A PROBLEM IN
vividness with which you feel my presence at times, you can judge of the
intensity of the life that I am living. I am no pallid spook, dripping with
grave-dew. I am real, and quite as wholesome—or so it seems to me—as when I
walked the earth in a more or less unhealthy body. The ghastly spectres, when
they return, do not talk as I talk. Ask those who have seen and heard them.
It is well that you have kept yourself comparatively
free of communications “from the other world.”
It would have been amazing had you been afraid of me.
But there are those who would be, if they should sense my presence as you sense
One night I
knocked at the door of a friend’s chamber, half expecting a welcome. He jumped
out of bed in alarm, then jumped back again, and pulled the blanket over his
head. He was really afraid that it might be I! So, as I did not wish to be
responsible for a case of heart failure, or for a shock of hair which, like that
in the old song, “turned white in a single night,” I went quietly away.
Doubtless he persuaded himself next day that there were mice in the wainscotting.
Had you been afraid of me, though, I
should have been ashamed of you; for you know better. Most persons do not.
It is a real pleasure for me to come
back and talk with you sometimes. “There are no friends like the old friends,”
and the society of sylphs and spirits would never quite satisfy me if all those
whom I had known and loved should turn their backs on me.
sylphs, I met the Teacher last night, and asked him if that French magician I
told you about could really make good his promise to his aerial companion, and
help her to acquire the kind of soul essential to incarnation on earth as a
woman. His answer was, “No.”
Of course I asked him why, and he answered that
the elemental creatures, or units of force inhabiting the elements, as we use
that term, could not, during this life cycle, step out of their element into the
“Can they ever do
so?” I asked.
“I do not
know,” he replied; “but I believe that all the less evolved units around the
earth are working in the direction of man; that the human is a stage of
development that they will all reach some day, but not in this life cycle.”
I asked the
Teacher if he knew the magician in question, and he answered that he had known
him for a thousand years, that long ago, in a former life, the Paris magician
had placed his feet upon the path which leads to power; but that he had been
side-tracked by the desire for selfish pleasures, and that he might wander a
long time before he found his way back to real and philosophical truth.
“Is he to be blamed or pitied?” I
“Pity cuts no figure in the problem,” the Teacher replied. “A man seeks
what he desires.”
After the Teacher went away I began asking myself questions. What was I
seeking, and what did I desire? The answer came quickly: “Knowledge.” A year ago
I might have answered “Power,” but knowledge is the forerunner of power. If I
get true knowledge, I shall have power enough.
It is because I want to give to you, and possibly to
others, a few scraps of knowledge which might be inaccessible to you by any
other means, that I am coming back, and coming back, time after time, to talk
The greatest bit of knowledge that I have to offer to you is this: that by
the exercise of will a man can retain his objective consciousness after death.
Many persons out here sink into a sort of subjective bliss which makes them
indifferent as to what is going on upon the earth or in the heavens. I could do
so myself, easily.
As I believe I have said before, while man on earth has both subjective and
objective consciousness, but functions mostly in the objective, out here he has
still subjective and objective consciousness, but the tendency is towards the
At almost any time, on composing yourself and looking in, you can fall into
a state of subjective bliss which is similar to that enjoyed by souls on this
side of the dividing line called death. In fact, it is by such subconscious
experience that man has learned nearly all he knows regarding the etheric world.
When the storms and passions of the body are stilled, man can catch a glimpse of
his own interior life, and that interior life is the life of this
fourth-dimensional plane. Please do not accuse me of contradicting myself or of
being obscure; I have said that the objective consciousness is as possible with
us as the subjective is with you, but that the tendency is merely the other way.
You may remember a pair of lovers about whom I wrote
you a few weeks ago. He had been out here some time, and had waited for her, and
helped her over the uncertain marsh-lands which lie between the two states of
I saw these lovers again the other day, but they were not at all excited by
my appearance. On the contrary, I fancy that I put them out somewhat by
awakening them, by calling them back from the state of subjective bliss into
which they have sunk since being together at last.
While he waited for her all those years, he kept himself awake by
expectation; while still on earth she was always thinking of him out here, and
so the polarity was sustained. Now they have each other; they are in “the little
home” which he built for her with so much pleasure out of the tenuous materials
of this tenuous world; they see each other’s faces whether they look out or in;
they are content; they have nothing more to attain (or so they tell each other),
and they consequently sink back into the arms of subjective bliss.
Now this state of bliss, of rumination, they have a
right to enjoy. No one can take it from them. They have earned it by activity in
the world and elsewhere, it is theirs by rhythmic justice. They will enjoy it, I
fancy, for a long time, living over the past experiences which they have had
together and apart. Then some day one or the other of them will become surfeited
with too much sweetness; the muscles of his (or her) soul will stretch for want
of exercise; he (or she) will give a spiritual yawn, and by the law of reaction,
pass out—not to return.
Where will he (or she) go, you ask? Why, back to the earth, of course!
Let us imagine him (or her) awakening from that subjective state of bliss
which is known to them as attainment, and going for a short promenade in blessed
and wholesome solitude. Then, with a sort of morning alertness in the heart and
the eye, he (or she) draws near to a pair of earthly lovers. Suddenly the call
of matter, the eager, terrible call of blood and warmth, of activity raised to
the nth power, catches the half-awakened soul on the ethereal side of
He has again entered the world of material formation.
He is sunk and hidden in the flesh of earth. He awaits birth. He will come out
with great force, by reason of his former rest. He might even become a “captain
of industry,” if he is a strong unit. But I began by saying “he or she.” Let me
change the figure. The man would be almost certain to awake first, by reason of
his positive polarity.
Now, in drawing this imaginary picture of my lover, I am not making a dogma
of the way in which all souls return to earth. I am merely guessing how these
two will return (for she would probably follow him speedily when she awoke and
found herself alone). And the reason why I fancy they will return in that way is
because they are indulging themselves in too much subjective bliss.
When will they go back? I cannot say. Perhaps next year, perhaps in a
hundred years. Not knowing the numerical value of their unit of force, I cannot
guess how much subjective bliss they can endure without a violent reaction.
I am sure that you are wondering if some day I shall myself sink into that
state of bliss which I have described. Perhaps. I should enjoy it—but not for
long, and not yet. However, I have no sweetheart out here to enjoy it with me.