negation, sinking lower and lower in the scale of consciousness by reason of his vegetative, selfish existence.
Finally, for him also there came an awakening, but like his brother he had to return to earth. There through the educative influence of a crippled physical existence he gradually changed, his better nature awakened and he was able to understand the pictures of his existence when, after another earth journey, he passed once more down the long gallery.
The members of the Fenwick family offended not so much individually, but as a unit. So the unit was broken up, its parts scattered. And though some day all of them will meet again they will with one exception journey along different roads through time and space until they evolve and add to themselves the precious and necessary sense of the group-soul, of its communal character, of its divine sharing of experience, wisdom, life and love.
The previous examples of lives passed in the world of Illusion are purely hypothetical. But the following narrative relates to a case the details of which it is stated are known to the communicator.&emdash;E.B.G.
A certain mother longed for a daughter. Sons were born to her, but the little girl she desired so much never appeared in the flesh. Yet she is waiting for her mother in the world beyond death, for her soul has, on two or three occasions, made the attempt to be born but failed in each instance. There is a cogent reason for this failure. The soul of the daughter may not meet the mother in full conscious knowledge until after the latter’s death. They meet already, but subjectively, in the manner I have described in a previous chapter. I might call this daughter the “dreamchild.” She has a lovely soul and if she had been born into this present life would have made a paradise for her mother.
Now during this earth life, owing to the fact that this particular heart’s desire of hers was not granted, the mother has learned much and developed spiritually. The little daughter was bound to absorb her attention, leading her to become selfish, and only occupied with the pleasure of motherhood. For the child would have made radiant all her days. Such happiness belongs as a rule to the first heaven-world&emdash;to Eidos, and there she will, in due course, experience such joy. In the world of Illusion she will meet this daughter and be so overjoyed at seeing her and having her companionship that the separation from her sons, caused by death, will not inflict the suffering that might otherwise have been her portion.
So there is a providence in the fact that this child has never been given into her charge during her earth life. After death the mother will obtain her longing&emdash;a quiet, lovely, country place where her family live and come and go&emdash;a nursery where she finds this little daughter who fulfills the dream, is the dream of her imagination, the one she proudly cherishes and shows to her own brothers and sisters and to her parents; the pretty little birdlike thing with whom she plays baby games and thus fulfills her own nature, the child to whom she loves to give: the playmate she dresses up and adorns: to her that treasure beyond other treasures&emdash;a small girl, dainty, exquisite, needing all her protection and love.
Therefore, the mother’s true happiness lies in the world beyond death. Deep down she already knows this little daughter because they belong to the same group-soul, and because she has been with the child when she was in deep slumber. But the inexorable supernal law forbids her to bring the memory back to her conscious life, she bears only the ache of parting from the child and this ache is expressed in a vague dissatisfaction&emdash;a kind of weariness or feeling of disappointment which she cannot understand and attributes to all but the true cause. After death her memory of these meetings with her daughter will be recaptured by her soul, and so they will meet as adoring mother and child.
But you must not assume that the many years of earth-time affect this child. In the Hereafter there exists a subjective time that may run according to the character of the souls who make the varying patterns within the Group. Appearance and desire will harmonise. At the time of the mother’s death and entry into the new life, the daughter will have reached that lovely age when the child begins to talk brokenly, to make brave expeditions&emdash;half crawling, half walking&emdash;across the vast expanse of nursery floor. AH the enchantment of the great, big world for the slowly blossoming intelligence will be perceived by the mother when she comes over here: she will find all that she has most desired on earth in the Lotus Flower Paradise which lies beyond tawdry death, beyond the tomb.
You may say that this picture I have drawn of a mother’s happiness and heaven sounds too good to be true. But bear in mind that Fate presents a debit and credit account. The mother, in this case, has known a great deal of unhappiness while on earth-troubles and disappointments that torment and take the color out of life. So, before she chooses to go farther along the road to immortality, her heart’s desire is granted and she reaps the full harvest from the grain sown with care and toil and sometimes pain in that terrestrial life of hers.
I was interested in this woman’s soul and traced it back to the roots, and so made the acquaintance of the dream-child. I see that she is the outstanding feature in the former’s supernal existence. As things are the mother will always be deeply affected by the pull of this other world where lives the dream-child. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.
I should like to draw your attention to my repeated statements that imagination has extraordinary creative force in some instances, and you must not think it essential that to be an artist it is necessary to paint pictures, or write poems, or compose music. This mother is essentially an artist and such an artist may make a poem of life. If she be a mother she may desire to make a poem of childhood for a small daughter.
Pray remember always that, however you are placed, you can make an art of living and thus enrich the lives of those who are of your immediate circle.
Human Personality and Survival
It is true that when friends meet they build up the structure of each other, they create one another; they deepen and extend character, color the framework that has seemed bare and inexpressive and generally achieve a picture or creation of the self, that vanes with the company.
I am, therefore, perplexed as to the use of the term “Personality” in relation to survival. It may be as elusive and ephemeral in the superficial sense, as images in water. Pray look up the meaning of the word in the dictionary. (At this request E.B.G. fetched a dictionary (Annandale’s) and read as directed. The communicator selected a sentence and rewrote it as above.)
“The state of existing as a thinking, intelligent being,” such is the meaning of the word personality, if we follow the ruling of the dictionary. Unfortunately, many materialists would alter its signification and demand of personality not merely thought and intelligence; but the material attributes of face, features, figure and gesture. They would declare it to be an expression of the physical organism. For them, the physical structure alone is real. When, therefore, the student of psychical research argues with a materialist on the subject of the survival of human personality, the two are usually at cross purposes; the materialist maintaining that the personality does not continue when life no longer animates the body.
This argument rests upon an unsatisfactory basis. It is necessary, indeed, that a definition of this important word should be made once more. For it is the very kernel of the dispute between the protagonists of temporary and eternal life.
The term “human personality” is described as the state of existing as a thinking, intelligent being. Therefore, idiots and madmen would not be permitted the privilege of possessing a personality. This necessarily limits our debate to sane people, which, in itself, is a little unfortunate. Further, we have to note that the state of existing as a thinking, intelligent being, does not necessarily imply physical characteristics. It may imply, however, association with a body. For that, in human thought, is suggestive of a presence which can react upon another presence or appearance. Therefore, when discussing the survival of human personality, the student should discard the idea of any bodiless creation. He should endeavor to imagine the possible conditions that prevail.
It is conceivable, he would argue, that there is a body vibrating at a slightly higher rate of intensity which accompanies the human being from birth till death&emdash;a body invisible to the eye, which receives the soul or conscious intelligence during sleep&emdash;a body which, at all times, acts as intermediary between the intellect, imagination and the physical shape.
Having accepted, as an hypothesis, this etheric shape, it would be well to describe it by the word “double” or, “unifying mechanism.” For it is, in construction, just as automatic in its responses as the physical shape. Further, this double is in the likeness of the visible manifestation of the man. So similar are they in appearance, they might be described as twins if they could be visualised together. The double, indeed, reflects the impressions of its companion, receives the memories registered by the senses and imprints those impressions on its brain-substance, which connects it with the mental representations that are, indeed, the very stuff of memory.
It will be recognized therefore, that the word “double” in part expresses the meaning of this finer mechanism which serves the mind and bears the burden of communication between the higher centers and the physical brain. Actually, in order to complete the meaning, the word “unifying” seems essential, for it conveys the purpose of this etheric mechanism,&emdash;namely, that it serves to unite, to correlate, to harmonise, to bring together all the working parts of the human being.
On this basic structure the student may build up his arguments when he engages the materialist in discussion. He can account, for instance, for loss of memory in the ageing man or woman, by the fact that the soul can no longer effectively impress the deteriorating physical brain. The machine is too worn to be responsive. On the other hand, the memory of the individual is retained and registered very fully in the unifying body. This body does not imitate its companion and gradually decay as the years pass. In MY previous book I have called it the “husk,” for it contains and shelters the nascent manifestation which is to be eventually the body of the soul in the world after death.
During the whole of a man’s life, this potential expression of personality is forming in the etheric womb, is growing during the span of twenty, fifty, seventy years, whatever may be the term of his sojourn on earth. As the shell of an egg is thrown away&emdash; discarded, so is the husk after the travail of birth which occurs in Hades.
However, birth in the world of Matter is a different affair in many respects from birth into the world beyond death. Two, three or more discarnate souls as a rule assist the dying man, freeing him from that level of consciousness on which he dwells when he walks the planet Earth. They do not, like a mother, suffer terrible pains, they are apart from the mechanism of birth. Herein lies the initial difference between the two worlds, the two levels of consciousness.
The task of those beings, who attend upon the dissolution of the physical shape, requires considerable skill. They must gently sever the web that holds the double to the broken frame. In the case of illness they gradually break the threads, taking them one by one so that the soul meets with no sudden shock that might inhibit progress in the coming life for a time.
Even the infant that is born dead possesses a double which is the exact counterpart of the double that would have accompanied the child if its small, physical shape had lived and commenced growth on the material plane. This infant-soul will slowly evolve in the world beyond death. Its etheric body, inherited from a previous life, will, however, provide it in time with a form which attains to maturity.
Actually, the stillborn child is an example of the soul who has made a mistake in its choice, who has sought a return to earth when, by reason of a previous incarnation, or because of the pattern woven by fate, this being should have continued life in the world of Terrene Imagination.
Finally, I may say that it is possible for the embryonic souls of animals so to evolve that many, making one group, eventually become one human soul. In this matter there is no question of good or evil, it is merely founded on the basic principle that consciousness must find experiences in a more and more complicated organism until it reaches the human level.
We are, however, at the moment interested in the double. During sleep, this body receives the soul and feeds the physical shape with life units, with nervous force, and resembles in every particular the human form. All the organs are similar, and it is indeed as an image or reflection in a glass. But it vibrates with greater intensity; and when a man’s life draws to a close the subliminal self commences its work of developing the etheric shape within the double. This again will resemble the man as he appears to his friends; but it will be in the prime of life, or will image youth, particularly if a man passes from the physical plane before he reaches his three score years and ten.
However, the mind of the group-soul cannot complete the task of re-imaging and developing this body of the man until his soul resides for a period in Hades. So the artist or spirit, who controls the life of the Group, in collaboration with the soul, re-creates the appearance or manifestation; but all that is fundamental in the man’s nature is retained. The outward form in the new world will express what he has been on earth.
The Double in Association with the Living Physical Body
The double holds the physical body within its grip and is a power for integration. Even when the human being sleeps and the former no longer occupies the material shape the latter is controlled by a fine webby certain threads and two cords which unite it to its finer semblance.
Mind does not merely communicate through the mechanism of the brain. It is in indirect contact with other physical centers such as the ductless glands, the solar plexus and the sacral plexus. But the soul has to work through the medium of the double and never directly commands matter. Always there is this unifying body which comes between the self and his outward appearance in the material world.
Ectoplasm may be said to be an intermediate substance almost semi-physical in character which is of the life principle and has not yet gone through the digestive processes. The double distils and imparts ectoplasm, distributing it through the body, its ultimate purpose being the nourishment of the nerves and the enrichment of the cells.
This substance may be possessed by certain rare individuals in superabundance and such people usually find that they possess the gift of physical mediumship. Given certain trance conditions they can exteriorise it, and there have been mediums whose unifying body may be so mastered by a discarnate intelligence, that the latter can cause the temporary disappearance of a part of the actual physical shape through its rhythm being altered, transposed into the higher vibratory rate of the double.
Students of psychical research will recall instances of this curious phenomenon and will find the explanation for it in the controls who operate from this side and in a certain elasticity and looseness which characterizes the double of one individual in many millions.
Now, when the ordinary man is fully awake, his unifying body rests within the physical shape. The two forms fit into each other and pervade each other exactly. But, as soon as a man becomes drowsy, the double tilts outwards; and one who can see with the inner eye will perceive a pale form which has, perhaps, half emerged from the actual material body. If a shock or noise rouses its owner, instantly it slips back within the physical manifestation of the individual.
Disease and the Double
Emotion may be said to be a force that is of an electrical type and can radiate outwards from the human being. The ductless glands are primarily related to the emotional nature and may be called the emotional brain. The soul, working through the double, affects these glands and they in their turn can change the chemical composition of the blood. When the mind fails to function adequately through the channel that connects it with a certain gland the character of the individual alters, and strange abnormalities occur. These are sometimes due to some weakness in the double, or, on occasions, to a fault in the soul when controlling mind. Usually, the soul should be held responsible for the vagaries of the glands, for inadequate or excessive secretions.
The medical man may inform you that character and personality depend to a considerable extent, perhaps almost altogether, on these glands. He would seem, in view of the abnormal cases that come his way, to have cogent reasons for setting up such a dogma. But it is, in reality, necessary for him to look deeper to find the cause for the unusual functioning of these physiological centers. He must look for it in the soul who may be said to have failed to regulate them: this failure being due to some errors committed by the subliminal self.
I am making a bold and, no doubt, questionable statement in saying that suggestion strongly and repeatedly made by a certain individual to his subconsciousness will, in conjunction with a certain manner of living and a system of exercises, lead to improved secretions in connection with a gland which is defective or over effective in its activities. Further, I would add that some diseases are the direct result of a weakness in the unifying body. Some forms of cancer may be traced directly to a defect in this invisible shape. Until, therefore, medical men realize that as wireless messages are invisible so there is an invisible organism functioning, they will be hindered and held back from the discovery of a cure for certain kinds of cancer.
When a man or woman suffers from an incurable disease and experiences considerable pain both mentally and physically, then a doctor should, of his mercy, gradually relieve the sufferer, giving him some drug that will enable him to pass quietly and not too swiftly from his material body. For the soul is not injured or evilly affected by the character of this death. So long as the doctor does not cause the soul to be too rapidly dissociated from the diseased body, so long as he causes release to come gently over a period at any rate of three or four days, then he is entirely justified in committing what is still held to be murder by the law of the land.
Disease and the human being do not, however, concern us deeply in a discussion of personality. It will be recognized that the existence of an invisible unifying body has not, so far, been disproved; nor has it, the sceptic will argue, been proved to exist. Such proof, nevertheless, will in time be furnished to man. In the meanwhile, if the hypothesis of this subtle mechanism be accepted; if it be the medium between the soul and the brain, then an extension of the meaning of the word “personality” has to be made. For necessarily this other part, this delicate construction, affects and influences by its nature the outward appearance and shape, all that expresses the personality. The swift and sluggish mentalities may and do act thus because of the character of the channel through which mind operates. That is to say, the double can be a blocked filter, or it may be clear of all obstructions and perfectly convey the messages from the higher centers of the soul.
One of the reasons why we discarnate beings urge, when we communicate, that no man or woman should take his or her life, lies in the fact that the condition of mind&emdash;despair, terror or cynical disillusionment which usually accompanies the suicide&emdash;is greatly intensified when he realizes that he can no longer control his physical body. He may not always realize that he is dead; but the mood that drove him to self-slaughter will envelop him like a cloud from which we, on the other side of death may not for a long while give him release. His emotional thoughts, his whole attitude of mind set up a barrier which can only be broken down by his own strenuous efforts, by a brave control of himself, and above all by the call sent out with all the strength of his soul, to a higher being to bestow succour, to grant release. Unfortunately, the suicide is usually inverted, his whole consciousness thrown inwards&emdash;subjectivity in its darkest aspect rules and dominates so that he punishes himself for his act, and yet, very often believes that the punishment is not due to his deed but to malevolent powers which control his surroundings. And indeed, in many cases, the sinister brooding which precedes suicide will tend to summon certain non-human beings, elementals who can trouble, disturb, dismay and torment him. For they can reach to his earth-bound level and may appear in tangible form to his feverish fancy.
I am not, of course, in these remarks embodying the post-mortem history of every suicide. There are exceptions&emdash;cases wherein the man who kills himself is filled with some noble purpose, sacrifices his life in order that, through his death, others may be relieved of want, or of the painful sight of a loved one slowly perishing of an incurable disease. The very mood, then, in which he commits the last dread act, has in it a certain fine fervour, a confidence that leads him to throw his consciousness outwards; there is, in short, an absence of egoistic self-consciousness which redeems him in the black hours after his passing. And though his double can only be slowly released from the entanglement of the fine web that bound him to the human frame, yet he is not violently suffering: his soul being satisfied, he is haunted by no inverted despair, no torment of self-pity. So the dark beings cannot obtain access to his world and fail to appear even as feverish dreams.
The man who commits suicide from unjustifiable motives dwells for some time in the darkness of Hades and later in the lower zones of the world of Illusion. But the posthumous career of each suicide varies according to his character and the life followed by him when he was on earth. Moreover, there are instances in which a man takes his own life because a suggestion of this kind has been repeatedly made to him by some obsessing spirit. Then, though he abides for a while in darkness, it is not he but the obsessor who pays the full penalty for such an act.
Thus, in discussing the penalties that may be attached to suicide, you must bear in mind the character of the soul, the mood, the motives behind the act, and until these are clearly envisaged you are not in a position to calculate its consequences.
I may add that in the event of sudden death the passing will in many cases vary, and for certain happy souls be comparatively smooth. No account or description of this break from the body can be said to cover all experiences in this connection. I only take a common denominator and write of the experiences of the majority. The ancient prayer that we should be delivered from sudden death was derived from an old wisdom, an occult knowledge now lost to scientific men.
It is inevitable, that the man who dies suddenly in his prime, will linger longer in the intermediate world, will make slower progress towards the brilliant light, the clearer air of the other invisible life which vibrates in the depths of space. This life vibrates also about earthly men and women yet is not of them: flows through their crowded streets, over their mountains, passes within and above solid ground and remains apart, aloof from all that material existence, as if indeed it did not exist at all, or as if men and women and their cities were ghosts, who, in very rare and singular instances, haunted the world that is the home of the newly dead.
Of course I speak of those discarnate beings who are not explorers as I am, seeking for their own particular reasons, the earth which once they knew; who coolly, through certain processes of imagination and will, break a way through to the collective mind of men and blend with a sensitive or sensitives who will interpret their ideas.
Nor do I allude to certain souls bound by ties of love to men and women, souls who can enter again into the private subjective minds of those dear to them and so share their existence, though they are parted from them by death. I speak for that large majority of the newly-dead when I claim that they pursue a life within and without the material world, and yet, while in full consciousness, are wholly unaware of it. I speak for those beings whose kinsfolk shut the door upon their dead, making no effort to seek communion with them, refusing through fear, preoccupation, or mistaken piety, to offer at least an opportunity for meeting, for renewal of intercourse, for even a brief greeting or parting word.
There are numerous souls of course, who, in spite of the aloofness, of the ignorance of those they love, succeed, when in a dream state, in perceiving the desired and cherished individual left behind&emdash;as if they were occupying the same world and existed on the same plane. But, on the whole, I think I may say that, in the present time, world vibrates within world, millions of souls within millions of souls; and yet, these, in their lives and wakeful hours, are entirely invisible to each other&emdash;isolated, cut off, unrealized in any particular because they exist in a different rhythm. If he could perceive the two conditions, the psychologist would admit that these two orders of beings interpenetrate, occupying relatively, the same localities.
However, the above statement does not, of course, cover the period of deep slumber for the human being&emdash;when he goes out in his double and at times enters the subjective minds of those two or three discarnate beings who are bound to him by ties of warm affection.
I Am quite clear that those human beings who live almost wholly in the physical sense while on earth, must be reborn in order that they may experience an intellectual and higher form of emotional life. In other words, those human beings I have described as “Animal-man” almost invariably reincarnate.
Some of the individuals I have designated by the term, “Soul-man,” also choose to live again on earth. But metempsychosis does not involve a machine-like regularity of return. I have not noted any evidence of a continual progression of births and deaths for any one particular soul. I do not for a moment believe that the individual returns a hundred times or more to the earth. This is indeed, a wrong assumption. There may, of course, be certain exceptions which you are more likely to meet with among those primitive beings who seem incapable of aspiration&emdash;of desire to rise above their physical nature. But the majority of people only reincarnate two, three or four times. Though if they have some human purpose or plan to achieve they may return as many as eight or nine times. No arbitrary figure can be named. We are only fairly safe in concluding that, in the human form, they are not doomed to wander over the space of fifty, a hundred and more lives.
They do not, it may be suggested, gather any proper share of experience from the few earth existences that are thus allotted to them. But provision has been made for the ignorance that is necessarily incurred through the whole span of lives covering but a fragment of typical experience.
Beggar, jester, king, poet, mother, soldier. I mention only six of the varied roles that would seem to provide lives entirely different in condition and in kind. It must, incidentally, be observed that these people all use the five senses&emdash;unless indeed fate steals one or more from them&emdash;that they all experience the same fundamental emotions; these being merely altered according to the character and rhythm of the physical organism.
However, it is well to be agreed that, even if we run, the race of life on earth six times, we touch but on the fringe of human experience. We have obtained only a certain discipline. We have not plumbed the depths or scaled the heights of being; we have not covered all the space of human consciousness, of human feeling. Yet I can assure you that until we have harvested many times the fruits of lives spent on earth we shall not, save in exceptional cases, live on the higher planes beyond death.
It is not necessary for us to return to earth to gather into our granary this manifold variety of life and knowledge. We can reap, bind and bring much of it home by participating in the life of our group-soul. Many belong to it and these may spread themselves in their journeys over past, present and future. Indeed in the Group, we speak of the life of a man as a “journey.” Very well. I have not, at any time, been a member of the yellow races, but there are souls in my Group who have known and lived that eastern life, and I may, and do, enter into every act and emotion in their past chronicles.
Through our communal existence I perceive and feel the drama in the earthly journey of a Buddhist priest, of an American merchant, of an Italian painter, and I am, if I assimilate the life thus lived, spared the living of it in the flesh.
You will recognize how greatly power of will, mind and perception can be increased through your entry into the larger self. You continue to preserve your identity and your fundamental individuality. But you develop immensely in character and in spiritual force. You gather the wisdom of the ages, not through the continual “Sturm und Drang” of hundreds of years passed in the confinement of the crude physical body, you gather it through love which has a gravitational pull and draws you within the memories of those who are akin to your soul, however alien their bodies may have been when they were on earth,
This existence within the memories of others is a form of experience scarcely understood by human beings. The soul resembles a spectator caught within the spell of some drama, that is strange to its actual life. It does not therefore, suffer or indeed thrill with the joy that direct physical experience would offer it of such a period in time. It perceives, however, all the consequences of acts, moods, thoughts in detail in this life of a kindred soul and so it may&emdash;though feeling and emotion are now of a very different coinage and kind&emdash;in this communal group-state, win the knowledge of all typical earth existences, of all the fundamental phases of being when the intelligence is bound to the flesh, the captive of the five senses and the brain with its myriad cells.
I do not write as one having authority. This little sketch of the soul’s journey in relation to earth, is written out of my own experience and knowledge. It cannot, by any means, be said to be the last word on the subject. I am prepared to admit errors if I meet any souls of a wider experience than mine who can demonstrate effectively and beyond a doubt that the transcendental materialism of the early Theosophists is a sound and true doctrine, that the recurring cycle of births and deaths for one soul, goes on and on through many centuries, perhaps for a very long time.
When a soul is born into a defective body it is due to the fact that in a previous existence it committed errors from the results of which it can only escape by submitting to this particular experience.
The apparently inhibited soul of an idiot, for instance, functions on the material plane and gathers, dimly, certain lessons from its earth life. Actually, such men as tyrants and inquisitors often reincarnate as idiots or imbeciles. They have, on the other side of death, learned to sympathise with and understand the sufferings of their victims. These are sometimes of such an appalling character that their perpetrator’s center of imagination becomes disorganized and he is doomed to exist throughout his next incarnation in a state of mental disequilibrium. That is to say, he is haunted by the memory of his past sins, ridden by nightmare fears and fancies to which his own deeds have given birth and which are intensified by his knowledge that his unhappy victims yearn for revenge.
There is no set law concerning reincarnation. At a certain point in its progress, the soul reflects, weighs and considers the facts of its own nature in conjunction with its past life on earth. If you are primitive, this meditation is made more through instinct&emdash;a kind of emotional thought&emdash;that stirs up the depths of your being. Then the spirit helps you to choose your future. You have complete free will but your spirit indicates the path you should follow and you frequently obey that indication.
Bear in mind that the power behind each human being is imagination. It preserves the past in the form of memory, and unless temporarily fixed in a mould of its own making, is creating in the present, adding to itself, taking away from itself.
recognize always the power for fresh creation that is inherent in each center of consciousness. In that power lies the hope of man’s future, however low the level of his spiritual life.
The student of the journey of the soul will therefore perceive infinite variety if he considers the travels even of his comrades in the world after death&emdash;the passing and re-passing over the frontiers, the existence in the physical and in the etheric state. For each soul differs from all other souls. No two are the same in character and nature. Their creative fancy will invariably produce variety, difference.
This being so, there can be no law which covers the whole field of conscious life in connection with the theory of reincarnation. The dogmatists, when faced with this problem, had better remain silent, folding their hands in reverence for the Divine Mystery which has, in its creation, ordained that those centers, the souls of living things, shall each in their varied ways find their road home to God, to that blissful, and ever creative life contained within the Cosmic Imagination.
A soul that, for the first time, enters a material body is, usually, related spiritually to some member of its Group and, so close is its relationship, it may take on the karma of the older soul. The latter has, perhaps, experienced four or five incarnations on earth. It is not yet wholly purified, has not gained all the terrestrial experience necessary to its spiritual evolution. It acquires it, however, in two ways: (1) through its entry into the group-memory, the conditions of which I have described: (2) through its psychic connection with a young soul which takes up the karma, takes on the pattern created by its previous earthly life or lives.
It will be recognized then, that it is bound psychically to this kinsman who is, indeed, in part its creation and so it is a witness of the earthly career of this traveller and its own spiritual life is enriched thereby.
Souls are centers of imagination, but some are unable to enter the mind of the Creator, so the spirit of the Group realizing that they are unworthy and unable to attain to immortality, condemns them to disintegration. That is why I called my first book The Road to Immortality and not The Road of Immortality, because some fall by the way: but nothing is wasted, nothing lost. Though the soul has been disintegrated its memories and experiences are retained by the group-soul and are of value to the members of that community.
It is my assured belief that certain of those rare beings whom I designate by the term “Spirit-man,” experience only one incarnation in the world of matter and I am of the opinion that Christ was not an incarnation of Elisha or of any other human being. Christ was the limited expression of the Whole, the Word made flesh. He came but once to the earth and then returned to the Father. The long history of psychic evolution was not necessary to Christ: therein lies the secret of His divinity.
Jesus of Nazareth was Son of God because He descended to earth, and, rising again, passed through all the seven levels of consciousness, attaining without let or hindrance, to union with the Creator. It was not necessary for Him to exist on these various planes within the various worlds created by the journeying souls. For already He was very God, already He had that spiritual power which enabled Him to hold all the universes within the grasp of His consciousness, within an all-embracing love.
I have been asked if each human being has an affinity, if it is true that there are the two halves that make the whole.
Only in certain rare instances are two people so psychically akin that they may be said to be the complement of each other; each supplying those basic qualities, that sympathy the other needs. In such exceptional cases the two souls may be described as the two halves of the whole. And they have ever a feeling of loss, a vague restless dissatisfaction when the beloved is absent, or has not been discovered by them during their earth life.
On the higher planes affinities merge and make one psychic unit. Very often such unity produces an exquisite flowering, and the welded being may make an important contribution to the group-soul. On the other hand this psychic unit in certain circumstances, becomes isolated from the Group by reason of the independence developed through that all absorbing love for one other. This isolation may for a while retard progress and, inevitably, affinities have to enter at some period into communion with the group-soul in order to share the experiences of the many, and through assimilation of them, be prepared for cosmic life and cosmic unfoldment.
Greater are the temptations and difficulties, more exquisite the joys of those individuals who, because of their psychic structure, may be described by the term “affinity.” Often such souls travel a lonely road; for the joys of life and light desert them when the beloved is far off, or cannot be communed with in any sense of the word&emdash;that is during the time when they fully realize their nature in the various chapters that make up their journey in eternity.
THE TWO ASPECTS
The intelligent man must note the duality that prevails throughout the universe. Sun and moon, night and day, electron and proton, male and female, two by two they present themselves to his observation. Yet it should always be borne in mind that they are two aspects of the one, and that One is Spirit.
In my day the equality of the sexes was hotly debated and many highly intelligent individuals held the idea that women were inferior to men and as incapable of shouldering the responsibilities as they were of appreciating the privileges of citizenship. Such a conception could only spring from an instinctive belief in materialism. Those who looked beyond this present life and the limitations of the physical structure, and who had faith in a spiritual universe, necessarily recognized, if they thought clearly at all, that the inspiring source of all was neither male nor female, but Spirit; that women, as well as men, possessed souls; and that they too, equally with their fathers and brothers, were inspired by Him in whom we live and move and have our being.
It is regrettable that God or the Eternal Spirit should have been given a masculine denomination. For the idea that divinity is pre-eminently male conveys a suggestion of inferiority in women, which, through the centuries, has had an injurious effect upon their character. Their gifts have often been allowed to atrophy, their ambitions have been thwarted and they have developed small, petty vices through being constantly relegated to a subordinate and dependent position.
In the matter of sex, however, discarnate beings are forced by their experience to take the larger view. For they realize that, in connection with birth and death, in the majority of cases the soul which has been a man in one becomes a woman in the next earthly existence. If, physically, he has developed very pronounced male characteristics he may, when compelled through the tendencies in his character to be born in a woman’s body, bring into his conscious life all that stored-up masculinity. Then he evolves into that rather unfortunate type the so-called masculine woman, and in addition to displaying unfeminine qualities, finds pleasure in the company of women rather than in that of men.
On the other hand certain individuals who have led an essentially feminine life in a previous incarnation are driven, by the deeply graven impression it has made, to seek male companionship and even to court criticism and contempt by refusing to lead the normal life of the well-balanced man.
Whether they are men or women be tolerant of such people. I do not for a moment suggest that immorality should be encouraged, but bear in mind that, owing to her mistakes in a previous life, the excessively feminine woman may become an effeminate man and the pronouncedly virile male may become a masculine woman. Both types suffer considerably through the limitations imposed on them by a sex which does not express the fundamental temper of their natures. For them life may be a long and harassing conflict between the two aspects&emdash;between, that is, the masculine type which expresses itself through a feminine shape, or the feminine type which expresses itself in the masculine shape. There has to be constant readjustment; the practice of much self-restraint and watchfulness lest bitterness develop and destroy the soul.
In these matters there can be no iron rule because, as I have just explained, our character in this life may have been formed in a previous life when we belonged to the opposite sex. Usually it is only in the case of extreme masculine or feminine types that we find this attraction for the same sex persisting in the next incarnation. When it occurs we have merely to realize that here we are faced with a type which can be perfectly explained if it is recognized that we are not merely a new creation here and now, but possess a history that is temporarily hidden and which may, if sought for through experiment, disclose an inevitable development instead of a hideous and inexplicable inversion of the laws that govern the psyche.
The so-called ‘old-maid’ of the Victorian era was, as a rule, psychically a very much hampered man, hampered and burdened by the developed characteristics of a previous life. The unpleasant and soured old bachelor, mean and grasping, unable to share with others, is, psychically, in most cases, a woman who brings to this life all the harvested tendencies of a limited feminine existence in a previous incarnation.
The idealizt and earnest seeker of a noble life should, therefore, hold in his mind a sense of our common frailty, a sense of pitying fellowship for all mankind. “There, but for the grace of God go I” should be his password as he travels down the years.
If the staid and devout, the upholders of tradition were not, in so many instances, materialists, they would recognize the often repeated fact that the soul is neither masculine nor feminine, and that mind has no sex. Of course, these truths are, perhaps, only fully realized by a discarnate being. I have, through my post mortem experiences come to apprehend the significance of the words of St. Paul:&emdash;”By one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” Equally, in that which relates to mind and soul, there is neither male nor female, but all are one in God.
It may be claimed that St. Paul did not, during his earthly life, entertain such a view of men and women. But we must bear in mind that he was much influenced by oriental tradition, by the nature and character of his race. Christ, the Supreme Master, did not suggest in any of His reported utterances, that woman was fundamentally inferior to man. Indeed, in His attitude towards women and in His whole life, He seemed to express the view that the psyche is neither male nor female, that we are all equally the children of Our Father.
When man comes to realize more surely his place in etemity&emdash;that he has before him the great cosmic adventure&emdash;he will no longer believe that the physical shape is all important or that the possessor of a female body is, for this reason, condemned to a position of inferiority.
Whether an individual be man or woman his only claims to superiority are in the possession of a noble mind, in a lofty vision of soul, and in the wisdom which is ageless because it is divine.
THE eleventh of November might well be called ‘All Soul’s Day.’ For the thoughts of millions are directed towards their dead on that fateful morning&emdash;the dead who went from earth in their splendid youth&emdash;who seemed to those left behind, to have been deprived of the fullness of life, deprived of beauty, love, and experience; of all the joys that come to man in his prime, of those serenities that may be his when the enfolding years gather him into the quiet of age.
But human beings err in their belief that a generation has gone into silence unfulfilled, denied their heritage, their birthright. The young men who perished in the Great War passed from a world of turmoil and of pain into a Kingdom that, in its essential peace, its comparative freedom from the discipline of suffering and disillusionment, offers fulfillment, harmony and beauty that cannot be measured in earthly terms, that may not be credited by the human imagination.
I speak, of course, of the flower of the race, of those splendid young men who gave their lives in the spirit of sacrifice for each nation. I do not allude to those who were of a different and lower calibre, to the thousands of crude, unformed souls who perished in that time. These were fated to follow the war pattern that has been weaving through the ages. But the young, unsullied souls who seemed to have been flung so ruthlessly out of earthly life, have, through their early passing, lost nothing but gained immeasurably.
They are glad when Armistice Day returns for the thoughts of those who love them renew the old intimacies, and draw them, not back but into what the Church has named the Communion of Saints.
The word “saint” in the ancient days, did not mean a legendary figure embellished by a halo, nor did it merely indicate a man of great holiness and purity. It was applied to those human beings of integrity who belonged to the crowd and lived as decently and humanly as was possible according to their lights.
On the Great Day of the Living, on the eleventh of November, the souls of human beings go out to meet their kinsfolk and renew the ties of love and tenderness with those husbands, brothers and sons who died in the Great War. I call it “the day of the living,” because it is the only one set apart in the year by both Church and State in our country for the recollection of the so-called dead. And, because in that time the thoughts of human beings are massed, are collective, they reach into the heights and into the depths of the world beyond death, and there is rejoicing among the ever-living, that they, temporarily anyway, are not dead to those they loved and left behind on earth.
Only in forgetfulness, in the fading of love, is there negation of life. So long as men and women, during one day in the year, live again in the memory of the departed, so long will that day be, to us discarnate beings, a crown of life. We live then in the renewal of love, in the renewal of the pledge that love is stronger than death.
This festival of life on the eleventh of November should be held in every town, and every land through all the coming years. For it recalls to the mind of each member of the unthinking crowd, the fact that he is a mere traveller on the earth, passing from darkness into a lighted room and passing so soon into the Unknown again.
If, for two minutes in the year, the man in the street faces this fact, he is all the better for it. If, for two minutes in the year, the many millions of the European and English speaking races are compelled, in that Silence, to think of the so-called dead, then the barriers fall for discarnate beings, and they, in uniting thus with their kindred once more, are sensible of the immortality of love.
Lastly, the Great Day of the Living in its two minutes silence, is a pledge of peace, and should be a reminder to the younger generation, of the vile, brute horror of the Great War. Whatever changes are made&emdash;and change comes swiftly in your restless world&emdash;let the celebration on the eleventh of November remain above change for only through it do all the generations keep faith with the heroic dead.
But if this faith is to be truly served, all those who have observed the Silence, should pronounce at its close the earnestly uttered declaration that they will, in the coming year, to the best of their ability, work for the peace of the world. If the thought of peace accompanies the spoken word, and if it accompanies the speaker through the day, then will there be, indeed, some certainty that world war is not known again in your generation.
Men and women have become pessimistic. They even feel that no useful purpose is served by the two minutes silence observed on Armistice Day. These words of mine are intended to light up the imagination, to show to man that, in this heritage from the war years, he possesses a great symbolic moment which should express his sense of immortality and above all, his earnest determination that peace shall be maintained on earth.
NOVEMBER 11TH, 1934
So the gathering is over and the dead, who gave their lives in the Allied cause, have taken part in that two minutes communion. But what of Germany and all that generation of German soldiers? Do they observe the two minutes silence on this day which I have claimed to be above change?
No, the eleventh of November is, for the Teutonic race, a time of humiliation when, to them, observance would not be possible for it tells only of ruined hopes, of great and soaring ambitions which received no fulfillment; it tells of a day which heralded the break up of the German and Austrian Empires and the years of suffering when, in poverty, many thousands of Germans partook only of the bread of bitterness.
God knows, the poor in other countries suffered also. But the eleventh of November, if set apart as the Great Day of the Living, must remain apart in the sense that no German or Austrian can share in its celebration, can on that day join in what should be a universal communion limited neither by race, creed, nor color. I understand that the Germans observe the twenty-first of November and celebrate then their military achievements, their particular triumphs in arms during the Great War.
If the people of many races join in a declaration once a year that they will work for peace, the people of Germany and Austria should be of their company. And that mighty nation Russia may not stand alone, for the Slavs are our brothers also.
I do not suggest that the time is ripe for a proposal that Armistice Day should be celebrated on another date during the month of November, a month which so peculiarly belongs to that special period when men’s thoughts are turned towards the departed. But I urge that thoughtful people should bear in mind the significance of the eleventh of November for many millions who are not of our race and who know it only as a day of fear, humiliation and bitterness.
It would be well, however, that every effort should be made for the furtherance of the idea of a pledge of peace uttered on the eleventh of November after the two minutes silence. No specific committal is involved in the words:&emdash;” I, &emdash;&emdash; pledge myself to work for peace to the best of my ability during the coming year. For all men are my brothers and all nations and races are one in God.”
If this oath of the peacemakers were spoken aloud by many millions all over the world after the two minutes silence year after year, there would in time come to these people a sense of those other brothers, those millions who may not yet call themselves our brothers because they cannot share in the celebration and in the taking of the oath on the Great Day of the Living in that fateful November hour.
And we might at last look for a time when the representatives of every European country would consider the proposal that Armistice Day should be observed on a date which bears with it no bitter memories, no recollection of humiliated pride and dark distress. It should be observed in the month of November, in that season which, because it belongs to the ending year, evokes thoughts of those departed, so falsely called dead, who in reality have but continued their journey in an all-embracing eternity.
BEYOND HUMAN PERSONALITY
NOTE.&emdash;The Chart of Existence which opens Part II has already been given in the previous volume. It is reproduced here at the request of the alleged communicator with additions made by him. For those who have not read “The Road to Immortality,” this re-statement is necessary.&emdash;E.B.G.
“It is only the vanity of man which leads him to suppose, in general, that he must be the first visitor to Mars. There may already have been callers from other planets, or, indeed, it may be that Martians will visit us before our rockets have risen twenty miles from the earth. It would be difficult to prove that they are not with us already, regarding our efforts with the interest of a bacteriological expert for his latest culture.”&emdash;(Prof. Low: Our Wonderful World of To-morrow).
THE CHART OF EXISTENCE
THE following statement is an index, or rather an itinerary, of the journey of the soul.
(1) The Plane of Matter (The commencement and development of Human Personality).
(2) Hades or the Intermediate State.
(3) The Plane of Illusion (The Lotus Flower Paradise).
(4) The Plane of color (The World of Eidos).
(5) The Plane of Flame (The commencement and development of Cosmic Personality).
(6) The Plane of Light.
(7) Out Yonder, Timelessness.
Between each plane or new chapter in experience there is existence in Hades, the intermediate state, when the soul reviews its past experiences and makes its choice, deciding whether it will go up or down the ladder of consciousness.
The Group-Soul: A group of psychic consciousness or community of souls. Within the Group spiritual affinities meet. It is one and yet many. The informing spirit provides a unity, is the integrating principle.
The First Disguise (the material body).
The Second Disguise (the body of a discarnate being on the Third and Fourth levels of consciousness).
The Third Disguise (The stellar body, a symbol of solar consciousness).
BEYOND HUMAN PERSONALITY
THE contents of the following essays relate to the preparation necessary to the pilgrim if he would, in the After-death, adventure beyond the Third plane of consciousness, if he would gradually pass from his isolation as a psychic unit and, by becoming one in spirit with the souls of his Group, make the leap in evolution and veritably pass beyond human personality.
it Each body is moved by something not itself. In its own nature it has no self-movement. Only by communication in soul is it moved from within, only because of soul has it life.” This principle, which is invisible to the sense perceptions, controls the shape composed of blood, flesh and nerves. When the mind is absent the body cannot move. The mind is therefore beyond body.
If you have witnessed the phenomenon of sudden death you will intuitively recognize the significance of this argument. A man who suffers from a weak heart is playing, laughing, chattering, living to the full, and suddenly he falls dead. Within two or three minutes that gaiety, movement and life are stilled. There lies upon the earth an inert shape already negative, wholly without capacity for expression, without power to utter thoughts, to move hands or feet, to laugh, to protest, to declare that there is only the life of the body, that the body is the man. But behold I the man appears to be absent, away on a journey: all, in short, that seemed to make up that human being, that dear, human personality has taken flight; yet still he lies there, an inanimate shape, a corpse, an already disintegrating body which must be swiftly put away, hidden in the earth.
Those who have witnessed sudden death must find it hard to keep their faith in the existence of a soulless machine, in a belief that the human being consists only of the body, that here is no more than the breakdown of a mechanism of all too fragile a character.
* * * * *
I have described the soul as the surface-awareness&emdash;the sum of being, on each rung of the ladder of life.
Men who are not materialists rightly believe that the human entity consists of a body, soul and spirit. But few are aware that after death the aim of the highly developed man, or pilgrim as I call him, is to reach successively the Fourth and Fifth planes. On the latter, having broken through the webs that would confine him, when merging in the group-soul he retains his individuality but passes beyond human personality and so is finally able to progress to the Sixth plane.
He retains that human personality to a greater or lesser degree so long as he abides in an etheric body on the Third plane.
But when he reaches the Fourth state or world of Eidos, and is living consciously in the realm of pure form, he begins gradually to withdraw himself from that recognizable manifestation, his human personality. This world, or realm, is a masterpiece of pure beauty which I have described as the prototype of earth, but the latter is so far beneath it in conception it can only be said to resemble it as a copy of the Mona Lisa made by an unpracticed amateur resembles the original.
The psychic unit is a member of the group-soul and may be identified with the personality on each level of consciousness&emdash;first with human personality and later with cosmic personality. But while living consciously in the world of Illusion man’s individuality is not that of the larger self. He is still only that portion of the self which manifests in matter. The larger self possesses the knowledge of all his anterior history as well as the history of those within his Group who are intimately bound to him and make a part of his particular pattern. It can directly invoke the inspiring spirit of the Group and is the channel between man and that fount of wisdom.
When on Eidos the soul gradually becomes this larger self; and before it leaves the Fourth plane for the Fifth it is that greater being.
The passing from one consciousness to another on the part of the human being when he has intercourse with his dead in sleep, belongs to that section of universal life which I have described as the “Group-soul.” Members of one Group are emotionally drawn to each other either by love or by hate. Love might be described as one of the cosmic principles of gravitation. It draws you to your beloved even if he or she be on a higher plane of consciousness, even if death seems to set up temporarily the great barrier of silence, the horror of an absence that, as some erroneously believe, is eternal.
In many cases, great men, prophets and supreme artists have entered a group which is complete or almost complete in so far as it is concerned with personal and individual communication with human beings. The majority of the units who make up this group, or company, of souls, seek therefore the Fifth and Sixth planes, thus passing beyond human personality. So for them in the personal human sense, this second-rate planet that seems tremendous and all-embracing to its inhabitants, is a mere speck on a past journey, a region or state which holds neither interest nor any tie of love or hate. They are, in truth, resurrected. They belong now to a world which presses ever nearer and nearer to divine things&emdash;to the higher planes of spiritual life.
Great souls may often lead lives of complete obscurity. Known only to a few intimates they are overlooked by the world at large, and when the members of their own immediate circle pass on no memory of them remains there is no one to bear witness to lives of such selfless and lofty endeavor that they might well have been said to exemplify the hero in man. These inspired souls may dwell in the bodies of industrial workers, clerks, fishermen and peasants. Lives finely lived to which no articulate expression&emdash;in the wider sense&emdash;has been given, may yet supremely manifest a greatness and a loveliness which are directly inspired by the group-soul; so the first shall be last and the last first in the unseen world.
Thus to pass unnoticed, unheeded through the crowd in their last earthly journey may be the lot of certain of those I call “soul-man.” And through this very obscurity, through this apparently negative and frustrated existence, they prepare themselves for the time when they assume a wider personality.
Infinite, however, in variety are the roads by which the pilgrims travel towards that point in the journey in eternity when, having paused and taken stock of the past, they enter as untried swimmers that unknown sea which I call the Cosmic Ocean.
* * * * *
The great enterprise on the Fifth plane may be said to be the development of the self in relation to the psychic tribe. By the term “psychic tribe” I desire to indicate an extension of the Group, one that embraces all those other beings of a different order who tend to coalesce, to correlate and merge into harmony with us on the higher levels of existence. Then, indeed, the old human limitations begin to fall away for we commence to think cosmically and so come to be cosmically. We are at the opening of a new chapter in our evolution, we are beginning to learn that we are not aliens in a vast universe, freaks who happened in our past to have the rare experience of living on the plane of Matter, existing within a physical body. The fear of that individuality, the fear of a universe that seems hostile in its silence exists in our sub-consciousness during our incarnations and on the Third plane. But on the Fifth plane, fear vanishes and we become sensible of the company of souls, the psychic tribe, who are all more than brothers to us. We recognize the universe as our friend, gradually discovering the multitude of the strands that binds us to it intimately and beautifully. We perceive as well as feel our fundamental relationship to the planets, the sun, the moon, and all the vast stellar system.
These subtle strands are but memories dating back through aeons of time&emdash;the scars of sinister struggles, the marks that indicate old painful wounds, the colored kaleidoscopic brightness of remembered joy, the brilliant radiance of recollected ecstasy. All this stored up experience belongs to the psychic tribe; and to the Group such gathered harvest is priceless in the spiritual sense. For it contains not merely earthly recollections and memories of Eidos, it contains also the sum of experiences contributed by those members of the Tribe who have incarnated on planets in the various solar systems and have lived as beings of flame within the diameters of the revolving stars. Widely dissimilar are the offerings of all the psyches when they begin to pool knowledge, to share divinely, to draw the universe within their own beings and thus destroying division, loneliness, terror and solitariness, seek and find their integral kinship with the one universe before they start on their last adventure, the discovery of universes external to our own, and the discovery of our harmony with God, our entry into the Mystery of the Cosmic Creative Imagination.
The Mystery of Mars
It is believed by certain astronomers that they will eventually conquer space and unravel the mystery of Mars. This planet with its attendant moons, Deimos and Phobos, with its vast deserts and striking topography, would necessarily offer to its inhabitants a different kind of life from that known to man who has through his telescope, more or, less correctly mapped out its actual geographical features. Some learned people hold the view that if we measure time by the earth clock, no incarnate beings exist in this present era on Mars. Many hundreds of years ago, however, it was the home of intelligent, individualized life. In that far distant age the Martians, in appearance and vibratory character, were near to man; and if astronomical science had been then in its present highly developed state the Martians would, no doubt, have been able to extend greetings to their brethren on earth, for although vastly inferior to him in the arts and graces of life, in mathematics and science they were far in advance of and immeasurably superior to present day man.
Though inhabitants of the planet of war they had learned to subjugate the war spirit by overcoming the evils of a superabundance of births. Mars was thinly populated, and because of the perils of being without food&emdash;which were very real&emdash;they strictly controlled and limited themselves in their numbers, seeking quality rather than quantity, and thus offering a desirable example to human beings. Death through the hostility of nature rather than death through war was the menace that shadowed the life of the whole Martian race. The struggle to obtain the means of living went on ceaselessly; and the fear of nature on this austere planet so governed their existence that they were far too deeply occupied with this problem to engage, as man does, in destructive Wan.
I have spoken of the past in connection with intelligent, manifested life on the planet Mars. For I have been permitted to gaze into the scheme of things and to glance at sections of an eternal present, some of it potential and yet to be, some of it past. Nevertheless, during what we might term the present terrestrial era, there revolves in space a planet which corresponds with Mars and which exemplifies in detail the conditions I have just described.
Before we proceed further, it seems necessary to discuss and perhaps extend the meaning of the words “life” and “incarnation.” Let us assume that they imply intelligent, individualized existence in some kind of body akin in structure to the material bodies known to man. It does not follow that the five senses of the human being can apprehend and register the appearance and character of the individuals existing on another planet. We will take, for instance, as an illustration, the history of the Martians and will refer to it in the present tense. At night they have to endure a temperature many degrees below zero. Frost of an incredible severity grips the ground, holds it more surely than steel can bite or grip. The bright hours of the day bear warmth undoubtedly, but the difference in temperature is very considerable. Secondly, the atmosphere is only as dense as that prevailing on the top of the lofty mountains known to man. Necessarily, therefore, the Martians in build and composition must differ in some respects from ordinary human beings who could not, indeed, endure existence on their planet.
So the fabric is more finely interwoven: so the vibrations of the body of a Martian are deeper and of greater intensity than the vibrations of any of the living organisms on earth. Supposing that a telescope had been invented which could register all the small details of visible life on Mars, the astronomer would search it in vain for his counterpart; he would believe that he gazed upon a world from which intelligent, animated life was entirely absent. Yet, in such an affirmation he would be mistaken. His sight, however keen, his telescope however searching, would assuredly fail to find human beings similar to those who dwell on earth. But if some inventive scientist could have imagined and constructed an apparatus very subtly elaborated on the principle of wireless he might, perhaps, have picked up signals which indicated the presence of a mysterious and individualized intelligence on that other remote globe.
Venus, goddess of gardens to the Romans, and Aphrodite, goddess of love to the Greeks, roused the imagination of many a poet in the ancient days. They hailed her as Phosphorus and Hesperus, morning and evening star. They enshrined her in verse, yet they could but in fancy, rhyme and story, create her image; and in no other way might they, save through imagination, discover her in reality.
Since I have adventured some thirty-five years ago upon a post-mortem existence I have at intervals sought for planetary knowledge. Yet as I have not attained to the Fifth plane I cannot enter and dwell consciously within the memoried life of the stars stored up in my tribe’s granary. But I have learned from other travellers who have journeyed farther along the road, that, at one time, there was, or will be, incarnation on the planet Venus and that it implied, or will imply, existence differing in certain respects from the life of man. Thus the people of Venus might be called children of water and vapour. Their bodies, though in many respects similar in structure to those of man, vibrate with an intensity and are of a quality that suggest a different order of being from that of any inhabitant, savage or civilized, who lives or has lived, upon the densest of all planets. Adventurous men may strive from earth to penetrate space with ever more delicate instruments for the purpose of discovering whether Venus is inhabited. But their quest will be vain, for their instruments will fail to register the imponderous and impalpable envelope of the individual who may some day walk that alien world.
During this present twentieth century&emdash;in the sense that the materialist understands the meaning of the word “man”&emdash;no man exists either on the planets or planetoids of our solar system. The human being may proudly strut upon his little earth claiming that he, of his kind, is alone in living, moving and breathing in that circuit of the stars. But he will be gravely in error if he claims that there is no intelligent, animated existence on heavenly bodies in other solar systems.
He knows only the matter or substance which responds to his instruments, which directly impinges upon his senses. How dare he, in his ignorance and with his brief history, suggest that there is no other substance, no different order of matter which may be governed by the same principles as those known to him, but which he may be unable to see because he is a denizen of, and subject to the limitations of the densest of all the solid bodies that revolve round our sun?
To some it may seem a lonely thought that man is thus solitary and can hail no comrade race: that no intelligent beings who are recognizable through sight and hearing inhabit those wonders he can find, on a clear night, in the dark and awful depth of space. But reassurance may come if it is realized that there are at least a hundred million solar systems within our homely little universe and that, sparsely scattered in the firmament, there are planets similar in character to the earth planet whereon vibrate human beings of like nature to ourselves. The human senses are capable of perceiving and registering their outward appearance and that of abundant vegetation as abounding as on the fertile regions of the earth.
The arrogant cry of the man who has no god, no conception save that of annihilation, still rises to us on the wings of thought. “There lives no creature more sensitive, wiser than man, in the star-sown fields of heaven.” Thus does he declare the limitations of his imagination and shroud himself in the dark illusory cloud of reason. But we shall not gaze for ever on the universe from outside. We shall, neither as incarnate nor as discarnate beings, witness always from without the great forces, that are at work with a purport that is forever hid from men.
Love, power and wisdom, these three are the driving force, the cosmic stream that emanates from the Divine Hierarchy which, as servant of God, guides and controls the planet Earth.
This hierarchy consists of a number of group-souls and these, from the Fifth level of consciousness, direct and organize life, being responsible for even the minutest parts of the design&emdash;every atom, every electron finding its place in the scheme of the great energising powers. Order, method and harmony reign in the structure of the material world. For behind everything that exists pleasant or unpleasant to the sight of man, there is spirit working untiringly, organized on differing levels. And though man has the power to choose (within the limits of his group-personality, he is master of his destiny), the mighty framework of the earth, the seas, and their motion through space, are all controlled and calculated out to the last decimal by certain groups who have journeyed as far as the plane of Flame. These have not yet any considerable knowledge of the universes external to the universe we recognize as our own. It is necessary for us to have participated in the imaginative life on the plane of Light in order that we may adventure into those other triumphant manifestations of the Cosmic Creative Wisdom.
I have, perhaps, rather rashly implied that the Hierarchy of Souls who, under the direction of God, guide and control the planet Earth are master mathematicians. They might be more correctly described as artists. Their work, though balanced and harmonised, does not express in its manifested character the exact precision which is required by the human mathematician. The design, as I have stated, is calculated to the last decimal. But when represented it contains variety. The electron, for instance, seems to have a certain independence of its own and to act in a manner inconsistent with the precise exactitude of a machine. For it is the artist’s imagination rather than that of the mathematician which creates and maintains the invisible universe, the created thing itself becomes creative, and therein lies one of the secrets of life and destiny.
The Lotus Flower Paradise or World of Illusion
During our journey through eternity we assume three disguises. We can be incarnate, discarnate, and flame beings, in each case possessing a shape or body recognizable to those on or beyond that level of consciousness. There are many sub-divisions of these primary structures; there are also shapes of light. But the “Body of Light” cannot be described as a disguise, for it expresses individualized cosmic imagination, truth in its integrity, perfect loveliness that passes human understanding.
However, I will not write of that last mystery now, I will discuss the lower grades of habitation. The temple of the soul differs in certain essential matters in these three orders or grades of manifestation. As a rule an incarnate being cannot alter his body by an act of thought or even by long meditation. There are of course exceptional cases. I do not include in this statement the Wise Men of the East or those rare Westerners who, through the ages, have possessed secret knowledge whereby they can summon the larger self, and invoking the root spirit effect the alteration through its power. Nor do I allude to simple folk who in every century and clime, in rare moments of supreme faith, can summon to them the divine messengers of the Creative Wisdom. In such circumstances human beings have miraculously healed the sick, made whole some diseased limb, or opened the eyes of the blind. I write of the ordinary man lacking such spiritual gifts when I say that he cannot, by merely thinking, profoundly alter his physical shape, though for the discarnate being Mind and its powers have a significance far beyond the limit of human dreams. Even in the world of Illusion called beautifully by the Easterns “The Lotus Flower Paradise,” the soul, through mental effort, can alter its etheric body to an appreciable extent. Indeed, incarnate beings may be likened to the fixed stars, and discarnate intelligences to the variable stars. The wise pilgrim who dwells in the world of Eidos will find considerable pleasure from the variety of appearances he has learned to cultivate through this purely imaginative process. Like many an art student he may be a poor dauber with his brush and the body he evolves, though handsome in his own eyes, will perhaps seem ugly, vulgar or crude to those who, possessed of more sensitive taste, have a finer appreciation of spiritual and ascetic values.
But it is in the higher zones of the world of Illusion that the pilgrim first discovers all the potentialities of Mind, learns how, by thinking in a certain way, by modifying his own particular characteristics, he can achieve a particular effect in color, in feature, and in general outline which will strikingly transform his appearance.
In the lower zones of the Lotus Flower Paradise he remains within the shell of his past memories. He is quite satisfied with himself except in one respect&emdash;that of his outward appearance, and makes no attempt to alter his character by exercising the mental gifts with which he has been endowed even though by invoking the larger mind he transforms his outer shell to his will. Putting back the clock, as it were, he assumes youthful shape, portraying himself in the vigorous years of the middle twenties of earth life when he stood upon the threshold of maturity.
Now, owing to a defective imagination and strongly pronounced characteristics, he differs but little from the picture he presented as a young man during his earth life. He is still completely governed by the memories he has brought with him from that existence, and cannot yet escape from the mould in which his personality was cast. Consequently he is unable to make the necessary creative mental effort which would enable him to conceive beauty which would lend originality, richness and variety to his design. He remains therefore essentially the product of his own particular span of human life.
The common craving of the wearied traveller is for a placid period of content, for at least a time in which he need make no exertions, but live imaginatively, if fate permits, with his intimate friends or relatives. He exists, therefore in the conditions that prevail in the abode of the blest as conceived by the ancient theologians. Their paradise provided for joy but not for evolution. They assumed that the journey was ended and the goal reached for the virtuous man when he attained to the Third plane of consciousness. The priests of an eastern sect have suitably described that goal and its accompanying state as “The Lotus Flower Paradise.” This name for the Egyptian water lily conjures up a vision of langorous; dream, of quiet, effortless contentment wherein things remain specifically unaltered, wherein the lotus flower of life is lapped by gentle waters, and resting on their surface thus beautifully, would seem to the shallow thinker to represent, indeed, eternal life.
Nevertheless this assumption is false. The soul has experienced incarnation in matter and may have to undergo another experience of a similar character or, at last becoming dissatisfied with the water lily existence, it seeks the nobler life of Eidos.
Thus we see that eternity may not be dismissed in a few brief phrases that describe an effortless, joyful state of being which extends illimitably, which offers no scope for endeavor and provides only the monotony of satisfied human desires. When we pass from earth life our personality has such grave limitations that after a while we are bound to come to an end of it. Then, spiritual desire for progress awakening in us, we crave for further development whether for good or ill, but so long as we remain within the limit of human personality no real progress can be achieved without effort, without disturbance, suffering and emotional stress.
However, the difference between the two disguises, incarnate and discarnate, may be defined as a change in the effect of thought on external conditions so far as it is related to the objects and appearances which surround our souls. The third disguise, the body of flame, is usually assumed by the journeying soul when it has attained to the lower zone on the Fifth plane.
Are the Planets Inhabited?
Astronomers claim that Uranus is sixty-four times the size of the earth. They regard Mercury as a dead, cold sphere without an atmosphere. Sunlight blazes down continuously out of an almost black sky sprinkled with scarce stars, and the blessing of night seems withheld from this orb. Saturn is lighter than water and the least dense of all the planets. They note about Neptune an enveloping cloud of unknown gases and, with true intuition, suspect the presence of a planet beyond this apparently outermost planet. Then Jupiter, with its eight satellites, staggers their imagination. For this heavenly body exceeds in mass and volume the sum of all the other planets in our solar system.
We have already discussed Venus and Mars and played with the fringe of their mystery. But in the presence of Jupiter we are confounded and may well feel as awed as classical man when he listened to Jovian thunders and watched the lightning as it darted across the summer skies.
To the finite human mind with its sense of futility, and its desire to prove that nothing is wasted and that there is purpose in the existence of every fragment of the universe, Jupiter, because of its enormous bulk, presents a problem in comparison with which all the lesser planets with their armies of planetoids, comets, satellites and asteroids are negligible.
Whence, whither and why? These three questions haunt the astronomer as he works untiringly at his observations and calculations. And always behind these queries lurks the personal equation, the desire to know whether these heavenly bodies are and always will be, from the human point of view, deserted and dead, mere collections of particles from which individualized mentalities are absent, over which materialised life holds no sway.
I think I may reply with a certain assurance that, during some period in the history of the universe, incarnate beings live and evolve on the planets of our solar system. It is far more difficult to speak with certainty as to the character of the intelligence, and the way in which it expresses itself. Bear in mind only that this type of animated intelligent existence associates with the first order of disguise, and so knows some of the limitations which so cruelly confine us when we live on earth. The heroic deeds, and long painful efforts, the hard-wrung joys, the sensuous, physical pleasures, and the evil and the good which are inseparable from human existence, belong also to the incarnate life whenever it appears and evolves on Mars, Venus, Mercury, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter and on that wanderer which lies beyond the telescopic vision of the astronomer.
Rationalistic man need not mourn over the apparently sterile wastes that extend so astonishingly throughout these vast worlds. All have been, or will be, the home of ensouled beings who, during a brief span of existence upon them, are controlled by centers of imagination, who possess imaginal characters, and who, when they enter into another state of consciousness, assume the second disguise, that of the discarnate being.
Now at some time during their journey through eternity, men may experience incarnation on a heavenly body other than the earth they know; and when in Hades all become aware that at some period, either past or to come, they have been or will be linked up through their group-soul with the inhabitants of one or more of the planets rotating in the universe. Of course I must again emphasize the fact that no iron law prevails. The majority of souls belonging to the human order do not know incarnate life on any planet save the earth, but find in their group-memory the harvested knowledge and wisdom gleaned by other members of their tribe from an organized term of years spent on the heavenly bodies while the first disguise is worn.
It is true that there are psychic units who do not rise to Eidos; until they have experienced life on more than one planet. And I am assured that no soul who has known to the fullest degree the creative joys associated with the world of pure form, need fear that it has to face another planetary existence. Yet, if animated by a spirit of curiosity or some half realized longing to resume the first disguise and return to one of the heavenly bodies, in rare cases it may be permitted to do so. But, as a rule, its spiritual nature and its awareness of an ever-expanding vision, lead it towards the heights; calling it to the Flame-world, to that level of consciousness whereon perception, insight and imagination extend mightily, slowly and surely gathering within them knowledge of the interstellar spaces, knowledge of the third disguise, of the starry raiment and of those (to us) blazing fires that light up the heavens when day has died.
Look, therefore, on the world or state beyond Eidos, as the bourne from which no traveller returns to resume his limited human personality. Regard this level of consciousness as the innermost condition of immortality, the commencement of cosmic personality. All who share this spirit of high endeavor may cross that threshold and, pausing on the edge of the Immensities to gaze backwards, perceive the limitations of the crude, dense first disguise, and the perfection of the second and finer disguise. Its perfected form embodies beauty such as the great Greek sculptors dreamed of and by which the great poets, musicians, painters and prophets of all time have been inspired.
Standing thus the individual may feel lonely, deserted or bewildered but inevitably he must face the Immensities, for his own spirit impels and the bond of the Group draws him, and he hesitates no more when he realizes that somewhere in those farther realms there is waiting for him the key to the universe and the solution of the mystery of its being. There, too, he will find the answer to the whence, the whither, and the why of the myriad stars, the distant nebulae, the vast spaces before the riddle of whose conception human imagination reels, and the soul shrinks back in awe and fear.
He goes forward filled with ecstasy at the thought that now he will perceive the universe from within, the gates of knowledge will be flung wide, perception and vision will be limitless. Yet even now he may not realize how terrific will be the struggle and effort or how acute the pain he may have to endure before he is admitted to lordship with the Wise, and mounts the throne of cosmic personality.
I HAVE journeyed as far as Eidos, the Fourth plane, the world of idealized form. But I have only adventured on to the Fifth plane when in a subjective state. So my knowledge is necessarily restricted to the conditions that exist when human personality is gradually discarded.
After the pilgrim has once more lived through the experience of Hades, he is initiated into that remembered life within his group-soul which has been gathered from planetary incarnation. He is also aware of all the gradations of his past human personality and that of those others who travel with him along the road. He has in a finer sense harvested the intuitions, tendencies and fundamental character of his Group. He has yet to make the acquaintance of that extension of it which I call the psychic tribe. The first steps to be taken in this direction lead to some individualized experience of stellar life. He assumes therefore the third disguise, and adopts the symbol of solar consciousness, the body of flame. He chooses to be born on a permanent or stable star within the Milky Way.
Life on the Fixed Stars
Solar atoms are of a different type from earthly atoms – they perish with an inconceivable rapidity. But when the soul assumes the third disguise on the Fifth plane the pilgrim lives in a rhythm and time different from terrestrial time and exists in a kind of flux or flow.
The atomic structure of the star which he has chosen for his abode is of so unusual a character it would astonish the earthly physicist. These atoms should be divided into two classes. Those in the first which I will name “radiant atoms,” differ from those in the second order in the apparent span of their solar life. They quickly disintegrate, whereas the atoms of the earth alter very slowly under the corroding feet of the years. Nevertheless, in the heart of the star, the physicist will find a condition analogous to water. This center of stability&emdash;for when compared with the outer or radiant part it may be regarded as steady though fluidic&emdash;is composed of a far heavier type of atom than those I have called radiant. It is not for me to discuss them in detail. If the human eye could exist in such conditions and register what it perceived, the core of this star would seem to represent a vast sea of boiling or bubbling water, a sea in inconceivable tumult.
However, we are at present concerned with the individual life of the traveller. He assumes a fiery body, that is to say a body consisting of radiant atoms. Necessarily it bears no resemblance to the human shape. On Eidos he learnt how to alter and yet to control his outward appearance, that lovely body which is the apotheosis of form as conceived in the human mind. So now, when in stellar life, he has developed and extended his imaginative and intellectual faculties to such an extent that he passes beyond human perceptive existence. With incredible speed his outward appearance changes, its astonishing transitions flowing rhythmically from design to exquisite design. In swift lightning flashes of ecstasy he vibrates in these successive bodies, thrilling and throbbing in a tremendous and brilliant world. Swept by solar tempest to the farthest limits of feeling he becomes so vividly perceptive he may be said to have reached a culminating plane of exalted stellar experience.
The man who has thus been transformed dwells for a while on one of the fixed stars; he is limited to that particular sun in his knowledge and in his experiences. Necessarily, when taking on a solar incarnation, the major self must abide without his stellar consciousness and the details of his past journey remain temporarily hidden from him during active life within that zone of fire.
Try to eliminate from your mind the natural human fear of flame and set a grander, finer conception in its place. Regard fire as the outward manifestation of a more exquisite and sensitively attuned consciousness than your own. Reflect for a moment on the millions of stars that people the Milky Way, and then consider those other myriads of red, white and blue stars outside the galactic system and ask yourself if it is indeed fantastic to suggest that they should be centers; of manifested, intelligent existence.
To the human mind they are infinite in number and vast in their circumference. For in reality all finely graded intelligences experience incarnation on one of the millions of luminous globes that, in ordered march journey through space, their every motion regulated: their position in the heavens to the last inch designed.
The Imagination of God has created the material universe and has created uncountable beings who exist on the fixed stars as well as on variable stars, on the Cepheids and the explosive stars and on the extra galactic nebulae. Man and his kindred souls who occupy planetary bodies will find it difficult to believe that individualized mind manifests itself in matter, whose constituents differ in type from those composing the physical body. Actually, a far greater number of souls inhabit stellar realms; and if a detached spectator could view the universe from the Sixth plane he would note that so-called human life is, comparatively speaking, rare whereas solar life prevails in or is a commonplace of space-time. But we must regard stellar space and time as being very different from earthly conceptions of them. No finite mind could grasp the significance of or even begin faintly to estimate the speed at which they vibrate, their terrific velocity and their changes of form which, taking place so rapidly they would be invisible to the human eye, are too imponderable to be described as “bodies” in the case, for instance, of the inhabitants of Sirius, the white Dog-star.
This lamp of heaven burns with a fierce intensity many times greater than the sun. There the soul, thinking with inconceivable rapidity, can live in apparently permanent surroundings, though to man&emdash;if he could but perceive it&emdash;the solar being would seem to shift and flash from one shape to another, would seem indeed to be as transitory as lightning itself. Yet the pilgrim who inhabits a self-luminous globe as man inhabits the earth has as permanent a sense of his surroundings and of himself and his outward appearance. Subjectively and objectively, however, he supremely extends vision and feeling; he touches deeps and heights that are indeed beyond the understanding of the human soul so long as that soul remains confined in the slow, dense, atomic structure of the earth.
Let us be quite clear as to the nature of the inhabited organisms on, for example, our friend Sirius and on other permanent stars. Once the atom has been classified, the human mind can the more easily contemplate and, perhaps, accept the idea of a solar race of men.
Throughout the galactic system of worlds we will assume that there are three principal divisions of atoms.
(1) The terrestrial atom.
(2) The radiant solar atom=responsible for the light and heat of the sun, the material out of which the bodies of solar men are made.
(3) The heavy solar atom =of a liquid character, constitutes the center of the sun and stable stars.
The actual history of an inhabited star, as a rule, corresponds to a remarkable degree with the history of the earth at least in relation to intelligent individualized life. Solar men experience the slow evolutionary processes. They are not always on the same level of development. They have within them considerable potentialities during the period in which life is possible on a luminous globe. These during the long solar chronicle, gradually unfold, seek expression, and the last state of solar man is a condition in which both his existence and the actual structure of the fiery bodies are far more complicated and of a more highly sensitised order. Certain universal principles in connection with incarnation apply here as they apply on earth.
It is a truism to state that the nebulae gave birth to the stars, flung them off at the dawn of creation, and apparently, sent them spinning through space. In that inconceivably early time&emdash;I write of the galactic system&emdash;atoms of all kinds made up the constitution of the stars. Radiant atoms were in exuberant turmoil&emdash;in frantic sweep and dance they burst into radiation. Tremendous, awful, the clamour and the storm of their brightness as they broke outward and away from their parent fire. Intelligent solar life could not exist on the stars during their long childhood. These short lived atoms made conditions impossible for individualized incarnate minds, or indeed, for the existence of any living creature controlled by impersonal mind. It was only at a later time, when the first convulsions of conflagration had passed into universal memory, and when the fiery energy was tempered by the flight of the more combustible material, that the star became habitable, could travel steadily owing to the more stable character of the longer lived atoms which now came to the surface and could serve as vehicles for the manifestations of solar men, or offer an opportunity for incarnate experience to the psychic tribe. A time will come when those stars in the Milky Way, which now contain billions of luminous beings, will be no longer habitable. With old age, life-bearing ceases; the fruitful years have gone for ever; the shrunken globe cannot provide the necessary radiant atoms which may be shaped as bodies, which offer to mind, metaphorically speaking, bricks for the temple of the soul.
Thus great numbers of deserted stars drift through space, generating only a feeble radiance, their shrunken surfaces offering no sustenance for the solar embodiment of a fragment of Eternal Spirit.
The Birth of Solar Man.
The term “solar man” should not suggest the mentality and outlook of either ordinary man or heroic man.
When a soul is born upon a star a group of flame beings may be said to be responsible for the birth. Love on this plane assumes a cosmic and communal character. Several solar individuals who correspond, and who are dual in character, feel during their youth the impulse of love and creative desire. They come together and through a sharing of all things they are enabled to give birth to a new flame being which suddenly, marvellously, leaps forth from their fused imaginations. Effort, struggle and the long patience of the artist are necessary conditions of birth in the starry realms. There the bearing of life should be called the “modelling and shaping” of life. For the imagination and not the body carries the embryonic being and love summons the waiting soul who enters the frame of this imaged fancy, and is, thereby, added to, and increased by the actual cosmic conceptive impulse.
For purposes of creation the idea of two lovers has to be discarded. There may be six, eight, ten or twelve, and though there is duality within the group all share equally in the labour of birth which, be assured, consists in the emotional, spiritual and aesthetic labour in the imaginative field. But the body does not carry the nascent individual. Within the emotional storm and ecstasy of a group, love contained only in the aesthetic, lovely, creative nature, is the germ from whence springs the completed starry being who will evolve and grow to maturity in solar space-time. Weaving, unweaving, and weaving again in fine luminous shapes that come and go, the soul will be embodied in ways fantastic, incomprehensible and incredible to the finite human intelligence.
The tremendous rate of speed at which a solar population lives is in keeping with the character of solar matter. A stellar condition described by the astronomer as being merely gaseous, contains vibrating life, intelligence and creative endeavor, on a greater scale than any known to man. There the outward and the inward, the visible and the invisible march, as it were, in step, the speed of thought and the transformation of outward appearances being almost equal. There no heavy body lags behind brilliant intelligence, or sensitive perceptions, and so at last objective cosmic existence becomes possible for the soul.
* * * * *
In certain respects the same principle governs the outward appearance of incarnate and discarnate beings. As the body of flame is composed of material atoms, the individual has not, as a rule, the power to recreate his appearance through an act of thought. The principle of intelligence associates with the fiery shape in much the same way that the human intelligence associates with the physical body. The soul, therefore, takes on the limitations which are characteristic of atomic structure. But these certainly differ immensely from those within the experience of the human being. For, as I have previously stated, these forms come in procession, one passing within another, each in turn flowing away into radiation with unspeakable rapidity. I used to allude to the stream of consciousness, I might equally well speak of the stream of form in connection with the life of solar man. Nevertheless his quickened imagination, his vastly increased awareness lead to his having an entirely different conception of time. The speed and variety of his vibration lead him to recognize, as man recognizes, a certain solidity and permanence in his surroundings.
The body of the human being changes completely in seven terrestrial years. The body of solar man is completely transformed&emdash;not one atom remaining the same&emdash;in the fraction of a terrestrial second. But the mind of the human being vibrates with astonishing slowness. It falls indeed into the physical rhythm, whereas the mind of the solar being is attuned to far swifter life and experience. The intelligence of the one might, in motion, be compared to the speed of a slug, the intelligence of the other to the speed of a swallow. And even then justice is not done to the amazing rapidity of thought and of its complement action in the realms of the stars.
A fantastic imitation of material life plays out its drama on the surface of these brilliant globes. All the emotions, the passions are of a different order from those of man, and undoubtedly, they contain an intensity of feeling that would as assuredly shatter a human being as would the violent explosion of a bomb at his feet.
The lives in the two worlds can scarcely be compared, nor are there words in any earthly language which would correctly convey the daily minutiae of work, pleasure, endeavor and rest on any blazing star. During their solar existence stellar inhabitants know no more of night than did Adam and Eve know of evil and good before they tasted the forbidden fruit, and although sickness&emdash;as man understands the term&emdash;is unknown, an incapacity on the part of the soul to vibrate in harmonious rhythm with its swiftly changing body, may lead to weakness and to a certain dissociation analogous to states of unconsciousness. Finally, the ailing solar man may pass altogether from association with the fiery atoms of which his outward appearance is composed.
Then he is said to have risen into celestial life or to have slipped from limitation into infinite expansion of consciousness. This process should not be described by the word “death,” for it is in no sense analogous to death as known to man. A time comes when the intellectual and spiritual principle will no longer grip and control the body. But the soul thrills with a sublime joy in the hour of this passing, and no legendary figure with the scythe reaps an immemorial harvest. Call, therefore, such an experience It expansion into cosmic personality.”
Light on the Stars
Though night does not prevail light changes at certain periods in character and quality and solar man seeks in sleep refreshment and renewal of strength. During his sleeping as well as his waking hours the body changes, and one atomic structure follows another automatically&emdash;unless, of course, the rhythm becomes broken, a condition which the physician on a star recognizes as having its source in the imaginative life of the patient or in the yearning for cosmic freedom.
The light which renders surroundings visible to solar men would not be registered by any terrestrial machine and certainly not by the human machine. I might call such light sublimated or subtilised electricity, or hail it as a soft, shimmering radiance within a coarser radiance; the coarser radiance having the aspect of substance for solar man. The cosmic brother of the sun, however, is perceived as multiple light by a solar being, and these many lights in space are so infinitesmal that though collectively they throw out a lovely glow yet sight can scarcely perceive them. Bear in mind that no known gas or electricity belongs to this order of illumination. It will be necessary for scientific men to enter the Fifth plane and live cosmically before he can attempt to study the light known to his solar brethren.
The octave of color would astonish and delight any human artist in its variety, while the gamut of sound is also immensely extended. Sound and color play an essential part in ordinary stellar existence. They would seem to offer nourishment in some obscure way to the solar beings and to furnish certain essential conditions for a healthy, vigorous life.
I have not, so far, in my writings mentioned elementals and other non-human spirits. By these terms I indicate certain creatures who have never incarnated on any planet. Some who belong to a different order in nature from ours desiring progress, seek to be born on one of the Flame-worlds. They do not assume the form of solar man, they belong to an order of beings which corresponds with that of the animal world of the earth and are not unlike the legendary salamander which, at one time, was said to live in fire.
In the stellar worlds these elementals and non-terrestrial spirits may adopt other forms, and they are often widely different in appearance. Sometimes they imitate that of the serpent and sometimes that of the dragon, a mythical creature which nevertheless may have existed on earth before the dawn of history. In its solar disguise, it has been a constant inhabitant of the combustible worlds that spin through space with such magnificent sweep and radiated life.
Consequently this elemental life is well varied in the stars, and although it cannot be compared, numerically speaking, with the fauna of earth, its units have important parts to play in their brilliant worlds and each contributes the sum of its experience to the Whole through his association with his own group-soul.
Language and Religion
In this world thoughts are conveyed by sounds and also by colors. colors, and not letters, serve as a primary medium for the conveying of ideas. Pictures take the place of terrestrial print; and these are of such an indescribable character I shall not attempt to discuss them in detail here. They do not suggest pictures in the strict terrestrial sense; they are images fading the one into the other, and yet, through an ingenious process, they retain a certain permanence and may last during several generations of solar men. But in order that they may be preserved, and not dissipated through the rapid passing of atoms into radiation, solar men are appointed whom we will call the 99 conserving librarians or artists.” By swift calculations, and by attracting pigments of a similar kind through a magnetic force which draws like to like, these librarians have learned how to reproduce exact counterparts of the pictured writings in fresh colors that are faithful to the original. It is true that such manuscripts alter a little with the changes in that fevered rate of time; but on the whole, the history, poem or record maintain the integral character stamped upon it by its author, that is, if the conserving artist is as faithful to his task as was the earthly priest who watched over the undying fire in holy places in ancient times.
In external appearances the stellar world retains a certain steadiness or permanence of character for its inhabitants because, intellectually as well as materially, they travel through time at an amazing speed. Indeed, time figures in their fancy much as it does in the fancy of man&emdash;it is the rate of their own consciousness. Also, be it remembered, similar atomic structures in the surrounding world replace the previous ones through a law of attraction, so that again, though the substance is different and continuously changing in inanimate matter, it presents more or less the same appearance to the solar man during the solar years of his life, unless, of course, he, on his part, chooses arbitrarily to alter these surroundings.
In certain fundamental principles his life bears a resemblance to that of man. During their incarnation the souls appear through, and not out of, the bodily occurrences which circumscribe them. In other words, as in terrestrial time so in stellar time the psyche remains confined within the limits of its body which differs from the physical in its constant, continuous structural change. But this can hardly be said to seem more perceptible to the solar being than are the slow atomic changes of his body to man.
I cannot speak with any knowledge of the organization of society, or of the works of the stellar population. I know that they, in common with the human being, live objectively and subjectively. Evil and good lead to conflict, struggle and emotions of a very varied character; and religion, too, has its primary and essential function on this level of consciousness. The stellar people have received and known the Son of God, but they have a much richer and more fertile imagination than that possessed by men, while their minds are of a wider, grander scope, because they stand on the brink of cosmic revelation. So, when they worship God, they draw nearer to the reality of His pervading Presence. The conception of the universe, of creation, expands incredibly; the Mystery beyond Mystery broadens, deepens, gladdens immeasurably, and yet remains an enigma, a riddle, which in its essential nature, is still unsolved.
It may be asked wherein lies the difference between man’s worship and conception of God, between his revealed religion and the religion of solar men. Perhaps the essential difference may be summarised in the words “cosmic knowledge and cosmic faith.” The inhabitants of the stars have broken through the primary strata; they possess a vastly extended awareness of the Cosmos. More exquisitely framed than their earthly brethren, they perceive and appreciate the magnitude of the Creator’s works, they draw nearer to the hidden reality, and so possess an increased capacity for faith and for the reception of wisdom in which there is less of base alloy.
At the same time, evil, that is to say imperfect and disordered methods of thought, leads to sin and suffering; but these are not exactly analogous to human conceptions of wickedness and pain. They represent, certainly, revolt against progress towards a higher level of consciousness; they represent offences against life. There is an Eternal Law which compels the seeker after Beauty and Truth to endeavor with all his might to reach the plane from which, mounting still higher, he may draw near to God.
When the imagination of the soul functions defectively the individual commits mistakes which all tend to pull him back towards the lower level of consciousness. The error of the Fall can be and still is repeated throughout universal life in many and varied instances. Always the soul has the power to choose, and if the individual is deficient in imaginative power and in faith, he will have no desire to go forward, but will be satisfied with existing limitations, the greater dissociation involved in existence on a lower plane.
And so a number of solar men often temporarily drop back after a stellar life, for they have committed in this last incarnation certain cosmic mistakes and must redress the balance within the deeper self by returning a little way along the road. Some serve, perhaps, as invisible watchers near the earth; others seek in Eidos that strength which was lacking when they wished to take on cosmic personality and to enter the realms of the stars. However, a fair proportion of men follow the upward curve, and after the process which the human being calls death, they pass into the group-soul and prepare within it for the inner vision of the Cosmos which will be vouchsafed to them on the Sixth plane, the world of Purified Light.
This time of preparation may not be disposed of in a sentence, for many and incalculable experiences await them while they remain on the Fifth level of consciousness. But I will write of that later and first must allude to the numerous souls who, having once incarnated upon a self-luminous globe, choose the middle course and either through love for another or because they are aware of certain weaknesses in their nature, demand experience on a different type of star. They may, perhaps, have been so bathed in the glory of those past stellar experiences that they desire only their renewal in an intensified form; and, as ever, the inner desire of the soul is granted.
Usually, in finding new homes in the Cosmos, these returning travellers meet with a different order and variety of conditions. For they take on the limitations of form inspired by residence in a stellar realm which belongs structurally to another age and which may vary very considerably from the previous world inhabited by that solar man. He may, for instance, shun the blazing star and adventure upon an exploration of an extinct world. Day and night have their parallel in the Cosmic career of the soul once limited by human personality, but now exalted by intuitive intimations of immortality.
The Alleged Life-Force
In the foregoing chapter when the terms “life” and “living” are employed, they must not be confounded with the human conception or idea of such an animating principle. I am aware of the conflicting opinions as to the driving-force behind living creatures. Some believe that they have the monopoly of a certain physical energy akin to electricity, and this they call “life.” Others speak of a non-material agency, an entelechy or principle of life which controls and directs physical and chemical processes. I do not intend to enter this disputed field and discuss the alleged life-force in connection with the earth and its myriads of living creatures. I would merely suggest that the energy which serves solar man during his stellar career, is vastly subtilised, immeasurably refined, and cannot be compared with the crude form of energy analyzed by the human being who possesses scientific knowledge. Moreover, I would describe in a phrase the creative basis of life in connection with the inhabitants of the earth and the inhabitants of the stars. In each case, the Inspiring Principle is a center of Imagination. That collaboration of soul and spirit which lies behind the physical body and the body of solar man, may be summarised in the sentence “limited focus of imagination which is connected with an imaginal field.” Herein we find a Divine Principle which pervades the Cosmos and is the directive power through which life, no matter how crude, or advanced and intelligently individualized, is able to manifest itself.
The Extinct Worlds
There rove through space multitudes of black stars, the remains of suns that long years ago burnt themselves out and yet continue to sail across the vast oceans of space and which, to the astronomer, would appear as dead worlds that do not disintegrate but still continue a forlorn and desolate journey. They are not visible to sight however keen, neither are they to be perceived through any telescope. Wraithlike they exist merely conjecturally in the mind of man. Nevertheless, these dark stars are neither to be regarded as corpses nor as hypothetical phantoms, for they have a stability, a character foreign to such fancies. Briefly, they serve a creative purpose. Intelligences upon whom are bestowed perceptions unknown to human beings seek manifestation and a life in form on these globes of night.
The children of the black stars have another kind of awareness developed by the unusual conditions under which they exist. It is an awareness which enables them also to function, to live out their span of years, and then again to withdraw into the memoried heart of the group-soul. Paradoxically life exists, palpitates, drives and compels within certain of these extinct worlds which are, to their occupants, in no sense finished and dead, which offer to them a form of experience manifold in its character though different from any known to man.
When the conception of Divine Imagination, or Eternal Spirit, as the primary and basic principle takes its rightful position in the philosophic scheme of eternity, then it will be realized that, however infinite may seem the material universe and those other external universes, they cannot and do not overwhelm us with the sense of their awful magnitude inasmuch as all things are held “within the hollow of His hand “, all are controlled, guided, directed by this Divine Cosmic joy of creation expressed in the word “God” or in the phrase “transcendent Cosmic Wisdom “. And these are not vague, nebulous terms, they declare the reality that lies behind all shapes, forms, energies, all the vast fantasy that dwells within the universal rhythm which is ever renewing, ever extending, changing, varying according to creative delight.
On a clear night the sky is all aflower with little white specks gleaming as if they had been touched with glistening dew. We call this pale expanse the Milky Way or galactic system, and the Milky Way is but part of a circle of light that extends completely round the earth and divides the skies into halves.
Within the galactic system lie natural groups of stars that are physically similar, vitally akin, and they travel in company.
Orion’s Belt, the Pleiades, Berenice’s Hair, the Great Bear, all contain families of stars and each cluster symbolises a group-soul or section of a group. There must be many hundreds of millions of stars visible to man when he searches the skies with a powerful telescope. Yet if we would make a scheme of external things we must remember that there exist universe beyond universe; double, treble Milky Ways, super-galaxies, incredible nebulae: the mind shivers, breaks, before this extensive prospect, and the soul of the materialist may well turn to littleness, to the life of the passing hour, baffled, afraid of the heavens, lonely without a God.
Astronomers know now that the millions they count are a sum infinitely small in the total&emdash;if there be a total&emdash;of these myriad ships of light. They realize that many a star the size of the sun is but the equivalent of an electron when considered in relation to the vast organism in which it has its place.
Finite reason may confidently reject the assumption that some of these numberless incandescent globes are peopled with fiery beings, with manifest, individualized intelligences. But finite imagination may, perhaps, intuitively recognize that the statements so inadequately expressed in the previous pages, are not extravagant conjecture or incredible folly. They contain at least a plausible suggestion that, in the universe, man is not the only occupant of the throne of individualized and manifested mind; that he is no mere accident, the sport of vast soulless forces. For he travels in a company which consists not merely of the human beings whom he owns as his kin, but also of invisible discarnate comrades, and certainly many incarnate beings&emdash;including the inhabitants of the solar worlds. These, spiritually speaking, are of his own family, as well as all those who, on those mighty globes of light, make the same long journey of eternity.
Knowing imaginatively, feeling instinctively then a kinship with the ensouled stars, he can the more easily face the transient sorrows, the vexations, the trivial misunderstandings, quarrels and disillusionments of his earthly lot. For before him, beyond him, above him, lie the splendour and the vision of a time when, in greater awareness, he lives in the fuller, grander freedom of the firmament. He emerges out of the darkness and, on that finer plane of stellar consciousness, leaves behind him forever the mean, petty cares and enigmas of his limited terrestrial life. No three score years and ten, as incomplete, enclosed, lonely, haunted and harassed, await him in those starry depths within those blazing orbs. For it is when bearing his earthly burden that he is severed from his discarnate comrades and from the harmony of universes which are controlled by sentient beings through the stars of imagination, the white flower of each rooted spirit, rooted in God or Cosmic Mind, nourished, invigorated and ever renewed by Divine Creative Love.
The Fifth Plane
Incarnation on an incandescent globe might be described as the life or lives of preparation necessary to further existence on the Fifth plane. In the time of his passing from Eidos&emdash;the Fourth level of consciousness&emdash;the discarnate being has perfect and absolute control of form, of his appearance, of the eidolon or living ghost. But he may not enter into cosmic personality until he has put on the third and last disguise, made the experiences of a stellar span of years part of himself, and known what it is to live in a body that would be described, no doubt, as gaseous by the observant terrestrial scientist&emdash;that is, an organism composed of fiery particles.
In the ancient world, particularly in Egypt, the death and resurrection of the sun-god were celebrated with elaborate ritual in which sexual symbolism played a considerable part. Latent in these primitive practices may be found the reflection of a cosmic principle which was interpreted in a blurred and erroneous manner.
In one sense the objective existence of solar men cannot be described as part of the conditions that prevail on the Fifth level of consciousness; for only a fragment, some essential essence of the whole self, experiences incarnation on the luminous stars. This period in the life of the psyche may find a parallel in the ancient belief in the death and resurrection of the sun-god. To the traveller from Eidos who has known all the rare joys that accompany complete control of form, an apotheosis of the rarefied substance that differs in rate of vibration from matter, this re-entry into material existence, even though now it may be the prison of fiery particles, seems, comparatively speaking, to have almost the inanimation of death. It is a condition that is suggestive of winter when it visits the terrene world, stripping the fields and the fruitful, flowering earth; of the season in which the power of the sun grows weak, and when, to the summer of brilliant life and lovely bloom, and autumn with its harvest of colored fruits and rich, dropping grain, there succeeds bareness, a slowing down of vitality and a condition wholly lacking in the glory of exultant, vigorous life. Nevertheless winter plays an important part in creative processes. And for the soul the slowing down involved in stellar incarnation is symbolic of that terrestrial season. Actually, to the human being, the career of solar man would seem fraught with wonder, ecstasy and terror. But to that fragment of the latter’s greater self which incarnates in solar matter it means a flowing of consciousness, so to say, from a great lake into a torpid, sluggish stream.
Let us, however, return to the parallel of worship connected with the death and resurrection of the sun-god. The sexual symbolism, which played so important a part in it, may here be taken as the representation of the creative faculty of imagination inherent in the self. All the germinative and formative processes go on during a materialised existence on some blazing star. The prevalent conditions under which the roots of plants, and of all vegetation exist during winter are creative and are going on the whole time. Equally the life of solar man is formative and may be said to be creative of cosmic personality. No sudden leap can be made from the Fourth to the Fifth plane, from an enlarged, etherialised human personality to that grander, sublimer conception, the cosmic self. There must be this second experience in matter, the struggle to break from these last confining bonds of the material worlds, the final resurrection when the freed psyche soars into those lofty regions wherein the being finds the full comradeship of all those others who belong to his spiritual family, to his psychic tribe. At last he is able to bid farewell to form as a necessity, to color and to feeling as a certainty, as a condition of life, and he seeks his true home in space.
The travail of that objective stellar period might be likened to the process I have described as “the Breaking of the Image.” He enters for a while into that condition of cosmic harmony which Christ has described as “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” He seeks and finds the Holy Spirit, and is enfolded in Its serene tranquillity.
But the road still lies before the traveller. From valley to hill, from lesser peak to loftier peak. Forced by his own ethical and ascetic yearning, he must still journey on, facing stress and struggle for the sake of the victory, with its triumphant reward of harmonised cosmic relationship with his Maker. So, for him, at this stage experience becomes manifold, is a multiplication, and loses its apparent oneness. He begins gradually to know the meaning of the Many in One; he perceives and registers instantaneously numerous thoughts, feelings, and fields of vision, whereas a human being only registers one at a time. How may I explain to you what it means to register numbers of things, not in sequence, but in this cosmic manner, together, as one act of imaginative thought? It is indeed essential for the soul to have the actual experience of this widening of being before any conception can be framed of its extraordinary and exalted character, of the glimpsing of wide horizons thereby, and of the infinitudes that can be gradually envisaged or of what it means to understand that external universe in its relation to the Mystery of the inner universe, and to enter into the mighty kingdom I have named the memoried life of the group-soul and psychic tribe.
The aspirant seeking initiation into the full consciousness of the Fifth plane scans the past experiences that were the lot of his many comrade souls; they make for him a present; and part of that present are the experiences of all that terrene world inspired by his Group&emdash;those plants, trees, flowers, birds, insects, fish, beasts, men and women, those discarnate beings who are living on various levels of consciousness in the After-death; those solar men who play out their drama within the deeps of the skies, in the very core of the universe. He must learn to witness and to experience gloriously all these manifestations of imagination, all these entities in their objective and subjective careers, in their loneliness, isolation and in that complete and integral harmony with the One Supreme Idea.
Through such manifold labour he finds himself at last. He becomes a spiritual being and is continually conscious, though I use this term advisedly. It has a far deeper, grander significance than any the wise men of earth have ever attributed to it, in some transcendent imaginative flight.
Not yet, however, may the pilgrim entirely break away from his connection with the material worlds. He must serve them and view them from outside. To him and to that section of his Group which has attained to the Fifth level of consciousness a return may be indicated. He and his comrade souls are frequently appointed as governors or rulers of the life processes in connection with earth or with a corresponding planet in some other solar system. He may, for instance, become a member of the Divine Society of Souls who direct every motion of the atoms that compose the earth, who maintain the laws of physics, causing that superb harmony of movement to reign, a harmony that has long been recognized by scientists and philosophers.
In order that the psychic unit can achieve such perfection of action in the conservation of a cosmic law of motion he has had to become completely the master of his greater self. Moreover he has also made those necessary links with the other souls of this section of his Group, which so weld them to one another that they can work together as one manifestation of Cosmic Mind. Thus they are enabled to conserve and maintain the work of God, of Creative Wisdom. They hold the time rhythms within their grasp as a driver holds the reins of the steed that draws his chariot. They are not capable of altering, or of adding to, the Supreme Idea in that part of the plan which relates to earth. But they are endowed with the power of the master-mathematician, and so can command obedience to rules which characterize matter and motion in the terrestrial world.
Birth and death, the plane of Illusion&emdash;the world of the newly dead&emdash;all gradually come under their jurisdiction, and are within their province. And for them reality may be said to be a subjective life expanding into visible or exteriorised Nature, as they pass from task to task, from joyful toil to ever grander and more strenuous labours. In our own solar system they remain as rulers until they have fitted themselves to seek other subtler fields, such as the Belt of Orion, the Pleiades, Berenice’s Hair. These which I have already called the star-sown fields of heaven, may be directed and controlled in some far future time by that cosmic personality of which you will be a part, in which your limited human personality, transformed beyond all recognition, will find its expression and live in an imaginal field which, because of its intensified consciousness, cannot be apprehended by any finite mind.
Certain interpreters of eastern thought, notably Madam Blavatsky, are said to have resolved ultimate reality into. “matter and the motion that is its life.”
On the Fifth plane the journeying soul must learn&emdash;if progress is to be made&emdash;that ultimate reality does not belong to a condition of existence known to it when it remained within the bonds of the human personality. This eastern concept may be held by the soul so long as it belongs to the Third and Fourth planes of consciousness. Actually, on the Fifth plane, the psyche experiences a gradual unfoldment and expansion, and in order to achieve complete cosmic personality it has to learn that ultimate reality may not be resolved into “matter and motion that is its life.” This erroneous hypothesis can only be associated with finite ideas, and is one of the illusions related to human vision.
Try to imagine manifestations of Cosmic Wisdom, worlds within worlds that may not in any sense of the word be resolved into matter and motion. Such supreme revelations are not to be found within the material rhythm known to man; they are not associated with our solar system, with the Milky Way, with the nebulae, or any portion of the visible universes. I can merely describe them as inner universes although the term does not correctly convey the nature or character of these transcendent realms. No words in any terrestrial language can describe the conditions so wholly apart from those under which the human being exists.
In these sublime kingdoms you will search in vain for those material representations, those appearances which all seem to obey the laws that rule the visible cosmos, but here the group-souls that are gathered up wholly on to the Sixth level of consciousness can find reality in a state other than matter or motion. They are thus breaking free from the last finite imaginings and have reached the threshold of Divinity and may, if fully emancipated, pass Out Yonder.
Then indeed they know duality in more than one sense of the word. They hold both inner and outer universes within their conception; they, as one with their Creator, can bind the two together&emdash;they can make one whole. And thus they come, through creative spiritual life, to acquire the truth and to know Ultimate Reality.
- The macrocosm and the microcosm,
- The atom and the solar system,
- Electron and proton,
- They appear in all sizes and shapes.
- But the same law runs through all,
- The same principle with monotonous regularity
- Holds and binds.
- Matter and motion,
- These words constitute life in all its aspects
- For the transcendental materialist,
- For the imagination that is enslaved by five feeble senses.
- Five doors to the infinite,
- But is there a sixth, nay, even a seventh
- Is there a soul that yearns for the Creator?
- Is there an inspiring spirit,
- Medium between man and his Maker?
- Are we creatures only of matter and motion?
- Is there but this vast spinning army of blazing suns,
- Of darkening globes?
- Or does Ultimate Reality reign apart and aloof
- From stellar pageantry, From death and birth,
- From all those glowing, endlessly revolving legions
- Of light and darkness?
- Night and Day,
- Macrocosm and microcosm,
- Electron and proton,
- Planet and sun,
- Always duality in the seen.
- Yet may not the scene be one aspect?
- May not body be the outer sign
- Expressing strangely and sometimes exquisitely
- That inner sign, that creative nature
- Which alone can live and alone can know
- Ultimate Reality.
The universe had a beginning; it will have an end when the fight of the Eternal Spirit&emdash;which contains all our centers or psyches&emdash;withdraws wholly from it, ceases to inspire, and suffers night to shroud and obliterate. Thus, inevitably, the universe becomes stagnant and inert; for Mind, the animating principle, no longer guides, directs, and pouring life into the content, sets all the works in motion.
The Last Judgment may be summarily described as the withdrawal of Eternal Spirit from the universe. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Thus Christ declared a truth still hidden from certain able thinkers. The Word, the Logos continues ever, only the heavens and the earth pass away. But who can tell what heavens, what greater worlds are yet unborn&emdash;though all are in embryo within God? Who can say what mighty universes are evolving, growing, and what may be their conditions, laws, their terrors, loveliness and glories? We can only echo in perfect assurance and faith the words of the ancient prophet, and thus gain our peace
“Be still and know that I am God.”
PRAYER AND MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE
“But, after all, on a great subject like Immortality we ought all of us to be big enough to state our own views, arrived at, perhaps, after much painful doubt, and respect the opinions of others who may have arrived at the same belief by quite another road; anyone who on whatever grounds opposes the materialism which so nearly stifled all belief in the last generation is in a true sense a ‘comrade’, though he fights with other weapons than those which one can oneself employ.”&emdash;Frorm an introduction written by the Bishop of London to Life after Death (according to Christianity and Spiritualism) edited by Sir James Marchant, K.B.E., LL.D.
I find it difficult to write upon this theme because all that may be said of prayer was uttered by Christ perfectly and for ever. So, if I now make a few remarks concerning this manner of communion with the Most High, I do so only in order to suggest that very few Christians have considered fully the deep significance of the Gospel words, particularly when allusion is made to the attitude of mind of the worshipper.
We, Christians, through the centuries, have so frequently debased and misused the practice of prayer. We have employed it for our own selfish ends; we have prayed for the destruction of our enemies; we have entreated God to be mindful only of His elect&emdash;who are, in our opinion, merely a small section of one community&emdash;and we have ignored the needs of others, the general body of mankind. Or we have been phrase-makers, jugglers with words, giving no thought to what we utter, mechanically mouthing the formulas composed by long dead men as if they had magical significance in themselves, and the very sound of the words had power to create the desired effect. Perhaps in no time in the world’s history has it been more needed than it is now that we should return to the Gospels and re-discover the true nature and function of prayer.
I am one who has journeyed a little further along the road to immortality than the men of earth, and I have, during this posthumous period, learnt that the efficacy of prayer is essentially dependent upon the attitude of the soul at the moment, and not upon the actual phrases themselves. The man who would invoke God and lay open his heart to Him, must first purify himself mentally in the strictest sense. He must be quite sure that there is no alloy of selfishness, no taint of self-interest in the demands or petitions he decides to lay before his Maker. He has to be filled with a sense of the brotherhood of man and of the mystery of the universe. He must, in other words, pass from out the shell of his own small individuality and essay to mingle with the soul of all life. Then he may approach his God, present his verbal offering and lay bare his intimate needs so long as he does not pray for the hurt of others.
Excellent examples of this low and unworthy form of prayer are to be met with during war, pestilence or time of economic stress. When his approach to God is of such a character, man is a blasphemer and sins against the Holiest of Holies. But if, when the hardships of life, its loneliness and its precariousness press upon him, he entreats out of a full heart for aid and for comfort, he will not err and the door will be opened to him, although not always, in such cases, is his prayer answered according to his desire. For the human soul is a pilgrim journeying in eternity and the road he must traverse may not be changed, save in exceptional cases, merely because life seems hard and the circumstances of the time intolerable.
So, when you pray for yourself ask for the gifts of the Spirit. Only when you petition for others may you speak of material needs and demand their alleviation. It is true that, if you make yourself as a little child, you can repeat the prayer of Our Father and ask not in vain for your daily bread, as it is expressed therein. But, in uttering this, the greatest of all prayers, you must put aside adult complexities, you must reduce yourself to that divine simplicity which is characteristic of the children Christ summoned to Him. For He, in His own words, has told you so: “Except ye be as little children ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of God.”
The individual who is in the act of prayer must, therefore, always bear in mind that he is seeking to enter the Kingdom of God. That he is passing from out the limits of daily consciousness with all its paltry, worrying thoughts, its littleness, into the Infinite. He is striving to become one with the Life Eternal and for him, therefore, there must be a singleness of heart and purpose, a casting away of doubt, fear, mistrust, all those heavy burdens of mortality that so finally and effectually close to us the gates of the Kingdom of God.
I have, so far, written in a general manner about prayer. It would be necessary to write a book if I began to define in detail the various ways in which men approach their God. I would, however, impress upon you that prayer is not hallowed by the place in which it is uttered. A temple, church or ancient cathedral, may help to induce in you the right attitude of mind if you would thus enter into communion with the Highest. Equally, the solitudes of the hills may summon that mood which lifts you from out your self. If so, pray in such places. Be sure only that you have shaken off fear, doubt, distrust, selfishness, anger, jealousy, and all the sins of the spirit that can hold you as a snare holds a bird and thus wholly confine and cripple the wings of prayer.
Picture a wild seagull. Watch it desert the shelter of the cliff, leaving solid earth behind, taking swift and marvellous flight across the sea; rising, floating, soaring. So should your soul rise and take flight when, in the act of prayer, it seeks its Maker.
These remarks of mine may seem to be counsels of perfection, but to every man his measure. According to your intellectual and emotional nature you can apply these suggestions to your life in a greater or lesser degree. However, all who would pray truly must only do so when conviction and sincerity are behind the words uttered. The simplest herdsman may pray more finely and reach to the Father more certainly than the highest dignitary in any church if he approaches the act of worship in the mood of the child&emdash;that is to say, innocently and with sure faith.
So, as the years pass and youth gives place to middle age and cares and responsibilities crowd upon you, be the more wary, watch yourself closely and always bear in your heart the knowledge that, in the time you turn your mind towards God and prepare to utter yours and another’s need, you enter upon Holy ground.
Even more difficult than individual prayer is collective prayer. It is so easy to be distracted and to be drawn into the net of other personalities when you pray in a crowd. Yet, there is a spiritual strength in the prayers of a great number who are gathered together, if all are single-hearted and speak from the depths of their soul. Not only do they reach to the Eternal Spirit when they thus pray, but they send out, into the darkness of the world a kindling fire of inspiration that will lighten the obscurities of minds which reck not of that worship. For emotional and inspired thought uttered with fervour and faith may travel to far places, breaking into unthinking, unaware mentalities as the voice, under such conditions, journeys on the ether to the utmost confines of the earth, becoming audible again through an instrument attuned to its reception.
So, those men and women, who when they pray in company do so with all their being and for a great need or purpose, sow seed that will in due time bring in rich harvest. But again I would warn you against mechanical prayer, against public worship that is a set formula which through over familiarity becomes stale, lifeless, a mere mouthing of phrases, without sincerity, or any beauty of soul behind it.
If you study the prayer book and then attend divine service you will remark no doubt, a certain note in the Litany of what I might term “false humility.” The clergyman and the people repeatedly bewail the fact that they are miserable sinners, although in making this grave charge against themselves they do not, in most cases, feel either miserable or sinful. We may suspect them, therefore, of endeavoring to propitiate and placate a great and powerful God by over-emphasising their belief in their own unworthiness.
Surely those who pray thus are entering far too lightly upon a holy and sacred way? Undoubtedly, if we could be compared with those souls who have passed beyond Eidos we should seem indeed to be mean and miserable in our spiritual development. But people naturally do not recognize this fact when they speak the words of the Litany. So this particular prayer is perhaps, for the Anglican, the one of all others to be approached warily. And, if he cannot feel the words contained in it, if he cannot believe in their truth as concerning himself and others, he had far better remain silent.
I know that intellectual hypocrisy is a subtle enemy and is, perhaps, the most dangerous of all those that may assault the one who prays. Only, therefore, through simplicity or through great breadth of vision may we overcome it and so win through to the true attitude of soul that alone can make prayer a communion with the Eternal Spirit.
I have not, so far, spoken of prayer in connection with the After-life. Christians who believe that our loved ones live in a state of perpetual rest until the Judgment Day will, no doubt, tell you that there can be no prayer in the life beyond the grave. And according to all logical premises this would seem a correct statement. For prayer involves effort, involves a labour of the soul which would undoubtedly disturb the sleeper in his long rest. But I have shown you that the road to immortality stretches into the Infinite, and that effort, struggle and the triumph of overcoming are all experienced in the journeys between the resting places on the road called “Our Father’s Many Mansions” in the New Testament. And discarnate beings have need of prayer and they seek communion with God far more eagerly and with a truer sense of its meaning than do men and women who pray continually on earth.
We, who are in Eidos, know how to pass from out the finite condition into the infinite as you men of earth can never know. We cry to Our Father even as you cry but we have a deeper sense of His Mystery, a greater reverence for the act of worship, for the approach to God. When we enter the group-soul and become aware of its many parts, and of our kindred who are of us and share the one spirit; we enter into a harmony of prayer, a collective worship which transcends the noblest utterance that rises from the multitude on earth. For, having a greater awareness of the Holy Spirit, we can the more easily and fitly pass into the Presence and present our plea to God.
Now, I use advisedly the term “Presence” for this word is the only one I know of which conveys the suggestion of a pervading nearness. We may be in the Presence yet it will still be invisible to our perceptions. But, as the sun bathes man with its rays even when hidden by filmy clouds, so are we sensible of God when we, in the group-soul, seek Him with prayer and supplication. Only the last veil hides that Light, still too strong for the soul’s inner sight, but we are warmed, cheered, comforted, inspired by it when, thus tempered, it permeates all our being, and endows us with its own kindling power.
I cannot find speech in which to write of the ecstasy of such experience. I have known it only in rare moments when I have, greatly daring, adventured to the planes beyond Eidos, lingering within my community but for a brief while as they worship in those rare regions of the soul.
This is not the place for me to dwell at length upon prayer as it concerns the many pilgrims who have left the earth. I would have you realize, though, that for those who are climbing the ladder of consciousness, whatever their beliefs, it is far more real and important than it is for men who worship God in every clime and in every language in your world. For the physical body deadens the sensitive perceptions of the soul and thickens the clouds that hang between the spiritual man and the Light beyond.
* * * *
Each day dies with sleep. The man who would participate in the experience of discarnate inhabitants of the higher worlds when they pray, must die in this sense or rather pass completely from his body&emdash;as the day passes into night. Then, being no longer aware of the physical, he may, if his soul be fused completely in his spirit, rise to a higher plane and be able to pray with selfless fervour and sincerity to the Supreme Being.
Certain mystics and certain simple men have, on a few occasions in the world’s history, thus experienced perfected prayer. And they have, as a rule, told no man of this entry of theirs into the Kingdom beyond. I write of it now merely in order to illustrate the truth that the human being may through faith remove mountains, may indeed, if he desire with all his soul, attain in certain rare instances to that communion with God which is experienced by those who dwell beyond Eidos in the Great Reality.
Prayer in the Valley of Desolation
The ordinary man may live for many years fairly contentedly, meeting with small joys, small annoyances, and sorrows. Nothing during this period disturbs the even tenour of his regular life of work and play. But, whoever he may be, there will probably come at last a time of stress, of grief, or of severe illness, or perhaps, of grave ecomonic loss. At any rate he is suddenly shaken out of his groove, and becomes aware of his weakness, of his essential spiritual loneliness. For him now there is no human aid and, either without God or with God to succour and help him, he must face the stark fact of his littleness and his need. But how may he find Him in that night of his soul? How may he come gropingly through the darkness, and discover the Invisible One even in this valley of desolation?
Only through prayer, as Christ prayed, will he find then that he is not alone. Only by confessing essential need or by repeating the prayer of “Our Father” will he overcome and discover that his solitude is filled with the pervading Presence, and that God goes with him through the night.
Once he is thus linked with His Father through prayer his petition will be answered and misery will fall from him like a garment. Then his soul will be exalted, will expand and in that moment of complete self-forgetfulness be endowed with strength and with resolution such as it has never known before.
Prayer, therefore, and the conviction that it can bring with it of the immanence of God is, perhaps, of all devotional acts the most momentous in its consequences for the soul.
“Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.”
When man must face Calvary within the brief span of his earthly life let him utter these words from the depths of his agony; repeat them again and again and assuredly he will come through scatheless and triumphant.
Praise and Thanksgiving
Praise and the honouring of God are matters which lie between each individual and his Maker. He must be filled with reverence and gratitude for the gift of life in order that he may sincerely praise, in order that he may, even in silence, convey that fine sense of loving respect and admiration, that indescribable awe which leads him to desire thus to render homage to the Supreme Mind.
Certain of my previous remarks can be applied to worship and to thanksgiving. Again, it is the state of the soul when in the act of outpouring that counts, that causes that intimate flow and interchange between ourselves and the Holiest of Holies. We may praise God when, as listeners, we harken to the great musical poems of the world. The symphony written by a master is indeed a rhapsody of praise, an offering that will bear our souls upon the waves of its sound to the Highest, and cause our minds and senses to bow in reverential thanks to the Creator.
Voiceless prayer can be more potent than spoken words. For the soul may, the more easily, reach through stillness to intercourse with the Divine. But this is the harder way for the majority of men. So let them in sound utter aloud their supplication, praise, entreaty and eager heart-searchings and thus will they sing, according to their measure, the melody of the universe. For all things living, in their own manner, pray to the Author of their being. Even the atheist at some period in his life will loosen from off him the armor of his scepticism, will perhaps, in an hour of crucifixion, cry to the Unknown God, sending forth his plea through the darkness of that soulless universe of his creation. Always we are creating, moulding, graving on the books of time; always we are imaging and re-imaging the clay of being, not alone ourselves, but that universe which, to each one, is separate and individual.
Each man tends to dwell within his own particular universe, and this is part of his earthly doom. For, on certain rare occasions he realizes his isolation and the thought of it will, in such hours, overwhelm and be as shattering as an earthquake. But there is for him, as for all men, a means of escape from the private universe of his own fashioning. He can knock upon the door of prayer and it will be opened revealing to him in his loneliness, the Universe of God.
Fate and Prayer
I am not a determinist. I do not hold that all things for all time are written and cannot be changed. Fate may be altered by prayer but not quite in the manner that is generally supposed. It is changed through alteration in the character of the man; alteration that no longer makes trial or tribulation necessary as a concrete experience.
Prayer uttered with the whole being and from a contrite heart inevitably reaches to the Supreme Mind and, as inevitably, the Spirit flows back, the moulding inspiration from the Divine following the channel graven by the one who made it through the prayer he has thus sent out to the Infinite. This Holy Spirit, mingling with the inner being and summoned by heart-felt desire, alters the whole man, softens the crudities, gives beauty to the mis-shapen mind, cleanses the soil of the soul and gives strength where there has only been weakness. Thus fortified this earthly pilgrim has overcome that error in his nature for which the trial or affliction he so dreads has been prepared. He has wrested his deliverance from that disaster through prayer and through the power of its utterance alone.
However, prayer in its highest and most lofty form is neither supplication, entreaty nor praise. It is the intimate communion between a son and a loving Father. The son seeks the advice and counsel of the Elder, for he is, to the youth, the very Fount of Wisdom.
The prayer for Wisdom, for right judgment concerning truth, true action in all affairs of life, right thinking in every hour of the day; for these gifts let us pray continually and with fervent desire. Let us also ever bear in our minds the conviction that prayer means, in its essence, that relationship between a youthful, inexperienced son and a wise and loving Father who is ever ready to give counsel.
The tumult of the days gathers about us. The burden and responsibilities we have shouldered weigh upon us so that we find it difficult, even for a brief hour, to lay down our pack, to pause by the wayside and retire into stillness. Yet there is in such quiet the essential refreshment that every spirit needs: that every mind should feed upon if its owner desires to go through life whole and unscathed in soul.
“Be still and know that I am God.” These words seem enigmatic, perhaps, to the ordinary man. They contain, however, one of the great truths of the world. In silence and in solitude we may cast from us all disguise, all sham. The vanities and pretences of life are removed from us. We can now face the stem issue, endeavor, however feebly, to contemplate ourselves and, passing beyond that contemplation, enter into the meditation which causes us, while thus passive, to hear God.
I use the phrase “hear God” in all reverence. I mean by it that intangible sense of the Eternal Spirit (caught only by the perceptions of the inner mind) by which we can, after training and travail, so subdue the daily superficial consciousness that we may, through stillness and through isolation, at last, come to know the wonder of God, know that, “In Him we live and move and have our being.”
How few men realize this phrase as an actual experience. Yet, once felt, once known, it is for the pilgrim a memorable and outstanding conquest, a triumph of mind over body and senses and the beginning of that recognition of inner perceptions which may be likened to the experience of the blind man when his eyes were opened at the command of Christ and he beheld the wonder of what was to him a new and marvellous world.
Yet this simile is inadequate. It cannot wholly convey the ecstasy of the prisoner who, for the first time, escapes from the prison of self and knows the ecstasy of union in the stillness with the Soul of all things.
There are many degrees of union, many states which may be penetrated thus when we are in solitude and encompassed by a soundless calm. We first meet within the silence the gentle light of our own spirit. We are stimulated by its rays. We are not, however, yet in contact with the “Not-self.” For this is the first state in meditation. When we enter the second state our consciousness becomes aware of the soul of the world. Thirdly and lastly, after much labour and much searching we may, within the stillness, “hear God.”
Each man, of course, must find his own way to this divine ecstasy. He cannot, in any case, remain long upon the heights. For it is not within the scope of human endurance, even if conditions are harmonious, to breathe that loftier air for more than a few brief moments. We may subjectively feel that we have lived a century thus, inasmuch as such reality is to us, intense, awful, transcending in its passionate peace, all other experiences on the long journey home to God.
But time, in the earthly or physical sense, may not be considered in connection with such a state. For, though there is the long preparation, as a rule the culmination, the divine hour&emdash;if I may use this term&emdash;may last no longer than the flash of a beacon across a night sea.
When you would enter the stillness, you must first endeavor to cast from you all thoughts of yourself. You can do this by reflecting upon some image which suggests to you the Whole, which conveys no hint of individual life, or of separateness. Gradually, as you hold and cherish this symbol, your being changes, your ego is slowly loosed&emdash;shakes off the sense of that confining web of nerves, of that heaviness of the flesh. The first hush of peace becomes real to you, there is a gliding, a sinking away, a passing from all that is sensory and after that should come the awakening.
When day is defeated and night rules the world, closing down in sleep the activities of the many thousand throbbing brains of men who live about you, then you may the more easily, perhaps, go out on this quest of the “Not-self.” Or, if nature is an intimate of yours, upon the windy hills you will find the quiet and repose necessary for this time when you cast off the mask of life and present yourself as you are to the Impersonal Soul; invisible yet so near, it may be said, however feebly, to be within you as well as without, but only linked to you when the supreme effort is thus made.
All men, sceptics and church-folk, may essay to climb in this manner from out the valleys of self and may, according to their capacity thus escape from space and time and feel at last, the beating of the eternal rhythm of the universe.
“Be still and know that I am God.” These words can draw you even while you live on earth, into the great Hereafter. You may not travel far but you may&emdash;at least if you are fitted&emdash;in a few rare moments experience the divine state which those discarnate beings who are near the end of their journey realize supremely in the greater awareness that cannot be imaged in words, that passes all human understanding.
THE kingdom of Hell is within you. Much theological undergrowth should be cleared away before any approach is made to this subject.
The scholar recognizes that the word Hell, strictly speaking, means the “concealed place or sphere” (which may be reward or punishment): and that the laity have degraded the word. To them, in the Victorian era, it certainly meant a place or condition of torture. For convenience sake, I use this word in its commonly accepted meaning.&emdash;F.W.H.M.
In the Victorian era Hell was a stem reality which absorbed the attention of the pious and sanctimonious who found a mean and venial pleasure in the belief that many of their fellow men would be thrown into everlasting fire. The majority of men in the western world even if they did not brood thus upon the punishment allocated by “a jealous God,” at least accepted Hell as a definite locality from which, in its hideous tortures, there was no escape.
Now however, that the wheel of time has made its round, a new generation no longer entertains the idea of everlasting fires which await the sinner in the Hereafter. If intelligent men and women think of Hell at all they frequently consider it only in relation to their earthly life. If fate seems to have treated them vilely, they feel that they are most unjustly experiencing the worst miseries through no real fault of their own. External circumstances, unpleasant human beings or their own physical heritage, are held to be the demons who torment them in their own little private hells here and now.
They clamour for the punishment of wicked financiers, of tyranical rulers, or they denounce their own immediate circle for the ills they are heir to. I speak only of a certain alleged intelligent section of mankind. However, these men and women of the post-war period fail, as did their Victorian forebears, to recognize that these extraneous influences are not to blame, for the kingdom of Hell is within us.
The misery to which this term may be applied is to be experienced not merely on earth or in some particular locality after death. Hell as a word, is indeed unsatisfactory for it has too long indicated a very definite region; whereas, its actual place will often be found within the consciousness of those who have knowledge of good and evil and deliberately choose the evil and foolish way of life. Hell it is true, may dwell for a time within the soul of an upright man owing to his being faced, perhaps, with intolerable tragedy of which he is, apparently, not the author. Yet, even in this case, he may be responsible for his sufferings and be the author of his own misery. For, in some previous time he may have forged, through his own acts, or his group-soul forged for him, this disastrous period, which has brought upon him what he may regard as an utterly unjust state of torment.
It is necessary to discard the idea of punishment&emdash;a term which has figured very frequently in theological works of a past era when Hell was described by pious but sadistic prelates. Neither on earth nor in the After-life are we punished for our errors. We merely experience the natural results that follow a certain line of conduct. If inevitably we suffer “the pains of hell” we must regard them as growing pains: we must try to realize that such experience is necessary to our development. Through hell we pass to heaven. Without hell there can be no heaven. The one is as necessary to the other as evil is necessary to good and good to evil.
The majority of journeying souls must experience imaginatively, at certain points in their long journey, the fires of purgation. But these cleanse and purify. And always after such experience the traveller receives his reward. He gains in spiritual perception and above all, in this manner, he learns self-mastery, so at last there comes the time when the kingdom of Hell can have no further dominion over him. He has attained to that state of consciousness which makes it possible for him whatever the outward circumstances, to preserve his serenity and live in harmony with the Eternal Spirit.
Hell and the After-life
My previous remarks may be applied to conditions before death and after death. Hell has no abiding city. Hell should be regarded as a condition necessary to the health and eventual salvation of the individual whether he be incarnate or discarnate, whether he exists in time on earth, or in that other time within the world of Illusion, or on the plane of Eidos.
The term “everlasting fire” is utterly misleading and all logical minds should recognize now, that according to the laws of evolution no living creatures can continually experience its pains. The idea offends against the laws of nature. Actually, the state we describe as hell may be experienced intermittently with long periods of a most varied, and at times, pleasurable character in between. I speak for the ordinary individual who is first Animal-man then Soul-man, and who finally passes on to the higher regions beyond human misery and human pain.
It must be remembered that human conceptions prevail in the world of Illusion or “Effortless-land”. So, when a jealous and quarrelsome man or woman enters the happy world beyond death, he or she will bear with them the old possessive desires, the old rancours and they will seek those who are of their own mould and may again give vent to their former passions, unless of course, these intimates of theirs have progressed so far that they are beyond pursuit. No journey along the road to immortality is taken alone. Even if for a time, you believe yourself to be entirely cut off from congenial companionship, sooner or later you will become subject again to the psychic laws of gravitation and be drawn into the circle of those you love or hate. No one, in the first resort, is condemned to suffer eternally from the remorse and wretchedness which we call hell. Help is always at hand. When the right moment comes and you are ready for his ministrations a beloved one succours you, and raises you from despair to hope in the hour of your deepest exhaustion and sense of defeat.
Perhaps the beauty of love is never more finely expressed than when the wayfarers thus turn back upon their steps and seek those weary souls who lag behind. Christ descended from the highest heaven into the abyss of earth in order that he might deliver those children He so dearly loved. But numberless souls have individually sought father, brother, son, mother, wife or friend in this manner and they have thereby not only increased their own spiritual powers, but they have enabled those souls they have aided to grow and develop, to open out spiritually like the petals of a flower.
When I use the word “beloved” I do not necessarily indicate a single individual, or an affinity who belongs to the opposite sex. There may be two, three or even more persons who are designated by this term. No rule indeed can be made in this connection, because souls differ so widely in their response to the psychic law of gravitation. They severally follow their own natures and often develop in response to the characteristic qualities of their Group. No bounds, therefore, may be set to love in its highest form. We know only that it can conquer death and hell.
Do we make our own Hell?
The generalization that we make our own hell is not always a correct statement of fact. Undoubtedly, a certain number of men and women deliberately create their own hell, despite health of physical or etheric body, despite advantageous conditions. But many souls, though they may, owing to past history in other lives, be indirectly responsible for their hour of torment yet do not actually make this hell.
Christ experienced hell in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” Picture the misery of that marvellous Son of God who was so tormented. He must, perforce, pray thus that He should be delivered from the purpose that lay behind the culminating hour of His whole life.
In your time of tragedy when it will seem to you that your flesh and mind can no more endure, when you cry out against what seems to you desertion by God, and by the Comforter, then recall to your memory that dark hour in Gethsemane and the revulsion that lay behind that appeal to the Father. It is a cry that has sounded throughout all the ages and which every spiritually minded man has echoed in some hour when the shadows gathered thick in the valley and all the heights seemed for ever veiled and lost.
Some men and women may never meet with conditions that involve them in sharp, short conflict that calls, while it lasts, for superhuman endurance. Unhappiness for them is due to immersion in uncongenial work; prolonged over a considerable period of time. They feel diminished in soul through frustration, and all their aspirations are baffled and checked. Yet, although outwardly, they lead a life which does not seem to contain any acute experience, it is a long drawn out trial and is often far harder to bear than would be brief tribulation, however sharp. In addition to these there is that other frustrated type, the men and women who are workless, suffering squalor and anxiety for those they love and yet endeavoring to live on while the months pass and relief comes only after long waiting; and when, perhaps, the heart has ceased to hope or to believe in better times.
Such individuals endure the condition I have called “growth of the soul” just as surely as another endures it in a few days or hours of tremendous agony. Others whose circumstances may be prosperous experience their hell through having to live with an uncongenial partner, wife or husband. Numberless are the forms of this painful process which is essential to development. However, there comes always relief, and if it tarries and is not known in the earth life, the reaction of happiness and joy will assuredly be theirs in the Great Hereafter.
In Eidos the pilgrim will meet again, at times, with the pain that comes of conflict and struggle but he will not, in any sense, have to suffer and endure as he suffered and endured on earth and his joy, the triumph of overcoming, will be immeasurably increased.
When I speak of the absence of hell from the first state after death I allude to the experience of ordinary human beings. But abnormally jealous, selfish, cruel and crafty people do not always escape from the toils of hell during their sojourn in the world of Illusion. Their own perverse natures interfere with the satisfaction of their desires; their incapacity for loving others in the true sense of the word, defeats the law of psychic gravitation. Those they were wedded to and owned on earth are lost to them. They search gropingly and in vain in the mists of an illusion that they and they alone must be propitiated and served whatever the cost to others. The doom of loneliness is theirs; so they tarry no very long time in this state, but seek a way to be reborn on earth. Sometimes, however, through the hell of their own introspective loneliness, real love is born; then it goes out like a summons and once more in that immense Kingdom of the Departed, they find others of their kin or souls who are congenial to them.
So varied are the travellers who come from earth that it is impossible to lay down any hard and fast rule about their experiences and their future knowledge of pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow. The pattern on earth and in the Effortless-land is always weaving, interweaving and unravelling. Many souls tarry in the Effortless-land until all their kindred, all the intimates of their generation have joined them there. For they feel the need of their familiars, and of travelling in a company. But there are many pioneering souls who do not tarry thus but press forward to Eidos. This does not mean that they are wholly cut off from those they love. They can return at will to the plane of Illusion and become temporarily re-united for brief periods to their friends and their kin. So the torment of being completely separated from those you love who lag behind need not be experienced by you. And this deliverance from that particular kind of hell is not the least of the gracious gifts bestowed on discarnate beings.
The world beyond the grave seems in the opinion of many busy men and women, wholly cut off from earth and its inhabitants. This belief in a fixed gulf which may not be crossed is, of course, mistaken. Those who work according to the psychic law of gravitation will frequently find some way whereby they can commune with the departed. Even so, certain thoughtful human beings are tormented by the belief that, if theirs is a long separation and many years must elapse before they can rejoin the beloved in the Hereafter, they will be as strangers, not having shared common experiences, common memories, for a generation. Perhaps the poignancy of the loss of some good comrade is principally caused by this fear of non-recognition which, through change, may mean total separation. The sting might be drawn out of this lonely hell, this sense of complete loss, if the mourners realized that the man or woman or child who loves them need not lose touch but, granted certain conditions, may still share with them a part of their daily life.
When you sleep your soul enters your double or unifying body and you then pass within your subliminal self. This self can and does commune with the beloved&emdash;he or she making contact with you through his own subliminal-self. There is then a sharing of experience. Such experience may not be brought within the bounds of your physical memory as a rule. But after death you will find this life that was known to you only in the depths of sleep registered in the memory of your double, the body your soul retains after your final farewell to earth. So, though a generation of years may have parted you from your loved one you will come together again not as strangers but as those who have enjoyed companionship with each other through the years.
I may say, however, that such experience can only be enjoyed by the very few people who come within your pattern and design and who consequently are of vital significance to you in your long journey. The discarnate beings who thus pool memories with you, are more aware of it than you can ever be. But they too, while leading an active life on another plane, become temporarily detached from the memories of their meetings with the soul who comes in the body of sleep from earth. However, by withdrawing into their larger self this intimate life is revealed to them when they finally meet and greet the other on the same plane of existence.
If only human beings could realize this fact they would spare themselves much misery, and so I mention it again because, in a chapter on hell, the feeling of complete loss known so often to human beings may be regarded as one of the most hopeless forms of grief&emdash;a grief that can so easily be dispelled if this statement is accepted.
The Wicked Man Flourishes
It must at times seem hard to believe in a just God when the wicked and heartless appear to prosper and when the man of integrity suffers hardships and frustration and falls by the way.
Actually, a hard and cruel individual may go through life without once having experienced those mental torments I call “the fires of hell.” But such a man belongs to brute creation, is at the very bottom of the ladder of consciousness. He will suffer somewhere&emdash;perhaps in the Effortless-land, that hell he has not known on earth. For sometime in his long history he has to grow, and growth comes through pain. So do not call God to account for what seems cruel injustice. The scales are evenly balanced. To each soul its measure. What matter in what point in space and time that measure is meted out to the wicked man? When calling him wicked or evil, pray bear in mind that he is but a misshapen, embryo soul who has to be moulded and formed through countless experiences and that he journeys along the very track you are travelling and will, in due season, undergo trials and know frustrations as deep and as bitter as you have known. The greater number of souls have, at one time, been of this embryo character. For infinite are the varieties of the psyche.
The Book of Job is the greatest ode to the triumph of the human soul over hell that has ever been recorded. Indeed, Job, the righteous man, must be taken to symbolise that soul who desires to make rapid progress up the ladder of consciousness. So, though in the tale of his bitter woes, God is said to have set the test, yet it is certain that the spirit that nourished the soul of this man, desired and consented to this trial. For, when all is said and done, God, or the Supreme Mind, leaves to the spirit freedom of choice, free will. Yet job’s soul was not conscious of that decision. For the spirit is the light that through its influence works upon us from above although it is not of us wholly and cannot, save in exceptional cases, convey the higher wisdom to the consciousness which is so deeply embedded in this body of clay.
In chapter 19 of the Book of Job, he utters the great cry of that triumphant immortality which in every age and in every generation will prevail over death and hell; “I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”
THE RIGHT WAY OF LOVING
PLATO spoke of the journey of the soul who has found the right way of loving. Firstly, it must perceive the beauty in earthly things, then the loveliness of all forms. Thence it proceeds by degrees to perceive fair conduct, fair principles, until it finally arrives at the ultimate principle of all&emdash;the knowledge of Absolute Beauty.
When Plato described the manner of the journey in the phrase “the right way of loving,” he spoke as one inspired. But bear in mind that love, divorced from imaginative understanding, is helpless, and may cause the soul to proceed backwards instead of forwards, may lead the man to a lower rather than to a higher level. So I would change the words and write of the “way of wisdom” rather than the right way of loving. For wisdom checks and restrains love so that it may attain to an unearthly purity, a purity that can pierce like a spear, that can enter the heart of life, reach to the deeps of being. Wisdom causes man to see through surface ugliness and perceive the beauty of the soul in the plain woman, in the ugly and decrepit old man, in all those human beings who, surrounded by squalor and hideous life and circumstance, yet struggle on, showing by their humanity to others a fairness of spirit that belies the outward appearances.
By all means follow the counsel of Plato, and seek the right way of loving, yet there is only one path which leads through the understanding, and the man who follows it must be greater than that understanding, and be capable of opening the door to Wisdom and of endeavoring, like a bird, to float out upon the wind which flows from the Divine Intelligence. For Wisdom alone can bear him onwards and upwards into the right way of loving.
“Right judgment concerning Truth.” In this phrase is contained all that man must know and acquire not alone of love in particular, but of Divine Love. For only through the power to weigh and judge, through sifting and measuring, can he separate the dross from the gold, the false from the true; will he find the perfection of Absolute Beauty.
And, finding it, either in the contemplative life or in work for some high purpose, he will assuredly acquire knowledge of eternal values and, while still bound to the clay, be able to live on those higher planes of consciousness that belong properly to the After-death and, strictly speaking, are foreign to the earthly destiny rather than of it.
How fine, how beautiful may be the existence of such a man. He is, as it were, an angel with knowledge of God, and while still conscious of the burden of the flesh and able to share the sorrows of the multitude, can rise above the world and, as a sea bird that drifts above the storm, perceive and recognize all that boisterous tumult and, at the same time, dwell in the calmer region beyond the surge and swell of greed, strife and hatred which characterizes so much of the life of the present time on earth.
Limited natures may not know beauty. The puritan who shows no mercy in judgment, who has no pity for erring human beings, belongs essentially to the earth, and may not, like the pilgrim I have described, live in two worlds. For he is lacking in tolerance; he has no vision. And “where there is no vision the people perish.” Where there is no imaginative perception the individual gradually deteriorates spiritually, and though outwardly leading a good life, he is inwardly existing in a fog of confused thinking divorced from understanding which will, in his next life cause him if he be not careful, to sink to a lower plane or to come back utterly unrefreshed in soul to earth again.
The seeker of Absolute Beauty should not, at any rate while leading an active earth life, scorn the pleasures of the senses. For he is placed on earth in order that he may experience that kind or condition of living to the full; he should appreciate the beauty of flowers, fields, mountains and seas; the fairness of noble cities, the loveliness of form in all that moves and breathes. He is not sinning, nay, rather he increases in spiritual power if he finds delight in art or music, if the beauty of lovely words stirs his heart and soul.
Finally, in so far as mental sensuousness is concerned, he must remain keenly aware of Cosmic life, be sensible of the majesty, terror, strangeness and mystery of the visible universe.
Lover and proud spirit dwelling in isolation, hedonist and stoic, saint, sage and man of the world, all these aspects should be contained in his nature; but the sage should have power over the lesser brethren, should finally have rule over all.
Study the sayings of Christ who was Perfect Man and these aspects will be revealed to you.
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” Thus spoke the Man who had knowledge of the world.
“Love your enemies, bless them that persecute you.” Here the saint reveals His unearthly dream. And through the story of the woman taken in adultery, we obtain a glimpse of the sage. For Christ reproaches her accusers saying “Let him who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.”
“Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God.” Thus spake the Voice of human love, and men and women recognize in this saying their own humanity.
But what of the hedonist? The Christian may enquire and may even suggest that there is profanity in my applying this name to Christ. The hedonist is to be found in the Youth who changed the water into wine; in the Man, who, when the woman anointed Him with precious oil, rebuked His disciples saying, “The poor ye have always with you but me ye have not always.”
The tale of Martha and Mary has seemed enigmatical to certain women in every age. But if they will recognize that the sage spoke in Christ when He said, “Mary hath the better part” then they will come to an understanding of this rebuke which seemed a hard one when directed towards a woman who laboured early and late in the service of her household, who was beset by many cares. They will perceive in this saying, a meaning not at once revealed, namely, that in permitting one aspect of self only to possess her and rule her life to the exclusion of all others, Martha was offending against her own nature which should contain those several other aspects which make up the whole being and give glory to the image of God shaped in the clay.
Again, the stoic may seem at first sight to be a stranger to the Christ revealed in the Gospels. But turn back the pages and in early life you will find a man who went into the wilderness, was tempted by the devil, refused all the kingdoms of the world and fasted for forty days and forty nights in loneliness in a barren place.
Finally, the light of the Sage shines clearly and for all eternity in the last dread phase of the Divine Life. For the sage in Christ knew that neither His disciples nor the world would accept His words save through the medium of His death and resurrection.
The supreme sacrifice lit a beacon which will flame through all the ages whatever the trend of human thought and endeavor. The Sage over-ruled all those other, lesser selves when Christ prayed in sweat and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.”
Thus did the Wise One rebuke the saint who might have sought deliverance in the loneliness of the desert or among the Essenes. The saint might claim that thus, in communion with God, He followed the perfect life. The hedonist demanded of this lonely and still youthful Figure, the fulfillment of the years, the birthright of a fair body and a lovely soul.
The lover spoke of human ties. The man who knew the world, reasoned that the death of the leader would scatter the flock, that the work of the years would pass away as the autumn leaves and there would be no remembrance. The sage, however, in this dark hour, had rule over all&emdash;he quelled these other selves. He showed in that night of fear that Christ was the Son of God. So the Master faced the soldiers and again revealed His wisdom in His silence when He stood before His accusers.
When I claim that the sage governed these last days of Jesus, I do not mean to belittle Him. For the sage is one who has knowledge of eternal life, who can envisage all the years of man. The sage receives the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and so, he is not revealed in his fulness, even in the case of certain rare people, save at the climax of life, save perhaps, in the prime of manhood or in the last years of a serene, but vital, old age.
The shallow thinkers of your time and generation while recognizing the beauty of Christ’s life, declare that He was insane in those last days not only in yielding Himself up to, but actually inviting, death by calling Himself the Son of God.
But the fools of every age call wise men mad. You will know a fool or a man of limited vision by this presumption of others’ madness. For the ordinary mediocre individual is blind to wisdom and incapable of realizing that Christ knew that His life and His words would only endure if He declared His divine origin and, for that, suffered death upon the Cross.
The Sage who was Son of God conquered not merely a generation as is the way with a great man, but also millions yet unborn and so, whatever perishes, His story will not perish, for His life is the manifestation of Divine Wisdom.
When studying the Gospels note the careful preparation, perceive the phases in the mind of Jesus. recognize that He attained to completeness by expressing His nature. Through these various aspects He obtained a balance of character and a power over life which has not been equalled since; through them He understood all manner of men and women&emdash;the publican or common man; the busy house-wife in Martha; Mary, the lover of things of the mind; the harlot; the priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, the fishermen, the rich, the rulers, the beggars. Through the sympathy of these various selves or aspects of His nature He was able to apprehend the temptations, the sins, the gallant virtues of all these people who are as representative of human nature to-day as they were two thousand years ago.
It is, therefore, easy to perceive that the Puritan or the Epicurean, and people who have but one side to their nature, one manner of looking at life and eternity, are far from the Kingdom of God or at least, are only units in that crowd of undeveloped souls who have still a long road before them and will not easily rise to the higher worlds that await them in the After-death.
Knowledge and Wisdom
Do not confuse my claim for Wisdom with the view that “Knowledge is virtue.” Pedantic scholars of every generation have; in their lives and conduct, proved the falsehood of this saying. I cannot repeat too often that knowledge does not make a wise man. The peasant who can neither read nor write may be blessed with a grace of wisdom wholly lacking in a philosopher, a gifted scientist, or a brilliant theologian. “The first shall be last and the last first.” In this fine saying Christ spoke for all those simple and obscure people who have received that gift of the Holy Spirit I call Wisdom.
Gautama known as Buddha
Let us consider the life of Jesus in relation to the example of Buddha. Let us compare the immortal sayings of Christ with “The Four Noble Truths” declared by Gautama in his first sermon at Benares. They are as follows:
“That suffering is universal, no man being free from it from birth to death. That the cause of this suffering is desire or longing, this leading to re-birth and the continuance of desire and misery. That deliverance from suffering is to be obtained through the suppression of desire, the absence of passion of every kind; through that quiet mental state which is satisfied and has no thirst for what it has not. That this result is to be obtained by pursuing the holy eight-fold path, namely, right belief, right aspiration, right speech, right conduct, right means of subsistence, right aim and effort, right memory, right meditation.”
From these Four Noble Truths there is developed a lofty ethical code. Buddha demands of his followers that they should abide by the following rules:
No living being is to be killed. No one is to take what has not been given him. Adultery is strictly forbidden. No man is to utter an untruth. All intoxicating drinks are to be avoided…. No food to be eaten after midday. No one to be present at dancing, singing, musical, or dramatic performances; wreaths, scents, ointments and personal ornaments not to be used; high or broad beds not to be lain on and no one to be the owner of gold or silver.
It will be seen from this rough outline that Buddha and Christ are not wholly at one in their teachings. They will be found to differ very considerably on certain points if their words are carefully compared.
Buddha claims that deliverance from suffering is to be obtained by suppression of desire. He demands that it should be dried up at its source; that, in fact, his follower should murder a certain fundamental part of his earthly nature.
Christ, on the other hand, requires of His disciples that they should control their desires, that they should be wise rulers in their own household. He would not have them pass sentence of death on this vital part of their nature.
The Youth who attended the marriage feast of Cana and changed the water into wine, broke the ordinance of Buddha who demanded of his followers that they should not partake of intoxicating liquors. The Christ who permitted the woman to anoint Him with precious ointments again offended against the rule of Gautama. When the Master feasted with publicans and sinners, when He partook of fish and meat, He again turned away from the narrow road of this eastern faith.
Further, certain of His sayings are filled with the love and desire for life. Those very words, “That they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly,” express a width of vision which is not in accord with the views of the great eastern Master.
I indicate by this statement that there is necessarily an enrichment of spiritual life through a wide and full experience, not merely in the contemplative and ascetic sense, but in the exercise of all the perceptions God has bestowed on man.
The religion of Jesus the Nazarene is the religion of fearlessness. Whereas, the religion of Buddha suggests a certain moral cowardice which cannot be argued away by any such fine phrases as that his object was spiritual unfoldment, or a yearning for spiritual perfection which had, as its aim, an escape from the doom of re-birth.
Buddha discloses a fear of suffering, a fear of the nature God had bestowed on him, when he demands of his followers that they should suppress all desires, that they should regard any happiness obtained through the senses as being evil in character and so, in order to escape from it, they must take flight, as it were, they must avoid temptation, turn their backs on the world and the flesh.
Christ, however, faced the flesh and the devil, lived in the company of all manner of men and perceived no evil in a controlled expression of desire. Nay, rather, He recognized that we are born into this world in order that, profiting by the lessons it has to teach, and having learned them courageously, we may develop our character and be the more fitted to continue our journey on loftier levels of consciousness in the world beyond the grave.
It is true that Christ did not condemn those hermits the Essenes who lived apart from men in prayer and contemplation. He saw that such a destiny was suited to certain people. But His own example shows that the quiet seclusion of the Essenes was not sufficient for Him, that He realized its limitations that, in short, it led only to the expression of one part of the nature of man. So Christ chose the more courageous course and went out into the world and showed by His example, how it was possible to be in the world and yet lead the perfect life. He did not, at any time, try to wither up any part of His nature. He was at times wrathful, at times sorrowful, at times gay and happy as a child, or noble and inspired as when He faced the priests and the scribes and all the gathered evil of their mean little souls. Jesus has, in short, created a way of living which, for men and women, is the highest so far known on this earth.
Buddha preached a lofty, ethical code. But he demanded of his followers a retreat from the world, a withdrawal from temptation. He turned his back on life. For the stoic and the saint had power over his other selves and finally had rule over all.
So, Buddha can scarcely be described as Christ is described&emdash;namely, as Perfect Man. For the sage took the lower place in Gautama’s nature; he was not governed by that humane and compassionate wisdom which was Christ’s, which, in the fullness of Its flowering, proved the Master to be, in truth, the Son of God.
Christ, Buddha and the Spiritual World
At first sight, Buddha appears to have declared the whole law of a virtuous life in the Fourth Noble Truth.
“That this result is to be obtained by pursuing the holy eight-fold path, namely, right belief, right aspiration, right speech, right conduct, right means of subsistence, right aim and effort, right memory, right meditation.”
However, when Buddha uses the adjective “right,” he indicates righteousness according to Gautama, which is not exactly the same thing as righteousness according to Christ.
Buddha would, undoubtedly, have disapproved of Christ’s answer to the Pharisees when they said:
“Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees, but thine eat and drink?”
And he said unto them, “Can ye make the children of the bride-chamber fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”
Here Jesus counsels His disciples to take pleasure in life while they can. The hour will come when they must fast when the days of joy are over. In other words, there is a time for fasting and a time for the satisfaction of the desire for a happy, healthy living, for innocent gaiety and joy.
Buddha would have approved of the reconciliation between the father and the prodigal son, but he would have condemned the festival, the eating of the fatted calf, the joyful words of the father, “It was meet that we should make merry and be glad. For this, thy brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”
Gautama demands the extinction of passionate feeling, of emotional gaiety such as is contained in this appeal. For his cold, ascetic nature would perceive the danger of further suffering for the father after this hour of innocent pleasure&emdash;suffering caused, perhaps, by jealousy between the brothers, by another failure on the part of the prodigal son. But Christ commended this natural joy of the forgiving parent, and, in so doing, He took the finer view of the life of man.
Jesus, says elsewhere to the people, “Be not as the Pharisees of a sad countenance.” He appears to feel that it is part of the duty of a good man to be a happy man.
When He uttered that strange and wonderful saying, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it,” He was criticising the rich and powerful. But these words might equally well be applied to the cold, austere doctrine of the Buddha.
The Buddhist, in seeking self-mastery must practice a cold selfishness. He hurts no man. He may even, occasionally benefit people if he teaches them, urging a moral and ascetic life. Nevertheless, he is primarily occupied with his own salvation. He devotes himself almost wholly to the welfare of his own soul. By eliminating desire and all the human feeling that springs from it, he isolates himself from the common body of mankind. In time, he lives, as it were, on a desert island. After such practices, such a life, what then will be his fate in the world beyond the grave?
Let us accept the fact that he is one of those upright Buddhists who has escaped the doom of re-birth. On earth he committed none of the sins of the ordinary man, but he took careful thought for the morrow. Worse still, he took assiduous thought for all eternity. In the world to come, therefore, he will tend again to live in isolation and will perhaps, for aeons of time exist in the chrysalis of thought that enclosed him during his earth life. He stagnates&emdash;remains in what might be described as a vegetative content. He probably labours under the illusion that he has attained to the Buddhist heaven. Nevertheless, his earthly outlook will still restrict him even if he passes beyond the Third plane and attains to the Fifth plane of consciousness. He will not become truly sensible of God and His mighty universe though he may continue to meditate on divine things. He becomes dimmer and more negative and is as a steeper who cannot wake from his dream. Or, his whole world of Illusion may be shattered by the sudden conviction that, in refusing to have aught to do with his fellow travellers on earth, he sentenced himself to isolation from the group-soul. And, on the Fifth plane, when he should spiritually unfold and develop through his communal life within it, he is unable to join his brethren; his own way of life has set him too far apart. Then he has either to choose to reincarnate, to face his fear, or he must, through great agony, rend his chrysalis of intellectual self-absorption.
If he can face this crucifixion of his whole being, if he can open his soul to the brotherhood of all the psychic units and to the law that they should be “members one of another” not merely in the intellectual sense, but in the real and active sense, then may he, perhaps, escape from the sentence he has passed upon himself, namely, that he should, during one earth life at least, face all that experience from which he fled, that he should come to grips with his fear and, conquering it, endeavor to express the six aspects of the soul-lover, proud spirit dwelling in isolation, hedonist, stoic, saint, sage and student of the world allowing the sage, in so far as it is possible, to have rule over all. He will, in such a life, rise above the common crowd, he may, indeed, achieve some high destiny. For he has, at any rate, trained to perfection one part of his nature and now, by loosening the chains from the rest, he will in all probability become a powerful influence, enlisted in the service of the Good.
The Nazarene and Disciple of Christ
I have herewith shown certain of the dangers that beset the path of the Buddhist in the Hereafter, that is, if he observes his Master’s teaching to the letter. But it is only fair that I should now write of those dangers that may beset the disciples of Christ if they seek to follow His example, to tread in His footsteps during their life on earth.
The word Christian has been degraded and soiled. Millions of alleged Christians in every generation have cursed their enemies, hated their neighbors and practiced every conceivable cruelty upon their fellow men. So the term “Christian” had better be discarded by us when we talk of the followers of Christ. The phrase “Jesus of Nazareth” conjures up the picture of one Perfect Man, of a noble and inspired life. So I would prefer to use the word “Nazarene” rather than “Christian” when writing of the modern man who seeks&emdash;so far as he is able to follow in the footsteps of the Master.
Jesus of Nazareth demands of His followers that they should face life fearlessly. He requires of them that they should express their whole nature, those six aspects or selves I have described in the previous pages. He wisely asks of them a standard of conduct that, to the average man, seems well nigh impossible to achieve. For only a lofty ideal can rouse superhuman effort. It is probable that no human being can succeed in carrying out to the letter, the commandments of Jesus. But, as His disciple, he will lead a finer life than if he followed the counsel of any other master. For the Great Reality of Spirit which, in its essence, is the doctrine preached by Christ, is the loftiest ideal so far preached to men. No other path is so difficult to follow. The Nazarene finds himself, particularly in the twentieth century, beset by all manner of problems if he would be faithful to his creed. He cannot give all he has to the poor, and he must take thought for the morrow if he must earn his bread and has others dependent on him. However, in so doing, if he bears always in mind the brotherhood of mankind, and if he does not permit himself to be a prey to endless anxieties, he will be following this counsel of the Master.
Jesus bade us bless those who curse us, bade us love our enemies. If again we seek so far as is reasonably possible, to adopt this human attitude towards the people who have sought to offend and hurt us, we shall be walking the way of Christ.
As the Nazarene faces each day, he should register the thought, “We are members one of another.” This phrase bears its own blessing to the daily activities. It will suggest to the man who repeats it to himself that wide tolerance which will help himself as well as others. The words, “We are members one of another” and “Love your enemies” contain their own implicit wisdom. They suggest that in injuring others we injure ourselves, that in helping others we help ourselves. Christ spoke very forcibly concerning family ties. His disciple is not to limit himself to family affections. Every man should be regarded by him as his brother and every woman as his sister. For we are all children of Our Father in Heaven. If this counsel had its rightful place in the minds of men, there would be an end to the dangerous differences between nations, and Christian Europe would no longer so shamefully deny Christ with threats of war, and with continual manoeuvring for economic advantage. It would break down the barriers of nationality, and, as practicing Nazarenes, these violently divided nations would, as members of one family, at last live in unity and accord.
St. Paul’s mind was, in certain respects, more in harmony with the mind of Buddha than the mind of Christ. For St. Paul was afraid of sin and death or, in modern terms, of life and passionate love. Paul feared the desires of his own nature as Gautama feared them. And so he shrank from that wonderful way of living which has been immortalized in the Gospel narratives.
Christ mastered His nature and was without fear. The aim of His disciples must be to attain to the state of fearless innocence. Then will they live on a plane of consciousness that is loftier than that on which exists the disciples of Buddha or of Paul.
The saint held that all men were by nature evil, that there existed in them a being he called “the old Adam.” This old Adam is merely another name for the desires Buddha denounced. These two great ascetics are, indeed, at one in their fear of sin. Christ did not, at any time, conjure up the sinister figure of the “old Adam.” He did not concern Himself with the theme upon which Paul brooded continually&emdash;the tyranny of sin. So He, Jesus of Nazareth, was sinless and made use of all “the talents” of which He spoke in His parable. He lived His life to the full, expressing the whole of His nature through His love for mankind. Though Christ did not hate, He could be wrathful. His fine indignation was expressed on more than one occasion when He denounced the Pharisees, and, in that notable hour, when He drove the money-changers from the Temple.
So His disciples may, in their zeal for purity, be carried away by righteous anger, which springs from the deeps of human nature and can destroy old ways of hypocrisy, greed and tyranny.
The key-words in Buddhist philosophy are restraint and self-control. Again, too severe a hold upon the natural man will lead to a burying of a fine force for good, will lead to a withering up of a power that, directed in the right way, will benefit all mankind.
St. Paul and Buddha were given many talents. But certain of these they buried and counselled their followers to do likewise. Christ, however, has shown in His life and in His teaching, that all the gifts of God should be used, that no part of human nature should be stifled or burned away.
We were born into this world with a body, a mind and an inspiring spirit. These three should be employed in our own service and in the service of others. We are to have life in abundance, and, as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, we have no part nor lot with sin and death as preached by Paul; with any of the fears for our personal salvation which so filled the mind of the Buddha when he sought the Way of the Spirit.
Paul made it clear that the blood of Christ could redeem man and obtain for him forgiveness of his sins. But human beings cannot thus be magically saved by the blood of Christ. They can only save themselves through courageous effort extending over a long period of time. A man is a responsible being, responsible to himself, to the Group of Consciousness to which he belongs, and responsible also to God. So he must, as any artist, labour, strive, in tears, misery, joy and love with his own nature, until, at last, it assumes form and loveliness and is truly in the image and likeness of Absolute Beauty.
Paul’s teaching concerning the inferiority of women, his fear of women, and his idea that God could be bribed by a sudden repentance, were inspired by the unshapely part of his nature. They are wholly unworthy of the man who led such a noble and self-denying life; and they seem to me now to belong to an old and wrong order of human thought.
I may seem too severe in my criticism of Paul and to have altered my views concerning this great saint since that far off time when, in verse, I sought to express my reverence and admiration for the Apostle of Tarsus. It must, however, be clearly understood that in the above passage he is compared with Christ. All other lights fade in the presence of His light. The Divine Man and even the spiritual but very human man can only be contrasted to the exceeding detriment of the latter. In my poem I sought to envisage and to express in words the higher aspects of St. Paul’s nature and life. It does not necessarily follow that I failed to apprehend those errors of judgment on his part which, indeed, were the expression of the emotional side of his nature and were also partly created by his training in early life and by the circumstances that surrounded him during his youth. All men fall short of the ideal man: all have, in greater or lesser degree, committed certain sins of thought. It does not in any respect lessen the grandeur of Paul’s struggle, the noble character of his life, or the loftiness of his purpose if he would seem to be human in certain processes of thought, if he would appear to have been influenced by his education, by family traditions, by the attitude of mind which was prevalent among his own people and tribe during that stirring period. Here, in this chapter, I write as the critic and not as the poet. There is a considerable difference in the method of approach.
In writing of Christ and His life and sayings as described in the Gospels, I have ignored the criticisms and quarrels of the higher critics. These do not concern a discarnate being, for I perceive, in the Gospels, the record of a perfect life&emdash;and whether there be interpolations or not in the New Testament narrative, I care only for the ideal manner of living which is recorded for all time in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is not easy, I grant you, to understand the meaning and significance of such works as the four Gospels. But if men will bear in mind the wisdom contained in the nature of Christ, in His deeds and thoughts, and apply it even fitfully to their own life, they will be preparing themselves for the long journey which eventually leads them beyond human personality, into the realm of divine transcendent life.
I am not concerned either, with the age-long wrangle concerning the divinity of Christ. All men and women are inspired by spirit. Spirit is a thought of God. So all men and women are children of “Our Father in Heaven.” But Christ is supremely the Son of God. For He may be said to be the manifestation of the essence of the Divine Wisdom in human form.
He alone among the great masters, emphasized the importance of the eternal law of love. Here, in the After-life, we realize as men can never realize, that this law has a cosmic significance which can only be understood to a certain degree, if it is admitted that mind is the real substance of the universe, that matter may be described as one form of manifestation by mind, that it is, indeed, merely a garment woven by the intellectual and inspiring principle.
Love enclosed in wisdom is the energy of integration which makes a cosmos of the sum of things.
Man is not so individual and apart as he customarily believes. He may be said to be but one of the threads of his Group. His own salvation, or the rapidity of his rate of progress, will therefore, be greatly enhanced if love enclosed in wisdom, becomes his aim and object, the prize which he seeks to win in the race&emdash;the treasure laid up in heaven as Christ described it.
For, if this power to love wisely is mighty in him, he can raise the level of consciousness swiftly in his Group, he is a strong force for the integration of that mightier being of which he is a part. Plato might have called such a being when in its essential harmony, a god. For when once rounded off and shaped in one whole, it finely expresses the Divine Wisdom.
So the object of the pilgrim is not merely the development of his own spiritual powers, but the development of such powers in the whole Group. And Christ has furnished the corner-stone for such a creation in the Sermon on the Mount and in His commandment that we should love and help our neighbors.
Plato has also, in his sayings, made an important contribution towards the progress and evolution of the pilgrim. For Platonic love represents an attitude of worship and devotion towards Eternal Beauty and Goodness.
This attitude may seem primarily religious in character. But it has a universal and cosmic application and may not be limited to any religion practiced in the present generation. It goes far beyond human personality; it suggests that reverence for the Mystery of God which is notably absent from the minds of the men and women of the present generation.
Certain leading thinkers of my generation, at any rate, were far more concerned with the study of disintegration, with the actual process of destruction. So they lost the power to recognize the possibility of a Supreme Mind, an Intelligence which guided the whole of creation. They became, indeed, incapable of an attitude of worship and devotion towards Eternal Beauty and Goodness.
This Platonic spirit must be recaptured if there is to be integration and not disintegration of the present civilized world. But it needs also to be accompanied by a sense of the significance and everlasting truth of the life and sayings of Christ.
The life of man may be described as a mere episode. He must face many episodes on various planes of consciousness in the world beyond the grave. If he follows the counsels of Plato and of Christ he has not only outstripped many of his fellows in his Group, but also draws them upwards through the energy of integration, through the great cosmic law of love enclosed in wisdom.
For he is not merely concerned with his own personal salvation, he is concerned for his beloved, for those others, his comrade souls, who indeed are necessary to the completion of his own nature, if he would speedily enter the Great Reality contained within Eternal Life.
Finer and more beautiful is the ideal of the follower of Christ and of Plato than the dream of the disciple of Buddha who may be said to be primarily concerned with individual spiritual unfoldment and salvation.
In the After-life the two ways are perceived by us and we choose according to our nature whether we shall follow the road of the Buddhist or the road of Jesus of Nazareth.
1. Prevision and Memory
2. Nature Spirits
PREVISION AND MEMORY
The Great Memory might be described as containing the record of every vibration of universal life. All experience has its duplicate in this register, this chronicle of eternity. Past, present and future may be said to be enshrined within the Imagination of the Supreme Mind. But this Great Memory should not be confused with the memory of the individual. These two are separate in the sense that they are different aspects of the One. Each individual should be likened to a river. Only part of his memory rises to the consciousness of the soul at a certain given time. After death, however, the mind is freed and less trammelled. But, until the soul reaches permanently, the Fifth and Sixth planes, the individual still lives within very definite limitations. On the Fifth plane he enters into the memories and experiences of the other members of his Group, and his wisdom and capacity for living intensely are thereby greatly increased. Even on the Fifth level of consciousness he may not conceive the whole of the Great Memory, he customarily registers merely the experiences and knowledge of his Group.
However, the soul, when trapped in the physical body, may rise&emdash;as I have told you&emdash;to higher levels of consciousness. It may enter, perhaps momentarily, into the Great Memory and perceive some image of a past or future event which is not contained within its individual memory. The mystery of prevision, the “Highlander’s second sight”, can be explained thus by the uprise of consciousness which, lifted on to a higher level, perceives in a fragmentary manner some experience in the past or in the future of which the soul had no previous knowledge. In other words, it passes from individual memory into the Universal Memory, lives, cosmically, for a lightning flash of time, and then falls back again into the confinement of the individual self and the individual memory.
When discarnate beings seek to communicate with the earth they may be recognized through the fragments of individual memory they convey and, above all, through the sense of character they suggest in their conversation, in their phraseology and outlook. Be assured that, unless they are gifted&emdash;as some men on earth are gifted, with prophecy&emdash;they will not be able to foresee future events, they will not, in other words, draw on the Great Memory, for the power is not within them to pass into that state.
However, quite a number of discarnate beings live in a realm of mind which has a larger scope, and they may on occasions catch a glimpse of certain events which will very soon take place. For they can see a little farther along the road, they have a greater knowledge of the forces which are engaged on earth in the daily conflict of life.
The Conceptual World
Since the days when Joseph interpreted the prophetic dreams of Pharaoh, men have, in certain instances all through the ages, brought back from sleep little subjective pictures of future events, some only seen in miniature. In full waking consciousness others have foreseen often vaguely but still correctly, certain happenings that take place a few months, a year or a few years after the predictions made.
These dreamers of dreams, these prophets, seers and even genuine though humble and despised, fortune tellers, all temporarily enter into another time-dimension, or rather, the mind leaps forward six months or perhaps five years and, for one brief moment, enters that future world which is already conceived as an act of thought within the Imagination of God. Call this section of the Great Memory the “conceptual world.”
It is possible for the soul or waking consciousness on occasions deliberately to choose the future scene of vision. The actual process is as follows: The sensitive’s focus of consciousness becomes temporarily allied with the mind of some individual who opens the door to him by desiring that he shall read his future. Then, through this person’s mind, the clairvoyant is switched on to that wave in the ether which is connected with that portion of the conceptual world which contains his personal history.
The clairvoyant has no easy task. For his sitter may possess active, urgent desires, and these are expressed in emotional thought; particularly if the reader of the future describes events that are of the greatest importance to him. He may then switch off the clairvoyant from the wave line that connects his mind temporarily with the conceptual world. Drawn back thus, the mind of the sensitive will read only the imaged desire of the sitter and will interpret it as some future happening. Many wrong prognostications are made in this way.
The Suggestibility of Mediums
When a medium is in full trance the intelligence that controls him temporarily is often in a partially hypnotic state and therefore easily open to suggestion. Many instances of fraud, committed by mediums who practice physical phenomena, may be traced to this condition. If any of those persons present at the seance suspect or anticipate, even subconsciously, deception and trickery on the part of the medium, their thoughts&emdash;particularly when based on emotional prejudice&emdash;will be as powerful in their effect as the commands of a hypnotist to his patient. Acting on the auto-suggestions made by those present, an honest medium will commit fraudulent acts, and yet will be completely innocent. The authors of this deception are, in reality, the witnesses of the alleged phenomena, and no real advance in the investigation of physical mediumship will be made until sceptics and scientifically minded persons realize this fact, realize that they are not dummies or mere observers, that they play a part in the sitting and may either stultify results, or actually exercise a directing influence on the actions of the communicating spirit.
If a circle of emotionally sceptical people assume subconsciously that no phenomena can possibly be produced, they will inhibit the phenomena, persuade the hypnotised communicator that he is powerless, and, because of this inhibition be wholly responsible if the sitting is barren of results.
Writing of the Dionysiac beliefs of the Greeks, Pater remarks:
“The higher intelligence brooding deeply over things pursues in thought the generation of strength and sweetness in the veins of a tree.” Indeed what is to modern man the chemistry of nature was to the ancient Greeks the mediation of living souls. According to the religion of Dionysius trees and flowers were the habitations of such beings. This is something more than a graceful fancy, and the time may come when poets will ask again whether trees and plants are possessed by souls? For, presently, photography will reveal marvels. However, my reply must be in the negative. The term soul, as I have defined it, implies a certain mental individuality. Trees, plants and the simpler forms of life are controlled by what might be described as “impersonal mind.” In the higher forms of animal life embryo souls express themselves, and finally, we discover their more advanced expression in the bodies of man.
Trees and plants breathe and possess nervous systems. Wherein do they differ in the principles of structure from man and the higher animals?
We can discover our answer to this query only through our knowledge of the invisible world.
As I have stated, all through life man is accompanied by his double or unifying body. Its core or germ is the etheric body, which will develop during old age, or in the last years of a man’s life. It then takes shape and form and is the garment worn by the soul in the world beyond death. Within the etheric body resides the seed of the subtle body. If the traveller decides that he will not return to earth and adventures upwards this subtle body blossoms and breaks into flower in the world of Eidos.
Now trees, plants and all the simpler forms of life, possess only the double or unifying body. Without it the plant could not breathe. The double receives the life units and thereby nourishes the plant. It will be recognized that when the plant withers and dies there is likely, in time, to be a disintegration of the invisible unifying body, and in effect, this is a correct conclusion. However, even in the case of these lower forms of life, an essence remains which almost immediately reincarnates. That is to say this factor swiftly re-enters the vegetable world and again the old story of the seasons is unfolded.
Although the modern mind rejects the ancient belief in nature spirits the Greeks of old were nearer the truth when they peopled river, valley, mountain top and brook, with creatures who were invisible, or whose presence could be guessed at only through the medium they inhabited. Naturally, to apply the term “soul” to them would be incorrect. There is no resemblance of any kind, and their vitalising energy springs from another source.
These so-called nature spirits may be multiple in character, each apparent unit being composed of several. The essence emanating from a forest at certain seasons of the year, for instance, can coalesce and become unified and while mindless in the usual meaning of the word can assume the form we call a sprite and is capable not only of movement but also of having an emotional effect upon a human being who has sought solitude in the leafy glades of the forest or by the brink of a river or lake.
Such reactions may be of a mild, beneficent character, may offer nourishment to the human being’s double or unifying body, may bring him in touch again with primal life. On the other hand if such a human being is not habitually well balanced and is easily susceptible to harmful suggestions, these essences or sprites of water, earth, air and of the vegetable world, may adversely affect him. Whatever the psychic reaction, the ancients were correct in believing that the countryside contained at times such invisible presences. They were wrong in describing these entities by terms applicable to human beings.
Man, in possessing an etheric body is the expression of soul or an individualized mentality. Thus is he the purveyor of a higher order of consciousness. But you must not, while studying his structure, confuse the aura with the double or unifying body.
The aura may be described as the radiation of life through the physical body. It can be perceived not only in connection with human beings, but in relation to various discarnate intelligences on different levels of consciousness.
I have little to add to the essay on animals which appeared in The Road to Immortality. Our dumb friends may become our companions again in the world of Illusion if we are genuinely attached to them and if our affection is reciprocated. But only highly developed animals share our life on the Third plane.
However, the death of the material body does not necessarily imply the immediate destruction of the hunter’s instinct, of the craving for the excitement of shooting or slaughtering birds, beasts and fishes. In the world of Illusion the sportsman may satisfy this instinct to the fullest degree. But his victims are not, as on earth, animated with the life principle. They are merely the creation of his imagination. For a long time he is not as a rule aware of this fact and continues to enjoy his sport. For instance, you may be informed that some friend of yours has been shooting woodcock but you would scarcely credit this statement.
However, if you realize that this individual was unconsciously creating a pleasurable occupation for himself out of his earth memories, then you will be able to accept his claim that, in the world after death, he is still shooting woodcock.
These woodcock may be described as thought forms conceived and shaped in the man’s subconscious mind. The sportsman’s craving to shoot birds creates the birds. They are merely alive in the sense that they are animated by the electrical waves of thought emanating from his mind and stimulated by his desire. The birds are actual in the sense that they are of etheric substance. When the sportsman eventually realizes that pheasant, partridge and woodcock all spring out of his imagination he will probably no longer experience the keen gratification that follows a good day with the guns.
There are no animals&emdash;as you know them&emdash;on the Fourth plane. But we can have companions in the world of Eidos that may be classified with animals and birds.
Their forms are strange, bizarre, beautiful and grotesque. They are embryo souls and later on will be born on earth.
I have not made any study of insanity during my thirty-five years of supernal life. The following essay has been written at the request of three discarnate acquaintances of mine, and I have merely acted as their secretary. I am not, therefore, responsible for the major portion of the material this essay contains, or indeed, for the manner in which it is arranged. Here and there the reader may attribute a few of the sentences to me; these were written out of my superficial knowledge of an obscure and difficult subject.&emdash;F.W.H.M.
In using the term “insanity,” I wish to designate the certified who are shut up in asylums throughout the country, and people at liberty in the outside world who suffer from some form of acute neurosis which prevents them from taking their place in society; for they are not really answerable for their actions at certain times.
The insane may be divided into two classes. In the first group figure individuals who, through some organic injury, are incapable of making a sure contact with the double or unifying body. This unifying mechanism conveys the commands of the soul to the brain. If disease in the physical part makes such a connection impossible, the soul is unable to control the pineal gland for instance, or certain brain-centers, satisfactorily, and the human being resembles a ship without a pilot, drifting purposelessly upon the sea of life. Yet the pilot has not been disintegrated. As a rule he is merely partially cut off from his means of expression and is unable therefore to register his experiences on the memory centers of his material body to any effective extent. The double still communicates with the solar plexus, the sacral plexus and the other nerve centers, so the material body is still fed with life and may, therefore, remain perfectly healthy, functioning naturally according to the dictates of the subconscious mind.
I have not on any previous occasion alluded to those beings who are popularly termed earth-bound spirits. These are of two kinds. We find among them non-human or sub-human spirits; these have never incarnated on earth in the human form. Many of them, however, have previously belonged to the animal world and they are capable of interfering with the double or unifying body, of taking control at times and possessing the human being. A few cases of violent insanity are caused through obsession by non-human spirits. Usually these are incurable, but obsessions of this character are in a small minority.
We are, however, principally concerned with cases of madness which are due to the interference of the newly dead with the vital communications existing between the soul of the living man and his double. These travel by means of the unifying body to the material organism. I think I may say that between at least 40 or 50 per cent of the patients treated in asylums are obsessed by dwellers in the lower zones of Hades, or as I might more fitly describe it the “terrorist world.”
Human beings of brutal character, murderers, criminals, drug addicts, bullies, unscrupulous financiers who crave only for power, individuals possessed by jealousy or the desire for revenge, congregate in this sphere and are entrapped in their one absorbing passion and in the deeply rooted habits it has engendered during their earth life.
The student must clearly understand that such beings can only obsess men and women who are, in some respect, psychically defective. Self-centered or weak-willed individuals, inert or undeveloped souls, for instance, open the door to them, whereas healthy, well-balanced people cannot be approached by these dregs of humanity who have been tossed up on the shores of death and have as a rule little or no sense of their responsibility with regard to their fellow men. They find themselves in darkness, the night of base passions and an all-absorbing egoism, and, in their distress, they crave with all the power of their natures for the earth life from which they have been severed. No real sense of a higher life, of a spiritual universe has ever been theirs, so they stray about within this intermediate world until, at last, they come upon a light and perceive a human being. This light is the aura of a living man or woman. It attracts the wandering spirit who eagerly enters within it, and is then frequently enmeshed in the strands that bind the double to the physical body. Instantly conflict arises. In some cases the discarnate being does not know that he is dead. He struggles to gain possession of the means of communication with the pineal and pituitary glands&emdash;two of the important centers through which human personality expresses itself. He may be actually attacking a woman’s mind, and, if successful, finds himself in control of her body.
Many of the ravings of the insane are inspired by the alarm of a discarnate being who discovers himself placed in such extraordinary circumstances. Only dimly may he realize the material world through the senses and memory centers of another. But naturally this travesty of existence, when he is ignorant of the fact that he is dead, rouses within him either rage, the frenzy of fear, or some other and more puerile emotion. He may be dislodged from his controlling position through the owner of the body in question being sufficiently strong to compel him to loosen hold of that part of the unifying body which governs the brain centers&emdash;but this is rarely the case. He may, however, in certain instances, be successfully treated by psychic means, in other words through intervention from the earth plane.
A member of the medical profession and a medium of considerable power and fine character, can serve humanity successfully in a very noble work if they seek, through a certain suggestive treatment, to lure the obsessor from the insane person into the medium’s double. The latter should be capable of going into deep trance and must be a healthy and well-balanced individual. The treatment is as follows:
Electricity may be applied to the patient, for this force disturbs the obsessor, causes him to struggle to escape from the confinement of the body he has usurped. If successful his attention is naturally caught by the luminous auric cloud that hangs about the medium. The latter has gone into trance, and so the discarnate being eagerly takes possession of his body and uses his vocal chords. Then the doctor converses with him and finds out in this way why he has tried to return to earth by these unnatural means. If the act has been committed in ignorance, if this stranger from the other world is not aware that he has died, then information as to this fact and careful reasoning and suggestion will lead him to understand that he has committed a serious crime and must relinquish the stolen body, giving up his prey. For the doctor will assure him that he can never succeed in living on earth in the full sense in an alien shape, and that, for him, there can only be misery so long as he continues in this present state of dissociation. He is advised to concentrate upon some higher spiritual power and upon friends or relatives who passed before him into the Hereafter. His thoughts will travel as sound travels on earth and reach to their minds whatever their level of consciousness.
I have stated that it must be realized that when a medium is in full trance the intelligence who controls him temporarily, is often to a certain degree, in a hypnotic state, and is, therefore, easily suggestible. As a rule this discarnate being follows the advice and obeys the commands of the sitter. He withdraws permanently from the patient’s double, and in a very short time, the soul of the latter assumes full control again and his mind becomes normal; no trace remaining of the insanity that appeared to cause him to be completely deranged.
Treatment through the transference temporarily of the obsessing spirit to a medium who is in deep trance, has, I understand, been practiced successfully, not merely in these modern days, but in ancient times. Nevertheless, I would not recommend its general adoption in medical practice however much its value may be recognized in the future. For only very few mediums are sufficiently well balanced in character and sufficiently strong, both mentally and physically, to sacrifice themselves thus devotedly by allowing a stranger&emdash;who very often belonged when in life to a low order of human being&emdash;to enter and temporarily control their double, and thereby, their material brain.
A medium runs considerable risk if he or she is not of a fine spiritual development, for the transferred obsessor may endeavor&emdash;if malignant&emdash;to injure the delicate apparatus he now directs. Consequently, only those who have been very carefully tested and are known to possess exceptional power, should be permitted, under the watchful care of a doctor, to risk what might well be their lives in this manner.
That exceedingly rare individual, a gifted automatist, may, in certain circumstances, treat the insane with beneficial results. Provided he is intelligent and well balanced, he can render assistance in the following manner without running any real risk of injury to himself. He must retain his full consciousness when he is sitting and his control or guide endeavors to grapple with the obsessing entities. We have, however, to assume that the control in question already possesses some of the ancient occult knowledge. By means of certain symbols and phrases, he can invoke psychic powers, which will, if exercised over a certain period, benefit the patient even if he is not present when the automatist is at work.
The latter, of course, should be provided with an object which has been worn frequently by the patient. For it acts as a focus for the control, making it possible for him to find, as it were, the patient’s wave-length, and thereby make a sure connection with his subconscious mind.
I write, in this instance, of certain exceptional individuals who are not merely gifted automatists. They possess as well occult knowledge which enables them to attract a control who can make use of the cultural foundations to be found in their memory. As in the case of Socrates’ daemon, this communicating intelligence possesses a more extended vision than the medium he controls and may therefore, treat certain individuals suffering from mental derangement with a fair measure of success.
A Second Method of Treatment
During the days of Egyptian and Chaldean civilizations men were aware of another and effective method of restoring reason and normality to those who were mentally afflicted. Their knowledge was possessed only by certain seers and masters and, handed on to a few specially selected persons, was in use when the Romans were masters of Palestine and south-eastern Europe.
Numerous miracles related in the New Testament were performed through this curative knowledge. When Christ cast out devils from the sick who were brought to Him, He was working as might any mental specialist in Harley Street, that is to say, making use of a treatment which had been successfully applied in other cases. But in addition to this He brought all the resources of His own personality into play as well as His Divine Power.
The exorcism of evil spirits, to which reference is made in various narratives in the Bible, must not be dismissed as mere legend and myth. Some of these cases may be as correctly reported as any that figure in the British Medical journal.
But the physician of A.D. 30, had studied and prepared himself for the healing of the sick in a very different manner from that now employed in our medical schools. At the commencement of the Christian era it was necessary for the individual possessed of medical ambition to prepare his mind and body for his future work by practicing many austerities, by retiring at one season in his life from the company of men and living in complete solitude. He had to withdraw from all contact with other human minds for a time if he was so to develop and increase the powers of his own mind that he could dominate not merely the mentality of another, but his material body as well.
We are at present primarily concerned with the disease of insanity, and it is perfectly true that in A.D. 30 it was possible for a master-physician, when he was in full consciousness, to cure the mentally afflicted instantaneously, restoring to them their reason and normal intelligence. And if such healing seems incredible to the modern sceptic it is only because he is unaware of the fact that long training and preparation of the body and mind of the physician were necessary in order that he should make an apparently miraculous cure. It was also essential during that period of training, that he should admit that there existed an invisible world populated with discarnate beings, and that he should study that world. In other words, psychical research was as important a feature of his curriculum as anatomy is of the curriculum of the medical student of our day.
In order, however, that the master should acquire power and control over the insane, he had first, through meditation and various exercises in concentration, to strengthen his own mind and also to make thereby contact with the Supreme Mind. Through a Spartan discipline, through fasting and the experimental study of the life forces he obtained a clearer perception of his own physical apparatus and of his double. In time he acquired such mastery over himself he was able to control the neuric energy, the life force which flowed into his body from his unifying shape through the nerve-centers.
We must be quite clear as to the character of his anatomical studies. The double is the etheric counterpart of the material body; they journey together from the beginning of the chapter to the end, from birth till death; the two forms are organized and controlled by the life forces; these latter being controlled and organized by the consciousness. The minds of human beings&emdash;particularly when they herd together in crowds or in great cities&emdash;impinge upon each other unconsciously. Frontiers that we believe inviolate, are crossed and human beings do not possess as much independence of thought and individuality as they imagine.
A medical student who would figure as a master in psychic realms must at some period of his studies, perhaps in his first year, retire from the world in order that he may set up barriers which will defend the frontiers of his mind against any attack no matter how insidious from without.
I will now describe one of the exercises in concentration. The student must so continuously image an object that he becomes for a time merged with that object. This practice is, of course, well known to mystics and occultists. But it would take too long to discuss in detail here. Training such as I have described, may eventually induce the higher state of mystic life; but it may also be employed in the service of medical science for the treatment of the insane.
When a great master commanded a devil to come out of a man he usually chose that man as an object with which he could merge; that is to say, his mind flowed across the frontiers, invaded, and took possession of the patient’s subconscious mind. In the meanwhile, with all his power, he focussed his own life-force upon the double of the patient. It had the effect of an electrical disturbance, the obsessing spirit or devil was instantly compelled to loosen hold of its usurped quarters as if by an earthquake.
The words of command that accompanied this act completed this effective attack upon the enemy. For the latter, being usually in a suggestible condition, was the more responsive to authority from another. Thus the obsessing spirit could be forced to relinquish his hold, but in certain cases when there had been occupation over a long period, or when the devil, or devils, had established complete control, it was essential that an alternative should be offered. In the case of the Gadarene swine, you will remember, the evil spirits were commanded to enter into the herd. This seemingly wanton act was based on reason, for the Master knew well that sooner than wander in darkness the exorcised would return to the light that had originally attracted them and take possession of their former victim again. So the swine were sacrificed in order that the sanity of the men He had healed might be preserved.
“The whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea and perished in the waters.” The controlling discarnate intelligences were overcome by a violent fear when they discovered themselves to be in association with the doubles of these beasts, and entrapped within organisms that were of so primitive a kind. Terrified by its strangeness and its brute character they sought to escape in the only possible way, and so caused the suicide of the swine. This severe experience taught them an unforgettable lesson. Once they were extricated from their extraordinary association with animal life they sought no more to haunt human beings; for they were compelled through this second death to realize their own death, of which they had no previous knowledge.
As I have stated, numbers of undeveloped souls do not realize that they have passed into another life if they are filled with a sense only of physical conditions and have little or no awareness of intellectual and spiritual processes, of that higher nature which they had not sought during their earthly existence.
At daybreak, or in the early morning, it was the custom of the master to seek communion with God. He chose this time because of the stillness of the world when all but a few men sleep, and so many thousands of human minds are quiescent and at rest. During the busy hours of the day their thought-emanations might hinder and interfere, might gather like a fog, and obstruct a physician of souls who follows in the footsteps of the Master. But once he has lived even momentarily on the heights with Wisdom he will maintain communication with it throughout the day.
If the need arises he should be able to draw to him that Illumination which caused Christ to exclaim “I am the Light of the World.” He expressed, then, the truth beyond all other truths known to man, that it is possible for the individual who walks the world clothed in the dense garment of the flesh to become God in the sense that the Creative Wisdom shines through him and fills his whole being. Then, for a brief while he may acquire, though but feebly, the Divine Power that, when granted in full measure, can move mountains, heal the sick, cast out devils, and speak the Immortal Words of Life.
Nevertheless, in that great era, Christ alone might claim that He was the Light of the World. For no other man could thus enfold himself within the Holy Spirit and become like unto His Creator.
“Command the winds and they shall obey thee.” This phrase would, to rationally minded men of the present age, seem mere foolish boasting and might suggest, perhaps, that the speaker was an individual who possessed an unbalanced mind and suffered from grandiose delusions. But a master filled, for a brief time, with the Divine Creative Wisdom can alter the courses of the winds because he is, at that moment, a channel for the expression of the Formative Principle, the Imagination that has created the earth and maintains it through natural law, and may through the working of this very law actually change the currents of air, direct the wind, causing it to sweep from west to cast instead of from north to south. Perhaps no human being will ever again attain to that mastery of the self, obtain that complete control over mind that enables him thus to dominate Nature. But a few, who are the children of the Kingdom, can, through a life devoted to the study and development of their spiritual and intellectual nature, learn how to heal the sick with a touch of the hand, cure the mentally afflicted with a word of command, overcome the laws of gravitation by walking upon the waters, or actually control matter so that the miracle of the loaves and fishes can be enacted again.
The process that produces a so-called miracle may be described as the principle of mind heightened to such a fine intensity by means of concentration that it is rendered capable through the medium of a human being temporarily to dominate matter, to control it through knowledge of natural law and by communication with its Inscrutable Origin.
The medical student of the present day might with advantage enlarge his curriculum. It is not within his power to follow out the details of preparation that were essential to the training of a master in the time of Christ.
But he would do well to devote a portion of his time to the study and development of his own mind. I have on a previous page mentioned one simple exercise of concentration when the thinker seeks to merge his mind with the object for a brief while. This practice exercised only for a few minutes daily will, if the individual be gifted, grant to him definite power, a mastery over himself which may lead to his being able not merely to inspire confidence when he visits the sick, but may in time enable him to impart to them a certain vitality through his mere presence. And thus ailing human beings will benefit because the physician knows that form does not create mind, but mind creates, and therefore, may&emdash;even when focussed with a moderate intelligence but with patient deliberation&emdash;control matter and the physical body to a considerable degree.
The Variety of Earth-Bound Spirits
In writing of insanity I have so far only alluded to thoroughly evil souls, to those violent entities who were called demons in the ancient days. But numbers of ignorant, trivially minded human beings loiter at the gates of death. They have no specially vicious tendencies and may be said to be individuals who are without any perception of the psychic evolutionary processes. During their lifetime they were incapable of any real spirituality and lived only in the material sense.
Such travellers on the road to immortality have no conception of the continuous character of the journey in eternity. Craving only for sensual experiences, for the dense world of Matter, they succeed, in partially dominating the personality of another. They have a certain cunning and regularise their position in the alien body which they seek to possess. characteristic instances of this type of victimisation may be found in some cases of multiple personality. Often this kind of dual possession works very smoothly owing to the skill of the obsessor, who has not first impulsively seized one or two of the important communication lines with the material body, but has successfully taken possession of the double of the patient and in complete consciousness, controls for a time the whole of the living organism.
To another class belong obsessions that are illustrated by one or more foolish and trivial but not violent delusions which recur at intervals. In such cases the inchoate and unformed souls, whom I have just described, are usually still in the drowsy state that sometimes prevails for a considerable period on the other side of death. They are, mentally, completely absorbed in earth conditions and in the life they have left behind. Intellectual and spiritual exertions are foreign to their nature. Their petty egoism and their indolence of mind lead them to remain in this condition, and then like will go to like. The dreaming, discarnate being drifts into some feeble human being’s subconsciousness, mingles with it and endeavors to reproduce some special act or inherent fancy that figures in the patient’s subconscious memory.
Though still expressing himself in a lucid manner, the obsessed individual is impelled, through this invasion, to illustrate again and again the particular act, the mode of thought, or complex that is thus suggested by the other soul. Soul, indeed, may dwell within soul and mind within mind.
In such cases auto-suggestion and hypnotic treatment can be used with favourable results, that is, if the impinging consciousness has not been long in residence and is not strongly entrenched. At the moment the latter has no consciousness in the wakeful active sense. His state of dream indicates a lack of unity and an absence of any focus of concentration. Purpose and deliberate desire to control a physical shape do not declare themselves. So the invading cloud that belongs to the lower strata of the subconscious self may, through man’s present knowledge, be checked and gradually eliminated from the mind of the patient. Numerous people, who suffer from some foolish delusion and yet are otherwise capable of leading sane and normal lives, belong to this category and offer baffling problems to their relations and to their medical attendant. For often it may be cruel, or perhaps impossible, to segregate them, and yet, though they continue in part to lead a rational existence, treatment is urgently necessary lest the impinging dreamer becoming gradually roused, endeavors to obsess and permanently injure the mentality of the patient.
When considering evidence of senile decay in very old people we have to recognize that they are living almost wholly in the world beyond death. And though their subconscious mind may not be actually invaded by an earth-dreaming soul, its detachment opens the brain to some extent to the influence of the wandering thoughts that emanate from the collective mind. A scattered and inefficient expression of a once intelligent and active personality ensues. In reality the consciousness of the old man is now residing almost wholly in the intermediate world, and only a portion of his subconscious self still maintains active communication with those nerve-centers that are not in the brain, but are primarily connected with the functioning of the organism. A very old person, therefore, who is described by the term “senile”, might more aptly be called a “departed spirit.” For he is already dead. He has crossed the Styx, and there remains but the body without the “Word” that gave it intelligent life.
Medical men will probably tell you that they find patients suffering from melancholia extremely difficult, if not impossible, to cure. This unfortunate type of mental disease and its permanent character may be more readily understood if we accept the theory of obsessing spirits, and above all the special character of certain of those obsessors who endeavor to take possession of the individuals in question.
Usually such invading souls have, after death, been seized with the violent desire to return at all costs to earth. Sometimes they are not actually vicious; they possess strong wills and often have keen intellects. But in common with those beings previously mentioned, they have a sense only of the value of earth life. The phrase, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” may be used here in a special sense. Of course this remark of Christ’s has a far wider significance; but it certainly expresses the fact that individuals who have enjoyed wealth and the many pleasures it provides, to the fullest extent, are heavily handicapped when they pass beyond the grave. They have lived so much for their own delight in material things, in the rich and full satisfaction of their numerous desires they have no refuge in themselves, they find, indeed, after death only a vacuum; and so, longing with all their hearts for the material joys, easily obtained by them in life, they are drawn near to the visible world. They passionately seek the way back and, without a thought, take possession of some weak human being’s body, generally in the manner I have previously described. But when discarnate beings, impelled by the driving force of strong emotion, thus firmly seize the reins of government and give orders to the residing intelligence to withdraw, they are very often permanently caught within this stranger’s double. Slowly but surely they realize their crime, a crime committed, at any rate, partly in ignorance of the true situation. They find themselves in a prison, chained to an alien organism through their selfish desires; but are too ignorant, and because of their sheltered earthly existence, too inexperienced to be capable of making the tremendous effort that will grant them release.
Such people are often quite ordinary and human in character, and so, become remorseful. For them there appears to be no possibility of restitution; they see no way whereby they can restore liberty of spirit and control of his material body to their involuntary host. So they become plunged in despair, and if they do not actually suggest suicide to the patient’s brain, they cause him to exhibit signs of acute melancholia.
Day after day, year after year, he will remain inert, with a ravaged, tormented face, while his soul is withdrawn and the stranger, a hopeless despairing prisoner, holds his place; can neither abandon his position nor make a rational coherent use of it. Possibly only a master who took the course of training that was prescribed in the time of Christ, could cure cases of pronounced melancholia, by setting the intruder free.
Hallucinations have been described by members of the medical profession as false sense impressions. They may be visual, auditory and tactile. Generally they refer to matters connected with the patient’s intimate life being roused up by obsessing entities detached from their own memory. These are using a stranger’s memory-centers with disastrous results.
In such cases the enemy, or enemies, make attacks at intervals and have as a rule no intelligent control. They are only intermittently associated with the patient or, if permanently present, they have not yet mastered the mechanism of expression. In numerous instances, the obsessor may be likened to a child who sits at a piano and strikes two alternating chords. He is unequal to the task of performing coherently on this instrument and repeats the same sounds again and again.
Examples of this kind are to be met with among mentally afflicted persons, who continue day after day, to utter the same self-reproach. He or she has committed some crime. He says he has stolen twenty thousand pounds, or he has murdered his aunt. On such occasions the invading entity is merely setting in motion some repressed desire or image in the patient’s subconscious mind. Actually the two souls, through their conflict, have paralysed intelligent action on their plane. So the one scene imaged in the mind&emdash;such for instance as a theft of twenty thousand pounds&emdash;fills the whole landscape, as it were, and reduces the individual to a state of complete mental incapacity.
If neurosis arises out of conditions that prevailed during a former life, the patient does not fall into the category of the obsessed. He is suffering from some defect in his unifying body, his symptoms will enable the physician to find out whether there is duality; whether two minds are seeking to control the one visible mechanism.
The two principal types of delusion are grandiose ideas and persecution mania. Here the selves of the two parties merge and build up a third character, a sham personality out of the basic factors of the subconscious life.
A woman announces that she is Queen Victoria and endeavors to act the part of a queen. She has, perhaps, lived always in a humble and inferior position. It is out of the materials in the submerged strata of the self that the two souls, by thus coalescing, build up a new character that has, in many respects, the characteristics of an automatum. For again, the unity of the normal intelligence is absent through the paralysis caused by two consciousnesses mingling and thus mutually inhibiting each other.
Bear in mind that, in the majority of cases, the invading spirit has to make use of the materials in the memory-centers of the individual’s mind. But upon them he may stamp some fixed idea of his own, and thereby he makes confusion worse confounded.”
May I say that the origin of mental derangement is not to be found in any disturbance of the reasoning powers, but in the materials presented to those powers. For though abnormal nervous symptoms would seem to arise from conflict, yet conflict between, for instance, the herd instinct and the primary instincts, does not, in many cases, explain the mystery of the deranged mind. The conflict has weakened the defenses of the psyche and in certain instances, the patient’s subconscious mind then receives suggestive material from the intermingling of the obsessor’s subliminal self with his or her own. And the interference of this third entity leads, in time, to a condition of insanity.
It will be quite clear from the foregoing that there are many degrees of invasion of the psyche, and that they vary according to the power of the obsessing soul, according to its ability to direct the apparatus, and according to the state of its own subconsciousness. The physical and psychic character of the victims will also determine the nature and kind of insanity that ensues. The physician may then seek to apply the modern psychological treatment. He examines the patient and employs the methods psycho-analysis&emdash;a science that was developed after my day. But I think I may assert with some confidence that, when cases of obsession are cured by these means, success has come through drawing the patient’s attention directly to the haunting ideas which are described as complexes, and thereby, causing him to eject the invading entity.
Once intelligent attention is focussed on the dark place its owner can master his adversary, who after all, is very much handicapped when in association with a stranger’s subconscious memory. It is perhaps some old fear which has led the victimised human being to ignore this dark place, or desert it, and so leave it open to invading forces. In certain cases when the light of intelligence falls upon it the darkness lifts and passes, and the patient is restored to complete sanity.
But there are also instances in which the treatment of psycho-analysis fails to restore normality and balance to the ailing man. In a brief essay of this character I am unable to discuss at length any specific treatment. However, I think I may say that in quite a number of cases, the failure of psycho-analysis is due to the fact that the patient may as easily be overwhelmed by the nature of the complex as released from its influence. For the complex has a certain artificial life when stimulated by another intelligence. So I believe I am correct in saying that psychoanalysis can only succeed in those cases in which there is either no obsessing entity, or, if there be one, it has obtained no sure hold and therefore, may easily be dismissed in the manner I have described.
It has not been possible for me in this brief essay to cover the whole field of insanity and discuss even superficially the influence which the invisible world of consciousness may have over those defective individuals who are liable to be overcome by the disease of insanity during some period in their earthly career. I have not even alluded to the numerous cases in which lunacy is due to injury or to some malformation in the unifying body. Indeed, in most instances of insanity caused by obsession this unifying body in time suffers very considerably and, in incurable cases, it is, as a rule, seriously damaged or partially put out of action.
When men talk of a just God they usually attribute to Him the human qualities of error. They think of a just judge, of one who punishes the criminal for some offence against society, and they are not able, nor, during their earth life will they ever be able to perceive, in a perfectly impartial spirit, whether justice has been done and the offender has received his deserts. Only the Divine Cosmic Mind knows the past of that offender and the past of every individual in the society of which he is a member. Only, therefore, can the Cosmic Mind, unfettered by human prejudices, pronounce judgment, absolve or correct the alleged criminal. So justice, as defined by man, differs in every respect from justice when it is considered cosmically and viewed in the larger light of eternity. But such a view will always be hidden from man. He must live within a limited conception; and so God can be said to have no part nor lot with justice, for almost inevitably the human being uses this word in a prejudiced and ignorant manner. He cannot look into the potential future, or into the past of the alleged criminal, nor does he as a rule, consider whether society as a whole is not the real criminal in having, through indifference or incompetence, placed this individual in such circumstances that he is impelled to offend and break the law.
We are, in one sense, all of us, offenders, all criminals, in that we, with our imperfections, ignorantly, foolishly, again and again, break divine law. And if the Eternal Spirit were a just God&emdash;just in the human sense of the word&emdash;we would, indeed, meet with a punishment so heavy that never again would we sit in judgment upon any living creature. But the Spirit of the Cosmos mercifully does not envisage justice as it is conceived by man, and so this Supreme Mind recognizes evil merely as disordered, dissociated, imperfect imagining that slowly, through such disorder, evolves into an ordered harmonious condition within the life of the group-soul and within cosmic life.