confess that the early period of
Betty's instruction was a tough one for me. I see now that she was being
given the basic foundations, and that some of them—like the "Inner
citadel," for example—had to be given content before they could become
practical. But at the time the teaching was—to me—merely a point of view. It
was fragmentary; it was vague; it came slowly. For her part Betty was
enthusiastic. But she was having the experiences; I wasn't. All I did
was to sit there for an hour or so, with pencil and paper, taking down
what little there was to take down. A great deal of the time nothing was said by
anybody. I patted myself on the back for being so long suffering. Now I
see I might have made a positive contribution through some kind of
enthusiasm of my own; but the Invisibles themselves realized that
this was a good deal to ask on the basis of what was offered me.
"You are very patient," they told me
appreciatively one day, "—and that is all," they added dryly.
My job was distinctly side-line
sitter; and recorder; of course. I listened to directions given Betty as
to processes unseen by me—
THE ROAD I KNOW "Too expectant—not enough relaxed."
"You are striving so much to make
your mind receptive that you defeat our purpose and open your mind to other sources."
"We have decided on a slight change
of plan for you. We are going to make you put in practice as nearly as
possible each phase as you acquire it. Roughly the plan is this: we will
lead you into our world for your lessons, but in order to obtain any
further instruction you must do your practicing at home. We are not
trying to lead you away from world experience, only to strengthen and
enlighten you about it."
"Open up more naturally, and do not
keep such a stem hand on yourself and your emotions. It won't harm you
if you go to the opposite extreme for a while until balance is gained."
"Now try to regulate your breathing:
several short quick breaths and a long one, and then let go. One after
the other. When you breathe do not strain for anything. Try to forget
that part. Just go in and out with the tide."
"We are putting you through a time of
slow preparation, and you are not standing still, as you think.... At
present you are necessarily musclebound in your mind with too much
"Push. Push through as you would in
walking against a strong wind." That sort of thing. Stage
directions. Of a drama that
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I, in the wings, could not see. Once
in a long while the Invisibles tossed me something personal, a bit of
"evidential," a brief explanation. As a fish is tossed to a trained seal.
Betty herself realized that her
reports back were incomplete.
"Are these words right?" she asked
me, rather anxiously. "They did not get laid just right.... Words!
Words! Words! " she cried, exasperated. "We have to string boundaries of
them around even the dimmest
comprehension. And more is there than can ever be contained!"
But right then the Invisibles
apparently did not care whether or not there was any mental
comprehension—in either of us. They weren't interested in our minds. Minds came in later, they assured us.
"It is the amateur method to seek
growth or spiritual freedom," said they, "by an intense concentration of
mind; but this must be replaced by expansion of the heart. That
reestablishes the proportion of spirit over the material, and welds the
being into a new functioning body capable of volition. There is a great
difference between the terrible diffusions of seeking occult power and
the expansion of the heart which arranges your proportions and makes you
a workable reality. You are past the first danger posts. Do not wonder
at silences on our part. Daily strengthening of purpose by silent contemplation of your intention, that is what we
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been trying to lead you to, not to
daily seeking for adventure." 2.
Nevertheless even I could perceive
certain definite steps of instruction.
The first thing Betty was to
accomplish was permeability to the invisible spiritual forces, or
Contact with the Source. The result of this was to be spiritual
consciousness. At first she gained it only in touches, flashes.
Next she must extend the duration of
spiritual consciousness until it became habitual. Once she was able to
transfer her headquarters for living from her old limited, earth
consciousness to this expanded consciousness, she must learn how to
utilize her new vantage point, and her new powers and insight, in her
ordinary conduct of life and her relations to the people about her.
That, stripped of all technique, was
the program. And its emphasis on mundane utilization; the immediate
application to life, not to some impractical mysticism, gave it
common sense to me. The ultimate aim, the fashioning of Betty as an instrument
for work after she had left earth life, was not then apparent to us.
None of this burst upon Betty all at
once, as an "illumination." The idea and the practice of Contact was
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introduced to her gradually, as one
might teach a beginner to swim. One day she had been quiet for much
longer than usual. I began to get restless.
"What are you up to?" I demanded at
"Getting porous," Betty replied.
"Porosity. . . ." She paused to savour this, then chuckled. "That's a
nice fat juicy word! It sucks in and out.
"When you are cold and enter a room,
a warm room, you say to yourself that you are in a different atmosphere, and instantly expand to it. That
is the difference between
ordinary life and the element I'm in."
"What element? " I tried for even a
glimpse of understanding.
"It's a new medium of sensation," she
explained, "the most relaxing and yet vigorous state you can imagine—so
abounding in beauty and vitality. It's too wonderful for me to grasp
"Can't you tell me more of this new
"Could you imagine a substance made
out of Spring? " she replied. "Not of individual fresh willows and buds and blossoms and
tender greens and bursting colors—not those details, but the very sweep
of an entire world decked out; the
Spring. Don't you see how fresh, delicious, exciting, exalting it would
be compared to ordinary things? I am in this superlative beauty and
freshness and exquisite delicacy. It is hard to describe in clumsy
terms, or name anything but just the 'substance of Spring."'
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Which sounded pleasant and poetic,
but those were the days when I was pragmatic and still somewhat
skeptical. For satisfaction I wanted both reasons and results.
Nevertheless I held my fire and awaited developments. Much instruction
followed, whose purpose I fathomed not at all. For example:
"We would like you," the Invisibles
speaking through Betty told her, "to cultivate to the utmost your instinct
for beauty: form, poems—anything that has been achieved by man in his
brief moments of triumph and contact with the over-soul. It is the
biggest uplifting material thing you can possess.... Do not be afraid to
drink deep of beauty. It is an open door through which you can glimpse
what is to come: beauty, all that is harmony and in opposition to
discord. Beauty is a great and quiet teacher. Detailed education is very
important, but it is beset with many restrictions and pitfalls. It is a wise teacher
who keeps his pupils looking at the end of the vista instead of watching their
feet on the narrow path they walk."
To me, sitting on the sidelines, that
sounded a good deal like urging Betty to be Betty! But day after day
they kept her at whatever lay behind their words.
"Beauty and love," they insisted.
"You hear us say love so often that the word ceases to convey any idea to
you; but it is the all-containing, permeating essence which will unite
your world to ours. We wish we had another word for it. But we see it
as the first principle
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of growth. Open the flood gates, let
the great current of the universe pour through you to others, if you
Much of Betty's instruction was given
in this mood of poetic imagery. Again the Invisibles would express
themselves in what seemed to me more practical terms.
"Don't try for anything," said they
on one occasion, "but just the feeling of a substance as physically
permeating as ether or gas or something like that. Try simply, in
relaxing, to feel that this substance permeates every inch of your body. Accustom yourself
to the feel of it. You will find it will rest you and bring happiness
even in the very beginning. You have tried it before; but this will visualize it.
Do it at any time; momentarily. It's an actual fact, this inlet of
There was a pause, evidently for
"Anybody could do it," said Betty
presently. "It is a matter-of-fact law. I don't see anything 'psychic' about
it. I am just studying the law; and little by little I am demonstrating it. The
biggest thing you can study is this permeating strength, and how much of
it you can take. I lie here and strive according to the poor little rules I
have discovered already, and something like a slight chemical change
takes place that makes me
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aware of my own possibility. I am
just a poor feeble beginner, but I can see so much ahead."
"Here are the only tasks we give you
now," concluded the Invisibles, "first, love—attract unselfishly;
second, as we told you before, walk through your days as a creature with
folded wings, conscious of the possession of another element and of your
ability to enter it; third, Eve enough in spirit to invite inspiration, and act promptly without
questioning on what comes to
For a while Betty seemed to be
considering this. Then she said:
"I feel like Columbus after weeks and
weeks of travel, holding fast to the faith that it's there on the
other side. I mustn't relax that faith."
Betty's faith was not ill-founded,
but also its fulfillment was not immediate. Other things in her makeup
delayed matters for a time.
Notably caution. Betty was far from being credulous or an easy mark. Her
long line of Scotch ancestors
had given her a certain hard-headed skepticism. At the time it seemed to
me a mighty useful trait in this kind of a job. It still does. But also
its use could be overdone. The Invisibles pointed this out.
"Don't be afraid to accept your
dreamland," they advised her. "You have enough ingrained practical,
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habits to bring you back to balance
whenever necessary, but unless you let go your present control you will
never be able to do our work. The fact that you have that control is
your greatest asset if you can turn it off at will and control it. Do
you see what we are doing? Step by step we are trying to break the bonds
which tic you down to your earthly village and help you to enter the wider world we
live in. Yes, it is like getting you off sticky flypaper. You want to do it,
but you must conquer your bodily instincts and habits first. You have
the imagination and control but the abandon must be acquired."
Betty must have been able to obey
orders, for shortly she reported:
"I am being taken along with some
Strong Ones. Their association invigorates me so. I am going through
some kind of an experience on a higher level. Before, I was like a
little skinny chickabiddy thing that refused to come out of its
shell—crouched in its little shell because that was all it knew that was
comfortable. Now someone is helping me to step bravely out and I am
feeling strong and sure, and not regretting the sacrifice of my shell."
"You can have little conception now
of the intense happiness toward which you are progressing," the
Invisibles encouraged her. "We don't want to
you with statements
that—misconceived—would endanger a simple approach to the reality. But
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vision must ever have a wall instead
of a horizon." For some little time Betty was silent. Then she
"I've always before stuck my head up
through a hatchway and tried to look around; but now I've climbed up.
I'm all here but I don't know what to do."
"This is a great game—a great game, I
tell you what! Like a fairy story.... My, but this is the life!
Again she was silent.
"Well, I've got to do something about
it now. I can't just stand and say how nice it is. All the old ideas
and sensations are under-foot, as though I had taken off my clothes and
were standing on them ready to swim.... But what'll I do?"
"Never mind," said the Invisibles,
"just go on."
"You must have brought me here for
some reason," Betty insisted. "What is it? I'm listening."
Once more the interval of silence.
Then she laughed.
"Supposing," she began, "just
supposing you suddenly found yourself free as air, released into the
bigness of the solar system as compared with the earth. Supposing you
were just jumping with energy and eagerness and enthusiasm, and the only
danger seemed to be spreading out too wide and maybe dissolving
yourself. And if you had no plan about what you'd accomplish with all
that bursting energy—That's just my trouble now. Generally people make
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Then, when the plan is big enough,
energy is meted out. But here I am, all dressed up in energy, and no place to
go! I don't know what to do first. It's too big. . My inwardness isn't big
enough for it. I want to give it to you— lots of it. Maybe that's the reason
it is given to me."
She contemplated this for a moment.
"If I could only thicken it up a
little," she mused, "so you could use it." There was a short pause. Then, sadly:
"I can't thicken it up enough!"
"The general trend is toward a more
spiritual life," hinted the Invisibles. "All right," I put in my oar, "what
"It is just daily life carried on by
a self with higher associations," was the answer. "That daily life can
either go on growing, or be dwarfed and stand still. When it is dwarfed,
you are not conscious of it, just as you are not conscious of an
atrophied organ. When it begins to grow it takes possession of you and pushes other things aside.
"You'll see the point, in time," said
the Invisibles, addressing Betty. "All you can do at present is to
embody, in your daily life, your aspiration and kinship with the stars. Above all
be patient. Go about your affairs and do not expect us unless we manifest.
We are lifting you. Play and laugh and love and work to rise. Cannot you
feel even now that you have set a little
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harder task for yourself and that you can see a little farther?"
In other words, she must first absorb
the concept—whatever it was— and then understand it. But understanding, in
the Invisibles' definition, seemed to be something more than mere mental
appraisal and judgment. It was a
kind of incorporation into the substance of one's self. The Invisibles
borrowing the phrase by which a navy officer makes official a happening aboard
ship. "You must not only understand it, but you must make-it-so before it is
your possession," the Invisibles summed it up.