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Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Soul After Death

Surprises of the New Life

While his hand is writing a letter to Ellen, amanuensis, W. T. Stead, thinks — "I wonder if the new life surprised Julia much." Instantly Julia writes —

Yes, I was not prepared for such oneness in the life on both sides.

When the soul leaves the body it remains exactly the same as when it was in the body; the soul, which is the only real self, and which uses the mind and the body as its instruments, no longer has the use or the need of the body. But it retains the mind, knowledge, experience, the habits of thought, the inclinations; they remain exactly as they were. Only it often happens that the gradual decay of the fleshy envelope to some extent obscures and impairs the real self which death liberates. The most extraordinary thing which came to my knowledge when I passed over was the difference between the apparent man and the real self.

It gave quite a new meaning to the warning, "Judge not," for the real self is built up even more by the use it makes of the mind than by the use it makes of the body. There are men here who seemed to be vile and filthy to their fellows, who are far, far, far superior, even in purity and holiness, to men who in life kept an outward veneer of apparent goodness while the mind rioted in all wantonness. It is the mind that makes character. It is the mind that is far more active, more potent than the body, which is but a poor instrument at best. Hence the thoughts and intents of the heart, the imaginations of the mind, these are the things by which we are judged; for it is they which make up and create, as it were, the real character of the inner self, which becomes visible after the leaving of the body.

Thought has much greater reality than you imagine. The daydreamer is not so idle as you imagine. The influence of his idealising speculation may not make him work, but it may be felt imperceptibly by more practical minds. And so, in like manner, the man who in his innermost heart gives himself up to evil and unclean thoughts may be generating forces, the evil influences which stir the passions and ruin the lives, it may be, of his own children, who possibly never knew that their father had ever had a thought of sin.

Hence 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.

When the body is cast off the real state of the case is visible. Then it is for the first time that we are seen as we really are or rather have been thinking. The revelation is startling, and even now I am but dimly beginning to be accustomed to it. 

Then there is another thing that surprised me not a little, and that was or is the discovery of the nothingness of things. I mean that the entire nothingness of most things which seemed to one on earth to be the most important. For instance, money, rank, worth, merit, station, and all the things we most prize when on earth, are simply nothing. They don't exist anymore 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 anymore.

I want to ask you if you can help me at all in a matter in which I am much interested. I have long wanted to establish a place where those who have passed over could communicate with the loved ones behind. At present the world is full of spirits longing to speak to those from whom they have been parted, just as I longed to speak to you, but without finding a hand to enable them to write. It is a strange spectacle. On your side, souls full of anguish for bereavement; on this side, souls full of sadness because they cannot communicate with those whom they love. What can be done to bring these sombre, sorrow-laden persons together? To do so requires something which we cannot supply. You must help. But how? It is not impossible. And when it is done death will have lost its sting and the grave its victory. The apostle thought this was done. But the grave has not been so easily defeated, and death keeps its sting. Who can console us for the loss of our beloved? Only those who can show that they are not lost, but are with us more than ever. Do you not think I have been much more with Ellen since I put off my flesh than I used to be? Why, I dwell with her in a way that before was quite impossible. I was never more with her than I have been since I came to this side. But she would not have known it, nor would you have heard from me at all but for the accident of your meeting.

What is wanted is a bureau of communication between the two sides. Could you not establish some such sort of office with one or more trustworthy mediums? If only it were to enable the sorrowing on earth to know, if only for once, that their so-called dead live nearer them than ever before, it would help to dry many a tear and soothe many a sorrow. I think you could count upon the eager co-operation of all on this side.

We on this side are full of joy at the hope of this coming to pass. Imagine how grieved we must be to see so many whom we love, sorrowing without hope, when those for whom they sorrow are trying in vain every means to make them conscious of their presence. And many also are racked with agony, imagining that their loved ones are lost in hell, when in reality they have been found in the all-embracing arms of God's love. Ellen, dear, do talk of this with Minerva, and see what can be done. It is the most important thing there is to do. For it brings with it the trump of the Archangel, when those that were in their graves shall awake and walk forth once more among men.

I was at first astonished to learn how much importance the spirits attach to the communications which they are allowed to have with those on earth. I can, of course, easily understand, because I feel it myself—the craving there is to speak to those whom you loved and whom you love; but it is much more than this. What they tell me on all sides, and especially my dear guides, is that the time is coming when there is to be a great spiritual awakening among the nations, and that the agency which is to bring this about is the sudden and conclusive demonstration, in every individual case which seeks for it, of the spirit's reality, of the soul's permanence, and the immanence of the Divine.

Stead — "But how can I help?"

She wrote — "You are a good writing medium. If you would allow your hand to be used by the spirit of any on this side whose relatives or friends wished to hear from them, you could depend almost confidently upon the spirit using your hand. At any rate, I could always explain why they could use your hand."