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LIFE IN THE WORLD UNSEEN
XIV. SPIRIT INFLUENCE

IT is the habit of most men to look upon the spirit world and the earth world as two planes apart, separate and distinct. They regard the two worlds as being each independent of the other, cut off from each other, and both entirely uninformed or unaware of what the other is doing. That the spirit world could possibly have any influence upon the earth world to the latter's advantage is demonstrated to be altogether false by the state of universal disorder that exists through the entire earth world.

       There is another school of thought, consisting of those who have made a superficial study of what they call occultism. These people believe that the earth world, being indisputably very earthy, and the spirit world being incontrovertibly very spiritual, the two worlds are for these reasons automatically inhibited from anything like intercommunication.

             Both these lines of thought are unquestionably wrong. The two worlds, yours and ours, are in constant and direct communication, and we are fully aware of what is occurring upon the earth-plane at all times. I do not, for one minute, say that we all of us know what is taking place with you. Those of us who are in active communion with you are conversant with your personal affairs and with the affairs of your world in general While the rest of us here, who have no further active interest the earth-plane since we left it, may be unaware of many thin in connexion with it, those wise beings in the higher realms a in possession of all knowledge of what is transpiring upon earth

        I would like to indicate one or two channels through which the influence of the spirit world is exerted upon the earth world.

        First, we might take that influence in a personal way.

       Every soul that has been, and is to be, born upon the cart plane has allocated to him--or her--a spirit guide. In past ages some such idea must have filtered through into the minds of the early churchmen, since they adopted the pious notion of giving to every incarnate person an unseen protector whom they call a 'guardian angel'. These guardian angels sometimes found this way into contemporary art, where the artists drew a somewhat vapid individual habited in glistening white garments and such porting from his shoulders a pair of enormous wings. The whole conception would suggest by its very implications a remoteness or a great gulf, between the guardian angel and the soul he who supposed to be guarding. He would, one might say, be unable to draw very near his charge because of extreme spiritual refinement upon the one hand, and repelling earthly grossness upon the other.

        Let us turn from this inaccurate figment of the artist's brain to something a little more practical.

        Spirit guides constitute one of the grandest orders in the whole organization and administration of the spirit world. They inhabitant a realm of their own, and they have all lived for many centuries in the spirit world. They are drawn from every nationality that exists upon the earth-plane, and they function regardless of nationality. A great many of them are drawn from caste countries, and from the North American Indians, too, because it has always been the case that dwellers in those regions of earth world were, and are, already possessed of psychic gift themselves, and were therefore aware of the inter-relationship of our two worlds.

        The principal guide is chosen for each individual on the earth plane in conformity with a fixed plan. Most guides are temperamentally similar to their charges in the latters' finer natures but what is most important the guides understand and are in sympathy with their charges' failings. Many of them, indeed, had the same failings when they were incarnate, and among other useful services they try to help their charges overcome those failings and weaknesses.

        A great number of those who practice communication with the spirit world have already met their spirit guides and are in close touch with them. And fortunate, indeed, they are. The guides, too, are never happier than when they have established a direct link with those whose lives they are helping to direct. It would be safe to say that by far the greater number of spirit guides carry on their work all unknown to those whom they serve, and their task is so much the heavier and more difficult. But there are still others whose lives upon earth render it practically impossible for their guides to approach within any reasonable distance of them. It naturally saddens them to see the mistakes and follies into which their charges are plunging themselves, and to be obliged to stand aloof because of the thick wall of material impenetrability which they have built up round themselves. Such souls, when they at last arrive in the spirit world, awake to a full realization of what they have thus missed during their earth lives. In such cases the guide's work will not be entirely in vain, for even in the worst souls there comes an occasion, however transient, when the conscience speaks, and it is usually the spirit guide who has implanted the better thought within the brain.

        It must never for one instant be thought that the influence of the spirit guide negatives or violates the possession or expression of free will. If, upon the earth-plane, you were to observe somebody about to take a false step into a stream of traffic upon the road, the fact that you put out your hand to stop him would in no way impinge upon his exercise of free will. A spirit guide will try to give advice when his advice can be got through to his charge; he will try to lead him in the right direction solely for his own good, and it remains for his charge, in the exercise of his free will, to take that advice or reject it. If he does the latter, he can only blame himself if disaster or trouble overtakes him. At the same time, the spirit guides are not there to live a person's life for him. That he must do himself.

        It has become a habit among a certain class of individuals of the earth-plane to ridicule the whole establishment of spirit guides. There will assuredly come a time when they will bitterly repent their folly, and that day will be whereon they meet in the spirit world their own guide, who probably knows more about their lives than they do themselves! We in the spirit world can afford to pass by such ridicule as this, because we know that the day will inevitably come when they will arrive in the spirit world, and great is the remorse--and, in many instances, the self-pity--of those who have, in their supposed wisdom, made fools of themselves.

        Apart from spirit guides, there is another prolific source of influence that derives from the world of spirit.   I have told, for example, how earthly doctors' hands will be guided, in performing an operation, by the hand of a spirit doctor. In many other walk of life spirit inspiration is being carried on in the same way as it has been carried on since the dawn of time. Incarnate man can really do very little of himself, and he is the first to realize it when he comes here to live. Man can perform certain mechanical action with precision and exactitude. He can paint a picture, he can play upon an instrument, he can manipulate machinery, but all the major discoveries that are of service to the earth-plane have come and always will come, from the spirit world. to man, employing his free will, chooses to put those discoveries to base ends, the he can thank himself for the calamities that follow. Inspiration devoted to whatever cause or pursuit, comes from the world spirit, and from nowhere else. If it be for the good of mankind the source is equally good; if the inspiration is obviously not for the good of mankind, then the source is unquestionably evil Man has it within his own hands as to which source of inspiration he will lend himself--to good or to evil.

        You will remember how I have told you that a person is exact the same spiritually the moment after he has 'died' as he was the moment before. No instantaneous change takes place to turn an earthly lifetime of evil into good.

        One orthodox church takes the view, which is also an infallible teaching, that those of us who return to the earth-plane and mal our presence known, are all devils! It is a pity that the church is so blind, for it can be said that they are trying--ineffectually to stifle the forces of good, while they are ignoring the real force of evil. If they encouraged the forces of good to come to them the forces of evil would soon be put to flight.   The churches, whatever denomination, suffer from abysmal ignorance. Throw out the ages right down to the present time they have gone their own blind, ignorant way, disseminating fantastic teachings place of the truth, and paving the way, through the universe ignorance begotten of such false teachings, for the forces of to operate.

        A minister of the church performs the services and offices prescribed by his particular sect, and he stifles all inspiration by holding to creeds and dogmas that are utterly false. If he were interrogated in the matter he would reply that he believed in inspiration--in a vague, remote way. In the long run he would find it much less trouble to borrow the religious thoughts of some other incarnate person, and rely upon his own cleverness for any original thought. But to suggest that the spirit world has any influence upon the earth world other than evil, would be totally against his principles.

        It is a strange habit of mind that persists in the belief that it is always the forces of evil from the spirit world that try to make their power felt upon the earth-plane. The forces of evil are attributed with powers which, it would seem, are denied to the forces of good. Why? And why are the churches mortally afraid to 'try the spirits'--as they are advised to do in the very book upon which they place so much reliance? They ignore this text, and point a warning finger to the supposed woman of Endor.

        The spirit world works constantly to make its power and force and presence felt by the whole earth world, not only in personal matters, but through individuals into a wider sphere for the good of nations and national policies. But so little can be done, because the door is usually closed to the higher beings of the spirit world, whose range of vision, and whose wisdom and knowledge and understanding are vast. Think of the evils that could be swept from the face of the earth under the immensely able guidance of wise teachers from the spirit world. The world of spirit does its best through the limited channels available. But it is safe to say that there is no problem upon the earth-plane that could not be solved by the help and advice and experience of those beings I have just mentioned. But it would involve one thing--an implicit adherence to whatever they advised or advocated. Many a leader, either of the nation's affairs or of religious thought, who is here with us in the spirit world, is filled with sorrow when he looks back upon the wasted opportunities for bringing about a revolutionary change for the betterment of his fellow countrymen. He will confess that he had the idea in his mind--he did not know then that it had been impinged thereupon by the spirit world-- but he had allowed himself to be overruled. These souls sigh for the state into which humanity has degraded itself. Humanity has, in effect, allowed the evil forces to dictate to it. But the evil ones, so beloved by the churches, have appeared in a different direction from that which those same churches allege that they come. The men and women who practice communication with us in all seriousness and earnestness, and who enjoy happy meetings with their spirit friends as well as with noble teachers from the higher spheres, are accused of dealings with 'devils'. This is rubbish. The real devils are far too busy elsewhere, in places where they can produce far greater results to their own evil satisfaction

        You will say that my outlook seems rather pessimistic; really, after all, the earth world is not so bad as I paint it. That is perfectly true, because we have managed to get through the, earth world just one or two of our ideas and thoughts and precepts But it can safely be said that in spite of universal earth-world disorder, had we withdrawn every element of our influence earth world would, in a very brief time, be reduced to a of complete and absolute barbarity and chaos. And the reason that man thinks he can get along nicely by his own powers volition. He is conceited enough to think that he requires no help from any source whatever As for assistance from the spirit world--if such a place exists--it is unthinkable! If there is such a place as the spirit world, it is fully time enough to begin thinking it when one arrives there. For the present, then, they are so superior that they know everything, and can manage their own affairs perfectly well without the help of a shadowy spirit world. When many men arrive here in the same world of spirit that scorned, they see their own littleness and the littleness of the world they have just left. But small though the earth work be, man still needs help in conducting its affairs--and that another discovery that he makes when he comes here.

        The earth world is beautiful, and life upon it could be beautiful as well, but man steps in and prevents it. The spirit world is surpassingly beautiful, more beautiful than the mind of incarnate can possibly imagine. I have tried to show you a glimpse or two of it. But your world looks very dark to us, and very hard to bring a little light to it. We try to make our presence known, our influence felt. Our influence is great, but it has to be increased far, far beyond its present range. When we and our world gain full acceptance you will then know what it means to live upon the earth-plane.

        But we have a long, long way to go yet.