HABITUAL SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS
curious and interesting to me to
follow Betty's own change of
inner attitude toward the thing she was doing. At the start she worked
at it only during the
especially dedicated hour or so of formal "communication." Her object
was to get "messages." And her chief reaction was of high adventure. But
little by little she shifted until her objective became no single
concrete thing at a specified time, but a continuous state of mind.
The Invisibles approved strongly of
this change in purpose; probably all along they had been working to induce
it. The "sessions," with myself attending, were all right, and necessary
and must be continued. But they were now only a small part of Betty's
job. Hers was the proverbial "woman's work" in that it was never done!
She must practice, said the Invisibles, by herself. Not in "psychics,"
or communicating, or any of the rest of that; but in realizing—making
real to herself—this new-found inner state. Start first thing in the
morning, said they.
"The first business of each day,"
they told her, "should be a recognition of the sun of your
life—unquestioning and eager heart-lifting acknowledgment of
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the warm, loving, positive creative
force of the universe beyond your knowledge. Always give time to purify
and clothe fittingly your spirit to contemplate the unknown great Causal
Force operating through each living thing. Unless you make a conscious
exercise of this, conscious power is not yours throughout the day."
And, they emphasized, that power
throughout the day must be conscious. Which, Betty acknowledged, was a
fine counsel of perfection, but as a practical matter might be somewhat
difficult. Highly desirable to float through the hours on a high plane
of serenity, but how about
telephone calls, and the cook with her lists, and the arrival of the
But that was not at all the idea. The
Invisibles kept at her, and finally managed to convince her.
"I see," she cried, "each day we must
create for ourselves by this magic, call it what you please—tuning,
ordering—a dignified temple suitable for the habitation of our highest
ideals. It is as though one made of each separate day a beautiful little
habitation in which to live while the big temple of the lifetime is
building. There is retardment and confusion and discouragement in working out the greater scheme, unless the little
temple of each separate day
is prepared as an inspirational workroom. You know, workmen on big buildings always have these little houses to work from,
but they are generally ugly."
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Thereafter Betty never omitted these
"early morning ablutions," as she called them. Every morning she retired
for a half hour to her little sunroom, and nobody was permitted to
interfere, not even the cook! Occasionally travel or emergency might
prevent. Nevertheless she would always manage to sit quiet, for at least a few minutes, by herself.
This procedure was the first step
toward establishment of what the Invisibles called "habitual spiritual
consciousness." Before long they insisted on another.
"A new field," she reported to me,
"almost a business-like field, establishing us in the substance of
reality. It has to be done or we'll go no further.... Otherwise we would
go with the drift of those who just experiment or are content merely to be experimented on."
"That sounds like a threat," I
commented. "Where might we fall down?"
"A subtle dulling of
accustomedness," replied the Invisibles. "You must partake more constantly of the
vitality within reach. The accumulation of the details of living reduce the
power to a minimum."
There ensued a short pause.
"The single thing I can get hold of
today," Betty said at last, "is the drabness of our life. Why don't we
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intensify it? It can be so
breath-taking and so magically progressive! There are not enough
breathing-spaces, like parks in a city; not enough moments of susceptibility to
happiness and well-being; it's not punctuated; it's all run together
with the details of living. If we could only make ourselves distribute
more and more frequently through our hours little breathing spaces for
the spirit to mount to consciousness of strength and well-being, that
would be the training we need in the gradual acquisition of the
happiness we won't take. But we shut it out for all but the occasional
hour, and gradually the barrier thickens. We must keep it thin and
easily broken through. It's the
not the length of time, that does it. The more frequently, the richer
the personality. It is very difficult to fight the tendency to hibernate in
the world. Might just as well do it now."
"Coagulation sets in," explained the
Invisibles, "if you don't
broken up, if you don't keep
listening at the higher pitch. Habituate yourself to it by utilizing it
constantly. . . ."
"This is confused, very much
confused; but that's it", put in Betty. "Can't find the clear way to put
it. It is very bothersome because first a thing seems audible and then
visible; but in reality it is all the same sense over here, and you
can't tell which is which when you are separating them into word-senses.
It's a reality of
feel. This is
like having too many legs: it's a nuisance—
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a two legged animal explaining
locomotion to a centipede. It is very confusing to have so many
"But anyway," resumed the Invisibles,
"all you've got to remember is that when you make an effort you generate
a spark which helps you to enter intermittently that higher more
intensive form of life where sparks live. The oftener you do it, the
more you get. When you decide it isn't worth while, and is too much trouble, you get out of hearing distance.
. . ."
"Hold on! " I objected. "You are talking sparks
now. How can you hear sparks?"
"Out of reach, then," amended the
Invisibles, you get where you think sparks are just impractical,
imaginative and impossible. And so you cheat yourself."
A few sessions later they brought the
whole proposition more into the clear.
"The time has come," said they, "when
the thing we have been calling spiritual contact must penetrate into the
more practical. It must be elongated, as it were, to touch more
commonplace conditions of mind. The effort is now to gain a more
particularized method of maintaining the growth already made, to gain
the constant refreshment necessary to keep the spiritual life vigorous.
"Make three and four minute sessions
during the whole day whenever you have an interval. Make it the most
vital necessity of your day. At present you are
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giving us left-over time, and that is
discouraging and retrogressive. The every-day-every-hour attitude of
mind is so much more useful than any amount of periodical concentration!
"The main thing," continued the
Invisibles, "is to keep sweeping back and forth, so the dividing line
between the two worlds doesn't show. Commute all the time: it's easy if
you keep in practice. It's a definite proposition—as definite as keeping outside your shell. That shell is a
very exact symbol. Once allow
your consciousness to slip into it, and you are at home and familiar and comfortable, recognizing nothing tangible but its
commonplaces. Keep out of it! Train yourself to be at home outside—to
occupy, ordinarily, daily, hourly, the highest consciousness you have
"A little reiteration will not hurt.
It's the carrying through idea:
Betty did not acquire readily the
ease of spirit she ultimately gained. In spite of her new understanding
she sometimes found it difficult to cope with the common
distractions—travel, illness, house-guests, sheer inertia—and most of
all the trivial, accustomed routine of daily living. Little things,
often repeated, gain a momentum that is hard to break or check. But slowly her compass swung
toward the desired orientation.
"It is a very interesting experience
I am going
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through," she commented, "pruning and
rearranging, selecting, stimulating life's directions. So much falling
from me, so much expanding before me. My eager impulse towards the
things dimly sensed and greatly desired outruns my laboriously slow
accomplishment. My heavy self doesn't cooperate with my active
By this time Betty was pretty well at
home in her disassociated state. The first struggle for re-establishment
was over, but the struggle in the tangible world was just beginning.
"When I'm here, I enjoy myself," she
announced one day from that other consciousness. "But I am exalted above
the confirmation of my powers. And I don't know how to confirm them so
they will be enduring. It's as
if someone had clothed me in most distinguished estate, and I go in
it rather ignobly conscious
that it does not belong to me—that I am not fit for it. And I am ashamed
not to deserve the beauty and dignity, instead of merely presenting the
externals of it."
"What's the trouble? " I asked.
"Aren't you getting along fast enough to suit you?"
"I still get only glimpses of the
great power I talk about and which I am struggling to comprehend," she
explained. "Of course, I enter the higher level with increasing
frequency. There is no question about it: normal consciousness is
assuming lesser proportions. But there is pain in the contrasts I
suffer. It is so con
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fusing to overlap the two
consciousnesses! just now, for instance, I was establishing myself
comfortably—so happy and busy and settled about myself. And then the other focus of
my consciousness showed up and said it was intangible stuff. But it is
not. . Dear me! It is most annoying to have two focuses. What am I to
She worked on her problem.
"It is as if I were building
something and had just established the corner of the top layer," she continued
presently. "And then I stopped there and went away, and lived in an
entirely different level! I've simply got to make that my home, just as the lower
level is now. I've got to live in it and finish it out. There is no use
starting it unless you live in it. That just postpones your destiny.
That is the trouble with all of us: we keep our ideals as lookout
towers, and we seldom take the trouble to climb the stairs."
For a long interval Betty was silent.
Then, in a puzzled tone:
"Something is growing in me and has
put out a shoot. Maybe this physical world is only our roots. Maybe a Plant is terribly worried over
its first shoot."
Another long pause.
"Now," she asserted suddenly,
reaching up, I have
up. I am staying there. It works,
Again the pause.
"Ah, that's grand! " she cried at
last, in triumph. "That's a real vista!
I will not have
the horrid little near
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sighted, cramped, strained
half-breathed atmosphere of the lesser life. I won't have it! I am going
to do my work with a well-ventilated mind, continually conscious of the
lifting power of deep-breathed perceptions. I am not going to
my lower level. I am the better
workman if I center myself in other regions."
She broke off, and for some moments
"I'm coming back," she ended. "Do you
know, my body seems like a troublesome child to me now. I drag it
around, and bathe it, and dress it, and stand it, and sit it, and fuss
"It is most important," pointed out
the Invisibles to Betty, "that you do not get a misconception of what we
intend to convey by the term 'habitual spiritual consciousness.' This
does not imply any retirement into any permanent state of abstraction,
nor any priggish watchfulness to determine that your every move is
transcendental. It means simply that each day, when you finish your
practice, you do not close the experience like a book, but carry it
around like a treasured possession. Instead of being completely
forgotten, it remains in the back of your mind, communicating its
influence automatically to your actions and reactions, and ready at any
moment, if specifically called
upon, to lend a helping hand.
"It is particularly necessary, perhaps, to distinguish
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this state clearly from the periods of
intense concentration you employ for training and development. In especial
exercises such as these, you are for a purpose temporarily focusing on
certain aspects of yourself. During these periods you impose on the other
aspects your command that they sit still and do not bother you, so to
speak, until you have finished. You totally—or as nearly so as
possible—inhibit their activities. You dismiss all reports from the
subconscious; you clear the conscious mind of thought.
"But when you invoke the higher
consciousness in the course of normal daily living you do not do this. The bodily functions proceed with no
less, and no more, than your customary awareness of them. Your brain-mind
moves forward on its unintermitting stream of thoughts and mental images. A bodily or mental vacuum is
unnatural and impossible. To check the flow of these things is also
unnatural, and allowable only for a special purpose. Whole living implies
the simultaneous functioning of all the parts of yourself. Only the sharp
focus of your attention is shifted as desired to that portion of your
being where it is important that it should function for the business of
"You must at all times remember,
however, that it is as serious a mistake to concentrate wholly in the
superconscious as it is in the brainmind or the body. To each its
balanced due of yourself; for that balancing is the art of life."