A ROMAN TOGA
ONE thing which makes this country so
interesting to me is its lack of conventionality. No two persons are dressed in
the same way—or no, I do not mean that exactly, but many are so eccentrically
dressed that their appearance gives variety to the whole.
My own clothes are, as a rule, similar to those I wore on
earth, though I have as an experiment, when dwelling in thought on one of my
long-past lives, put on the garments of the period.
It is easy to get the clothes one wants here. I do not know
how I became possessed of the garments which I wore on coming out; but when I
began to take notice of such things, I found myself dressed about as usual. I am
not yet sure whether I brought my clothes with me.
There are many people here in costumes of the ancient days. I
do not infer from this fact that they have been here all those ages. I think
they wear such clothes because they like them.
As a rule, most persons stay near the place where they
lived on earth; but I have been a wanderer from the first. I go rapidly from one
country to another. One night (or day with you) I may take my rest in America;
the next night I may rest in Paris. I have spent hours of repose on the divan in
your sitting-room, and you did not know that I was there. I doubt, though, if I
could stay for hours in your house when I was myself awake without your sensing
Do not think, however, from what I have just said, that it is
necessary for me to rest on the solid matter of your world. Not at all. We can
rest on the tenuous substance of our own world.
One day, when I had been here only a short time, I saw a
woman dressed in a Greek costume, and asked her where she got her clothes. She
replied that she had made them. I asked her how, and she said:
"Why, first I made a pattern in my mind, and then the thing
became a garment."
"Did you take every stitch?"
"Not as I should have done on earth."
I looked closer and saw that the whole garment seemed to be
in one piece, and that it was caught on the shoulders by jewelled pins. I asked
where she got the jewelled pins, and she said that a friend had given them to
her. Then I asked where the friend had got them. She told me that she did not
know, but that she would ask him. Soon after that she left me, and I have not
seen her since, so the question is still unanswered.
I began to experiment to see if I also could make things.
It was then that I conceived the idea of wearing a Roman toga, but for the life
of me I could not remember what a Roman toga looked like.
When next I met the Teacher I told him of my wish to wear a
toga of my own making, and he carefully showed me how to create garments such as
I desired: To fix the pattern and shape clearly in my mind, to visualise it, and
then by power to desire to draw the subtle matter of the thought-world round the
pattern, so as actually to form the garment.
"Then," I said, "the matter of the thought-world, as you call
it, is not the same kind of matter as that of my body, for instance?"
"In the last analysis," he answered, "there is only one kind
of matter in both worlds; but there is a great difference in vibration and
Now the thought-substance of which our garments are formed
seems to be an extremely tenuous form of matter, while our bodies seem to be
pretty solid. We do not feel at all like transparent angels sitting on damp
clouds. Were it not for the quickness with which I get over space, I should
think sometimes that my body was as solid as ever.
I can often see you, and to me you seem tenuous. It is
all, I suppose, the old question of adjusting to environment. At first I could
not do it, and had some trouble in learning to adjust the amount of energy
necessary for each particular action. So little energy is required here to move
myself about that at first when I started to go a short distance—say, a few
yards—I would find myself a mile away. But I am now pretty well adjusted.
I must be storing up energy here for a good hard life when I
return to the earth again. The hardest work I do now is to come and write
through your hand, but you offer less and less resistance as time goes on. In
the beginning it took all my strength; now it takes only a comparatively small
effort. Yet I could not do it long at a time without using your own vitality,
and that I will not do.
You may have noticed that you are no longer fatigued
after the writing, though you used to be at first.
But I was speaking of the lack of conventionality out
here. Souls hail each other when they want to, without much ceremony. I have
seen a few old women who were afraid to talk to a stranger, but probably they
had not been here long and the earth habits still clung to them.
Do not think, however, that society here is too free and
easy. It is not that, but men and women do not seem to be so afraid of each
other as they were on earth.