CHAPTER VIII THE RECORD OF A NIGHT
Again a night of experimental work. As I closed the shutters, the stars shone with unusual brilliancy. The atmospheric conditions were perfect – clear, cold, dry, and still. As I shut out the light, seating myself opposite Mrs. French, clouds within the room for a moment seemed to form and roll like smoke from a great fire. Soon they passed away, and nonluminous points of light became apparent and slowly floated. Then there appeared above my head the ribbon or bar of magnetic substance that is always present when the conditions are right for speech with those beyond. Mrs. French through her psychic sight saw a great number of people passing and repassing, while chemists manipulated the etheric and physical material into the exact condition for use in speech.
While waiting for the work to begin, I recall trying to fix the line of demarcation between the two worlds. In a moment I should hear the voices of those actually living in another plane, and they would hear mine. I should speak to them and they to me. They would see me perfectly, though I could not see them. Sight is about the only quality possessed by spirit people in the conditions prevailing which is denied me. After a moment’s reflection I realized the limitation of our sight at all times. Such situations make one think deeply.
“Good evening, Mr. Randall.” A deep masculine voice broke the stillness. It was not the voice of Mrs. French, nor were her vocal organs of speech used by another. She being deaf, often failed to hear the voices of spirit people and spoke while others were speaking, such interruption sometimes causing confusion. “We have,” the voice of one of the directors of our group continued, “a great work to do tonight, and as atmospheric conditions are unusual, we have gathered a great throng in substantially the same mental attitude, and have brought them here for help. You have done this work so long that you, of course, understand that these people do not as yet know that they have separated from their old physical bodies and are no longer inhabitants of Earth. Won’t you talk to them? They are living so much in your plane as yet that you can secure and hold their attention more closely than we can.”
This was not a new experience. My records show upwards of 700 nights when this particular character of work had been done. As requested, I commenced to talk easily and naturally. I could not see, but Mrs. French could always see spirit people gather about listening, and some would come close watching me intently, while others would discuss among themselves softly so as not to interrupt my talk; they were evidently trying to comprehend the situation. I had long ago learned that those whom we were endeavoring to help must not be startled or frightened, as such shock would break the conditions that enabled them to speak; and therefore on this night I discussed generally the unusual situations presented at this particular meeting, leading slowly up to the great change that had taken place. Had I bluntly told those assembled that they were all dead, the shock would probably have ended the work for the night. I have often known this to occur.
It had been my observation that some man among those assembled could take on material that would enable him to talk, and in that manner rivet the attention of all those who listened, and this night was no exception to the rule.
“I have,” a strong voice remarked, “been deeply impressed with what you have said, but I do not comprehend its import. Death is a subject that I did not like to think about; people generally give the subject little if any attention, and of course enter the next life ignorantly. I am afraid I am no exception to the rule. If I am to infer that such a change has come into my life, I am wholly unprepared.”
“Tell me,” I answered, “what you now observe, for I assume your vision is clear.”
“For sometime I have been watching the preparations being made. Substance appearing like bars of light about you and the lady opposite was being worked and woven into place. Then I looked about and saw a great company gathered. One of those who seemed directing affairs asked me to permit material to be precipitated upon me so that I might talk to you. This was done without my understanding the process or import. Tell me the meaning of this procedure, if you please.”
“I am deeply interested,” I said, “in the progress of man, after death so-called, and with the aid of this lady and the group you saw working with us I am able, when conditions are favorable, to have speech with those beyond the earth-plane.”
“I gathered that from your first talk,” he answered, “but all is so natural with me that it is hard to believe we are not in the old body, for we are like yet unlike. Those who seem to control the situation have bodies from which radiates light, while my own and those of all who are gathered listening, seem enveloped in something like a mantle of darkness; not that exactly, for we are surrounded by what I should describe as a dark, intangible substance carried by the individual as he moves. If, as you say, all these whom I see except this lady and yourself are living in the world of spirit, why do we differ so much?”
“The appearance,” I replied, “is the result of a process of refinement. I don’t mean in manner or speech, but in soul or spirit development. In the life you now live, the law of attraction holds full dominion, and all those who enter are irresistibly drawn into that mental state or condition that will accord with their own. That is what I am told. You will find, the intellectual, the high minded, the spiritual, the selfish, the wicked and the immoral, all of them in different groups and in conditions as varying as character. There is no progress from one to another except by a purifying process through labor and suffering until the individual is qualified for advancement. This is a very natural and a very just process, is it not?”
“The suggestion is very new,” he remarked. “I cannot say that it is not just, but I do say it is novel.
I never thought of things in that way. If what you say is true, why has it never been taught before?”
“I could answer your question in many ways,” I said. “Knowledge is the one thing in the world we have to work for. You can’t steal, buy, inherit, or beg it; it must be acquired by effort. Now, as the world generally speaking has never made any genuine effort to obtain knowledge of the conditions prevailing beyond, it is not surprising that men and women don’t know. Again,” I added, “the average mentality would not, could not, and will not understand, even if I should relate what is being done and accomplished this minute; but there are some thinkers, and their number is fast increasing, who can and will accept a plain statement of fact when it appeals to their reason.”
“I am thinking,” he said, “as I never did before, and I don’t believe I could have comprehended that the death-change could be so natural, and so simple. What is beyond I don’t, of course, know. I seem to be just waking, I realize that I am a living entity in no way changed. I now see I am no longer like you. While you have been talking, those whom I knew in earth-life have come and told me I have made a great change. That is about all I know now.”
At this moment another spirit speaking said; “You, my friend, have much to learn. Come with me for a little time for reflection; I want you to appreciate that with all your wealth you were a selfish man. The world was not enriched by your journey through it, and this accounts for the gloom that envelops you and all those who come with you. The first task that you must learn to do is to live for and help others, a process which humanizes and broadens the soul, and develops the man.”
Again the silence as the voice ceased. I had an easy discussion with Mrs. French for a time. Then there was a whisper; involuntarily I leaned forward, listening intently that no word from out of the unknown land should be lost, and with a slow and measured voice scarcely above a whisper, a woman said:
“I cannot understand the wisdom of creation. It seems with my limited experience so unnecessary that there should be so much sorrow and suffering in my world as well as in yours. I am told by teachers greatly advanced that humanity, in working out its destiny, having become selfish, has lost sight of the great object of earth-life. Dominated too much by greed, mankind has wandered away from the path of purpose. You come in contact with so much unhappiness in your work, for only the unfortunate need the help that you, working with the wonderful groups, can give, that I am permitted to come and speak to you, and to others through you, of the beauty of this land in which we live, to enable you and others to avoid erroneous impressions of all conditions prevailing among us. I came here as an infant before memory recorded events. Like all who live among us I came up from the mass of life and obtained my individuality through conception and birth. My first recollection is of a home similar to yours, except more beautiful; I was mothered by those denied motherhood while living among you. It was all very sweet and tender, without discord or in harmony of any character, but I was taken while yet a baby to the earth-mother, and in her arms while she slept, I absorbed the real mother love. If mothers could only know how children though gone cling to them, how happy they would be, and how glad we are when an earth-mother feels our presence and responds in word or thought ! As I grew to girlhood, I was given teachers who helped my mental growth, similar to what I see in your life, except that we are not taught by rule. The capabilities of each are ascertained, and each is helped and directed along the lines of his adaptability, and so life as it is unfolded grows more wonderful and beautiful each day. But I must visit you from time to time and by coming in touch with physical conditions obtain that experience which was lost in leaving your world so young.
“Let me impress upon you the charm of our land by saying that I have never yet found a single one who had emerged and come up out of the earth conditions who wanted to go back, inhabit a flesh garment again, and live among you, – and this regardless of earth ties.”
“Tell me more of the actualities of your daily life,” I asked.
“You think,” she answered, “that you have vision, but your eyes have never looked upon life itself. You think you have hearing, but your dull ears have never heard one strain of our divine music. You have taste, but your tongues have never touched the essence. You have smell, and the aroma of roses carried by etheric atoms fills the nostrils, but you cannot appreciate the perfumes of this land of ours. You feel the touch of the coarse covering of living form without having any conception of the delight of touching life itself. In this sphere we have opportunities for education, joys, and happiness unthought of by you in the earth- land, but these are only for those who have come out of the gross material condition in which they were born. We live in homes largely in groups where harmony of thought and action is perfect, but we too have as many grades of people as do you, and in our earth-condition is found degradation as great as that which you know. Here are found the ignorant, the wicked, the immoral, and the vile. Dissolution does not improve or uplift character; that must come from the germ of good in the heart of every living creature.
“Tell those who fear the end,” the voice said, “that what they call death is very wonderful and beautiful; that with us, as with you, though you know it not, love is the one great force in the universe; it is the motor that drives the world and causes action. All things are done in and through it, and because of it. Affinity so-called is the process through which the love-force finds expression. But in this connection let me suggest that love is good, and of God, and walks in the path of honor, never into dishonor. It never brought unhappiness; it is never ‘born of lust?’
“It has been a joy and a privilege to speak to you tonight, for if any words of mine can help or make happier a single soul, that joy is reflected about me, and I am happier for having made others happy. Such is the law of God, and the secret of the world. Good night.”
What am I to do with such teachings? Shall I, coward-like, fearing the censure of this little world, hide from men what has been given me? Such actual experiences have convinced me that this individual life continues on and on, through the ages. If this be so, no tongue should be tied, voice hushed, or hand fail to write of facts so important to the peace and happiness of the human race.