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The Editor’s Letter Box

My dear Readers,

You have decided that The Letter Box must be continued. Very good! I had written the article on Meditation before it was quite decided whether this part of the Magazine should be continued or not, otherwise, as those articles are in reality answers to letters, they would have been in the form of letters and not as articles. However, as the article No. 1 is already in the hands of the printer, we will let them go on as a series of articles on Meditation. But, let me say here, they are written as simply as possible, and are not in any way intended to be even read by the advanced student, or by those who have become "great in meditation," but only by those who are taking the very first steps, as it were, in this most essential spiritual exercise. And for that reason I am going back to my own beginning, back to the time, when, under the gentle and blessed influence of James Allen, first began to meditate. He knew how hard it was to begin: he knew how many difficulties must present themselves to the mind when it first starts upon the task of concentrating even for a few minutes, on any one subject, and so he did with me, as I am trying to do with you, he gave me the A. B. C. first, and I being but a child in spiritual things, he fed me with the sincere milk of the Word, and not with the "strong meat." And that is why so many who aspire to the life of Meditation fail, and give up so soon. They read, and hear of or even talk with, those who spend an hour, or two hours, or even days in retreat for the purpose of meditation and they think to begin there, unmindful of the years through which that one struggled before he reached that place where it is easy for him to concentrate for an hour, or hours, on divine things without difficulty. As I have often said before, and I know I am repeating James Allen when I say so, it is the same with spiritual things as with material, there is always the apprenticeship to serve, always the becoming days. A man does not become a great scholar in a few days, neither can he master any art, or become a proficient engineer, doctor, or chemist in one or two years’ study. A woman does not expect to take her diploma for teaching, or to earn the right to put two or three letters after her name in one, two, or even three years. Then why should we imagine it to be an easy thing to become great in meditation, or desire to gain our spiritual ideals all in a moment. So, dear readers, you who so desire to know something of the joys of meditation, I am taking you back to my own spiritual childhood, and we are starting there, and if you will come with me, maybe I shall be enabled by the Divine Spirit to lead you on step by step as I myself was lead by my Teacher. This is just an explanation of my articles on Meditation, and if any who read them wish to ask further questions, or ask for any special advice or help over their own particular difficulties, I shall be very glad to answer, either privately or in the Letter Box. But, as the difficulties of the one are very often the difficulties of the many, I trust that all who write will be willing that the answers to their letters shall appear in the Magazine.

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Dear Mrs. Allen,

I thank you from my heart for your letter to "Rhoda." I am quite sure that in her letter to you "Rhoda" voiced the feelings of thousands of her sisters, and I would that thousands more could read your answer to her. You have made love and marriage such a beautiful thing, and reading what you write about it, one finds so much that the old ideas of things forced one to accept, falling from one, and the sweet naturalness and simplicity of it all taking the place. Thank you for sounding the brave trumpet of inspiration, optimism, hope, assurance, gladness and, as Judge Troward calls it, livingness so faithfully, and with such a certain sound. I, for one, have made a fresh start in life. I have, since reading your reply to "Rhoda," turned my face again to the sunshine and joy of youth, and I am already beginning to find that I need never have turned my back to them at all. Why do we? I have made up my mind to cultivate beauty—beauty of person, beauty in my surroundings beauty of voice, speech, dress,—and beauty everywhere, THANK YOU! Do, dear Mrs. Allen go on with your glorious work of awakening us all from lethargy, sleep, death! yes, we begin to die when we let go youth, and beauty, and joy and wonder, and expectancy. You see how I have been taking it all in, the beautiful soul and life inspiring teaching of The Epoch! "Thankful One"

Answer: 
Yes, dear "Thankful One" it is true, we each make our own world, after our own likeness and image. I am glad, glad with a great gladness, when I read all you say. Someone called on me the other day to thank me for that same letter, and to ask me to continue to write on the same subject. He said he had sent The Epoch to a friend of his who would greatly enjoy and endorse all I had written. Oh, I do believe there has been a great mistake made by the race in the past, certainly about many things as well as this particular one, but we are waking up, we are beginning to find that things are as we make them by our thought about them, and also, that we have been following the race beliefs of the ages instead of finding out for ourselves. "He hath made everything beautiful in His time." Then from whence comes the ugliness? From whence comes the lack of all that human heart yearns for but misses every day? It comes from ourselves. We have thought it all into being. And, as we have had the power to make, so have we the power to unmake. As we have been slaves to the race belief about age, decay, death, and a thousand other things, so may we become free from the bondage of false beliefs, and rejoice in the glorious liberty of the children of God. There are many things about to take place that will astonish those who are clinging to the old ideas, and who refuse to move with the advance of the thought of the times. There is a New Day about to dawn, let us prepare ourselves for it, body, soul, and spirit, that we miss none of the beauty and the glory.

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Dear Mrs. Allen,

I have often wondered what your thought might be in regard to communion with the departed. First, do you think it possible? Second, do you think it desirable and right? I hope I am quite in order when I ask such questions, and would like you to answer in The Letter Box.
"A Lonely One"

Dear Friend,
I am not in any way connected with the society called Spiritualists, and have never attended a public séance, but I have many very dear and valued friends who are spiritualists, whose beauty of character and sincerity of life are a constant inspiration to me. In the letter above I speak of race beliefs and their hampering effect upon the souls of those who are imprisoned by them, and I should place a disbelief in the communion of souls as one of the most horrible and depressing of all the race beliefs. Away back in the dark ages men did not understand life apart from the life of the body. When they saw the body cold and still they put it away and thought their friend was no more. Later when the continuity of life began to break upon the human consciousness there was still the terrible horror of the coldness and the stillness, and the approaching decomposition, and the one desire seemed to be to forget their "dead" as soon as possible, and in their ignorance and terror of the unknown,—fostered by the false teaching of the religious schools of the "hell" then believed in,—-the last thing men desired was to see the departed. As witness the awful horror of "ghosts" and the utter disbelief in any supernatural appearance. Indeed, so deeply have we become immersed in materialism that to voice one’s belief in fairies is to provoke a smile of pity and indulgence from most of those we are acquainted with. Then came the church telling the people that their loved ones were with God, but to try in any way to hold communion with them was "of the devil"! Curious! But, let me say right away, Yes, most emphatically I do believe in communion with the departed, and again and again I have experienced it. In difficulties, more than once, I have heard the voice of my Beloved speaking to me, and have seen his face lighted with a glory not of this world, and my heart has been strengthened, and I have been shown the way to go on with a brave heart. Others who have passed away have been able to make their presence so clear to my spiritual senses that I have seen with a sight not of the physical, and heard their voices with a hearing unknown to the body. I cannot find language in which to explain these blessed things so that the many will understand, but I do know what I have seen, and heard, and experienced. As I said before, I repeat here again, all this has been my own private experience, and always when alone, and when I have been in great need. One thing more I must say and that is I have as a rule never sought it with intention. They have always come to me as a surprise, as unexpected guests as it were. I have come to this point at present, that it is not for me to try to bring them back to me, but rather to seek to live in their atmosphere, so that, time and space being unknown to spirit, I may be close to them, with no barriers of the flesh, or of ignorance, or darkness of the mind, to separate me from those who have entered into the realm of the Spirit. That is my concern. Then, when they come, when it is granted to me to hold sweet communion with them; when they are allowed, in my hour of perplexity or sorrow, to speak the word of cheer and encouragement, advice and guidance—Oh, with what joy I receive it, and give God thanks. And that also is in the New Day. The time is at hand when the veil shall be removed, and we shall see and know. Let us prepare for it.

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May the New Year bring us Peace! May the days as they pass bring healing and comfort to the broken hearted. May God bless and have pity upon this war-worn world, and turn the hearts of the strife makers to peace.

Yours affectionately,
Lily L. Allen

All precious things discover'd late,
To those that seek them issue forth;
For love in sequel works with fate,
And draws the veil from hidden worth.
—Tennyson

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Lily L. Allen

  • Born on December 30th, 1867 at Burrishoole, Eire
  • Wife of author James Allen
  • Wrote many books of her own
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