To LEAVE the earth world and to take up permanent residence in the spirit world is not such a personal upheaval as some people might be disposed to imagine. It is true that for a great many all earthly ties are severed, but when we pass into the spirit world we meet again those of our relatives and friends who have passed over before us. In this respect we start a fresh period in our lives, apart altogether from the new life that begins with our entry into the world of spirit.
The meetings with relations and friends are something that must be experienced in order to grasp the full significance and joy of reunion. Such meetings will only take place where there is mutual sympathy and affection. We will not, for the moment, consider any other. These gatherings will continue for some while after the arrival of the new resident. It is natural that in the novelty both of surroundings and condition some time should be spent in a grand exchange of news, and in bearing of all has transpired in the spirit lives of those who have 'predeceased' us. Eventually that time will come when the newly-arrived individual will begin to consider what be is to do with spirit life.
Now, it might be said that with most of us on the earth-plane we have a two-fold existence--our home life and the life connected with our business or occupation. In the latter we associate perhaps, with an entirely different group of people. It is there in the natural order of things, here in spirit, that much the same state of things should also exist. The scientist, for example, will meet, first of all, his own family connexions. When the quest of work is broached he will find himself among his old leagues who have passed into the spirit world before him, he will again feel more than at home. And he will be more then overjoyed at the prospect of the scientific research that stretches before him. It is the same with the musician, the painter, author, the engineer, the doctor, the gardener, the stone mason or the man who weaved carpets in a factory, to mention but fraction of the many occupations both of the earth and spirit worlds. It will be seen from this that the question which puzzles many folk, namely, what becomes of the famous people in spirit world?--practically answers itself.
Fame in the spirit world is vastly different from fame in the earth world. Spiritual fame carries with it distinctions of a very different order from the earthly distinctions, and it is gained one way only--in service to others. It sounds almost too simple to be feasible, but such is the case, and nothing will alter it. Whether the earthly famous will reside in the realms of live immediately after their dissolution remains with themselves. the law applies to all irrespective of earthly position.
A certain inquisitiveness concerning the general fate of the well known upon the earth-plane, is possessed by most people who are in their early days of psychic study. The mere fact their being well known is sufficient. But none calls forth me curiosity than the historically famous people. Where are they the masters in all branches of earthly endeavor, the names that are familiar in the history books? They must be somewhere Most certainly they are. A good number of them are to be found in the dark realms where they have been living for countless centuries, and they are more than likely so to continue for many countless centuries. Others are in those exalted realms of light and beauty, where their noble lives upon earth have found the just reward. But there are many, a great many, who will find themselves within these realms whereof I have tried to give you some account.
I cannot do better than give you an example, of which, for our present purpose, I have gathered a few details.
It concerns the passing into the spirit world of a royal personage. I take this case because, although an extreme one, it demonstrates more clearly than any other the principles that govern life in general in the spirit world.
In this particular case we knew beforehand that this personage was about to come to the spirit world. His own countrymen were naturally interested in what was about to take place. His own family, in common with any other family here, were ready and awaiting his arrival. A short illness was the occasion of his passing here, and as soon as dissolution had taken place he was taken to the home of his mother, who had everything in readiness for him. The home is an inconspicuous one, similar, broadly speaking, to others here about. The news had spread that he had at last arrived. There was no universal rejoicing, such as might take place upon the earth-plane following a safe home-coming, but happiness was felt for all those who were directly concerned with the arrival in the spirit world of this well-known and much-loved figure. And there he remained for a time, enjoying a seclusion and freedom of action and a simplicity of life that had been denied him upon the earth-plane. He needed rest after his active life and the illness that terminated its earthly span. Numbers of people who had formed part of his official circle as well as his private circle, and who had passed on before him, had called to inquire after him, but they had not seen him as yet. There had been, of course, a grand family reunion, and as soon as he had rested sufficiently, he issued forth to see the wonders of his new life.
He retained to a noticeable extent his former and usual personal appearance. The signs of illness and bodily and mental fatigue had disappeared, and he looked some years younger. The rest had achieved its purpose as unfailingly as usual.
As he walked abroad he was recognized for what he had been, and respected for it, but he was still more honored and respected and loved for what he now was. Now, you may think that as soon as he met and mingled with his own countrymen, the latter would have shown some embarrassment, perhaps, and exhibited a general air of diffidence such as they would have done, perforce, upon the earth-plane. But during that period of recuperation much had been explained to him as to the conditions of life in the spirit world, its methods, its laws, and its pleasant customs. Such revelations had filled him with happiness, and he knew that as soon as he left the seclusion of his mother's house to venture abroad, he could do so with a freedom that is only to be found in spirit lands, where the inhabitants would regard him in the light in which he would wish to be regarded--that of a plain man desirous of joining with his fellow beings in their happiness and their rejoicings. He knew that he would be treated as one of themselves. When, therefore, in company with members of his family, he walked through these realms on the voyage of discovery that is such a common sight among the newly arrived, he did not experience in himself or cause in others any feelings of mental discomfort. No one referred to his earthly position, unless he himself broached the subject, and then there was no suspicion of inquisitiveness or ignorant curiosity.
You may think that one who had occupied so elevated a position upon the earth-plane would engender in the minds of others here thoughts of sympathy with such a change of relative position that had taken place. But no such feelings of sympathy are ever wished for, nor extended, in these realms in such cases, for the very good reason that the occasion for them never arises. We have left our earthly importance behind us, and we do not refer to it except to show, by our own experiences, to others still incarnate, just what to avoid. We do not revive our memories for the purpose of self-glorification, or to impress our hearers. Indeed, they would not be in the least impressed, and we should only succeed in making fools of ourselves We recognize the truth here, and our true worth is for all to see. It is spiritual worth, and that alone, that counts, irrespective of what we were upon the earth-plane. Perspectives and view-points are completely altered when one comes into the spirit world. However mighty we were upon the earth-plane, it is spiritual worth only that takes us to our right place in the spirit world, and it is the deeds of our life, regardless of social position, that at our transition will assign to us our proper abode. Position is forgotten, but deeds and thoughts are the witnesses for or against us, and we become our own judges.
It is not difficult to see, then, that when this royal personage arrived in the spirit world, like others of his family before him he found himself faced with no difficulties or awkward situations. It was just the reverse, for the whole situation seemed to simplify itself, and provided its own solution. Now, what applies in this extreme case, applies equally to all who were famous upon the earth-plane. But how does this affect some well-known scientist, let us say, or a musical composer, or a painter? To us, and to themselves--they will be learners, and humble learners, too, in whatever branch of science or art their earthly lives led them. To you, still incarnate, they are famous names, and when we have occasion to refer to them in speaking to you we use those names by which they are familiar. Here, in the spirit world, they dislike to be referred to as masters or geniuses. Their names, however famous, mean nothing to them personally, and they sternly repudiate anything that even remotely approaches the hero-worship that the earth world accords them. They are just one of ourselves, and as such they wish to be--and are--so treated.
In the spirit world the law of cause and effect applies equally to all people, regardless of their former earthly status. This law is no new thing. It has always been in existence, and so every famous name that is to be found within the chronicles of nations comes strictly within the jurisdiction of this law. The soul who passes his earthly life in obscurity, known only to one or two people, is subject to this same law just as much as the soul whose name is a household word among nations. In living in these realms one is inevitably bound, sooner or later, to encounter some person whose name is known to all upon the earth-plane. But these famous folk have no attachment to the earth world. They have left it behind them, and many of those who passed to here hundreds of earthly years ago are glad to have no occasion to recall their earthly lives. Such numbers of them suffered a violent transition that they are happy to consider their present only, and leave their past sealed up in their memory.
The people of the earth world may think it strange to walk through these realms and mingle with persons who lived on the earth-plane hundreds--and, in some cases, thousands--of years ago. A meeting of the past, as it were, with the eternal present. But it is not strange to us here. It may be so for the newly-arrived, but then there are many other things that may seem strange--at first. Discretion is something we soon learn to exercise, and it is embodied in our never prying into the facts and circumstances of other people's earthly lives. That does not mean to say that we are debarred from discussing our earthly lives, but the initiative always comes from the person concerned. If he wishes to tell anyone of his life on earth he will ever find a sympathetic and interested ear awaiting him.
You can see, then, that our earthly lives are very strictly our own. The discretion that we exercise is universal among us--we show it and we receive it. And whatever our former position upon earth, we are united in these realms, spiritually, intellectually, temperamentally, and in such human traits as our like and dislikes. We are one; we have achieved the same state of being upon the same plane of existence. Every fresh face that enters these realms receives the same heartfelt welcome, without reference to what he was upon earth.
One will meet many people here, who were famous upon earth, in all sorts of places and pursuing all sorts of occupations some of the latter a continuation of their earthly calling, and some, perforce, entirely new. All alike are approachable without formalities of any kind whatever. We need no introductions to men and women whom the earth knows as famous. Their gift are at the disposal of all, and happy, indeed, are they to assist another who comes to them for help in any difficulties, whether it is in art or science, or in any other form of activity. The great who have gained their greatness through the various expression of their genius, consider themselves but the lowly units of a vast whole, the immense organization of the spirit world. They are all striving--as we are too--for the same purpose, and that is spiritual progression and development. They are grateful for any help towards that end, and they are glad to give it wherever possible.
The riches and honors of the earth world seem very tawdry and trumpery by comparison with the spiritual riches and honors that are ready to be won here. And those riches and honors are within the grasp of every soul the instant he enter the spirit world. They are his spiritual birthright, of which no one can deprive him, and it rests with himself just how long it will be before he gains them. Earthly greatness may seem very tangible while we are in the midst of it. Just how tangible it is can be seen as soon as our dissolution takes place. Then we find that it is spiritual greatness that is concrete and permanent. Our earthly prominence just melts away as we step into the spirit world, and we stand revealed for what we are, not for what we were.
Several of the earth world's famous people have spoken to me of their awakening in the spirit world, and they have told me of the shock of revelation they received when they beheld themselves for the first time as they really were.
But oft-times greatness of earthly position goes hand in hand with greatness of soul, and thus spiritual progression an development continue without intermission from the moment of dissolution.