In nature all is useful, all is beautiful. It is therefore beautiful because it is alive, moving, reproductive. It is therefore useful because it is symmetrical and fair. —Emerson
It is claimed by certain schools of metaphysicians that our bodies are counterfeits and not realities. If this were true, would it not follow that all bodies were counterfeits, those of animals and vegetables, and even the planet itself, and all other planets as well?
We would live then in a counterfeited universe which could have been created only by a supreme counterfeiter, a spirit in whom we could put no trust; for he must have issued an incalculable number of spurious coins, and put them in circulation for some inscrutable and illusory purpose of his own.
We sacrifice much in regarding mortal life as an illusion and postponing our realities.
If this life and these bodies are only "seeming" and not actual, what reason have we to think that we shall ever enter into real life and real bodies; and how can we be sure that we would ever know them to be real?
It is like postulating the unknowable. How can we know that anything is unknowable?
Such a condition of mind cannot result in harmony.
It is not sanity.
It does not show a mental or spiritual poise.
Real spiritual illumination reveals life in the eternal now, and finds in it no counterfeits.
It discovers the accurate operation of vibratory laws which continually manifest the spirit, and so truly that it proclaims itself in every tone we utter, in every movement that we make, in every angle and curve flowing from our pen. It manifests itself in all the lines graven in the face and hand, and all the outlines of the body.
It radiates in our atmosphere. We open the book of life to our neighbor's vision in a thousand ways. We cannot conceal ourselves.
A student of the science of expression is never blind to the real self of any fellow-man with whom he comes in contact. He reads it with his eyes, with his touch. Its revelations come to him through every avenue of sense.
Spiritual senses are not limited to five.
In a clearer atmosphere than that of our Western world we find more stars in the Pleiades than are named in our astronomical text-books.
In the finer vibrations of spirit the perceptions take a wider range than on material planes.
We change our narrow definitions of both material and spiritual things. We no longer scorn the one, nor unreasonably exalt the other. We recognize their unity, and find their differences only in the rate of their vibrations.
We find no arid wastes or desert lands in life except those of our ignorance. Tracts we have marked "unknown" on our geographies we boldly enter as discoverers now, and plant our flag of conquest and dominion in every province of the Holy Land of human life. We no longer organize crusades to capture empty sepulchers.
The universe is ours.
We are not held back from possession by that most imbecile excuse for ignorance, "We are not intended to know." We are not frightened from the analysis of truth by threats of danger to a "critical spirit," or by the bugaboos and scarecrows of theology. We are not struck by panic at the report of giants in Canaan. We refuse to be driven by our fears from the borders of the promised land, to wander for another generation in the wilderness.
We have found the lines of correspondence running through all the warp and woof of life.
If we watch the chemist in his laboratory we find him studying the law of chemical affinities.
This is the law of sympathetic vibration.
It deals with atmospheres and ethers, with alkalis and carbonates, condenses atmosphere, precipitates moisture, freezes water, reduces solids to fluids and changes them again to solids, even making objective that which has been invisible and intangible. A solid bar of steel is dematerialized by the electric current.
We call these "chemical changes."
What has taken place? The rate of molecular vibration has been slowed or quickened, bringing matter within the range of sense perception, or carrying it beyond.
Yet everything is real and has proceeded in exact accordance with the laws of chemics.
Does not this throw light upon the problem of the mortal life?
We have said that matter and spirit differ only in the rate of their vibration.
The body is as real as the spirit. All our experiments in physics have shown matter itself to be imperishable. We have found abundant reason to believe in the absolute indestructibility of atoms, in their persistent energy, the conservation and correlation of their forces.
Is it not, then, a serious error to assert that we are here for the purpose of "spiritualizing the material," without asserting at the same time, as companion truth, that our work includes and necessitates the materializing of the spiritual!
It seems to be the purpose of life to externalize spirit in matter; and in the process we awaken to a spiritual consciousness, and become the masters of matter and architects of its forms. Can we do this if we despise it, and consider it beneath our spiritual dignity to recognize and deal with it? Can we do this if we imagine all material life to be illusory?
Are the toys and picture alphabets of the kindergarten useless?
Are they not rather the necessary preliminaries to the study of the sciences in books?
How would we answer a child who demanded the books before he had learned his letters?
The illustration of the diver suggests some things for our consideration.
He desires to enter an element more dense than that in which he lives. He seeks treasures at the bottom of the ocean. Being too buoyant for the element of water, he constructs a more material body than his own, which is better adapted to the work before him. His diving suit is not as light or elegant as the clothes he wears among his fellows in his ordinary sphere of life; but it is just as real.
It is made heavy with metal to give weight sufficient to drop him to the bottom and resist the pressure of the waters. It is provided with glass windows through which he can look out, though dimly. It has an atmosphere supplied through breathing tubes connected with the upper air. In the density of the salt water he walks easily in this heavy suit. He completes his work, rises to the surface, and removes the armor in which he has been encased.
He remains the same man as before, with only the addition of experience.
Let us apply this figure to the mortal life.
We need to come into the atmosphere of Earth, which is too dense for the spirit in its normal state.
We materialize a body at birth, probably chosen and equipped by the spirit itself from a point of higher intelligence than the mortal for its especial work and needs in earthly life. It is a tool with which to work in matter. Its problem is to materialize spirit and make it manifest in many ways.
Having done this first at birth, the process is continued with every atom that we build into our bodies and throw off.
This requires a slowing of vibration, which separates the spirit for awhile from close and conscious relation with its fellows on immortal planes, yet makes it necessary to draw from those planes its vital atmosphere.
Death comes when work in the objective is finished for the time, through lack of knowledge to prolong the process.
The coarser body is laid off, and it steps out of its encasement into the finer vibrations of the spiritual planes. In this work which it has done the Earth environment made it as necessary to materialize spirit as to spiritualize matter.
In the last analysis we shall doubtless find that spirit and matter are identical.
How, then, can we call this a "dream life" and assert that we live in the unreal? Does not this very attitude result in an unbalanced mind?
"Life is real"—death is the illusion. Our lessons in matter are not to be evaded with "denials." As well might the schoolboy "deny" his alphabet and his tables in arithmetic because he had not yet discovered their relation to philosophy and the propositions of Euclid. Let us learn the fundamental principles of life, and we shall understand at last the macrocosm.
The different experiences of our lives are like chapters in a book.
Taken separately they seem to have but little meaning to us.
Their real significance comes from the chapters that went before and those that follow.
When bound together in a completed volume, we can see the relation of one experience to another. We will then perceive the harmony and understand the narrative.
Do not lament that your friend is on the "animal plane." It is a great thing to be a good animal. Many who think themselves beyond that point of evolution have not reached it yet. There is no phase of growth that should be despised. All are alike good; all men pass over the same road, and sight its milestones at the same points of the journey, though in different hours. Some loiter and others press on more earnestly. We should not quarrel with the wayfarer who lingers by the roadside. It is his privilege; and at some other point beyond, his pace may take him far ahead of us. There is no reason for haste. Every soul knows its appointed times and places.
We need not regret that those of others do not always coincide with ours.