Borderland Experiences

By Thomas Parker Boyd

1. The Communion of Saints

Just what do we mean by "I believe in the communion of Saints?" Is it some beatific exercise of those who have passed on, or the brotherly interchange of people in the flesh? Is it some hazy and indefinite meditation by which we can hold in imagination a one-sided conversation with the Saints?

Are these Saints living, intelligent beings who have lived on the earth as we are living, passed through its various experiences, achieved something of the Christian character, and passed into another realm of activity? Are these intelligent and good beings still interested in those in the earth life, and act as ministering spirits to them, not only seeking to give them a spiritual atmosphere in which to live, but also to project thoughts and messages of truth into their mental life so that they may grasp and use them in a practical and helpful way?

Today, war is hurling vast numbers violently out of the flesh, and they are entering the domain of that undiscovered country from which tradition says that no traveler has returned. The mind of humanity turns with intense scrutiny to catch some fleeting vision, to hear some footfall, or sense some message that will tell them that the spiritual world is real, and that if a man dies, he lives again.

The heart of humanity longs to know by reasonable assurance that love cannot cease, life die, or identity be lost. Therefore, as never before, the human mind is beating at the barriers that have so persistently shut us out from knowledge of the undiscovered country.

Something within us gives strong presumptive assurance that "there is a path which no fowl knows; the vulture's eye hath not seen it; the young lion hath not trodden upon it, nor the fierce lion passed it by" (Job 28:7), though we readily concede that we have not perceived it through the instrumentality of the five senses. In some vague way we realize that we "spiritually discern" things in the spiritual realm, and that the known material methods of attesting facts and classifying them must be readjusted since we have to depend upon other than material means to verify these facts.

“We spiritually discern things in the spiritual realm.” – T. P. Boyd

Prejudice, bigotry, and superstition have arrayed themselves on the side of ignorance concerning the future life. We have brought scientific knowledge of the mind and its laws of operation to play to prove that the so-called evidences of life and integrity beyond the grave are a combination of automatism, gullibility, and predisposition in favor of phenomena because of personal interest.

By a narrow and prejudiced view and interpretation, they have constructed the injunctions of the Old Testament against soothsayers, astrologers, and all such people who profess to see the unseen by any means whatever, into an indictment against any efforts to pierce the veil that hides the unseen.

It is easily understandable that any system of religious faith or any scheme of priestcraft might naturally give expression to maledictions and anathemas against some gross and spectacular method of doing things because it would be more popular with the masses than their own.

It requires a perfectly open mind and clearness of vision to perceive that from the lowest material manifestation of table-tipping to the most exalted statement of the inspired prophet, a general underlying principle of communion between the seen and the unseen exists.

Just why we should find it logical and useful to express our religious experiences, religious faith and ideals in material forms, with specially qualified people in charge of these to direct them, but draw the line at having some specific method, agency or persons, by which we may know the mind of the spirits, is not apparent.

Everyone's impulse is to philosophize about life overall, and in particular about those phases of it that vitally affect them. They arenot satisfied on any point until they have formulated a rational working hypothesis from known or estimated facts. The insistent demand of the human soul is to know, and the right to know is universally conceded today, unless one is seeking to know the facts of the future life, and to get the latest reports from those who have passed to it. We have general statements, but need concrete information, despite those who oppose the idea of getting it direct and first handed.

“The insistent demand of the human soul is to know.” – T. P. Boyd

Nearly all people instinctively believe an afterlife is possible, and have essentially hazy ideas about it. Yet in this world today, we need a host of men and women who can say with a sense of absolute certainty, "If I go away from you into the spiritual realm, I will come again."

Most of us accept without question, the fact that people in the flesh have talked with God in the spirit. People have conversed with angels, talked with those who have lived in the flesh in past ages, and have sent distinct messages to others over great distances, without any material means of communication.

Viewing these accepted facts, it does seem that we ought to be open-minded to the idea that Communion of the Saints includes the experiences of sending and receiving communications to and from them.

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2. The Missing Link

Communication between two points or between two persons resolves itself into a question of a suitable intermediary in material affairs. We have used runners, signal fires on hilltops, mirrors reflecting the sunlight, written communications, telegraph, telephone, and the wireless, each in turn becoming more refined and approaching the spiritual.

Also, in a very imperfect way, some have practiced the method of thought transference known as "mental telepathy" in spiritual activities. Multitudes of people have used prayer in its many forms, and have received answers so definite and specific, that nothing could alter their testimony, "I called on the Lord and He heard and answered my petition." We have used sacrifices and burnt offerings, priestly intercession, confession and absolution.

The characteristic attitude of the human mind in the presence of the unseen is expressed in the words of ancient Israel: "Let God speak to thee, and do thou speak to us, but let not God speak to us, lest we die." – Exodus 20:19. Nine-tenths of the human race still practice the principle involved in that action.

We have not learned to talk to God or have Him talk to us directly, but must have a priest or a minister of religion, whatever the title, who will act as an intermediary. The idea of communicating with God in this way does not seem at all inconsistent, at least to the nine-tenths of humanity who practice it.

These ministers of religion are so by virtue of an actual or assumed bent of mind and habit of thought, which makes them more sensitive and open to the finer impulses of spiritual vibration than the ordinary masses. These qualifications furnish the basis of their divine call to minister to others. One will scarcely care to assume that none get "called" without having the qualifications.

These methods have always seemed to the orthodox to have been the proper means of procedure. It is unclear therefore just why people should object to applying the same principle of operation when we investigate what we call the phenomena of the spiritual life.

It seems reasonable that we should use the intermediary of human souls, highly endowed and finely adjusted, who can catch the subtle vibrations by which truth is conveyed from the spiritual world and given objective form.

Just why people who can hear God speak, and say with the air of certainty, "thus saith the Lord," should not also be able to hear another spiritual being speaking, and translate its message into human language, is a query that has two possible answers. First, those people can hear and translate. For others, it is not intended that they know it, either because they cannot or because the "spirits of just men made perfect" (Hebrews 12:23) do not communicate with those in the flesh. The latter answer, although peculiarly empirical, is the popular one.

This brings us to the practical question of the use of mediums, or peculiarly sensitive souls who make this sort of communication their specialty. Such men as Sir Oliver Lodge, Prof. Hyslop, Mr. Stead, and their associates have sought by this means to study the phenomena of the unseen realm.

Despite many indications of fraud and the irrelevancy of much that has purported to come from the departed, these investigators without exception, using the scientific method of weighing and classifying facts, have always ended their investigations with the profound conviction that they had established communication with intelligences in the spiritual realm. These men have recognized the difficulties attending such investigations.

At least three factors enter to complicate every such seance. First, the influences of the mental and emotional states of the sitters in the circle, their desire to get some message, the intensity of their thought, which may not only communicate to the medium and enter the substance of his message, but may make them peculiarly susceptible to fraud.

Second, the character and endowment, mentally and otherwise, of the medium. A third factor is the desire of the departed to express truth from a realm whose ways are not our ways, whose thoughts are not our thoughts, which must be expressed in symbols and be interpreted by the medium.

The Master of prophetic power met this phase of the difficulty, and said that he beheld things that were not lawful to be uttered – and by one who said, "If I have told you of earthly things and ye have not believed, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" – John 3:12.

Notice the first of these three factors. The mental characteristic of the investigators, their emotional states, their personal interest in securing information, their stress of soul under the sense of loss – these come to make up a mental atmosphere for the circle. It is reasonably certain that if the medium is sensitive to other vibrations, the thought vibrations of those in the circle will also impress her.

They say that two-thirds of the people who make their first sea voyage have some dream or premonition of shipwreck or other danger on the eve of departure. It is also certain that most of the people who attend a seance have some strong feeling that they are going to get a message from their loved ones, and often they hold in mind a quite definite idea of what they want that message to be. To one who has investigated the power of thought transference, these considerations are all vital in determining the reality, genuineness, and value of the purported message.

In the second place, a study of the facts about the medium herself is still further illuminating. Mediumship is essentially an active unconscious process of the mind, requiring a large development of the subconscious faculties.

We may, without prejudice or hazarding the truth, state that comparatively few mediums have attained a large development of the objective faculties, and have not been people of culture in the arts and sciences and philosophies of life. However, they are invariably people of large subjective activity, in whom the level of the borderland of consciousness is normally higher than it is with the non-mediumistic.

This may account for the seeming irrelevance, childishness and drivel that many of them hand out. The writer has heard Socrates talk through a medium, and make statements that would have caused a boy in the sixth grammar grade to blush, and has heard Confucius babble in total forgetfulness of his analects.

The medium is subjected to a serious difficulty in the fact that her living is involved in the satisfactoriness of her message. She either must produce actual messages or expand largely on some hint or influence that she has received from her circle consciously or otherwise. It therefore follows that most of them have to fake sometimes, and some of them fake all the time.

If the most genuine and conscientious is caught faking once, others unfairly assume that she is doing so always. No medium can always hold herself at the exact level of consciousness where she can really receive impressions.

“Medium or Mediator?”

Even so great a seer as Paul at times could say, "Thus saith the Lord." At other times he thought he had the mind of the spirit, but was not sure, and still other times when he spoke by permission and not by inspiration.

A student of psychology is aware that many automatic and reflex activities take place in the body, which have a vital bearing upon its functional activities, of which we are not conscious. Likewise the mind constantly carries forward a succession of automatic, instinctive, and intuitive activities that enter all of our thought processes, of which we are not consciously aware.

This word, "conscious," is a brief for the truth whether it is for or against the medium, and suggests the method by which purely human conceptions of things are read into messages purporting to come from the Land of the Blessed.

Just why the spirits should interject hundreds of purely human, material, and extraneous facts into the messages, can have no possible warrant in fact, except that they arise automatically out of the subconsciousness of the medium herself. We can charge no blame to the medium, for these are disabilities arising out of a complex organism, an equally complex mental functioning, and a personal viewpoint.

A third factor in the problem of mediumistic communication is the known or presumable character and condition of the departed. That all or most of the departed would like to get in touch with us is a reasonable presumption. The good souls desire to give what help they can to those still in the flesh, of whom we may say, "Are they not all ministering spirits, ministering to those who shall be heirs of salvation?" – Hebrews 1:14.

The undeveloped or erring souls desire to make some amends through service to others or by undoing the influences of their acts when they were yet in the flesh, as in Dives (Luke 16:19-31) who would have a message sent to his five brothers, which they would presumably receive as coming from the dead, and would change their ways of living. The Master did not say that it was impossible, although he made Abraham say that it would be ineffectual.

We must not infer that our departed friends are not still maintaining their integrity of existence, or that they do not want to communicate with us merely on the ground that they so seldom do so. It is most reasonable to assume that they do so desire, and that they are still as rational as ever they were, but that they recognize the exceeding great difficulty of communication. The reason, primarily, is that their friends are not sensitive enough to receive their spiritual vibrations and to interpret them, or secondly, that they know the prejudices of their friends against mediums as a class, which bars them from seeking such communication.

“To the pure all things are pure. – Titus 1:15”

Some have suggested that some of our good, self-respecting, dignified friends in the spirit world would object to using such common clay as the average medium, or to play with such things as tables, planchettes and Ouija boards. We veto this assumption on the ground that "To the pure all things are pure." – Titus 1:15. The spirits of the departed are still intensely interested in the affairs with which they were associated in their earth life, as suggested when Moses and Elias reappeared on the Mount of Transfiguration, and talked with Jesus about his decease, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem, which would mark the consummation of all legal and prophetic development in which they were leaders in earth life. Also, Jesus stood to see Stephen, the first martyr, die for his devotion to the Master. This seems to remove the misapprehension of some, that their friends have developed as far as to lose all interest in earth friends and affairs.

All mediums have "guides," who furnish them the messages from the departed. These "guides" are usually persons, who in the flesh were of low intellectual development, but of high intuitive power. There may be more than fancy in employing such shrewdness in tracking some of our friends in the boundless world of spiritual activity. It should not therefore make us incredulous as to the genuineness of elements of value in a purported spiritual message if it happened to take some guide's view of life or even some medium's habit of thought concerning spiritual things.

It is a fair presumption that if one with intellectual, training, deep learning, broad culture in the world's thought, could have their subjective and intuitive processes also developed to the place where they could catch the vibrations from the spirit world, their message would take on the exalted strain of Deborah, John, Paul, or the ecstatic symbolism of Isaiah.

It is also reasonable to conclude that besides the color lent to the message by the medium's mental and moral character, the thoughts and general mental attitude of the sitters in the circle would become a considerable factor in forming the message. These two factors might easily account for the character of many communications that people presumably receive from the departed.

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3. The Mechanism of Communications

Modern psychology is largely given to the study of the objective processes of the mind. It constantly recognizes the presence of unconscious factors in all conscious thought.

Some believe in a third element in the mind called the super-consciousness, in which we carry on essentially spiritual activities. Without discussing the probable correctness of this latter view, we can best serve the purpose of this message by assuming that the mind is conscious and unconscious in its activity.

In objective thinking, we carry out all known methods, such as induction, deduction, analysis, comparison and synthesis. Unconscious processes are limited to one method, namely, deduction, and deduction always presuppose the presence of facts and elements out of which the deductive process goes forward.

The ordinary night dream, the dream that is a vision, the medium's message, and the inspired seer's vision and prophetic utterances, all bear the mark of deductive mental processes, and carry the stamp of the mental and moral character of the dreamer, or the medium or prophet. Sometimes the dreamer reverts to some distant experience in the ancestral stream and makes it a factor in his dream.

Certain characteristic features in the processes of the unconscious mind have a bearing upon our problem. The first one is the very striking tendency to employ symbolism and imagery. This is noticeable in the messages of mediums. Most mediums and clairvoyants see certain symbols or hear messages essentially as a cabal or word-symbol, which the clairvoyant proceeds to interpret. In fact this is the principle prevalent among all those who teach by parables.

“We use words as symbols.” – T. P. Boyd

A second characteristic of subconscious action is that of simulation, which is no more nor less than an effort to measure up to any idea or standard set before the mind. This is really the unconscious process of mimicry, which is in the soul of man and of nature as well. We see it in nature in the almost limitless mimicry of surroundings, among the insects, birds and animals, and in small children. In laboratory experiences in hypnotic clairvoyance, suggesting to the subject, for instance, that he is a dog, and will obey the suggestion by walking on all fours and barking, may temporarily change the subject's whole character.

If the inquirer suggests that he is a hayseed farmer, he will easily drop into the appropriate tone, manner, and words. If they suggest to him that he is Socrates or Solomon, he will immediately produce in his words and actions, all logical deductions that he can make from whatever he may have known about either of these worthies.

People practice this unconscious art of simulation when the mind possesses some isolated fact that it desires to make plausible. In doing so, the subconscious mind will connect it to other facts stored, to make it appear to be connected and orderly.

Do not assume that the subconscious mind has any thought of deception. The subconscious is simply obeying the impulse to integrate an idea that it finds in its possession, and about whose genuineness it has no means of inquiring, because it has no power of analysis or comparison of the previous with the present condition.

We also learn through such laboratory methods that the subject, who temporarily surrenders himself to the will of the operator, is exceedingly sensitive to the operator's thoughts, expressed or implied. Often he has access to the subconscious storehouse of the operator, and can draw from it information, although the operator can conscientiously say that he had not thought of it for a long while. Moreover, he is peculiarly sensitive to what is in the minds of those around him.

“A case for clairvoyance.” – T. P. Boyd

Among our cases for experimentation in these subconscious characteristics was a school child whom we were treating for inattention and poor memory. During the hypnotic trance, they would extract this boy's watch from his pocket, pass it to the company, from hand to hand until even the operator had no idea where it was. When George came out of his trance, and they mentioned the loss of his watch, he would answer, "Somebody has swiped it," and he would start through the company, place his hand for a moment on each head, never failing when he came to the man who had the watch in his pocket of immediately reaching out the other hand to receive it. He said that he could do this because the man who had the watch had a different feeling or touch than anyone else.

One clairvoyant could hold an article of clothing or jewelry in his hand for some time, give the name of the owner, his parents' names, and his brother and sister's. Often he could describe where they were born, and give other facts that he could draw out of the owner's subconsciousness, the article simply furnished him the means of contact.

One woman had the power by simply touching the head or hand of the patient, to find inflammations or broken bones that had long since healed. In two cases, she detected the presence of a bullet in the body, which no one knew of except the patient himself.

One young woman, who was naturally a clairvoyant, without seeming effort, could touch the hand of a perfect stranger, describe his home, his friends, and conditions that only he knew. In one case, she described details about the interviewer's friend, who was in a distant city at a certain hour, which he had no possible means of knowing, which he later learned to have been true in every particular.

We treated a man for epilepsy who, during hypnotic treatment, developed cataleptic and clairvoyant qualities. One night I awoke about two o'clock, thought of him and wondered if I could send a mental message across the space of a mile or so. I mentally pictured him and began slowly to say, "You are going to be perfectly well." I said this mentally half a dozen times, and went to sleep.

Next evening I saw him for treatment and asked if he had a dream the night before. He answered that he had not. Yet when he was in hypnotic sleep, I asked again and he said, "Yes, my daughter came to me, and said, "You are going to be perfectly well."

I said, "Why I sent you that message," to which he answered, "No, my daughter told me." I told him that when he awoke he would remember it. When he awoke, we talked about it and established that he had a letter from his daughter living nearby, stating that she was coming to see him very soon.

My message had dropped into his mind out of space, a disconnected fact, and his unconscious mind connected it with the recent and prominent memory about his daughter, making the message seem to come from her, and giving it a plausible setting.

These are a few of many experiments carried out over a period of about five years, beginning twenty years ago [1899]. We introduce them here for the value they may have as sidelights.

In many sittings with circles of friends, none of whom we knew to be mediums or even mediumistic, and most of whom were clearly skeptical, we have obtained some very definite results. In one case, we seated five persons around the table, hands touching each other on the table, lights very low. After an hour's waiting in quiet conversation, and singing softly such songs as "Nearer My God to Thee," all present clearly heard definite raps upon the table.

Messages were spelled out using the usual method of asking questions and repeating the alphabet, asking them to rap at the correct letter. One gave his name as Charlie, reminding me that I had saved him from drowning in the Sacramento river, and that he had since passed away. Messages were given to different members of the company, always containing knowledge and facts resident in the memory of the member to whom the message was given.

These experiences were all easily explainable by the following hypothesis: By lowering the conscious activity of our minds, and raising the subconscious activity to higher levels, an overlapping of subconsciousness occurred, which constituted what might be called a composite subconsciousness, something after the fashion of a composite photograph.

“The case for a composite subconscious.”

This composite subconscious acts and proceeds as an independent entity, having access to the storehouse of facts in the minds of all those who enter into it. The most careful investigation of each person in the circle afterwards, precluded the possibility of any conscious fraudulent effort or movement.

A further fact important in the study of psychic phenomena, is that the body is filled with automatic movements and processes, originating within the body itself, and of which we have at least no conscious knowledge. Even in those parts of the body where volitional activity and movement reigns, the application of some stimulus, either material or mental, will produce reflex actions, in which the mind has no choice or part.

The same thing happens when through unusual tension of muscles and nerves, by long holding the hands in one position on the table, the loss of voluntary control partially follows, and automatic acts arise. Mental and emotional stimuli are also potent to produce these same involuntary acts.

Many other factors doubtless enter the make up of a circle in what we know as a seance. All these may account for a large part of the things said and done. That does not necessarily close the case against the genuineness of communication with our friends, they do however call for open mindedness, "Lest we deceive ourselves, and the truth be not in us." – 1 John 1:8.

One who cannot give proper place and value to these facts about the medium, about the circle, and about the departed, would better leave them alone, and trudge along in the old-fashioned way.

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A general level of consciousness lies between the conscious and subconscious activities of the mind, where these realms overlap. Thus, unconscious factors enter our conscious thinking, and conscious factors enter our unconscious processes.

For instance, we may dream the same dream at intervals for years, and in each case it is an unconscious action. Yet if we recall in our dream that we have had this dream before, and recognize what is coming next or remember that it is different from what it was before, a factor of conscious thinking has entered our dream.

A man may lose or mislay some article that he is unable to find or to remember its location. He ceases to think about it, or drops into some such mental attitude as prayer, which raises his subconscious activities in which memory is perfect. He immediately recalls the location of the lost article.

He also observes that at times his thinking is clear, logical, and conscious without the presence of any unconscious factors. At other times his thinking is markedly unconscious or inspirational, showing that the level of consciousness rises and falls under the influence of his environment, his physical condition, and of his mental and emotional states and moods.

This explains the difficulty that besets the orator, the preacher, the prophet or the seer, who speaks one day as an inspired one, then strives for long periods to reach the same height of inspiration again. It leads to the very common practice among mediums and clairvoyants of faking, when consciousness is not high enough to be available for securing data from which to construct a satisfactory interview for which somebody is paying good coin.

Years of experimentation and observation led me to conclude that the mind might have some method by which it could reach and maintain its footing for a ground of action upon this borderland, to make available all the power and resources both of the consciousness and unconsciousness.

The method followed was that of consciously following the mind in its processes of going to sleep, keeping a mental hold upon consciousness as it drew nearer and nearer to the borderland of sleep. Months of practice each night on retiring, finally enabled me to stop before taking the final plunge into sleep.

The first words that I heard were in a muttered "jargon," the language that the Hudson Bay Company introduced for communication with the Indians, and of which I had some knowledge. This I ignored.

The second time, an Irishman began to speak so rapidly I could catch only about one word in five. When I rebuked him for speaking so rapidly, this member of my ancestral Irish stock likewise withdrew.

The third voice on a later occasion spoke in the language of the Quakers. His message was: "Friend, I wish to speak to thee." Instantly I asked him, "Do you confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?" to which he answered, "Yes." He disappeared in a short time, presumably because I was unable to hold my mind strictly to the borderland, conscious attention being so active that unconscious processes stopped or dropped from the reach of attention.

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." – 1 John 4:1-3.

I always asked that question as prescribed by St. John in 1st John, 4:1-3, and the challenge always resulted either in a definite confession positively, or in silence, but never in denial. As time went on, I could commune with those who purported to be my friends in the spirit world, including my father and mother and other relatives, together with many people whom I had never known. Many of these messages were of a personal character, some of them had reference to business methods, giving me information that had a bearing on business matters.

Frequently there were messages concerning my ministerial work, messages in which the voice stated that it was the Lord himself. These I invariably followed and they always came out as suggested.

After the first months of this practice, I found that I could maintain this level of consciousness so that I could hear the voice speaking and to write down with a pencil, giving proper literary form to what was said. Much of this material was of very little consequence either way, and some of it of considerable value.

Nothing can describe the nature of this voice that one hears, quite so well as the experience many have had of being in a room where someone is telephoning, and being able to hear the voice over the telephone, sometimes catching the full conversation of the unseen person at the other end of the line.

We give no detailed account here of these many purported messages. In most of these cases, the material for the messages was present in my own consciousness or unconsciousness. Yet sometimes they introduced facts that were true, which to the best of my knowledge and belief, I had no knowledge of at all.

For instance, I was staying overnight in a strange town when a woman's voice awakened me about two o'clock in the morning. She stated that she had never lived in the flesh but was of an order of spirits whose special mission was to serve those in the flesh.

She said that the spirit of my mother had sent her to me to ask me to write to my sister and warn her against marrying a man to whom she was engaged, because he was a religious bigot, and that such a union would result in disaster. She also said, "You have filed on some school land upon which you are to prove up, at the latest, within five days."

I answered, "No, I have two weeks yet to file my proofs, but I have no witnesses who have ever seen the ground." She said, "You have just five days, and if you will go to a certain man in this town, you will find witnesses."

The interview came to a close and I went to sleep. Next morning I asked the man whose name she had given me and found that he was the deputy assessor of the county, and I called on him. I stated the case and my difficulty; he said, "My two brothers-in-law are in the next room and I have no doubt they have been over the ground." We called them in and it was true.

These witnesses made out and signed the papers, and sent them to the Secretary of State. It was found that the "five days" of my informant was correct, instead of two weeks that I thought I had for action. I carried out the commission of writing to my sister in a guarded way, and secured results according to my instructions.

A discriminating student of psychic phenomena will see in this incident that through the almost unlimited range of subconscious activity, I might have held all the facts of this communication in consciousness, Further, my subconscious mind used the principles of impersonation, simulating the methods of an outside intelligence to get my attention directed to the facts, which it knew and to make them plausible.

The believer in spirit communication would have no doubt that a voice from the other side had instructed me in the night season. Personally, I do not know which is correct.

Usually the communications purporting to come from my father and mother were admonitions of impending danger and advice about what to do in cases of uncertainty. Only once did they take on the character of information concerning conditions and activities in the world beyond the veil.

This incident occurred in a country town in the summer while the family was away at the seaside. The quiet house in a quiet town at the hour of two a.m. gave a splendid opportunity to be "still" enough to hear whatever the voice might speak. I was awakened one morning at that hour, by what purported to be my father.

I asked him for some test by which I might feel some reasonable assurance that it was he, to which he responded by recalling to my mind an incident of my boyhood days one or two factors of which had always been mostly puzzling to me. This he explained in a way that was perfectly consistent with all the facts as I knew them, furnishing some facts about which I consciously knew nothing.

I asked him to tell me something of the life and conditions of the people who have passed beyond. The substance of his message, of which I made quite full notes at the time, was that the world of spiritual existence was represented as seven great zones of being.

The first or outer zone embraced that part of space in which the earth and all inhabited material worlds are located. This is the zone of undeveloped spirits, which the undeveloped enter when they leave the flesh.

The second is a grade higher, to which the inhabitants of the first zone graduate as fast as they are properly developed in the kindergarten of independent spiritual existence. The succeeding zones were so many higher steps until they reached the seventh in which was found the centralized presence of God, and all those truths and activities of being as they are set forth in such symbols as John's vision of the "Holy City."

He said that after the struggle through which he passed in leaving the flesh, he found himself a very undeveloped being. He had first been taught by those who come from the higher zones to instruct in advanced truths and to prescribe activities by which they put these truths in practice.

He said that one of their principal duties was to visit friends and loved ones in the earth life, to be around them in the day time and at night seeking to impress them with right ideas. They often caused them to dream of their departed friends or of duties to be done, dangers to be avoided, and in other ways to act as "ministering spirits to those in the flesh who are the heirs of Eternal Salvation." (See Hebrews 1:14).

He said that each zone was a state of being. Those in the higher zones could return to the lower ones, but those in the lower ones could pass to the next higher level only after attaining a proper state of consciousness.

He said that mother, being a highly-developed soul, had passed almost immediately up to the seventh zone, had entered the Holy City, and had seen the Savior. As one who had attained the higher realm of being and spiritual power, they sent her on missions of mercy and love to many realms. She came frequently to him to give instructions and encouragement, and spent a good deal of what we call "time" with the more undeveloped spiritually of her children.

He said that children dying in infancy grew in a short time to the full stature of the form they would have reached had they lived out a normal life in the flesh. They went through a process of unfoldment in consciousness, corresponding somewhat to our educational systems here.

He said that a tie of love represented the relationship that exists, such as son and mother, which had grown out of earthly relationships and contact. While this love persisted, it issued into a higher form than that between son and mother, and became the love that exists between two people who love the same things.

“In life we see the application and outcome of universal principles.” – T. P. Boyd

I asked him if they were not grieved at the suffering, the sorrow and the sinning of those whom they had left behind to which he answered, "In this life we see the application and outcome of universal principles, and know that these very difficulties are but the means of emancipating the loved ones of earth from their bondage to material things."

He said the attitude toward those in the flesh and their troubles was something like that of earthly parents toward the little child who is heartbroken in one moment over what seems great loss, but it discovers in a short time to have been of little consequence, a fact that they knew all along. He said, "Because all things do work together for good, we in the spirit life see that good, and bless then all things which are working with that result."

He said that there was no arbitrary assignment of a soul to any given zone of being. It naturally rose to its place by the law of spiritual gravitation, the affinity of character. The same law determined its associates, those of similar attainments being intimates. He gave other interesting information. I was not conscious of holding any of these ideas, nor do I remember to have heard or read them, although I have since found some similar ideas here and there in reading and in conversation with friends. These interviews occurred at the same hour each morning and ceased as suddenly as they arose.

Keeping in mind all of the critical facts concerning the working of the mind, the possibilities exist that I may have held the substance of this message in my own consciousness, and may have automatically worked up into the formal statements as set forth, using the guise of my father to give it plausibility.

Yet, there still remains the strong conviction that the message had its inspiration and its purpose to help, and its very definite comfort, in the presence and activity of my own father's spirit. Sometimes since then, I have, without any particular effort, received messages or impressions, and strong subconscious impulses that appeared to come from the same or similar sources.

These times seem to turn upon the general condition of the nervous system, and upon the general character of the thinking being carried on at the time. The phenomena being much more apt to appear when the subjects of thought relate to spiritual, mystical, or philosophical themes.

A suggestive fact about this is that these messages have never come at any of the occasional periods when I have indulged in smoking. In fact, one voice said that communicating would be difficult for them because the tobacco interfered with the formation of a "magnetic atmosphere" which was essential to their establishing communication.

We see the bearing of smoking upon the whole problem in the fact that if we stain the nerve fibers of the cerebrospinal system with nicotine, they are practically unaffected, while if we stain the fibers of the sympathetic nerves in a similar way, their action is very greatly slowed.

From this it would appear that nicotine does not interfere with objective conscious thinking, but does interfere very definitely with the part of the nervous system in which unconscious thinking is found. It seems therefore, that nicotine is an antidote to unusual subconscious activities, and that all psychic phenomena are bound up in subconscious action.

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5. The Return of Jesus: An Analysis of the Resurrection Story

The resurrection story is a standard instance of a return from the realm beyond what we call death. Upon it and the facts gathered about it, we have built what we know as Christian Civilization. The story is fragmentary and evidently very incomplete, but certain facts are apparent. Analyzing these facts is helpful in arriving at a larger conception of the whole question of spirit return.

During his lifetime, and especially as it finished, Jesus stated in a veiled way, the fact that if he went away from them, he would come again. Using the story of Jonah and the destruction of the Temple as parables, he revealed the more definite thought that within three days after his passing, he would appear again.

This was original but it is no longer unique, because many people are on record in recent years, as having promised their friends that they would return and communicate with them if such a thing were possible. Judging by the fact that very few of them have kept the appointment to their friends' satisfaction, it seems that they were unable to do so, either because it is impossible, or because the conditions under which they might return were not convincing to their friends.

The resurrection story of Jesus very strongly brings out this feature, in which case, despite the assurance of his return and of repeated appearances, they at first found it impossible to believe that it was actually he.

The first fact in the resurrection story is that which purported to be the "very same Jesus," was seen and recognized by many people. This is important. Psychology acknowledges the principle that if one man should have an experience out of line with ordinary human experience under similar conditions, he would be adjudged abnormal or something worse. Yet, the experience of the mass of humanity under a given condition establishes a criterion for human experience under those conditions.

If Mary Magdalene alone had seen him, the rest of the disciples would have been justified in doubting it. If the women alone, or the eleven in a group, had seen him, there might still have been ground for unbelief. However, when these, and five hundred brethren at one time saw him, all ground for reasonable doubt was swept away. Evidently, they were not "seeing things." What five hundred and seventy-nine people, whose principal mental training was through observation, saw under different conditions and at different times, must have been genuine.

The second fact is that he appeared under entirely different conditions every time. He usually came at some unexpected time and place, and only once by appointment, in Galilee. Had the conditions been always the same, or at the same place every time, there might be ground for doubt, but there was no such stage for his appearance. He seems to have appeared when he willed, and as he willed, regardless of time or circumstances, choosing both the time, the place, and the people. Hence, those to whom he appeared, are called "chosen witnesses."

Third, there was no preparation in the circumstances before and after his death, out of which hallucination springs. It is true that the scenes at the time of the arrest, the trial, and the crucifixion fearfully depressed them. However, theirs was an attitude of hopelessness. They were not expecting any such thing as a resurrection or a return. They were readjusting to living without him. They had been rudely awakened from their dreams of the three years passed, to the necessity of going back to fishing, receiving customs, and other avocations in which they had formerly earned a living.

When they found the grave empty, they assumed that someone had removed his body. When he appeared to them, they were unable to believe that which their senses reported. Moreover, the figure that appeared to them was not content with presenting an apparition to their sense of sight. It might easily have been classed as an hallucination in that case.

Yet, Mary did not recognize him by his appearance. Only when the never-to-be forgotten voice called her name did she know who and what he was. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus talked with him for hours, but did not recognize him either in form or speech. Only in some characteristic attitude as he broke bread did his identity flash upon their minds. In each of these appearances there seems to have been the exhibition of some characteristic fact in his life that gave the stamp of genuineness and reality to what they saw.

Fourth, the details of the resurrection story furnish significant facts with regard to his appearance. In one case, he is mistaken for the gardener. In another case, he is a stranger with wonderful knowledge of the prophets. Later, he vanished from their sight at the moment they recognized him.

Again he appeared to his disciples in a room whose doors were closed and barred for fear of the authorities. At another time he was so materialized as to present to their senses the test of touching his hands and side. He ate with them, and appeared to them by the seaside, having built a fire and prepared breakfast. He called out directions for fishing, so they could not help but know and say: "It is the lord."

“Resurrection is complete freedom from the reign of material law.” – T. P. Boyd

In all of these appearances, there is manifest a complete freedom from the reign of material law. He came and went, appeared and disappeared, passed through closed doors, ate food, and in other ways demonstrated the complete mastery over and independence of, the laws of material things.

Considering this, Paul's statement is perfectly clear, "There is a material body, and there is a spiritual body." – 1 Corinthians 15:4. That which returned and was manifest to the disciples, was the spiritual body, which is the counterpart of the material. This furnishes us with a definite answer to the question, "With what body do they come?"

Fifth, the incidents of the story cover a period of forty days. Of the things spoken by him in that forty days, there is no record except that they pertained to the Kingdom of God. He showed them the meaning of certain Scriptures, and judging by their subsequent acts, gave them instructions for organizing and carrying on the work that he had begun.

In all of his appearances one motive stands out, namely, the desire to convince them of his own identity and to impress the truth upon them that because he lived they should live also. If one man could go out from the earth life, and return, maintaining his identity, then all men could be sure of the same thing.

Not a word exists concerning the judgment, the future life, and all those tremendous themes on which he had spoken during his earth life. What an opportunity to have given us information concerning the activities, relationships, progress, and outcome of the divine plan for human life in the world to come. Nevertheless, concerning these subjects there is not a word, and this feature is characteristic of nearly all of the purported messages from the spirit world.

We may try to account for it in his case by the fact that we do not believe in many things he told us of earthly things. Therefore, we would find no way of believing what he would tell us of heavenly things. Or that there are things in the spiritual world that are not possible to be uttered, either in the language or symbolism of earth. Or still further, that "It hath not entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." – 1 Corinthians 2:9.

The substance of the message of Jesus, and that of every other spirit that has signaled from the heights of the spirit land, is, "I have maintained my identity. I am well and happy. I am interested in the work I was doing upon earth, and I am going forward in spiritual unfolding and knowledge, and wisdom here, and there shines before me a pathway of progress which has no end, and inasmuch as I am thus living, you also shall live."

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6. Extended Perception

It is an interesting fact that history records numerous incidents in which factors that we have not classed as normal mental activities present themselves. We cannot class these factors, justly, as abnormal, but we may call them supernormal, since they are the experiences of perfectly normal people, brought out under the stress of extraordinary circumstances. Men have seen, heard, and otherwise sensed things that are unknown in the ordinary exercise of the five senses. In seeking to explain these experiences, we are concerned with the power of perception itself, rather than the channels or senses of perception.

Seeing is not in the eye itself, but in the perceiving consciousness behind the eye, which uses it as a means of contact. Neither is thinking a product of the brain, although cerebral activity is present while the thinker uses the brain as his instrument. All operations of the sense-perceptions are traced back for their explanation to the perceiving consciousness. All thought is first an inner perceiving of a truth before it is a conscious form or objective statement.

Perception consists in three things: A perceiver, an objective, and an instrument. The perceiving consciousness views through the eye, rests upon an objective, and certain vibrations ride back over the optic track, which report in form, color, and harmony of perspective. Then, the perceiving consciousness says, "I have seen thus and so." All sense-perceptions operate in this manner.

The original sense-perception was that of touch, which in turn was extended to other forms, until we have the five channels of sense-perception. The lowest forms of life have this one sense to enable them to obey the impulse to preserve life. As the forms of life become more complex, the power to function becomes more diverse.

It is reasonable to suppose that this power of perception, which has increased from one to five channels, may find other possibilities of extension or a synthesis of them all that we may call a sixth sense. If we reckon the power of balance to be the sixth sense, then this synthesis would be the seventh sense.

“Advance comes through science and Spirit, not science or Spirit.” – T. P. Boyd

In a scientific age we are accustomed to thinking that we have made all advance through the objective observance of material facts, their classification and the formulation of underlying principles, followed by philosophizing on their origin, purpose and end. Yet, we must not forget that the world's advancement has gone from another standpoint also, which is the extension of the powers of perception to grasp and record as facts, phenomena that the senses do not report as material, but as spiritual truth in the garb and imagery of material things.

Adam talked with God, and heard Him speak. Enoch walked with Him; Abraham was His friend. Jacob had communications with beings from the unseen, taking on human form. Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, Daniel, and all the seers, prophets, and mystics of the olden time, exercised the power of perception to extend it beyond the realm of material appearances, to report facts, truths, and principles upon which the world has based its advance and development.

So, while scientific methods proceeding from the objective side of life detect and formulate the laws and processes of being in the material world, the subconscious [more accurately, super-conscious], hidden, mystic sense apprehends the principles of being in the spiritual world. Since man is both spirit and body, the two may move harmoniously in the search for full knowledge of the Divine Being.

The objective sense might report a handful of meal and a little oil in the cruse, but Elijah's supernormal perception, seeing the unwasting fullness of spiritual reality, caused the barrel of meal not to waste nor the cruse of oil to fail.

Five loaves and three fishes reported to the objective sense as a small supply for five thousand hungry people, but Jesus' spiritual perception saw the unfailing abundance, and endowed the objective bits of food with multiplying power until the multitudes were fed.

The exercise of this supernormal perception is inherent in all people. Jesus perceived Nathaniel around a material corner, or over a hill. When Nathaniel wondered about it, he said that there was a power resident in all people and if they exercised it, they might see greater things than that recorded incident.

Worthy of mention is the incident of the prophet Elisha at Dothan (2 Kings 6:8-18), where he talked with his servant and joined with him doubtless in the objective vision of the king's army, but he also saw, and caused the body servant to see, another army, mightier than all that were against them. Likewise in the siege of Samaria it is recorded that the hosts of the Assyrians or the night before the fall of the city was imminent, heard the sounds of the chariots and hosts of the Almighty, and fled in panic, nor stopped running until they were in their own country.

History and tradition are replete with incidents of those, who, in time of stress, saw angels and hosts and crosses and anchors and portents in the sky, and moved out to victory. The present war [WWI] records its incident. There have come to us, reports of those who have seen the form of the Nazarene bending over the wounded and dying, and of Joan of Arc coming out of the unseen, to inspire the French hosts again.

Psychology may account for these facts as it will, but the fact remains that the heart of the world will believe that men have seen familiar representations of the invisible spiritual reality. These experiences are neither abnormal nor supernatural, but grow out of the extension of the perceptions.

That we may so extend the perceptions, is proven by the simple experience of watching a bird flyaway into the distance, and the watcher will be able still to see its object long after it would be possible for anyone directing his attention toward the object for the first time to discern it.

Listening to a sound as it fades away may extend the sense of hearing. We may then perceive it long after it would record itself upon the ear of one whose attention is newly directed to it.

The extension of the perceptions is facilitated by employing the principle of abstraction of the perception away from the reports of the five senses to the exclusive report of one sense. One may look so intently at an object as to be oblivious to all sounds or smells or other sense reports.

One may listen so intently as to shut out all other sense reports, and one may direct the attention to some thought process, to be oblivious to the reports of all the senses, the perception being centered upon unseen thought constructions. This is what really occurs when one is absorbed in some conscious or unconscious meditation and passes a familiar friend on the street without recognition; or is spoken to without the sound being recorded in consciousness.

It is therefore possible to practice this method of abstraction so that one may insulate and isolate himself from material contacts, and in this dumb house may see and recognize truths and facts reporting in forms and symbols, which the ordinary play of sense-perception would never realize.

The mystics of old used many methods to enter this silence, including such exercises as fasting, praying, meditation, sojourns in the mountains or the deserts, and a general practice of aloofness from material things. They obeyed literally the command, "Be still and know that I am God." – Psalm 46:10.

The modern mystic uses such practices as complete relaxation and receptivity, concentration of attention upon a single objective, either material or spiritual, and so extends his perceptions into realms of thought and being that are otherwise unattainable. The same principle of abstraction is brought into play in all these recorded incidents where the mind faces some great crisis and incidentally obeys the divine fiat, "Look unto Me and be ye saved." – Isaiah 45:22. And looking toward the invisible, there rides back over the visional track of this supernormal perception, acknowledgment of all spiritual reality.

By such extension of perception, the healer sees not the withered arm, but spiritual reality, which reports to him an arm outstretched and well. He sees not a mind in chaos through worry and trouble, but in spiritual reality, a mind clothed with peace.

“See absolute reality as spiritual and final, undivided.” – T. P. Boyd

He sees not a woman under condemnation of sin, although taken in the act, but spiritual reality, which clothes the repentant one with a love which dissolves all sin. He sees poverty and want fade away in the presence of spiritual reality and abundance. He sees the stone of death rolled away and the loved one coming back to report in the form of material representation.

He sees absolute reality as spiritual and final, and undivided. In the presence of this perception of the truth, sin, sickness, loss, want, and death itself, cease to be, for God the Absolute is All in All.

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7. Shall We Live Again?

Coming down through all the ages of man's stay upon earth, one question has insistently projected itself out of the human soul, and has echoed and re-echoed in all the corridors of time. "If a man die, shall he live again?" – Job 14:14.

Under the instinctive prompting of his own soul toward the truth, man must face the supreme question as to whether death ends all, or is there some future life of conscious thought, memory and activity, and if so, does he retain his integrity and personal character or is it lost in the sum of all life?

Each generation has found its answer, and the answer is characteristic of the thought habits of the time. These conventional arguments have carried conviction with them and have been more or less effective according to one's idea of their authority.

Yet we find an affirmative answer in the modern conception of life's origin, which gives us not only hope for that future state of existence, but a logical scheme of life's relationship and activity. It is the truth that a man's ancestry is from God.

Behind all human and animal and vegetable ancestry, man can trace his line of kinship, and relationship established with the ever living God, from whom he came, in whom he lives, who lives in him, and back to whom he returns. Man returns with his character, acquired by his expansion into material expression. Based upon this truth, man's immortality is not an acquired quality, nor something bestowed upon him, but an inherent fact, by virtue of his relationship with "God who only hath immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16).

We have accepted always, the statement of Scripture that we are "made in His image" (Genesis 1:27), and are "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), but we have not been ready to accept the implication that whatever belongs to the divine nature is inherent in us; that if immortality belongs to God, then it belongs to everyone in whom is His Life.

In fact, to identify nature of our life and being in the scheme of creation, our thoughts must unerringly move back over the track of evolutionary progress to that place in eternity indicated in the first four words of Genesis, "In the beginning, God." This is common sense – any intelligence traveling a traceable course of development, has left certain records by which it can track its progress, and following which, can find or safely predicate its origin.

Creation rose in the consciousness of the Absolute Being through the necessity for expression. God has clothed all living beings with the marks of power, intelligence, love, harmony and other qualities whose origin must be found in the nature of the Creator Himself for the purposes of thought beyond which the mind need not go, and, for that matter, cannot go.

We possess the truth that God is, and that in His nature and being is all life, love, power and beauty, and whatever else is. God is One, and in the divine consciousness there arose the sense of need of expression for these divine qualities. In other words, provision was needed for the social life of God.

“God the One became God the Many.” – T. P. Boyd

The formal doctrine of the Trinity in which God found expression as "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," was a recognition of this demand for social expression. Logically, it appears that if God could express Himself in three personalities, yet be one individual being, He could express Himself in countless personalities, and still His unity remains undisturbed.

We may say, therefore, that creation, with all things that belong to it, arose out of this conscious motive of expression. Its next step would necessarily be to assume formal thought and plan.

This would be followed by the transition step in which pure spirit became substance, and out of this substance arose the elements of matter followed by the organized forms of the material universe. Eventually a particle of matter, then many particles of matter, were incarnated with the life of the Absolute. And out of that first cellular life, all life forms have come.

Reading this process backward, we find that our ancestry is from God; our lives are of "One substance with the Father." To rise into the consciousness of that Oneness is the greatest event of the soul in its evolutionary progress from the time it left the absolute life, until it returns to Him. It is an experience which was designated by the Master as being "born of the spirit."

St. John says, "And that which hath been made, was life in Him." We came out from God, we started from the universal consciousness, we took on limited individual expression.

This was the "Fall" of man as indicated in the oriental symbolism of Genesis. We are now returning to the Father's House. We are taking our individual expressions of His life back to Him, clothed with all the results of living, which we call personality or character.

If our consciousness is only of material things, our life and character is of the earth, earthy, but if we have risen into the consciousness of our divine nature and birthright, we are born from above into a sense of relationship with God. In nature, in life, in purpose, in character, we are one with the Father.

Sooner or later, the body, which has served as the instrument of our incarnation, and the temple of our individual expression of life, is laid aside in what we call death. We rise into full activity of our real spiritual selves, unhampered by the necessary limitations of a physical body with its obedience to material laws.

The thought arising from these considerations is that our lives do not begin with the body and will not end with it. Death, which has filled the world with terror, is the gateway to emancipation into largeness of life and being.

Confident that "If a man die, he shall live again," or, rather, live on in a new state of being, we can say, "O grave, where is thy victory, O death, where is thy sting?" – 1 Corinthians 15:55. For the grave has no victory, and death has no sting, because the life within us being partaker of the life of God, we cannot die.

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8. With What Body Do They Come?

Every Sunday where I go to church, they say, "I believe in the resurrection of the body." They do not say what body, but most of them understand it to be this material body in which we are living, and this materialistic notion of the future life is the outgrowth of ages of believing that in some way a body is essential to the integrity and identity of the individual life in its next stage of existence.

As early as history records, we have woven this thought into all our ideas of the future life. The ancient Egyptians perfected a process of embalming so that they might preserve the body until the time of its reuniting with the soul after death, and so to insure eternal happiness.

The crime of Moses in slaying the Egyptian did not consist so much in the act itself – one Egyptian more or less did not make any difference, but the real essence of the act lay in his hiding the body in the sand so that they could not embalm it. Thus, they rendered the happiness of the man apart from his body impossible.

In our own age, volumes and innumerable arguments have set forth the teaching of a physical resurrection in which the identical physical body from which we part in death, and which is dispersed back into the elements, is to be reassembled by some miracle working exhibition of divine Power. This traditional notion still stands, sweeping aside every sane reason for a different and rational belief about the resurrection.

A materialistic view of resurrection stands at the root of the popular prejudice against cremation, the only sanitary disposition of the body. As if resurrecting the body out of ashes than out of dust would be any more difficult. Let us lay aside these materialistic notions of something that is essentially spiritual. Let us esteem the future life as a state and a place, and people it with spiritual beings, rather than beings with worked over material bodies.

Let us stop announcing our belief in a day of resurrection in which the physical bodies, scattered in numberless tombs, in the depth of the sea, and in the gasses of the air, will be reassembled in their original form and identity to be reinhabited by our immortal spirits. Let us realize that the resurrection and the judgment and life eternal are not waiting upon some future event.

We have now a natural material body and a spiritual body, and these now dwell with and in each other; each is essentially a counterpart of the other. The material body is first manifested, and afterward, the spiritual body. That which we call death is the separation of the material and the spiritual, which act is the resurrection, from which moment the spiritual body goes forth into the full exercise of all its spiritual powers.

The science of biology presents the truth that all living material bodies, whether human or otherwise, are produced by a process of cell growth. A cell consists of a material substance and a life principle which we will call the soul.

The cell is endowed with the creative impulse common to all life, and division is its method of reproduction. The first cell in any living body becomes two cells, and the life principle of the parent cell is extended to the second one. In turn these two cells become four cells, and the four, eight—the life principle or soul being extended to each new cell in turn. These cells obey certain constructive principles, are grouped together, and such functions as nutrition begin to appear. Eventually these cells assume the form of organs with specific functions.

Following this process, the first simple living organism becomes more complex with the addition of new cells, new needs thereby arising, until in the unfolding process man is reached. The human body has seventy-five trillion cells, organized into all sorts of organs and parts, to fulfill the various functions of life, and all coordinated into one complex organism called a material body.

While this material process goes on, the extended life principle to each new cell in turn produces a spiritual counterpart for every material cell and organ. For each cell there is a soul, for each group of cells there is a group of souls, for each organization of cells into an organ there is a combination of souls into a corresponding spiritual organ.

For the coordination of all these parts into one organism, called a material body, there is a corresponding synthesis of souls into one soul organism, called the spiritual body. It has eyes to see, ears to hear, and, in fact, all the powers of sense perception are of the soul and not of the body.

The body is simply the instrument through which the perceiving and knowing spiritual self functions. It is therefore literally true in the words of St. Paul, "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." – 1 Corinthians 15:44. This spiritual body survives the shocks of time and of death.

During the incarnation of the spiritual body in the flesh, the material body is the means of acquiring form and finding expression, as well as being the instrument of contact with material things for all purposes. With the end of this stage of existence, all necessity for a material body ceases.

At death, the spiritual man rises into the presence of his Lord and into the company of spiritual beings, bearing something of the form of the earthly body but clothed with the attributes and glory of the heavenly and spiritual. The spiritual body, risen out of its material environment, does not go to some intermediate place to wait for ages for the sounding of a trumpet, the bursting of tombs, the physical resurrection and the great day of judgment, as taught by the ancients, but it moves from this earthly tabernacle into the spiritual realm, taking its place according to its development.

The spiritual body "departs to be with Christ," and where Christ is, is Heaven. The resurrection is steadily going forward. The day of judgment is always here, and court is in session.

Said Jesus, "Now is the judgment of this world." If a man believes and lives the truth that God made flesh and blood in Christ, that man has everlasting life. No man needs the great white throne, and an unerring Judge, nor does he need to wait for eternity to find out what the future holds. He knows already.

A man is not one thing in character here and something else over there. Death works no miracle of character; life does that. The laws of spiritual gravitation are as unerring as the other laws of God. Every man goes to his own place by the affinities of character; he continues life there with the attainments made here.

With what body do they come? With a spiritual body, which is a counterpart of the physical body, bearing some of its form and feature, minus deformities, clothed with the results of the attritions of time and the accretions of earthly association upon which it has thought, felt and willed.

Thoughts, emotions and will are the three factors of personality, which operating together, produce character. Personality, with its consequent character, is the fixed form of being in which we move forward in eternal spiritual progression.

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9. Recognition

With the first thought of the reality of the spiritual life, and of personal identity and integrity in this life, the question arises instinctively, "Shall I know my friends there?" And the positive answer is, "You shall."

This answer is based upon various well-grounded considerations, the first of which is that inasmuch as the physical and spiritual bodies are counterparts, one of the other, recognition will be based upon the appearance of our friends, just as we have known them in this life. Then the laws of association, the memories of this life, the indelible marks of character will all furnish starting points for the reconstruction of the associations of this life.

This is illustrated by an experience of the author which occurred one dark night in the mountains when he approached a camp fire, hailed the campers and was bidden to come in. When he entered the circle, divested of all ministerial garb, clothed as a hunter, one of the men at the camp fire said, "Did you sing at a funeral seven years ago in a certain town and state? To which the answer was "Yes." He said, "I heard you then, and I knew your voice the moment you called."

This is but a hint that in that world we shall not pass as ships in the night, and miss the other's hail, but every memory and association in this life will help us to identify our friends over there.

Once I had been visiting in the home of a friend in a suburb of Los Angeles, for some two weeks. Near the end of the visit we were speaking one day about the remarkable compensations of nature for the loss of a given organ or sense, as, for instance, the loss of sight seems to make the touch or hearing all the more acute, or the loss of an arm or leg giving added strength to the remaining one.

I spoke of having a cousin who had lost an arm, whose remaining arm had the skill and strength of two. He said, "That is a coincidence, as I also have a cousin who lost her arm, with the same results." "How did your cousin lose her arm? "In a cane mill." "Well my cousin lost her arm in a cane mill." "What was your cousin's first name?" And in a series of questions, we found that we were first cousins to the same girl.

It is not difficult to think of two intelligences discussing their experiences in the earth life, and finding certain similar experiences which, followed up, lead to recognition. It is a striking fact in the story of the Transfiguration of the Master, when Moses and Elias appeared with him and conversed with him, that Peter and James and John were able to recognize them although they had lived on the earth centuries before the time of their appearance.

The means of recognition become clear when we recall that the subject of the conversation between them and the Master was his decease, which was soon to take place in Jerusalem, their interest in the matter hinging upon the fact that the event had marked the culmination of the law and the fulfillment of all prophecies of which they had been the recognized leaders. It is therefore easy to understand how that, out of the elements of that conversation, their identity would be revealed.

With the certainty that we shall know our friends again by the means above mentioned, and through other laws of the mind which we do not as yet know, we must bear in mind that the identity is one of the mental and spiritual life with all its experiences, activities, and relationships, not one of the physical body and its activities and relationships. The relationships of life, insofar as they are material, exist for this life and cease with it.

When the Sadducees confronted the Master with the problem of a woman who had seven brothers in succession as her husbands, all of whom eventually died and preceded her to the spiritual world, the question was, whose wife would she be? And the Master's answer is very explicit, that in that life, there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage. The simple fact of the marriage tie would have no significance after passing the portals of this life, unless there had grown out of the same association an affinity of character which would furnish the basis for future companionship in a world where physical relationships no longer exist.

That same thought is brought to bear on other relationships of human life in the case where the disciples reported to the Master that his mother and brethren stood without and wished to speak to him, to which he answered, "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? He that doeth the will of my Father, the same is my brother, my sister, and my mother." – Matthew 12:50.

It appears, therefore, by reasonable interpretation of these two instances, that the mere relationship of husband in this life would not make one of the seven any more than other the husband of this oft married woman. In fact, the marriage relationship would not in itself constitute any tie whatever in that life.

The same principle applies with reference to the other relationships of life. They are of this life and cease with it. Yet, there are relationships of a moral and spiritual character, arising in this life, which abide to all eternity, and upon these the associations in that ascending career will be based.

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10. Conclusion

The foregoing is not exhaustive, but rather suggestive. It is not argumentative, but didactic. It is not doctrinal, but devotional. It has kept the principles of the scientific method and philosophical process in mind while allowing the soul to seek an answer to its questions.

Many chapters could have been written, giving the author's experiences with mediums, but so many large works have followed that method that it seemed better to give an analysis of the psychological principles involved in mediumistic practice.

My own experience, and that of my friends, compels me to say that often the best mediums are unreliable. I have stated the reasons for this.

At the same time, I have sought to make clear the fact that if "holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (and I accept that as a demonstrable truth) the laws of mental and spiritual life by which this was possible operate in any age where a mind is properly attuned to catch spiritual vibrations and translate them into the language of daily life. Therefore we may confidently expect that new additions to the present stock of known truth will be received by men in any age when we are prepared to receive it and will use the methods by which it is received.

The writer does not pose as a medium, a sensitive, or a prophet. He has merely sought to know for himself. This is the story of a demonstration, and is written for the comfort of those who are ready to receive his testimony.

The writer uses these trained intuitive powers to aid him in mental and psychoanalysis, enabling him to find the hidden secrets of a man's soul, and thus to resolve the psychological complex into its elements and set the patient free from the obsessions which have played havoc with his health and happiness.

It has helped him to speak with authority to those who have followed their loved ones to the borderland, and have since had no word, heard no footfall, caught no glimpse of the loved form, and stand overwhelmed with grief, hearing no sound but the echo of their own cry. To many of these we have given this message personally and it has renewed faith, brought comfort, and imparted courage to go forward in confidence and certainty. This fact alone prompts giving it the form in which we now send it forth on its mission of love.

For a man to have such experiences as this and to publish them abroad, there are at least two classes of hearers -- those who gladly receive the word of truth and take courage and comfort in it, and those who suspect that he is not exactly normal. The first class are commended for their faith and they will receive its promised blessing.

The second class includes those of the earth earthy, the doctrinally established and the ultra critical. We refer these to the case of Joseph, a normal individual with supernormal powers; to Daniel, a normal person with a marvelously developed super-conscious mind; to Isaiah, a normal man with powers of ecstatic vision; to St. Paul, a man of colossal intellect, yet at times seeing the unseen and talking with God

A host of men and women in all ages, ancient and modern, have had visional power, often untrained and undeveloped, yet at times having undoubted communication with the unseen. The criterion of truth and normality in our experiences is that if a large number of people under varying circumstances have similar experiences, the experience is that of a normal person, especially if the experience is in consonance with reason, science and philosophy, and the person contacts life and discharges its obligations in a practicable way. No other test is needed.

There are, without doubt, such sensitive souls in every community through whom spiritual intelligences are able to speak. One may find assurance and comfort through them if one has a discriminating mind to discern to a reasonable degree between the matter arising in the medium's own consciousness, or that which she receives by telepathic contacts with her circle, and the genuine message from one's departed friends.

As the standard for people in special callings has steadily arisen, as, for instance, in the ministry, medicine, nursing, etc., it would seem only reasonable that these people should have special training and culture to fit them for a higher order of service than they are able to render at present.

That the people who have passed to the other side still live, love, unfold and are interested in the affairs of earth is demonstrated to the author beyond a reasonable doubt. After making due allowance for delusion, enthusiasm, interest, automatism, telepathy, etc., sufficient evidence is in hand to close the case.

The fact that something of the mechanism of communication is known takes away some of the thrill and novelty, but brings it into the realm of the practical. Thence arises the question, cannot these forces and their mechanism, whereby materializations, levitation of heavy bodies, messages of all sorts, and phenomena which seem to set at naught the known laws of matter, be used effectively for other purposes.

The answer is at hand. They can. They can be used for creative and constructive work in bettering civic, industrial, social and moral conditions. They can be employed in restoring the body to health, building it in strength and keeping it at the highest point of efficiency.

These powers are available for clearing the mind of its obsessions, fears, worries and failures, and bringing it to calm, peace and self-mastery. They furnish the effective means for bringing men to righteousness and for all those highest forms of spiritual activity, for as one develops that poise and sensitiveness of soul so that he can contact the intelligences around him.

Man is also coming to the place where he can obey the command, "Be still and know that I am God." For the same mental and spiritual mechanism whereby one holds communion with the Father is available to commune with "the spirits of just men made perfect."

Thirty years of varied experience in the effort to find the secret of these powers leaves no room for question that they are available. When Jesus the Christ "gave his disciples authority over all disease, devils, etc.," he made it clear that for all time the man who had the faith to believe, the intelligence to know, and the courage to command these invisible forces, would have power to do the works that he did, and would not have to apologize for doing them.

In obedience to these forces, the author has recorded thousands of cases where the lame have walked, the blind received their sight, the deaf their hearing, the dumb their speech, and all manners of sickness of body, mind and spirit have departed in obedience to the dynamic power of those spiritual forces. And he has perfected the formulae by which anyone can with patient continuance in well doing achieve similar results for himself or others.

In the foregoing chapters we have made large allowance for the operation of the powers in one's own consciousness as well as the telepathic influence of those 'round about him. We have done this in the interest of the truth, to avoid the foolishness of blind enthusiasm, thus helping to keep the student's feet on the ground while his head is above the clouds.

Much is said today by investigators and by mediums themselves about lying spirits, but I have never met one, out of the flesh, who was given to that folly, either in direct communication or through a medium. I attribute this immunity to the effect of that always used challenge, "Do you confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?"

I have, however, known friends who received some rather bad business advice from mediums and from their guides. I have some successful business friends who never proceed with an important business deal without first consulting one who professed to command information in possession of spiritual intelligences.

It seems to depend very much upon the mental and moral qualities of the medium. It is significant that mediums are usually of very modest means, if not actually poor. If they can command financial guidance for their clients, they cannot for themselves. One of the most reliable sensitives I have known has been to me often for the price of a meal.

All in all, this little book is a sort of spiritual biography of one who moved up from a belief in the "communion of the saints" to an actual knowledge of its truth. It is a sketch of one going from a dread of death to a certainty of life abundant.

Death holds no fear, nor sting, nor any other evil, but becomes the gateway to the unlimited life. It is the beginning of a new phase in the evolution of life. It is the lifting of the curtain upon a new scene in the drama of the great adventure.

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Thomas Parker Boyd
1864 –1936
Episcopalian theologian, D.D., PhD
teacher, preacher and author

Thomas P. Boyd wrote Borderland Experiences in 1919, and reprinted it in 1922. Third edition 2016, incorporating his intended changes. Matters of scientific fact have been updated were found. Copyright ©2016 The Society of the Universal Living Christ.