Spiritsm! Mediumship! A hot battle rages over them, for and against. It is not my task to say anything about its opponents and their eager denials. That would be a waste of time, for every logical thinker needs only to read of the way the so-called research and investigations are carried out to realize the complete ignorance and definite incapacity of these “investigators.” Why? If I want to investigate the earth, I must adapt myself to its nature. If, on the contrary, I wish to explore the sea, I have no choice but to adapt myself to the nature of water and to use the appropriate aids. To tackle water with spade and shovel or with drilling machines would not get me far in my investigations. Or should I perhaps deny the existence of water because my spade passes right through it, contrary to what happens when I place it in the more familiar solid earth? Or because I cannot walk upon water as I do upon solid earth? Opponents will declare: But that is different, for I can both see and feel that water exists, and nobody can deny it!
How long ago was it that man energetically denied the existence of myriads of colorful organisms in a drop of water, whose existence is now known to every child? And why was their existence denied? Only because man could not see them! It was not until an instrument adapted to their nature had been invented that man could recognize, see and observe this new world.
The same applies to the non-material World, the so-called beyond! First become seeing! Then you may permit yourself to judge! It is up to you, not up to the “other world.” Apart from your physical body you also have the substance of the other world within you, while those in the beyond no longer possess your gross material substance. You demand and expect that those in the beyond, who no longer have gross matter at their disposal, should approach you (give signs, etc.). You wait for them to prove their existence to you, who have at your disposal the substance of the beyond as well as your physical substance, while you yourself sit waiting with the gestures of a judge.
You build the bridge which you can build. At long last work with the same substance that you too have at your command, and learn to become seeing thereby! Or keep silent if you cannot manage this, and continue to nourish what is of gross matter, and which weighs upon ethereal substance more and more heavily. The day will come when the ethereal must separate itself from the gross-material, and then it will lie exhausted, because it is no longer accustomed to flight; for all this is subject to the physical laws, just as the physical body is. Only movement brings strength! You do not need mediums in order to perceive ethereal substance. Just observe the life of the ethereal part within you. Give it what it needs to grow strong through your will. Or would you also dispute the existence of your will because you can neither see nor touch it?
How often do you feel the effects of your will within yourselves. You sense them, but you can neither see nor touch them, whether it be exaltation, joy or sorrow, anger or envy. If the will is to be effective it must possess the power to create a pressure, for without pressure there can be no effect, no sensing. And where there is pressure something solid of the same substance must be active, otherwise no pressure could result.
Thus there must be solid forms of a substance that you can neither see nor touch with your physical body. And such is the substance of the beyond, which you can only perceive by means of the homogeneous substance also inherent in you.
The battle for and against life after physical death is strange, often even verging on the ludicrous. He who is able to reflect and observe calmly, without prejudice and self-desires, will soon find that everything, positively everything, speaks for the probability of an existing world of a different substance which the average person of today is unable to see. There are so many occurrences which keep reminding us of this fact and which cannot simply be pushed aside heedlessly as non-existing. On the other hand, the only thing in favor of an absolute cessation of life after physical death is the desire of many persons who would thereby like to evade every spiritual responsibility in which neither cleverness nor cunning, but only genuine intuition is weighed. —
But to turn to the adherents of spiritism, spiritualism, etc., or whatever name they choose to give it. In the end they all suffer from the same thing, great errors!
The adherents are often more dangerous and harmful to the truth than the adversaries!
There are only a few among the millions who want to be told the truth. Most of them are entangled in a huge web of small errors, which hinders them from finding the path to the plain truth. Where does the blame lie? With the beyond perhaps? No! Or with the mediums? No, not there either! Only with the individual himself! He is not severe and stern enough with himself. He does not want to throw over his preconceived opinions, and shrinks from destroying the self-constructed picture of the beyond which has long filled him with pious shivers and a certain feeling of well-being, though in fact this only exists in his imagination. And woe to him who would dare to touch upon this! Every adherent has a stone ready to throw at him! He clings firmly to his opinions and is quite prepared to call those in the beyond lying or teasing spirits, or to charge the mediums with deficiency, rather than to calmly examine himself and reflect whether his conception may have been wrong.
Where, then, should I begin to root out the many weeds? It would be work without end. Therefore let what I say here be only for those who are really seriously seeking, for only such shall find.
Here is an example: A man visits a medium, whether one of note or not is of no importance! There are others with him, and a “séance” begins. The medium “fails” and nothing happens. What are the consequences? Some say: The medium is no good. Others declare: All spiritism amounts to nothing. Investigators boastfully assert: “The frequently tested mediumistic qualities of the medium were all a swindle, for as soon as we come the medium does not dare to do anything and the ‘spirits’ are silent!” Believers and those who are convinced, however, go away depressed. The reputation of the medium, however, suffers and, if there are repeated “failures” it is ruined. If the medium has a sort of manager and money is charged, the manager will nervously urge the medium to make greater efforts when people pay money for it, etc. In short: there will be doubt, derision and discontent and, in a new attempt, the medium will make desperate efforts to get into a trance and, in a sort of nervous self-delusion, perhaps unconsciously say something he imagines he has heard, or simply resort to direct deception which, in fact, is not very difficult for a speaking medium. The verdict: It is all a swindle and a denial of spiritism altogether because some mediums, due to the circumstances mentioned above, may have resorted to deception to avoid increasing animosity. Here are a few questions:
1. Is there any class of society where no swindlers are to be found? Does one in other cases immediately condemn the ability of honest workers on account of a few swindlers?
2. Why just in these matters and actually nowhere else?
Everyone can easily answer these questions for himself.
But who is principally to blame for such unworthy conditions? Not the medium, but most certainly the people themselves! Through their extremely one-sided views, and particularly through their utter ignorance, they force the medium to choose between suffering unjust attacks and practicing deception.
Mankind does not easily leave a middle course open to a medium.
I am speaking here only of a medium who can be taken seriously, not of the numerous would-be mediums who try to push their insignificant abilities into the foreground. It is also far from my thoughts to advocate in any way for the great number of followers of mediums because the spiritists who throng round mediums have real value only in very rare cases, with the exception of serious investigators who approach this unexplored region in order to learn and not to ignorantly pass judgment. To the greater number of the so-called believers these visits or “séances” bring no progress, but rather standstill or retrogression. They become so dependent that they cannot make any decisions on their own, but always want to get the advice of “those in the beyond” often about the most ridiculous things, and mostly for earthly trivialities.
A serious investigator or an honest seeker will always be indignant at the incredible narrow-mindedness of those who for years have been constant visitors to mediums, with whom they feel quite “at home.” With an air of exceeding cleverness and superiority they talk the greatest nonsense and sit with hypocritical devotion enjoying the pleasant thrill that contact with invisible forces brings to their imagination. Many mediums bask in the flattering talk of such regular visitors who, in reality, are only expressing their selfish wish to “experience” as much as possible themselves. The “experiencing” in their case, however, is only the same as hearing or seeing, in other words, being entertained. Nothing ever becomes “real experience” within them.
What should a serious person take into consideration in such matters?
1. The fact that a medium can contribute nothing whatever to ensure “success” apart from inwardly opening himself, i.e., to surrender himself, and otherwise to waiting. A medium is a tool that is used, an instrument which of itself cannot give forth any sound until it is played. Therefore there can be no question of failure. He who talks in this way only shows narrow-mindedness, and he should keep his hands off. Nor should he express any opinion because he cannot judge in the matter; just as he who finds learning arduous should avoid the university. A medium, then, is simply a bridge or a means to an end.
2. The fact that it is the visitors who play a great role in this! Not by their outward or even social standing, but by their inner life! The inner life is a world of itself as even the greatest scoffers realize. Naturally, it cannot be “nothing” with all its intuitions, its generative and nurturing thoughts, but there must logically be ethereal bodies or things which through pressure or influence awaken intuitive feelings, which could not arise otherwise. Neither could pictures be seen in spirit where there is nothing. Just such a conception would mean the greatest gap in the laws of the exact sciences. Thus, something must be there, and something is there, for the generative thought immediately creates in the Ethereal World corresponding forms, the density and vitality of which depend on the intuitive power of the generative thoughts concerned. Therefore what is called the “inner life” of a man produces a corresponding ethereally homogeneous environment around him.
And it is this environment which must affect a medium, who is more strongly attuned to the Ethereal World, either in a pleasant or disagreeable, or even painful, way. Thus it may happen that genuine messages from the Ethereal World are not transmitted quite so purely if the medium is hindered, oppressed or confused by the presence of people who have an ethereally or spiritually impure inner life. But it goes further still. This impurity constitutes a barrier to purer ethereal matter, even if this is guided by a personal spirit, a will that is free also in the ethereal world, so that no message can be transmitted save one of an equally impure ethereal nature.
Of course, in the case of visitors who have a pure inner life, contact with a correspondingly pure ethereal environment is possible. Everything different, however, forms an unbridgeable gap! That is why such differences exist in the so-called séances, why there is frequent complete failure or confusion. This all rests on immutable, purely physical laws which operate in the beyond in exactly the same way as they do in this world.
This puts the disparaging reports of “investigators” in a different light. And he who is able to observe the ethereal happenings must smile at many an investigator who, in his report, pronounces judgment on himself, exposes his own inner life and only reproves the state of his own soul.
Here is a second example: A man visits a medium. It happens that a departed relative speaks to him through the medium. He asks his advice perhaps on quite an important earthly matter. The departed one gives him a few directions which the visitor looks upon as gospel truth, as a revelation from the beyond, which he obeys minutely, with the result... that he is taken in and often suffers heavy damage.
What is the result? The visitor will first of all have doubts about the medium. In his disappointment and perhaps annoyance at his loss he may work against the medium. In some cases he will even feel obliged to proceed publicly against him in order to save others from similar loss and deception. (In connection with this I should now explain life in the beyond, how by doing this such a person opens himself to similar ethereal currents through the attraction of what is spiritually homogeneous, and how, as a tool of such counter-currents, he may then develop into a fanatic in the proud consciousness of standing up for the truth, thereby rendering a great service to mankind. In reality, however, he makes himself a slave to impurity and burdens himself with karma which it will take a lifetime and more to redeem. New threads will continue to emerge from this, weaving a net in which he will entangle himself, until finally he no longer knows which way to turn and, in his antagonism, rages on more fiercely.)
Or, if the disappointed visitor does not regard the medium as a swindler, he will at least have grave doubts about the entire beyond, or may take the usual easy road as thousands do, and say to himself: “What concern of mine is the other world. Let others rack their brains about it. I have better things to do.” The “better things” however, are things that serve the physical body by making money and thus withdrawing still further from ethereal things. Where, then, does the actual blame lie? Again only with man himself! He had formed a false picture when he accepted what was said as gospel truth. That was his fault alone, nobody else was to blame. He assumed that a departed spirit, by virtue of its ethereal nature, became at the same time partly omniscient, or at least possessed greater knowledge. Many hundreds of thousands make this mistake. The only additional knowledge that a departed being possesses following his transformation is that he has not really ceased to exist after so-called death.
But that is all, so long as he makes no use of the opportunity to advance in the Ethereal World, which also depends on his own free decision. Therefore, when he is questioned about worldly matters, he will give his opinion with the good intention of fulfilling the wish of the questioner, convinced that he is giving the best advice. But he himself is not conscious of the fact that he is in no position to judge material matters and conditions as clearly as a man still living there in flesh and blood, because he lacks the gross material substance which is absolutely necessary to form a proper judgment. His view of the matter, therefore, must be quite a different one. Still he gives what he can and, with the best intention, the best he knows. Thus neither he nor the medium can be blamed. Nor is he a lying spirit. In fact we should only distinguish between knowing and unknowing spirits, for as soon as a spirit sinks, i.e., becomes more impure and dense, his perspective simultaneously and automatically narrows. He gives and expresses only what he feels; he lives only with his intuition, not with his calculating intellect, which he no longer possesses, since this was bound to his earthly brain and thereby limited to space and time. As soon as that fell away at death, there was no more thinking and reflecting for him, but solely intuitive perception, direct and continual experiencing!
The fault lies with those who still seek advice in earthly matters bound to space and time from those who no longer have this restriction and can therefore not understand it.
Although those in the beyond are in a position to discern what is the right or the wrong course in any matter, it is up to man to weigh and consider with his earthly tools, i.e., with his intellect, and experience how best to follow the right course. He must bring it into accord with earthly possibilities! That is his work.
Even when a spirit who has fallen deeply gets the opportunity of influencing and speaking, nobody can say that he lies or tries to mislead, for he only transmits what he lives and tries to convince others of it as well. He cannot give anything else.
Thus there are innumerable errors in the conceptions of spiritists.
“Spiritism” has come into great disrepute, not of itself, but through the majority of its adherents, who after only a few and often very meager results, enthusiastically imagine that the veil has been drawn aside for them. Then they eagerly try to regale others with a picture of ethereal life which they made up themselves, which was created by an unbridled imagination, and which, above all, completely meets their own desires. Such pictures, however, seldom conform to the Truth!