Mental Health vs. Mediumship
MENTAL HEALTH VS. MEDIUMSHIP
True mental health can only consist in the untrammeled use of our intellectual faculties through their normal development. The old reply of the ploughman to the dyspeptic inquirer, that he "had no system." was an indication of physical health. The healthy man has no knowledge of the operations performed by his secretory organs. In health they perform their work silently and naturally, and only disease brings them into prominence in our consciousness. They have then assumed an unnatural character, and we are forcibly reminded of their existence. Even so in mental and spiritual health; the organs of the mind must work with a natural spontaneity, neither forced nor starved.
Whatever assumes to give us a royal road to knowledge in any direction, other than that worked out by our own faculties, or pretends to reveal to us the mysteries of time, is unnatural and would produce an unhealthy state of mental growth. Man must hew out his own knowledge rather than obtain it by gift, if he would not stagnate in imbecility. Thought kindles thought as the light applied to the slow-match sends activity into the heart of the rock, so does an idea once fully possessed awaken a train of ideas until the whole shell—in which custom so often encases the mind—shakes and crumbles away before its active powers. If our ideas are obtained by impressions from without through mechanical means, mental activity can never ensue. The organs of man are the outlets of an indwelling controlling force, not the inlets of knowledge by mechanical control. Man has been defined as an intelligence served by organs; he is not an organism merely serving others. Man has a nobler mission than to serve as a spiritual watering-pot in the hands of any hypothetical "influence," either of the earth earthy or of the spheres "sublimated."
The grand pre-requisite for mental independence is to have a soul within us, an animating, invigorating, inspiring soul, not an"etherealized" counterpart of the physical man, who is to continue his etherealization through a seven-fold existence hereafter, unless sooner re-incarnated; but a soul that can recognize divine order here, and by and through its own faculties will put itself in keeping with it: something in us that will stir up all our slumbering powers into new activities under the dominating rule of a purpose, without which we may as well be automatic implements in the hands of others, mere voluble dischargers of second-hand thought; for without purpose all powers are useless.
What is it to us to know that "the first sphere is the natural; the second the spiritual; the third the celestial; the fourth the supernatural; the fifth the superspiritual; the sixth the supercelestial; the seventh the Infiuite Vortex of Love and Wisdom"? No! Nature's divine revelations teach us not of the names of conditions of being held in store by her, but to so live and develop our own transcendent powers as to insensibly pass into those higher conditions.
- "To know that which before us lies
- Is the prime wisdom; what is more is fume,
- Or emptiness, or fond impertinence;
- And renders us in that which most concerns us
- Unpractised, unprepared."
Words are but the garments of thought. Terminology can never take the place of the animating idea. Thought is needed, clothing itself in action, to make the truly self-reliant man. Soul once attained, all is attainable; thought then necessarily breaks forth into action, and so far as the actions are unconscious, the result of spontaneity, is mental health indicated. Many of our Spiritualist friends seem to regard mental action as a mechanical influx, instead of a spontaneous outgrowth; no inner fire bums on the hearth to warm the whole man into a healthy activity, raising a torpid purpose into a sovereign principle, but rather the cold reflection of distant star-beams which, however deep they may penetrate, can excite no molecular motion. The man of purpose, intensely realizing the duties of the present, has neither time nor inclination to spare in profitless inquiries concerning the vocations and avocations of the departed.
- "Life is real, life is earnest;"
and a healthy, natural condition of the mental faculties rejects all external developing processes of the mechanical sort, as savoring of the quack. Manly self-reliance can never be attained by placing ourselves under the control of others, whether in a physical or "sublimated" bodyNot in the school of "mediumship" do we learn better to battle the waves of life as they surge around and over us; only in the development or our own mental powers, under the master hand of soul, recognizing in life a purpose, and unconsciously working out every thought into action, an we ever arrive at a healthy activity of mind. Inspiration, though not of the inferior sort.moved the mind of Matthew Arnold when he wrote these lines:—
- "From David's lips this word did roll,
- 'Tis true and living yet:
- No man can save his brother's soul,
- Nor pay his brother's debt.
- "Alone, self-poised, henceforward man
- Must labor, must resign
- His all too human creeds, and scan
- Simply the way divine."
Is the "spiritual philosophy of the nineteenth century" to become a mechanical one? Is materialism and soulless Sadduceeism to be confuted by converting the mind into a spiritual trough, with the sole faculty of "passive receptivity"? Those sparks from the inner hearth where the soul sits enshrined, and known in mortal speech as ideas, talent, genius, are not to be reduced to a phantasm or worshipped as Buper human, but reverently regarded as dim signs of almost infinite possibilities. Inspiration does dwell in the innermost recesses of the soul and is often manifested; especially is it in these words of Carlyle which many might read with profit:—
"Man of Genius! O Mæcenas Twiddledee, hast thou any notion of what a man of genius is? Genius is the 'inspired gift of God.' It is the clearer presence of God Most High in a man. Dim, potential, in all men—in this man it has become clear, actual. So says John Milton, who ought to be a judge; so answer him the voices, the voices of all ages and all worlds. Wouldst thou commune with such a one? Be his real peer, then: does that lie in thee? Know thyself and thy real and apparent place, and know him and his real and apparent place, and act in some noble conformity with all that. What! the star-fire of the empyrean shall eclipse itself, and illumine magic lanterns to amuse grown children? He, the God-inspired, is to twang harps for thee, and blow through scrannel pipes, to soothe thy sated soul with visions of new, still wider Eldorados, Houri-Paradises, richer Lands of Cockaigne! Brother, this is not he; this is a counterfeit, this twanging, jangling, vain, acrid, scrannel-piping man. Thou dost well to say with sick Saul, 'It is naught, such harping!' and in sudden rage to grasp thy spear, and try if thou canst pin such a one to the wall. King Saul was mistaken in his man, but thou art right in thine. It is the due of such a one: nail him to the wall, and leave him there. So ought copper shillings to be nailed on counters, copper geniuses on walls, and left there for a sign."
Dyer D. Lum.