LEAVING THE BODY
when entering the higher
consciousness, Betty had from the very beginning "left the body",
without appreciating the fact. As soon as she realized that she was
actually so doing, the Invisibles began to teach her how to do it
"Escape from the restrictions of the
body," said they, "and life outside the restrictions of the body, even
while you are occupying it, can be experienced. That is the real life.
How can any sensible person doubt it? We are trying to shatter the
bodily conception of life in order to expose the other to view. The
discovery of this other conception and the gradual acquisition of it is
what constitutes the
of your existence. If you do not
discover it, you have failed; you are either standing still or slipping
Most of the training to accomplish
this was technical, intended for Betty individually, and in no sense to
be taken as general instruction. It was only one of the necessary means to an end.
So I quote bits here and there from the record merely to give a picture
of the sort of thing that went on.*
* Condensed version
Across the Unknown.
THE ROAD I
"I see! " said Betty, in running
comment. "Now! just to slip off my body...leave it lying on the
floor...so much easier to work from this end back.... I'm getting so
much more at home here."
An interval followed, with no
"Now they've brought me back to
contemplate my body. They think I can improve my control...."
Again the pause.
"They're just letting me into my body
and out again—just a flash, to get control of doing it.... It's
wonderful practise in a kind of balance—in keeping my spirit so balanced that it
gets no drag from the body.... I've got to keep quiet to do this, or I'll
never get anywhere.... This is fine! So much more strength this way! See how much
quieter I am lying."
"Practise in leaving the body," said
the Invisibles to me by way of explanation. Then in command to
Betty: "Enter the body.... Now release."
"I've got to keep leaving and
entering, alternating," said Betty. Short silence.
"My head and neck are tired in my
body," she complained presently. "I'd like to turn.... I'm going to
try.... So painful to think about my body."
She tried to move, but failed.
"Shall I move your head for you?" I
asked. "Toward the wall," said Betty. I obeyed.
THE ROAD I KNOW
There ensued a long silence—but
obviously a busy silence.
"I can't hold it any more," said she
at last. "I fell over. I oughtn't to have done that. Now I can rest, they say.
Here ensued another long silence, but
this time obviously not busy. cc Try once more," the Invisibles
told her at last. Another pause.
"Yes, I can do it!" said Betty. "Now
wait until I alternate again.... I did it! That's very, very useful."
The "lesson" continued thus for
upward of an hour. Then Betty was free to tell me a little something
about it—while still in her trance state.
"You withdrew all attention from your
body, which is very difficult," she told me. "I thought of it as so
heavy as to be impossible to move; while I, the living, left it in the
comer and walked off in my spiritual body. That worked until my hay fever wanted
to make me sneeze.
"The main thing is that, during the
day, about your affairs, you can at odd moments, practice retiring to
that spiritual body. Withdraw attention from the other, until you get
helpful control. It is very important for me to learn it....
"I'm going to come out pretty soon: I'm just hanging around....
THE ROAD I
"It is a matter of withdrawing
attention from one thing, and giving it full strength to another. It
must be done before I can go on. They can't keep on dragging my body
around. I've got to get control so I can leave that entirely behind.
They say the reason I always come back so soon is that I'm a
self-stopper. I've got to stop wobbling and prepare to go all the way and not want to snap back. It is
like standing on my head. It's that 'Oh dear, I'm going to wobble and
come down' idea that brings me back."
"The more you can relax the body all
the time," said the Invisibles, "the more power you possess and the more
you can use the spiritual in contact with the physical. Ignore the body,
except for its necessary functions. The first point is to keep it in health,
so that it can be the more easily ignored."
"Now I am going to do it over again,"
said Betty. "This must be made more trustworthy.... Such a strange
light. . . ."
For some little time she was silent.
"I can travel a little now," she
resumed. "Getting the idea of unattached motion. I've been so tethered before.
But it is hard for me to see; it's so dim."
"One of the most powerful forces is
belief in your power to do it," said the Invisibles. "That combined with
effort to make good in it, will accomplish almost anything. Without that
you sink into your own
limitations and consider them impossible to overcome. But
THE ROAD I KNOW
if you get the belief that it can be
done and back it up: presto! It is done, and you have opened new doors.
It is the halfness of trying doggedly without the belief that gets you
"I've always wanted to explain that
holding-steady process that gets you here, but I've never been able to,"
said Betty. "I think I'd call it a condensation of purpose; but
condensation is not quite it, because it depends so much on expansion
and breadth of perception."
With practise, "getting out of the
body," like the other things, became for Betty less and less a question
of concentration and struggle. One day—after several months of
off-and-on practice—she suddenly seemed to understand the knack.
"Why! " she cried, somewhat
astonished, "I can slip back and forth easily today! It is very strange!
The wind swept through me as I came in. I hailed it, did not crouch before it,
and it went through me as sun goes through you. I wasn't conscious of my
body any more; I was just conscious of vigorous well-being almost as
disembodied as one could hope to be. Harmonious vitality superseded the mortal sensation."
She paused in her reporting,
apparently trying out her newfound skill.
THE ROAD I
"I like slipping back and forth that
way," she confided presently. "I don't see why it isn't just as
interesting a performance, and vastly more desirable, as learning to swim in an
element that is not your own. It is Just as natural, really. I just leap out
of myself, and take a dive into a freer and more stimulating element. Each time I
do it, it gets easier; I am more at home in it; and more stimulated by
it. I am not tremendously good at it; but it's just as simple as that."
From then on Betty had little or no
trouble with the "getting out" part, but the return to the body without
undesirable repercussion, so to speak, was another matter.
"The danger of this experience is
always in coming back," she explained to me, "in arousing the body, like
an invalid who thinks she's
been abused.... That's the attitude with which you must look at your
bodily weaknesses always. You
must be their trained nurse, giving them only such attention as is
wholesome and such care as is necessary and such sympathy as is good for
She broke off to consider this.
"And," she continued, "there's no use
saying:, 'I'll do it next time.' Not next time: this time. 'This is the
only time there is,'—you must say that to yourself.
THE ROAD I KNOW
You are not rising above the body,
after the usual method; you're nonexisting it, humorously, ridiculing it
out of its habits. But, after all, one's so likely to be more in the frame of
mind of the family relative than of the trained nurse."
"Listen," said the Invisibles. "There
is a kind of invalid's room in which your body has established its habits
and weaknesses. You are coming back now, but you are not going to let your
active, vigorous, pulsing, living being more than visit and cheer that
"Well," said Betty, "I'll just stay
quiet and pack up my ideas.... I must come away. I'm getting drowsy, and I
am a little afraid of that state in between, but I have to pass through it
"I'm coming back." A pause. "I'm almost
back.... It seems like a fairystory world now."