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LETTER 26: “Circles in the Sand” by Judge Patterson Hatch via Elsa Barker

I am just beginning to enjoy the romance of life out here. I must always have had the romantic temperament; but only since changing my place have I had time and opportunity to give rein to it. On earth there was always too much to be done, too many duties, too many demands on me. Here I am free. You have no idea of the meaning of freedom unless you can remember when you were out here last, and I doubt if you can remember that yet.

When I say “romance” I mean the charm of existence, the magic touch which turns the grey face of life to rose color. You know what I mean.

It is wonderful to have leisure to dream and to realize one’s dream, for here the realization goes with the dream. Everything is so real, imagination is so potent, and the power to link things is so great—so almost unlimited! The dreamers here are really not idle, for our dreaming is a kind of building; and even if it were not, we have a right to do about as we please. We have earned our vacation. The labor will come again. We shall re-clothe ourselves in gross matter and take on its burdens.

Why, it takes more energy on earth to put one heavy foot before another heavy foot, and to propel the hundred or two hundred pound body a mile, than it takes here to go around the world! That will give you an idea of the quantity of surplus energy that we have for enjoying ourselves and for dream building.

Perhaps on earth you work too much—more than is really necessary.

The mass of needless things that you accumulate round you, the artificial wants that you create, the breakneck pace of your lives to provide all these things, seem to us absurd and rather pitiful. Your political economy is mere child’s play, your governments are cumbrous machines for doing the unnecessary most of your work is useless, and your lives would be nearly futile if you did not suffer so much that your souls learn, though unwillingly, that most of their strivings are in vain.

How I used to sweat and groan in the early days to make my little circle in the sand! And now I see that if I had taken more time to think, I might have recovered something of my past knowledge, gained in other lives; and though I still had felt obliged to draw my circle in the sand, I might have done it with less difficulty and in half the time.

Here, if I choose, I can spend hours in watching the changing colors of a cloud. Or, better still, I can lie on my back and remember.

It is wonderful to remember, to let the mind go back year after year, life after life, century after century, back and back till one finds oneself—a turtle! But one can also look ahead, forward and forward, life after life, century after century, won after won, till one finds oneself an archangel. The looking back is memory; the looking forward is creation. Of course we create our own future. Who else could do it? We are influenced and moved and shifted and helped or retarded by others; but it is we ourselves who forge the chains every time. We tie knots that we shall have to untie, often with labor and perplexity.

In going back over my past lives I realize the why and the wherefore of my last one. It was, in a way, the least satisfactory of many lives save one; but now I see its purpose, and that I laid the plans for it when I was last out here. I even arranged to go back to earth at a definite time, in order to be with certain friends who met me there.

But I have turned the corner now, and have begun the upward march again. Already I am laying the lines for my next coming, though there is no hurry. Bless you! I am not going back until I have had my fill of the freedom and enjoyment of this existence here.

Also I have much studying to do. I want to review what I learned in those hitherto forgotten but now remembered lives.

Do you recall how, when you went to school, you had occasionally to review the lessons of the preceding weeks or months? That custom is based on a sound principle. I am now having my review lessons. By and by, before I return to the world, I shall review these reviews, fixing by will the memories which I specially wish to carry over with me. It would be practically impossible to carry over intact the great panorama of experience which now unrolls itself before the eyes of my memory; but there are several fundamental things, philosophical principles and illustrations, which I must not forget. Also I want to take with me the knowledge of certain formulae and the habit of certain practices which you would probably call occult; by means of which, when I am mature again in my new body, I can call into memory this very pageant of experience which now rolls before me whenever I will it.

No, I am not going to tell you about your own past. You must, and can, recover it for yourself. So can anyone who knows the difference between memory and imagination. Yes, the difference is subtle, but as real as the difference between yesterday and tomorrow.
I do not want you to be in any hurry about coming out here to stay. Remain where you are just as long as possible. Much that we do on this side you can do almost as well while still in the body.

Of course you have to use more energy, but that is what energy is or—to use. Even when we store it, we store it for future use. Do not forget that.

One reason why I rest much now and dream and amuse myself is because I want to store as much energy as possible, to come back with power. It is well that you have taken my advice to idle a little and to get acquainted with your own soul. There are surprises in store for the person who will deliberately set out on the quest of his soul. The soul is not a will-o’-the-wisp; it is a beacon light to steer by and avoid the rocks of materialism and forgetfulness.

I have had much joy in going back over my Greek incarnations.

What concentration they had—those Greeks! They knew much.

The waters of Lethe, for instance—what a conception!— brought from this side by masterly memory.

If man would even try to remember, if he would only take time to consider all that he has been, there would be more hope of what he may become! Why, do you know that man may become a god—or that which, compared with ordinary humanity, has all the magnitude and grandeur of a god? “Ye are gods,” was not said in a merely figurative sense.

I have met the Master from Galilee, and have held communion with Him. There was a man—and a god! The world has need of Him now.

Extract from Letters From A Living Dead Man. By Elsa Barker

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W. T. Stead: Spiritual Lectures From the Afterlife – SPIRITUAL LECTURES Comprising a SERIES OF TWELVE LECTURES on various subjects from W. T. STEAD Read here
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