The Road I Know by Stewart Edward White 1942




"I GO to the Source," said Betty, summing up her own practise. "In doing so I utilize my higher mind, abandon myself to my intuitional, secure in its reality. I give up looking at the Source externally. I try to enter into its feeling of power and strength. After I do this a little while, I am no longer an alien thing. I am somehow attached to it sympathetically. Then I keep quiet, very happily and expectantly, and its potentiality seeks in me some little entrance, some crack or cranny through which I receive some little bit. But that little bit does its work. Eventually that bit must be recognized in my own medium for some definite purpose. Now I am magnetized with it; one with it. But finally I have to come out on the borderline, and I take back with me only just as much as will fit into the customary mind's capacity for statement.


"Sometimes," she confessed, "I get sort of thwarted and bored. I have to get over that."


She sought for the way to increase her capacity.


"I am trying to look at the Source and understand it for you," said she. "It's a kind of disembodied quality. I am on the power side, and being assisted temporarily by great strength and wisdom. Under its spell I'm turning


THE ROAD I KNOW                                     193 to look down to see why I don't get more of it ordinarily.


"All of us—our group—have had a hazy conception that there are such things as spiritual forces that work just as well as our physical forces do, only superlatively. We all admit them, but still our hands and eyes and legs and ears are of far more utility to us. The disembodied quality I am now looking at is what would give us actual possession of the working ability of these higher forces. This quality is not much recognized. Actually it is just the sureness of your belief in the existence of this greater force. That is the principal thing to begin with.


"Take an example from natural physical forces. You wouldn't have the nerve or the idiocy to try walking on water; but you step out on ice with perfect confidence. In ordinary daily living you come to associate your mind so naturally and pleasurably and habitually with the forces which control our physical universe that they grow measurably firm under the feet, as it were. Take gravitation, which always works; the magnetic attraction or the power of electricity when control is established; the buoyancy of placement in water—any of the natural laws that appeal to you. Our conscious minds approve and abandon all test of them.


"But these higher forces we have sensed only as weak generalizations. We've got to make them the same in our conscious minds as the natural forces I mentioned, and which we accept as a matter of course. We've got


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to associate with them, experiment with them, as constantly and interestedly as people did in uncovering the laws controlling the physical forces. The same practice will make our spiritual bodies work. Anyway, it's the first necessity we shall be faced with when we 'go hence.' Everything we have been accustomed to will have gone away from us. If we haven't built this extension of confidence in the new forces, we shall be at a loss. This particular attitude of mind, surety, confidence is itself a force: it is a superlative force."


"What we are stepping around," said the Invisibles, "is to avoid the use of the word 'faith.' We don't want to use it until we have freshened it. It's been made respectable by calling it suggestion: you all know the power of that. Only this is its simon-pure reality, its essence."


There was a short pause.


"They told me I couldn't get much of it," Betty resumed, "only enough to begin with. I'll tell you how I'm doing it.


"I made a sort of cradle of confidence of the tides and the moon and the planetary swings; and I said, there's no reason why I shouldn't rest this spirit of me securely in these unfailing forces. I felt delightfully in suspension, restful with everlasting-arms restfulness. This extension of my personality, the reality I call myself, has quite reasonably ventured out to associate with unseen but thoroughly tested realities. That's the beginning


THE ROAD I KNOW                                     195 that is how we begin to grow into the higher forces.


"I have a funny way of working. I vary all kinds of tests. I jump up and down on these bigger laws to feel their reality. Mentally I turn and twist them all, and jiggle them around, and they still hold me up with a sureness of cause and effect.


"Now I will leave that testing side for a minute and just seek the society of the greater forces."


A long silence followed.


"Feels sort of like a blind person walking along," said Betty at last. "I know by the feeling when I get in a sunspot of power, and I try to keep in it, and when I stray out of it I try to get back. I know it's there, and I just have to make my senses so acute that I can keep in it or get back to it if I stray.


"Each person must play his own mental game in this thing. I am only suggesting mine....


"All this is an effort to establish us firmly in the spiritual so we can utilize its greater powers in doing the physical things we see are worth doing. This definite belief in a force assisting our best efforts, and our reckoning on its unfailing help; the establishment of this principle of the constructive, directive forward movement which we call evolution—this condition of faith must at some time or other in our progression be permanently accepted by our united being."


"Now the point is this," stated the Invisibles, "there


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exists in you, indefinitely developable, an engine of power, dynamically creative, capable of impressing and moulding your material world according as you give out from your inner being its creative force. This force is not primarily the mentally creative force, which you understand perfectly. It is, as it were, a higher sense of that mentally creative force; in short the vital principle of life. It comes, not from that mere agent of the soul, the intellect, but from the plexus of life itself. Mental force can make a mould or plan, but for completion this plan must have the vital principle supplied. Mental force is the neatly made electric globe into which the current is not turned. The true creative force, on the other hand, carries its own vital principle with it. It is a matter of the heart as well as the clearly seen concept of the mind."


Betty groped for definition in words—and as always she was dissatisfied.


"I'm trying," Betty said, "to get a clear idea of this spreading, creative, radiant thing I'm associating with. It is a supporting force pertaining to the reach just above us. I like to get in it and be swept along with it, but I don't think I'm ready. It goes on to such a vast ocean beyond my comprehension....


"It's so nameless I don't know where to begin to cut it up into words. If I do that, I'm afraid it won't piece together again. It's too big for language. All I can say


THE ROAD I KNOW                                    197


is that it's the biggest union of life, the nearest to harmony, the most collected force....


"Harmony is so poor a word! It isn't a bad word; it's just a mistreated word. I want to give freshness to that word. Now it's just a semi-religious, semi-musical term; but really there is a rising tide of progress connected with it. Well, in spite of its inadequacy it represents a strong factor in this force that upholds, this tide of extension. But it is not the thing itself— only a shred.


"The thing itself is not will-power, either; that's only another aspect of it; just one more place where we've touched it in comprehension. What I am trying to get at is the whole of this force; not only the detached bits we recognize in words of will-power and concentration, but the complete power of it."


"There is always a contracted and an expanded form of everything," contributed the Invisibles. "Willpower is the contracted form of this higher thing. You can step into it from will-power without contracting if on think of it more as desire-power. Will-power is in spite of your desires."


One day Betty—more or less in desperation, I suspect—tried the label of "pure feeling". But she recoiled from it at once. The phrase had been too much knocked about by sentimentality.


"Some day," said she, "I'm going to take pure feeling and cleanse it of the taint of transient emotion, weak




sentiment, because pure feeling is the divine spark. It is the intelligence of the heart, the secret of creative magic. Pure feeling is a warrior quality. It is made of the stuff that endures. Strong and true, it engages with earth passions and comes through them unscathed. Still I despair of setting down pure feeling."


But the Invisibles found the phrase acceptable enough, for the time being, at least.


"Pure feeling, " said they "cannot be apprehended by the brain. You can, however, cultivate it by welcoming its entrance into your heart region. Experiment, and see how it softens all the cruel rigidities of life, how it escapes all chains and shackles of maladjustments."


Betty paused long to consider, and perhaps to experiment.


"I made the most superhuman effort to muse myself to the possibilities I have been shown," she reported at last. "And I struggled and struggled with increasing difficulty until I remembered the secret of the heart­solvent. Then a great, warm rushing sensation came over me, and in the stimulation of it I longed unspeakably to be able to make the effort and do the work, to assume the responsibilities pertaining to the distinguished estate that has been loaned me. In this great rush of vitality resulting from just the right combination of life I actually sensed creative blood coursing through me. And that gave me the feeling of the only way to work toward permanent occupancy."


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"Why not," suggested the Invisibles, "think of the higher force as a compound of the essences of all the qualities of all the forms of life and experience one encounters? And then, in imagination, select and call forth those particular essences one needs for the use of any particular moment in life?


"That's a good game," said they. And Betty, with her usual enthusiasm for games, pounced upon it at once.


"If I am to work in essences," said she, "I must get the tools of my craft. So I collect myself essences: the energy of my waterfalls, the stability of my rock, the time achievement of my trees—there is such inspiration in their achievement in time. I like their beauty of age. When I stand under a big tree, I am glad I am growing old! I want that kind of garnered strength. I want trees and waterfalls and big rocks. They are so real in themselves. The realities of humans tire me—their wars, murders, shortsightedness.


"Thus I collect essences. All I have to do is to walk in my garden collecting and releasing essences—never hoarding in the cloistered­garden sense. Essences are everywhere to work with.


"It would take a poet or an angel to express it," she said at last, "because we do not know how to partake of this super-happiness. I get just a breath of it when I lie down next the earth and sniff it; and I get just a taste of it when I come in on the waves and the salt is


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on my lips; and I get just a whisper of it when I stay still in the woods and listen; and I get the most of it when I love something, even my dog or my garden. Don't you see; I want so much to sink deep, dive, be absorbed in this intense reciprocity, this thing I can't even name. It must be experienced and entered completely in order to have practical understanding and sympathy and accomplishment in the material world. It gives an endless vista. . . ."