TRUE COMMUNION WITH OUR DEAD
Possessive personal love, how much we lose by it! To get — to possess — to keep. Is not this the almost universal motive in life? My child, my wife, my husband, my business, my rights. We all have this mentality to some degree. Yet by this desire for exclusive possession we miss the very flower of life. Perhaps, if Theosophy is new to you, these remarks will cause surprise. But you have only to read your daily paper or look around in your own neighborhood to find the unhappy homes and the problems of selfishness, often leading to criminality, that spring from the desire to possess for one's self. Just do a little observing and analysis and you'll get an eye-opener.
Now it is our intense possessive love that gets between us and our dear ones when they have passed on. When we lose a friend we can think of nothing but the loss of his presence, his face and voice and loving ways that we can no longer see and hear. Yet these are just the things that are temporary about him. For they are, as we remember them, centered more or less in the body. If they are not temporary then why do they disappear with the body? But that within which was the light of the eyes, that which warmed the smile and thrilled us in the voice — these come from the Spirit-soul who is our friend and it cannot die. It is this Spirit-soul which we really love, not the passing forms through which its love is made visible. Here you may object, "But I think it is very natural to grieve in this way when we lose someone we love." Of course it is! It is sympathy for this natural unhappiness that leads Theosophy to give us the knowledge which is the only thing that can comfort and help us. Do we wish to spend the rest of our lives in loneliness and loss? Or do we desire with all our hearts still to keep in conscious touch with our beloved dead? If the latter, then we must change our way of thinking and feeling. There is a passage in H. P. Blavatsky's The Key to Theosophy (Section II, "Theosophy and Spiritualism," footnote) which shows that just such communion can take place even though we do not realize it.
. . . it is not the spirits of the dead who descend to earth, but the spirits of the living that ascend to the pure spiritual souls . . . There is hardly a human being whose Ego does not hold free intercourse, during the sleep of his body, with those it loved and lost, yet, on account of the non-receptivity of his physical envelop and brain [italics ours], no recollection, or a very dim, dreamlike remembrance, lingers in the memory of the person once awake.
"The non-receptivity of . . . physical envelop and brain" — here is what shuts us away from our departed. To hold remembered communion with them we must live more in the realms of our own Spirit-souls. Do not the great majority of human beings live almost entirely in their narrow personal interests? The only way most people vary this is by moving-pictures, the bridge table, or whatever else can be used as an opiate to keep them from thinking about themselves. Every time we think towards or work for union with our own innermost Spirit we then move closer to our departed. This is because such desires react spiritually upon the brain and so etherealize it that it becomes sensitive to the spiritual spheres where the "dead" are. But when we restrict our thoughts to a desire for their physical presence we are turning away from them. They are at rest in the beautiful quiet of the Silent Land and Nature sees to it that our personal longings cannot disturb them there. But when we have begun to train our thoughts spiritwards we shall gradually have many blessed intimations that we are truly as near to our beloved as if they were asleep in the next room. Presently we too shall sleep. But we shall wake up together again in a new life on this earth. And then we shall resume our happy human companionship of work and play. This is true communion with our dead. False communication will be discussed in our next article.