WHAT does it feel like to be a spirit person?
That is a question that has arisen in the minds of many people. If, in turn, one were to ask: what does it feel like to be an earth person?--you might be inclined to reply that the question is rather a foolish one, because I have been incarnate myself once, and therefore I should know. But before the question is dismissed as foolish, let us see what it can provide by way of answer.
First of all, consider the physical body. It undergoes fatigue for which it is vitally necessary to have rest. It gets hungry thirsty, and it must be provided with food and drink. It can suffer pains and torments through a great variety of illness and disease It can lose its limbs through accidents, or from other causes The senses can become impaired through increasing age; accident, again, can cause it to lose the faculty of sight or hearing, or the physical body can be born into the world without either or both of those senses, and, in addition, it may be powerless of speech. The physical brain may be so affected that we are incapable of any sane action, and we have, in consequence, to be taken care of by others.
What a gloomy picture, you will say! That is so, but anyone can be the victim to some, at least, of the catalogue of disabilities I have mentioned. At least three of them are common to every single soul upon the earth-plane--hunger, thirst, and fatigue. And that by no means exhausts the list. But it will suffice for our purpose.
Now, eliminate, completely and entirely, every one of these unpleasant disabilities that I have enumerated; exclude, in infallibly and everlastingly, the cause of them, and you should have in your mind some idea of what it feels like as a spirit person!
When I was upon the earth-plane I suffered from some of the ailments that are common to most of us, ailments that are not necessarily serious, and that we take rather as a matter of course; the minor aches and pains that most of the incarnate, at one time or another, manage to put up with. In addition to those minor ailments, I was, of course, conscious of my physical body by the intrusion of hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The final illness-- serious one--was too much for the physical body, and transition took place. And immediately I knew what it felt like to be a spirit person.
As I stood talking to Edwin I felt, physically, a giant, in spite; of the fact that I had just departed from a bed of sickness. As time went on I felt even better. I had not the slightest suspicion of a twinge of pain, and I felt light in weight. Indeed, it did not seem as though I were encased in a body at all! My mind was fully alert, and I was aware of my body only in so far as I could move my limbs and myself wherever I wished, apparently without any of the muscular actions that were but so recently familiar. It is extremely difficult to convey to you this feeling perfect health, because such a thing is utterly impossible on earth, and therefore I have nothing with which to draw a comparison, or form an analogy for you. This state belongs to the spirit alone, and completely defies any description in earthly terms. It must be experienced, and that you will not be able to do until you become one of us here yourself.
I have said that my mind was alert. That is an understatement. I discovered that my mind was a veritable storehouse of facts concerning my earthly life. Every act I had performed, and every word that I had uttered, every impression I had received; every fact that I had read about, and every incident I had witnessed, all these, I found, were indelibly registered in my subconscious mind. And that is common to every spirit person who has had an incarnate life.
It must not be supposed that we are continually haunted, as it were, by a wild phantasmagoria of miscellaneous thoughts and impressions. That would be a veritable nightmare. No. Our minds are like a complete biography of our earthly life, wherein is set down every little detail concerning ourselves, arranged in an orderly fashion, and omitting nothing. The book is closed, normally, but it is ever there, ready to hand, for us to turn to, and we merely recall the incidents as we wish. I am now speaking personally, and as it governs the folk with whom I live in this realm.
The description that I gave you of that particular soul's memory in the lowest realms, brings into force other laws, as I attempted to show you. I am not prepared to say how it happens; I can only tell you what happens.
This encyclopedic memory, with which we are endowed, is not so difficult to understand when you pause to consider your own average earthly memory. You are not continuously bothered by the incidents of the whole of your life, but they are simply there for you to recall, when and where you wish, and they may arise out of the occasions of the moment. One incident will set a train of thought going in which the memory will have its share. Sometimes you cannot recall what is in your memory, but in the spirit world we can recall instantly, without any effort, and unfailingly. The subconscious mind never forgets, and consequently our own past deeds become a reproach to us, or otherwise, according to our earthly lives. The recordings upon the tablets of the real mind cannot be erased. They are there for all time, but they do not necessarily haunt us, because in those tablets are also set down the good actions, the kind actions, the kind thoughts, and everything of which we could justly be proud. And if they are written in larger and more ornate letters than those things we regret, we shall be so much the happier.
Of course, when we are in the spirit world our memories are persistently retentive. When we follow a course of study in an subject whatsoever, we shall find that we learn easily and quick because we are freed from the limitations that the physical body imposes upon the mind. If we are acquiring knowledge we shall retain that knowledge without fail. If we are following some pursuit where dexterity of the hands is required, we shall find that our spirit bodies respond to the impulses of our minds immediately and exactly. To learn to paint a picture, or to play upon a musical instrument, to mention two familiar mundane activities, are tasks which can be performed in a fraction of the time that they would take when we are incarnate. In learning to lay out a spirit garden, for example, or to build a house, we shall find that the requisite knowledge is gained with equal ease and speed--in so far as our intelligence will allow; for we are not endowed with keen intellects the moment we shake off the physical body. If that were the case, these realms would be inhabited by supermen and superwomen, and we are very far from that! But our intelligence can be increased; that is part of our progression, for progression is not only of a spiritual nature. Our minds have unlimited resources for intellectual expansion and improvement, however backward we may be when we come into the spirit world. And our intellectual progression will advance surely and steadily, according to our wish for it to do so, under the learned and able masters of all branches of knowledge and learning. And throughout our studies we shall be assisted by our unfailingly retentive memories. There will be no forgetting.
Now to come to the spirit body itself. The spirit body is, broadly speaking, the counterpart of our earthly bodies. When we come into the spirit world we are recognizably ourselves. Bt we leave behind us all our physical disabilities. We have our full complement of limbs, our sight and our hearing; in fact, all our senses are fully functioning. Indeed, the five senses, as we know them upon earth, become many degrees more acute when we are discarnate. Any supernormal or subnormal conditions of the physical body, such as excessive stoutness or leanness, vanish when we arrive in these realms, and we appear as we should have appeared on earth had not a variety of earthly reasons caused us to be otherwise.
There is a stage in our lives on earth which we know as the prime of life. It is towards this that we all move. Those of us who are old or elderly when we pass into spirit will return to our prime-of-life period. Others who are young will advance towards that period. And we all preserve our natural characteristics; they never leave us. But we find that many minor physical features that we can profitably dispense with, we shake off with our earthly bodies--certain irregularities of the body with .which, perhaps, we have been born, or that have come upon us during the course of the years. How many of us, are there, I wonder, when we are incarnate, who could not think of some small improvement that we should like to make in our physical bodies, were it at all possible! Not many!
I have told you how the trees in these realms grow in a state of perfection--upright and clean-looking and well-formed, because they have no storms of wind to bend and twist the young branches into malformations. The spirit body is subject to just the same law here in spirit. The storms of life can twist the physical body, and if that life has been spiritually ugly the spirit body will be similarly twisted. But if the earth life has been spiritually sound, the spirit body will be correspondingly sound. There is many a fine soul inhabiting a crooked earthly body. There is many a bad soul inhabiting a well-formed earthly body. The spirit world reveals the truth for all to see.
How does the spirit appear anatomically, you will ask? Anatomically, just exactly the same as does yours. We have muscles, we have bones, we have sinews, but they are not of the earth; they are purely of spirit. We suffer from no ailments--that would be impossible in the spirit world. Therefore our bodies do not require constant looking after to maintain a state of good health. Here our health is always perfect, because we have such an irrational rate that disease, and the germs that cause it, cannot enter. Malnutrition, in the sense that you know it, cannot exist here, but spiritual malnutrition--that is, of the soul--does most certainly exist. A visit to the dark realms and their neighborhood will soon reveal that!
Does it seem strange that a spirit body should possess finger nails and hair? How would you have us to be? Not different from yourselves in this respect, surely? Would we not be something of a revolting spectacle without our usual anatomical features and characteristics? This seems an elementary statement, but it is sometimes necessary and expedient to voice the elementary.
How is the spirit body covered? A great many people--I think it would be true to say the great majority--wake up in these realms dressed in the counterpart of the clothes they wore when upon the earth-plane at the time of their transition. It is reasonable that
They should, because such attire is customary, especially when the person has no foreknowledge whatever of spirit world conditions. And they may remain so attired for just as long as the please. Their friends will have told them of their true state of being, and then they can change to their spirit clothing if they so wish. Most people are only too glad to make the change, since their old earthly style of clothing looks very drab in these colorful realms. It was not long before I discarded my old clerical attire for my true raiment. Black is altogether too somber amongst such a galaxy of color!
Spirit robes vary in themselves almost as much as the realms vary. There always seems to be some subtle difference between one person's spirit robe and another's, both in color and form so that there is an endless variety in the two particulars of color and form alone.
All spirit robes are of full length; that is, they reach down to the feet. They are sufficiently full to hang in graceful folds, and it is these very folds that present the most beautiful shades and tones of color by the effect of what on earth would be called light and shade. It would be impossible to give you anything like comprehensive account of the different additional features that go to make up the whole composition of spirit vesture.
Many people will be found wearing a girdle or sash around the waist. Sometimes these will be of material, sometimes they appear to be of gold or silver lace or tissue. In all cases of the latter, they are rewards for services performed. No possible conception can be formed of the superlative brilliance of the golden or silver girdles that are worn by the great personages from the higher realms. They are usually adorned with the most beautiful of precious stones, fashioned in various shapes, and mounted in beautifully wrought settings, according to the rulings that govern such matters. The higher beings, too, will be seen to be wearing the most magnificent diadems as brilliant as their girdles. The same law applies to these. Those of us of lesser degree may perhaps be wearing some such embellishment as I have just described, hut in a greatly modified form.
There is an enormous wealth of spirit lore behind the whole subject of spirit adornments, but one fact can be plainly stated: all such adornments must be earned. Rewards are given only upon merit.
We may wear what we like upon our feet, and most of us prefer to wear a covering of some sort. It usually takes the form of a light shoe or sandal. I have seen numbers of people here who have a predilection for going barefooted, and they do so. It is perfectly in order, and it excites no comment whatever. It is natural and commonplace with us.
The material of which our robes are made is not transparent, as some would perhaps be inclined to imagine! It is substantial enough. And the reason why it is not transparent is that our clothing possesses the same vibrational rate of the wearer. The higher one progresses the higher this rate becomes, and consequently dwellers in those elevated spheres will take on an unimaginable tenuousness both of spirit body and clothing. That tenuousness is the more apparent to us than to them, that is, externally apparent, for the same reason that a small light will seem so much the brighter by virtue of the surrounding darkness. When the light is magnified a thousand times--as it is in the case of the higher realms--the contrast is immeasurably greater.
We seldom wear any covering upon our heads. I do not remember seeing anything of the sort anywhere in this realm. We have no need for protection against the elements!
I think you will have concluded by now that to be a spirit person can be a very pleasant experience.
And in my travels through these realms of light I have yet to find a single solitary individual who would willingly exchange this grand, free life in the spirit world for the old life upon the earth-plane.