One who attempts to change or modify the thoughts, ambitions and desires of mankind, is undertaking a great task. The American people, more than any other, are taught from infancy that the desired goal is wealth – material wealth – and, such is the prodigality of the times, money is necessary for the pace that is set. Money – the ring and shine of gold becomes alluring, and the ambition of each is for its accumulation. The length to which some go, and the things that some do to possess themselves of it, stagger the mind, at least of those who have a clearer vision.
It is right and very proper to provide for those dependent, in a suitable manner; but, we owe it to ourselves to provide for and enrich ourselves, both here and hereafter. Some few gather spiritual wealth that enriches beyond this earth life – the many go out into the great beyond as paupers.
I am impressed to urge the importance of so living and doing that when we leave this world and also leave the material wealth that we have gathered with such great effort, we may possess a spiritual wealth of vastly more importance than stock and bonds and physical properties. This involves an awakening, a change of ideals, modified ambitions, new thoughts, new hopes, and new desires.
This spiritual wealth that becomes ours for all time, and enriches us in the great beyond, is accumulated without great effort. It is gathered simply by being fair in all our dealings, just to all men, and by helping those less fortunate than ourselves. This does not necessarily contemplate the expenditure of money, for a kind thought, a generous act, a little sympathy, an encouraging word, sets in motion vibrations in and about us that become a very part of us, refine our natures, spiritualize our souls, and better our conditions both here and hereafter.
We enrich ourselves by helping others, not by cheating or taking advantage of those with whom we have dealings. When we are unfair in a transaction, get the best of another and obtain his property, while we may do so without violating any civil law; we gain no profit, for in the end the wrong must be undone and the property returned. There is a law, taught in the dawn of civilization, that transcends the rules of modern times. It is, “Do unto others what we would have them do unto us.” And eternal justice requires compensation for violation of this great law. If we build about us crude conditions, we must expect to enter into the environment which our acts and thoughts have created. This is fair; this is justice.
I do not speak from a religious standpoint. This work has nothing to do with religion of any kind. I am writing about facts and conditions, here and beyond, as I have come to know them; they are interwoven now and always have been and ever will be. Every act that we do is known here, and is visible and lives there, for we take them with us.
Take an inventory, look the situation over squarely and fairly. What have you done that will provide food, raiment and home in the Afterlife? How have you developed? The idea that here and now we can and should do and provide all those things has not been well impressed on the human mind. Would it not be the part of wisdom to give this subject a little thought, give half as much to the accumulation of spiritual as you do to material wealth, and so make happier and richer those who are now in the hereafter and ourselves and others here? Let me quote directly from one in the next life, who has given this subject thought and who speaks from experience. This statement should create a profound impression on all thinking men and women; it is from one who actually lives and labors in that place we call the Afterlife: “The majority of people are so intent on things material that those of a spiritual nature are either thrust into the background or forgotten altogether. This is a deplorable state of things and one which we earnestly desire to remedy.
“The mere struggle to live and provide themselves and their dependents with what they consider the necessities of life, engages many folks’ attention to the exclusion of everything else. They just battle on from day to day because they must, or else become a burden to others. Such endeavor in their case is right and necessary and, if it is carried on in a brave and hopeful spirit, it is greatly to be admired.
“At the same time they would be greatly helped, and their burdens lightened considerably, if they would take time from their incessant struggle after material things to store up for themselves treasures of a spiritual nature.
“Wealth of this kind is of inestimable value and well worth a little trouble to procure. Unlike earthly riches it makes life on the earth easier and pleasanter for its possessor and his associates, and ensures for him a happy and useful time when his earthly life ends and his spiritual existence begins.
“One who has given all or nearly all of his time and thought to material things has so much to learn on arriving here, that it is a comparatively long time before he begins to ‘find’ himself sufficiently to understand and enjoy the spiritual life. Such an one, if he had given more time and thought to spiritual things during his earth life, could have immediately claimed his spiritual treasures – which would have been carefully stored up for him until such time as he had need of them – and he would have been helped and his new life made much easier and pleasanter by the possession of these riches. As it is, he has to make his way, in a spiritual sense, in much the same way as a penniless wayfarer, on arriving in a new locality, must set about earning his daily bread in the material world.
“Everyone knows what a handicap the lack of capital is in your world. Well, exactly the same thing applies here. Folks arriving here in the spiritually destitute condition before mentioned have just as hard, if not a harder, struggle to make their way in the spiritual life as any one who is left without means on earth. People placed in the latter condition may and very often do receive financial help from friends and relatives, or societies which deal with that sort of thing, but there are no charitable institutions here. That is to say, no spirit ever gets something for nothing, or without effort on his part. Though we older spirits can and do help newcomers, we cannot give them spiritual riches – we can only show them how they may acquire them for themselves.
Another spirit says: “If newly-arrived spirits have a desire to learn how to make a spiritual living, so to speak, we can instruct them, so that in time they will become independent and will know how to set about the task of amassing wealth of a spiritual nature for themselves.
“Such wealth is not easily acquired, even here, but it is possible for any and every spirit to become possessed of it in time, if he only desires it sufficiently and is willing to work hard to get it. This may sound as if selfishness were encouraged here, but that is not so.
Spirits can become possessed of the wealth here spoken of only by loving and unselfish conduct toward others. They must learn to work gladly and without thought of reward before they can hope to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
“There must be literally ‘a labor of love,’ and when self is utterly forgotten in a desire to help others, great and satisfying will be their reward. No goal on earth is, or ever can be, so well worth striving after. For, after all, though it is difficult to make humanity realize it fully, the things of the soul are so much more worthwhile, and infinitely more lasting, than any earthly joys and pleasures can possibly be.” So little thought has been given to the necessity of gathering spiritual wealth to enrich us beyond this physical life, so little thought has also been given to means and method, that the question may fairly be asked: How is it done? To answer so important a question requires a little thought and some reasoning, for it is only through the avenue of reason we comprehend the intangible.
Every physical act has a physical result, every cause its legitimate effect. Advancing the spark to meet the gas, we have combustion, and the energy released is expressed in motion visible and tangible. We lay one brick upon another, embedded in plaster or cement, and we build a wall. Everyone endeavors to have a home of his own – all the result of effort, every fine spiritual act and thought changes the etheric condition about the individual. Every thought has color and is expressed in shade. Nature abhors stagnation; every hour we are improving or impoverishing our very selves; one cannot stand still.
But how can individual acts enrich us in the afterlife, you ask again? There is not one law for the spirit world and another for the physical. There is one law for both, for both blend and are really one. Simply the one is to our present eyes invisible, and the other visible, because of the different vibrations or modes of motion.
Dissolution simply changes the plane of action.
We illustrate. To help another with kindly words and suggestion, to give where hunger stalks, brings joy and happiness to giver and beneficiary. Giving of material wealth is no more important than words of encouragement and tender sympathy.
The peace and comfort produced by such acts are reflected, and enrich us not only here but hereafter; charity enriches the donor more than those to whom it is given. It has been well said that the only wealth one carries into the great beyond is that he gives away here, and it will be remembered that in the next life, where money is no more, the only way one can enrich himself is by helping others. It is well to have a good start by commencing here, for the only genuine happiness we gain now is by helping others to better their condition.
We are building character every day, and, on the threshold of the Afterlife, stripped of all material wealth, we face the endless future, either rich in generous acts or paupers in a world of plenty. If mankind understood these conditions, there would be more fair dealing, less selfishness – a happier world, a richer world, a better world, and as we go one by one, we should meet the new life with the wealth of generous acts and thoughts and deeds.
Thoughts are things, and every act and thought functions around and about us in that substance called ether, sometimes called the aura. That substance, woven of the warp and woof of an act and thought, envelops us now and ever will, invisible to us now but ever visible to all in the life that follows. With this in mind, let us pause for a moment and seriously consider what kind of an etheric garment we are weaving day by day, and how our spirits will appear as we approach the Frontiers of the Afterlife. Will we go with the consciousness of a life well spent, rich with generous acts and kindly deeds, and, radiant with the soul’s emanations, meet the outstretched hands and proudly reply to the words and songs of welcome? Or shall we approach this goal with soul shriveled by selfishness, lust and greed, from which no light of generous acts pierces the gloom? I have talked with many who have gone out into darkness of their own creation, poor and alone, and long have they sought for the light that ultimately comes to all that live.
“Poverty in the Afterlife” is a chapter from Frontiers of the Afterlife by Edward C Randall.