I am familiar with the phenomena of spiritualism, and I will say that it—of all the theories extant—furnishes by far the best basis of belief in life beyond the grave. Spiritualism is not humbuggery. It is a genuine thing. Spirits, or what seem to be spirits, do make themselves visible to spectators under certain conditions. The only doubt concerning the matter is not in the genuineness of these apparitions, but in the character of them. Many a time, when entirely alone, they have appeared to me; and at first I thought them veritable messengers from the other side.
Later, I did not know whether they were genuine spirits of the departed, or thought images, projected by my own mind. Not that they were unreal, for they were not; they were not pictures; they were tangible shapes, and lasted for several minutes at a time; but were they spirits?
At this time the human mind begins to reveal itself to me as a mighty, but an unknown thing; as the seed germ of a power whose possibilities no one has ever tested, or ever will entirely test, because its unfoldment must go on forever.
That the human mind is a great creative power I do know; that its power to create is absolutely limitless I believe.
By "creative power," I mean the power of making manifest the wonders that are capable of being manifested out of the unseen life principle, the animating spirit of all creatures and all creations; the possibilities existing in latency in the Law of Being, or the Principle of Life, or the Law of Attraction; these wonders, which depend for their manifestation upon individual recognition.
The three terms, Law of Being, Principle of Life and Law of Attraction—spirit of all things—are different modes of expressing the same thing. There are times when one of these modes of expression seems best adapted to convey my meaning, and times when the other modes seem best. But for this I would simplify the matter by using one of these expressions only; and, really, it would be more strictly correct to do so; but I have become so in the habit of using the three terms indiscriminately that I must beg the reader's indulgence, and keep on with it.
Individual recognition of a power heretofore existing in latency in the unseen spirit of life may be called a creation. The power to recognize is the power to create, if, by the word creation, we' mean the making manifest that which has always existed, but has not existed for us, because our intelligence had not ripened to the point where we could see it.
By recognition, then, the subjective power embodied in the life principle, the spirit of all manifested creatures, becomes an objective creation, or use, or knowledge; it becomes manifest or made visible.
The spirit of all things is self-existent; all truth already exists. The universe is a whole: it is complete; nothing remains to be added to it. It is the absolute allness of being.
The word truth is another name for life. Man, in his individual capacity, is the recognizer of truth. He correlates truth, or the principle of being, to the extent of his capacity to recognize it. By his recognition of it, he shows it forth in his person. A man is as he believes. This is so because he is all mind. The entire argument in favor of Dian's power to conquer death rests on the fact that he is mind—active, vital, undying mind—and that there is no dead matter, as has been supposed.
All things which we call matter are resolvable into one and the same element, as I conclusively proved in a former treatise, that element being thought, mentality, mind. Forms change; the body may perish, but life, mind, is immortal.
Man, being a mental statement, shows forth in his personality as much of the truth of being as he has the intelligence to recognize; that is, as much of the power of truth, or the Principle of Attraction, as he can understand, he makes manifest, gives form to, in his person. It is by his power to recognize that he creates or gives form to that which always existed potentially, but was heretofore formless.
Thus, in the absolute sense, there is no new creation; in a finite sense creation is continuous, and will never cease. When men know their power it will be their privilege to forever make visible, in the objective world, the powers that exist in the infinitude of being, or the principle of life, in such form as they will.
The human mind is constantly revealing new good, or new uses, or new knowledge, out of the Law of Being, simply by recognizing them as possibilities to be attained.
Thus, a faint conception of some power beyond that which has ever yet been manifested by any member of the race flits through a man's mind, only to be discarded as absurd and impracticable. But it comes again, and stronger; and yet again, and more powerfully still, until he begins to give it credence. At this point his mind goes on exploring trips into unprospected realms of thought, and brings home much evidence to sustain him in his growing belief, until, at last, he knows that a thing, heretofore considered impossible, is possible; and he goes to work and demonstrates it to others. We call his work a creation, and in a limited sense it is a creation.
The creative power is the power to recognize the possibilities for .development existing in the spirit of life, or the Principle of Attraction; it is a power vested in intelligence; and it is by this power alone that nature, with man at its head, exists; it is by this power that nature, with man at its head, is on the road of endless progression through an infinite realm of ever widening possibilities.
Life is thought to be dual, simply from the fact that it is both seen and unseen. On its unseen side there is the law of being, otherwise called the Law of Attraction, or the principle of life—the spirit of life. On the seen side there is this same law of being made manifest, individualized, personified, by its own recognition of its powers of individualization.
All nature—every living form, everything that is visible or external—is intelligence; it is that which has recognized the unseen moving power, or the Principle of Attraction; and that which recognizes is mind, or intelligence. Therefore, the whole objective universe is mind; living, thinking mind, and not dead matter. All the substances we see or feel, or that in any way appeal to our senses, are mind, and not matter. Mind or intelligence ranges the entire visible universe; it is real substance; we handle it; we weigh and measure it; we cut it into lengths for building material; we melt it and run it into bars for our railroad cars to run on; our cars and everything we manufacture are made out of various conditions of the one substance of mind.
Mind, in its myriad forms, ranges every degree from solid iron and granite to the rarest ether.
The diamond is one condition of mind; the perfume of a rose is another condition of the same substance; and thought is still another condition of it, and the most subtle and powerful condition that we know of.
The most difficult task the metaphysician has to perform, is that of rendering apparent to the conception of the student the fact that mind or intelligence is an actual substance, that can be seen and handled.
We have always believed mind to be an unsubstantial thing; a principle that invaded the dead substance of matter and imparted a temporary show of life to it; but we have never conceived the fact that it is matter itself.
We have never conceived the fact that matter is mind; that matter is the visible side of the law of being; or, in other words, that it is the law's recognition of itself, as light may be said to be heat's recognition of itself.
But this is so, and must be so, because no logical philosophy can admit the idea of deadness in the universe. The universe is a universe, and not a diverse. It is all life, pure life; there is not a dead atom in it. If there were even one atom of death in it, or the possibility that there would ever be one, the universe would not be a whole, and it could not endure.
But it is a whole; it is the unchanging principle of life; it is—on its unseen or spiritual side—the Law of Being, or the Principle of Attraction; the law or principle whose one function is to draw or to unite. It is love in its unalloyed essence; and the recognition of it is intelligence, or mind, expressed in a million varying beliefs, ranging the entire visible creation.
The tree is the externalization of the Law of Being, or the Principle of Attraction, to the extent of the tree's intelligence. The tree shows forth as much of the good or the life embodied in the Law of Being as it can recognize.
All potentiality, all power, all possibility, reside in the spirit or Principle of Being. To conceive of, imagine, think or desire a thing without giving it form, calling it out of the unformed Principle of Being is, therefore, an impossibility. That which we conceive, we create; that which we imagine to be, is; that which we have ceased to believe, no longer exists to us, and never can until we again accept it as being a truth.
Every belief assumes a form—the form of that particular belief. No matter how short-lived the belief may be, nor how frail, if it is a belief at all, it is, for the time being, a recognition of the possibilities resident in the spirit of being. In co7iceiving a form, we create it within the one universal substance, wherein all creation takes place, the primary or mental.
A belief differs from a thought only in the matter of fixedness; a thought is a transient thing, unless it becomes fixed in a belief, and then it is more permanent, and, therefore, more apparent; it is a fraction of the spirit of being in more decided objectivity than a mere passing thought.
Our thoughts, then, are real things; and though usually invisible, being in a great measure under the control of our bodies—which are the sum total of our fixed beliefs—they are too frail and fleeting to assume the substantial appearance of bodies. Nevertheless, they are real substance and have form at their inception; and, though invisible, they do become objective to our bodies, and go forth as living, but probably as short-lived, entities.
Thoughts are real because they are intellectual conceptions of something; and there can be no intellectual conception that is not, in its degree, a recognition of that which is—a recognition of sonic phase of the Principle of Being. There can be no recognition of that which is not, and, therefore, even the frailest and most fleeting thought has form, whether we see it or not.
But there are certain conditions of a man's mind, usually conditions of negation, conditions of abstraction, during which he is not noticing what is transpiring in his mind, when it is possible for his thoughts to express themselves without the help, or' even the cognizance, of the person by whom or from whom they are expressed. In this way they may abstract enough of a man's mentality or body to make themselves visible, not only to the man himself, but to others.
The first time I saw "a spirit" was when a student at a Catholic school. It was a bright moonlight night, and about twenty of us had taken a run from the hall door, down through the crisp snow, to an old tree that grew near the house. I stood for a few minutes quite apart from my companions, and found myself looking up into the tree in that condition of thought which is almost entirely unconscious of itself. I was looking at a woman, who was standing far out on one of the limbs of the tree, and who was balanced lightly on one foot, with her other foot swinging, and her arms raised as she held a pale, blue scarf that the wind filled and swung to and fro. I stood looking at this marvelous sight without one particle of fear or wonder, or any other feeling that I can recall. The woman's dress was like that of a ballet girl, and the limb on which her foot rested was not larger than a riding whip.
But, as I continued to look, without any special interest in the sight, I was conscious of the babble of voices kept up by the other girls, though unconscious of what they were saying, until one of them cried out, "Oh! look up in the tree." A momentary silence ensued, broken by the simultaneous rush which they made toward the house. In another instant I became conscious of the situation, and, turning, I ran after them, becoming more frightened with each step.
Was this a spirit, or was it a projection from myself?
Since then I have had many experiences similar to this, and they are all marked by the same absence of a certain part of myself, that prevents the feeling in me of fear or wonder, or any emotion whatever. The remembrance of things of this kind has often frightened me after they have passed, and I have many times felt a great dread of their recurrence; but never once have I been frightened, or even astonished, at the time.
In the same frame of mind—a condition in which I, the person of the house, seem to be almost out of my house—I have heard voices that spoke to me; but they never told me anything beyond what I could have conceived without them.
But, perhaps, the most singular of these experiences has been a manifestation of a power that lifts me up, and makes me feel that I do not weigh an ounce. I have lain in bed in a room where the light burned brightly, and have been lifted—bed and all—until I could touch the ceiling with my hand. I have sat on a stout table and been lifted with the table until my head touched the top of the room.
Friends have said that such marked and various manifestations as these could not be accounted for, except on the theory of spirit agency.
But I am not convinced of this, though I would have been glad to accept such a conviction if I could have rested in contentment upon it. The very wonders of the human mind, as they begin to disclose themselves to me during the years I have been devoting myself exclusively to its study, have made it impossible for me to rest such phenomena upon the generally accepted conclusions of spiritualism.
This chapter is the first of several chapters, all of which aim at the establishment of the principles on which I base my belief in the power of man to conquer death. I hope I have made it clear that the whole visible universe is mind in different forms of expression, but, lest I have not, I will venture to repeat. I say there is no such thing as "dead" matter. That which we call matter is but varying expressions of the one omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent mind, or mentality; that which was and is and ever will be; that to which nothing can be added, neither taken away. The unseen is as much "matter" as the seen. The seen is as certainly "mind" as the unseen; the two are one in endless round of varying expression, in which there is never any death of life, but only changing forms of life. The flint which is today—the flint of which you say, "It is matter, it is dead"—tomorrow shall have crumbled, shall have become earth; shall have been absorbed into the stalk of growing wheat; shall have been eaten, and in the brain of man be retransformed into its original element; that from which all things have birth—namely, mind. All things, therefore, are mind; nothing but mind; always and forever mind; no difference what the form assumed may be.
When I say that all is mind, or that there is no such thing as matter, I mean that there is no dead thing—nothing that is not of and resolvable into mind; mentality; potentiality; that which, though not discernible by the physical senses, yet contains all that is or can be. I do not mean that matter is nothing, that it has no existence. I mean that in its last analysis it is mind, intelligence, and it is not dead; neither can it ever die.
The infinite mind is measureless. It is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. In it is all potentiality, the all of all, and outside of it nothing is or can be. Does life exist, and the desire for life in man? It exists also in the infinite, and it was the desire that called forth form, which first caused the invisible to become visible; which caused mind to assume the form of rock and tree and animal, and finally of man.
And when men clearly perceive this truth, and when the knowledge of it shall have become truly part of them—shall, as it were, have infused their conscious selves, will they not know that they can control that which they are? Knowing is being. When men know that they are deathless they will have become so.
If man and all nature were dead matter, then there would be good reason for death to hold the scepter over life; but the fact that what has previously been called dead matter is an ever living, ever progressive substance, which constantly evolves individual life out of itself, cannot fail to destroy the power of death as soon as the truth and the law are made known.
In order to make all clear I must show the reader something of the wonderful powers vested in mind. I have spoken of what appeared to be spirits, but which may simply prove to be some, as yet, misunderstood function of the mind. As I go on I shall speak of other things that prove the almost undreamed of power of mind; I do so in order to show that there is nothing impossible to the human mind, and in this way lead the reader to see that death is not going to be a difficult thing to conquer, since its conquest only depends upon the farther expansion of our minds. And this expansion depends exclusively on our own effort.
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More Articles by This Author Helen Wilmans
- Born in 1831 and died in 1907
- Studied under Emma Curtis Hopkins
- Was a journalist and author
- Was active in the Mental Science Movement
- Was charged with postal fraud for healing through mail. Fighting this charged caused her lose most of her fortune.