II – Chapter 13: ORGANISATION
You will have gathered that the Spirit world is a vast place, and, with the Earth world in mind, you may conclude that it possesses an administrative organisation in all respects proportionate to its demands. You would be right, for it does. But our needs are not as yours. With you in your corruptible world it is constant war with material decay and degeneration. With us in our incorruptible world we have neither the one nor the other. Ours is a state far beyond Utopian in quality. But it is a state where thought is its basic element.
I have recounted to you how, when I first saw my own Spirit garden, I marvelled at its orderliness and excellent preservation, and I wondered just how it was maintained thus, and who was responsible for it. Edwin told me that it would require practically no effort in its upkeep. By that he meant, as I have since learnt, that provided my wish remained constant for the garden to continue unaltered, and provided that I had affection for the flowers and grass and trees, the garden would respond to my thoughts and flourish under them. If I desired to alter the arrangement of the flower beds, and so on, I could easily ask some expert to come to my help – and he would be only too happy to do so. So much for the upkeep of my garden.
My house is provided for under the same law. And so it is with all gardens and houses belonging to other folk in this realm. These, however, are what you would call more or less private concerns. They are so in one respect, but the fact that I can find an expert gardener who can make radical changes in my house and garden; indeed, who can build me an entirely new and different home, with surrounding gardens wholly different from what I have now, shows that organisation of some sort – and a very considerable one – must exist somewhere.
The united thoughts of the inhabitants of the whole realm will sustain all that grows within it, the flowers, and the trees and the grass, and the water, too, whether of lake, river, or sea – for water is fully alive in the Spirit world. It is when we come into the city and travel through the halls of learning that the organisation becomes outwardly more observable.
I n the Hall of Music, for example, we find many students busy at work upon their lessons and studies. We find others engaged upon musical research, and delving into ancient music books; others will be arranging the music for some concert, consulting the shelves for suitable works, and sometimes discussing those works with their composers. There are many teachers, many able people ready to assist us in our inquiries or our difficulties, and they are all able to provide a solution to our problems because the staff of this Hall – as of all others – are themselves experts.
Nominally, the Ruler of the Realm is the principal of all the Halls, and all major decisions would, of course, be referred to him. But he appoints competent people to the staffs of the Halls, and extends to them a free hand in all their undertakings.
Each Hall will have its own direct Head Person, but it must not be thought that this ‘official’ is an unapproachable, detached personage, hidden away from all sight, and only seen on relatively rare occasions. He is just the opposite. He is always to be seen about the Hall, and he welcomes, personally, anyone who comes there, either as a learner, or as a ‘mere lover’ of music, or to carry out musical researches.
I have recounted to you how we continue with our work for just that period during which we derive pleasure or profit from it. The moment we feel the need for a change of work or other diversion, we cease our work for the time being, and turn to whatever else we wish. The staffs of all the Halls of Learning are no different from others in this respect. They most certainly need change and recreation, and so we find that the staffs alternate in their personnel as occasion demands. As some retire others take their places. It is the most natural thing in the world, and the most practical. We need never fear that when we call to see some particular expert we shall be disappointed because he is not there. We shall be able to have all the help we need, and if it is vitally necessary to consult the absent one, either an instantaneous thought will answer our question, or with equal rapidity we can visit his home. We need have no misgivings about our intruding upon him.
Now, when I tell you that the service in all these Halls is going on unremittingly simply because we have perpetual day in these realms, I think you will appreciate that our conception of organisation begins to assume its right proportions.
Many of the people attached to the Halls of Learning been there a great number of years as you reckon time. So devoted are they to their work that although they have progressed and virtually belong to a higher sphere, they prefer to remain where they are for some considerable period yet. They will retire, from time to time, to their own realm, and then return to take up their labours anew. The moment will eventually arrive when they will relinquish their position altogether to reside permanently in their own sphere, and then others, equally capable, will take their place. And so it goes on, and has gone on for countless centuries, and so it will go on for countless more centuries – an unbroken continuity of service for others in these realms. And this rule applies to all the various Halls of Learning.
The work of the Spirit world functions unceasingly; the workers rest and change about, but the work never stops. The pressure of work may fluctuate, as it does with you upon Earth. When we have our great celebrations and festivals, during which we are honored by the presence of visitants from the higher realms, it follows that large numbers of people will be present in the temple or elsewhere, and during that time there will be an appreciable diminution of some activities. We are naturally desirous of holding our festivals in company with one another, and we do so. But the services never suffer on that account. It so happens that the inhabitants in these realms are always considerate of others, and will never ask of others that which would entail a disappointment for them, such as would be the case if one insisted upon some attention in one of the halls when we were all, as it were, on holiday. This concerns the various Halls in the city where any temporary cessation of work would be of no great consequence.
In the Halls of Rest, however, the doctors and nurses are always in attendance whatever else may be taking place in other parts of the sphere. Their devotion to duty is always instantly rewarded, for during the general celebrations of the realm, the illustrious visitors from the upper realms make a special journey to the rest homes where they personally greet every one of the staff. The latter can afterwards arrange amicably for their own family and friendly festivities.
All this administration belongs to the Spirit world proper, so to speak, and concerns the Spirit world alone. There are other services that concern the two worlds together, ours and yours. Such, for example, as the arrival, or the approaching arrival, of a soul into Spirit lands. The rule is that all souls passing to here shall have some measure of attention. It depends upon themselves how much attention they shall have. Some are sunken so Spiritually low as to preclude any approach to them that would be effective. We will not consider those for the moment, but only those who are destined for the realms of light.
Without anticipating what I wish to say regarding the inter-relationship of our two worlds, we might, for our present purposes consider a typical inquiry in the matter of transition, such as it affects a very large number of people here.
We will suppose that you are yourself in the Spirit world, and that beyond knowing the truth of communication with the Earth world, you have had no experience of the close ties existing between the two worlds. You have, we will further suppose, left behind you a friend for whom you had – and still have – warm affection, and you wonder when he will be coming to reside permanently in the Spirit world. Occasionally you have received his thoughts of affection arising from the Earth-plane by which you know that he has not forgotten you. You have, we will say, never tried to communicate with him because you know from your Earthly knowledge that he would rather frown upon such ideas. Is it possible to find out just when he is likely to join you in the Spirit world, and if so, how does one go about it? The answer to that question reveals the existence of one of the great organisations of these lands.
I n the city there is an immense building which exercises the function of an Office of Records and Inquiries. (In the Earth world you have your multifarious offices of inquiry. Why should we not have ours?) Here a great host of people is available to answer all manner of questions that are likely to arise both from the newly-arrived and from those of longer residence. Occasions will occur when we need a solution to some problem that has arisen. We may consult our friends upon the matter only to find that they are as uninformed as we are ourselves. We could, of course, make an appeal to some higher personage and we should receive all the help we wanted. But the higher beings have their work to do, in just the same way as we have, and we forbear to interrupt them unnecessarily. And so we take our difficulty to this grand building in the city. Among its many important duties is that of keeping a register of people newly arrived in this particular realm. It is a useful service, and full advantage is taken of it by scores of people who have an interest in that direction. But a still more important service is that of knowing beforehand of those who are about to come into this realm. This information is accurate and infallibly reliable. It is collected through a varied process of thought transmission, of which the inquirer sees little or nothing. He is merely presented with the required information. The value of this service can be readily imagined.
In normal times upon the Earth-plane, when transitions maintain a fairly steady level, it is valuable enough, but in times of great wars, when souls are passing into the Spirit world in thousands, the advantages of such an office are almost incalculable. Friend can meet friend, and together can unite in helping others who are passing into Spirit lands.
Foreknowledge of terrestrial events both national and private is possessed by a certain order of beings in the Spirit world, and when expedient this knowledge is communicated to others, who in turn pass it on to those principally concerned. Among the first to receive pre-knowledge of an impending war are the different homes of rest. The office of inquiry will be similarly informed.
You are anxious, then, to know when your friend is likely to be coming to the Spirit world to reside; you want to know when his ‘death’ is going to take place. Your first step is to go to the Inquiry Office. There you will be readily assisted to consult the right person for your needs. You will not find yourself passed from one ‘official’ to another, nor will you be submitted to other forms of procrastination. All that will be required of you is to furnish the name of your friend, and you will be asked to focus your attention upon him to establish the necessary thought link. When this has been accomplished, you will be requested to wait for a brief period – in your time it would amount to only a few minutes. The requisite forces are put into action with astonishing rapidity, and we shall be presented with the information of the time of our friend’s arrival. The actual date may mean very little to some of us, as I have already tried to make clear to you, because it is towards such an event that we cast our minds, and not towards the time of its taking place. At least, whatever our condition of proximity to the Earth-plane, we shall be assured that when that event is close at hand we shall be informed of it without fail. In the meantime, we shall be given a conception of the closeness of the event or otherwise, which we shall understand according to the measure of our knowledge of the passage of Earthly time.
The organization that exists behind this one service should give you some idea of the vastness of the whole Office of Help and Inquiry. There are many others. This same building houses people who can provide answers to the innumerable questions that arise in the minds of us here, especially among the newly-arrived, and its extent covers the whole range of Spirit activity. But what is most to our present point, this office employs thousands of people, usefully and happily. Many souls ask to be allocated to work there, but it is necessary to have some training for it first, for however suitable may be our personal attributes, it requires absolute knowledge, in whatever department we wish to work, since we should be there for the express purpose of providing information to those in need of it.
Let us now pass to another example of Spirit organisation, and for the purpose we might visit the Hall of Science.
There are numberless people upon the Earth-plane who are mechanically minded, and who pursue as a means of material livelihood one or other of the engineering arts. Others are interested in engineering as a pleasant diversion from their usual work. The opportunities in the Spirit world in this field alone are enormous, and such scientific work is carried on under conditions precisely similar to all other work here – without restriction, freely, and with the limitless resources and the perfect administration of the Spirit world behind it. This form of work attracts thousands, young and old alike. All the great scientists and engineers are carrying on their investigations and researches in this world of Spirit, assisted by scores of enthusiastic helpers from every walk of Earthly life, as well by those whose work lay along those lines when they were incarnate.
Most of us here are not content with one type of work; we engage in another form of labour as part of our recreation. You see, we have the constant urge to be doing something useful, something that will be of benefit to others. However small that service may be, it will be valued as a service. To have only two forms of work with which to alternate is to give the lowest estimate. So many of us have a dozen channels through which we are usefully engaged. It must be obvious, then, that the supply of useful tasks is entirely adequate to the thousands upon thousands of us here. And each and every form of work has its separate organisation. There are no such things as haphazard methods. Every type of pursuit has those in charge of it who are experts, and the administration admits of no muddle or fuss. There is no mismanagement, for everything runs with the smoothness of perfectly-constructed machinery under the operation of efficient hands.
It must not be concluded from this that we are infallible. That would be a totally wrong estimation, but we know that whatever our mistakes may be we are always sure that our perfect organization will come to our rescue and help us to put things right. Mistakes are never frowned upon as a piece of glaring inefficiency, but are regarded as very good lessons for us by which we can profit to the fullest extent. But because of this sympathy with our mistakes, we are not careless on that account for we have our natural and proper pride in our work, which spurs us on to do our best always – and free from mistakes.
To attempt to give you anything like a comprehensive survey of the administrative organisation of the Spirit world would be a gigantic task, and quite beyond my descriptive powers, apart altogether from the impossibility of putting into material language what can only be understood as an inhabitant of these lands.
Perhaps one of the most striking features of life in the Spirit world is that the organisation of life is so perfect that there never seems to be any suspicion of hurry or confusion, in spite of the fact that we can perform so many actions of a ‘material’ kind with the rapidity of thought, which latter is the motive force. This rapidity is as second nature to us, and we scarcely notice it. It is there, none the less, and it is because of it that our great system of life, and the organisation of living generally, works so perfectly and yet so unobtrusively.
It is something of a proud boast upon the Earth-plane that you have reached such an age of speed. By comparison with our rapidity of motion, why, you are scarcely moving! You must wait until you come to live here with us. Then you will know what real speed is like. Then you will know, too, what real efficiency and real organization are like.
They are like nothing upon the Earth-plane.
II – Chapter 14: SPIRIT INFLUENCE
It is the habit of most men to look upon the Spirit world and the Earth world as two planes apart, separate and distinct. They regard the two worlds as being each independent of the other, cut off from each other, and both entirely uninformed or unaware of what the other is doing. That the Spirit world could possibly have any influence upon the Earth world to the latter’s advantage is demonstrated to be altogether false by the state of universal disorder that exists through the entire Earth world.
There is another school of thought, consisting of those who have made a superficial study of what they call occultism. These people believe that the Earth world, being indisputably very Earthy, and the Spirit world being incontrovertibly very Spiritual, the two worlds are for these reasons automatically inhibited from anything like intercommunication.
Both these lines of thought are unquestionably wrong. The two worlds, yours and ours, are in constant and direct communication, and we are fully aware of what is occurring upon the Earth-plane at all times. I do not, for one minute, say that we all of us know what is taking place with you. Those of us who are in active communion with you are conversant with your personal affairs and with the affairs of your world in general. While the rest of us here, who have no further active interest the Earth-plane since we left it, may be unaware of many things in connection with it, those wise beings in the higher realms are in possession of all knowledge of what is transpiring upon Earth.
I would like to indicate one or two channels through which the influence of the Spirit world is exerted upon the Earth world.
First, we might take that influence in a personal way.
Every soul that has been, and is to be, born upon the Earth plane has allocated to him – or her – a Spirit Guide. In past ages some such idea must have filtered through into the minds of the early churchmen, since they adopted the pious notion of giving to every incarnate person an unseen protector whom they called a ‘Guardian Angel’. These Guardian Angels sometimes found their way into contemporary art, where the artists drew a somewhat vapid individual habited in glistening white garments and supporting from his shoulders a pair of enormous wings. The whole conception would suggest by its very implications a remoteness or a great gulf, between the Guardian Angel and the soul he was supposed to be guarding. He would, one might say, be unable to draw very near his charge because of extreme Spiritual refinement upon the one hand, and repelling Earthly grossness upon the other.
Let us turn from this inaccurate figment of the artist’s brain to something a little more practical.
Spirit Guides constitute one of the grandest orders in the whole organization and administration of the Spirit world. They inhabit a realm of their own, and they have all lived for many centuries in the Spirit world. They are drawn from every nationality that exists upon the Earth-plane, and they function regardless of nationality. A great many of them are drawn from Eastern countries, and from the North American Indians, too, because it has always been the case that dwellers in those regions of Earth world were, and are, already possessed of psychic gifts themselves, and were therefore aware of the inter-relationship of our two worlds.
The principal Guide is chosen for each individual on the Earth plane in conformity with a fixed plan. Most Guides are temperamentally similar to their charges in the latters’ finer natures, but what is most important the Guides understand and are in sympathy with their charges’ failings. Many of them, indeed, had the same failings when they were incarnate, and among other useful services they try to help their charges overcome those failings and weaknesses.
A great number of those who practise communication with the Spirit world have already met their Spirit Guides and are in close touch with them. And fortunate, indeed, they are. The Guides, too, are never happier than when they have established a direct link with those whose lives they are helping to direct. It would be safe to say that by far the greater number of Spirit Guides carry on their work all unknown to those whom they serve, and their task is so much the heavier and more difficult. But there are still others whose lives upon Earth render it practically impossible for their Guides to approach within any reasonable distance of them. It naturally saddens them to see the mistakes and follies into which their charges are plunging themselves, and to be obliged to stand aloof because of the thick wall of material impenetrability which they have built up round themselves. Such souls, when they at last arrive in the Spirit world, awake to a full realization of what they have thus missed during their Earth lives. In such cases the Guide’s work will not be entirely in vain, for even in the worst souls there comes an occasion, however transient, when the conscience speaks, and it is usually the Spirit Guide who has implanted the better thought within the brain.
It must never for one instant be thought that the influence of the Spirit Guide negatives or violates the possession or expression of free will. If, upon the Earth-plane, you were to observe somebody about to take a false step into a stream of traffic upon the road, the fact that you put out your hand to stop him would in no way impinge upon his exercise of free will. A Spirit Guide will try to give advice when his advice can be got through to his charge; he will try to lead him in the right direction solely for his own good, and it remains for his charge, in the exercise of his free will, to take that advice or reject it. If he does the latter, he can only blame himself if disaster or trouble overtakes him. At the same time, the Spirit Guides are not there to live a person’s life for him. That he must do himself.
It has become a habit among a certain class of individuals of the Earth-plane to ridicule the whole establishment of Spirit Guides. There will assuredly come a time when they will bitterly repent their folly, and that day will be whereon they meet in the Spirit world their own Guide, who probably knows more about their lives than they do themselves! We in the Spirit world can afford to pass by such ridicule as this, because we know that the day will inevitably come when they will arrive in the Spirit world, and great is the remorse – and, in many instances, the self-pity – of those who have, in their supposed wisdom, made fools of themselves.
Apart from Spirit Guides, there is another prolific source of influence that derives from the world of Spirit. I have told, for example, how Earthly doctors’ hands will be guided, in performing an operation, by the hand of a Spirit doctor. In many other walks of life Spirit inspiration is being carried on in the same way as it has been carried on since the dawn of time. Incarnate man can really do very little of himself, and he is the first to realize it when he comes here to live. Man can perform certain mechanical actions with precision and exactitude. He can paint a picture, he can play upon an instrument, he can manipulate machinery, but all the major discoveries that are of service to the Earth-plane have come, and always will come, from the Spirit world. If man, employing his free will, chooses to put those discoveries to base ends, then he can thank himself for the calamities that follow. Inspiration, devoted to whatever cause or pursuit, comes from the world of Spirit, and from nowhere else. If it be for the good of mankind the source is equally good; if the inspiration is obviously not for the good of mankind, then the source is unquestionably evil Man has it within his own hands as to which source of inspiration he will lend himself – to good or to evil.
You will remember how I have told you that a person is exactly the same Spiritually the moment after he has ‘died’ as he was the moment before. No instantaneous change takes place to turn an Earthly lifetime of evil into good.
One Orthodox Church takes the view, which is also an infallible teaching, that those of us who return to the Earth-plane and make our presence known, are all devils! It is a pity that the church is so blind, for it can be said that they are trying – ineffectually – to stifle the Forces of Good, while they are ignoring the real Forces of Evil. If they encouraged the Forces of Good to come to them, the Forces of Evil would soon be put to flight. The Churches, of whatever denomination, suffer from abysmal ignorance. Throughout the ages right down to the present time they have gone their own blind, ignorant way, disseminating fantastic teachings in place of the truth, and paving the way, through the universe ignorance begotten of such false teachings, for the Forces of Evil to operate.
A minister of the Church performs the services and offices prescribed by his particular sect, and he stifles all inspiration by holding to creeds and dogmas that are utterly false. If he were interrogated in the matter he would reply that he believed in inspiration – in a vague, remote way. In the long run he would find it much less trouble to borrow the religious thoughts of some other incarnate person, and rely upon his own cleverness for any original thought. But to suggest that the Spirit world has any influence upon the Earth world other than evil, would be totally against his principles.
It is a strange habit of mind that persists in the belief that it is always the fFrces of Evil from the Spirit world that try to make their power felt upon the Earth-plane. The Forces of Evil are attributed with powers which, it would seem, are denied to the Forces of Good. Why? And why are the Churches mortally afraid to ‘try the Spirits’ – as they are advised to do in the very book upon which they place so much reliance? They ignore this text, and point a warning finger to the supposed “Woman of Endor”.
The Spirit world works constantly to make its power and force and presence felt by the whole Earth world, not only in personal matters, but through individuals into a wider sphere for the good of nations and national policies. But so little can be done, because the door is usually closed to the higher beings of the Spirit world, whose range of vision, and whose wisdom and knowledge and understanding are vast. Think of the evils that could be swept from the face of the Earth under the immensely able guidance of wise teachers from the Spirit world. The world of Spirit does its best through the limited channels available. But it is safe to say that there is no problem upon the Earth-plane that could not be solved by the help and advice and experience of those beings I have just mentioned. But it would involve one thing – an implicit adherence to whatever they advised or advocated. Many a leader, either of the nation’s affairs or of religious thought, who is here with us in the Spirit world, is filled with sorrow when he looks back upon the wasted opportunities for bringing about a revolutionary change for the betterment of his fellow countrymen. He will confess that he had the idea in his mind – he did not know then that it had been impinged thereupon by the Spirit world – but he had allowed himself to be overruled. These souls sigh for the state into which Humanity has degraded itself. Humanity has, in effect, allowed the evil forces to dictate to it. But the evil ones, so beloved by the churches, have appeared in a different direction from that which those same churches allege that they come. The men and women who practice communication with us in all seriousness and earnestness, and who enjoy happy meetings with their Spirit friends as well as with noble teachers from the higher spheres, are accused of dealings with ‘devils’. That is rubbish. The real devils are far too busy elsewhere, in places where they can produce far greater results to their own evil satisfaction.
You will say that my outlook seems rather pessimistic; really, after all, the Earth world is not so bad as I paint it. That is perfectly true, because we have managed to get through to the Earth world just one or two of our ideas and thoughts and precepts. But it can safely be said that in spite of universal Earth-world disorder, had we withdrawn every element of our influence, the Earth world would, in a very brief time, be reduced to a state of complete and absolute barbarity and chaos. And the reason is that Man thinks he can get along nicely by his own powers and volition. He is conceited enough to think that he requires no help from any source whatever. As for assistance from the Spirit world – if such a place exists – it is unthinkable! If there is such a place as the Spirit world, it is fully time enough to begin thinking it when one arrives there. For the present, then, they are so superior that they know everything, and can manage their own affairs perfectly well without the help of a shadowy Spirit world. And when many men arrive here in the same world of Spirit that they scorned, they see their own littleness and the littleness of the world they have just left. But small though the Earth world may be, Man still needs help in conducting its affairs – and that is another discovery that he makes when he comes here.
The Earth world is beautiful, and life upon it could be beautiful as well, but Man steps in and prevents it. The Spirit world is surpassingly beautiful, more beautiful than the mind of man incarnate can possibly imagine. I have tried to show you a glimpse or two of it. But your world looks very dark to us, and we try very hard to bring a little light to it. We try to make our presence known, our influence felt. Our influence is great, but it has yet to be increased far, far beyond its present range. When we and our world gain full acceptance you will then know what it means to live upon the Earth-plane.
But we have a long, long way to go yet.