FORMS REAL AND UNREAL
WHEN I first came out here I was so
interested in what I saw that I did not question much as to the manner of the
seeing. But lately—especially since writing the last letter or two—I have begun
to notice a difference between objects that at a superficial glance seem to be
of much the same substance. For example, I can sometimes see a difference
between those things which have existed on earth unquestionably, such as the
forms of men and women, and other things which, while visualised and seemingly
palpable, may be, and probably are, but thought-creations.
This idea came to me while looking on at the dramas of the
heaven country, and it was forced upon me with greater power while making other
and recent explorations in that which I have called the pattern world.
Later I may be able to distinguish at a glance between
these two classes of seeming objects. For example, if I encounter here a being,
or what seems a being, and if I am told that it is some famous character in
fiction, such as Jean Valjean in Hugo's Les Misérables, I shall have
reason to believe that I have seen a thought-form of sufficient vitality to
stand alone, as a quasi-entity in this world of tenuous matter. So far I have
not encountered any such characters.
Of course, unless I were able to hold converse with a being,
a form, or saw others do so, I could not positively state that it had an
essential existence. Hereafter I shall often put things to the test in this way.
If I can talk to a seeming entity, and if it can answer me, I am justified in
considering it as a reality. A character in fiction, or any other mental
creation, however vivid as a picture, would have no soul, no unit of force, no
real self. Whatever comes to me merely as a picture I shall try to submit to
If I see a peculiar form of tree or animal, and can touch and
feel it,—for the senses here are quite as acute as those of earth,—I know that
it exists in the subtle matter of this plane.
I believe that all the beings whom I have seen here are
real; but if I can find one that is not,—a being which I cannot feel when I
touch it and which cannot respond to my questions,—I shall have a datum for my
hypothesis that thought-forms of beings, as well as things, may have sufficient
cohesion to seem real.
It is undoubtedly true that there is no spirit without
substance, no substance without spirit, latent or expressed; but a painting of a
man may seem at a distance to be a man.
Can there exist deliberate thought-creations here, deliberate
and purposive creations? I believe so. Such a thought-form would probably have
to be very intense in order to persist.
It seems to me that I had better settle this question to my
own satisfaction before talking any more about it.