Documented Spirit Conversations and Discourses Stenographically Recorded, Collected Materials and Seance Memoranda.
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, but to weigh and consider.–Bacon
Thought and Mind
There are certain expressions and sentences in our language which are, at present, substantially meaningless, because the mind is unable to grasp what it cannot analyze. That “thought is substance,” and “mind is matter,” mean but little to mortal man, notwithstanding his wonderful progress. Perhaps I can deal with this difficult proposition in no better way than to quote what spirit-people have told me concerning the question.
“Back in the past centuries, when the world of spirit had not its present development, there was little original inventive thought. Man built a shelter, killed his food, and fought his enemies, as any animal does. As the spirit-world progressed, and became more intelligent; as it obtained greater understanding, and grasped, with greater power, the life forces, or, in other words, more power of thought, and more ability to help mortal development, then, by reason of spirit-suggestion, acting through man’s sub-conscious mind, he began to feel an awakening for something better, and the process of civilization began.”
This statement emphasizes the fact that all life in every sphere ever has been, now is, and ever shall be, progressive; that there was a time in spirit-planes, as well as on this plane, when they did not possess the intelligence, comprehension and power that they do today, not nearly as much as they will in time to come.
Of what lies beyond the next, or first spirit-sphere, those who live there know but little. Knowledge is acquired only by effort, there, as here; and only as we comprehend the economy of natural law and mind power, do we progress.
Again this spirit said:
“Beyond and before everything is mind; that is, understanding. Mind is matter, as you use that term, with this difference; it is carried beyond the physical into a higher vibration. Let me illustrate in this way: Good thoughts have a higher and more rapid vibration than bad thoughts, and bring us into closer harmony with spirit-intelligences. There is no barrier to thought; it carries us to the uttermost parts of the earth; to the heights of perfect joy and to the depths of woe. The people of earth are just beginning to gain some knowledge of this force for good within themselves. Once let that fact be understood, and mortals will come nearer to understanding their destiny.”
“Mind is the aggregate of all thoughts. Mind is the universal thought. As a drop of water signifies but one infinitesimal part of the great ocean, so a thought is but one infinitesimal part of the great ocean of mind. Thought is creative energy, the essence of all things, and expresses itself in form. The vibratory energy of thought waves produce form, sound and color, though they are never perfectly expressed in the physical plane. Not until men have arisen out of the physical condition can they come to an appreciation and comprehension of matter so refined as to be known as mind. Thought belongs to the universal man; mind to the race universal.”
Words are but symbols used to express thoughts. There is nothing in a word except that it conveys an impression or ideas to the mind. They are coined as new conditions arise. When Newton discovered the law of gravitation, he had difficulty in finding words to describe the fact, so new was the proposition. So it is with Metapsychics, that is the philosophy of life beyond the physical; this science is so new and so little is known on the subject, that words have not as yet been adopted that will allow of exact detail or comprehensive report.
I said to a spirit who in earth-life, was the foremost scientist of his time, “What is ether, and what is mind?” and he answered:
“Ether is simply atmosphere in more intense vibration than which surrounds the earth. Ether surrounds spirits unless they go into the earth-plane. Mind, I mean the thought, not the habitation of thought, when the earth-life is over, becomes the entire being. It is the only part in man that is of such vibration that it can enter in and progress to spirit-life. The brain is so constructed that there is an opening for spirit-force or suggestion; consequently, it proves that the entire mind is of such vibration that the spirit-force can reach it; otherwise suggestion would be impossible.
“Mind is the essence of being, —the ego. It is material, but differing in vibration from the body. Spirit-force surrounds the flowers, teaching them how to grow and bloom, but they have no conscious original thought.”
And so we find matter rising higher and higher in vibratory action. First the earth, then water, then atmosphere, then ether, and finally mind, which is matter as much as the earth is matter, yet it directs and controls all substance in a lower vibratory condition.
One of my co-workers said:
“Be tempted to one extravagance only in this book of ours. Use every argument and all the forcefulness you can, to show what a little thing, a tiny span, the earth-life is. Real life begins when the heavy, material body is left behind, and the soul springs upward into the unlimited regions of thought-life. There all grows, learns, expands into perfect fullness of being until one becomes a perfectly developed spirit, able to blend with other spirits similarly developed and perfected.
There is no beginning and no end, then, to the heights he can ascend; no joy that is unknown or untasted; no wonder of the universe of which he does not become a part. It is being, then, that state which cannot be defined to unthinking and incomprehensive minds. But try to grasp this idea, for it gives such an interest and zest to everyday life. Some day each shall be a part of the great force that makes all things work in unity. Before the force was so strong, there was not so much good working among men. They were cruel, barbarous and uncontrolled. Much has that mind-force, working silently but constantly, achieved in the past ages, and much more will it achieve, now that mankind has become receptive to our suggestion.
“Thought is the expression of mind; it is partly caused by spirit-suggestions through the subconscious mind, and partly an expression of oneself. Deeds are thoughts grown to maturity, and yet a thought unspoken or unlived, will exist through all the ages, as though expressed.”
Another spirit speaking on this general subject has said: “You all give off an aura, and if you knew the conditions emanating from some people, you would very quickly eject them from your home. In those whose lives are not strictly upright we find the aura very bad, mixed, cloudy, confused. The emanations of people of good health vary in shade from white, pale pink, to rose color. When the auras approach the dark colors, browns, greys, and blacks, we know that the person is wrong in some way. Now this aura is influenced by passions such as hate, envy, malice, evil speaking, anger, and when one sets out to do an injury to another, let me assure you that he injures himself far more than the other person.”
I have been told that a clean, highly developed thought goes out into the ether with the appearance of a search light, starting from a central point and radiating through space. Once again, mind is matter, and thoughts are things, and so wonderfully active is the operation, that we are continually forming our mental creations in such refined substance.
With all our development, and it has been great, we are able to hear only a few of the sounds that vibrate in our atmosphere. With all our achievements we are unable to see motion except it be slow in movement and in physical garment.
On this subject one said:
“We can also read the thoughts of another—conditions being favorable—as readily as you can gain a knowledge of a language not your own. Thoughts being motions of the mind, assume specific and definite forms, and when distinct in the mind, can be clearly perceived and understood by any spirit who is in sympathy with the mind in which they are generated.”
On turning once again to the lectures from the more advanced minds in the next expression of life, I find the following:
“Thought is a wonderful force and even we cannot grasp its magnitude, nor understand all its power. It is a living, vital thing. A thought born in your mind is for good or evil, a thing to be reckoned with again, when it will confront you face to face and claim you as its author. The best thoughts are those born of Nature in its beauty, rather than those that have had the touch of material hands. I would like to say something, too, about the beauty of pure thought, how it returns to one after earth-life, laden with sweetness and intensified tenfold. You cannot realize all each good, generous, noble thought will mean to you someday, even if it never grows into an act. Evil thoughts breed darkness and despair, cling to the soul, go with you into the afterlife, and become your close familiar friends. You are never rid of them a moment until you have taken them up one by one and lived them over again. The power of suffering for evil is increased on this side of the vale, just as joy is intensified beyond anything you can feel. Such joy you have from your good thoughts and deeds. A thought can have many branches, but the parent stem is planted deep in your own soul, and only your hand can remove it in the future. If it be good it will bear richer fruit each year. When you have traveled and especially enjoyed any scene, you have a picture of it in your spirit-home, just as books you own are found on the shelves. Music will fill the home of the sensitive, and so on indefinitely. This is the home of which spirits speak. It practically becomes your house. Your thoughts do not look to us like anything in a material sense. They are felt. They create an atmosphere that is like a cloud around you, and this condition is easily discernible by us and felt by sensitive spirits in the body. All thoughts are not necessarily known until the spirit himself is confronted by them. Then they stand out prominently to him. But even then, others may be only conscious of his character by the conditions he is forced to undergo before he can overcome the evil ones. We may know the thought when it is formed, and then, again, we may know it by the condition made in spirit-life. Thoughts are around the persons who create them, but they are not confined there, for they go as well to build the home in the spirit-world. While it is true that they are stored in millions of brain cells, they are also all about one, forming an aura. This is the influence one feels when he comes into the near presence of strong mentalities. Sometimes it is pleasant, often, not. This is the spiritual part of the thought. What is in the brain is more material, —of a consistency that is easier for man to use, if he desires to retain knowledge of any kind. These ideas are hard to put into words. They are subtle. There is a color, a note of music, a perfume, a spirit all in each close harmonious thought. A chord of music will cause the color vibration that belongs to it; the perfume that belongs to that same vibration can cause the same color, and the perfume can cause the harmonious thought. You can truthfully say that thoughts are different notes of sound.”
It is now known that we have two minds as well as two bodies. The subconscious mind functions in the etheric brain of the inner body; the conscious mind functions in the physical brain of the outer body. The subconscious is the mind that survives dissolution, carrying the imprints made on it by the conscious mind, which does not survive, but which perishes with the physical body. The subconscious mind, the real mind, suggests to the conscious mind, although often the prompting of that still small voice is unheeded. Now the conscious mind is mortal; the subconscious is immortal.
It has been my privilege for many years to hear great lectures from learned philosophers and psychologists, long inhabitants of the next state, of which I have the stenographic reports. I quote from one of these lectures of the spirit psychologist:
“It has always seemed to us that the subject of mind, or minds, is one which your people have been little interested in. It is difficult to conceive of a more essential subject. I dare say, speaking conservatively, there are in your world few who know that they have such a thing as a subconscious mind. We do not care particularly for the term ‘subconscious.’ It is a misnomer and we object to the nomenclature, because this mind is not really sub-conscious; it is super-conscious.
“If mankind had an understanding of the importance of the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious minds, it would make a great difference in the courses men would lay out for themselves in earth life, as well as in their lives after the transition.
“Perhaps it is well to speak first of the conscious mind, which, to most people, is the only mind they have, that mind which makes or creates a cause, of which actions are the effect, that mind which controls the voluntary actions and the muscular contractions of the individual.
“Now then, the conscious mind is something else besides being a center of nerve impulses controlling the actions and movements of the body. It has a far greater relationship to the universe, to our fellowmen and to God. The mind is the dynamo that is constantly generating thought forms. These thought forms have shape, size and color, and potentialities appalling to those who understand clearly the functions of the conscious mind.
“These thoughts that emanate from the minds of mankind are at a fixed rate of vibration, going forth into the universe at the same rate as that of the mind which gave them their impetus. They are constantly impinging against the receptive minds of earth-people and also of disembodied people who are in what is known as the spirit world. They may be uplifting; they may be charitable, sympathetic, kindly; on the other hand they may be destructive, causing injury, exciting conditions which often results in actions sad and distressing indeed.
“The sub-conscious, or super-sensitive, mind, which so many people know not, although they possess it, is a fourth dimensional mind, or the mind of the astral body, contained within your three-dimensional, physical body. The sub-conscious mind, being fourth-dimensional, is subject to that unerring law of accuracy which is dominant in the fourth- dimensional or etheric plane. Therefore, the sub-conscious mind, because it is accurate, should dominate the conscious mind, which is likely to be inaccurate because it operates only in the third dimension and is subject to the desires of mankind, limited by environment and by all sorts of conditions.
“When man is sleeping, when he is tired, it is the subconscious mind which builds up the will-forces in the body, sees that everything functions smoothly, supervises the beating of the heart, regulates the respiratory functions, and makes it possible for you to exist.
“The subconscious mind is very much higher in vibration than the conscious or objective mind, the three-dimensional mind of the physical body. Now, then, it develops upon mankind to accelerate the vibrations of the conscious mind so that it may be in unison, or nearly so, with the vibrations of the subconscious mind, which alone survives.
“The subconscious mind is always right. From the subconscious mind comes the ‘still small voice,’ that thing which people know as the conscience. The conscience is a definite manifestation of the subconscious mind, trying to dictate to the conscious mind that it is in some way or other in error.
“The conscience is a manifestation of the subconscious mind, registering encouragement or protest on the conscious mind. The subconscious is always present. Sometimes—a great many times, I am sorry to say—it is dominated by the carnal, or conscious mind, but it is always there, ever active in its endeavor to lead mankind aright.”
I had long known that we are here and now possess two bodies, but the suggestion that we also, here and now, have two minds was new. I did not accept it when made—it troubled me. I knew that spirit people were as prone to error as mortals, and I have ever rejected statements from that source, as from a physical source, that did not appeal to reason.
Troubled with the proposition, so new and original, I took the question up with Dr. David Hossack, whom I have already quoted. Dr. Hossack has been an inhabitant of the spirit world for more than a century, with him I have been in communication for thirty years and more, and whose statements I have ever found reliable. I asked him this question:
“Is it a fact that we possess two minds as well as two bodies, and that the conscious or material mind does not survive?”
This was his answer:
“As you have two bodies, the material and the spiritual, so you have two minds. The spirit mind is that which comes from the infinite, and is clothed with the material at conception. It is life-force, and cannot be destroyed. This etheric soul or mind is the force for good that is in each of us; it is in embryo during earth life, finding full development only in the spirit world.
“The material mind is the conscious mind. It functions through the direction of the spirit mind, unconsciously, of course, as the spirit mind, in the majority of men, enwrapped so closely with gross material folds that it is rarely discernible. However, the two are as separate and distinct as your two bodies.
“You do not take the material mind with you into this world, any more than you take the earth body. The conditions here are such that you could not bring either with you. Yet the soul is the mainspring and the compelling force of both bodies and both minds. The spirit mind is the only conscious mind. By that I mean that it is the only real, living, eternal Mind. As your earth progress goes on, this spirit mind is the life-force which you feel and know as the real part of your existence. Your conscious, earth mind is only the storeroom for the subconscious spirit mind to build on and grow within you.
“When you pass on, you take the wares from this storeroom with you, but earth consciousness is transitory and not real; only the inner richness is carried on and becomes part of you when, in dissolution, the two are finally separated.”
The Spiritual, or Etheric Body
“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body; There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.”
-1 Corinthians 15: 44
Man’s Etheric Body
The ancients thought that ether filled the sky, and was the home of the Gods. It was contended by Aristotle that it extended from the fixed stars down to the moon. Modern science has heretofore contended that all space is filled with a substance having rigidity and elasticity, with a density equal to our atmosphere at a height of about 210 miles—easily displaced by any moving mass—compared to an all-prevailing fluid or derivative of gases through which heat and light are constantly throbbing.
In “Modern View on Electricity,” Sir Oliver Lodge, speaking the last word concerning ether, says, “It is one continuous substance filling all space; which can vibrate as light, which, under certain unknown conditions, can be modified or analyzed into positive and negative electricity; which can constitute matter; and can transmit, by continuity and not by impact, every action and reaction which matter is capable. This is the modern view of ether and its functions. The most solid substance in the world is not iron, is not lead, is not gold, is not any of the things that impress our sense as extremely dense. The most solid thing in existence is the very thing which for generations has been universally regarded as the lightest, the most imperceptible, the most utterly tenuous and evanescent beyond definition or computation; it is the ether. The ether is supposed to permeate everything, to be everywhere, to penetrate all objects, to extend throughout all space. The earth moves through it; the sun and all the stars have their being and their motion in and through the ether; it carries light and electricity and all forms of radiation. Nobody has ever seen it, or rendered it evident to touch or to any other sense. It escapes all efforts to feel it, to weigh it, to subject it to any kind of scientific experiment. It plays no part in mechanics. It neither adds to nor takes away from the width or substance of any known substance. We are assured by some of the highest authorities that the ether is millions of times more dense than platinum, one of the most solid metals known.”
(Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940): World famous mid 19th-century British physicist, author, lecturer, and fearless champion for survival of death.)
I am assured by those versed in the physics of the afterlife, with whom I have speech, that all life, down to the atom, and beyond, has etheric form; that every atom that makes up mass of rock; that every molecule of earth that covers the barren stone; that every grain of sand that forms the ocean shore; that every seed, and plant, and shrub, and tree; that every drop of water that flows in creeks, falls as rain, or constitutes the lakes and seas—all have etheric form.
Another, speaking on this matter said:
“It is the etheric body that sees, hears, feels, smells and tastes, evidenced by the fact that the physical body has none of the five senses when separated from the etheric. The ear, for instance, with its complicated chamber and auditory nerves, really hears through the etheric brain. Sever the nerves, destroy the tympanum, and you destroy the communication; put any of the very fine mechanism of the auditory chamber out of commission, and you either cannot hear at all, or at best, very imperfectly. Every concussion causes an ever widening circle in the atmosphere, that is, in the ether of the atmosphere, which at least reaches the auditory chamber, an ever widening circle in the atmosphere, that is, in the ether of the atmosphere, which at last reaches the auditory chamber, communicates with those fine nerves and with the brain. By that wonderful process we understand the difference between harmony and in-harmony, between sweet sounds and discords. Similarly, through a disturbance set up in the ether we understand language.”
The Inner Spirit Body
“There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” Those words have fallen from the lips of priests, over the bodies of the so- called dead, for thousands of years, yet not a single minister who uttered them, nor one among the millions of mourners, who for centuries past heard them, ever formed any rational conception of what they meant—and for ages the world has been filled with sorrow.
I have seen spirit bodies materialize, have touched them and found them as the natural. I have heard them speak and tell over and over again that they had bodies, the same bodies as when they lived the earth life. Still I was not satisfied, and sought to know the character of the two, how they blended, how they worked as one, what natural law was involved, what happened in the dissolution process, why two were necessary, to the end that I might comprehend the fact, for until such knowledge was acquired I had only a very hazy idea, if any, of the situation.
As fast as I was able to comprehend the facts, they were given me, and lo and behold, like all natural laws, I found all simple.
I asked this question of Dr. David Hossack, who, as I stated before, has been in spirit life nearly a century:
“Is my understanding correct, that here and now we have, and possess, an inner etheric body, which, divested of its flesh garment, passes intact into the spirit world?”
In reply he said:
“There is an inner, etheric body, composed of minute particles, of such substance that it can, and does, pass into spirit life. Your outer bodies are too gross and material to effect the change. The inner body is but the mind, the thought, the soul of the person. It is in the semblance of the material body, but whether beautiful or ugly, strong or weak, depends upon the inner life of the person to whom belongs that particular spark of the great radiance called life, or God. Some there be who build a fair body, and some there be who come into this life with a body so misshapen and sickly it takes much effort to effect an upright, clean one. They all come with bodies naturally, as all things have minds, after one fashion or another; but the conditions of these bodies are very different. Naturally, the mind, being the reality of man, is that which lives on, —beautiful or disfigured by good or evil thoughts, as the case may be. The only comfort is that everyone has opportunity here to work out the change in himself, and sometimes those changes are very rapid.”
“In earth life I gave all for wearing apparel; and when I reached the spirit world, I did not have rags enough to cover me, and the beauty of my form had vanished. I was misshapen and distorted. At first I could not understand that it was my spiritual body that was so deformed, for I had not given the spiritual part of me a thought while on earth. In fact, the earth was all in all for me, and I did not trouble myself to think of another life, deeming the time better spent in enjoying the things I knew I possessed. A spirit came and offered to clothe me, but no sooner did the garments touch my body than they were discolored. My progress has been slow, but after many years of suffering I have developed my spirit and restored its beauty, but it is different from what it was in the life below.”
But evidence of all things spiritual must, of necessity, come from those who live there. Their condition is different, their laws are different, for they live in a world invisible to our eyes, and we cannot insist, if we could understand their life, on applying physical laws and methods. It is from spirit people that I have sought knowledge, and from them, and through years of investigation and research, I have come to know as a fact that “there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.”
God, Creation and Force
“Poise the cause in justice’ equal scales,
Whose beam stands sure, whose rightful cause prevails.”
Spiritual Conception of God
In order that one may have some idea of the character of my work, I give in this chapter a report, word for word, of a discourse given me on God. The spirit who gave it has aided me much by his teaching of the higher life. He said:
“I have some ability and am given much thought. I was interested in Metapsychic philosophy, and naturally I was in very bad repute among those who thought they knew life and its problems. I could and did receive inspired writings, but they were destroyed after my death by a sister. I knew something of spiritual law, and I practiced it to the best of my ability. I appreciated the need of helping others. This led me to establish a harbor for the sick. (Heriot Hospital, Edinburgh.) Someone sent me the thought that I was needed here, —I do not know who it was, but it was my desire to be with you. I am interested in your work, because my own life was so much given to this thought. I did not have much enlightenment save from phenomena, but it was enough to make me ready for the change. Yet I was dazed at first, it was all so beautiful. I found a dear younger sister waiting for me, and together we have climbed to great heights.
“Progression is unlimited. It stretches away into the vast future. One may climb and soar, but never reach the end of all that can be done to make oneself a perfect being. I understand that there are seven spheres. I am in the Fourth, but the last is without limit. Each plane is more ideally beautiful than the preceding; each, harder to tell about to earth’s ears. I cannot describe the wonderful sounds we call music; they are so rich, so harmonious; they find an echo in the deepest places of the heart; they create beautiful thoughts, and help one’s development in every way.
“The fields are blazing with posies, and filled with songbirds of brilliant plumage. Everything the heart or eye can desire is there, only enhanced in beauty beyond our comprehension, and as we pass from plane to plane we are always astounded. It becomes sublime. When one is away from the earth-plane there is no more mixing with the lower classes, except as your work takes you among them when they need help; but you live among your own kind and often meet them as neighbors through many planes, if your progression is about the same.
“In coming back to you we pass through all the planes below us, taking on their different conditions as we come, taking on a little more material in each one. I can explain it only in this way, although, of course, it is not material, a little less spiritual would be a more correct expression. It is not difficult to come back, but it is a little strange. To go into the lower spheres seems like taking a plunge into muddy water. As a rule, each plane helps those directly below it, except in special cases like this. I think many of your friends have not progressed as far as I have, and I was sent for because it was thought that I could explain further. Those in the lower plane have only to come near, for that is the earth-plane. You are on the material plane, which is lower still, and does not count among the spirit ones. Our home may be said to be space and what thought makes it. We simply create the different conditions about us by thought. A spirit in the earth-condition, can, by his better thought, change the conditions that exist where he is, and be able to see different good spirits about him.
“I would give this message to the world: Be clean, faithful, and strong, and your progression here will be rapid. I would add to this: Be tender of the weak, and, even if you understand nothing of the future life, your progress will be good. You ask me who and what is God? I answer, God is universal good. I mean the spirit of good that is in every man’s heart, tho’ it is sometimes covered with dust and dirt. I said universal, because I know it is there. Sometimes it will grow and blossom. There will come a time when man will know he is a part of the great scheme of the universe, and will realize that this scheme is good. More of God will come into his heart, the dust will scatter and the bud will grow. God is the life, the spirit entity of each man, all the better part of him. God is the spirit that permeates all the best in man and matter. The word ‘God’ is used by us. It is the thought-term of good. The Christian Savior was simply a type such as all religions have, —a symbol of a perfect man. Each one should lead a good life, the best his conception suggests; then he will know that good is a blessing, more lasting than riches and renown. One cannot talk to the Church, my friend, but to individuals, and through them hope to reach the Church itself. Through the shepherd, you reach the flock. The change is very disappointing to many. They expect to find something very different, and cannot make up their minds that they are not to throw all their burdens upon someone else. As I have said, when people have been conscientiously good, they are very easily taken into their right place. Sometimes they are stubborn for a while, but it all comes right in time.
“The best any can do is to try to make the world realize that the best in everything is most desirable, and that everything filled with good is best and lives on when evil is found despicable. One is happy when good, fearful and miserable when bad. Nature is God, is always good, always smiling even in her storms. Nature is but fulfilling her promise of future plenty, as a mother goes through the storm of childbirth, that she may replenish the earth. Be not wiser than Nature. Follow her as closely as you can. Nature is natural in all her changes. The God-spirit is breathing through every fold of the rose, every leaf and ear of corn. Let the sunshine pour into your heart, and be generous, natural, and abundant with your goodwill and cheerfulness. The rains will come when they are timed. They will replenish the green of the harvest and make it richer. The storms of life may beat upon you, but you will find they only break down the dead branches and you will be more straight and fair for their passing. God is in all this, and if you but open your heart and let into it all the good there is, you will find peace and exaltation. I will come again. Good night.”
This is what is now coming to me from a little beginning, and I give these words to you as I received them, unaltered and unchanged.
Origin of Man
The subject next in importance to the future condition or state is the origin of the spirit or soul of man. Darwin, Huxley, and many other great naturalists, biologists, and scholars, have reasoned and speculated on this theme with great force and logic. They do not claim to be authoritative, and they offer to the expectant world no definite, tangible facts. All is theory.
A spirit speaking from the higher state has said:
“When matter, according to natural law, becomes receptive, it is impregnated with this life-force of the universe, and with the help of material nature develops a soul. This overpowering spirit-force, so strong and harmonious with Nature, is able to enter into the seed and give the power to live. It is like the touch of a hand that starts a machine into motion. The great spirit of life, called God, is the match to light the fire. Material must be laid ready, for spirit cannot create in earth planes. It is not reincarnation, because individual spirit does not enter. Only the touch that generates life in the material seed is given.”
The spirit of man comes from the Sphere of God, or Universal Good, and it returns sometime, enriched and glorified, through the spheres and planes of progression.
Though we talk freely, when all conditions are at their best, with men and women after they have passed through the change called death, though we find that they retain consciousness and individuality, and are told much of their occupation and environment, many problems still remain. The spirits do not solve them, because they know little more of the solution than we do. They, like mortals, know what they have been taught only.
One who has worked with the American branch of the Society for Psychical Research and its great thinkers, who has himself made this thought the study of a life-time, read some of these chapters, and asked me pertinent questions, which I submitted to spirit-intelligences. In answering, I use the words given me by spirits as are included within marks of quotation.
What of Creation?
“The beginning of things was brought about long before this world existed. The universe was in a chaotic state for many centuries, while this solar system was gradually forming and becoming perfected. The great forces were very slowly evolved. The original propelling force came from a mere atom of good, that permeated seething, massing material. This held the tiny element of upliftment. Very slowly light came where there was darkness. Worlds were gradually fashioned. Finally, life began to take on form, —first in vegetable; second, in the lower animal; third, in man. All these simply came from an element of progress, impossible to understand or resist.”
What of the personality of God?
“We have tried to explain the personality of God to you before. We have said that we do not know absolutely. Many spirits think that God has personality; others, that God is but the combined souls of men, risen to the sublime height that makes them one with the universe. Spirits, just as mind on earth, form ideas from experience. I, myself, do not think there is a God other than this great united force of good.”
I cannot conceive of a man-God, with personality. The universe is so vast, and this earth and all thereon so small in comparison, that I cannot understand how such a conception could be possible. But, comprehending in some little way the power of one man’s mind over matter, I can appreciate the power and force of all minds in the universe working in perfect harmony. I can see God as a principle working universal good. I do not know what God is beyond what is told me. I cannot grasp the infinite; neither can spirits, until they become one with it.
What of the Christian Savior?
“Christ was a wonderfully spiritual being. His communion with spirits was unlimited and he lived His life in an exalted state, which made Him seem different from other men—that is, of course, believing his life was not a mere legend. If He did live, He could, since He was so spiritual, have risen rapidly to the highest sphere and mingled with those other souls—exalted through gradual purification, —and so fulfilled His inspired promises to mankind. From time to time you have such unusual spirits among men. Religions have been evolved from their lives, all tending to uplift men. Christ was the highest type that has come to us, and the influence for good in the story of His life is still unlimited.”
Why, then, is there conflict between spirit revelations?
Why ask a spirit to tell us now that which he, himself may not learn for a thousand years? Spirits do not know what is beyond them any more than we know what is beyond us. If life is endless progression, how can they? From actually living in the next spheres, they form opinions, based on such information as they have obtained, just as we do on economic questions. Those ideas may be honest, but may differ in conclusions.
I have positive knowledge.
Force is Life! A Mystery Difficult to Comprehend
“Force, wherever found or however expressed, is life.” These words fell from the lips of a profound spirit psychologist who was talking with me many years ago. I have ever since been trying to comprehend them, but so tremendous is their import that I have not made great headway. I can appreciate that there is force in all matter, and that life is in all substances. What would keep the atoms in touch with each other unless it were the force of attraction? Can we imagine force without matter, or matter without force? Force must be attached to something. We cannot conceive of life in any form except expressed in matter, for we understand that life in every form is governed by law.
Again, there can be no destruction of force. If it disappears in one form, it appears in another form.
Another, speaking on this matter said:
“There is no limit to space. Time is nothing in the universe. All creation is united, but erected by multitudes of individual atoms, the physical builders of the universe.
There are three physical laws in matter: repulsion, which tears down; attraction, which builds up; and arrangement, which produces form. All life, within a prescribed limit, is destined to be torn down, but all life that passes through the tearing-down limit is destined to continue forever.”
“Where is the line of demarcation in individual survival and non-survival?” I asked a learned Etherian. He answered:
“Every atom that makes up your globe has life-force and personality, but it is only when that life-force has progressed according to Nature’s laws, until the individual atom is clothed with material finer than earth substance, that it will have continuity. All life-force below that vibration will reform, to produce, clothe and protect man, the highest expression of life on your earth. All Nature is working to this end. All life-force which functions on your earth in a flesh garment survives.”
I then asked:
“If you have within our cosmos a part of that living God-force, so that ultimately we shall become a part of that directive force, are we here and now in reality mortal
“Embryo Gods! But in the end all will work as one, creating new worlds and peopling them, so that the infinite creative life-force may be increased. Such is our understanding. Nature can no more stand still than the individual. If it did stand still it would begin to decay, for stagnation means dissolution. New stars and constellations are being formed from time to time, as your astronomers know, which ultimately will become peopled, for progress extends throughout the universe.
“The minds of all who in ages past have inhabited your earth are even now journeying back to the source from which they came, and will function ultimately in and with that infinite creative force. Destiny is really beyond our comprehension as yet, but the privilege that is ours and yours we should ever have in mind, so that we may make ourselves able to develop to the utmost, wherever we are.
“Force, then, as you use that term, is the evidence of life as it functions physically. In fact, force and life are one and the same. All life-force is intelligence and dominating good. The elements are made up of all the right influences, motives, and deeds of all the spirits of eternity. This force grows as the spirit-force is increased, and that force is increased continually by atoms of this force being brought into earth-life through natural conceptions. This is necessary that the cycle may constantly expand, one within another, an endless chain, the greater cycle being that outside an enveloping lesser cycle.”
The Drama of Death/Leaving the Physical World
And he showed me a pure river of water of life clear as crystal. -Revelation. XXIII
The First Condition
The first step in progression is so earth-like it is at first difficult of comprehension. We have been so long taught that the death change is so marvelous, a spirit is reluctant to accept the simple situation. It has been compared to the going from one room into another. While surroundings are changed they are similar; like, yet unlike; but the thought and individuality are in no-wise altered. These are identical; the mode of expression and the touch only are different. This is not what is ordinarily expected, therefore it is oftentimes reluctantly accepted.
I have had many descriptions of life and conditions from those in the next world, among them the following:
“I have no recollection of my transition. I awoke and saw the smiling face of Grandmother. It seemed natural, and was intensely real. I had in my illness no thought of dying, so that it did not occur to me at first that she had long before made the change known as death. I had been very fond of her. She met me with words of tenderness and love, and gradually explained just what had happened.
“I will not speak of the shock it was to me to witness the grief of my parents. I wished to get up from my bed; with the desire, I was out of it and felt loving arms about me, heard joyous words of welcome, and behold, I was clothed with soft white raiment—this without volition of my own. I was taken to her home, a cottage surrounded with wall and garden where flowers grew in abundance. There I found, in his young manhood, a brother who had passed on in infancy.
“I had much to learn, but there were many to help. I marveled at what could be done by thought. The home and its environment were thought creations, and in a little time, by concentrating my thought and visualizing things desired, they took form and appeared, seemingly out of the invisible, but to me tangible and real. Thus I furnished my room, and hung on the walls thought pictures of those I love.
“But do not imagine we have any magic wand that will enable us to fashion everything desired. We have our limitations, the same as you do. I have now just such a home as is suitable to my condition, but by work I can change, improve, and beautify it. Some people who, in earth life, lived in palaces, now live in hovels, under conditions most deplorable.
“Until now I never knew what it was to be absolutely well. A vitality is within me I had never before known. I feel no weariness with the work I am doing. Another condition that impressed me was that all time is now, and all distance annihilated. We live in the present always, and if we desire to enter another condition within our zone, or go to a place on your plane, we concentrate our thoughts, and we are there. This is to me, even yet, most marvelous.
“You ask of my friends here. The most wonderful thing about this life is the way harmonious spirits get together. The communion of souls spoken of in the Bible is a literal phase of life here. It is the finest and most satisfactory companionship I have known, and so enduring. You just seem a part of them and they of you, for the law of harmony holds you together and makes a perfect union. There is nothing physical about it, of course; it is finer than any physical thrill you have ever known. One feels so contented with this perfect understanding and mingling together. I do not seem to get lonely anymore. I am busy and interested; life on your plane seems like a dream, and now the only time I have really lived.”
“What of your occupation and work?” I asked this spirit, who left this world in the dawn of young womanhood, and whom it was my privilege to know. She replied:
“There seems no end of things to do. There are many crippled children here who have never walked, and I have been impressing them with the thought that they are no longer crippled. We have no bodily imperfections, you know, and I am teaching them little dance-steps, and observing their joy as they realize that they can use their legs. I am also going to classes in higher ethics, to understand the way motives and thoughts are power for good or evil. The mind is so powerful, and one’s thought react through eternity. The minds of many people are really deplorable. The days fly, and I am very active. The forces are such that one has to work and do something all the time, and comes the satisfaction of accomplishing things. I find more and more congenial people. Life is free and lively, with no restriction in space, time, or energy. If we want to do some particular thing, we seem to have all the energy imaginable to put it through, and we get so much out of it.
“There are those who are constantly influencing people in earth life. I am intensely interested in their work, although I never believed much in it when I was with you. But now I can see the results of wrong thought and I find I can at times prevent a little, and it is interesting to do that. I am going to make a big change in my life here very soon. I mean that I am going to progress a little further; so I am doing more to express myself. That is the great joy of being here. When you get to the stage of self expression, you feel the great thrill of creation, because you are creating yourself and becoming one with the great Power, instead of being moved by higher laws. I do not mean that we are not governed by higher laws. We all are so governed, but progress is an expression of the force of creation, so that when you advance, you feel that you belong to the higher forces and working with them.”
A Soul’s Awakening
Experiences and Surroundings Described.
“First of all—I awakened free from pain, care, and toil; no grief, no cold or heat, no thirst or hunger; and above all, the pleasure of being reunited with those I love. Tender arms enfolded me, and I heard the tones of well-remembered friends, long lost, almost forgotten, whispering words of welcome. I gazed around and saw a brilliant, happy circle of loved and loving friends, companions and kindred, beckoning. No more parting, no more death, no more sadness.
“I saw white, spirit cities, long bright roads, embowered in groves and waving trees, and outstretched flowery plains, all full of lovely, happy, busy people, radiant with joy and life. Such was my awakening; such the rest my tired spirit encountered.
“It is only when I return to the earth-plane, and come in contact with grief and sorrow, that I take on earth conditions. I feel no sense of weight. I sped like the lightning’s flash through space, on the buoyant waves of ether; I see the dull round globe, at times, far, far below, with its canopy of clouds, and mankind, insect-like, swarming upon the surface. I look up through happy tears to the heavens, so dim to earth, but so gorgeously bright to me.
“Vain would be the effort to speak of things and scenes, modes of life, for which earth has no language or parallel. Some few conditions of this better land of ours I may describe in human speech; more we are not allowed to give, lest it tempt many to end earth life, with work undone.
“Our home is the place where our loved ones cluster, to which our divergent wanderings tend back again. Home is the place where all our tastes find expression, where one may rest, grow, and exchange glad greetings with all he seeks or loves—a place to think in, until we grow ready for another advance. Every spirit has a home, a center of love, rest, and ingathering of new powers and forces—a place where all one has desired, most wished or longed for, takes shape and becomes embodied in the soul’s surroundings.
“Sometimes a spirit gravitates as mine did, to some lonely, church-like hall, a quiet place of inner rest and contemplation, where the past resolves itself into shadowy pictures which come and go, mapping out the minutest event, thought, or word of past earthly life. I saw that ineffaceable record, which every soul must read again and again, as the past returned with its appropriate judgment.
“Many events for which, at the time of their occurrence, I felt regret, I found as inevitable results of previous acts, without which my life would have been incomplete. Deeds and actions on which I had prided myself now showed the littleness from which they sprang; sorrows, which had wrung my spirit, appeared as blessings; and thoughts which I had once lamented, I find to have been inevitable effects. I saw myself to be, as it were, a chemical compound, made up of what I have been, or what I had done, said or thought.
“All things appeared in judgment, and, stranger yet, all that I had and all that I possessed, enjoyed, or saw, the very air I breathed, was tinctured by myself; so that I saw, felt, heard, and enjoyed only as my inner nature colored my surroundings. All things are real around me, but my capacity to know and use them has sprung from my inner self.
“In our land, ideas are all incarnate realities and living things. Nothing is lost in the universe. All that ever has been, can be, or shall be, is garnered up in the ever-present laboratory of being. It is a glorious privilege to roam throughout the endless corridors of time, and still to find an eternity in which to progress.”
The Death Change
What happens at death? What are one’s sensations, and what meets the vision on awakening? This has been described thousands of times, and I quote from my records something of what I have been told on the important subject:
“It is a privilege to tell you of my transition. The last physical sensation that I recall was one of falling, but I had no fear—it seemed so natural. At the same time I heard voices speaking words of encouragement, voices that I recognized as those of loved ones that I thought dead. For a time I had no recollection. Then I awoke in this spirit sphere, and never will I forget the joy that was mine. I found myself, saw my body, which appeared as usual, except lighter and more ethereal. I was resting on a couch in a beautiful room filled with flowers. I looked through a window and saw the landscape, bathed in rose-colored light. There was a quiet that was impressive, then music, the harmonious vibration of which seemed to rise and fall softly. Then one appeared, and, though she spoke no words, I seemed to understand and answered. In this thought language she told me that she had been my guardian while in the old body, and now that I had been released she would take me over the home that I had in my life been building.
“She said: This room so beautiful is the result of your self-denial and the happiness you brought to others, but there are others not so pleasing;’ and we passed into another that was dark and filled with rubbish; the air was heavy. This,’ my guide said, ‘was built through my selfishness.’ Then to another, a little better lighted. I was told that every effort to do better created something brighter. Then into the garden where, among beautiful flowers, grew obnoxious weeds, the result of spiritual idleness. The house must all be made beautiful,’ she said, ‘the weeds of idleness uprooted; and this can be done by yourself, through work in the lower planes, by helping others.”
My father’s experience he described to me as follows:
“You will recall the day of my dissolution. I had been in poor health for some months. That morning the air was so soft and warm, and the sun so bright, I wanted to be out in it, so I took my horse and buggy and started for a village about seven miles distant. As I drove along, a weakness seemed to come upon me and I partially reclined upon the seat. Even then, though seventy-six years of age, I had no thought that my passing was near. As I arrived at the house where I was going, the sensation of weakness increased, but I was able to walk in unaided and sat in a chair. The faintness increased, and, raising my eyes, I saw your mother standing in the room, smiling. Startled, I arose to my feet, and my last earthly sensation was falling—and, as I now know, I did pitch forward on my face. I do not recall striking the floor, or pain in my death change. When the separation came, I was like one in sleep. The next I recall was awakening in the same room, with the leader of your spirit group holding my hand, helping me up. I had heard his wonderful voice many times when I was privileged to come into your work, but it took me some little time to realize what happened to me. I saw my body on the floor. This startled me, for the body I then had was to my sight and touch identical with the one lying so quiet. I saw people hurrying, and heard the anxious talk, not yet comprehending my separation from the physical body. I turned to your old friend, and mine, and asked him what had happened. He answered:
“Have you not been told when you talked with us in your son’s home, that death was the separation of the inner from the outward body?’
“I recall that statement,’ I replied, ‘but I never comprehended it.’
“You have just made that change,’ he said; “you are now an inhabitant of the spirit world and one of us.”
“I was deeply impressed with what he said, but dazed. I could not realize that the something called death was behind me and that in me there had been no change, for I was the same in appearance and thought as before. Then memory quickened, and I commenced to think of what it meant. I could not think clearly, and my guide said, ‘Come with me for a little time and rest, and all will be well with you.’ I went with him, and those I saw and what I was I will tell you another time.”
This is another’s description.
“I remember seeing about me those that had been dead for a long time. This impressed me greatly, but I did not realize it fully. Then I felt a peculiar sensation all through my body. Then I seemed to rise up out of my body and come down quietly on the floor.
“I was in the same room, but there seemed to be two of me, one on the bed and one beside the bed. All about were my family in deep grief, why I could not tell, for my great pain was gone and I felt much better. Some of those whom I recognized as persons who had died, asked me to go, and with that thought I was outside and could apparently walk on air. My next thought was that it was a dream and that I would awake and feel again the terrible pain. I was gently told what had happened, and I felt that God had been unjust to take me when I had so much to do, and when I was so needed by my family. I was not satisfied with the place I was in. About me there was a fog, and I started to walk out of it, but the farther I walked the more dense it got, and I became discouraged and sat down by the wayside in deep grief. I had ever tried the very best for those dependent on me. Where was my reward? Then some one approached, came as it were out of the fog, and I told him of my life work and complained of the condition I was in, and questioned the justice of it. He replied, “Yours was a selfish love; you worked for self. You should have made others happy as well as your own.”
“He promised to help me in my great trouble, if I would help myself. Together we have worked, and now all is well; it is light and glorious. But that first awakening was not all that could be desired. My greatest disappointment after my awakening was when I returned to my old home, for I discovered that none could see or feel me and all grieved for me as one dead, and their sorrow held me. I wept with them, and could not get away, until time healed their sorrow.”
How terrible it is that the world that has made so much progress in many things knows little of this greatest change, and the little it does know has almost been forced upon it by a few that know this truth and have the courage to stand for it.
These descriptions, as I review what I have written, do not give a fair idea of an average death change, and looking through my records I find another more normal:
“I left the physical world rich. I had little money, but day by day, during a fairly long life, by some act I made others happier, and so spiritualized and uplifted my spirit. Such was my only religion.
“When the separation approached, though I had no actual knowledge of what was to come, I had no fear. I had been very sick, felt greatly exhausted, and longed for rest. I realized the presence of my family and their grief. There came to my senses harmonious vibrations that sounded afar off, like string and reed instruments played by master hands. It seemed to approach and then recede, and was lost. It soothed and comforted me. Then I realized that others were in the room. I could not see their faces distinctly, and wondered at strangers coming in at such a time. Some one spoke, and, rousing up, I saw more clearly and recognized many of my friends whom I had thought dead.
“I was not startled or frightened—it was all so natural. They greeted me cordially and asked me to go with them. Without effort, other than desire, I arose and joined them and went with them, for the moment forgetting the grief of my family. I seemed to travel without effort. Then I met a great company of men and women with radiant faces, clothed in white and blending colors. Their greeting was one of joyous welcome, and happiness was in everything. It was like meeting old friends that had been gone for a time; it was simply glorious and so intense that for a time I gave no thought to the tremendous import of it all. Then I looked about. There was harmony in everything. I was in a new country. About me I saw great variety of landscape, most picturesque mountain ranges, valleys, rivers, lakes, forests, and the corresponding vegetable life of all that I had known. It was suggested that I go to a rest house, where my strength would be restored. I did and seemed to fall into a deep sleep almost immediately. After a time I awoke, when some one whom I knew and loved said, ‘Come with me now and view your inheritance.’ I went, and the glory of it was, and is, beyond my power of description.
“I should like the privilege some time to tell the world of the beauty in which I live, and the pleasure I find in the work allotted to me. This plane, and all planes, I am told, is governed by law—Nature’s law, the same as yours—and it is the privilege and duty of every one to develop the spirit by study and helping others. There is so much I should like to say of my return to my family, but, as I am asked only to describe my spirit passage, I will leave that and tell you more concerning the joy of the spirit at some more opportune time.”
There are those in the next life who have qualified for, and are assigned to, the reception department, whose duty it is to solace and comfort such as are grief-stricken because of the sudden severing of social ties, as it seems to those taken suddenly out of the mortal. This is a description:
“I am here to describe as well as I can the actual scenes over here, as the new born spirits, divested of their physical bodies, come over. They come to us, not one or two or three, but in crowds, by thousands and more, some not awakened to consciousness, some just waking, some fully conscious. Few realize for some time that they have passed the portal you call death, but a realization comes and they understand, their thoughts are of their strongest ties.
“What a commotion of feeling one hears! The same intense feelings exist when out of the old body as when in the physical, and those feelings are just as discernible to spirit sensation as before, only the mode of expression and reception is changed.
“As I was feeling my soul leaving the physical sheath, I heard mysterious chords of rhythmic melody rising and falling like distant waves of the sea. A voice said in thrilling gentleness:
‘My child, pass from vision into luminous light, from night to day, from death to life.’
“Then a light beating slowly passed away from about me and to my utter amazement I found myself resting at a place quite free and transcendent with divine light. A deep and gentle sound vibrating through the etherial firmament filled me with joy and happiness, and nothing was perceptible to me except this vibration of the sound. I felt that I must wait till a divine messenger came to guide me into the regions yet unseen. The atmosphere of awe and reverence that swept over me for the moment gradually paled away and, rising as I thought, I walked through the darkness which then encompassed me. As I did this, my other hand was suddenly caught by some one in a warm and eager clasp and I was guided along with an infinitely gentle but commanding touch, which I had no hesitation in obeying. Step by step I walked with a strange sense of happy reliance on my companion and guide. Darkness and distance had no misgivings for me. And as I went onward with my hand yet held in that masterful but tender grasp, my thoughts became, as it were, suddenly cleared into a light of full understanding of the celestial world and its joy. And so I went on and on, caring little how long the journey might be and even eagerly wishing that it might continue, when presently a faint light began to peer through darkness, first blue and grey, then white, and then rose. The light, so sublimely luminous, gradually condensed into matter, and in a moment a celestial being of beauty, richly wrapped up in pure white and silken robes, stood before me. After the thrilling sensation, caused by this sudden manifestation, had given a little way for courage and hope, I beheld the same figure transforming into an almost manly and commanding attitude, with radiant face and brilliant eyes now turned towards me. It asked, in a gentle but firm tone, whether I would like to remain there in the ethereal world and enjoy the pleasure stored up for me as a requital for my past life on the earth plane. Overwhelmed with awe and respect, I could give no answer. Seeing me thus puzzled, my guide placed his right hand upon my forehead and a gentle massage filled me with strength and fresh energy.
“I became bold and courageous, looked my visitor in the eyes, and knelt before him. He lifted me up gently and said I could for a time remain in those ethereal regions where all was pleasure and happiness. He said the place I was then in was the destination of those who spend their lives and energy on earth for the sake of their fellow-creatures, people who do great deeds for the uplift of the oppressed and harassed, —the abode of people who showed equal compassion to both men and beasts. This was my welcome, such my second birth. This was my greeting when I crossed the frontiers of the After Life.”
We are only tenants in this house of the body for a limited time, and when it becomes unfit for habitation, through disease or accident, we move out, we separate from it, and the material body, that cannot hold its force without nourishment, decays and mingles with the earth from which it was borrowed. So far as I know, no man has ever attempted to describe the final separation of the spirit from the body, in the change called Death. Indeed, such a description from this material plane is impossible. With the ability to talk with those beyond, I have been able to obtain descriptions of the separation of the spirit from this temporary home. Not long ago an eminent judge, about six o’clock