Life After Death
Extract from Spirit World and Spirit Life concerning bringing up Spirit Children.
RECEIVED AND ARRANGED BY ‘SIS’
IN the wave of psychic interest which has swept over the world during and since the great war, many bereaved ones have found comfort; and many believe they have received communications from their loved ones, and have become assured of future companionship in a life where war is banished and sorrow unknown. A multitude of books has appeared, many apparently inspired by those who have met the “great change,” yet still can look earthward; still can tell of their passing, and their awakening in that strange new life. The soldiers who gave their all; the scholars who left their books; the great minds who have long been on that farther side;—all send some news of that spirit world, some description of its laws, occupations and interest. Yet, one field of inquiry has been left, for the most part, vague or undescribed. This is concerning the kind of life that opens out for children, for the little ones who have passed over without their parents. When, after many months of silence, Dee came to us, the veil between the two worlds seemed to grow transparent. At first it was enough to know that she lived,—lived with her own personality, only intensified and made more beautiful. Then we began to ask questions concerning that life and its unfoldment to her, and soon we wished to know of her occupations. One evening we asked if she could tell us of her work. The reply came quickly:
“Can you believe that I am developing into a teacher?”
‘We surely can’, we replied; ‘but will you tell us just how and what you are teaching?’
“I am teaching little children at present, and love the work. I tell them stories that have a lesson in them.”
‘Something like kindergarten work?’
“Yes; and I love it; for the children are so quick to learn, and so loving, too. I like to mother the little things, so that they may not miss too much the care and tenderness of the mother left on earth.”
‘Can you give us some idea of the way you teach them?’
“I will try. Today it was in this way:
“‘Once upon a time’, I told them, ‘there was a beautiful fairy who took little children to a wonderful garden where they could play. Then the fairy told them of a new game.’ And here I tell it to them, pretending to quote the fairy’s words. And so I draw them into all sorts of little, new, educational thoughts, by clothing the thought in a story.
“Sometimes I describe animals on earth, and they are much interested because they have never seen them here. You would laugh to see me trying to represent lions and tigers. But I do not tell them they would harm little children, because evil is not known to them. No thought of cruelty must be allowed to enter their minds.”
This description of her work made us wish to hear more, and one evening she gave us the following:
“My children are always the dearest work that I have, and I hope that I shall never stop teaching them. Would you like to hear about to-day’s lesson?
“I wished to tell them a story of activity in work; so I described the little things of earth, like the ants and bees and other busy little creatures. The children wanted to know what they were like and I tried to tell them. But I could not quite make them understand. Then I tried to make pictures of them, but as I am no artist, that was not much better. So I finally said that the ants crawl and the bees fly. Then immediately we had a crawling, flying crowd of children that completely overwhelmed their teacher, and she called a halt to the lesson and joined in the fun!”
Again, when we asked for a “kindergarten” story, she told us the following:
“To-day I called a tiny child to come to me, and when I had her in my arms, I placed my hand on her head and said to the other children: ‘Now this, where my hand is, is a beautiful house that we are going to furnish, and you may tell me what we should put in it’. One said, ‘There must be a big room full of love’, opening her arms as if she would inclose the universe. Another declared that we must put in kind thoughts for other children who had no mothers here. Another said we could ‘make a playroom in the house, and play games, and see pictures of all those queer animals on earth’. Another thought, ‘We might have a little mother’s room, where we could mother other little children as you mother us’. I said, ‘Do you think the rooms in this beautiful house are all filled now?’ One replied, ‘Wouldn’t love fill all the others?’ ‘Pretty near it’, I said, ‘but how about truth and knowledge and growth?’ ‘Why, each of these could have a room, too’, they said. And the little child in my arms began to feel of her head to find where all these rooms could be.”
We asked once if she did not have many children come to her who had been wrongly taught, or not at all, and therefore had only false ideas and impressions. My pencil wrote:
“Most of them leave their false impressions with their bodies. One of the children here was a child of criminal parents, and came over poisoned by wrong teaching; but the influence here was so good and so gentle that she soon outgrew the other impressions. I think she would have drifted into a criminal life if she had been left on earth; here, she is very dear and good.”
‘If every child had been surrounded by right influences, what would have happened?’
“Most of them would have been good, I think; and their influence over the actually bad would have held evil actions in check.”
The work of my life nearly always has been in music, and the part of it that I have liked best has been the direction of choruses and choirs; yet I was greatly surprised when Dee on that unseen side drew a lesson from even this circumstance.
“Can you guess what I talked to my children about to-day?” she wrote one evening. “I told them that you were my friend on earth, and I told them how you loved music. Then they wanted to try to sing, and I wish you could have heard them. They made many sweet sounds, but no time and no harmony. Then I described how you used to beat time to have us sing together. Then they all tried that. I thought they were very dear, trying to follow my motions and keep together.
“The lesson was, of course, unity in action, and that to work together in harmony meant better and bigger things than for each to try separately. I think the idea appealed to them and increased their desire for united and harmonious action.”
“I do so love the work with the children, and their quick responsiveness to my thought. I am teaching them about unselfishness now, and how to send their thoughts out to others in kindness and love. Sometimes a newly arrived child feels desolate and lonely without the sheltering protection of a mother’s arms. Then the children can be of the greatest service in surrounding the little one with love and tender thought. There are many ways in which children can learn the true office of unselfishness and love, and their gentle and loving attentions to others react upon themselves in added happiness.
“I wish you could see them, all so dainty and light and beautiful. To-day we walked in the garden looking at the flowers. Then we tried to find the colors that each liked best, and each picked out her favorite color. One chose a pink flower, and said that was for love. Another chose white, because that to her was like the baby angels. Another gathered purple flowers because her mother had loved that color. Dearest of all was the little blue flower that stood for hope and happiness, they said. And so we went through the garden, picking flowers and telling what they meant, until we had nearly all the virtues represented, but no faults. When I asked where the faults were, they said, ‘Why, flowers have no faults’. Then I called them my flowers, and told them that they, too, must be without faults if they would belong in the beautiful garden of love.
“Ah, dear mothers of little children, I wish you could see these happy ones at play in these wonderful gardens! Can you not think of them so, rather than taken from you and borne to some far-away unknown place?”
Then after awhile came a serious story:
“Many years ago a boy told his mother that he was going to be a great man, and that he would have riches and power, and make others do as he wished. Well, the years went by, and the boy grew to manhood, and he did attain power and riches and the gift of controlling others; but in far, far different ways from his own boyish plans. He did have power, but power born out of suffering and disappointment. He did have riches, the riches of a spirit made pure by loss. And he did control others, through the power of love and sympathy. For poverty, ill-health and disappointment had come to him in so many different ways, that his pride was turned into humility, his selfishness into kindness, and all his character into true nobility. Thus he was given his desires, but in ways he could not have dreamed, and with results he never anticipated. And so, I tried to show the children that sorrow and disappointment to earthly lives are often heavenly gifts.”
The following story rather reflects on the writer, but I think I will include it just the same:
“I will tell you about my children to-day. I have talked of you many times,—of your music, of our friendship, of our many happy times together; and to-day they asked me to tell them more about that friend on earth. I told them she was very dear, but sometimes she could not understand what I was trying to tell her, and then she got cross! They asked me what ‘cross’ meant. Then I tried to scowl and wrinkle up my face, and I wish you could have heard them laugh! So I had to explain that you were grieved sometimes, just as they were grieved when they wanted their parents to see them, and the parents could not see nor understand. So then they got quite sorry for my little friend.
“I just wanted to show them how much you were in my thought, and show you how my little pupils are growing to think of you, too.”
Some evenings later this came:
“I told my children to-day that I would talk a little about history. They did not know the word and asked what It meant, I said it meant the stories of the lives of people, and the places in which they lived. But I soon got beyond my depth and had to call for help. I called a teacher of history from another plane, and he began in such simple and beautiful ways to tell of lives on different planets and the things that happened there, that I learned not only the history, but his beautiful manner of telling it; and I will study with him to get more knowledge and better ways of expressing that knowledge.”
Here her writing stopped, but after a little, Mary took the pencil and wrote:
“She has not told it all, for he said some things of her teaching that were lovely to hear. You see, she is so loving that she teaches the children that the greatest thing of all is love, and that love is the foundation of all that is good in character and life, and they grow into such expression of it that they are more than ordinarily beautiful in character and appearance, for character expresses itself outwardly in the appearance.”
We have been so curious about the blending of story and instruction that we repeat our request for the daily teachings quite often. This one came in answer to one such request:
“I had a little hide-and-seek story for them to-day. I don’t like to preach about character; so I turn the preaching into playing, and this time I described the old game of hide-and-seek to them, and how we shouted ‘I spy’ when the hidden person was found. Then I told them of the little thoughts that hid away, and that now I was going to try to find them. The children grew interested and bright eyes were following mine in the pretended search,—for, really, I could see the characters written on the souls before me. Sometimes I saw helpfulness; sometimes a kind thought that seemed to blossom out like a flower; and again, just love illumined the soul. Such dear thoughts in nearly all! I hardly know if they had any real faults, only beginnings of what might become so. Now and then a shade of self-love, or maybe a tiny grain of selfishness or pride, but all so small as scarcely to be called faults. But I said ‘I spy’ just the same, and told them what I saw, and said we must drive them out and chase them away before they grew into faults. So then we played we had them on the run, and chased them hither and yon, until I think we drove them all away. And every one laughed and was happy, but the lesson remained.”
Once when we asked for Dee, Mary told us she was with her children, but that she would call her. When she came she told us the story-lesson she had just been giving.
“We were trying to learn about the stars, and I told them about the planet Mars, and they wanted to go there at once. I told them of the study they must first have, and they wanted a lesson right away. What could I do but tell them about travel of all kinds:—on earth, in the clouds, by land and by water, by material and by spiritual ways. They listened so eagerly that I could not find it in my heart to tell them that years must elapse before they would be wise enough to travel to planets where were conditions so different from here. So I told them a fairy story about travel, and we all journeyed together in fairy boats with fairy sails, up above the stars, and swung on comets, and danced through northern lights, and played with elves and goblins, and finally slid down a moonbeam to our home here once more.
“That was just as Mary called me, and I ran away and escaped further questions; and wasn’t I glad!”
But Mary added:
“The children are not going to stop there, though, and her troubles are not over yet.”
To which Dee responded:
“We will dodge the whole subject next time by starting on something entirely new.”
When we read this story aloud later, the following was added:
“My fairy story was not as perfect a success as hoped, for the children still insist on seeing a real planet! I have had to describe the earth to them, and let them take that as a model for the others. The things I can’t exactly get around on that dark planet, are the sin, suffering, ignorance, and selfishness, the fierce wild animals, and the dangers that lurk in hidden places. Could you describe the life on earth and keep it all within the limit of love, wisdom, and goodness?”
‘No, I am afraid not. Can you?’
“I am telling a rather one-sided story at present, leaving out the dark side, hoping no embarrassing questions will be asked until the little ones grow older and wiser.”
“I have been telling my children about the little men and women of another universe,—a story that a friend told me after one of her far-away visits. We know something of other universes; but have to depend upon our teachers, or those who have been there, for definite knowledge, because we have not taken up the studies that would help us to go there.
“Well, my friend told us that, among the planets of one of the great suns, was one where life was very minute, and the children were fairy-like in stature. Perhaps they could not use a rose leaf for a couch, but might sleep under the branches. The children were so delighted that they wanted to go there at once. Then I told them of the studies and the years of experience and knowledge that must be acquired before they could go, and they turned to their studies very eagerly, believing these would lead them to this fairy-like world; while I thought nothing could be more fairy-like than this dainty group of children.”
One evening we had been talking with several friends through the pencil. Finally Dee took it and wrote: “I am tired of being shut out, and have concluded to step in. Will you take a story to-night? I have taught the children a new game. It had no special moral, but it kept them busy and happy.
“We were trying to see the colors in a rainbow. I mean a spiritual rainbow, for we do not see earth colors. This was as far as we got, when one of the little ones said: ‘Could we break it up into dresses?’ and another said: ‘No, let’s play it is a beautiful chariot for us to ride in.’
“They knew about chariots in other stories. So we all jumped into the rainbow and sailed around, or played we did, and told what we saw. Some saw moons and stars; some saw other little playmates coming out of the sky to play with them; some laughed at the queer animals they conjured up; and we had a laughing, happy group. Then suddenly one little girl said: ‘I want my mama. Where is she?’ For the little thing had come over alone. So we stopped our play, and all began comforting the child and leading her into happy thought. So, after all, the little game ended in sympathy and service. So don’t you think it was a lesson, after all?” “You might be able to take a story today. Will you try?
“Imagine the tiny forms moving about, as dainty as flowers, and as light and airy as butterflies. I cannot describe them well, nor their motions; but all are full of grace and beauty. To-day I was trying to tell them of…”
“Will you try not to think out the story. I am telling it, not you!”
I had not realized that my own thought was interfering; but I said:
‘All right, go ahead.’
“I will write if you will stop thinking. Will you write what I wish? I was trying to say ‘figures’, but you would not write it.”
‘I thought the word came from my own mind. I did not think you would be telling of figures there.’
“We do tell them of figures, and give them some idea of numbers, too. We have to begin with the elementary things, as with earth children; and through them lead up to higher things. So I was trying to teach them to count. And because they got mixed up in the names of the figures, I had them form in a little dance, where each one was a figure. And I had them moving in pretty ways, each answering to the name of a number. Sometimes they got mixed up, but the laugh only added to the pleasure of the play. And finally they learned to count very well to a certain number.”
‘Did they learn up to a hundred?’
“Million would be better.”
“Yes. What do you expect of little ones with spirit intelligence? You are comparing them to earth children. Here they learn millions as quickly as those of earth would learn tens or hundreds.”
‘How long have you been teaching the class?’
“I have been with them as teacher almost since I gained my spiritual sight and hearing.”
‘I suppose some have graduated from your class before this?’
“Yes; many have gone on into higher classes. But I teach the tiny ones still, and many others are coming from the earth plane, so that I always have many to teach.”
‘Can you tell us how many are in your charge?’
“The number changes, as some move on and others come in. But there are very many; you would call them hundreds.”
‘Do you teach them in separate classes?’
“I take them in different classes at times, but many times have them all together.”
‘We were interested the other day when you told of the one who was homesick for her mother.’
“Some are bewildered at first, and call often for their mothers. But the love and tenderness that is here soon help them to be happy, and wait for their earth parents with love in their hearts for those who loved them from the first.”
“Will you take a story to-night about my children?
“They were to-day trying to see pictures of life on earth. Some of them have to do with war and other troubles, and I have had a hard time trying to explain that these things existed in the planet they came from. Finally I told them of the effort to bring the low and evil-minded into good, and of the many ways by which they were brought. Some had to go through suffering, and some had to see the results of selfishness, to make them leave these faults and come into a better life.
“They could not understand, and one little one said, ‘Why, what was love doing all this time?’ I said I thought love must have hid her eyes and gone away for a time. Then one of them put her hands to her eyes, and the others pretended to quarrel and have a little war, and before I knew it a game was started. But love,—the little one who pretended to be love,—took her hands away from her eyes and smiled. And such a smile! Did you ever see the sun come out of a dark cloud? Well, she smiled just such a smile, and the children all ran to her and circled about her and the war was over.
“Don’t you think that might happen on earth if there were love enough?”
‘If only there were love enough!’
“You must just go on trying to teach the world of better things. It will be long before selfishness is changed into service, but it must come sooner or later.”
The book from which this was extracted can be found here.