EXCEPT YE BE AS LITTLE
I once heard a man
refer to this world as the play world, “for,” said he, “we are all children
here, and we create the environment that we desire.” As a child at play can turn
a chair into a tower or a prancing steed, so we in this world can make real for
the moment whatever we imagine.
Has it never filled you with amazement, that absolute vividness of
the imagination of children? A child says unblushingly and with conviction,
“That rug is a garden, that plank in the floor is a river, that chair is a
castle, and I am a king.”
Why does he say these things? How can he say these things?
Because—and here is the point—he still subconsciously remembers the life out
here which he so lately left. He has carried over with him into the life of
earth something of his lost freedom and power of imagination.
That does not mean that all things in this
world are imaginary—far from it. Objects here, objects existing in tenuous
matter, are as real and comparatively substantial as with you; but there is the
possibility of creation here, creation in a form of matter even more subtle
If you create something on earth in solid matter, you create it
first in thought-substance; but there is this difference between your creation
and ours: until you have moulded solid matter around your thought-pattern you do
not believe that the thought pattern really exists save in your own fancy.
We out here can see the thought-creations of others if we and they
will it so.
We can also—and I tell you this for your comfort—we can also see
your thought creations, and by adding the strength of our will to yours we can
help you to realise them in a substantial form.
Sometimes we build here bit by bit, in the four-dimensional world,
especially when we wish to leave a thing for others to see and enjoy, when we
wish a thing to survive for a long time. But a thought-form is visible to all
highly developed spirits.
Of course you understand that not all spirits
are highly developed. In fact very few are far progressed; but the dullest man
out here has something which most of you have lost—the faith in his own
Now, the power which makes creation possible is not lost to a soul
when it takes on solid matter again. But the power is gradually overcome and the
imagination is discouraged by the incredulity of mature men and women, who say
constantly to the child: “That is only play; that is not really so; that is only
If you print these letters, I wish you would insert here fragments
from the wonderful poem of Wordsworth, “Intimations of Immortality from
Recollections of Early Childhood.”
“Our birth is but a sleep and a
The soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to
Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s Priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.”
There is almost no limit to the possibilities of the imagination; but to get
the full power of it, one must trust one’s imagination. If you say to yourself
constantly, as the mother says to the child, “But this is only play; this is not
real,” you never can make real the things you have created in thought.
The imagination itself is like a child and must be encouraged and
believed in, or it cannot develop and do its perfect work.
It is really fortunate for some of you that I am out here. I can do
more for you here than there, because I have even greater faith in my
imagination than I had before.
The man who called this the play world has been trying all sorts of
experiments with the power in himself. I have not his permission to tell the
stories he tells me, but they would surprise you. For one thing, he helped his
wife, after his so-called death, to carry out a joint plan of theirs which had
seemed impossible to them before because of their lack of real faith. It was for
the erection of a certain kind of house.
But do not fancy that most people here are
trying to build houses on earth. Far from it. Most of my fellow-citizens are
willing to work where they are, and to let the earth alone. Of course there are
“dreamers” like me, who are not satisfied with one world, and who like to have
their fingers in both; but they are rather rare, as poets are rare on earth. To
most men the world they happen to be in is sufficient for the time being.
There is a certain fancy of mine, however, which it will amuse me to
help realise on earth. You may not know that I am doing it, but I shall know. I
would not, “for the world” as you say, disturb anybody by even the thought that
I am fussing around in affairs which now are theirs. But if, unseen and unfelt,
I can help with the power of my self-confident imagination, there will be no
harm done, and I shall have demonstrated something.