Under this head we propose to cite a few of the obstacles to be met with in the process of inducing the psychic vision, and some also which may be expected in connection with the faculty when induced.
Putting aside the greatest of all obstacles—that of constitutional unfitness—as having been already discussed in preceding pages, the first obstacle to be avoided is that of ill-health. The importance of a moderate and sustaining diet in regard to psychic development
annot be too strongly urged. All overloading of the stomach with indigestible food and addiction to alcoholic drinks tends to cloud the spiritual perception, It depletes the brain-centres, gives the heart too much work, and overthrows the equilibrium of the system. Ill-health follows; the mind is centred upon the suffering body, spiritual aspiration ceases, and the soul folds its wings and falls into the sleep of oblivion. The consciousness of man works from a centre, which co-ordinates and includes all the phenomena of thought, feeling, and volition. This centre of consciousness is capable of rapid displacement, alternating between the most external of our bodily functions and the most internal of our spiritual operations. It cannot be active in all parts of our complex constitution at one and the same moment. Hence it follows that when one part of our nature is active another is dormant as happens in sleeping and waking, dream-life being that wherein the centre of consciousness hovers between the body and the soul.
With these considerations in mind it will be obvious to every one that a condition in which the consciousness is held in bondage by the infirmities of the body is not one conducive to psychic development. The constitution need not be robust, but it should at all events be free from disorder and pain. Some of the most ethereal natures are associated with a delicate organism, but while the balance is maintained the soul is free to develop its latent powers.
It is advisable not to sit for crystal reading, or indeed for any order of psychic exercise, immediately after or before a meal. The body should be at rest, and the mind contented and tranquil. Again, the attitude of the seer should not be too expectant or over-anxious in regard to the production of the vision. Let the development take its natural course. Do not force the young plant in its growth or it will come to a premature end. Take time, as Nature does. It is a great work, and much patience is needed. The acorn becomes the sturdy oak only because Nature is contented with small results, because she can afford to wait and is never in a hurry to see the result of her operations. And because she is patient and careful in her beginnings, her works are wonderfully great and complete in their issues. Above all, they endure. Whoever breathes slowest will live the longest. This is an Eastern saying which voices a fundamental truth.
The vision is produced. The faculty of clairvoyance has become more or less under the control of the mind. New difficulties arise, and, of these, two will be conspicuous. The first is that of time-measure, and the other is that of interpretation. The former is peculiar to both orders of vision, the direct and the symbolic. The difficulty of interpretation is, of course, peculiar to the latter order of vision.
Time-measure is, perhaps, the greatest difficulty encountered by the seer. It is sometimes impossible to determine whether a vision relates to the past, the present, or the future. In most cases, however, the seer learns by experience how to distinguish, and frequently it will be found that an intuitive impression of the period involved comes with the vision itself. In our own experience the foreground, middle distance, and background, mark off the present, the approximate, and the distant future. In tracing the succession of events, we have found it convenient to think of time-measure at the outset, bending the sight upon, each month or year separately and in succession, noting the visions that arise with each in order. And as regards the past or future, we distinguish between them by an intuitive sense rather than by any other means, and very rarely is this sense deceived, for it is part of the psychic faculty we had in training.
Therefore, if the vision appears in the foreground and, as it were, at the feet of the seer, then it may be taken as relating to the present or a quite recent date. In the same way, the middle distance indicates the near past or future, and the background denotes the more distant past or future. The other difficulty we have mentioned is that of interpretation of such symbols as may arise. The following pages will indicate some of the symbols and their meanings. The rest must be left to the intuition of the seer.