The Road I Know by Stewart Edward White 1942




FROM this high peak of exalted dedication the Invisibles yanked Betty down to consideration of the practical—rather humorously, I thought. All very well splendidly to defy unknown dangers. Any hero can do that! But how about the minor everyday penalties?


"They're afraid I minimize the price," Betty told me.


"The price?" I queried.


"Solitude of association," said she, "—but I'm willing to pay it."


I was still dumb, so they diagrammed it like this: Nobody enjoys being considered "queer," I was told; and what was going to be the use of all Betty's great effort unless she came into the open eventually, and applied it in the world of daily living?


The prospect did not dismay her, though it made her a little sad.


"What a pity if my friends misjudge me," she regretted. "They could withdraw so much of the nice, warm human interchange. I know there will be an assault of misunderstanding. They'll all be critical, I'm afraid; watching me in a suspicious way. It will be hard for me to rise above their attitude and work unaffected


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by it. Well, I know there's a price. There is so much disapprobation of boundary-breakers."


She considered the situation.


"Well, now we've settled that," she went on, after a while. "I'll think over how to repel impertinence with some dignity and conviction of superiority, and not merely withdraw, or combat in lower terms and with lower weapons....


"I know what I'll do—I've a right to my own life. I won't get combative or superior or scornful; I'll get confidential. I'll say:


"'Well, I'll tell you. A few times in my life I've seen treasure trove, something that had nothing to do with money, or position, or fame, or anything else I can name, but just a deep, powerful sort of happiness, and possible to obtain too; and I'm going to get it if I search through every law, sacred and profane, until I find it. Wouldn't you like to have it? Wouldn't it be worth living if you got track of it, even if you did make mistakes?


"'Well then, leave me be: I'm exploring. If I find it, IT let you know. In the meantime I am discovering many by-products well worth the having, well worth the effort of discovery. We all want happiness; but I don't want the passive kind. I want big, powerful, creative happiness, and I want it all packed up and ready to take with me when I die"


"That's the way I'll talk to them. I'll just take them


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into my confidence as to what I am after. And it's the truth, and that's all there is to it."


An excellent attitude of mind, but the Invisibles seemed not certain that she even yet understood what she might be up against.


"You see," they said, "everything one does for self—development— awareness, expansion, contact and all the rest—has a certain acceptability to the ego concerned, and nobody objects. But when you reverse that, and begin to insist on outgo, offering something of your own attainment, testing it against the world's resistance and misunderstanding, then you must expect a harder time. It is one thing to have a neat chapel to visit occasionally, and quite another to carry its influence into 'practical' life."


And, said I, while an attitude of mind helps fortitude, it does not protect from suffering.


"Sensitiveness capable of absorbing wisdom through direct impression suffers enormously from the world of combat," the Invisibles agreed. "For as awareness increases, so does suffering. Because of this, unfortunately, the spiritual aspirant often prefers to seek a sheltered life and become a bystander. Such a person may have an exquisitely sensitized vision, but he is absolutely sterile because of lack of human contact. The bystander probably regards his reaction as one of fastidiousness, but it is really inertia, atrophied force, over-cultivation, loss of productiveness."


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Betty recurred to a picture they had seemed to be showing her.


"I want to look at that chap again," she begged. "He's quite fascinating, quite exquisite but useless. If he were set in action, so much of him would break or crumble or change. What a pity he couldn't be used! He's such a highly developed specimen."


"The whole point is," insisted the Invisibles, "any sensitive person is useless in employing the force of the higher consciousness if he is always vulnerable to the return blows of the world. Suppose he is trying to accomplish something, and everybody begins irrelevant personal attacks, obstructions of all kinds. The minute he becomes susceptible to all that he is automatically shut off from the power-current which was going to help him accomplish.


"You yourself must look out for this. You have gained access to a shining substance. Now you must learn to use it against a lower element superior in quantity. The toughening process which will make your bit of strength available must rest with you. Little by little, in small matters at first, you must learn to protect your mind against the darts and arrows which poison resolution."


"Hardihood," commented Betty. "That is a nice word. It just happened to come around."


"No suggestions are offered today," concluded the Invisibles. "The problem is merely stated for your


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solution. You stand at the crossroads. Either you proceed faintly shadowed by a strange experience, or you strive onward toward a hold on the vitality of spiritual life which will remain unbroken even in your darkest hours.


"Better think it over," they warned.


As I look back I doubt if the Invisibles anticipated that Betty would encounter any considerable degree of criticism among, friends and acquaintances because of her interest in psychic development. As a matter of fact she met almost none. They were testing her only, am sure.




Very well, the Invisibles told Betty, in effect, when she failed to be impressed by their warnings, if you are really going on with this thing, you must first of all realize that mere assent is not enough. "There is," said they, "no suction quality to passive willingness. We cannot start things, that part of it is your job; we can merely complement your own effort."


And—they added this impressively for Betty's own instruction—it must be done by your own "heart-desire and not mind-desire." They made much of this point: it was all-important.


"It is useless just to sit with mental preparation," said


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the Invisibles. "You must have the soul preparation, too—the spirit, not the letter of the law. As soon as you have yourself established the right condition, we can come. That is why we are trying to go only as fast as you can assure your own grasp and accomplishment. Otherwise we would be taking you from useful things of the world into a no-man's land of idle speculative dreaming. This is far from our purpose. When you do not succeed, seek the reason in yourself. Your surface mind may be going through certain evolutions which have no growth or corresponding demand from within. In that case you are not truly seeking; you are apathetically making an appeal which has no power behind it to accomplish."


They continued, over many sessions, to return to this concept, and ever the more strongly.


"Only steadfast determination and striving will bring you the step further you must go. It is all in your hands now. We can do little more than watch you gain this necessary strength before we can help further. That is the law. We may advise and influence, but you must make selection and experiment.


"Always hold in mind how much depends on arousing yourself. The energy with which you demand of us will measure what you get. It is not the energy of commanding, but of showing the force which begets its complement. It is the energy of measure for measure, given and received. This is all very indefinite


* Those who have read The Unobstructed Universe may find in this last a foreshadowing of the truly great theory of creative selection there set forth.

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to you now, but remember you are experimenting with forces not recognized in your world of sense."


"What do you mean by unrecognized forces?" I demanded. It seemed to me highly desirable to know with what we were supposed to deal, for I was still in somewhat of a doubtful frame of mind. My query caused some hesitation.


"Let us call the whole a matter of inspirational force, for the sake of giving it a name," was the reply. "It comes from a combination of conditions created by the person himself. We only take advantage of this combination. Once a person of his own choice established it, we can act on it. The initial step is your work. We hesitate to use words like soul­yearnings, for instance, because in your mind they have a set significance. But the idea is that we cannot work on an unreceptive person in any satisfactory degree. Roughly speaking, the forces we use are emanations from you. They meet complementary forces not your own that unite with them and so open up a further process of creative selection."*


A little later they summed up very neatly this necessity for more than acquiescence.


"It is just by determination and faith," said they, "that you accomplish the first dead lift. That manifestation with yourself and by yourself, you must get be


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fore you gain any response. This is what people do not realize. They don't put any strength into it, and when it will not work at once, they go the other way. You must get that strength for yourself."


Another point on which the Invisibles insisted was that Betty must make haste slowly.


"Do not look on this thing that we want you to do," said they, "as something that can be accomplished in a year or two. Think of it as for eternity. You are stronger than we hoped, and we can go faster than we expected, but we dare not strain you too far. A few simple tasks at a time are all we ask. You will soon see the plan and be impatient to go faster, but you must not try to fly until you are sure of your wings. We prefer to keep you a little clipped until we are surer of your endurance. Some day we will take the air together and all your work will be rewarded. Meanwhile break down your barriers; let in the flood of spirit we are sending to you. Welcome it and feed upon it greedily. Remember every waking moment to be really trying to live according to the few rules we have given. You will understand better as you go along.


"Above all," they cautioned, "do not strain for psychic power, dividing and disintegrating your force. Rather weld together. Hold yourself a responsible being, capable of limitless possibilities, and so lift up your spirit healthy and whole, asking to be stimulated to greater effort.


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"Don't you see, the instant you try to create, to pump up, to reach for definite things, you are in grave danger. You will never get anywhere if you are thinking of what you are going to get. In that case you would be just a curiosity seeker along with so many other people!


"Belief in the attainability of higher powers is a legitimate ambition, but such powers must be grown into faithfully. Meanwhile simply lay bare your problems to the influence of the great expansion, which will bring your solution. This is the only real channel which will bring permanent wholesome psychic influence. It is the safe and open highroad. There are other ways, of course, but they are exploration."