REVIEWING OUR examples we note that those forecasts least difficult to understand were related to human plans already existing. It would seem that our purposes can sometimes be observed by friends in the Beyond and made the foundation for a statement that such-and-such an event will come to pass. And it usually happens so. But if, meanwhile, we change our plan, or its execution should be delayed, the forecast becomes to that extent inaccurate.
Secondly, we found a type of forecast which seemed to depend on the ability of Agents in the Beyond to use, and perhaps modify, our human plans, so adapting them to plans of their own.
Thirdly, we saw that human co-operation is occasionally asked for in psychic sittings which provide opportunity for the request.
The fourth class related to forecasts based on plans made in the Beyond and which were carried out unaided by man.
From these various types of forecasting we can confidently conclude that intelligent activity is not confined to earth; there are minds in the Beyond. Man's survival of death is proved!
Our fifth class included forecasts which looked like experiments undertaken by the discarnate for purposes of their own.
In the final class we placed those astonishing cases of pre-vision which entirely surpass human understanding, and which I have termed Pure Precognition. The attempts to explain this have been interesting but unsuccessful.
It has been suggested that Time is an illusion, or that there is a different time-scale in other-world conditions, so that events yet to happen here have already happened there. Doubtless this
is attractive to students of relativity, and even to the man-in-the-street who knows that what he sees when looking at the star Sirius is that which happened there some eight years ago, and that what takes place on Sirius to-day cannot be observed from earth until another eight years have elapsed. Yet such considerations do not lead me to feel satisfied that, if
I see a car accident this day week opposite my house, it has already happened in etherial realms!
Hence I have suggested an explanation which does not run counter to life as we know it, and which agrees with what we are told of activities in the life beyond. It is, in brief, that HIGHER MINDS CAN INFER, FROM WHAT THEY OBSERVE, COMBINED WITH WHAT THEY THEMSELVES PLAN TO DO, THAT
SUCH-AND-SUCH AN EVENT WILL PRESENTLY HAPPEN. Compare this with the planning of enterprising business men, of Cabinet Ministers, of Generals in wartime: what these do in earthly life is done, I suggest, by their predecessors in the Great Beyond.
Remains a Mysterious Aspect of Precognition
When we have sorted out instances of prevision and glimpsed possible, or probable, explanations of the simpler forecasts, there remain some for which any explanation so far suggested seems highly improbable. What, for instance, are we to think of the Eastwood Forecast? Or the Gordon Davis Case in which there was minutely and accurately described to Dr. S. G. Soal, at his sittings, a house and some conspicuous articles of its furniture? Yet the future occupant of that house did not go to reside there until eleven months later and it was his occupation and his furniture which had been described in the forecast! At the date of Dr. Soal's sitting other people were living in that house and some of the furniture described had not yet come into the possession of its future occupant! (A full account of this case is given in S.P.R. Proceedings for December 1925, pp. 569-589).
On my briefly recounting this Gordon Davis Case to one of my Communicators he said, "With regard to the apparent knowledge of facts as they would be at a future
time - so it seems - I have spoken to you of what we here term THE ETERNAL NOW. I myself have often thought that your next week is sometimes our to-day. I have compared notes with others and find that we agree. I am frequently uncertain whether a thing happened to you yesterday, or whether it is to happen to-morrow.
"In the case you mention ... the house and its furniture may have been seen as a picture of what would presently be. Visions of the future have undoubtedly been seen and described with extraordinary detail. There is such a thing as projection of vision, or, let us say, a stray beam penetrates the window or wall of time. It would not be well for it to operate often, but it is permitted occasionally to show that it can be done".
Had our Communicators said that they obtained information about a future event from people on higher spheres than their own, that would only have removed the problem a step further away and left it still unsolved.
What they do say, however, is that they themselves can sometimes become aware of the future event, but do not know how this awareness comes to them. This statement we can parallel with our own experience.
For we are constantly aware of facts without being able to understand HOW the awareness arises in consciousness. I am not alluding to rare and dramatic occasions, called supernormal: I am thinking of the thousands of instances which occur daily: for when we see, hear, feel with hands, taste or smell, the same thing happens. We are mostly oblivious to the wonder of this; for having been accustomed to it from childhood we fail to notice the inexplicable in that which
inevitably regularly and constantly happens.
Our sense organs, eye, ear etc., serve to bring nerve impulses to the brain. That is well understood; for the nerves can be dissected and their rate of impulse-passage measured. But why should impulses which reach the brain produce in us an awareness of what takes place around us? We know that they do this, but we are unaware HOW. Between brain and personal consciousness there is a mysterious process which has not, so far, been grasped by man's efforts to understand it.
And so, like our Communicators, we know without knowing HOW we know.
After Elsie had given me a forecast (which later events proved correct) relating to a matter which personally concerned me, she added:
"I do not know how or why, but I know that it will be. There is a state which seems like putting one's finger on the centre of Truth, but without knowing how one arrived at it. The ring of truth is present, it rings true. Sometimes I know something is true, but not how or why." She continued,
"What is to be, is now. If a thing only may be, it is not existing now; but if it is to be, then it cannot help but be in being now. There are many things which may or may not be, they are subject to the
'arrows of fortune', they do not yet exist. Those 'arrows' are often the misusings of freewill. So much is in ourselves, not in our destiny. But what is to be, is now; hence the curious prophecies which come to pass. Something may exist which is quite outside the limited range of your vision or horizon".
In foretelling a future event, Communicators sometimes remark that they "feel strongly" that it will
happen - as, for example, in The Eastwood Forecast and The Garage Proprietor. That type of foretelling manifests the basic fact of AWARENESS, and only strikes us as strange because less common than the other forms of it which occur with ourselves in daily consciousness. While Communicators occasionally become aware of events in the near future, we are continually becoming aware of things in the near vicinity, and this awareness (via the senses) is a mystery too.
To those who realise that life beyond death affords unlimited scope for progressive development, it is reasonable to think that some at least of those who passed on thousands of years ago will have attained knowledge and powers of mind far beyond our imagination to conceive. On earth there are yet remote and backward tribes whose members, not having conversed with travellers and explorers, would be completely unable to realise the methods by which some of our every-day actions are accomplished. And, though the learner might be eager and his teachers expert, it would be impossible to make him understand how we travel by train, talk by telephone, reproduce by gramophone, or hear and see by radio, unless and until a number of mechanical and electrical operations had first been made clear to him. To a man whose most lethal weapon was the poisoned dart, the construction and action of atomic bombs would be inconceivable.
Our knowledge of these things has come through the labour and inventiveness of generations. Each stage gained made further stages possible. Some events were more epoch-making than others; the production and use of fire, of explosives, of steam and electricity, marked epochs in human progress; as also in the mental progress of mankind did the alphabet, numerals and printing.
In my many years of intercourse with friends in the Beyond it has become abundantly clear that they have not remained stationary in mental power, but that activity of thought and acquisition of knowledge has accelerated. When one considers the change in outlook and power of apprehension which the few years between adolescence and advanced maturity have brought us, it can be better imagined what progress is being enjoyed by those who passed centuries ago and whose activities are not checked by the need of spending one-third of their time in sleep. May we not liken them to the travellers and explorers who know so much more than they can explain to remote and backward tribesmen in whose position, relative to the former, we find ourselves? Until we have grasped certain elusive truths, we are precluded from grasping others yet more difficult. Among the latter may be the nature of Time.
Consider the implications of the following conversation which followed my reporting the success of the forecast described on a previous page under title The Eastwood Forecast, and for which I invited explanation:
FEDA: Your father says that Etta, owing to her deep interest in matters psychical when on earth, has more ability than many in estimating, from what she feels or knows, what will come to pass.
C.D.T.: But surely it is impossible to estimate without some fact on which to build? In this case there was no plan in anyone's mind.
FEDA: He doesn't know how to explain through Feda what he means and would wish to say. But he thinks people like Etta, who develop their psychic gifts before and after passing, can to some extent make a better use of their understanding about TIME. When she gave you the prediction there was apparently no foundation for it.
C.D.T.: None whatever.
FEDA: Look, he is going like this; Etta - a line there A and one there B. She anticipated B, although she was at the Point A.
C.D.T.: Yes, that is clear.
FEDA: On your plane of perception, unless in some exceptionally psychic state, you would have to stay at your own point in time. Etta has a better, shall I say, observation post than yours.
C.D.T.: Admitted; but she cannot see what does not exist!
FEDA: But it does exist! And that is just what I cannot explain.
C.D.T.: Then your statement is that there was a sense in which the event had already taken place and Etta was able to view its happening, although in earthly time
FEDA: In earthly time it had not materialised It had not manifested itself in your conditions, in your dimension.
Our mental powers have been evolved in a struggle for physical needs and seem at present incapable of grasping adequately such facts as endless space, time (duration) without beginning or termination, or even the modus operandi of our memory and perception. It may be that an understanding of Pure Precognition will be less difficult than the foregoing. Yet it is sufficiently difficult to baffle our present mental powers.
Man is able to see for a certain distance around him; optical instruments can give him more
far-reaching views. But the deepest plumbing into space, by the most efficient of his instruments, fails to find any indication of finality; there is yet more to be seen beyond the furthest limits of vision. And so it is with mental probings also; for man finds himself surrounded by a mental haze into which he probes in vain. It is true that he sees the immediate concrete earth, also the social life around him. But what a restricted gaze! If he would view the life and conditions of his great-grandparent's time he must depend on a few old letters, or on certain books and historical records which convey to him little of the vivid life which those departed relatives knew. Still more is he fogged when he desires to see how the successive strata of the earth beneath his feet were laid, or the actual condition of the earth's central core. Imagination, aided by scraps of inference, is his only probe in this, as in many other directions also. In whichever direction he looks this impenetrable haze baffles him. The great majority of his fellows therefore elect to take life as it comes, assessing things at their surface value and leaving to scientists and philosophers the inferential probing into that which does not seem to immediately concern either our necessities or our pleasures.
Is it surprising that they accept Time in like manner and have no suspicion of the mystery at which instances of precognition hint? Men with spiritual experience rest satisfied that, as they step firmly forward in the path of duty, a further length of that path will be made clear, step by step, by the Providence which has shaped the pathway hitherto. For to such men the Guided Life is a most real fact.
There are not a few among us who can assert with confidence that our life has been guided. Looking back along the years, we clearly see how firmly certain doors were shut against us which we would fain have entered, while other doors were opened to our astonishment and led us into roads of which we had no previous knowledge. To make this statement become alive in the mind of the sceptical would require an autobiography. But if anyone inclines to relegate the "guided life" to a mere succession of lucky chances, he is only slightly less reasonable than one who deemed that the car driven through traffic misses collision and keeps right direction only by a series of fortunate movements for which no guiding hand was responsible.
It was the experience of many which prompted the ancient prophet to write, "The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his
steps (Jeremiah ch. X, v. 2 3). And again,
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way" (Ps. XXXVII, v. 23, A.V.).
Interaction of Fixed Fate and Free Will
In any discussion about forecasts, or precognition of future events, the question of fatalism and freedom of choice is usually brought up. Many have felt confused and uneasy. They begin to wonder if their actions are predestined and they, though feeling free to choose, are in reality like puppets forced along a fated path.
I am confident that each one is free within wide limits and is therefore responsible for the choice he makes; that in this earthly "vale of soul-making" it is by habitually choosing the worse, the better, or the best that we shape the character of the Self which is "our Soul". As we form its character here, so will it be on our arrival in the Beyond. We shall find ourselves more or less qualified for immediate enjoyment of that life's wider opportunities, or limited by incapacity.
Here and now some things are fixed while others remain fluid. Fixed for us are our early home, sex, constitution, and native land. Other things gradually become fixed as life proceeds: for example, after a certain time it is too late to risk changing our occupation, and the youth who might have been a barrister finds he is too old to undertake the course of study which would qualify him for that profession. And so, while some things are fixed for us at birth, others become so as life runs on. Yet always there are other aspects of the future which remain fluid and we can, at will modify or change them. If our natural disposition is hasty and self-assertive we can learn to control it. Many people, while comparatively young, change from one occupation to another in which they achieve success. Others have left the land of their birth to make a home in the colonies; they were free to make the change and they chose to make it. Alternative courses of action are usually open.
This freedom to choose is our birthright and we impose a terrible limit to action when we weakly accept as inevitable that which we might change, or at least modify, by resolute choice and action.
A chosen destination may be reached by various paths; we are not confined to the direct route; others are available and we are free to select. Suppose a father destines his boy for a business career. He may be frustrated by the lad's unwillingness or incompetence. Should the father make another plan this may fail for similar reasons. But these repeated failures do not preclude possibility of some kind of final success, although it will not be the same success that was at first possible. One may try, try and try again for the same goal and may ultimately attain it; or one may resign oneself to some lesser goal.
Each is free to choose within certain limits. Those limits are fixed by circumstances; but within that boundary we have wide choice open to us.
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
This truth was well illustrated by Elsie in one of her talks. She said, "There
is a plan and its inner framework is unalterable and not to be disturbed. Yet its rim or outline is elastic and it is upon that which man's freewill plays. You pluck a string and produce a sound, yet the string itself remains in its place. Many different notes can be produced from that string but this does not bewilder the musician; he correlates them. God makes the framework and it cannot be interfered with, but its outline, as seen by us, can be modified. God means that man shall improve and beautify this; if man will not do this he can hurt himself and others also; for others, as well as himself, have to learn by his hurt. The innocent suffer with and for the guilty and so learn through them".
It was well written,
Our lives are songs. God gives the words
And we set them to music at leisure.
And our lives grow glad, or grave, or sad
As we choose to fashion the measure.
We must write the music, whatever the words,
Whatever the rhyme or meter;
But if they be sad, we can make them glad,
And if glad, we can make them sweeter.
Personal Application of Assured Knowledge
This is certain; we are here in the midst of endless Space and Time! Is it by a blind chance, or by some far-reaching and beneficent design? My purpose in writing is to bring readers to the same delightful assurance which I have long enjoyed, an assurance which gives rich meaning to this life and an ever brightening prospect for the future.
As Whittier sang,
Oh, why and whither? God knows all;
I only know that He is good, And that whatever may befall,
Or here or there, must be the best that could.
Our conclusion from the evidence selected in the foregoing, pages (a small gleaning from the results of thirty years' study) brings present-day reinforcement to the teaching of Our Master about the way in which one's life should be lived. By following Him we are brought into the WAY OF LIFE which He termed "eternal life", or "life more abundant", the way of living which harmonises with life in those supernal realms for which we are destined. They who learn to live thus will find themselves admirably suited to the life beyond death. Failing to live it here, one is unable at death to rise into the brighter realms and must perforce linger in less happy regions until the neglected lessons are at length mastered and one is ready to progress.
The great aim of my communicators has been to teach this, and when they have given descriptions of their life and various activities in the Beyond it has been with the avowed hope that men will realise that there is indeed something to work for, something to which they can look forward, something for which, by prayer and patient endeavour, they can be made ready.
May God's blessing accompany this book; using it to inspire in its readers a more vital faith in Him, more active hope for the future and more ardent love to Him and all mankind.