It would be hard for
you to understand, merely by my telling you, the difference between your life
and ours. Begin with the difference in substance, not only the substance of our
bodies, but the substance of natural objects which surround us.
Do you start at the term “natural objects” as applied to the things
of this world? You did not fancy, did you, that we had escaped Nature? No one
escapes Nature—not even God. Nature is.
Imagine that you had spent sixty or seventy years in a heavy
earthly body, a body which insisted on growing fat, and would get stiff-jointed
and rheumatic, even going on strike occasionally to the extent of laying you up
in bed for repairs of a more or less clumsy sort. Then fancy yourself suddenly
exchanging this heavy body for a light and elastic form. Can you imagine it? I
confess that it would have been difficult for me, even a year or two ago.
Clothed in this form, which is sufficiently
radiant to light its own place when its light is not put out by the cruder light
of the sun, fancy yourself moving from place to place, from person to person,
from idea to idea. As time goes on even the habit of demanding nourishment
gradually wears off. We are no longer bothered by hunger and thirst; though I,
for instance, still stay myself occasionally with a little nourishment, an
infinitesimal amount compared with the beefsteak dinners which I used to eat.
And we are no longer harassed by the thousand-and-one petty duties
of the earth. Out here we have more confidence in moods. Engagements are seldom
made—that is, binding engagements. As a rule, though there are exceptions,
desire is mutual. I want to see and commune with a friend at the same time when
he feels a desire for my society, and we naturally drift together. The
companionships here are very beautiful; but the solitudes are also full of
Since the first two or three months I have not
been lonesome. At first I felt like a fish out of water, of course. Nearly
everyone does; though there are exceptions in the case of very spiritual people
who have no earthly ties or ambitions. I had so fought the idea of “dying,” that
my new state seemed at first to be the proof of my failure, and I used to wander
about under the impression that I was going to waste much valuable time which
could have been used to better advantage in the storm and stress of earthly
Of course the Teacher came to me; but he was too wise to carry me on
his back even from the first. He reminded me of a few principles, which he left
me to apply; and gradually, as I got hold of the applications, I got hold of
myself. Then also gradually the beauty and wonder of the new condition began to
dawn on me, and I saw that instead of wasting time I was really gaining
tremendous experience which could be utilised later.
I have talked with many people here, people of all stages of
intellectual and moral growth, and I am sorry to say that the person who has a
clear idea of the significance of life and its possibilities for development is
about as rare here as it is on the earth. As I have said before, a man does not
suddenly become all-wise by changing the texture of his body.
The vain man of earth is likely to be vain
here, though in his next life the very law of reaction—if he has overdone
vanity—may send him back as a modest or even bashful person, for a while at
least, until the reaction has spent itself. In coming out a man brings his
character and characteristics with him.
I have often been sorry for men who in life had been slaves of the
business routine. Many of them cannot get away from it for a long time; and
instead of enjoying themselves here, they go back and forth to and from the
scenes of their old labours, working over and over some problem in tactics or
finance until they are almost as weary as when they “died.”
As you know, there are teachers here. Few of them are of the stature
of my own Teacher; but there are many who make it their pleasure to help the
souls of the newly arrived. They never leave a newcomer entirely to his own
resources. Help is always offered, though it is not always accepted. In that
case it will be offered again and again, for those who give themselves to others
do so without hope of reward or even acknowledgment.
If I had set out to write a scientific treatise
of the life on this side, I should have begun in quite a different way from
this. In the first place, I should have postponed the labour about ten years,
until all my facts were pigeon-holed and docketed; then I should have begun at
the beginning and dictated a book so dull that you would have fallen asleep over
it, and I should have had to nudge you from time to time to pick up the pencil
that had fallen from your somnolent hand.
Instead, I began to write soon after coming out, and these letters
are really the letters of a traveler in a strange country. They record his
impressions, often his mistakes, sometimes perhaps his provincial prejudices;
but at least they are not a rehash of what somebody else has said.
I like you keeping my photograph on
your mantel as you do; it helps me to come. There is a great power in a
I have been drawing pictures for you lately on the canvas of dreams,
to show you the futility and vanity of certain things. Did you not know that we
could do that? The power of the so-called dead to influence the living is
immense, provided that the tie of sympathy has been made. I have taught you how
to protect yourself against influences which you do not want, so do not be
afraid. I will always stand guard to the extent of warning you if there is any
danger of attack from this side. Already I have drawn a magic ring around you
which only the most advanced and powerful spirits could pass, even if they
desired—that is, the Teachers and I drew it together. You are doing our work
just now, and have a right to our protection. That the labourer is worthy of his
hire is an axiom of both worlds.
Only you yourself could now let down the bars
for the inrush of evil and irresponsible spiritual intelligences, and if you
should inadvertently let down the bars we should rush to put them up again. We
have some authority out here. Yes, even so soon I can say that. Are you