the Invisibles had told Betty all
along, she was going to meet
obstructions, throughout life. There is a necessary resistance, they
indicated. How else can one rise? How else does an airplane rise, save
through the resistance of the air?
"After all," said they, "the time to
practise anything enduring is in the times of stress....
And, they added dryly she would find
no dearth of stress points. That is life; and life, in last analysis, is
people, just people. All the
rest—the material comforts, the material securities, the material
necessities—are met by the
ingenuities of the mind and the energies of the body, and what they assure is bare existence. But it
is in one's dealings with people, one's relations with people, one's
gifts to and from people, that one meets the deeper resistance by which
one's consciousness may rise. That is life; and that is the nature of
I think they were warning Betty not
to expect everything to be all sweetness and light and brotherhood
of man merely because she had come to understand the nature of her
substance. Or perhaps not. They must have known Betty pretty well by now, and
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quite aware of her personal history.
Without going into details, she had been enmeshed from childhood with a
singularly complete array of selfcentered and exacting neurasthenics,
encroaching and demanding personalities with whom she had to cope; nor
did her marriage free her from them entirely. The Invisibles classed
them as "unreceptives," which seemed to me a masterpiece of
understatement. If I had been consulted, I should have said that Betty
needed no instruction on how to get along with people, prickly or
otherwise. It is a literal fact that in the thirty-six years of our life
together I never knew her to quarrel, with anybody; not even with me! I
am certain this is no fatuous reconstruction because, occasionally for
the fun of it, I would try to prod her into a fight, and never
succeeded. Oh, she could be firm enough, as many—again including myself—found out, but in
some mysterious and Bettyish fashion she managed it without battle or
Be that as it may, the Invisibles and
Betty embarked on a statement of principles concerning conflict.
"First of all," the Invisibles began,
apropos of "unreceptive" people, "you must protect yourself from getting
in their zone of action. You must first insulate yourself. Insulation is
not unsympathetic! It is just the
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precaution the doctor takes against infection. So insulation is not
"Next," they advised, "keep yourself
whole. The strategy of war is to divide the enemy. Recognize instantly
when you are being divided. Laugh a good strong laugh, and rush
forward. At the moment of unity surge onward in spite of obstructions.
Whenever provoking things happen, look on yourself as in danger of being
the vanquished instead of the victor, the captured instead of the
captor. Each time you score, it is a definite count; it is not erased.
It is like acquiring something; makes what you are doing easier. It is a great help each time
you hold fast and don't get captured.
"Do not start out expecting to be
flattered by spectacular results. Just plan to keep going for the
satisfaction of occupying your place in the greater scheme. There will
always be moments of full realization, the blooming and fruition natural
to all life. That also will come to you in its turn. It is not all
strain and effort.
"Do not," they continued, "be
discouraged even when failure turns into something like actual defeat.
This is fun, you
know, like gardening or healing or painting a picture or any other
creative satisfaction. You decide, as a master should, how things should
be, and you make them so. You dominate your materials, instead of being
dominated; and because of
your strength of perception you are able to look beyond inevitable
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failure to inevitable success, Pay no
attention to defeat. When you look at the defeat side it is like compound
interest. The next time you will have to overcome this time, and the failure
that went before, and the one before that....
"And finally," they completed their
fist, "watch your foredeterminations. Bad days must not be bad before
they begin. Put your consciousness on the higher level, before you start
out every day. You need more preparedness for yourself. That is your
Particularized foredetermination," they discriminated, "not just hazy. Work it over
carefully, as you would an architect's blueprint. That is vitalized
thinking. It's different, a creative thinking. There's substance to it.
It is really a higher form of thought."
"I do try to work it," said Betty. "I
know the law, but—oh dear, it's so unpopular! Everybody thinks it's
mushy. They don't know what I'm doing."
"These points are the important
ones," summed up the Invisibles, "the robustness of your intent, and the
temporary quality of seeming defeat. Remember we are concerning
ourselves with the laws of a higher force which must, eventually,
overcome things potent only in their own generation and time."
"All right," agreed Betty. "Every
time I feel annoyed or deflected or crossed, I'll think of myself as in
danger of capture by inferior force. Instead of cutting myself off from
my reinforcements, I'll try to utilize
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them in commonplace moments like
that, and not keep them f or big, noble occasions."
"In your relations to people," said
the Invisibles, "it isn't at all this everything-to-everybody,
hand-grasp idea. That's the cheap imitation; very cheap! There is
dignity and reserve and depth to the real thing. It is just a
feeling, a silent feeling of kinship
and sympathetic response, instead of the usual indifference."
proved to be a key word.
"U, S, us; N, E, double S, ness:
Us-ness," the Invisibles started Betty off, one day.
"There is no such word," she
commented, "but that is what they say.... Anyhow, I can't separate
myself into a hard-shelled detached unit any more.
"Apparently I'm made up of
fundamentals which every created thing shares to a greater or lesser
degree. Therefore I'm sympathetically connected with, and share in the
life of, everything through the ingredients we have in common. That, very
vaguely, is the Us-ness of it.... I can't say it very well; but it's a
very nice feeling."
"Don't look at this too closely,"
advised the Invisibles, "don't analyze it. Take it as a broad general feeling
until it grows and forms."
"I am in a wonderful atmosphere,"
said Betty. "It is
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teeming with life, and it is plastic
somehow. I feel people all around me, acting chemically on each
other—just like chemical action, only it is spiritual. We laugh at the
idea of auras, but they are quite real in a way. You go near a fire, and
that has an aura; so has ice. Only with people it seems quite a tangible thing. It
extends just a certain radius around. When people approach within that radius
their auras intermingle, and at once chemical action begins."
She was silent so long I finally
asked what she was doing.
"I am keeping quiet," she replied,
"just to see what belongs to us all in common. It is a strange
companionship. When I separate myself and enter each one of you, it is the jolliest
kind of companionship. None of the little superficial differences matters at
all. It is very funny: I like to laugh, and yet it would sound inane
were I to tell you that just laughing, for itself done, Without any specified joke, is
a nice kind of intermingling.
It's a good deal like having lots of
relatives," Betty continued after a pause. "That's the heavy side of it!
But the nice side of it is that you can go around feeling relationship
with all the beautiful things in the world. You can call out to each
other. That's much better than being a stranger in the world, isn't it—this claim of
kinship to all created things.
"I can go around and call to things, call to a nice
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cloud I see up there: 'Hello there!
We're related to each other on such and such a side.' Or I can say to my
big tree and all the little birds under it in the nest, 'I claim a bit
of you all.' Wind and sun; they're touching and quickening the bit of me
that is wind and sun. It's so much nicer to let them all enter in, and
welcome them, and exchange courtesies with them, than to be so
hard-shelled and alone....
"I'm so anxious to keep going around
and seeing how much of things claim me, finding out which are my near
relatives and which my far ones. They're all different. There are the
stars: they are pretty distantly related. I can't do more than respect and admire
"I can't tell you how it changes
things to think this way. The sympathetic contact makes it possible to
contain the whole world within yourself, expanding to contain them all.
I'm astonished at the feel of it. And it's such fun! All the infinite
variations are such
up all the shades and colors and infinite variations! I'm having a
lovely time! Please let me
"It's such a new world I've
discovered. I wonder why I didn't always know it. I've always
to feel that way. I want to whistle
with the wind! I want to swish with the tides! I want to lullaby with
the moon! I want to be loud with the thunder! I want to cr-e-e-p into
small places, and I want to soar into big
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ones! I'm all tingling and glowing
with the warmth of the sun. I think I will go now where the cold lives."
She stopped short, struck with a new
and splendid idea.
"I wonder," she speculated
doubtfully, "if I could be an earthquake."
The thought of Betty as an earthquake
was too much for me; I shouted aloud. She joined my laughter, but
"I'd have to work my way up to that,"
she conceded. She waved her
extended hand, now here, now there.
"Anyway, it's like waving to
somebody, or letting him go by with no recognition at all. I want to go
around just greeting things!
"The simplest expression I can reduce
it to is in the word reciprocity," she decided. "That makes an actual
thing, like an electric current. I must have very simple things like that, so they will stay in my everyday
"I am," said Betty in her next
approach, "face to face with this vast level of consciousness that is
back of human consciousness. They show me a great rope twisted of many
strands.... I don't understand it. It runs through us all.... It is the
connecting link. It is the connection through which we act on each other
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this level. When we touch it, it is
charged with life and vitality, an open way of wisdom and understanding.
If you touched, reached this level, somebody would answer somewhere if
you had a real need they could supply. It is the universal conductor
in some way.
"Never mind how simplified your
consciousness may become," the Invisibles told her, "nor how clear your
aim or your comprehension of what you are after, nor how devoutly you
may follow it, it does not work unless you have sympathetic
comprehension of the inter-relation."
"I am almost afraid to try to put the
relationship into words," said Betty, "and yet I must struggle with it."
She attacked the problem of expression from many angles. "The great
ocean connecting all islands and continents—all the parceled-off
objective things, of however great magnitude, are but the islands and
continents among and around which flows the great carrier," was one
effort. But that did not work; for, said she, the universal relationship not
only flows around, but through. It is the common substance of all creation, and
it is in that common substance that created things meet and act on one
another in proper process, intermingle in their common denominator, so to
speak, and yet—
"I've made an awful mess of trying to
tell you!" Betty gave up in despair. "I won't talk any more. I've said
it badly because I gave the impression of a merging
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It is not that. They
distinct; but it's the merging of
the substance possessed by all of them, which, kept uppermost, produces
"This is very advanced teaching,"
warned the Invisibles. "We are not sure that it is wise to precipitate
it, but we'll sketch its meaning. Very briefly and crudely, it is to
"The undeveloped being lives in
isolation of consciousness within himself, his village, his town, his
country depending on how far along he is, always contained within
definite personality limits, separated from other creations by the
confines of his senses and sympathies. The developed man is as different
a creature in the breadth of his perceptions as is a walnut in its
difference from the winds. The developed man can search out any distance
with an extension of himself, his full consciousness concentrated at any
point he desires. He assumes kinship with other consciousnesses as
poignantly as with his own."
"It is just like the radio,"
contributed Betty. "You pick out the right wave length and travel on
"This sympathetic assumption of
kinship," continued the Invisibles, "empowers him with the attributes of
the higher consciousness. And one result of this is that he is no
longer, while living as other men, restricted by their limitations of
position—position in the geometrical sense— because anything he turns
his attention to ardently, anything he loves, he
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in this greater entity. This greater
entity gives him the ability to broadcast himself, to travel to it
sympathetically, as it were, on its individual wave length."
"It may not sound like much at
first," said Betty, "but think of the stupendous power of this faculty
when one actually grows into full possession of it. One no longer
occupies a one-pointed position. One's heart extensions are potentially
"Sometimes," said she, groping for
it, "I believe that just shutting your eyes and loving people is the
real way. If I kept them open, I'd be so busy looking at the outsides of
you. And now I don't have to: I can just shut my eyes and love you as you register on
me—I can't say it very well—not what you get snarled up trying to
but what you have inside of you that
you want to
remember that's the way to do with people.
"Don't have to keep your eyes shut
all the time; just now and then,—but it's easier to keep on loving them when you do!"
The Invisibles approved this.
"You can ignore the misrepresenting
agents of the man—his habits, indulgences, dormancies and insist on
dealing with his possibilities," said they.
"You see," Betty repeated a standard
complaint, "I was sad and puzzled again about the uselessness of
trying to bring real spirituality into ordinary life. It's so apt to make you shirk
your devotion to other more
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obvious things. I was so puzzled
about it. I understood my bit of power. I'd learned a little bit about my
own heart, and had timidly but unashamed, let a few other people feel it—given
it to them whether they wanted to stamp on it or not. People's reactions
are so very curious. Do they want to acclimatize themselves, or do they
want to stay as they are?
"The greater entity," or, as the
Invisibles put it at times, Kinship, is the wave length to which one
tunes in order to really communicate with fellow beings. And with that came,
to us both, a great illumination.
For the most part the aim of Betty's
first training had seemed to be the fitting her for easy communication
with the Invisibles. Now we perceived that all of it, the earlier and
the later, had been to fit her for real communication with her
fellow-beings wherever they might be! And the method she had learned
is the method of communication everywhere. Exactly so the Invisibles
communicated with her.
So now they told us a little of how
they did it.
"In approaching a person with whom we
wish to communicate," said they, "our preliminary preparation is the
holding off from that person, temporarily, the pressure of conditions
relative to his normal fife. We lift the weight. After that pressure is
lifted, it is like
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looking into a lighted room from the
outside dark; or peering into the different element of an aquarium.
That is the first process.
"Perhaps," they continued, "you will
understand this better if you think of it as just like any of your other
closer contacts. Take friendship, for example: you approach your real
friends with exactly the same process of lightening pressures, of warmth
in each other's atmospheres, of getting directly in touch with the intimate
sides of them which are less recognized by the world in general.
"What have we now? We have a human
being momentarily surrounded by an atmosphere of higher potentiality.
The process that follows is to observe his reactions to it; the type of
thing presenting itself immediately to his consciousness. The drift of
this native tendency regulates to a certain degree the material possible
to impart to him. The next process is one of inhibiting undesirables,
relapses to habitual methods of thought.
"In other words, we select from his
native equipment, when freshly released, the thing most suitable to our
purposes. The skill on our side is in the correspondence possible
between what we desire to impart and what the subject under observation
has avidity enough to take. That avidity is an essential ingredient in
common. He may not in normal consciousness be aware of this avidity. It
may be a totally buried part of his spiritually
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arrested nature. If however it exists
at all, it can under skillful treatment be called out, educated up to our
Here again was working in the nature
of the substance.
But Betty was back with her more
immediate job. She interrupted to call it "the utilizing of kinship, the
connective mind, in the world of affairs."
"I'm connected with everything by one
of my ingredients," she declared. "I don't understand this.... I'm just
trying to grasp the feel of
it.... That is what I am coming into now."