is difficult," was Betty's
rather puzzled comment one day. "No more inspiration poured in. I am up
against a curious kind of waiting for some acts of mine. I see that
clearly, but can't seem to make the effort.
"I feel as if my hands and feet were
bound," said she, "and yet I was told to make my first experiment
"At first I fussed and objected at
being thrust so soon, so unprepared, as it were, into the stream of workers
in spiritual force. But then I realized I was accompanied by something I was
sure eventually to attain....
"I went back to my hook-up with the
Source to see what first clumsy thing I would do to utilize my power,"
said she. "The first thing I wanted was affiliation, a heart affiliation
that abolished separateness. That makes for strength. The second thing I
wanted was to make an impress of my convictions. It did not have to be noisy or clamorous, but it did have to
be steady and motivating. How few make impressions: only the quiet and
She was supposed to do something.
What? "Naturally I was much at a loss, but I did do some 170
THE ROAD I
thing. Do you want to know what I
did? It is a sort of foolish thing to tell; but the first thing I did
was to throw out all the warmth and happiness I could collect and hurl
forth. I decided I was going to have my own circumambience that
everybody would like to come into. It would be like a glowing river in
its unimpeded progress, with song on the way, and sparkle—And, by Jove,
I was going to see that it kept up its exuberance and dance and vitality
and fling! I got enthusiastic about it, and I worked terribly hard,
until I found out, after I had made it, that I carried myself along
This met with approval, as a
"You realize how useless and futile
you are; you try hard and experiment until you acquire something with
which to work," said the Invisibles.
"This," said Betty with satisfaction,
apparently describing the state of consciousness to which this brought
her, "seems to be ahead in productivity of any other surroundings I've
had. It is a place where things are done, and done efficiently. I've got
all the release and freedom of striding on hilltops and through
spring-swept days, and the feeling of superlative powers within."
Apparently the method of the moment
was to throw her overboard, as one teaches a puppy to swim.
"I am," said she after a long
silence, "plopped out into a place of turmoil and stress beating upon my
THE ROAD I KNOW
serenity. It was like a fire drill, a
first aid course, what to do in an emergency. I remembered the advice
given for the physical zero hours. Leave pain and puzzlement outside,
they said, and creep to your quiet center. Let your heart seek close
proximity to the divine spark, believing in its power to remagnetize you. Be
still. Let it work."
"This," interjected the Invisible,
"is the same thing as what we have called taking directly from the
Source. It supplies harmony fitted and prepared for instantaneous use,
with all the warmth necessary for the continued life of that harmony in
"The chaotic din and discord
continued around me," Betty went on, "and I thought, 'I must fly to my
army of invisible friends. With them I must hastily fling out worship,
thankfulness for knowledge of superior weapons, claiming the
reinforcement of them, determined that the constructive forces would
inform my action.' Then I stepped out naturally into the battle, and
held on to my determination, and let it work. A great pressure came
against me, like the swift currents we could barely stand against in
crossing the Alaskan rivers. A great pressure was on me, and I felt my
inadequacy: It was an emergency. What could I do to maintain myself, and to act against the
current, as it were, like a power-ship against the tides? At once I reinforced
myself with the strength of the army of invisible friends we have been
unifying. The pressure
THE ROAD I
KNOW 173 was still there, but the crisis had
passed, turned by superior strength.
"You see, our best weapons are really
our invisible alliances. That part must not be neglected, as it is our
present field of action. Action without the directing power of the
spirit runs to waste; and on the other hand unrelated spiritual example seldom reproduces itself in others."
She was feeling for a technique of
"I just break up and work hard and am
uncomfortable," she told me,
"and then I find I am raised up to a superstate and in touch with
something that I did not have
before. I see it vaguely and look back and tell you about it. I don't just sit and read
about it and see it; I do it, whatever I'm at. That is why I work so hard and keep
quiet so long.
"The way I'm presenting this it
sounds so gloomy," she broke off to complain. "But really it is so cheerful, so jolly and so loving and wise
and warm-hearted. You see, it
isn't any question of going out and trying to be good. There's a great
danger in that, because we are apt to lose the exuberance of our
sinfulness; and that is taming, very very taming. What you miss, the way
I am telling it, is the
"What's the matter with zest?"
suggested the Invisible. "You do not think of muscular 'exercise', for
instance, when you experience zest. You do not iron yourself out into any
newly acquired condition. Duty
THE ROAD I KNOW
does not drive you to it. Logic is
left in storage. With full flow through you proceed to enjoy living. That is
"Of course," they added, "you cannot
go around zesting things priggishly. That is not what is meant. What we
want to get into these teachings is naturalness, not priggishness."
They recurred again and again, in
many forms of expression, to the assurance that they demanded of Betty
no great and noble tasks. Just living, said they, ordinary daily living.
Plenty of material to work on there.
"Nothing is too small to work on with
the tools of eternal values,"
emphasized the Invisibles. "Take the
smallest things, little hourly experiences or situations of a
commonplace day, you can, by your concentration of desire, transform
them into a spiritual significance akin to a poem."
The Invisibles' word "poem" set
Betty off up a bypath.
"Poetry is thought's most buoyant
form, ready for release into emotion," she said to me, with an air of
confiding something, I am poetry now. It is the most volatile form of
human communication. I am beauty running free, only shaped by the momentary
effort to reflect some particularization of life, instead of life itself.
Always it is shaping, and the limitations of form are its pain, the
ecstasy of its suffering.
THE ROAD I
"Have you ever thought of the visual
body of a poem?" she continued her apparently irrelevant fancies. "How
it typifies its buoyancy compared to prose? It floats on a page; it
isn't anchored at all the comers.
"I do things so curiously," said
Betty after a pause. "I had to do some sordid scrubbing stuff; and then
in order to make a poem out of it, I blew some soap bubbles out of the scrubby
stuff, and laughed.
"I came over today in a blind and
unilluminated state," she continued, back at last to her knitting, "and
the first function I felt was of pouring myself out. I think after a
while this would get me all the functions I needed.... Anyway, if I didn't do
it, I wouldn't have much."
"I am," on another occasion said
Betty with satisfaction, "sort of contained in a general
heart-expansion—nice and human—I can't explain it—
"I don't think that would make
sense," she answered some unspoken suggestion. "The word 'love' doesn't
suit my needs; I'll ass it by. I must gather something expressing more
vigorous action, less fuzzed up with individuality.
"I'm doing something quite
astonishing. There are influences around me radiating the warmth of human
THE ROAD I KNOW
affection, only with so much greater
power. I dissolve to their love; I surround them as they surround me,
steeping in each other's heartexpansion. It's so transforming,
breath-taking, and I can't tell you in words. Now, the strange thing is,
I reach out and spread this atmosphere around each one I care for. And
it enlarges and grows stronger and becomes firm, like a continent in
surrounding ocean. Beautiful things are produced on it. I don't
understand the rest very well; I'm so puzzled because it's still an
individuality. I am that firm body. I feel it in all its part, and yet
it is composed of many people. How can that be? I only sense it through
the atmosphere of its spaces, as it were." Betty laughed. "That was a
funny trick! I went out and brought in a very reluctant one. She had to
At the next session the job of giving
expression to what seemed to be the inexpressible, was tackled again.
"It's too big to say," Betty
confessed at last, "but the only way to get it is the constant struggle
to communicate it. I suppose it's hopeless, but I'll try.
"Last time I tried to analyze the
different atmosphere I was in, the greater consciousness, which was the substance all of us contain. I was
no longer isolated in a small,
individual, self-seeking consciousness: I was in an atmosphere of sympathetic attunement with the all. I tried to tell you
of that last time. Now I am
going on from there.
"The sensation of retaining this atmosphere, of
THE ROAD I
KNOW 177 keeping oneself in this higher
consciousness, is the means of. . . ." She broke off suddenly.
"I've lost the words," she explained
the break. "They were right there, and they got lost. I'll do it over
"By means of the heart-expansion
people call love, the sensation of super-sympathy—this outflowing and
inflowing, this most thrilling and exquisite life—we come the nearest we
can to apprehending the conception of God. It can be indulged at any
moment of our days, interpenetrating them with universal life. That is
the way we intensify our days and harmonize our lives....
"But also there's another element to
this atmosphere of heart-expansion which is the universal substance.
It's a lifting quality which is the expression of the individual's
contact with it. I partake to the greatest possible extent of the
heart-expansion. At the same time I sweep on with it, lifting my share
of it by means of the energy that is in me. It is as important for me to do my individual part as for the greatest. . . .
"My heart aches with intensity, the
atmosphere is so tremendously vital. You see, this element, which I am
admitting by my heart-expansion and which has no words to describe it,
is the highest greater-being we are capable of sensing. The more I enter
into it, the greater will be my happiness and richness of perception....
THE ROAD I KNOW
'"I know now what that phrase means;
God is love. It always sounded so straining and affected to me. I don't
like it yet; but that is my stupidity. At least I know what it means.
There are so many word-seeds we don't know how to plant and make them grow
into life-giving things"'
She found it difficult to make an
intelligent start in the actual application. Apparently it was to be a
repetition, in this field, of her gropings toward realization in others.
Again she must arrive at comprehension by cut and try, by the actual
doing. But in the doing she found, as always, satisfactions by the way.
"It is a perfumed work," she told me,
"like woodsy smells and flowers and odors caught at rare moments. When
you lead people out into something they approve of, like Nature, then
you can work magic on them."
This, I suggested, was poetic but
"Suppose," she countered, "you were
set down without equipment in a new world—a world of creative power
centered in the individual, What would you do? Today I decided that, to
succeed with this power, first of all my fundamental outlook must be one
of health, harmony and onwardgoing success. So I started out trying to experience the difference
THE ROAD I
times of depression and those of full
and overflowing life. I wanted to make myself a strong magic; that is,
I wanted to manufacture it for others, for thus only would I call it into
being, with reciprocal action on myself.
"Then," said Betty, "I lifted up my
desires—after working them into a concrete conception of the desired end
according to my limited light. I held them up eagerly and earnestly and
continuously, submitting them to the influence above me, and that
influence helped me to remodel them to greater perfection and present
possession, directed me in the supporting confirmation of what I desired.
That's the way to work!
"This," said she, with the
satisfaction of discovery, "is the application of what I experienced
when I with drew inside myself, and shut the door, and staved quiet until I found there
was another exit, and so gave my little bit, and the Great Rhythm took it and
amplified it. This is the new exit— the rising-above, and all that, is
"While here," she continued, "I can
reach out and quicken the thoughts and hearts of any human being I have
ever known. What then? What right have I? How do I dare utilize that
power, and for what purpose? I cannot see the answers to these questions
now. I only know that one who has experienced this power, even
momentarily, can never again be satisfied, as is the walnut in its
THE ROAD I KNOW
She lapsed for a time into
contemplation of some inner experience. I asked her what she was doing.
"I am going through the sensations of
another person regarding this influence," she replied. "He is a person with an absorbing occupation,
one that demands all his
working hours and energy—just caught in the habit and fixture of days
like that. I am that person. That is the wall I am up against. I have to
begin with the tiniest little start of some kind and keep working at it.
. . ."
She was silent for a while.
"Now then! I only had room in my mind
for the hopelessness of doing anything else with my days.... This isn't
me," she reminded, "it's somebody else.... Then in a fertile-spirited moment a shred of vision
came to me, a tiny fleeting
glimpse of a different kind of living. Suddenly I saw a beautiful radiance, sensed a better scheme; and because it was the
realthing inspiration, because it met the fertile moment in me, it
didn't fade out like the
worded inspiration in books. It was persistent. A sort of breath of sweet spring growth had come to me in a damp dark dungeon. I was
sprouted by it somehow....
"Now what to do? I am back at the
beginning. I am seeing that this sprout thing may be only a cellar
sprout. It may be only, for a while, at best a potted plant or a window
box, instead of a forest giant fighting storms or spreading silent under the starlight....
THE ROAD I
"At least it's the way
has to begin. Every human being
advances by the same path. And the universal experience of it is what
satisfies people's minds that,
if they are way behind, they must catch up.
"Well, if that is the way to go about
it," sighed Betty, somewhat
doubtfully, "at least there's something tangible to get at."