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The Road I Know by Stewart Edward White 1942

 

CHAPTER II
EVERYBODY IS PSYCHIC
1.

 

THERE may have been, in the world's history, others who have been as rigorously and systematically trained as was Betty for her especial job of divulgence. If so the details of their training, if recorded, have not come to my attention. The capacity for mediumship is beyond question a natural gift. But, like any other natural gift, it is of itself imperfect, unreliable in detail. Above all, without intelligent cultivation, it does not progress. Used prematurely or excessively it often appears to deteriorate, perhaps finally to atrophy to nothing. There is close analogy to a natural singing voice that is used too soon or too much. No reasonable teacher allows that. He wants reliability, stability, and progress.

 

Now Betty had this natural gift of mediumship to a high degree. But until 1919 nobody—not even she or I—recognized it technically. Her friends knew her as one with exquisitely delicate human sympathies and relationships, extraordinarily sensitive and responsive to the deeper beauties of life, and possessed of almost uncanny intuitions. Then occurred the small "chance" experience which presently she herself will describe.


 

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She found herself unexpectedly in what is called "psychic" touch with an unseen world.

 

This is, of course, no very unusual occurrence. Indeed, since I came out openly on the whole subject, I've had so many people write me and recount their own experiences, that I am almost tempted to say it is a rather common occurrence! But most such persons run a standardized course.

 

As it ordinarily goes, the psychic gets in touch, by one technique or another, with what seems indubitably to be discarnate intelligences. These latter give "communications." Sometimes these communications are convincing enough to withstand skilled and dispassionate appraisal of genuineness; though even then, more often than not, they show a strong dash of "coloring" from the medium's subconscious. Both the new-fledged medium and the sitters are enormously impressed. They feel that to them is being confided a message of sacred trust. The world must be told of it! Indeed, not infrequently they feel they have been especially instructed to go forth and proclaim. The psychic has said—and the statement has been accepted at face value—"you are chosen" to give forth a revelation. Naturally this sense of almost sacred obligation results in a book or pamphlet, generally privately printed, distributed in all good faith, and with all confidence that it is going to arouse said world. Its failure to do so is a most disheartening and disillusioning puzzle.


 

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It should not be. There are really only two things wrong in the experience, though nine-tenths—perhaps even a larger percentage—of the effort is true and constructive.

 

One of the two things is the assumption that the "message" is intended for the world. That is natural enough. Indeed, haven't they been so told? It is flattering to be especially "chosen," and what reason, as yet, is there to doubt? But I am sorry to say that long and varied experience has made me leery of just that statement. It occurs too often. I am convinced it indicates either that the whole occurrence is phony, or that the medium's subconscious is at work. Not that the medium is really at fault, or exhibiting undue egotism. The material given is indeed important, if only a recasting of proverbial wisdom; and that importance exaggerates itself in the medium's subconscious. The "message" is real, but it is not addressed to the world; it is addressed to just those few people of that small group, fitting their need for the couching of old truths in language appropriate to their understanding; and is meant only for their own development and unfoldment. They are getting personal attention. It fits them. Also many others in the world are getting personal attention. Very rarely, and only in emergency of world need, is the divulgence intentionally conveyed in such form as to merit widespread acceptance.

 

That is why such books as Margaret Cameron's The


 

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Seven Purposes, Lodge's Raymond, in spite of all its obvious "coloring," and the anonymous Our Unseen Guest commanded a public. An emergency existed.

 

In Betty's case there seemed to be no such urgency. Quite the contrary, indeed. Nor were we told that we were especially selected, except for our own sakes. And it was nearly eighteen years before we were allowed to think the job was in any way public.

 

The Betty Book did not come out until 1937, and that, I think, was conceded rather to satisfy our own uneasiness over the enormous accumulation of record, than because of any desire on the part of the Invisibles. Before that they had appeased our instinct for order by helping us put together an arrangement of the teaching comprised in the first four hundred pages of records, covering the first year and a half. This was duplicated in fifteen or twenty mimeographed copies, and had a wide lending circulation among personal friends and acquaintances. It was the basis on which—in 1935 some fifteen years later—we began to build The Betty Book. By that time the records had grown to 1993 pages. Nevertheless, we were held, in The Betty Book, to the material of that first year and a half—approximately those first 400 pages. Only a primer was called for, said the Invisibles, hinting—but vaguely—that the more advanced work would be collated and dealt with later. The "primer" was not actually published until 1937.


 

* For the whole passage, see Across the Unknown, page 331 et seq.

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Encouraged by its reception, my brother and I plunged into selecting from the now bewilderingly abundant material, and emerged with the compilation we called Across the Unknown. This dealt with Betty's later experiences. It by no means exhausted the records, but we had more or less caught up to Betty, so to speak, and now we could go on with her in whatever were to be her further explorations. That looked like the job; and a good job it was.

 

Therefore when Betty fell so desperately ill, in 1938, we had every confidence in her recovery. She had been rigorously and carefully trained for twenty years, and seemed to us just to have arrived at the point of her real effectiveness as a tool: surely that tool must be put to use! It did not make sense otherwise. Nevertheless when she did die, we bad no feeling of frustration. The very circumstance of her death appeared to point the climax of truth to the whole episode of tier long training. I wrote of that in the final chapter to Across the Unknown. I have quoted from it once before in The Unobstructed Universe. Nevertheless, here, for the third time, it appears in print as necessary background to the whole picture.

 

"You know," I wrote of my experience immediately following her death*, "the cozy, intimate feeling of companionship you get sometimes when you are in the same room; perhaps each reading a book; not speaking,


 

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not even looking at one another. It is tenuous, an evanescent thing—one that we too often fail to savor and appreciate. Sometimes, in fact, it takes an evening or two of empty solitude to make us realize how substantial and important it really is.

 

"Well, within a very few minutes that companionship flooded through my whole being from Betty, but in an intensity and purity of which I had previously had no conception. It was the same thing, but a hundred, a thousand times stronger. And I realized that it more than compensated for the little fact that she had stepped across, because it was the thing that all our physical activities together had striven for, but—compared with this— had gained only dimly and in part. Why not? Actually it was doing perfectly what all these other things had only groped for. So what use the other things? and why should I miss them?

 

"Does this sound fantastic? Maybe; but it is as real and solid as the chair I am sitting on. So much so that I have never in my life been so filled with pure happiness. No despair; no devastation; just a deeper happiness than I have experienced with her ever before, save in the brief moments when everything harmonized in fulfillment.

 

"This, I now believe, is the 'great blossom' of which the Invisibles spoke: the final significance to which all of Betty's twenty years of work was to lead. Here is her concrete proof of one reward that can come to


 

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those who follow in her footsteps, her final evidence that her instrument of twenty years' forging is strong enough to withstand the supreme test.

 

2.

 

So we imagined the job finished—except perhaps in the further use of material from the records. Then occurred my visit to renew friendship with Darby and Joan, of Our Unseen Guest, and through Joan came Betty's "divulgence" of that amazing book, The Unobstructed Universe. Soon it was blazingly clear that without Betty's twenty years of training here in our obstructed universe such a "divulgence" would have been totally impossible from her present unobstructed phase of living there: that it would be equally impossible for her to have given it from here; that—obscurely to us at first, but evident to us now—all—along she and Joan had been developing apart as a team now to work together. That the job had just begun! As an end of effort the previous two books fell into relative unimportance. They had been only indirectly part of the intention.

 

"They were parts of my training that happened to get published," said Betty, while giving The Unobstructed Universe. She did not deny the value so many people found in them: they were—and are—worth


 

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while. "But," said she, "they should really be read after this one."

 

Curiously, as it seemed to us at the time, she had never taken much part nor great interest in the writing of the first two books, either on her own, or when she was working in her "other consciousness" with the Invisibles. "These books," she told us—from that other consciousness—"are not intended to reach many people—yet."

 

But of the third book, from the very start, she, now a permanent dweller in the other consciousness, confidently predicted, "this is going to make a stir"; "this is going to be taken up by the scientists." We flatly disbelieved her. Fully as we recognized the novelty and value of the book's contents, we considered it limited in appeal to the small and very specialized public already interested in such things. We were wrong. It sold twelve printings in its first three and a half months; it elicited literally hundreds of letters; it has been preached on from many pulpits. And, as for the scientists, I have dozens of letters, from all varieties of them, some of each sort professing to find in the book revolutionary principles that open to them new fields in their own specialties.

 

In view of this, and in view of the fact that Betty promises us further "divulgence" in due time, an account of her twenty years of rigorous preparation, seems now to be strongly indicated.

 

BETTY'S OWN NARRATIVE