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Letters from a Living Dead Man


LETTER

 

Introduction

I.

The Return

II.

Tell No Man

III.

Guarding the Door

IV.

A Cloud on the Mirror

V.

The Promise of Things Untold

VI.

The Wand of Will

VII.

A Light behind the Veil

VIII.

The Iron Grip of Matter

IX.

Where Souls go up and down.

X.

A Rendezvous in the Fourth Dimension

XI.

The Boy–Lionel

XII.

The Pattern World

XIII.

Forms Real and Unreal

XIV.

A Folio of Paracelsus

XV.

A Roman Toga

XVI.

A Thing to be forgotten

XVII.

The Second Wife over there

XVIII.

Individual Hells

XIX.

A little Home in Heaven

XX.

The Man who found God

XXI.

The Leisure of the Soul

XXII.

The Serpent of Eternity

XXIII.

A Brief for the Defendant

XXIV.

Forbidden Knowledge

XXV.

A Shadowless World

XXVI.

Circles in the Sand

XXVII.

The Magic Ring

XXVIII.

Except ye be as Little Children

XXIX.

An Unexpected Warning

XXX.

The Sylph and the Magician

XXXI.

A problem in Celestial Mathematics

.XXXII.

A Change of Focus

XXXIII.

Five Resolutions

XXXIV.

The Passing of Lionel

XXXV.

The Beautiful Being

XXXVI.

The Hollow Sphere

XXXVII.

An Empty China Cup

XXXVIII.

Where Time is not

XXXIX.

The Doctrine of Death

XL.

The Celestial Hierarchy

XLI.

The Darling of the Unseen

XLII.

A Victim of the Non-existent

XLIII.

A Cloud of Witnesses

XLIV.

The Kingdom Within

XLV.

The Game of Make-believe

XLVI.

Heirs of Hermes

XLVII.

Only a Song

XLVIII.

Invisible Gifts at Yuletide

XLIX.

The Greater Dreamland

L.

A Sermon and a Promise

LI.

The April of the World

LII.

A Happy Widower

LIII.

The Archives of the Soul

LIV.

A Formula for Mastership


 

 

LETTER XXVII

 

 THE MAGIC RING

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 charm.

            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 living.
            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 photograph.
            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 surprised?

LETTER XXVIII

LETTER XXVI