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  The Road I Know
Stewart Edward White

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Undoubtedly when entering the higher consciousness, Betty had from the very beginning “left the body”, without appreciating the fact. As soon as she realized that she was actually so doing, the Invisibles began to teach her how to do it consciously.

“Escape from the restrictions of the body,” said they, “and life outside the restrictions of the body, even while you are occupying it, can be experienced. That is the real life. How can any sensible person doubt it? We are trying to shatter the bodily conception of life in order to expose the other to view. The discovery of this other conception and the gradual acquisition of it is what constitutes the RAISON D’ETRE of your existence. If you do not discover it, you have failed; you are either standing still or slipping back.” Most of the training to accomplish this was technical, intended for Betty individually, and in no sense to be taken as general instruction.

It was only one of the necessary means to an end. So I quote bits here and there from the record merely to give a picture of the sort of thing that went on.  “I see! ” said Betty, in running comment. “Now! just to slip off my body. . .leave it lying on the floor. . .so much easier to work from this end back… I’m getting so much more at home here.” An interval followed, with no comment.

“Now they’ve brought me back to contemplate my body. They think I can improve my control…” Again the pause.

“They’re just letting me into my body and out again—just a flash, to get control of doing it… It’s wonderful practise in a kind of balance—in keeping my spirit so balanced that it gets no drag from the body…

I’ve got to keep quiet to do this, or I’ll never get anywhere… This is fine! So much more strength this way! See how much quieter I am lying.” “Practise in leaving the body,” said the Invisibles to me by way of explanation. Then in command to Betty: “Enter the body… Now release.” “I’ve got to keep leaving and entering, alternating,” said Betty.

Short silence.

“My head and neck are tired in my body,” she complained presently. “I’d like to turn… I’m going to try… So painful to think about my body.” She tried to move, but failed.

“Shall I move your head for you?” I asked.

“Toward the wall,” said Betty.

I obeyed.

“That’s better.” There ensued a long silence—but obviously a busy silence.

“I can’t hold it any more,” said she at last. “I fell over. I oughtn’t to have done that. Now I can rest, they say.

Here ensued another long silence, but this time obviously not busy.

“Try once more,” the Invisibles told her at last.

Another pause.

“Yes, I can do it!” said Betty. “Now wait until I alternate again…

I did it! That’s very, very useful.” The “lesson” continued thus for upward of an hour. Then Betty was free to tell me a little something about it—while still in her trance state.

“You withdrew all attention from your body, which is very difficult,” she told me. “I thought of it as so heavy as to be impossible to move; while I, the living, left it in the comer and walked off in my spiritual body. That worked until my hay fever wanted to make me sneeze.

“The main thing is that, during the day, about your affairs, you can at odd moments, practice retiring to that spiritual body. Withdraw attention from the other, until you get helpful control. It is very important for me to learn it…

“I’m going to come out pretty soon: I’m just hanging around…

“It is a matter of withdrawing attention from one thing, and giving it full strength to another. It must be done before I can go on. They can’t keep on dragging my body around. I’ve got to get control so I can leave that entirely behind. They say the reason I always come back so soon is that I’m a self-stopper. I’ve got to stop wobbling and prepare to go all the way and not want to snap back. It is like standing on my head. It’s that ‘Oh dear, I’m going to wobble and come down’ idea that brings me back.” “The more you can relax the body all the time,” said the Invisibles, “the more power you possess and the more you can use the spiritual in contact with the physical. Ignore the body, except for its necessary functions. The first point is to keep it in health, so that it can be the more easily ignored.” “Now I am going to do it over again,” said Betty. “This must be made more trustworthy… Such a strange light…” For some little time she was silent.

“I can travel a little now,” she resumed. “Getting the idea of unattached motion. I’ve been so tethered before. But it is hard for me to see; it’s so dim.” “One of the most powerful forces is belief in your power to do it,” said the Invisibles. “That combined with effort to make good in it, will accomplish almost anything. Without that you sink into your own limitations and consider them impossible to overcome. But if you get the belief that it can be done and back it up: presto! It is done, and you have opened new doors. It is the haleness of trying doggedly without the belief that gets you nowhere.” “I’ve always wanted to explain that holding-steady process that gets you here, but I’ve never been able to,” said Betty. “I think I’d call it a condensation of purpose; but condensation is not quite it, because it depends so much on expansion and breadth of perception.”


With practise, “getting out of the body,” like the other things, became for Betty less and less a question of concentration and struggle. One day—after several months of off—and—on practice—she suddenly seemed to understand the knack.

“Why! ” she cried, somewhat astonished, “I can slip back and forth easily today! It is very strange! The wind swept through me as I came in. I hailed it, did not crouch before it, and it went through me as sun goes through you. I wasn’t conscious of my body any more; I was just conscious of vigorous well-being almost as disembodied as one could hope to be. Harmonious vitality superseded the mortal sensation.” She paused in her reporting, apparently trying out her newfound skill.

“I like slipping back and forth that way,” she confided presently. “I don’t see why it isn’t just as interesting a performance, and vastly more desirable, as learning to swim in an element that is not your own.
It is Just as natural, really. I just leap out of myself, and take a dive into a freer and more stimulating element. Each time I do it, it gets easier; I am more at home in it; and more stimulated by it. I am not tremendously good at it; but it’s just as simple as that.”


From then on Betty had little or no trouble with the “getting out” part, but the return to the body without undesirable repercussion, so to speak, was another matter.

“The danger of this experience is always in coming back,” she explained to me, “in arousing the body, like an invalid who thinks she’s been abused… That’s the attitude with which you must look at your bodily weaknesses always. You must be their trained nurse, giving them only such attention as is wholesome and such care as is necessary and such sympathy as is good for them…

She broke off to consider this.

“And,” she continued, “there’s no use saying:, ‘I’ll do it next time.’ Not next time: this time. ‘This is the only time there is,’—you must say that to yourself.

You are not rising above the body, after the usual method; you’re non-existing it, humorously, ridiculing it out of its habits. But, after all, one’s so likely to be more in the frame of mind of the family relative than of the trained nurse.” “Listen,” said the Invisibles. “There is a kind of invalid’s room in which your body has established its habits and weaknesses. You are coming back now, but you are not going to let your active, vigorous, pulsing, living being more than visit and cheer that room.” “Well,” said Betty, “I’ll just stay quiet and pack up my ideas… I must come away. I’m getting drowsy, and I am a little afraid of that state in between, but I have to pass through it each time.

“I’m coming back.” A pause. “I’m almost back… It seems like a fairy-story world now.”

Publisher: White Crow Books
Published February 2016
164 pages
Size: 229 x 152 mm
ISBN 978-1-910121-86-3
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Excerpt from A Course in Miracles. IX. The “Hero” of the Dream – 74 The body is the central figure in the dreaming of the world. There is no dream without it, nor does it exist without the dream in which it acts as if it were a person, to be seen and be believed. Read here
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