II – Chapter 3: BUILDING METHODS
Not the least important, among the many ‘physical’ features of the realm in which I live, are the numerous buildings devoted to the pursuit of learning and the fostering of the arts family to the Earth-plane. These magnificent edifices present to the eye all the signs one would expect of the permanence of eternity. The materials of which they are constructed are imperishable. The surfaces of the stone are as clean and fresh as on the day when they were raised up. There is nothing to soil them, no heavy smoke-laden atmosphere to eat into them, no winds and rains to wear down the works of exterior decoration. The materials of which they are built are of the Spirit world, and therefore they have a beauty that is not Earthly.
Although these fine Halls of Learning have every suggestion of permanency, they could be demolished if it were considered expedient or desirable to do so. In some cases it has been so considered. Such buildings have been removed, and others have taken their place.
The Spirit world is not static. It is ever vibrant with life and movement. Contemplate, for a moment, the normal conditions of the Earth world, with the many changes that are taking place continuously – the gradual reconstruction of towns and cities, the alterations in the countryside. Some of these changes have not always been deemed improvements. However that may be, changes are made, and the procedure is looked upon as one of progression. What, then, of the Spirit world? Are no changes to take place in the world in which I live? Most certainly they are!
We do not exactly ‘move with the times’ – to use a familiar Earthly phrase, because we are always very much ahead of the times! And we have every need to be – to meet the heavy demands placed upon us by the Earth world.
Let us take one specific instance – just one.
As the Earth world progresses in civilization – in its own estimation – the means and methods of waging war become more devastating and wholesale. In place of hundreds killed in battles in ancient times, the slain are now counted in hundreds of thousands. Every one of those souls has finished with his Earthly life – though not with the consequences of it – and, in so many cases, the Earth world has finished with him too. The individual may survive as a memory to those whom he has left behind him; his physical presence is gone. But his Spirit presence is unalterably with us. The Earth world has passed him on to us, often-times not really caring what has befallen him. He will leave behind him those whom he loved, and who loved him, but the Earth world – so it thinks – can do nothing for him, nor for those who mourn his passing. It is we, in the Spirit world, who will care for that soul. With us there is no shifting the responsibility on to other shoulders, and so passing upon our way. We are faced with strict realities here.
The Earth world, in its blind ignorance, hurls hundreds of thousands of souls into this, our land, but those who dwell in the high realms are fully aware, long before it happens, of what is to take place upon the Earth-plane, and a fiat goes forth to the realms nearer the Earth to prepare for what is to come.
These dire calamities of the Earth-plane necessitate the building of more and ever more Halls of Rest in the Spirit world. That is one occasion—and perhaps the greatest – for the changes that are always taking place here. But there are others and more pleasant.
Sometimes the wish is expressed by a great number of souls for an extension to be made to one of the Halls of Learning. There is seldom any difficulty about such a desire, since it is in no sense a selfish one, because it will be there for all to use and enjoy.
It was in reply to a question which I put to Edwin that he told me that a new wing was to be added to the Great Library, where I have spent so many profitable and enjoyable moments since I came to Spirit. It was suggested that perhaps Ruth and I would like to witness a Spirit building in actual course of being erected. Accordingly, we made our way to the city and to the library
There was a large number of people already gathered there with the same intent as ourselves, and while we were waiting for operations to begin, Edwin told us something of the preliminary details that are necessary before work actually begins.
As soon as some new building is desired, the Ruler of the Realm is consulted. Of this great soul, and of others similar to him in Spiritual character and capacity, I will tell you later. Knowing as he does, so intimately, the needs and wishes of all in his realm, there never arises a case where some building is required for the use and service of all but that the wish is granted. The Ruler then transmits the request to those in authority above him, who in turn refer it to those still higher. We then foregather in the central temple in the city, where we are received by one whose word is law, the great soul who, many years ago of Earthly time, made it possible for me to communicate thus with the Earth world.
Now, this seemingly involved procedure of passing on our request from one to another, may suggest to the mind the tortuous methods of officialdom with its delays and protractedness. The method may be somewhat similar, but the time taken in performance is a very different matter. It is no exaggeration to say that within the space of a few Earthly minutes our request has been stated, and the permission – with a gracious blessing accompanying it – has been granted. On such occasions as these we have cause for rejoicings, and we seize the opportunity to the full.
The next step is to consult the architects, and it may be readily imagined that we have a host of masters upon whom we can draw without limitation. They work for the sheer joy it brings them in the creation of some grand edifice to be used in the service of their fellows. These good men collaborate in a way that would be almost impossible upon the Earth-plane. Here they are not circumscribed by professional etiquette, or limited by the narrowness of petty jealousies. Each is more than happy and proud to serve with the other, and never is there discord or disagreement through endeavoring to introduce, or force, the individual ideas of the one at the expense of another’s. Perhaps you will say that such complete unanimity is far and away beyond the bounds of Human nature and that such people would not be Human if they did not disagree, or otherwise show their individuality.
Before you dismiss my statement as highly improbable, or as the painting of a picture of perfection impossible to attain except within the very highest realms of all, let me state the simple fact that discord and disagreement, upon such a matter as we are now considering, could not possibly exist in this realm wherein is my home. And if you still insist that this is impossible, I say No – it is perfectly natural. Whatever gifts we may possess in Spirit, it is part of the essence of this realm that we have no inflated ideas of the power or excellence of those gifts. We acknowledge them in humility alone, without self-importance, unobtrusively, selflessly, and we are grateful for the opportunity of working, con amore, with our colleagues in the service of the Great Inspirer.
This, in substance, is what one of these great architects himself told me with reference to his own work.
After the plans for the new buildings have been drawn up in consultation with the ruler of the realm, there is a meeting of the Master-Masons. The latter were mostly masons when they were upon the Earth-plane, and they continue to exercise their skill in Spirit lands. They do so, of course, because the work appeals to them, even as it did when they were incarnate, and here they have faultless conditions under which they can carry on their work. They do so with a grand freedom and liberty of action that was denied them upon Earth, but which is their heritage here in the Spirit world. Others, who were not masons by trade, have since learned the Spirit methods of building – for the sheer joy of doing so, and they give valuable aid to their more skilled confrères.
The masons, and one other, are the only people concerned in the actual construction, since Spirit buildings do not require much that has to be included within the disposition of Earthly buildings. Such, for example, as the necessary provision for lighting by artificial means, and for heating. Our light comes from the great central source of all light, and the warmth is one of the Spiritual features of the realm.
The addition which was being made to the Library consisted of an annexe, and it was not of any very great dimensions. Our Spirit Library has at least one feature in common with Earthly libraries. A time comes when the quantity of books exceeds the space in which to house them, and in our case the excess is inclined to be greater, because not only do we have copies of Earthly books upon the shelves, but there are also volumes that have their source solely in Spirit. By this, I mean that such books have no counterpart on Earth. Included among them are works concerning Spirit life alone, the facts of life here, and Spiritual teachings, written by authorities who have an infallible knowledge of their subject, and who reside in the higher spheres. There are also the histories of nations and events, with the facts set down in strict accordance with the absolute truth, written by men who now find that equivocation is impossible.
The building of this annexe was not, therefore, what one would denominate a major effort, and it required the help of but a comparative few. It was simple in design, consisting of two or three medium-sized rooms.
We were standing fairly close to the group of architects and masons, headed by the ruler of the realm. I noticed particularly that they had all the appearance of being extremely happy and jovial, and many were the jokes that circulated round this cheerful band.
It was strange to Ruth and me – Edwin had witnessed this sort of thing before – to think that a building was shortly to go up, because since my arrival in the Spirit world I had seen no signs of any building operations going on anywhere. Every hall and house was already erected, and it never occurred to me that anything further would be required in this direction. A little thought, of course, would have revealed that Spirit houses are always in course of being built, while others are being demolished if they are no longer wanted. The Halls of Learning all looked so very permanent to my unaccustomed eyes, so very complete, that I could not think it would ever be necessary to make any additions to them.
At length there were signs that a beginning was to be made.
It must be remembered that the act of building in the Spirit world is essentially an operation of thought. It will not be surprising, therefore, when I tell you that nowhere were there to be seen the usual materials and paraphernalia associated with Earthly builders, the scaffolding and bricks and cement, and the various other familiar objects. We were to witness, in fact, an act of creation – of creation by thought – and as such no ‘physical’ equipment is necessary.
The Ruler of the Realm stepped forward a few paces, and, with his back towards us, but facing the site upon which the new wing was to arise, he spoke a brief but appropriate prayer. In simple language he asked the Great Creator for His help in the work they were about to undertake.
His prayer brought an instantaneous response, which was in the form of a bright beam of light that descended upon him and upon those gathered immediately behind him. As soon as this happened the architects and masons moved up close beside him.
All eyes were now turned upon that vacant spot beside the main building, to which we noticed that a second beam of light was passing directly from the ruler and the masons. As the second beam reached the site of the annexe it formed itself into a carpet of coruscation upon the ground. This gradually grew in depth, width, and height, but it seemed, as yet, to lack any suggestion of substance. It matched the main building in colour, but that was all so far.
Slowly the form gained in size until it reached the required height. We could now see plainly that it matched the original structure in general outline, while the carved devices similarly corresponded.
While it was in this state the architects approached and examined it closely. We could observe them moving within it, until at length they passed from view. They were gone but a moment when they returned to the ruler with the report that all was in order.
Edwin explained to us that this rather ghostly edifice was in reality an adumbration of the finished structure, shaped in exact facsimile before an intensification of thought was applied to produce a solid and completed building. Any mistake or fault would be detected when the building was in this tenuous state, and corrected at once.
No rectification, however, being necessary in this particular instance, the work was proceeded with immediately.
The downstream of light now became very much more intense, while the horizontal stream from the Ruler and his collaborators assumed, after the lapse of a minute or two, a similar degree of intensity. We could now perceive the nebulous form acquiring an unmistakable appearance of solidity as the concentration of united thought laid layer upon layer of increased density upon the simulacrum.
From what I observed it seemed to devolve upon the ruler to supply to each of the masons just that quantity and description of force that each required upon his separate task. He acted, in fact, as a distributive agent for the magnetic power that was descending directly upon him. This split up into a number of individual shafts of light of different colour and strength, which corresponded with his direct appeals to the Great Architect. There was no faltering or diminution of the application of thought substance to be perceived anywhere. The masons themselves seemed to work with a complete unanimity of concentration, since the building attained full solidity with a remarkable degree of evenness.
After what appeared to Ruth and me a very short period, the building ceased to acquire any further density, the vertical and horizontal rays were cut off, and there stood before us the finished wing, perfect in every detail, an exact match and extension to the main edifice, beautiful alike in color and form, and worthy of the high purpose to which it was to be devoted.
We moved forward to examine more closely the results of the feat that had just been accomplished. We ran our hands over the smooth surface, as though to convince ourselves that it was really solid! Ruth and I were not the only people to do this, as there were others who were witnessing for the first time – and with equal wonderment – the immense power of directed thought.
The procedure which governs the building of our personal houses and cottages differs a little from that which I have just described to you. An indispensable prerequisite to the ownership of a Spirit home is the right to own it, a right which is gained solely by the kind of life we live when incarnate, or by our Spiritual progression after our transition to the Spirit world. Once we have earned that right there is nothing to prevent our having such a residence if we should wish for one.
It has often been said that we build our Spirit homes during our Earthly lives – or after. That is so only in a broad sense. What we have built is the right to build, for it requires an expert to erect a house that would justify the name. My own home was built for me during my Earthly life by builders just as proficient as those who helped to erect the annexe to the library. My friends, headed by Edwin, had looked after all the details entailed in such work. They had sought out the men to undertake the task, and the latter had carried into effect a fine piece of craftsmanship
When that day shall dawn upon which my Spiritual progression will carry me onwards, I shall leave my house. But it will rest entirely with myself whether I leave my old home as it stands for others to occupy and enjoy, or whether I demolish it.
It is customary, I am told, to make a gift of it to the Ruler of the Realm for his disposal to others at his discretion.
II – Chapter 4: TIME AND SPACE
It is commonly thought by people of the Earth-plane that in the Spirit world time and space do not exist. That is wrong. We have both, but our conception of them differs from that of the Earth world.
We sometimes use the phrase, ‘before the dawn of time’, to convey an idea of the passage of eons of time, but we have no notion of what is really embodied in that phrase.
On the Earth-plane the measurement of time had its source in the revolution of the Earth upon its axis, giving a division of time known to us as night and day. The recurrence of the four seasons gave that larger measure, during which the Earth revolved round the sun. The invention of clocks and calendars brought a convenient means of measuring time within the reach of all of us.
In the Spirit world we have no clocks or other mechanical contrivances to indicate the passage of time. It would be the simplest thing in the world for our scientists to provide us with such if we felt the need for them. But we have no such need. We have no recurrent seasons, no alternations of light and darkness as external indications of time, and, in addition, we have no personal reminders, common to all the incarnate, of hunger and thirst and fatigue, together with the ageing of the physical body. How, then, can we have any possible heed of the flight of time? How, in fact, does time exist at all?
We have two conceptions of time, one of which, as upon the Earth-plane, is purely relative. Five minutes, let us say, of acute pain suffered by the physical body will so affect the mind that the passing moments will seem an age. But five minutes of intense joy and happiness will seem to have flown with the rapidity of the same number of seconds.
Those of us in the Spirit world who live in the realms of happiness and perpetual summer will have no cause to find ‘time hang heavily’. In this sense we are simply not conscious of the flight of time.
In the dark realms the reverse is the case. The period of darkness will seem interminable to those who live there. However much such souls may yearn for a coming of the light, yet it never comes to them. They themselves must perforce take the first step towards the light that awaits them without their low realm. A period of existence within these dark regions, amounting to nothing more than a year or two of Earthly time, will seem like an eternity to the sufferers.
If, normally, we have none of the customary means of measuring time because we have no need to do so, we can – and we do – return to make contact with the Earth-plane, where we ascertain the exact time of day, the day of the year, and the year itself.
Some people, who would not otherwise have done so, have returned to the Earth world for the very purpose of satisfying their curiosity as to the number of years they have been in the Spirit world. I have spoken to some who have made this journey, and they were all amazed to discover the unsuspected scores of years that had passed by since their transition.
Speaking for myself, I have found the time pass rapidly since I came into Spirit, but I have always known, throughout the whole of that period, what was the year of the Christian Era. The reason in my own case was simply that I had been promised that I should one day be able to communicate with the Earth world. I had, therefore, been keenly interested in watching, in company with the great souls who were closely concerned, the concatenation of events that were to lead, among other things, to the achievement of my wish.
Edwin, who met me upon the threshold of the Spirit world and conducted me to my new home, was similarly acquainted with the passage of time, for he, in turn, had been watching me!
It may be thought that time, in the sense of being a measured succession of existence, has little or no influence beyond the Earth-plane. But it most certainly does have an influence upon the Spirit-plane.
All Earthly events, whether concerning nations or individuals, are subject to, or governed by, time. And in so far as those events have their application to, or extension into, the Spirit world, so do we in the Spirit world come under the influence of time, or its operation. We might take the festival of Christmas as the simplest and readiest example. We celebrate this festival in the Spirit world at the same time as do you. Whether December 25th is the correct date, historically, for the event which it commemorates, is a question we are not concerned with for our present purposes. What matters is that the two celebrations, yours and ours, are synchronized and recurrent year by year. We are not subservient to the Earth world in this; our purpose is solely one of co-operation.
In normal times upon the Earth-plane at that period of the year, there rises throughout the Earth world a great force of goodwill and kindliness. Many people, who at other seasons are inclined to be forgetful, will frequently remember those of their family and friends who have passed into Spirit lands, and they will send them thoughts of affection which we in Spirit are always so happy to receive and to reciprocate. The celebration of Christmas is always preceded by thoughts of pleasant anticipation. If there were nothing else to guide us, these alone would be sufficient to tell us that the time of the feast was drawing near. In the Spirit world, at that time, it is common enough to hear one person say to another: “Christmas on the Earth-plane is drawing near”. But the person so addressed might have been completely unaware of the fact.
In the particular example of Christmas we are not dependent entirely upon the Earth-plane for our knowledge of the approaching anniversary. On this special occasion we are always visited by great souls from the higher realms, and were all other means to fail us, this would be an infallible indication of the passing of another year in Earthly time.
Those of us who are in close and constant connection with the Earth will know, of course, as well as do you, the year, the month, and the day. We shall know, too, the exact hour of Earth time. There is no difficulty about this, nor is there any mystery. When we come into your conditions we can make use of the very means that you yourselves employ – and what could be simpler? As a rule it is not necessary for us to be continually aware of the precise day and hour, or otherwise to keep account of them. When we actively co-operate with you your thoughts to us are sufficient indication that a certain moment has recurred when we meet to work or converse together. Such thoughts are all that we need. It is in the ordinary nature of things in Spirit that, generally speaking, we should lose all sense of the continuity of time in measured succession as you know it. We allow things to remain so, unless we have cause to do otherwise. When we look forward to the arrival of relative or friend into the Spirit world it is towards the event that we cast our minds, not the year in which the event is to take place.
Thus far I have given you a few facts of my own knowledge derived from my own experience, and therefore what I have told you applies to the specific realm wherein I live.
Of the higher realms I have no knowledge at first hand, and the amount of information that I have gleaned from conversations with inhabitants of those realms has been governed and restricted by my ability to understand. All that I can say, therefore, concerning time in the upper spheres is that in such elevated states we come into realms where knowledge, among many other Spiritual attributes, is of a very high order. Personages from those realms have more than astonished me with the accuracy of their foreknowledge of events that were to take place upon the Earth-plane. Their means of acquiring this information is far beyond the comprehension of us in this realm. It is sufficient for the moment to record that it is so, and that time, therefore, is not confined to realms of a less exalted state of Spiritual progression.
When we come to the subject of space we find that, broadly speaking, we are governed up to a point by the same law as upon the Earth-plane. We have eternity of time, but we have also infinity of space.
Space must exist in the Spirit world. Take my own realm alone, as an example. Standing at the window of one of the upper rooms of my house I can see across huge distances whereon are many houses and grand buildings. In the distance I can see the city with many more great buildings. Dispersed throughout the whole wide prospect are woods and meadows, rivers and streams, gardens and orchards, and they are all occupying space, just as all these occupy space in the Earth world. They do not interpenetrate any more than they interpenetrate upon the Earth-plane. Each fills its own reserved portion of space. And I know, as I gaze out of my window, that far beyond the range of my vision, and far beyond and beyond that again, there are more realms and still more realms that constitute the designation infinity of space. I know that I can travel uninterruptedly through enormous areas of space, areas far greater than the whole of the Earth world trebled in size, or greater. I have not yet traversed anything like one fraction of the full extent of my own realm, but I am free to do so whenever I wish. I have been told by good friends from the higher realms that I could penetrate even those rarefied states if occasion demanded. I should be given the facilities and the protective cloak that are necessary in such cases to make the journey, so that, potentially, my field of movement is gigantic.
Viewed with Earthly eyes only, this immense region would obviously be beyond the reach of most people, since movement through such spaces on Earth would be restricted by the means of transportation at their command, as well as by other considerations. One thousand miles of Earthly space is a great distance, and to cover it takes some considerable time if the slower means of transport are employed. Even with the fastest method a certain time must elapse before the end of the thousand miles journey is reached. But in the Spirit world thought alters the whole situation. We have space, and we have a certain cognizance of time in its relation to space. Thought can annihilate time in its relation to space, but it cannot annihilate space.
I can stand before my house and I can bethink myself that I would like to visit the Library in the city which I can see some ‘miles’ away in the distance. No sooner has the thought passed with precision through my mind than I find myself – if I so desire it – standing before the very shelves that I wish to consult. I have made my Spirit body – and that is the only body I have! – travel through space with the rapidity of thought, and that is so rapid that it is equivalent to being instantaneous. And what have I done? I have covered the intervening space instantaneously, but the space still remains there with everything it contains, although I had no cognizance of time or the passage of time.
When I have completed my visit to the Library I meet some friends upon the steps, and they suggest that we adjourn to the home of one of them. With this pleasant prospect in view we decide to walk through the gardens and woods. The house is some ‘distance’ away, but that does not matter, because we never suffer from ‘physical’ fatigue, and we are not otherwise engaged. We walk along together, talking happily, and after a certain lapse of ‘time’ we arrive at the house of our friend, and we have covered the intervening space on foot. On the journey from my house to the library I overcame the distance in between, and I dispensed with time for the occasion. On the way back I experienced an intuitive apprehension of time by walking slowly, and I restored a perception of distance to my mind by moving upon the solid ground and the grassy fields of this realm.
Time – in its Spirit sense – and space are relative in the Spirit world, just as they are upon the Earth-plane. But our conceptions of them differ widely – yours being restricted by the Earthly considerations of sunrise and sunset, and the various modes of transit. We have everlasting day, and we can move ourselves slowly by walking, or we can transport ourselves instantaneously whithersoever we wish to be. In the Spirit world time can thus be made to stand still! And we can restore our sense of it by quietly resting, or by walking. It is only our general sense of time that we restore, not the passage of time. But when we receive your thoughts from the Earth world, telling us that you are ready for us to come to you, then, once again, we are fully aware of the passage of Earth time.
And you must admit that we are invariably punctual in keeping our appointments with you!