The Astral Plane – Orientation

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Last revised: 16 Jan. 2012


Getting Our Bearings

Learning How to Live After Death

In the earlier stages of your celestial career it is unlikely that you will engage in any definite systematic task for the reason that this life to you at first will be so new, so strange, so different from anything that you had ever thought or dreamed of that for a period you will be content just to investigate / and explore and to endeavour to understand the new life.

You will meet those whom you love and have remembered; you will make pilgrimages here and journeys there; you will at the outset have so much to learn and to unlearn and to discover and to understand that you earlier energies will be fully occupied in these things.

You will, however, as your sojourn here lengthens - find little and varying ministries, little services of differing sorts, all of which will keep you happily employed. But, when ultimately you fully realize your relationship to the new life - a spiritual being, functioning on a spiritual plane, endowed with spiritual powers - you will the discover your true bent and find joy and useful service in following it. (Abbe Henry Bolo in SRE, 90-1.)

I was very ignorant when I came over. I was dazed at first and did not recognize myself as spirit. But my good angel was there and I was led into comprehension through suggestion and through teaching. But it had to be very simple at first. Will you know that the first thing I learned was how to walk! In other words, how to move as spirits move, with mental instead of physical effort. When I found I could move from place to place I was as eager and happy as a child. And this lasted quite a while, for you see I was only a child in this new life.

Then I had to visualize differently. I had not learned the difference between physical and spiritual sight. This took longer, and meantime I made some mistakes. After that my hearing developed. I do not mean that I had no perception of what we might call hearing, but it was really thought transference or telepathy, as you might call it, from my guide. It was some time before I actually heard spirit voices. And then after a longer /time, I began to hear faint sounds of music, like some far-off exquisite orchestra. I can never tell you how this affected me, nor with what joy I discovered that I was musical in my soul. That was one of the things I was denied, for the most part, in my earthly life, and I did not realize my own sensitiveness to sound, nor did I dream that sound could bring such ecstasy.

Then I knew what I wanted to study, and after a long time spent in acquiring speech, hearing, sight, and movement, I took up that study in earnest. I loved it and did not suppose anything could be equal in attraction. But finally my guide called me to go with her to meet others who had come over as ignorant and as helpless as I had been, and suddenly my heart was touched, and my love went out to them without effort. So these two were my regular occupations; and later I added astronomy to a degree, never to a proficiency; and after that, travel. I had really not cared for a home at that time. I went from hall to hall, temple to temple, seeking knowledge. And not until Dee came, and our love wished an abiding place that we might call home, did I begin to think of architecture. (Spirit control Mary Bosworth in SWSL, 65-6.)

Like Attracts Like

Like attracts like. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 67.)

Maclean said he was having an amazing time - had found his own crowd. (Nigel Gibbes of Flying Officer Ian Maclean in Geraldine Cummins, TS, 31.)

Sergeant Z does not know how long he remained unconscious. He says his passing over was gentle, that he travelled through the land of mist without mishap whilst still in a dazed condition.

It seems that his brother found him quickly and brought him through. A bond of great affection linked these two; a year separated their coming over. A bond of love between two souls, if it be unselfish, will achieve much. Through it, the passing-out experience can be robbed of danger, made pleasant instead of fearful. (Private Thomas Dowding of "Sergeant Z," PD, 72.)

The law is absolutely without exception. Like attracts like. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

We have before told you ... of the law of Association. [It is] invariable. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, ST, 46.)

We are attracted by sympathy, repelled by antipathy, drawn by desire on our part, or on that of those who wish for our presence. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

Souls attract souls by congeniality of pursuit, by similarity of temper, by remembrance of previous association, or by present work. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MST, 37.)

Affinities congregate, and rejoice in congenial society. Not from neighbourhood or locality, but from similarity of tastes or pursuits. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MST, 49.)

Separation and partings are not known except by the law of attraction and affection. (W.T. Stead, BI, 108.)

The governing force is love. Affections bind people together, and if the love between any two, or any group, is a strong and real thing, then those people are in close unison and happiness together. (W.T. Stead, BI, 110.)

There is no difference between our side and your side [in the matter of functioning societies], only that you do not have to mix with those who are in disharmony unless you, yourself, are disharmonious. Like attracts like.

On the earth plane, the people you associate with, those who are closest to you in your life, will be the same kind of people you'll be with on the other side. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 22.)

Love here is not disappointed. Those who are meant for each other always come into loving companionship. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 100.)

We love old friends here, but not because they are old. Congeniality is the law of spiritual friendship; and we understand better than formerly in how many ways we can be congenial. (Spirit control Mary Bosworth in SWSL, 126.)

It is the law of congeniality that works for happiness here. You know how on earth something is apt to jar when two people come together. You know how difficult it is to be in harmony with the different personalities surrounding you, or making the social life in which you move. Well, all is different here. There is no jarring of souls. We simply know our soul companions and meet them with confidence and love. Others too we meet, but always with only the side turned / toward them that is in the same vibration with them. We do not hate, we do not avoid even; but spirit meets its own. (Spirit control Mary Bosworth in SWSL, 126-7.)

The magnetic currents draw similar people together, in the long run. (Philip Gilbert to his mother, Alice, in PTS, 27.)

Each person, especially those of positive, determined nature, tends to attract the type of astral world which suits him - for the astral world is 'fluid,' and can shift and change. 'Good' and 'evil' emanations attract others and form a sort of nucleus, a sphere of influence. Or strongly musical, poetic, or scientific influences attract others of the same kind. For that matter, they do on earth, but it's much harder to resist these 'pulls.' (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 191-2.)

My love for you is so much more to the surface than it was when in the body - it's there all the time, playing round you. ... But it is a real bond of the spirit and so it will not fade away.

They tell me that those are the only bonds which do last and that, after death, people do not always meet again if there's no real spiritual bond. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 99.)

The basic law is affinity. One can only hope to contact minds with which one has or could have had affinity, a relationship of kind with kind, however different in development. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 62.)

When the earth life is over and one comes here, the law of affinity takes one into congenial conditions and the general alleviation of circumstances removes all outer sources of conflict. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 91.)

The real 'classes' into which [spirit people] are separated are divided in space because they have to obey the primal law of affinity. Near and far mean likeness of difference in development and there is a compulsion in the association of groups of similar levels. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 59.)

The meetings with relations and friends are something that must be experienced in order to grasp the full significance and joy or reunion. Such meetings will only take place where there is mutual sympathy and affection. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 171.)

Families ties, as such, have little significance in the spiritual world. Here the one deciding factor in this matter of human relationships and family ties is the bond of affection and mutual interest that prevails between any two or more people. The rule applies in all circumstances. It applies to husband and wife, to brother and sister, to father and mother, and to all the remaining degrees of family relationship. And it applies to ordinary friendships between individuals of different families and between both sexes. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 87.)

You must know that, when the physical body sleeps, the spirit body temporarily withdraws from it while still remaining connected to it by a magnetic cord. ... And it is upon these visits [to the astral plane] that one meets relatives and friends who have passed on before and it is similarly upon these visits that parents can meet their children and thus watch their growth. ...

There must be, of course, a sufficient bond of attachment between the parent and the child or else this law will not come into operation. Where such does not exist the conclusion is obvious. That link of affection or kindly interest must also exist between all human relationships in the spirit world, whether it be with husband and wife, parent and child, or between friends. Without that interest or affection it is problematical whether there would ever be any meeting at all, except fortuitously. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 161-2.)

Q: Do spirits of different orders mix together in the other life?

A: Yes and no; that is to say, they see each other, but they are none the less removed. They shun or approach one another according to the antipathies or sympathies of their sentiments, just as is the case among yourselves. The spirit-life is a whole world of varied conditions and relationships, of which the earthly life is only the obscured reflex. Those of the same rank are drawn together by a sort of affinity and form groups or families of spirits united by sympathy and a common aim - the good, by the desire to do what is good, and the bad, by the desire to do evil, by the shame of their wrong-doing, and by the wish to find themselves among those whom they resemble. (Unnamed spirit communicator to Allan Kardek in WASTAK, n.p.)

Dislike Repels

In time, as he learns his way about, the newcomer himself may get in touch with all his old pals, but, at first, they have to make the required gesture and without a strong and really spiritual love-bond, it is not so easy. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 15.)

Some people lose their mothers and fathers. It's just because they don't want them much. It's all if you want or don't want and what you expect you will get. (Child Elizabeth B. to E.B. Gibbes in Geraldine Cummins, TS, 65.)

'Are your parents on that side?'

"Yes, but I do not see them. 'Each to his own place,' as the Bible says. I know that there was no congeniality between us. We tried to do our duty and that was all." (Unnamed spirit communicator to Charlotte E. Dresser in LHH, 59.)

I have seen none of our acquaintances. I believe I shall find hardly any of them because no bond of love connects me with any of them; through such a bond only does one meet again! The space we are in here is so immense, it is improbable to meet anyone by chance. (Sigwart, BOTR, 16.)

When you are over in this life you will not be continually associated with people who are not of interest to you. On earth you eliminate, as far as practical, the people who tire and try you - but here that can be done effectively because those feelings and instincts are entirely mutual. (W.T. Stead, BI, 110.)

Wherever the love is not on both or all sides, there is automatically a falling away of the affected party. (W.T. Stead, BI, 110.)

Nothing uneven or unequal holds. When you come, through death, you are attracted by the ties of love into the set of people who vibrate the same affection, and if you have had an affection for another which is not equally shared, although you will at first be together, you will gradually and yet quietly cease to attract each other, and cease to be in each other's company. (W.T. Stead, BI, 110.)

The laws ... on our side are far more protective than they are on your side. On earth you must learn through good and evil. Here we have already learned that; there is no need for us to experience that. We do not see the bad unless we choose to. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 22.)

Parents and children are reunited only if that love tie persists and friends and relatives have no other reason for being together but that they love to have it so. Different kinds of love are merged in the highest form of all - friendship, affinity in varying degrees of intensity and nearness. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce] in LFOS, 96-7.)

Some children who die before they have reached adolescence do not meet their parents in the world between. They had only a fleeting, physical connection with them; they were strangers to each other's souls; they were not bound to each other through the comradeship of the Group. This being so, desire fades rapidly and, after death, such parents are not united to the children who went before them at an earlier time. (F.W.H., Myers, BHP, n.p.)

If you have never given a thought while you are on earth to those who have passed into the spirit world before you or otherwise shown any friendly interest in your 'deceased' family and friends, there is not much incentive or encouragement for your relatives and friends to display any concern on your behalf.

Mutual interest, affection, or regard provide the active living link between individuals. Without them a gulf develops, and each and all of the parties will become detached and wander away to other interests and attachments. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 22.)

We Live Only with Those Who are on Our Level of Development

In the astral world, ... the people will be as you are. If you are a very negative person in your earth life, you will be with negative people, both in your earth life - because this is what you've attracted to you - and on the other side. These people can be miserable together. And many people who are miserable are truly happy being miserable so they are granted this. If, however, you are youthful and see the beauty of things, you will be with people who have youthful minds and who see the true beauty of things. Wherever you wind up is exactly what you deserve, exactly what you've earned.

Remember, heaven is not a place. It is a state of being. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 18.)

Those who leave the body at death will go to the plane that they have earned on the other side. You can always go to the lower realms by choice. So this protects those who are in harmony, those who are loving and kind and gentle from being imposed upon by the ignorant, by those who choose to display their egos and their energies in less than constructive ways. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 22.)

We are one [on any one plane]; we have achieved the same state of being upon the same plane of existence. Every fresh face that enters these realms receives the same heartfelt welcome, without reference to what he was upon earth. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 175.)

With us it would be impossible for any spirit to live with those for whose society it was not fitted. We see the nature and character of those with whom we have to do. Place is nothing to us, state is everything. Each character creates its own surroundings, and, in your probation sphere, the character of the spirit is formed. Every act goes to build up the character that is perpetuated and the home that you are hereafter to inhabit. In every sphere of training duties are assigned, the right performance of which helps the spirit to grow and develop. The processes of training in our sphere and yours, though different, are yet analogous. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.)


[People retain their earth names] as long as it is necessary for a person to be so identified. But what you must remember is that the name is not the individual; (1) it is only the means by which he is known.

[The person may keep the name for] hundreds or even thousands of years. But once you have passed beyond the / magnetic field of the earth, the name does not matter because you are then known for the individual that you truly are. (Silver Birch, SBA, 66-7.)

(1) Remember that Silver Birch makes a distinction between the evanescent personality and the enduring individuality.

Our surnames have no significance in this world. In fact, to the new arrival, there might also appear to be some irregularity in the employment of names generally; no fixed custom or order about it. Here it is always a matter of personal identity, and not family identity.

Names do not always count here; any one can assume any name for the time being. We recognize more by the spirit impression. We feel the truth of the recognition much as you describe your sensation: - as an electric thrill which assures you of the truth of the communication, or of the person. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth in LHH, 59.)

'Can you tell us who you are?'

"We are two who loved each other on earth, and found each other here after the change that you call death." (Unnamed spirits to Charlotte E. Dresser in LHH, 78.)

'Are you known by your old name there?'

"No. I have another name here. But with earth friends I keep the earth name."

'Are all names different there?'

"We all have different names here, but we love to hear the old familiar names from friends there. We take names more suitable for ethereal qualities."

We asked what determined the name.

"Names here apply to character more than to fancy, and we know each other by some distinguishing characteristic. But all names are musical and good to hear."

'But you are all good and are all perfect, so it would seem that you would all have the same names?' /

"No. That is your conception of this life, but you are far from comprehending. Personal characteristics are as pronounced here as they are there, except that we do not have the distinction of being 'faulty,' or 'awkward,' or 'homely,' or 'sinful,' as people on earth might have, if called by their distinguishing characteristics."

'I should think that you would run out of names in so great a multitude?'

"You do not realize the variety of attributes here. But even so, think how many there are of the same name on your plane. It does no harm to have the same name repeated here any more than it does there."

I asked what my name would be, and was told:

"We will not tell you, though we think we know it already."

'Who gives it to me?'

"It grows. It is written all over you!" (Spirit communicator Dee in SWSL, 75-6.)

There is at least one fixed order of names here and that is with the names that are of purely spirit world origin; names that are formed or built up in accordance with rules. Each one of them has a distinct meaning and belongs to no earthly language. Names of that kind are given after they have been earned and are only obtained through beings of the highest realms. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 137.)

There is much power in the use of a name. Know this and remember it; for much disaster continually ensues by reason of the misuse of holy names, disaster wondered at and often felt to be unmerited. (Zabdiel, LBV, Vol. II, 64.)

Names are, therefore, [held] in reverence, not only in economies of earth, but in these heavenly realms also. For he who names a great angel Lord compromises that person with whatever work he has afoot to do. (1) This is so ordained; and the highest of all, His name, must be [held] in deepest reverence as in your own sacred law it is ... enjoined. (Arnel in LBV, Vol. III, 67.)

Names of Higher Personages Often Hidden

Here we preserve as much anonymity of our physical life as we can. (Frances Banks, TOL, 41.)

When the higher personages go to the earth to speak to friends there, they are usually known by some name that has been specially chosen or invented for them. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 138.)

The visitor I'm telling you about is an eminent personage from the higher realms, but his identity has been concealed under the simple yet effective name of Blue Star, and it's derived in a sensible, straightforward fashion from the fact that part of his personal insignia, if I may call it so, consists of a magnificent jewel, made in the form of a star of brilliant blue precious stones, more precious ... than anything that could be found or made upon earth. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 139.)

Call me Blue Star. Everybody does and why not? It's my name, after all - one of them. Some of us have several names. On earth, I believe, if one has too many names one is apt to be regarded with suspicion, but here it is different. The name I had on earth has caused the most trouble, I fancy. But that is not my fault, but the fault of people who have used it a shade too freely. (Spirit known as "Blue Star" in Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 140.)

"We desire to give you blessings from many High and Holy ones who have watched for years the unfoldment of your soul..."

"God be with thee! Amen"

May I know your name?

"Nay, but sign it thus †." (A messenger to F. Heslop in FMABL, 93.)

Earth Fame Fleeting

Fame comes to many people in your world through sheer birth and for no other reason. They have not won it by their life, their endeavour, or their labour. There are many, many beings unknown, unrecognised in your world, to whom the lustre of fame is accorded in our world. The soul is the indelible passport. (Silver Birch, SBA, 67.)

Q: When a soldier, after a battle, meets his general in the spirit-world, does he still acknowledge him as a superior?

A: Titles are nothing; intrinsic superiority is everything. (Unnamed spirit communicator to Allan Kardek in WASTAK, n.p.)

They who serve most are the greatest here. There is no computing of place or position except by service or wisdom. Service may be of the intelligence or of the spiritual gifts, or the more common activities; but the wiser the service, or the more loving and unselfish the giving of one's self - these are the things that give prominence in spirit life. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth in SW, 96.)

If people on earth could only grasp the complete reversal of values which takes place here. I didn't read the Bible much, but I do remember a text about 'the first shall be last,' etc. It is too funny to see how some important people arrive here swollen like frogs with a sense of being the great 'I AM,' and, inevitably, they gravitate, struggling and indignant to their mental kind, who may be dustbin men, prostitutes or South Sea islanders. I have seen a great financial magnate find himself compelled to keep company with the conceited ruler of an African tribe, for their inner motives and points of view were exactly similar! (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 131.)

That a soul had houses, lands, and honours among men does not increase his value in our eyes. We cannot hope to profit by his discarded riches. The soul in the "hereafter" builds its own house, and the materials thereof are free as air. If I use the house which another has built, I miss the enjoyment of creating my own. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXXVII.)

There is another thing that surprised me not a little, and that was or is the discovery of the ... entire nothingness of most things which seemed to one on earth the most important of things. For instance, money, rank, worth, merit, station, and all the things we most prize when on earth, are simply nothing. They don't exist any more than the mist of yesterday or the weather of last year. They were no doubt influential for a time, but they do not last; they pass as the cloud passes and are not visible any more. (Julia Ames, AD, 49.)

Several of the earth's world famous people have spoken to me of their awakening in the spirit world and they have told me of the shock of revelation they received when they beheld themselves for the first time as they really were. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 176.)

A certain inquisitiveness concerning the general fate of those well known upon the earth-plane is possessed by most people who are in their early days of psychic study. The mere fact of their being well known is sufficient. But none calls forth more curiosity than the historically famous people. Where are they - the masters in all branches of earthly endeavor, the names that are familiar in the history books? They must be somewhere. Most certainly they are. A good number of them are to be found in the dark realms where they have been living for centuries and they are more than likely to so continue for more countless centuries. Others are in those exalted realms of light and beauty where their noble lives upon earth have found their just reward. But there are many, a great many, who will find themselves within these realms [i.e., the Summerlands] whereof I have tried to give you some account. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 172.)

Who I am really matters not. Who I was matters still less. We do not carry our earthly positions with us into the spirit world. My earthly importance I left behind me. My spiritual worth is what counts now, and that, my good friend, is far below what it should be and what it can be. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 7.)

I was told that many people, whose public favor was considerable when they were incarnate, discovered, when they had shed their earthly bodies, that their fame and high favor had not preceded them into the world of spirit. Gone was the admiration which had been their common everyday experience. It naturally saddened such souls to leave behind their earthly prominence and it gave them something of a sense of loneliness, the more so when, in addition, the earth world quickly forgot all about them. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 104.)

Many who were great upon the earth found themselves very small in spirit. And many who were unknown upon earth found themselves here so spiritually well known as to be almost overcome by it. It is not all, by any means, who are destined for the beautiful realms of eternal sunshine and summer. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 104.)

Fame in the spirit world is vastly different from fame in the earth world. Spiritual fame carries with it distinctions of a very different order from the earthly distinctions and it is gained in one way only - in service to others. It sounds almost too simple to be feasible, but such is the case and nothing will alter it. Whether the earthly famous will reside in the realms of light immediately after their dissolution remains with themselves. The law applies to all irrespective of earthly position.

A certain inquisitiveness concerning the general fate of those well known upon the earth-plane is possessed by most people who are in their early days of psychic study. The mere fact of their being well known is sufficient. But none calls forth more curiosity than the historically famous people. Where are they - the masters in all branches of earthly endeavor, the names that are familiar in the history books? They must be somewhere. Most certainly they are. A good number of them are to be found in the dark realms where they have been living for centuries and they are more than likely to so continue for more countless centuries. Others are in those exalted realms of light and beauty where their noble lives upon earth have found their just reward. But there are many, a great many, who will find themselves within these realms [i.e., the Summerlands] whereof I have tried to give you some account. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 172.)

We do not revive our memories for the purpose of self-glorification or to impress our hearers. Indeed, they would not be in the least impressed and we should succeed in making fools of ourselves! We recognize the truth here and our true worth is for all to see. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 174.)

One will meet many people here who were famous upon earth in all sorts of places and pursuing all sorts of occupations, some ... a continuation of their earthly calling and some, perforce, entirely new. All alike are approachable without formalities of any kind whatever. We need no introductions to men and women whom the earth knows as famous. Their gifts are at the disposal of all, and happy, indeed, are they to assist another who comes to them for help in any difficulties, whether it is in art or science, or in any other form of activity.

The great who have gained their greatness through the various expressions of their genius consider themselves but the lowly units of a vast whole, the immense organization of the spirit world. They are all striving - as we are too - for the same purpose and that is spiritual progression and development. They are grateful for any help towards that end and they are glad to give it wherever possible. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 175-6.)

He was what was known as a 'Prince of the Church' [in his earth life]. ... But the deference that his position upon earth had always evoked, he utterly cast aside when he came into the world of spirit. He would have none of it.... Respect is one thing, for we all respect each other in these realms; but deference that should be given to others of greater spirituality is another thing altogether. He early recognized this, so he told us, and from my own personal knowledge of his innate humility I could guess that such would be the case with him. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 143.)

Everyone Equal

Whites, blacks and yellows - there is no differentiation; one rule holds for all races of mankind. (W.T. Stead, BI, 113.)

The basic tenet here is the Brotherhood of Man. (Donald Macleod in HT, 17.)

There is no aristocracy of spirit. All meet and associate as their natures desire. The laws of sympathy and congeniality prevail, and there is no color line, of course, to be a barrier. (Spirit control Mary Bosworth in SWSL, 126.)

I am ashamed now to remember that on earth I had great difficulty in my relationships with men whom I then regarded as inferior. I cultivated an attitude of fastidiousness which allowed me to regard them as less than human. One of my problems here has been to correct this attitude.

My earlier experiences in the city of gloom brought me into touch with such men and women and I had shrunk in horror from any contact with them. Now I am learning that all of these are on their way upwards and will in time stand where I stand now and that their faults and failings will exact from them, alas, the just measure of suffering.

Moreover, the adjustment of my own place in the scale of things has given me a different standard. I see now that I was like Shakespeare's dreamer, 'a king of infinite space" but 'Waking, no such thing.' With every advantage of education and upbringing I brought with me so much evil, weakness, and wrong thinking and have had to be cured of it through so much pain and shame that I can have nothing but compassion and respect in my heart now for these others. My hierarchy of human values has had to be altered: instead of the imperfect judgements of earth where an adding up of this and that gives only an arbitrary and superficial result, here one sees a man clearly and as a whole. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 56-7.)

Case Study of a Woman of Station

On earth you value titles, inherited or acquired; here a man's name is not of much importance even to himself, and a visiting-card would be lost through the cracks in the floor of heaven. No footman angel would ever deliver it to his Lord and Master.

One day I met a lady recently arrived. She had not been here long enough to have lost her assurance of superiority over ordinary men and angels. That morning I had on my best Roman toga, for I had been reliving the past; and the lady, mistaking me for Caesar or some other ancient aristocrat, asked me to direct her to a place where gentlewomen congregated.

I was forced to admit that I did not know of any such resort; but as the visitor seemed lonely and bewildered, I invited her to rest beside me for a time and to question me if she wished.

"I have been here several months," I said, "and have gained considerable experience."

It was plain to see that she was puzzled by my remark. She glanced at my classical garment, and I could feel her thinking that there was something incongruous between it and my assertion that I had been here only a few months.

"Perhaps you are an actor," she said.

"We are all actors here," I replied.

This seemed to puzzle her more than ever, and she said that she did not understand. Poor lady! I felt sorry for her, and I tried my best to explain to her the conditions under which we live.

"You must know in the first place," I said, "that this is the land of realised ideals. Now a man who has always desired to be a king can play the part up here if he wishes to, and no one will laugh at him; for each spirit has some favourite dream which he acts out to his own satisfaction.

"We have, madam," I continued, "reacquired the tolerance and the courtesy of children who never ridicule one another's play."

"Is heaven merely a play-room?" she asked, in a shocked tone.

"Not at all," I answered; "but you are not in heaven." (1)

Her look of apprehension caused me immediately to add:

"Nor are you in hell, either. What was your religion upon the earth?"

"Why, I professed the usual religion of my country and station; but I never gave it much thought."

"Perhaps the idea of purgatory (2) is not unfamiliar to you."

"I am not a papist," she said, with some warmth.

"Nevertheless, a papist in your position would conceive himself to be in purgatory."

"I am certainly not happy," she admitted, "because everything is so strange."

"Have you no friends here?" I inquired.

"I must have many acquaintances," she said; "but I never cared for intimate friendships. I used to entertain a good deal; my husband's political position demanded it."

"Perhaps there is someone on this side to whom you were specially kind at some time or other, someone whose grief you helped to bear, whose poverty you eased."

"I patronised our organised charities."

"I fear that sort of help is too impersonal to be remembered here. Have you no children?"


"No brothers or sisters on this side?"

"I quarrelled with my only brother for marrying beneath him."

"But surely," I said, "you must have had a mother. Was she not waiting for you when you came over?"


This surprised me, for I had been told that all mother spirits who have not gone back to the world know by a peculiar thrill when a child to which they have given birth is about to be reborn into the spiritual world - a sort of sympathetic after-pain, the final and sweetest reward of motherhood.

"Then she must have reincarnated," I said.

"Do you hold to that pagan belief?" the lady inquired, with just a touch of superiority. "I thought that only queer people, Theosophists and such, believed in reincarnation."

"I was always queer," I admitted. "But you know, of course, dear madam, that about three-quarters of the earth's inhabitants are familiar with that theory in some form or other."

We continued our talk for a little time, and meanwhile I was puzzling my heart as to what I could do to help this poor lonely woman, for whom no one was waiting. I passed in mental review this and that ministering angel of acquaintance, and wondered which of them would be considered most correct from the conventional earthly point of view. The noblest of them was usually at the side of some newly arrived unfortunate woman - to use a euphemism of that polite society which my latest protégée had frequented. ...

I was still wondering what I should do with her when, looking up, I saw the Teacher approaching. He had with him another woman, as like the first as one empty china cup is like another empty china cup. Then he and I went away and left the two together. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXXVII.)

(1) The Mental Plane or "Heaven."(2) Judge Hatch represents the Astral Plane as purgatory not in the sense that the Borderlands are purgatory, but in the sense of a place where unmet desires are worked out or purged before one enters "heaven."

Judge Not

[Dowding] is making quick progress and his power of service to his fellow-men will be great. It is often the most unexpected people who are chosen for important work. ("The Messenger" speaking of Thomas Dowding, PD, 50.)

No criticism of another by the conscious reasoning mind is ever entirely correct, however depraved the other personality appears. Only after souls have separated from their earthly bodies and have stood at the bar of their own judgement (1) can those entities begin to realize truth and this to view each other with "opened sight." (Spirit teacher called "Elder Brother" in Helen Greaves, LW, 117.)

(1) Elder Brother is probably referring to the Judgment.

On this side, things seem so topsy-turvy. The first are last, the last first. I see convicts and murderers and adulterers, who worked their wickedness out in the material sphere, standing far higher in the scale of purity and of holiness than some who never committed a crime, but whose minds, as it were, were the factory and breeding-ground of thoughts which are the seed of crimes in others. I do not mean by this that it is better to do crimes than to think them. Only that the doing is not always to be taken as proof of wicked-heartedness. The sins of impulse, the crimes perpetrated in a gust of passion - these harm the soul less and do less harm than the long-indulged thoughts of evil which come at last to poison the whole soul. (Julia Ames, AD, 48-9.)

If the first word of my message is, God is Love, and those who love are living in God, my second word surely must be: Judge not, judge not. For you cannot see, you cannot understand. You are all as children in the dark, making guesses at the colour of shadows thrown upon a screen. You do not see the colour, and yet you pronounce confident judgment. Just not until at least you see the man as he is.

Often what seems to you the worst things are the best. Sometimes the apparent best are among the worst. Motive is not everything, but it is a great deal - so much that those from whom motive is hidden cannot judge fully. My own experience of all this was very varied and I soon became accustomed to disregard the distinctions I had made so much of when in life. (Julia Ames, AD, 91-2.)

It is the motive rather than the act which counts here. Acts sometimes entail consequences beyond the grave, but not so constantly as motives. As a man thinketh, so he is. And many things that seem to you crimes of the deepest dye seem to us quite otherwise. And many things which in your eyes seem to be quite virtuous are here seen to be soul-dwarfing, sight-blinding sins. (Julia Ames, AD, 178.)

What ... is earthly fame, of one sort and another? It depends upon what the fame rests. It is possible to see on the earth at present many whose fame rests upon a reputation of utter fatuity. That's not so much their fault as that of the empty-headed people who give them such generous support.

There are people, too, whose earthly reputation and fame were of a very unsavoury kind, but who have since risen to the realms of light and are profoundly glad that their portraits on earth are inaccurate delineations. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 93.)


Discretion is something we soon learn to exercise and it is embodied in our never prying into the facts and circumstances of other people's earthly lives. That does not mean to say that we are debarred from discussing our earthly lives, but the initiative always comes from the person concerned. If he wishes to tell anyone of his life on earth he will ever find a sympathetic and interested ear awaiting him. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 175.)

[Roger:] "Is it customary for people on visits to ... walk through the grounds rather than 'think' themselves into the room?"

[Monsignor:] "Yes, Roger. That is the method we've employed all along in the few calls we've made round about. There's no law about it, you know; merely what good sense and good taste dictate. If the need for one's presence were vitally urgent, then we might use the thought method of getting us wherever we wanted to be and so appear right in a person's presence without delay. But in all ordinary circumstances we behave like ordinary folk and so present ourselves, walking upon our two legs, and, if necessary, we should knock on the front door - though I don't ever remember doing that part of it.

You'll find, Roger, as you go on, that you'll instinctively do the right thing. So don't let that detail trouble you. Calling upon our friends on earth is a different matter altogether. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 140.)

Working with Spirit Guides

The Process of Purgation: Completing Unfinished Earth Experiences

You are taken into a place where you are assigned your own "group leaders." These are people who have worked with you during this last incarnation on the earth plane. They will help you to review this life, to understand the opportunities, the gains, the losses. (1) They will give you an opportunity to study in whatever field that interests you. They will re-unite you you're your loved ones. They become a sort of "board of directors" whom you in turn will learn to love in the astral plane. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 31.)

(1) This could be the kind of counsel that is discussed in this section or it could be referring to [../../../Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Content.IE5/QH8KQ1F0/judge1.html "the Judgment."]

I can see now that all this while [almost thirty years of Earth time] I have been half-consciously trying to complete my earth experience; to fill in its gaps and make good some of its deficiencies. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 27.)

I am now very alive to the defensive egoism which spoilt and wasted my years on earth. Now by the clearer vision born of suffering I am being set free from this self-imposed imprisonment. It is becoming easier to allow myself to flow out in freedom to others and to take what they offer without constraint. But nothing can compensate fully for what I have missed; nothing here can parallel the all-and-everything condition of close human relationships on earth. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 81.)

I suppose the great task we have before us in this stage of being is to free ourselves from a sense of guilt, notwithstanding our clearer view of the harm our wrongdoing has occasioned. One cannot just lay down the burden with a sigh of relief and go on free of it. Burden is an inadequate metaphor; the mischief is in us, a dark cloud at the heart of our emotional being. It is a disease that has to be cured. Seeing it in these physical terms makes it plain that the old idea that sin can be paid for by another is an illusion. We each have to wrestle with our own mortal illness until we can achieve a cure. I am attempting to understand my own case; all I know is that the smart and shame of wrongdoing make a hard core of unease at the heart of living. I am aware of some amelioration of my state from time to time but complete cure is yet a long way off. Mitchell counsel patience and assures me that the healing process will go on perhaps the better if I can cease to brood over it and give myself more fully to the life around me. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 86-7.)

[Lawrence looks back on his own life as a soldier in Arabia:] Fame! I am trying to be honest and I saw the situation in the East during the First World War as being made for exploitation by my ambition. I did exploit it too, in every subtle and hidden way that opened; watched it for my own advantage and worked and planned for my opportunity. I buried all this in an unquiet conscience. True, I loved my country and wished to serve her, but I knew that I sinned in every life I sacrificed to my ambition. In the upshot many lives paid for my success and perhaps years of enduring mischief, even to those I most wished to benefit, came from the hopes I raised and failed to satisfy. This failure had always tasted to me like treachery and it poisoned all my achievement. It poisoned all my ensuing life on earth and now I have to know that the aftermath of fame is injuring those I loved. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 87-8.)

[Mitchell to Lawrence:] 'Remember, there is no blame; there is only cause and effect.' (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 88.)

What I have to face here and now is threefold: first my knowledge of the evil I did; then my knowledge of its continuing effects on earth; and lastly, my knowledge of what it has made me, the visible and tangible evidences of which I bear about in my present bodily form. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 89.)

The process of purgation through which we pass leaves the soul more free from its strait jacket and more impelled to follow a path which will lead finally to union with the Godhead. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 121.)

Hell exists, as it has always done, in the feelings and spirits of men and it can indubitably be brought here with them. Purgation there is, since none of us comes here in perfected form and the wise man will set to work here and now to judge and know himself and to begin to correct these errors, falsenesses and weaknesses which he discovers in his soul. Death will launch him into a world where his emotional being, healthy or diseased, will be the physical equipment with which he starts a new life. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 127-8.)

Average people, of an earthy, material, greedy type, find themselves - they don't quite know how - with similar people, once they have worked out their strong earth impressions (and this in itself may take centuries because it is far easier to impress a record on the mind than to erase it). It is all so difficult to explain. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 204. Ed. I have rearranged the order of the words in this quote for comprehensibility.)

I am realizing, in my work here, how much these mental 'sound-tracks' matter. It takes centuries to wear them out. I suppose they must wear out in Eternity, eventually. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 217.)

One is subject to incessant impacts and inflowings from other 'sets of vibrations,' other thought forces. One can get help if one can attract it, but, by and large, one is dependent upon oneself and one's own personality a good deal.

That is what you people still on the earth-plane just won't grasp. Most people are trying to prop themselves up on someone else - on being 'saved,' or on 'spirit guides,' or this and that - anything to push responsibility on some other factor.

In the ultimate result, one is alone to face one's own problems here as there, but it is much easier to be 'good' here in one way, because one is subject to this power-attraction and gravitates to people like oneself so that one is receiving the impact of their power, to bolster one up.

On the other hand, it is much harder to snap out of any folly or obsession, for the same reason. But the 'lower' type of 'vibrations' have not intrinsically the force that the swifter, more impregnated ones have. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 222.)

The spirit incarnated in your world settles for itself its position after it has been freed from the body, by the deeds done in the body. According as they have been good or evil, they cause it to gravitate to a higher or lower sphere, or to a higher or lower state in the sphere for which it is fitted. When the place is settled it comes to pass that those who are entrusted with the mission educate it, and purge away false notions, and lead it to ponder on former sins, and so to desire to remedy their consequences. This is the first step in progress. The purification continues until the spirit has been so far cleansed as to rise into a higher state, and there again the process is continued until the spheres of purification are passed, and the spirit, refined and purified, rises into the spheres of education. There further knowledge is instilled; the soul is refined and made fit to shake off still more of the material, and to undergo a further process of sublimation. And this continues until the material is entirely purged away. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

Some Souls Have Difficulty Shaking Mortal Patterns

I have often been sorry for men who in life had been slaves of the business routine. Many of them cannot get away from it for a long time; and instead of enjoying themselves here, they go back and forth to and from the scenes of their old labours, working over and over some problem in tactics or finance until they are almost as weary as when they "died." (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter .)

The New Arrivals Counseled

The birth of a spirit in the spheres is very like the birth of an infant in the world. The new-born spirit requires care and guidance. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.)

I learn by degrees and as a new-born babe, to accustom myself to the new conditions of my being. (Bishop Wilberforce in MSTSW, n.p.)

Already, under the guidance of my guardians, I have passed through the first sphere, where are gathered those who are bound to earth by the affections or are unable to rise as yet. There I saw some whom I had known in the body and learned from them, and from others, much that I needed to know. My work will of a similar sort till I reach my appointed sphere. (Bishop Wilberforce in AD, 86.)

The guides do their utmost to get the soul to accept the idea of death as quickly as possible, and as soon as this idea has been accepted, the soul is indifferent to the disposal of the remains and in fact is quite happy that at last the material bonds have been severed and he can look forward to a new, freer and better life than he has experienced so far. (Donald Macleod in HT, 15.)

If a soul has come direct from earth, or any material world, he must then be taught all he has neglected in the former existence, in order to make his character grow to perfection. (Unnamed spirit communicator in SRE, 53.)

You are helped, over here, when you do come, in proportion to what you've had to put up with. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 37-8.)

We have to go through certain essential experiences and, if we miss them in the earth-life, we have to face them here. ... I have actually to share a house - not a bed - with a man. ...

I don't mean anything improper. I merely mean I have to put up with a companion of another type of mind. Here we talk of men and women, but we really mean male and female minds. I have to put up with the masculine type of mentality in my home. Heavens! It is trying sometimes! (Margaret Ross to Geraldine Cummons, TS, 105.)

Did you know there was a kind of twist in poor Margaret's soul and so she had to get it straightened out by living with her opposite? (Alice Ross of her sister Margaret in Geraldine Cummins, TS, 107.)

The torments suffered by so many result from ignorance, from fear of the passage from one world to the next, also from what I call soullessness. This latter condition is only apparent and does not last for ever. It is seen among those who have lived utterly selfish or evil lives on your earth. I do not wish to dwell upon such conditions. They are met over here by purgatorial tests which gradually purify and ultimately release the souls in torment. Purgatory, unlike Hell, is a condition to be welcomed, to be bravely faced and lived through. I am beginning to rise above my own purgatory; otherwise I could be of no real service to others. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 35-6.)

We settled down for a long talk in the course of which [Mitchell, Lawrence's guide upon arrival] told me plainly that in order to be able to help me he would have to probe into my past. I do realize now that accustomed reticences are no longer possible and that in this queer life one's only chance of prospering is to accept what one is and try to do something with it. This conclusion brings a refreshing easing of tension and a sense of release. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 28.)

I can no longer hide inconvenient aspects of my personality and ... if I left myself resent their discovery I make an atmosphere which drives everyone away. Luckily Mitchell had great delicacy and adopted such an objective attitude that I could just bear his scrutiny with equanimity.

Then he startled me.

'I am worried about the repressions you have practiced and don't think we can get a proper balance until you have let go of them, he said.

'You mean-?' I asked.

'You have lived a monk-like existence and my advice to you is to go and experiment with all the experiences you missed on earth. Go on a proper spree. Don't tell yourself that you are too fastidious and don't want to. Deep down you both want to and need to. Unless you can release some of the forbidden desires the amount of stored and dangerous emotion will constantly overset your equilibrium and keep you in a state of turmoil. Hence my advice for you to open the safety valves. There are many things to make clear to you which will make such a course less distasteful. My dear fellow, I am not counselling irresponsibility but at present you are such a dangerous volcano of eruptive forces that you will not be able to make progress here. If I am to get you right for this plane you must be content to go lower for a while and compensate by some really riotous living for all you have chosen to miss.

This diagnosis was a shock and has thrown me into a worse state of turmoil than ever. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 28-9.)

I can begin to understand ... that the advice is good. The reserve of emotional power which has driven me so hard in life; the restless activity, the impatience, the craving for speed - this overload of power is now too strong for its frailer body. Some blood-letting is indicated. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 30.)

[After Lawrence's sexual experiences are completed:] 'You have broken down one of your worst inhibitions,' he said to me. 'You can feel for yourself how this release of energy has relieved the tension under which you were living. I think you will also find that the anxiety factor which was an indication of your fear of living has been reduced.' (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 34.)

He said, 'your big difficulty is a scorn of slowness and impatience of mediocrity and, if you will forgive me, a really horrible feeling of superiority to most of the pleasant and ordinary people you are meeting here. They cannot avoid recognizing your reaction to them and so they keep away from you. Now how are we to get that right?' (Mitchell to T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 30.)

I can see that this kind of living, naked to emotional stress, imposing candour and demanding innocence, cannot be successfully carried out without training. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 37.)

[Mitchell] knows how to take the horrid emanations into his own clear being and transform them there. If he returned them in kind the resulting state of all of us would not bear thinking of; it would no doubt approximate to the state of the gloomy town I had cause to remember too well. But in thus accepting and transforming the waves of negative emotion we sometimes send out he shames us into fresh effort. For he suffers. The delicate fabric of his body is harmed and hurt although he tries not to flinch when he is scorched by our beastly reactions. I can see that this kind of living, naked to emotional stress, imposing candour and demanding innocence, cannot be successfully carried out without training. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 37-8.)

The percentage is low, deplorably low, of people who come into the spirit world with any knowledge at all of their new life and of the spirit world in general. All the countless souls without this knowledge have to be taken care of and helped in their difficulties and perplexities. ... It is a type of work that appeals to many of the ministers of the church of whatever denomination. Their experience upon earth stands them in good stead and all of them - perhaps I should say all of us! - know that we are now members of one ministry, with one purpose, serving one cause, and all of us possessed of the same knowledge of the truth of spirit life, without creed, without doctrine or dogma, a united body or workers, men and women. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 168.)

The Angel who has to answer to our Master for your life-work sent me. He joys that you did good work in charity, for your heart was much bathed in love for God and man. He sorrows for you that you were not content to do what you taught was done for you on Calvary. For you were not willing to become scorn for men and to be withered with their disapproval, for you valued the praise of men more than God's praise and hoped to be able one day to buy more cheaply your reward for having spread light upon the darkness when that darkness should begin to pass from night into the twilight of the dawning day. But you did not see in your weakness and lack of valiant purpose and of strength to suffer shame and coldness, that the time for which you waited would be the time when your help would not be needful and the fight all but won by others of more stalwart mettle while you stood with the onlookers and viewed the fight from a fair vantage-ground, while those others fought and gave and took blows good and strong and fell forward in the battle when they would not surrender their cause to those who opposed them. (A "messenger" in G. Vale Owen, LBV, Vol. III, 115, quoted in Lord Dowding, MM, 100.)

There are individuals who have probed the depths and scaled the heights of intellectual development; they dwell amongst the cold peaks of scientific attainment. They have stored their minds with a huge mass of information regarding the facts of existence, not recognizing the truth that, unless knowledge is used to sweeten life, it is of little value to humanity.

Such individuals are often unapproachable to their fellows here and, when they reach the spirit world, they find themselves in solitude, their natures are stunted and cold; the love-tides do not flow freely, their human sympathies and affections have been frozen, and very often a little child leads them into happier conditions in the social spheres, where love warms the spirit into freer and rounder life. (E.W. Wallis in SRE, 29.)

As you know, there are teachers here. Few of them are of the stature of my own Teacher; but there are many who make it their pleasure to help the souls of the newly arrived. They never leave a newcomer entirely to his own resources. Help is always offered, though it is not always accepted. In that case it will be offered again and again, for those who give themselves to others do so without hope of reward or even acknowledgment. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXVII.)

Since the first two or three months I have not been lonesome. At first I felt like a fish out of water, of course. Nearly everyone does; though there are exceptions in the case of very spiritual people who have no earthly ties or ambitions. I had so fought the idea of "dying," that my new state seemed at first to be the proof of my failure, and I used to wander about under the impression that I was going to waste much valuable time which could have been used to better advantage in the storm and stress of earthly living.

Of course the Teacher came to me; but he was too wise to carry me on his back even from the first. He reminded me of a few principles, which he left me to apply; and gradually, as I got hold of the applications, I got hold of myself. Then also gradually the beauty and wonder of the new condition began to dawn on me, and I saw that instead of wasting time I was really gaining tremendous experience which could be utilised later. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXVII.)

T.E Lawrence Compensates for Missed Experiences in Earthly Life

I do not propose to detail all my hesitations and doubts nor my struggle with diffidence and life-long inhibitions. The monk and the prig in me were very strong, but I found at last a companion who was minded to follow the same course [of releasing inhibitions] and he took me to various haunts of his. 'These girls,' he said, 'are not prostitutes or anything like it; they are women who have missed sexual experiences during their earth life and need to work out this lack before they can progress, just as we do. So we are all in the same boat and start equal. You will find some lovely people here.'

Much of my reluctance had left me when Mitchell [Lawrence's guide for the newly arrived] explained the differences between sexual relationships here and those known on earth. To understand them it is necessary to remember that there has been a total change in the body substance and that the basis of all relationships here is purely emotional. One does not think how handsome, nor how plain another person is but judges them entirely on the quality of their auras or emanations. When an attraction between the sexes is felt, it is a pure emotion of love and the urge is to draw near and share the warmth and beauty one desires. Lust as such is hardly possible in this plane. If union takes place it is an interfusion of the two bodies and an ecstatic and satisfying experience far more lovely than anything one could experience in an earthly body. There is no question of the procreation of children so that all the more sordid side of sexual relation is unnecessary.

'You know,' said my friend, 'You are wrong to try and minimise the importance of sexual life. It is one of the problems most men have to solve when they come here. We have to come to terms with a body compacted of emotion and far more highly charged than before. There are other regions where things are done just as on earth although no children are produced. I have known men who have been with us for a time but have been so obsessed with this business they hankered after the old ways. They will probably find them unsatisfying after a while and will come back to us again, but they have to work it out for themselves.'

We entered a large and friendly gathering of young people and were made welcome. Groups formed and dispersed and there was an air of expectation and excitement about which had its effect on us all. I found a girl who pleased me and who was gracious enough to approve of my company and we were both glad to improve our knowledge of each other. She was small and slight, radiant yet veiled in her own tentativeness. We wandered away together absorbed in comparing our earth experiences and soon we became friendly and comfortable together. I was charmed by the ease of this feminine comradeship; we were both curious and expectant; we both admitted freely our lack of experience and our need to remedy it, yet we shared a great diffidence and a sensitive approach.

I did not return to the home for a long while. We two have wandered happily in an enchanted land exploring the delights of an intimate companionship crowned by the magic of union. She is very lovely; at her heart is an innocence, joined to a flame-like ardour and between us we create a burning bliss of union. I am intoxicated with happiness and for a time have forgotten all my problems and difficulties. Without sorrow we both begin to feel the beginning of the inevitable withdrawal and we have discovered that neither of us had expected a permanent relationship. This has brought no disappointment but rather gratitude for a perfect experience shared. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 31-3.)

Seeing One's Own Selfishness

"Here I am, trying to get back to the old earth, when I was so disgusted with it in life that I was ready to leave. I was a business man, and one of those despised creatures sometimes called politicians. We were a queer lot, and I often cringed inwardly at the selfishness and deceit we all practiced. But one selfish idea led to another, and I guess we were too deep in the mire to pull ourselves out onto firm land, to a firm basis of honesty and unselfishness. I had to come here to realize the depths of trouble and wrong-doing with which we were connected. And yet we passed for pretty respectable men there, and were looked up to as promoters of industry and big business."

"Well, I see clearly now. It is not easy to see clearly there, when manifold interests and many people are concerned in the success of a certain something."

'Is there any special message you wish to send?' "I wish I could say it! I wish I had the power to make my words sink deep, deep into the consciousness of every leader of men, of every one connected with the money-making business of life! It does not need to be big business either, for the dishonest methods are insidious, and start far down the scale, with pennies and dollars as well as with millions of money.

"Ah, well! The old world will go on, I suppose, sending all sorts to this side. But there is an awakening here, and a poignant sorrow for wasted opportunities. (Spirit communicator nicknamed "Stranger" in LHH, 56-7.)

You don't need a devil prodding you with a fork. Believe me, your own anguished mind is a prod that is more hurtful than any prodding with a devil's fork. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 57.)

I met a man here who said that he would gladly exchange good old Dante's Inferno for the mental anguish he was experiencing over guilt feelings from wrong actions he had taken on earth in certain business matters. In Dante's Inferno he would be able to complain that the devil was doing this to him whereas now he had no devil to complain of because the devil was himself. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 57.)

Seeing One's Own Ignorance

What a mystery! What a wonder!, What a joy it all is! We are here trying to express the inexpressible! Can you understand? ...

I am one who never thought or cared for the future, the future beyond the mortal life; just interested in the occupations and pleasures of the present. What shall I say to help souls there to begin to think, really think, along the borders of the Unseen. Mortal mind cannot comprehend fully this life, the human brain is not capable; and probably a wise ruler intended that we should live one world at a time. But there is no reason why the human brain should not accept one thought and make it the center of influence in the mortal life. If I could give the thought, it would be something like this: -

'I am living in a mortal world which is the first stage of the human existence. During this stage I am preparing for another one, and that other and farther existence is dependent upon the unseen qualities of my soul, and the education I give to these qualities.' (Unnamed spirit communicator in LHH, 55-6.)

My name is Julius. We would not be known to you. Many souls are wandering through the heavenly places, and many look back longingly to their old home on earth; for some of us have left there those we loved, and we wish to tell them that all is well. We are of those who wish to send good news to earth and tell those we love that Heaven is Heaven after all, for we were of a company who scarcely believed in any life beyond the grave, nor did we realize any God in the universe.

We were [fed] realism and atheistic literature, and our lives were spent without hope of any existence beyond the earthly one. And so we have remained in the unconscious state for a long time - years, I think, though one does not measure time here in that way. Now that we have come into the consciousness of life, real and unending life, we wish to send the wonderful news to those who like ourselves were groping in darkness.

Mary is not here, but I do not think she would object to our writing. I am writing for several, I mean I am trying to express the thought of several. I have not been conscious long, but I begin to see the marvels here and the possibilities for the soul. (Spirit communicator Julius in LHH, 55.)

I am here, greatly to my surprise. I did not think of death, nor of heaven, nor of the future life, except perhaps in some flash of emotion that passed almost as quickly as it came. And so I am not well prepared to analyze or describe the visions and wonders of this life. But it is a delight to know that the old earth is not entirely lost to us, and that echoes of old familiar voices can be heard across the silence.

I have not been here very long, and perhaps that is the reason I look a little longingly back to the old home place on earth. Everything here is so far above me, so far advanced, that I feel sometimes that I do not belong here, that I am in a great and wonderful world without proper equipment; in a society of wonderful people, yet feeling myself hopelessly ignorant. Can you guess how that is?"

I have been slow to adapt myself because I had no fitness to begin with. I was not blessed with either a psychic or a poetic or a spiritual nature, just an ordinary man, working along material lines, and never dreaming that I needed any other outfit for this plane except an honest endeavor to live a decent and upright life. And here I am; glad to be accepted, but feeling my ignorance and unworthiness painfully. (Unnamed spirit communicator in LHH, 53-4.)

Getting Straightened Out

This plane is so full of different people ... that one must learn tolerance very quickly. Otherwise you meet someone and, if you are not tolerant toward them, you are immediately consumed by annoyance and your spiritual body becomes upset. You can get mental indigestion.

You then need to go and find somebody to calm you down and sort you out. In the same way that you go to a doctor for an upset physical body, so you can go to a clinic or healer here and get your astral body sorted out.

It is an odd sensation to go talk and be smoothed down, as it were. It always reminds me, when I watch it being done, of how a bird, a seagull in particular, will come down to land. Just as it touches water it is protected and buoyed and the bird folds all its feathers and its wings down until it is smooth and sleek. This is exactly how our aura has to be smoothed down - until it is smooth and sleek. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 56.)

If you are tolerant, sympathetic, and easily touched when you are on earth, you may find that your sympathetic tears and emotions for other people may make you a bit uncomfortable sometimes. You may feel a bit ashamed at having to blow your nose and dab the tears from your eyes, feeling that other people may not understand. However, you may have the consolation of knowing that, when you get here, you will have less work to do because you will not have to undo and dispel and disintegrate a hard shell of indifference or intolerance. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 56.)

Having to Fall Back to a Lower Plane

It is impossible for a spirit to be in a condition or sphere for which it is not fit. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

Disobedience of the laws is punished by the higher Intelligences, by pointing out the bad results, and by a course of instruction. Repeated error causes removal to a lower plane, till experience has fitted the spirit to rise. (Bishop Wilberforce in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

By degrees we are learning our lesson and if control threatens to slip we go away by ourselves so that no one else needs to endure our nastiness. The conviction that is brought home to us that unless we can clear ourselves of evil emotions it will not be possible for us to remain among the decent people on this plane. The alternative will be to leave it and find homes in conditions where the astral bodies of the inhabitants are coarsened by habitual indulgence in anger and hatred and where the air they breathe is infected with their hot and murky emanations. I have already had a glimpse of these dark conditions and can imagine the misery of being condemned to stay there for any length of time. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 38.)

The Unlimited Power of Thought

The Mind Belongs to the Spirit Body

The dead soon learn ... that the mind ... is a vast threshold, reaching into infinite depths of experience. The experienced self is small as a tremulous gnat by contrast, hovering at the entry. Golden in its light, free but uncertain, attracted and tantalized by that illuminated source of greater mind. (William James, ADJ, 157.)

Thought is upon a different plane, a higher plane of existence from the organ of the earthly body, the brain, through which thought functions on earth. Thought is upon the same plane of existence as the mind and the mind belongs truly to the spirit world. And by higher plane I do not mean a higher spiritual plane, but one that cannot be observed by the ordinary / physical organs of perception. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 100-01.)

The mind belongs to the spirit body. Every human experience, every thought, word, and deed that go to make up the sum of earthly human experience is infallibly and ineradicably recorded upon what is called the subconscious mind through the agency of the physical brain, and when the time comes for man to leave the earth, he discards the physical body for ever, leaves it behind him upon the earth, and passes into the realms of the spirit world. His spirit body he will find is a counterpart of the earthly body he has just left behind him. He will then find that what he called the subconscious mind when he was incarnate has now assumed its rightful place in his new scheme of existence. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 13-4.)

In the spirit world ... we have no heavy physical body. The body which we possess is in every respect equal to our minds. Our minds have no heavy vehicle by or through which they have to function. Thinking is at once translated into action, but without the intermedium of a physical brain such as you know it. The brain which is resident within our heads is not as your physical brain; our bodies are not as your physical bodies. With us, our whole being, our limbs, our muscles and so forth, are completely subservient to the mind in so far as their acting according to our will is concerned. For the rest, our bodies are subservient to the natural laws of the spirit world.

We also perform certain actions subconsciously in exactly the same way as you do. For example, we breathe in precisely the same way as you breathe. Our hearts beat in a fashion exactly similar to yours and they are subject to the same subconscious maintenance in their beating. But we have that which you do not have, namely, complete and absolute mastery of the muscles of our limbs. When we come to learn some new art or endeavour to become proficient in some task that requires the mastery by the brain over the muscles, then you can see just how perfect is the attunement of our minds with our muscles. It is not really a mastery of the one over the other, although I have expressed it in that way. To be more accurate, it is an absolute attunement, the one with the other. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 108.)

Spirit World a World of Thought

You must always remember that ours is a mind world, a spirit world where consciousness is king. The mind is enthroned and mind rules. What mind dictates is reality. (Silver Birch, SBA, 58.)

Here essentially it is a world of thought, where thought is reality. And, being a thought world, thought moulds every expression of its life and activity. (Silver Birch, SBA, 56.)

All the mental processes utilised during the dream state are engaged in to a much greater intensity in the worlds beyond death. As those mental states are the reality of the people who dwell in / those worlds, the states are as tangible to them as material things are to you in your world. (Silver Birch, SBA, 68-9.)

Mind controls all things.

The present margin of the mental consciousness limits the present capacity of perception. (Spirit communicator "Armido" in Paul Beard, LO, 75.)

We do not play hide and seek with our thoughts over here. We ride them as though they were horses with tossing manes. (Barbara in AL, 31.)

It took me quite a time to realize that we were all living in a thought world and that one's personal thoughts had a far more immediate effect on one's surroundings than when on earth. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 29.)

Your body prevents you receiving the full impact of my thought. I have no such impediment, but receive your thoughts in full force. Therefore I know you better than I ever could have known you on earth. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce] in LFOS, 88.)

You no doubt think we have told you so much of this life, there is little more to tell. But it will not take you long when you come to see that we have given you only an outline. It is not the material surroundings, as you might call them, that I mean, so much as the mental life that opens out before one. It is a strange condition, if you will stop and think, to be where you have what might be called a mental existence only. It is by the mind that everything is done. And to do all that concerns life by just using the mind is a new sensation, and to most people, a new idea. We make ourselves just what our minds are capable of desiring that we should be. (Unnamed spirit in LHH, 82.)

Everything in this world and in yours is a pattern of thought. Here we communicate and work and grow and thrive only through thought and since we are without interference from physical minds, which are mere mechanical machines, our thoughts instantaneously react to whatever we wish to project. We instantly see another person or soul whom we think [of]. We are constantly projecting thought patterns of our own so that whatever we wish to be, we are. (Arthur Ford in WB, 17.)

Here we live much more in the realm of mind. As we ponder over an experience or a purpose, the mind stretches out to see all sides of the problem. This is a new and not always exciting or pleasant experience. It is rather like a chain reaction; much more potent and real than the old association of ideas of earth psychology. Here, as one thinks ... one is. (Frances Banks in TOL, 33.)

Here we are mind (stepped down to our individual potency, I grant) but still mind, untrammeled by the destructive and apparent reality of matter. ... Therefore by thought and will, we can travel far out beyond what constitutes our immediate circumstances, if we wish. (Frances Banks, TOL, 72.)

In this new life, the potency of thought is stepped up into a frequency which permits of no side-stepping. The effects are / immediate. Here the thought-pattern is determinate of one's welfare, one's progress, one's happiness and joy. As one thinks, so one is ... in environment, appearance, and in company!

We have to learn to live in this new frequency; to guard the doors of one's mind; to anticipate the boomerang action of negative emotions....

This is the way of life on these planes and every soul must assimilate the Way before proceeding onwards into planes of even higher frequencies. This is light and darkness as we know it; the day and night of the soul. (Frances Banks, TOL, 75-6.)

The thought force is the source of energy, the creative dynamo. What you think strongly is, as far as you are concerned and if you are powerful to mould it into some sort of form, then you can impose your thought image on other people, too. The universe seems to consist of subtle essences mouldable by thought force, and the source of all thought force is the Creator, but we can't even begin to grasp Him yet. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 22-3.)

The longer I stay here, the more I realize that there is no 'magic' or unlimited power in the post-death state. We have simply changed the form of our 'incarnation.' We are still 'incarnated' but in a different form - just as a butterfly evolves from a caterpillar or a frog from a tadpole and we are still limited by the laws governing our new state.

But it is infinitely freer than the physical body because we are now directly using our thought-force as a means of transit and linkage. If a person's thought force is deficient, diffused or undeveloped when he dies - then it is just too bad! His activities are limited in proportion, but, if his life has been reasonably honest and 'upstriving' in the sense that he has not been too grossly material and selfish, then it seems he can attract more developed people, who do try to help him along. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 127.)

The conditions after death, while consciously dealt with, are similar to dream states, ... while the additional self-conscious manipulations add the most vivid clearness and preciseness. (William James, ADJ, 161.)

The knack is to focus consciousness properly in the desired areas. This usually presents little difficulty after a brief preliminary stage. (William James, ADJ, 161.)

Two elements in my present state are particularly significant to me when I compare it to physical life. For one thing, my psychological and "physical" mobility is astonishing, and my sense of freedom feels, at least, unlimited. In the beginning I found this disconcerting for my reality at any given time followed the experience-organizations of my own making and focus.

The bounds of creaturehood - morning and evening, time, even pain, birth, and death - impose a certain order from which the living cannot stray. My state of mind was one of confusion for a while. Imagine if you will a mongrel of a dog, quite used to wandering, suddenly given, say, wings, the use of a conceptual mind, vocabulary, and along with these fulfilling but surprising additions, a million new choices where, before, instinct and the demands of practical creaturehood had kept his curiosity quite well within a limited range.

In other words, new capabilities kept sprouting from my mind, each stranger than the other. A vivid desire of the most momentary nature seemingly transported me from one place to another, with no transition or preparation - exhilarating and unsettling. Countering all of this, however, was the most delightful sense of safety so that, after the first orientations, there is no fear at all; and everywhere, being seems to be couched in perfect safety. (William James, ADJ, 160.)

The spirit world is a world of thought; to think is to act and thought is instantaneous. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 23.)

When we are living upon the earth-plane we are constantly being reminded of our physical bodies in a variety of ways - by cold or heat, by discomfort, by fatigue, by minor illnesses, and by countless other means. Here we labor under no such difficulties. By that I do not mean that we are just unfeeling logs, insensible to all external influences, but that our perceptions are of the mind and that the spirit body is impervious to anything that is destructive. We feel through our minds, not through any physical organs of sense and our minds are directly responsive to thought. If we should feel coldness in some particular and definite circumstances, we undergo that sensation with our minds and our spirit bodies in now way suffer. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 23.)

Our host told us that the power of thought is almost unlimited in the spirit world and that the greater the power of any particular effort or concentration of thought, the greater the results. Our means of personal locomotion here is by thought and we can apply that same means to what the earth world would call 'inanimate objects.' Of course, in the spirit world, nothing is inanimate and, because of this, ... our thoughts can have a direct influence upon all the countless things of which the world of spirit is composed. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 93-4.)

Thoughts are very real ... and can reach us here from earth as easily and as surely as they can reach us here between ourselves. And ours can go to the earth people too, though they don't always notice them. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 60.)

Thought has direct action here. That's where the real difficulty is. Because thought has such direct action, folk on earth think that the results must be intangible, dream-like, and capable of being, or liable to be, dispersed upon the slightest provocation, or upon none at all. Our thoughts in these lands have far greater power and scope than on earth. To make things concrete on earth, one had to get past the thinking stage. Here one is always in the thinking stage because that is the last stage. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 96.)

When the spirit world is described as being a world of thought, where thought is the great creative power, and where thought is concrete and perceivable by all men, the conclusion is very often erroneously drawn that the spirit world is an unsubstantial place, and that we, its inhabitants, are vague, shadowy people, lacking any real substance, and answering for all purposes to that very earthly designation of 'ghosts'! Pursuing this mistaken deduction, the life of the spirit world people must inevitably be somewhat dream-like and illusive.

The incarnate think along these lines because to them thought is something that can be practiced unseen and unheard. On earth thought is secret to the thinker until such time as he wishes to give verbal or other expression to his thoughts. It is customary to say on earth: our thoughts are our own; we can think what we like; thoughts can never harm anyone, etc. So that when we of the spirit world assert that our world is a world of thought, the incarnate immediately revert to their own thoughts and their unsubstantial nature, and thereupon place the spirit world in the same category of tenuous things.

Generally speaking, upon earth thought must have some form of concrete expression for it to be effective. The architect must first think of his cathedral or whatever it may be, commit his thoughts to paper in regular order and with exactitude before the builder can make any commencement upon the outward and visible expression of his original / thoughts. And so it is with a multitude of other things, from the simplest article to the most complicated instrument or ornate building. One earth thought must have a medium of some sort before it can find the slightest trace of outward expression. For this reason, among others, the incarnate are prone to regard the earth as being the one certain and substantial world in which it is possible to exist. The spirit world becomes the very opposite.

The incarnate do not realizes the force and power of thought or else they would never think along such lines as I have indicated. Every thought that passes with force and purpose through the mind of an earth dweller is project from his mind as a thought-form. To speak unscientifically, it is registered, at least for a time, upon the surrounding ether. It depends, of course, upon the thought itself and of what it consists. If it is merely one of those passing thoughts that all folk upon earth have in their minds at various moments during the day, then such thoughts will be registered in the manner I have just indicated. If the thought is directed towards some friend who is now resident in the spirit world, that thought, if it is properly directed with purpose and intent, will inevitably reach that friend. It will reach him or her just as it is sent, no more and no less good or bad or indifferent. ... /

In the spirit world thought has direct and instantaneous action upon whatsoever it is directed, whether it be upon a human being or upon what earth called 'an inanimate object.' (I cannot use the latter term appositely in connection with spirit world objects because all objects, things, have life, certain and unmistakable. There is no such state as that of being lifeless in the spirit world.) It is not until you come into the spirit world that you really know just what thoughts can do. And I do assure you, my good friend, that some of us are positively horrified when we find out for the first time!

In the spirit world thoughts do not become visible immediately upon their passing through a person's mind. They are not flying about in a loose fashion. The idle thoughts of which I spoke travel no further than your immediate earthly surroundings. Thoughts directed to some friend in the spirit world will reach that friend and they cannot be classed as loose thoughts.

Imagine to yourself the state of confusion, of congestion almost, and of embarrassment if all our thoughts in the spirit world were visible. But because they are not immediately visible, that is not to say that they are not potent, for assuredly they are potent. ... They will unfailingly reach their destination wherever it may be. If directed towards some friend upon earth, in many cases, it is problematical whether the friend will perceive them; or, perceiving them, whether he will know whence they have come. But if our thoughts be directed to some friend in the spirit world, there will be no such doubt or uncertainty. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 99-101.)

Power of Thought - In Traveling

There are no trains [here] unless you think you have a train to catch and then there is a train for you to catch. It is hard to understand, isn't it? But it is like a dream. If you think you have a train to catch, there is your train.

Even in your dreams you think you have to go on a ship. The ship is there because you make the ship, and it is real to you. You people it and it travels. It has the necessary attendants, hasn't it? It is very real on its own / plane of sensation. You must remember that reality is a relative term. (Silver Birch, SBA, 62-3.)

When I began to move I walked as I used to walk and it seemed natural to do so. My Guide walked beside me and we saw the world as it was with spirits moving among men. ... Then I saw that [the spirits] moved sometimes as if they were still in the body [i.e., by walking] and at other times as if they were angels [i.e., by thought transport], coming and going with great speed, and I remarked upon it to my Guide. And he said, "Yes, they can do as they please for it is in the power of the mind to go slow or fast." Then I thought, if they can, I can. And I asked, not speaking, but thinking in my mind, if this were so? And my Guide, without my having spoken, answered and said, "This is also possible for you." And I said to him, "May we go as they go wherever we are going?" And he smiled and said, "As you will, so it will be." And then I had my first experience of the new freedom of locomotion. (Julia Ames, AD, 74-5)

Will-power suffices for our movements. We are attracted by sympathy, repelled by antipathy, drawn by desire on our part, or on that of those who wish for our presence. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

We can float through the air instead of walking if we prefer it. (Gorden Burdick to Grace Rosher in TR, 35.)

Nor are we impeded in our movements by matter as you are. We move freely and by volition. (Bishop Wilberforce in MSTSW, n.p.)

If we wish to go to any place, it is only a question of desire and will power, and we are almost immediately at the place we had in mind. (Unnamed Chinese philosopher in LHH, 270-1.)

My new body seems very bright and easy to move; I just think and I'm there yet I can make myself walk if I want. ("Ross" in ITE, 24.)

One evening we called for Dee, and Mary replied that she would soon arrive. When she came Sis said:

'Dee, I was thinking of your coming when I called, and wondering how you came; whether you walked on the ground or came through the air?'

"I was coming quickly, so that my feet did not exactly touch the ground; but I can walk if I choose." (Dee in SWSL, 62.)

Last night I felt the yearning for beauty which sometimes came to me on earth. One of the strangest phenomena of this ethereal world is the tremendous attraction by sympathy - the attraction of events, I mean. Desire a thing intensely enough, and you are on the way to it. A body of a feather's weight moves swiftly when propelled by a free will. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXVIII.)

We are not confined to keeping our feet on the ground. If we can move ourselves laterally over these lands by the power of our thought, we can also move ourselves vertically.... If we could sink beneath the waters without harm, but rather with enjoyment, then, of course, we must be able to mount into the 'air' with the same safety and enjoyment! (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 58.)

One of my first lessons that Dad, Donald and the two elder boys showed me was that of locomotion. It is easy to walk in beautiful surroundings without getting tired, but I learn that by casting my thoughts on a particular place and holding the thought steadily in my mind, I could be there, in fact.

After a time, this act of thinking becomes second nature and we learn to control it, as well as to project ourselves across distances. We can , of course, regulate our speed from what seems to us to be instantaneous projection, to that of the flight of an aeroplane, or a bird. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 29.)

I simply use my mind to "go" where I want and the rest of me follows. My body, real enough to me, can appear or disappear in any given place, however, and each environment is formed by peoples' belief in it. I say "peoples'" belief because all of us to ourselves appear quite natural, quite like people, only in a different context indeed. (William James, ADJ, 160.)

How do I get about? I walk very often, at other times if necessary I generate sufficient power, which I concentrate by effort of will within my body, to take me anywhere with the speed of thought. Our bodies are so light and so strong, it is easy to jump the highest wall with the slightest effort; the atmosphere has not the same resisting power to our bodies as it has to yours.

How I shall laugh, Mum, when you come here and I see you jumping ten-foot walls! (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 16.)

One can get a real move on here - jet-propelled as it were! I've not quite got the hang of it yet - I've got to learn to concentrate. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 91.)

I'm learning new ways of moving. I can skim if I want - it's a delicious feeling - just float. I steer simply by thinking; only, if I don't concentrate, I jitter about. I go where I'm thinking and to get back to you I've got to make a clear image. (Philip to his mother, in PTW, 95.)

You see, my life here is like beginning again as far as one's body is concerned because it is all so different. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 103.)

"Whizzing" round has been one of my greatest pleasures since I came over - that gorgeous sensation of pure speed and no fear of crashing! I practiced for some time just speeding at some solid object like a mountain and passing through it and this took me a bit of doing at first because my earth memory was strong and instinctively I dodged. Now the novelty is wearing off.

Some timid, unadvanced folk take centuries. It is very funny to watch them practicing. (Philip Gilbert to his mother, Alice, in PTS, 29.)

I am practicing concentration regularly. It is the only way to achieve anything here, where any sudden impulse is apt to transport one, disconcertingly. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 117.)

Grandpa and I tried together [to materialize an object], We manufactured a car - a Rolls-Royce. But when we had got it, we didn't quite know what to do with it - motion here is so very different and much swifter. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 121.)

[Philip, in answer to his mother, Alice Gilbert's question about his way of traveling:] Each individual is linked - somehow - with the main stream of this dynamic {Thought]</nowiki> energy and can, in a way of speaking, switch it on and off.

Think of the way one electric power dynamo will light a whole town and yet each citizen can control it by the [flick] of a finger on a switch. That is this same force, translated into its material terms, as it affects dense earth matter. ...

But what we did not grasp on earth was that this Force motivates the whole Universe in its varied manifestations and that it is an exterior aspect of the Source of which we know very little except that unity and Harmony seem to be His basic attributes.

So you see, when I want to move round, I perform an act of mental switching on of the current - mind you, it becomes as automatic as walking on earth - and whoosh! - I'm off! Gosh, what a grand sensation. Speed in perfection! You know nothing of it on earth. The way man craves for speed is really an urge from his sub-conscious spirit which knows what real speed can be! (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 232.)

Yesterday, with my thoughts turned on speed, as they were after talking to you, two other fellows and myself tried a bit out. We whooshed round the earth, from Australia to Hong-Kong and from Hong-Kong to London in no time - literally - no time! (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 233.)

In thinking of the town and what it might hold I found myself drifting towards it and thus got my first indication of the way movement here is affected by thought. I obstinately resisted this drift towards the town and turned away to explore the open country. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 17.)

As though the wish had the power to direct me, my steps were drawn in the right way and before long I saw the roofs and chimneys of a small town ahead. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 19.)

I had stumbled upon at least one principle which might have valuable consequences. My own desire could lead me towards its fulfillment if I knew clearly what I wanted. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 20.)

Forgetting what a strong desire can do I was wishing for [Mitchell's] presence when me feet carried me swiftly out of the room, down several corridors and into a quiet room where my friend sat writing. He half turned from his desk as though expecting me and he laughed when he saw my surprise.

'You must not be so imperious in your wishes if you do not want to be rapidly whirling about all the time,' he said. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 27-8.)

Travelling on foot is no hardship; fatigue is never felt and desire impels one swiftly and surely onward. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 50.)

In the spirit world our bodies are under complete control by our minds. The former do just that which the latter wishes or commands. A wish becomes a command in this case. Now, with you, your mind may wish to be in a certain place, and no matter how hard you may wish it, you are entirely at the mercy of your physical body. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 107.)

If we think ourselves into a certain place we shall travel with the rapidity of that thought and that is as near instantaneous as it is possible to imagine. I should find that it was the usual mode of locomotion and that I should soon be able to employ it. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 23.)

Distance becomes annihilated by our immensely rapid means of transit. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 58.)

My friend [Edwin] said that it would be better if we did not use the customary means of locomotion - our legs. He then told me to take hold of his arm firmly, and to have no fear, whatever. ... I at once experienced a sensation of floating such as one has in physical dreams, though this was very real and quite unattended by any doubts of personal security. The motion seemed to become more rapid as time went on, and I still keep my eyes firmly closed. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 13.)

We both felt that we should like to try exactly what the power of thought can do, but, as before, in other circumstances, we were both devoid of knowledge of how to put these forces into action. Edwin told us that once we had performed this very simple process of thinking, we should have no difficulty whatever in the future.

In the first place, it was necessary to have confidence, and in the second, our concentration of thought must not be a half-hearted affair. To borrow an earthly allusion, we 'wish ourselves' there, wherever it may be, and there we shall find ourselves! For the first few occasions it may be required to make something of a conscious effort; afterwards we can move ourselves whithersoever we wish - one might almost say, without thinking! (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 41.)

It must be remembered that thought is as instantaneous as it is possible to imagine, and there is no possibility of our losing ourselves in illimitable space. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 41.)

If there's any need to hurry, one can be "there" as quick as thought. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 67.)

The absence of a sense of direction in no way interferes with our initial thought function in personal locomotion. Once we have determined to journey to a certain place, we set our thoughts in motion and they, in turn - instantaneously - set our spirit bodies in motion. One might almost say 'it requires no thinking about.' (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 128.)

We each of us carry our own transport system with us, the most efficient and the most rapid in the universe. ... Personal locomotion is done by the thought process and it's perfectly easy to do when once you're shown how; then it becomes second nature. It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but the thought process of locomotion hardly requires thinking about when you're accustomed to it. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 58.)

The muscles and the various parts of our bodies will respond as instantly and as rapidly as we wish the moment we set the thought in motion. We set the thought in motion, the thought sets the limbs and its parts in motion. There is no lagging, no perceptible fraction of a moment between our thought and its action. It will recall to your mind the familiar phrase: to think is to act. That is literally what takes place in the spirit world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 110.)

Here one can see small and large astral folks floating around or walking - on the ground, then up a few inches, down again, up a few feet, and so on - all learning to use these astral bodies to best advantage. There are some who never go beyond a quick gliding walk for they wish to observe things and people around them as they go. This is the mode I used when I go to visit new places or even revisit old familiar ones. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 48.)

Eventually when we can 'think' ourselves to a desired place, we appear as a spark of light - a cometlike creature - or may even go out like a light and come on again at a desired place. This is an accomplishment and needs practice. Today I came in a horizontal position part of the way and then suddenly most have operated 'the law' and arrived in your room. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 48.)

(1) Mattson is referring to arriving in the room where his daughter and the medium are located.

Power of Thought - In Moving Objects

Ships are meant to float and move about on the waters; they are animated by the living force that animates all things here and if we wish to move them over the water we have but to focus our thoughts in that direction and with that intention and our thoughts produce the desired result of movement. ...

[Our host] guided the boat in the usual manner, with a rudder operated by the wheel in the deck-house. That, he said, was because he found it sufficient work to provide the movement of the boat. In time, if he wished, he could combine the two actions in one. But he much preferred to use the old method of steering by hand as it gave him physical work to do, which was, in itself, such a pleasure. Once having given motion to the ship, he could forget about it until he wished to stop. And the mere wishing to stop, however suddenly or gradually, brought the vessel to a standstill. There was no fear of accidents! They do not - cannot - exist in these realms. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 93-4.)

The movement of our goods and chattels presents no problem. We don't require great lorries and vans. The mere effort of one person can move the largest piece of furniture because all things, everything, in this world is endowed with life. There's no such thing as inert matter.... Between us we could remove the entire contents of our house - or any other house - without the least trouble. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 66.)

Power of Thought - In Communicating, including Telepathy

We do not talk with each [here] as you do. That is, we do not use vocal cords, a voice box, air, the muscles of our mouth and throat.

We communicate as I am doing now with you, mentally. We don't have to write each other; we know what we are saying mentally. (Thavis, TIH, 79.)

I can watch you clearly yet I am not earthbound nor am I dwelling in the land of mist. I am at home. You are where you are. We communicate by a natural method, by telepathy. It is well. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 70.)

We do not talk to each other very much here, we have a more expressive and intimate way than that. Here, thoughts are communicated from one mind to another without the need of vocal expression, although we can talk in earth manner at will. (W.T. Stead, BI, 138-9.)

No sooner have I thought a thing than the person I'm talking to hears it. He knows exactly what's making me tick. (Mike Swain in FMW, 37.)

Grandpa and I once tried to play chess. We easily conceived the men and board and settled down and, as we could read each other's thoughts, the game became a real test of mind against mind. But when three ex-service chaps and myself tried to play bridge, it was impossible, as we all knew what the others held! (Philip Gilbert to his mother, Alice, in PTS, 17.)

This ray of telepathy ... "enfolds" its object, attaching itself rather as a bramble sticks and impresses the centres of sensitivity, the solar plexus and the head. (Philip Gilbert , PTS, 5.)

I think I have told you that we have a note, a personal sound, which you in the physical body may hear, if properly attuned. This is the note used to attract our attention, to let us know when we are needed by anyone. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 50.)

There are classes here which one may join to learn how to use these astral bodies without the feeling of cumbersomeness that comes with the physical body. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 49.)

In the group Donna attended, the members were told, after meditation and quietness, to extend a thought to each other in turn, beginning with the leader, and to get the feeling of empathy with the other. Then the leader began to make them appreciate that they were communicating with their thinking, without using their lips or words. ...

In that group there were mixed levels of development. Some already were far along and communicating while others were just beginning. Because of Donna's empathy with people, she found it quite easy and very quickly was beginning to pick up thought. She was then told to go to a certain room and there was to look on a shelf for a book. When she was standing in the room, she was to receive instructions by thought as to which book to take, which page to pen, which sentence to read, and when to put the book back. Then she was to find her way back to the group by homing in, using swift thought and without walking on her feet. She described her difficulty of trying to walk in air before she could learn to home in without walking.

It was then suggested that she should go and find someone out of the group in some other place. She was to find them by / homing in on their vibration and bring a message back from them to the leader. In this ways he was trained to go to a particular place and to come back, guided by the 'note' or vibration of a person. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 49-50.)

The language of symbol is a universal language in the inner realms, just as pictorial art is universally comprehended on earth. A dog's name is different in word, but his form is known wherever it may be seen. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce], LFOS, 10.)

Mind moves here with a quickness not to be expressed in words. We use pictures and symbols largely, because a thought can be more quickly expressed in that way. And we have trouble at all times with earth language, and particularly when trying to express spiritual conditions. But all are taught to speak the earth language so that we may help those who are there.

We do not need to talk to convey our ideas, but we can speak whenever we wish, and oratory and poetry and lessons are given in word language. But in ordinary intercourse ideas flash from mind to mind without need for words. We speak with spirit organs as we use other spirit perceptions, and our language is beautiful and the speech musical. (Unnamed spirit communicator in SWSL, 68.)

I was able to have a word or two with Pierre Curie, even though on earth he was a Frenchman and my French was never fluent. Language affords no difficulty over here. (Frances Banks, TOL, 64.)

We seem to communicate with one another in about the same way that you do; but I find, as time goes by, that I converse more and more by powerful and projected thought than by the moving of the lips. At first I always opened my mouth when I had anything to say; it is easier now not to do so, though I sometimes do it still by force of habit. When a man has recently come out he does not understand another unless he really speaks; that is, I suppose, before he has learned that he also can talk without using much breath. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XI.)

There's a common communication for all things done telepathically. You don't have to mouth words; it's done by telepathy. For instance, many times your personal spirit guides are foreign people and yet when you pick up the guidance from them, you hear it in English because you yourself speak English. If an Oriental were conversing with a westerner, he would put his thoughts out in his native language but they are instantly transmitted into the English language for the person who needs to hear that. ...

If you spoke several languages, you would pick up in several languages. It's usually the one you're most comfortable with. There is no language barrier. When you cross over, you're going to understand everything that is relayed to you. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 29.)

Q: Are all those on the other side able to hear all of our thoughts?

A: Yes, from every realm and every level.

Anything that is thought is heard telepathically if [others] choose to tune in. Almost all entities will be able to communicate telepathically one with another and this takes only a few days to learn. [Those on the other side] always hear the thoughts of people who are incarnated in bodies, and this is something which every soul leaving the body can hear. This leads to a great deal of growth on the part of the soul, for he's truly learning communication after death. He will know everyone's thoughts, views, like he was never allowed to know in the physical vehicle.

Q: Should we feel embarrassed that our thoughts are heard?

A: No, for this is something which, with practice, you can do. You can learn to tune in to anyone around you like dialing a radio if you so choose. But most souls have gone on to other things and they're not interested in listening to thoughts.

It would be like you had 200 people in one room and you could hear their thoughts day and night. You would soon grow weary of listening to their disharmonies and their ups and downs.

Many new souls who first come over find they get enjoyment and a kick out of this, but they soon get bored too. It's just unimportant. People will radiate a light which shows where they are coming from and entities on our side out of the body will be able to see beautiful souls and will see lesser souls by their light. It's all in your aura and anyone in the body or out can truly know this. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 30.)

We have little use for vocal communication. Not that we do not often use it, but we more frequently receive the thought by direct impression. And in any communication of some extent, this is always the method, except when there is need for accurate statements that are not so easily presented by the action of thought. We often listen to lecturers in both ways; for a lecture is given vocally. But we can follow the thought at the same time. We do not always get a double impression in this way, for we can in a measure turn our attention to either method, just as you may listen to one person speaking when others are also talking near you. We think over these lectures when alone and fix them in our memory. In doing this we do not send out any thought that any one else could get. We also have here a sort of selective process. Our own thoughts are private unless we will that they go out.

When several are together and thinking on one subject, there is a wave of harmony that is often felt or sensed that is sometimes an aid in fixing the thoughts in memory. So it is not unusual for a class to remain together while studying the information given by a teacher or spoken by a lecturer. You will thus see that the custom on earth of having pupils together probably has merit. You may not now be able to perceive any such influence, but the time will come when it will be recognized.

We also find that different persons have different ability in sending out thoughts. There is as much difference in personality in this respect as you there find in the quality of the voice. We learn to recognize thoughts in the same way. You speak of hearing a familiar voice. We comment on recognizing a familiar thought or way of thinking, and our language has a word that expresses this, which you do not have.

If we desire to impress several friends with a thought, we have to express it, or give it out, with a little more emphasis than if given to one person. Not so much to make it stronger, as to be sure that the varying receptive powers fully grasp all its intricate waves. For some persons detect one's thoughts easier than others.

We are all accustomed to talk vocally when speaking to a stranger. We seldom succeed in clearly impressing a thought on a stranger until we each learn the other's peculiarities of thinking and. receiving. In speaking to a stranger we have a rather formal mode of speech. It is used because it is found best to adhere to one particular style so that all may be sure to understand. In our own circle we lapse into familiar expressions, and some circles who have been together for a long time, have acquired what might almost be termed a different dialect. But at large, one language is used for all, and our pet expressions are carefully avoided.

You will be surprised when you come to see how we can chatter when we have a particularly congenial number together. We are far more free and familiar than you might expect. We have some wonderfully good times, but they are just a little difficult to explain to earth people, for we grow into different customs and adopt different methods of thought and conversation. No one need fear, though, that enjoyment is lessened. We think it is greater in every way, for we have so little to detract from it, and so many things to enhance it." (Unnamed spirit teacher in LHH, 262-4.)

'Do you have anything analogous to spoken language?'

"Yes, ... we have speech and plenty of it! But if thought flashes from soul to soul without speech, then it is quicker than any words, is it not? The spirit language is more in thought than in sentences. For instance, you may realize how at times a thought may suggest to you an entire picture, or an entire subject. Thus it is with us. Thought moves quickly and catches the sense of the expression before an entire sentence could be formed. This, however, might not apply to scientific explanations; nor perhaps to deep philosophy, when great accuracy would be necessary."

'Then how would you express an abstract statement?'

"That would depend upon the subject to be explained. A word might answer, or a book of explanations might happen to be the way."

'How would you convey the idea of goodness, for instance?'

"An action of goodness or kindness might be expressed pictorially; the abstract virtue would require longer definition.

"Our language is one of exceeding exactness, as well as of great beauty. There is nothing of the human language with which to compare it. You remember how I tried to give you some semblance of a spirit word, and utterly failed? So, we cannot give you our expressions; but you must take it for granted that language here is the highest type of expression, both in beauty and in its power of conveying thought." /

'On arriving there do you learn it as we would learn a new language here?'

"We learn it, but not by the old slow methods of earth life. We absorb it as a flower absorbs dew, or the earth absorbs rain."

'When we arrive we will have to learn it then before we can understand much?'

"You will know from the first that love and kindness are here and surrounding you. Then you will know the words that express them. Afterward other thoughts will express themselves to you by the attitude or movement of friends, even as a child learns its mother's motions and expressions. And so, with a quickness you can hardly realize, you will acquire the language of this sphere. It grows, and grows rapidly. Can you understand?"

'Does a knowledge of languages here aid one after arriving there?'

"I do not think so. Thought telegraphs to thought and the language matters little. Consider the power of thought impressions even when not connected with language. Animals have this sensitiveness well developed, and many humans are also sensitive to thought waves." (Unnamed spirit communicator in SWSL, 71-2.) "The language here is partly symbol, partly flashes of thought or perception. These are beside and beyond our spoken language, which is more eloquent and of wider range than any known on earth. Our speakers are numerous in the halls of learning, and convey knowledge in wonderful terms. Yet always there are suggestions that arouse pictures or thought in the mind. / We listen to eloquence that is thrilling, and we listen to statements that are so clear and terse that we cannot fail of understanding."

I asked if their language had changed as had ours through the passing centuries, or was it the same it had always been.

"Language is capable of expansion, and our language grows and becomes more rich as it seeks to interpret new thought and wider experience. Memory does not let go as easily here as there, and while we add new expressions, we keep the old ones too. You have almost an entire change in the English language since the early poets. We have not changed in that way because our construction is more perfect to start with. Any change is more in the expression, to take in new thought and new experience, like travels to other planets, or growing in touch with other lives or other speech." (Spirit control Mary Bosworth in SWSL, 72-3.) There is little need of words; a kind of communion of thought and feeling takes their place and the lovely tides of human trust and affection flow freely between us. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 52.)

The mode of communication here is not confined to the utterance of words. One never needs to express in words one's feeling for another. It is always apparent in the immediate reaction of one's body and cannot fail to be read correctly. Where there is affection and trust there will be an outflowing of warmth and light; where there is polite indifference as when one meets a stranger the auric colour will continue steady and unaffected by the encounter; dislike or contempt cannot be hidden; they will flow out in waves of confused and muddy colour pleasant neither to see nor to feel upon one's sensitive . So the immediate feeling will always be fully apparent and will need no words.

The transmission of meaning involves not the emotional body alone but the as-yet imperfectly formed spiritual body. Where there is affinity of spirit and closeness of emotional regard meaning is often carried between friends without the clumsy intervention of words. It 'jumps the gap' and is immediately and fully apprehended as it could never be if it had to be trimmed to fit a pattern of words.

Words are most useful in everyday and trivial matters and they continue to be used whenever necessary. Our independence of language is only partial but it is enough to make us realize the artificiality of language barriers. When you can see the feelings of a man of different race far more clearly than you can see his 'colour' and you know from this that he is friendly and interested; when you can also exchange enough meaning to prove kinship of your minds then the obstacle of language is defeated and the fatal misunderstandings due to ineffectual exchanges in words are avoided. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 55-6.)

Personal communication by the thought process obviates any difficulty in the language question. That process is without nationality. But when folks are awakening in these lands they use their vocal organs and so do we. That's natural. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 120-1.)

If we can move ourselves by the power of thought, then it follows that we should also be able to send out thoughts by themselves, unhindered by all ideas of distance. When we focus our thoughts upon some person in the spirit world, whether they be in the form of a definite message, or whether they are solely of an affectionate nature, those thoughts will reach their destination without fail, and they will be taken up by the percipient. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 43.)

Although we can thus send our thoughts, it must not be assumed that our minds are as an open book for all to read. By no means. We can, if we so will, deliberately keep our thoughts to ourselves; but if we should think idly, as it were; if we should just let our thoughts ramble along under a loose control, then they can be seen and read by others. One of the first things to be done upon arrival here is to realize that thought is concrete, that it can create and build, and then our next effort is to place our own thoughts under proper and adequate control. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 43.)

'I noticed that Omar and his friend both spoke English and without a trace of accent too.' [said Roger] ...

'Can you think of any reason at all why Omar shouldn't speak English or any other language?" [replied Monsignor Benson.] ...

'You know what the memory can do here, Roger. Once something goes into the mind, there it stays. Why, Omar could learn any language well so as to speak it fluently. ... [Omar] wished to cover a wide range of matters as lucidly as possible, and so he went deeply into the task of learning English.' (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 122.)

When a thought is passed between one and another of us ... the thought is invisible in transit, [and] it arrives at its destination instantaneously, when it manifests itself before us as a pleasant but compelling flash of clear light; and we can then hear the voice of our communicator speaking close to the ear, as it seems. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 102.)

Power of Thought - In Manifesting

Here, the states of mind create the reality in a direct fashion. (William James, ADJ, 161.)

Over here we can create [anything] we want. When we create things by the power of thought, using astral substance, actual materialization occurs. Whatever we create remains as objective reality as long as we wish it to. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 65.)

There are schools, colleges, or whatever the dead choose, but these arise in response to the wishes and beliefs of those involved. They exist quite validly in certain areas of focus and consciousness, but they are "invisible" in other areas. They are constructed by the combined focuses and intents of those so involved, and they attain a permanency over long periods because so many are inclined in those directions. I could visit such "institutions" by desiring to do so, changing the state of my mind, and therefore transferring myself to a "location" that exists only to those in the same psychological state. (William James, ADJ, 160.)

'I realize that beautiful things are there. But I was thinking that one would not need many things there that are used on earth: such as a pocket-knife, a pencil, a sewing machine, or an automobile; and I wonder just what will be there?'

"Suppose you needed a knife, why, then create one! That is within the range of spirit power. But you would find it quicker to perform the service without the bother of making a knife. And this applies to other things as well. We do not need the sewing machine when we can create the dress by quicker and better means." (Unnamed spirit communicator in SWSL, 64.)

Manifestation of objects here is the direct result of applied understanding [of] creative thought. If perfection is not attained, the object falls away and one is left with nothing or, if one persists in clinging to the imperfection, one gravitates to lower levels of understanding. That is why it is said that we earn our surroundings in this land. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 45.)

Q: When a soul crosses over and is on the Astral Plane, if he desires something, does it just build itself instantly?

A: As he creates it with his mind, it is created. You can create whatever you choose on the earth plane by picturing it. You will attract it to you and you will have it. The difference is that it happens instantly over here, while it takes more time on the earth plane. One creates it in his own mind: he knows exactly what he wants because he himself has created it. This is the reason for increasing your creative side or imagination because what you imagine you are building, not only on the earth plane but also in the hereafter.

Q: Isn't this materialism and isn't that not such a good thing?

A: This is something which you will find on the astral plane because you are going back into a world of material existence. People will be more comfortable in between incarnations living like this. (1) (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 24.)

(1) I.e., everyone on the Astral Plane will inevitably reincarnate. Therefore, according to this teacher, circumstances on the Astral Plane are kept similar to what is found on Earth.

My dear little sister was the lovingest and dearest of all. I saw before me the semblance of her childhood, just as she was in the long years ago, when I had parted with her it seemed for ever. But she was only assuming the child-form to gain recognition. After a time, when I learned more about the life here, she revealed herself to me as we see her now, as a spirit who is a woman grown. There is no difficulty in our assuming whatever form we need for the purpose of the moment. No, I do not mean to say that I could assume permanently any disguise, but you can make yourself appear for the time that you think you wish to be. For the subtle thought is as an artist not merely in colour or marble, but to all apparent semblance in the actual person. (Julia Ames, AD, 80.)

When a new-comer arrives or when we have to manifest ourselves to you who are still in the body, then we need to use this thought-creation and body forth the visual tangible appearances with which you are familiar. (Julia Ames, AD, 81.)

When the soul leaves the body it is at the first moment quite unclothed as at birth. ... When the thought of nakedness crosses the spirit there comes the clothing which you need. The idea with us is creative. We think, and the thing is. I do not remember putting on any garments. There is just the sense of need and the need is supplied. (Julia Ames, AD, 66-7.)

Whether I create my own image to project a portion of myself as a form or create a thought dwelling as Ross does, I visualize it first and build into it with a putting of Me into It, which takes shape and form. It is an emotional act but sustained by my mind force and will. ... First one IS the concept; then it takes a form in thought. In time, if strong enough, this will take a physical form. (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 42.)

Immediately upon the thought there follows the concrete article. I don't mean for one moment that we merely think of what we need or desire and ... there it is. ... This house ... was carefully thought about, planned, and then the masons and builders got to work. But their work was performed by thought alone. There were no intermediaries in the form of the procuring of materials and the erection of scaffolding, and so on. Those friends thought and thought produced this very real and solid house. And here it will remain. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 96.)

You want to know how we on this side (1) "construct objects for our use." ... The spirit constructs a thought-form, clothing it with spiritual tangibility. This tangibility is etherealization and the spirit operator wills it into any form he desires. When it has served its purpose, he then absorbs it back into himself. It can be dispelled by thought, as well as produced by thought. It is in this way that we show ourselves to mortals. We reproduce the very garments we wore on earth, with many details to insure recognition.

There is a further stage in which, after great development, some spirits can use the etheric fluid of the physical life. With this they can build up a form, a reproduction of themselves, solid and substantial, and animate it with life. (2) This is called a materialization and is the most convincing of all proofs of survival after physical death.

But it is very difficult for spirits to accomplish this and few mortals can stand the strain. Again, by collective willing, under the influence of the Infinite Mind, we can in our own world fashion buildings, such as schools or colleges. And so we fulfill the words, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it." (John Heslop, SABL, 77-8.)

(1) The speaker is a resident of the "Christ Sphere." (2) For instance, Sir Yukteswar Giri appeared bodily to Paramahansa Yogananda after death. See Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 43.

You find, and it seems very curious and fascinating, that you can change ... things by wishing them to change. You can only do it with small and unimportant things, but for instance - you can look at a pine needle on the ground, where you are sitting, and begin to think of it as a real needle, a steel needle, and then it is an ordinary sewing needle and you can pick it up.

You can't change big things. You can't change the whole scene around you. That is because it is not only your scene. It belongs to lots of other spirits too, but you can change any little thing when the changes won't affect anybody else.

Then you begin to realize that all the things around you are really thought forms and that it is arranged like that so as to make the transition easy from material life to spirit life. You learn a great deal simply by finding out what you can change by changing your own thought about it and what remains unaltered however you think about it.

That makes you understand how little belongs to you alone so that you can do exactly what you like with it individually and how much belongs to the whole concourse of spirits of which you are a part. (The "Joe" of "Joe's Scripts" in Paul Beard, LO, 74.

We always have the power of wishing - that is the true power of the fairy godmother in the old fairy stories. I have learnt that at any rate ... it all depends on what we wish for. (The Child Elizabeth B. to E.B. Gibbes in Geraldine Cummins, TS, 58.)

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 still - thought-substance.

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. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXVIII.)

More on the Process of Thought Communication

Thought Causes Complex Vibrations in the Ether

When a spirit here has need to impress a thought on another, he may use one of several methods. We use speech as you do, but not always. We use signs and symbols corresponding to writing, as you do, but not so often. Many times we simply transfer our thought directly to the one we wish to impress. It is this method we wish to describe, or at least to discuss.

To get an understanding of such a process, it is first necessary to try to understand what thought is. Here we encounter at the very beginning the greatest problem of all. We cannot in any way explain the process, for it is too little understood even by us. But we can describe some of the operations of thought, though we may not know the complete origin of these operations.

We have the power, most of us, of seeing these operations. You might compare it with a view of the operations of an intricate mechanism on earth. What we see, however, is not wheels and levers, but just the thoughts themselves. How do they appear? What do they look like, you say? Well, it is more like the forming of a sentence of writing. Not that any words or letters appear, but impressions of words come to us in a way that we can only compare to that of vision. Just what causes these impressions is what we wish to try to explain.

We have learned that all efforts to think cause vibrations in the ether. These vibrations are just as complex as the waves generated in the atmosphere by the voice, and usually much more so. You have noted, no doubt, when listening to a phonograph, how the peculiar timbre of the human voice is reproduced so perfectly that no difficulty is experienced in recognizing the author of the record. If you can carry your imagination forward so as to comprehend an ethereal vibration still more complex, you can possibly begin to understand the process of the transmission of thought. So much for the origin.

Now you will find a greater difficulty in trying to understand how these ethereal waves are received and recorded so as to complete the impression on the mind of the one for whom the thought was intended. Your difficulty will come from the human inability to entirely put aside the conception of the material brain. You must imagine, for the moment, an ethereal counterpart. We are not saying that we have such a counterpart, but you will more readily understand the process by keeping such a picture in your mind.

Now when a thought strikes this spirit brain it causes a motion to take place, a motion of the particles composing the brain. The motion which is set up varies as the thought which causes it varies, When these moving particles come to rest they adjust themselves in impressions or patterns. Cacti thought resulting in a different pattern. When such an impression is formed it remains or persists indefinitely. A new thought does not disturb it. But each pattern, to a certain extent covers or hides those formed before, and so those formed earliest are most obscured, other things being equal. A strong thought causes a prominent pattern. Such a one is not so easily obscured as more indefinite ones.

The particles that form each pattern are only an infinitesimal portion of those available. A thought does not cause all the particles to move. You will wonder how an unlimited record is made, for you will rightly imagine that there must be a limit to the particles composing the brain. We can explain this by saying that this is the only thing in spirit life corresponding to the phenomenon of weariness in material life. As these particles are used by incoming thoughts, the depletion causes a condition that might be called fatigue. But with a short rest these are restored from the universal source of all power. We do not know this source sufficiently to enter into any description of it now. But the new particles arrive from somewhere and build up or replace the portion used up by the patterns or records formed.

The force of the thought waves is spent in setting up the motion of these particles. These waves go out in all directions, but unless they strike a receiving brain they are lost in space. The particles are always in motion; they never stop except under spirit influence. The thought waves change their motion, and they come to rest after a length of time that is conditioned by the strength of the thought; the stronger the motion, the more pronounced is the record formed. When once at rest they form a permanent pattern. This might be compared to some of your physical laws. For instance, the blood remains fluid when confined to the veins and arteries, but when exposed to the influence of the air it coagulates. Do you see the comparison?

We will have some difficulty in explaining where these patterns remain when once formed. The result of continued thoughts is not a series of separate patterns, but is somewhat continuous, like a ribbon. That description will have to answer, but it is not an accurate one at all. For in reality this roll of ribbon occupies no space at all. You can see here what difficulties we have in attempting to use material terms. But it will show you that there is thus plenty of room for unlimited records.

Notwithstanding the fact that they occupy no space, they are yet visible, and are subject to laws of the controlling spirit, else they could not be recalled by memory. We see these patterns in your mind that are formed as you think, and we can see some of those you have placed away for further use. But we cannot see all of the latter, for, as we have said, the later ones more or less obscure those formed earlier.

When certain patterns are made they sometimes have pronounced peculiarities, and if we continue to use material terms, we might refer to these as projections. These projections sometimes make contact with similar ones of other records that have been previously made. This seems to connect them in a way that brings the second pattern into the consciousness, a process which we term remembering. When such an impression is recalled, the action of the mind causes other particles to adjust themselves to the pattern making it slightly more prominent. This explains why when a thought is recalled it is easier to recall it a second or a third time.

When one simply desires to recall a certain idea or pattern, his thought forms a new impression that makes contact with the old one and thus drags it to the fore.

We use some of the impressions over many times, and by this use they finally become so prominent that they influence the action of the brain automatically, and in this way habits of thought are formed. And when such thought is associated with muscular action in any way, it results in habits of action and conduct.

We would like you to think of this record as more or less continuous, but not exactly as a ribbon. The more exact picture would show it as discontinuous although not detached, if we can use that expression. We mean that it is discontinuous enough so that portions of it can be recalled without bringing all of it into consciousness."

Now just what is this record composed of?

We have spoken of the moving particles. These are the foundations of life, the foundations of the universe. Your scientists try to conceive of something which they call ether. These particles are portions of that something. They differ from your electrons only slightly. But they are subject to separate laws, and are thus beyond the observations of your scientists.

You have of course pictured these patterns as only a mortal mind can do. They seem like material ribbons. Here is where the physical and the spiritual world differ. When these particles adjust themselves into records, they are permanent. But permanency in the spirit world does not imply three-dimensional space. This we cannot make you understand. Spiritual laws are not the same as material laws, and mortal mind will have to content itself with our statements. To spirit mind these records are as solid as phonograph discs are to you. But, as we said, they occupy no space in a physical sense.

Now if you have accepted our statements thus far, you are no doubt beginning to wonder what the will, the mind, is that controls this brain and these particles. I am afraid we will have to let you continue to wonder about that, for that is what we are still doing; and there seems no prospect of our solving the problem on this plane. (Probably Prof. William James in LHH, 248-52.)

There was a break here for a week or more. Meantime Mary and Dee wrote the following in regard to what had already been given: -

We will tell you about a trip we took to a far away circle. We went to learn what we could about mind power.

We knew the message was ready for you and we wished to know more about the subject ourselves.

We found a large circle who have made many investigations and experiments in the study of the action of one mind on another. They have invented many delicate instruments to record and measure the waves of thought. They record them in a way that resembles the phonograph. But these instruments are far more delicate and perfected than anything that earth people have yet contrived. We watched the work of recording our own thoughts. We could examine the records, and many times could recognize the thought, somewhat as we recognize a thought in your brain. You might call these records an artificial memory, for they are permanently recorded, and by experts can be read at any time. We could probably record our thoughts in that way for use in our libraries, although we have other methods that answer for the present. We think, however, that it may lead to a new way of recording for that purpose in addition to what we have.

We were especially interested in the beauty of the patterns. You would not think perhaps that there was any especial relation between the beauty of the pattern and the beauty of the thought, but it is so, and markedly so. Perhaps this is a clue to the effect that beautiful thoughts have there on the appearance or features of the one who gives out such thoughts. It is a tremendous subject, and means so much in character forming. For if thought can form visible effects in material, how much more likely that it can affect the character, both of the thinker and of the receiver of the thought.

We have seen no patterns that you could truthfully call pictures. They are representations of the special thought, and similar thoughts make similar records. But a thought or mental picture of a tree would not make a record that looked like a tree.

At another time we visited another circle where they are experimenting with mind action, but they are studying it in a different way. They are watching the actual effects of thought on the brain itself. They are all very clairvoyant and can watch the disturbances set up by the thought waves. They have found that the results correspond to what has been learned in the other circle, so they feel that they are both correct in their conclusions. The teacher who is giving you the message has worked with these circles. He has made a long study of thought influence and can explain many things which we would not attempt."

Then a little later the first teacher made a summary of the statements first given and added a few comments.

As Mary told you the other evening, we have invented many ways of measuring and recording the work of the mind. And a study of the records convinces us that we have arrived at the truth of a number of things.

We find, for instance, that thought waves move in all directions and are lost in space unless they strike a brain that is in a condition to receive them. But the force of these waves does not decrease according to the distance. They are just as powerful after traveling thousands of miles as they are on the brain of one who is present.

We have found that these waves are very much more penetrating than any material waves of which you have knowledge. No substance is dense enough to impede their progress. They can reach any brain no matter where the individual may be.

We have told you that the spirit brain is composed of moving particles. You can imagine these particles moving in much the same manner as the electrons move in a material substance. But the laws which control them are entirely different. We believe them to be very similar to your electrons as to their origin, but just enough different to be controlled by spirit laws instead of material laws. We know that they are some form of force, and that they can combine in various ways. We do not know of any such combination, however, that is not caused by the action of the mind.

When a thought causes a series of waves, these waves may reach some brains that do not respond. This is because the power of that brain is at that time being expended in some other way. But if it is in passive condition they register by changing the motion of the brain particles from a circular to a wave motion. The motion that they ordinarily maintain is circular: not in regular orbits, but forming various spiral movements throughout the space which they occupy. Your electrons move about a nucleus, and thus are more fixed. We think that is the point that should be remembered in any comparison between the two.

Now to sum up. The waves of particles are always subject to the power of the individual. We think, and the waves are formed by the thought. We make our brain passive, and thoughts from others can cause the particles to take up the wave motion. So long as their motion is circular they remain in motion. But the change to a wave motion brings them under the control of another law. When they become quiet they are grouped in various ways. You perhaps know of patterns that can be formed by causing particles of sand to vibrate on a glass plate. The thought patterns are not so unlike these as one night imagine. You will have to be satisfied by our saying that they form a series of impressions running one into the other in an extended formation. But this ribbon or stream can be broken at almost any point when a thought recalls any portion from the memory.

This is the best we have been able to do in trying to describe the processes of thought and memory in earthly language. (Probably Prof. William James in LHH, 252-5.)

The Sub-Conscious Mind is More Accessible in Spirit

The astral plane is the place where most of the subconscious exists and the subconscious colors everything you see and do and think. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 216.)

"The subconscious mind is an important part of your mortal makeup. We here do not have to reckon with it, as it is always available to us at will. But with you it is usually beyond the control of the will.

"Any disturbance of your physical body is sufficient to influence the thought stored away in your subconscious mind. And when once stirred up these thoughts can recombine with results that are sometimes startling. You of course know a little of this from your dreams. But with some people there is a power of connected action far beyond even that ordinarily found in their dreams. Your psychologists have many records of wonderful performances of the subconscious mind, and many of them are rightly ascribed to that action. But there are also some that are influenced from this side, and you will always have some difficulty in determining to which class they belong.

"But we can state one fact: No action of the subconscious mind uses any information except what has been previously stored there. If anything else appears it has been deliberately placed there at the time by some outside agency. We know this to be true from watching actual operations. We have made many such observations on mortal brains.

"You hear it said that the mind has the power to go out and select this information. But no one tells you how this can be done. You hear that the soul can leave the body. We know that this can be done. But the two statements are not identical. If the mind went out to seek these facts there would ensue a condition of trance, which in most automatic writing never occurs.

"You will hear some spiritualists claim that all unusual subconscious action is caused by spirit influence. This we know to be far from the truth. Spirit influence working through the subconscious mind can sometimes achieve wonderful results. But any spirit influence necessitates a psychic nature on the part of the medium, or the one who is writing. If this is lacking the messages can be quite truthfully claimed to be of subconscious origin, and they will therefore contain no new material, although they may possibly be presented in striking phrases. No medium, however, can write on any subject as quickly or surely when not in a psychic condition, and you will also find that the power of logical combination of facts is rarely more marked in subconscious actions than is possible in normal or conscious thoughts of the same individual.

"Again, there is in all persons a tendency to exaggerate. This seems to be a universal human trait. You will find that productions from spirit influence are free from such exaggeration. You wonder if spirit cannot be guilty of this. Possibly, occasionally. But spirit soon learns here that such a fault should be cast aside.

"Also, spirit influence usually introduces the sentences to the pencil almost a word at a time as it is written. True subconscious conscious action is likely to manifest in the conscious mind much more in advance.

"The product of the subconscious mind is apt to be marked by idioms that are characteristic of the conscious expression. Any tendencies to use new idioms, a higher literary expression than is customary, the use of new words, different grammar, unaccustomed trends in argument: all these argue for the side of outward influence.

Sometimes there is plainly apparent distinguishing characteristics that are known to belong to one who is in the spirit world. These can be copied by the conscious mind, but can the subconscious do this?

"One should also notice the fact that much of the automatic writing that is genuinely influenced from the spirit world is concerned with statements that would not ordinarily be in the person's mind, statements of life in the spirit world under conditions that no medium could know or would naturally imagine.

"We know that there are many statements concerning spirit life that are sent through several separate mediums in almost identical language. It is not always easy to get these statements together, but you have probably found many familiar descriptions in your reading.

"These are all rather delicate shadings to observe. But the careful use of them will show results that an unprejudiced mind cannot question. The various writings will quite decidedly fall into two classes."

The following was also received through the pencil, dealing with the subconscious mind and memory.

"Many of your psychologists believe that all actions of the mind are simply functions of the material brain. We know that they are more especially connected with the spirit brain, and only use the material brain as a vehicle of expression. You have been told the process that takes place when a thought enters a spirit brain and is recorded in memory. Now here is where your psychologists fail to understand. We know that all thoughts and impressions that have been received are recorded in the memory, and under certain circumstances almost any of these can be recalled. It is when some statement of fact is given out that could by no normal means have entered the 4memory, that the psychologists fail to explain the process. We know that it is many times difficult to prove that the incident was never recorded at some time during the person's life. But there are hundreds of cases where this has positively been proven. Now we think no investigator there has ever evolved a satisfactory theory as to how this fact was ascertained. You may know that the mind does apparently obtain facts during hypnosis; but even this has never been explained. If you can accept my statements, possibly you may be able to formulate a theory that will lead to the acceptance of the spiritualistic origin.

"When the facts are obtained in hypnosis, I have observed that there was always some spirit near who was interested in seeing that the experiment succeeded; and if it were possible, the facts were supplied in this way. I have never observed a successful hypnotic experiment which was not aided in this way. In psychometry we must admit that the article itself does stimulate thought and ideas by vibrations which it sends out. But in elaborate descriptions I have also observed spirit assistance. And usually being more impressionable than the medium, this spirit quickly grasps the more important features of the case and at once proceeds to obtain further information and supply it to the medium.

"It must always be remembered that every living being has one or more guides or spirits who are interested in that particular person. Sometimes in the case of a medium, an entire circle of spirits is at a moment's call, and it is always the delight of some of them to be able to supply the information desired, if it is at all obtainable.

"When it comes to predictions, we are still at a loss to give a complete explanation. We know that higher planes understand, but we have never solved the problem. If we ever get any light on it it will probably be found that it is mostly beyond our control, even if we could understand it."

"The subconscious mind is always a mystery, seemingly, to investigators on earth. To us it is only the memory part of our intellectual development or equipment. When earth people are willing to concede that there is a soul or mind that uses the brain, perhaps they will understand a little better what the memory is. When they try to place everything in the material brain, they are at a loss to know how to account for the subconscious mind. But if they will only concede a spirit brain that controls the material brain, then it is easier to understand the relation of memory to the mental equipment. We think with mental machinery that is separate from the material brain. So we store the thoughts in ways that do not need the physical brain."

"But in mortal life all conscious thought may influence, and usually does influence the physical brain; so, in the same way, the store of memory records may, and oftentimes does, influence the physical brain. But as this storehouse is not in the physical brain itself, it is not so easily investigated. Hence the mystery concerning it."

"I think the subconscious mind has been burdened long enough. I would like to try to lift the load. We here know so well its limitations. But it is difficult to arrange any argument that will be convincing to critics there. When the subconscious mind is blamed for all the foolish things that purport to come from here, we feel that it is just as well to say nothing. But when our best efforts and finest teachings are laid to the same source, we feet that we must make some effort to have the critics understand.

"The principal trouble is, of course, the failure to understand that the real mind and memory are not dependent upon the physical brain. And when the existence of a soul is denied, the case is almost hopeless. But when some are willing and even anxious to believe in a future existence for the soul, we cannot understand the obstinacy with which its real existence is denied.

"We know that the subconscious mind, through various methods of being stimulated, can send forth some interesting things, - interesting because unexpected. Yet we are not aware that any proof has ever been offered that unknown facts come from that source. In some cases it is suspected that the facts may have been somehow unconsciously acquired. Let those cases rest. But there are many where the facts absolutely could not have been normally acquired, and here there is no theory at all that will stand for a moment.

"We wish the critics who are willing to admit the existence of a soul as an animating force instead of a function, would take this as the foundation of a theory. They could then reach satisfying conclusions on many of these points. But they do not seem to want to do that." (Unnamed spirit teachers in LHH, 256-61.)

Most Thought Exists on the Astral Plane

The astral plane is the place where most of the subconscious exists and the subconscious colors everything you see and do and think. So all your childhood associations and other memories of chairs would affect the way [this] chair would look on the astral plane. Your associations would be projected onto the astral chair and become part of it. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 216-7.)

When I refer to the etheric plane, I am referring to the uppermost and most subtle aspects of the physical plane. Physical particles and physical motion still exist at this level.

These movements of energy on the more subtle levels are what I was talking about in my comments for photographing human thought. By selectively energizing some of these higher octaves of thought, it would be possible to stimulate a resonance in corresponding lower octaves of physical matter, and produce a visible "record" of the thought.

Most human "thought" exists on what is called the astral plane. It doesn't exist in the physical plane. People are going to go "oooh" when they read this, but thought doesn't exist in the physical - not even in the brain. By selectively energizing the lower astral "thoughts," we could stimulate an etheric counterpart of those "thoughts" and then also a dense physical counterpart, which could be photographed. (Nikola Tesla, NTR, 53-4.)

Nothing Can be Hidden; the Ability to Deceive is Gone

In our world what you are determines what you do. It is your spirit that is the dominant reality. There are no masks, no disguises, no subterfuges, no cheats; there is nothing hidden; all is known. (Silver Birch, SBA, 93.)

The 'subjective' of the earth plane mind has become the 'objective' in this new state of Being. (Frances Banks, TOL, 60.)

To be absolutely honest (and one can be nothing else here).... (Unnamed doctor in Frances Banks, TOL, 42.)

In the earth life he can build a façade about himself. Here he has no such mask. He is known here for what he is and for what his inner subject life has made him. (Frances Banks, TOL, 60-1.)

Here the persona, or mask, has been removed and our very thoughts are open to all. (Frances Banks, TOL, 87.)

Anger, irritation, depression can actually be seen in the appearance and 'field' surrounding an entity. They can actually be felt and sometimes 'heard' as a low warning, drumming, rather like a wasp's buzzing. I have experienced this in others, and, alas, other dear souls have avoided me for the same reason at times. (Frances Banks, TOL, 87.)

Here one seems to be naked. There is no mask even for thought, one's inmost thought, and sometimes I shudder at the realisation that our fellows here can read us, as we read books illustrating character and thought and action on earth. Here one's thoughts return to one like boomerangs, potent and immediate in their effects. As a thought, negative or positive, comes into mind, it is crystallized into immediate action. In the human mind, a negative thought can creep in and insinuate itself between all one's good intentions, lying, apparently dormant. Then it becomes a nucleus attracting to itself thoughts of similar content until it takes on a semblance of force through emotion; later the results, physical, material or spiritual, are manifested. (Frances Banks, TOL, 75.)

No one can pretend here because one sees through the beings. (Sigwart, BOTR, 6.)

We can always tell when the truth is not told. There is a peculiar clouding of the form and appearance. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth in LHH, 43.)

The spirit shows externally here, and a white soul will have a pure external - not always white, but a shining and beautiful garment. We wish you could see Mary and Dee. They are lovely in dress as in soul, for the outer garment here is sure to express the inner nature. (Spirit communicator "A.H." in LHH, 49.)

What were merely venial and even permitted errors and cruelties on earth look far blacker to me now. As one's understanding grows, the import of actions and motives becomes clearer, self-deception is less possible and the clearer one becomes the blacker becomes one's view of the past. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 86.)

[Mitchell's advice to Lawrence:] 'See, Scott, (1) there is a solution: one has got to adjust to what one is and forget what one has wished others to think one is. One has to get down to it and accept one's being on this lower level and patiently and cheerfully start again. Try to find the real man behind this façade and then the source of your failure will become plain to you.' (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 88.)

(1) In communicating through Jane Sherwood, T.E. Lawrence at first hid himself behind the pseudonym "T.E. Scott," though the medium could see through the fiction. Later he allowed the use of his real name.

Honesty, lack of self-deception and guts - these seem to be the mainstay of spirit life. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 165.)

Here you cannot put out thoughts into the ether that you don't really believe as truth, just for the sake of provoking an argument or discussion. If we put such thoughts into the ether, we lose far more spiritual energy than it is wise to lose. We then have to sit back, be quiet, concentrate, and start drawing the power back again. This is retribution because you have to use power to withdraw an untruth from the ether. That power could be used for more constructive purposes. This applies to all negative thinking - here as well as on earth. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 62.)

When you are in a physical body, the negative thought forms you create stay right with you. In order to get rid of them, you have to nullify your negative or disagreeable thinking by positive thinking. Positive thought forms have to be created to remove the negative ones before you can feel right. This requires effort and concentration, which would not have to be expended if you had held a positive and agreeable approach in the first place. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 62.)

There is no power of disguise. All shams are stripped off. Hypocrisy and pretence are impossible. None can disguise his fault or merit; none can pretend to that which is not his. This is an inherent property in spirit existence. (1) (Unnamed spirit teacher in MST, 50-1.)

(1) The communicator is speaking of a realm much higher than the astral, but the comment still applies.

Concealment is not possible in our spheres. (1) The spirit carries its character impressed on the very atmosphere it breathes. This is a law of our being; a great safeguard, knowing we are open to the gaze and knowledge of all. (Unnamed spirit teacher in MST, 53.)

(1) While the spirit speaking is probably not of the Christ Sphere, this quote is included here with its companion, above.

Mental Privacy

We do not have our soul thoughts always on exhibition. There are unseen, holy, or loving places in each one's soul that are sacred to one's self. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 103.)

It is not true that we cannot keep our thoughts to ourselves if we are careful to do so. We can guard our secrets, if we know how. ... It is, though, much easier here than on earth to read the minds of others. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XI.)

However wandering may be our thoughts they are not visible like the flame of light in the sunshine. Things are far better ordered than that in the spirit world! We do have mental privacy here. Without it social intercourse would be trying, to say the least. We are living in a land of truth, that is certain; but we do not carry things to such an extreme that we must voice the truth openly upon all occasions. As with you, so with us; there are moments and occasions when silence is golden!

But it is essential that one should learn to think properly as an inhabitant of the spirit world. One of the first things one has to do here, as a new arrival, is to think properly. It is not a difficult achievement, and not nearly so formidable a task as it may sound. It concerns one's thoughts about people rather than thoughts of a general nature upon things. When thought is concerned with a person, the thought, if it has sufficient force behind it, will travel to that person. If it happens to be of a pleasant or complimentary description, or of a jovial and genial nature, then the percipient will be happy to receive it. But all thoughts are not of this innocuous sort and our mental secrets may have passed out of our minds only to have found their destination in the very last place we wanted them to be, namely in the mind of the person of whom we were so freely thinking.

The thought, however, must have sufficient measure of directive power behind it to send it upon its journey and this factor is the saving of many of us because so many thoughts are mere birds of passage in our minds and while they are there they have little really deep concentration upon the individual concerned. But the very prospect of what can happen is enough to make us keep a strict watch upon our minds and in a brief period it becomes as second nature to us. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 105.)

Thought in the Near-Earth vs. Astral Planes

That part of the spirit world which is immediately interpenetrating your world, that is to say, the invisible world in the immediate vicinity of the particular spot, for example, where you are reading these words, this spot is not part of the realms of light. It is dark. It may have its minute patches of light in certain well-defined places, but the greater part of it is dark.

Thought of the kind that contains no evil within it will be bright and therefore it will show up in the surrounding gloom, just as the light of a tiny flame will illumine the gloom of a chamber from which all other light is excluded. Even a limited diffusion of light will be the case. But take the tiny flame into the bright light of the sun and the diffusion seems to end, the feeble light having become absorbed by the greater light of the sun. The flame will still be visible, but its light will be strictly limited to its source.

This somewhat elementary analogy will serve, I hope, to illustrate the difference between thought in the invisible regions closely adjacent to your world and thought as it is in these bright realms where I live. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 104.)

After-Death Power of Remembering

Once we accept a truth here, it remains. There is no forgetting on these planes or in these bodies. (Rosamund Lehmann's daughter Sally in AL, 188.)

You must understand that the memory appertains to the spirit and not to the body; and it is one of the few qualities of mind that the materialist has been puzzled to account for, because, though every particle of the matter of which the brain is composed may change, there remains indelibly impressed on the mind the recollection of the past experience of the individual from the days of his childhood. If, however, these impressions had belonged to the matter of the brain, they would have been swept away long since in the course of the perpetual changes that are going on in the organism of the human body. (Unnamed spirit communicator in SRE, 41.)

The memory banks ... are partly in the astral. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 203-4.)

Birth into your world usually obliterates memory of what had existed before, whereas when born into this world we remember more than we did - that is, we forget much, but we also recall much. Things which we remembered often on your side, we forget entirely; the necessary materialities, addresses, possessions, and names pass as we use them no more. But those things last which continue to bear fruit, these we remember, and there is a wonderful quickening of the memory, in some way almost miraculous. (Julia Ames, AD, 187.)

Do not mistake me. Memory is persistent. Its transmission is intermittent, and only fragments of what we remember come through any medium. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce], LFOS, 7.)

Yes, it is an anniversary of parting - 19 years in earth time, but, to me, a flash - yet I can, by an act of will, illumine each year or moment of the flash and expand it like a telescope. It is no-time, endlessly great, endlessly small - to us it is NOW. (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in ITE, 66.)

I have said that my mind was alert. That is an understatement. I discovered that my mind was a veritable storehouse of facts concerning my earthly life. Every act I had performed and every word I had uttered, every impression I had received; every fact that I had read about and every incident I had witnessed, all these, I found, were indelibly registered in my subconscious mind. And that is common to every spirit person who has had an incarnate life.

It must not be supposed that we are continually haunted, as it were, by a wild phantasmagoria of miscellaneous thoughts and impressions. That would be a veritable nightmare. No. Our minds are like a complete biography of our earthly life, wherein is set down every little detail concerning ourselves, arranged in an orderly fashion and omitting nothing. The book is closed, normally, but it is ever there, ready to hand, for us to turn to, and recall the incidents as we wish. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 151.)

'You know what the memory can do here, Roger. Once something goes into the mind, there it stays.' (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 122.)

To acquire knowledge here is not tedious because the memory works perfectly - that is, unfailingly - and the powers of mental perception are no longer hampered and confined by a physical brain. Our faculties for understanding are sharpened, and intellectual expansion is sure and steady. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 53.)

This encyclopedic memory with which we are endowed is not so difficult to understand when you pause to consider your own average earthly memory. You are not continuously bothered by the incidents of the whole of your life, but they are simply there for you to recall, when and where you wish, and they may arise out of the occasions of the moment. One incident will set a train of thought going in which the memory will have its share. Sometimes you cannot recall what is in your memory, but in the spirit world we can recall instantly, without any effort and unfailingly. The subconscious mind never forgets and consequently our past deeds become a reproach for us or otherwise, according to our earthly lives. The recordings upon the tablets of the real mind cannot be erased. They are there for all time, but they do not necessarily haunt us because in those tablets are also set down the good actions, the kind actions, the kind thoughts and everything of which we could justly be proud. And if they are written in larger and more ornate letters than those things we regret, we shall be so much the happier. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 151.)

The adventures of the dead can be quite concentrated. After death, for example, I learned tricks of perception that I now take for granted. I can experience any season of my life in an expanded fashion, using a heightened memory that actively recreates events, giving me awareness of an event as I once experienced it - but expanded to include all of those personal details that escaped me at the time, the subconsciously perceived events that couched the physical one. Or I can telescope the same season, experiencing, say, one given autumn which suddenly becomes a point of action in which the actions of all of my other experienced autumns are contained. These perceptive "tricks" apply only to private events, not to world history. (William James, ADJ, 123.)

There are many things that we have to unlearn and re-learn when we first come to dwell in spirit lands, but our minds, being then free of a heavy physical brain, are at liberty to exercise their powers to the full. We are enabled, therefore, to acquire rapidly the methods of living under different conditions of existence. Our memories behave as memories should; that is to say, they are not erratic in their retentive performance, but can be relied upon to act perfectly. You can see how invaluable such an attribute will be when it becomes necessary to learn afresh how to do things according to spirit laws. It is in this rapid way that so many common actions quickly become as second nature. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 105-6.)

After-Death Power of Reasoning

I wish I could convey something of the flamelike lucidity of our process of reasoning. The emotional grasp of an impression is followed by an immediate awareness of the essential being of a thing and further thinking about it is a process of apprehending depth upon depth of meaning dwelling in the thing itself and in its relations with its environment. I cannot tell you how slow, formal and dead your processes of reasoning appear to us. In a flash we have made the whole journey to a conclusion which it may take you hours of painful thought to reach and which you will only cover in a superficial manner since what escapes in your reasoning is the precious element of meaning - significance. This for becomes heightened to a degree I cannot convey in words. Wordsworth anticipated our method of seeing when he said that the meanest flower that blows could give him thoughts too deep for tears; in other words, the perception was felt directly upon the emotions. It is this power of ours to grasp depth upon depth of the richness of meaning inherent in everything which, in retrospect, makes earth life look such a mean and poverty-stricken affair. If you can think of your most inspired moments - all too brief and infrequent in earthly experience - and imagine a life where this is the normal standard of living experience, you will have a faint idea of what the future holds for you.

It is obvious that the capacity to know, feel and understand in this scale of intensity has to be attained by degrees and that if it came before the cleansing process had at least been begun it would be too keen an agony to bear. Even then our scale of intensity is weak compared to that of the higher planes. I suppose, if you want to put it into pseudo-scientific terms, you will explain it as world upon world, each of a higher system of vibration than its predecessor, but this really conveys very little. I want to put it in terms of actual living and this is not easy. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 126-7.)

Spirit Senses and Emotions


Earthly wisdom, I believe, has not got very far in analyzing the process by which knowledge is obtained. I suppose if I had been asked when there, I should have made a tyro's effort and have said that knowledge originated in perception - seeing, hearing and feeling - and that this material was then worked upon by intellect to produce a reasoned scheme of things. No doubt many learned books of philosophy would be needed to give an adequate exposition of the process but since all earth-dwellers take / it for granted in their daily experiences we can let it go at that. However it may be for earth, when I came here I soon found out that my ways of apprehending and reasoning about things were very different.

Perception, in the early days here, is very inadequate owning to the poor development of one's bodily senses. So one will expect that at first this world will have a misty and dreamlike quality. But, as this condition clears, the kind of perception that takes its place is not of the same order as that on earth. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 124-5.)

The five senses, as we know them upon earth, become many degrees more acute when we are discarnate. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 153.)

Senses - Sight

The atmosphere is crystal clear and our sight is not limited by the instrument of a physical body. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 58.)

Your sight ... is limited to one octave. My sight takes in two or more. I have not less sight than you except in the sense that I only see the octaves that you do not see, while you see one that I have lost the power to see, except from time to time through a psychic, I have lost one octave and have gained two, and those the more transcendent and more beautiful. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce], LFOS, 5.)

After death we see with the inner sight that is always within all earthly people. It is the same sight that is used when you sleep at night and dream. This is also the sight of clairvoyance. Clairvoyants are able to still the vibrations of their physical bodies and they use this special sight to see the bodies of those in the astral world. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 47.)

Senses - Smell

The sense of smell is still with us. We can smell all the wonderful perfumes of the flowering trees and flowers. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 47.)

We can open our minds - or close them - to the many delectable perfumes that spirit nature casts abroad for our happiness and contentment. They act like a tonic upon the mind, but they are not forced upon us - we merely help ourselves to them as we wish. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 114.)

Senses - Beauty a Living Force

Life here is derived directly from the Great Source. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 109.)

Beauty responds to, and thrives upon, the appreciation of it. The greater attention and recognition we give to it, so much the greater will be its response, and it assumes to itself still greater beauty. Spirit beauty is not an abstract thing, but a real living force. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 109.)


The poet in an ecstacy of creation, the artist who glimpses divine form and colour, the musician who puts together sounds, almost beyond reach of mortal senses, are probably three types of earth-mortal who approach nearer to this responsive normal state of ours. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 76

I think the nearest approach to our / normal response is the spontaneous feeling of wonder, joy and almost worship which can be felt on earth when something utterly innocent and beautiful is seen and grasped by the emotions. This is the poet's vision, the artist's, and perhaps the mystic's too. In such a case, perception is not processed by the mind which is a cold and logical instrument, but impinges directly upon the feelings. Our approach to our world, then, can no longer be cold and impersonal. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 125-6.)

The being is unshielded by the inertia of the physical body. All experiences here are tried out on the quick of the being and in their keenness and piercing reality are beyond anything possible on earth. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 36.)

It must not be forgotten that one's new body is emotional in its very nature and that therefore its new powers will be based on emotions.

The total reaction to all that is seen or heard - the keener awareness, the swifter response, involves the whole emotional being. For instance, when I see a bush or a tree I am not able to perceive it simply in visual terms; I have to reckon on an emotional response to it. I like it, I value it, or even love it, or if I am not yet beyond a negative response I may dislike it or even hate it; but there will still be a strong feeling reaction in either case.

Similarly with one's reactions to people. They awaken the strongest response of all. A cool, detached, merely intellectual reaction to anything is practically impossible while we are in this emotional body. We have to see, hear and understand with our feelings and this gives a personal edge to all impressions. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 125.)

I still miss the weight of my earth body, I suppose, although I should be sorry now to have to drag it about. Yet in spite of my lightness and weightlessness I am moved by powerful pangs of emotion which I find almost impossible to control. In a peculiar way these feelings are more exterior to experiences; I myself, the real 'I' seems to have retreated further inside and these emotions, although they are mine and powerful, are not felt as the essential inward things they were on earth. This new body is very responsive to incoming impressions; too much so for my present comfort. It is like driving a very fast and powerful car when one has only been used to a slow second-hand one. I dislike the insecurity and uncertainty this gives me although I cannot help being exhilarated by the potential power at my disposal. More than all, I dislike the idea that these waves of emotion, whether they are desirable or not, are apparent to everyone I meet.

Speaking of these impressions to Mitchell he explained to me that my present body, solid as it seems, is now really composed of a kind of matter which on earth I thought of as 'emotion'. This 'feeling stuff' is more exterior to the real me and has no physical drag to slow down its activity. Hence the frightening release of emotional energy and the impossibility of masking it. I now have to practice, not to mask my feelings, because this is no longer possible, but to control them and to work at getting rid of the undesirable ones altogether. He warned me that it would be hard work at first, but that with help I should soon become adjusted. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 25-6.)

Emotions - Visible

[Mitchell] explained to me that my present body, being of such a light, responsive kind, would express in its colour and emanations every emotion I felt so that not the slightest change of mood could be hidden. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 23.)

[Mitchell:] 'I think you really feel that you ought to be able to find and meet the great people of the past whom you would perhaps regard as your equals, but my fear fellow, you are not yet fit to come near them. Look at yourself!'

I looked. Either I saw myself through his eyes or in some kind of immaterial mirror, but this is what I saw: shafts of keen blue light struggling to issue from a core of dark and muddied colour - a tumult of angry, murky shadow at the centre and as a response to his merciless criticism, angry dartings of red flying off from it. It was not a pretty sight.

'You see,' he said gently, 'we have to clear all that before you are ready to go on.'

The shock broke me down. (Mitchell speaking to T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 35.)

Emotions - The Work of Learning to Manage Them

I found myself in a strange world, moved by urgent emotions over which I had little control. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 24.)

'I have less control of my feelings than I thought possible; in fact, they hardly answer to control at all. Great waves of emotion take me off my balance.' (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 23.)

My emotions still shake me dangerously and I have to learn also to take the emotional impact of other beings with equanimity. I have become wary of impatience and anger; their manifestations are too repulsive. The slightest shift in feeling makes a corresponding change in appearance as well as in one's own feeling of well-being. Relations with people, when nothing can be hidden, become a high art requiring control and a larger sympathy than is ever needed on earth where its absence can usually be covered by the conventional word or action. It really amounts to this, that one is not safe in this plane until all the twisted, negative emotions are cleared out of one. Then it will be possible to live fearlessly and freely knowing that one cannot send out any harmful emotion. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 36-7.)

I can see that this kind of living, naked to emotional stress, imposing candour and demanding innocence, cannot be successfully carried out without training. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 37.)

By degrees we are learning our lesson and if control threatens to slip we go away by ourselves so that no one else needs to endure our nastiness. The conviction that is brought home to us that unless we can clear ourselves of evil emotions it will not be possible for us to remain among the decent people on this plane. The alternative will be to leave it and find homes in conditions where the astral bodies of the inhabitants are coarsened by habitual indulgence in anger and hatred and where the air they breathe is infected with their hot and murky emanations. I have already had a glimpse of these dark conditions and can imagine the misery of being condemned to stay there for any length of time. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 38.)

The world which has now to be conquered is the interior world of the emotions and the spirit. Before, one avoided physical suffering if possible and endured it with what courage one might if it was inevitable. Now, suffering is of the soul and the spirit and cannot be avoided if it has been incurred. It too has to be borne with fortitude and with help cured. Just as on earth one speedily learned that fire burned, hard things hurt and sharp things cut and there were limits to human strength and powers, so here a while new set of rules of conduct has to be mastered. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 53-4.)

It is true to say that on this plane most of us are getting clear of emotional faults so that we do present a bewildering variety of beautiful forms and colours; hence the usual reaction to each other is that of appreciation and love. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 125.)

Emotions - Harmful Emotions

To encounter active ill-will is for us a painful experience. (Transition guide Mitchell to T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 22.)

Each being is 'insulated' by his aura, good or bad, from direct vibrational onslaughts on his core of sensitivity, which is the real self. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 191.)

I felt suddenly constrained and diffident and the change must have been obvious to [Mitchell] for he said: 'Don't do that, for God's sake, or I can't stay. You have to learn that your feelings create an atmosphere about you that alters your relationship to those you meet.' (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 22.)

Emotion, as well as forming the stuff of our bodies, can be used as a very real force. They can be sent out from the body with almost lethal effect and the discharge of hatred, anger or cruelty can cause grievous injury to the one against whom it is directed. In fact, there is no longer any need to moralise about such things; they are no longer in the realm of the abstract, but are open and palpable offences for which a penalty must be paid. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 54.)


Viewed from Higher Dimensions, the Summerlands are an "Illusion"

"Astral' is a stage of development. It denotes the illusion world which (1) is spun from the thought web of higher sphere existence. It is the great school house, where is learnt the creative power of thought - its actual objective creativeness, but it is mainly of emotional thought. Beyond it comes reality. (Philip Gilbert, PTS, xxv.)

(1) But note that everything except the transcendental, formless God is illusory: "In a deep metaphysical sense all that is conditioned is illusory. All phenomena are literally 'appearances,' the outer masks in which the One Reality shows itself forth in our changing universe. The more 'material' and solid the appearance, the further is it from Reality, and therefore the more illusory it is." (Annie Besant, DA, n.p.)

Every tree, every flower, every being is a web of in-going and outflowing vibratory rays, swirling outwards from their zone of functioning into the further circles of the cosmos. But, to the advanced, the whole of this sphere, (1) etheric and astral counterpart included, is an "illusion" - i.e., a thought image produced by the source. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 79.)

(1) Philip here is actually speaking of the Second Heaven or second subplane of the Mental Plane, but his words apply equally to the Astral Plane.

Ross. Mind stuff is as real as physical - perhaps more truly 'real.'

Philip. It is only real in its own dimension - to me it's illusion if I withdraw into Light. (Philip Gilbert and Ross to Alice Gilbert in ITE, 44.)

Ross. There are levels of thought, I find. I do know now that I can blend into a deeper stage in which the Hospital is an 'illusion.' Yet it is real in its place. ... I am told that it will be permanent, that the power I generated was strong enough to build to last whilst there is a physical universe. Yet I feel a sort of shift of emphasis in my own being as if I were a part of another level of being even though I function in the hospital as vigorously as ever. (Philip Gilbert and Ross in ITE, 45.)

Remember always that the more you sense the shimmering world with that quality of inner silence, the more you are functioning in my world, for that is where I function.

Every tree, every flower, every being is a web of in-going and outflowing vibratory rays, swirling outwards from their zone of functioning into the further circles of the cosmos. But, to the advanced, the whole of this sphere, etheric and astral counterpart included, is an "illusion" - i.e., a thought image produced by the source. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 79.)

This is a very pleasant paradise, where the earth theme is externalized by the minds of men. It is a clean world of ethereal matter, moulded on a spiritual pattern, acceptable to the awakening soul. But it is by no means the ultimate goal of human endeavour.

Here we must tarry for a while, until this cycle of service is complete. Thus we have many obligations, both to those of you on earth, to whom we are linked in the / bonds of love, and also to the many who have already joined us, whose life pattern is entwined with our own. All these duties must be faced before advancement to higher spheres can be achieved. Our progress is accelerated or retarded, according to our desire to accept or reject these responsibilities. There can be no evasion. (Jim McLean in LFM, 113-4.)

Although in outward form the sphere we are now in has many of earth's familiar features, they are, in fact, a mental creation, born of our desire for familiar surroundings and provided for our comfort through the divine wisdom of Creative Mind. This does not detract, in any way, from their [solidity]. (Jim McLean in LFM, 114.)

Our world is as real to us as yours is to you, but were you to be transported here in your physical state, ours would be invisible to you. The same law applies with regard to higher spheres. There, there are barriers which we cannot penetrate, simply because we are not attuned to their higher vibration. (Jim McLean in LFM, 114.)

[There is an] existence within an image or reflection of the earth known to some as "Summerland"; I prefer to call it "Illusion-land." (1) (Frederick W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

(1) I am moved to note that all planes and states short of the fullness of God's own Being are illusions. I am not sure why Myers makes a point of emphasizing that the Summerlands are illusory, but I offer his material because it cannot be said to be untrue and, though apparently condescending at time, has value.

The earth is as a reflection in a mirror; it is real only through the image that is cast upon the glass. The earth, therefore, depends for its recognition upon the nature of individual vision and perception. All men, who are in the clay, are unreal, so they have power to perceive only in a certain manner that strange illusion, the swiftly rotating globe. When they shuffle off the heavy body, when in a finer shape they take flight from it, they frequently do not realize the fundamental unreality of earth. They hunger for the dream which was home to them.

Then these souls knock and the door is opened, they enter into a dream that, in its main particulars, resembles the earth. But now this dream is memory and, for a time, they live within it. All those activities that made up their previous life are re-enacted, that is, if such is their will. They can, at any time, if they choose, escape from the coil of earth memories, from what I might term the "swaddling clothes" of the life after death. For all these souls are as babies, unaware of the real world of which they are inhabitants, no more cognisant than are infants of the vast whirl of life about them, of its astonishing intellectual activities, of its achievements.

Such infant-souls frequently communicate with earth when they are in a state almost analogous to the earth sleep. They will then endeavor to describe their memory world. It is almost precisely similar to the one you inhabit at the moment. Some call this memory-dream "Summerland"--quite an apt term. For the soul, freed from the limitations of the flesh, has far greater mental powers, and can adapt the memory-world to his taste. He does so unconsciously, instinctively choosing the old pleasures, but closing the door to the old pains.

He lives for a while in this beatific, infantile state. But, like the baby, he inhabits only a dream, and has no knowledge and hardly any perception of the greater life in which he is now planted. Of course the hour comes when his spiritual perceptions awaken, when he seeks to escape from the memory-dream, when, in short, he realizes his own increased intellectual powers, and, above all, his capacity for living on a finer plane of being. Then he passes from the State of Illusion and enters upon an existence which few communicating intelligences have ever attempted to describe to man.

However, to those of us who have journeyed beyond the memory-world this alleged region or heaven of the departed is false because it is unreal, a reflection of a reflection, a tenuous dream that fades before spiritual knowledge. When the crossing of death is achieved many are happy in that state of grace; but theirs is the vegetative happiness, the unintelligent content of an infant who knows little or nothing of the world in which he or she lives. (Frederick W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

in Illusion-land you do not consciously create your surroundings through an act of thought. Your emotional desires, your deeper mind manufacture these without your being actually aware of the process. For still you are the individualized soul caught within the limitations of your earthly self and caught also within the fine etheric body which now is yours. (Frederick W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

During the period passed on the astral plane the soul sloughs the astral shape and enters into the etheric body within which he resides as long as he chooses to dwell in Illusion-land, (1) that reflection of reflections, that dream of the earth personality. Peace and content prevail so long as he remains within its borders. But in time such peace becomes wearisome; for no actual progress, either up or down, can be made in that delightful region of dream. Picture it for a moment: you live in surroundings that resemble those you knew on earth. You are, it is true, freed from money worries, freed from the need to earn your daily bread. Your etheric body is nourished by light which is not the light of the sun. It is possessed also of energy and life. It does not suffer pain, nor is it subjected to struggle of any kind. It is indeed as if you lived in a pond, and soon you weary of the limitations of that calm unruffled sheet of water. You yearn for struggle, effort, ecstasy; you long for wide horizons. The call of the road has come to you again. In short, you are anxious to make further progress either up or down. (Frederick W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

(1) I.e., the Summerlands.

Nearly every soul lives for a time in the state of illusion. The large majority of human beings when they die are dominated by the conception that substance is reality, that their particular experience of substance is the only reality. They are not prepared for an immediate and complete change of outlook. They passionately yearn for familiar though idealized surroundings. Their will to live is merely to live, therefore, in the past. (Frederick W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)

The Astral Plane is the Plane on Which We Work Out Our Desires

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. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXVIII.)

Your friend [Bishop Wilberforce] gives only his impression of what he has seen in lower spheres. (1) There spirits live in community, and are prepared under the guidance of higher Intelligences for a state of superior existence. Such spheres are states of probation and preparation, where spirits are in training for higher work. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTSW, n.p.)

(1) Imperator is referring to Bishop Wilberforce's description of the Astral Plane. Imperator is speaking from the vantage point of the "seventh" sphere, whose exact location I am not able to specify, but it is a much more elevated plane than the Astral.

As you know, here in the "Summerland" spirits are still learning and progressing, but are very far from perfection. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 47.)

(3) The Plane of Illusion is the dream period connected with life passed on the Plane of Matter. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Thirdly, [there is an] existence within an image or reflection of the earth known to some as "Summer-land"; I prefer to call it "Illusion-land." (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

The earth is as a reflection in a mirror; it is real only through the image that is cast upon the glass. The earth, therefore, depends for its recognition upon the nature of individual vision and perception. All men, who are in the clay, are unreal, so they have power to perceive only in a certain manner that strange illusion, the swiftly rotating globe. When they shuffle off the heavy body, when in a finer shape they take flight from it, they frequently do not realize the fundamental unreality of earth. They hunger for the dream which was home to them. Then these souls knock and the door is opened, they enter into a dream that, in its main particulars, resembles the earth. But now this dream is memory and, for a time, they live within it. All those activities that made up their previous life are re-enacted, that is, if such is their will. They can, at any time, if they choose, escape from the coil of earth memories, from what I might term the "swaddling clothes" of the life after death. For all these souls are as babies, unaware of the real world of which they are inhabitants, no more cognisant than are infants of the vast whirl of life about them, of its astonishing intellectual activities, of its achievements.

Such infant-souls frequently communicate with earth when they are in a state almost analogous to the earth sleep. They will then endeavor to describe their memory world. It is almost precisely similar to the one you inhabit at the moment. Some call this memory-dream "Summerland" -- quite an apt term. For the soul, freed from the limitations of the flesh, has far greater mental powers, and can adapt the memory-world to his taste. He does so unconsciously, instinctively choosing the old pleasures, but closing the door to the old pains. He lives for a while in this beatific, infantile state. But, like the baby, he inhabits only a dream, and has no knowledge and hardly any perception of the greater life in which he is now planted. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

However, to those of us who have journeyed beyond the memory-world this alleged region or heaven of the departed is false because it is unreal, a reflection of a reflection, a tenuous dream that fades before spiritual knowledge. When the crossing of death is achieved many are happy in that state of grace; but theirs is the vegetative happiness, the unintelligent content of an infant who knows little or nothing of the world in which he or she lives. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

During the period passed on the astral plane the soul sloughs the astral shape and enters into the etheric body within which he resides as long as he chooses to dwell in Illusion-land, that reflection of reflections, that dream of the earth personality. Peace and content prevail so long as he remains within its borders. But in time such peace becomes wearisome; for no actual progress, either up or down, can be made in that delightful region of dream. Picture it for a moment: you live in surroundings that resemble those you knew on earth. You are, it is true, freed from money worries, freed from the need to earn your daily bread. Your etheric body is nourished by light which is not the light of the sun. It is possessed also of energy and life. It does not suffer pain, nor is it subjected to struggle of any kind. It is indeed as if you lived in a pond, and soon you weary of the limitations of that calm unruffled sheet of water. You yearn for struggle, effort, ecstasy; you long for wider horizons. The call of the road has come to you again. In short, you are anxious to make further progress either up or down. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

I stated that no progress was made in Illusion-land. This is, in a sense, incorrect. No seeming progress is made. Illusion-land is the dream of the earth-personality. For a short while after his entry into that state the soul is at peace, warring desires are quiescent; but they wake again at the time the dream is beginning to break. In fact, when these furies are roused they themselves break and shatter the dream. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

"Summer-land," then, is the dream of the earth personality, so it should not be regarded as either Heaven, Hades or Hell, but merely as a resting place on the road when the soul dreams back, and thereby summarises the emotional and subconscious life of his earth existence. But he dreams back in order that he may be able to go forward once more on his journey. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

In Illusion-land you do not consciously create your surroundings through an act of thought. Your emotional desires, your deeper mind manufacture these without your being actually aware of the process. For still you are the individualized soul caught within the limitations of your earthly self and caught also within the fine etheric body which now is yours. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Nearly every soul lives for a time in the state of illusion. The large majority of human beings when they die are dominated by the conception that substance is reality, that their particular experience of substance is the only reality. They are not prepared for an immediate and complete change of outlook. They passionately yearn for familiar though idealized surroundings. Their will to live is merely to live, therefore, in the past. So they enter that dream I call Illusion-land. For instance, Tom Jones, who represents the unthinking man in the street, will desire a glorified brick villa in a glorified Brighton. So he finds himself the proud possessor of that twentieth-century atrocity. He naturally gravitates towards his acquaintances, all those who were of a like mind. On earth he longed for a superior brand of cigar. He can have the experience ad nauseam of smoking this brand. He wanted to play golf, so he plays golf. But he is merely dreaming all the time or, rather, living within the fantasy created by his strongest desires on earth.

After a while this life of pleasure ceases to amuse and content him. Then he begins to think and long for the unknown, long for a new life. He is at last prepared to make the leap in evolution and this cloudy dream vanishes. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

In Illusion-land you wear an etheric body. It is of a finer or more tenuous matter than the physical form. If you belong to the second class, if you are a Soul-man -- in other words an intelligent, ethically developed soul -- you will desire to go up the ladder of consciousness. The longing for a physical existence will have been burned into ashes with, however, a few exceptions.

Certain Soul-men desire to return to earth, or wish, at any rate, for some planetary existence wherein they may achieve some intellectual triumph, or wherein they may play a notable part in the strife of earthly or planetary life. These, then, become incarnate again. But the majority of Soul-men slough their etheric body and put on a shape which is a degree finer. They are then released from Illusion-land, from that nursery in which they merely lived in the old fantasy of earth. (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Q: Do you know anything about the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh spheres?

A: I only know about the one I am living on.

Q: Do you call it "the plane of illusion"?

A: We don't think of it that way. I think of it is a plane where we find compensation for the hard experiences of earth life and, in that sense, rest from the sufferings, disappointments and struggles that are the lot of most of us in our earthly experiences. (Gordon Burdick to Grace Rosher, TR, 44.)

If ... music or colour or physics or so on have been a person's real inner life, then he is well away for he can carry on here from where he left off.

But if his idée fixe has been money or food or physical comfort or something concrete like producing motor cars, then he has much adjustment to make, for he can find no equivalent reality here; he must live for a while in the pseudo-reality created by his thought-images. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 22.)

The third (1) and fourth (2) spheres are bright and beautiful, more like a glorified earth with their exquisite foliage and flowers and beautiful scenery. There are many intermediate planes in each sphere and these are more or less observed through the mentality and spiritual unfoldment of those who live there. Really it is an extension of a similar faculty on earth, where a beautiful scene will produce exaltation in one individual while another regarding it is quite unmoved.

Many of the higher spheres and interior states have originated by the combined thoughts of Exalted Beings from Higher Worlds and none are permitted to enter them until they have been purified and are advanced in Spiritual perception. But those who by Prayer, Faith, and especially Love, have their feet firmly planted on the right road while still on earth, rise rapidly from sphere to sphere. (John Heslop, FMABL, 9.)

(1) John Heslop is a resident of the Christ Sphere. The third sphere is probably the Summerlands. The fourth sphere could be the Mental Plane. It is not possible to know with certainty. Notice Heslop's contention that these spheres originated with "Exalted Beings from Higher Worlds." These could be what Myers calls "the Wise" - i.e., angels: "The more advanced souls -- whom the Church may call the angels and whom I call 'the Wise' -- can exist in tenuous forms within vast vistas of space and lead within it an extraordinarily vivid existence." (F.W.H. Myers in RTI, n.p.)

Length of Time Spent on the Astral Plane

The life on the Third Sphere (1) is sure to be as long and perhaps many times longer than the one on the earth-plane. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 69.)

(1) The Third Sphere may denote the higher Summerlands, the first and second being the lower and middle Summerlands.

Don't worry people to develop if they've no wish to. It means that earth ties are too strong and they had better rest and relax in the sunshine and, when they have exhausted that pleasure, they will either move on naturally or return to earth in another body. (Pat, sister to Cynthia Sandys, in AL, 42.)

All Inhabitants of the Astral Plane will Re-incarnate

Q: So all of those on the Astral Plane are going to come back to this plane again?

A: Yes, all of them. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 18.)