Obstacles To Clairvoyance

Various impediments stand in the way of inducing second sight,

and certain others may be expected to arise in connection with

the faculty when induced. Putting aside the greatest of all

obstacles, that of constitutional unfitness, as having already been

discussed in the preceding pages, the first obstacle to be

encountered is that of ill health. It can hardly be expected that

new areas can be opened up in the mind with
ut considerable

change and adjustment taking place by reflection in the physical

economy. The reaction is likely to be attended by physical

distress. But Nature is adaptable and soon accommodates herself

to changed conditions, so that any results directly attributable to

the development of the psychic centres of activity is not likely to

be more than transient, providing that due regard has been given

to the normal requirements of health.

The importance of a moderate and nourishing diet cannot be too

strongly urged upon those who seek for psychic development. All

overloading of the stomach with indigestible food and addiction

to alcoholic drinks tend to cloud the higher faculties. The brain

centres are thereby depleted, the heart suffers strain, and the

equilibrium of the whole system is disturbed. Ill health follows,

the mind is centred upon the suffering body, spiritual aspiration

ceases, and the neglected soul folds its wings and falls into the

sleep of oblivion.

But, on the other hand, one must not suppose that the adoption of

a fruit and cereal diet will of itself induce to the development

of the psychic powers. It will aid by removing the chief

impediments of congestion and disease. Many good people who

adopt this dietetic reform have a tendency to scratch one another's

shoulder blades and expect to find their wings already sprouting.

If it were as easy as this the complacent cow would be high up in

the scale of spiritual aspirants.

The consciousness of man works from a centre which co-ordinates

and includes the phenomena of thought, feeling, and volition.

This centre is capable of rapid displacement, alternating

between the most external of physical functions and the most

internal of spiritual operations. It cannot be active in all parts of

our complex constitutions at one and the same moment. When

one part of our nature is active another is dormant, as is seen in

the waking and sleeping stages, the dream-life being in the

middle ground between the psychic and physical. It will therefore

be obvious that a condition in which the consciousness is held in

bondage by the infirmities of the body is not one likely to be

conducive to psychic development. For this reason alone many

aspirants have been turned back from initiation. The constitution

need not be robust, but it should at all events be free from

disorder and pain. Some of the most ethereal and spiritual natures

are found in association with a delicate organism. So long as the

balance is maintained the soul is free to develop its latent powers.

A certain delicacy of organization, together with a tendency to

hyperaesthesia, is most frequently noted in the passive or direct

seer; but a more robust and forceful constitution may well be

allied to the positive type of seership.

As a chronic state of physical congestion is altogether adverse to

the development of the second sight or any other psychic faculty,

so the temporary congestion following naturally upon a meal

indicates that it is not advisable to sit for psychic exercise

immediately after eating. Neither should a seance be begun when

food is due, for the automatism of the body will naturally demand

satisfaction at times when food is usually taken and the

preliminary processes of digestion will be active. The best time is

between meals and especially between tea and supper, or an hour

after the last meal of the day, supposing it to be of a light nature.

The body should be at rest, and duly fortified, and the mind

should be contented and tranquil.

The attitude of the would-be seer should not be too expectant or

over-anxious about results. All will come in good time, and the

more speedily if the conditions are carefully observed. It is

useless to force the young plant in its growth. Take time, as

Nature does. It is a great work and much patience may be needed.

Nature is never in a hurry, and therefore she brings everything to

perfection. The acorn becomes the sturdy oak only because

Nature is content with small results, because she has the virtue of

endurance. She is patient and careful in her beginnings, she

nurses the young life with infinite care, and her works are

wonderfully great and complete in their issues. Moreover, they

endure. Whoever breathes slowest lives the longest.

This statement opens up a very important matter connected with

all psychic phenomena, and one that deserves more than casual

notice. It has been long known to the people of the East that there

is an intimate connection between brain and lung action, and

modern experiment has shown by means of the spirometer that

the systole and diastole motion of the hemispheres of the brain

coincide exactly with the respiration of the lungs. The brain

as the organ of the mind registers every emotion with unerring

precision. But so also do the lungs, as a few common observations

will prove. Thus if a person is in deep thought the breathing

will be found to be long and regular, but if the mind is

agitated the breathing will be short and stertorous, while if fear

affects the mind the breathing is momentarily suspended. A

person never breathes from the base of the lung unless his mind

is engrossed. Hard exercise demands deep breathing and is

therefore helpful in producing good mental reactions. It is said

that the great preacher De Witt Talmage used to shovel gravel

from one side of his cellar to the other as a preliminary to his fine

elocutional efforts. It is this obvious connection between

respiration and mental processes which is at the base of the

system of psycho-physical culture known as Hatha Yoga in

distinction from Raj Yoga, which is concerned solely with

mental and spiritual development. The two systems, which have

of late years found frequent exposition in the New Thought

school, are to be found in Patanjali's Yoga sutra. Some

reference to the synchronous action of lung and brain will also be

found in Dr. Tafel's translation and exposition of Swedenborg's

luminous work on The Brain. In this work the Swedish seer

frankly refers his illumination regarding the functions of the brain

to his faculty of introspective vision or second sight, and it is of

interest to observe that all the more important discoveries in this

department of physiology during the last two centuries are clearly

anticipated by him. The scientific works of this great thinker are

far too little known by the majority, who are apt to regard him

only as a visionary and a religious teacher.

Ad rem. The vision is produced. The faculty of clairvoyance is

an established fact of experience and has become more or less

under the control of the mind. There will yet remain one or two

difficulties connected with the visions. One is that of time

measure, and another that of interpretation. The former is

common to both orders of vision, the direct and the symbolic.

The difficulty of interpretation is, of course, peculiar to the latter

order of vision.

The sensing of time is perhaps the greatest difficulty encountered

by the seer, and this factor is often the one that vitiates an

otherwise perfect revelation. I have known cartomantes and

diviners of all sorts to express their doubt as to the possibility of a

correct measure of time. Yet it is a question that follows naturally

upon a clear prediction--When?

It is sometimes impossible to determine whether a vision relates

to the past, the present, or the future. In most cases, however, the

seer has an intuitive sense of the time-relations of a vision which

is borne in upon him with the vision itself. It will generally be

observed that in ordinary mental operations the time sense is

subject to localization, and a distinct throw of the mind will be

experienced when speaking of the past and the future. Personally

I find the past to be located on my left and the future on my right

hand, but others inform me that the habit of mind, places the past

behind and the future in front of them, while others again have

the past beneath their feet and the future over their heads. It is

obviously a habit of mind, and this usually inheres in the

visionary state so that a sense of time is found to attach to all

visions, though it cannot be relied upon to register on every

occasion. But also it is frequently found that there is an automatic

allocation of the visions, those that are near of fulfilment being in

the foreground of the field, the approximate in the middle ground,

and the distant in the background; position answering to time

interval. In such case the vision has a certain definition or focus

according to the degree of its proximity. These points are,

however, best decided by empiricism, and rarely does it happen

that the intuitive sense of the seer is at fault when allowed to have


The other difficulty to which I have referred, that of interpretation

of symbols when forming the substance of the vision, may

be dealt with somewhat more fully. Symbolism is a universal

language and revelation most frequently is conveyed by means

of it. As a preliminary to the study of symbolism the student

should read Swedenborg's Hieroglyphical Key to Natural and

Spiritual Mysteries, one of the earliest of his works and

in a great measure the foundation of his thought and teaching.

The Golden Book of Hermes containing the twenty-two Tarots is

open to a universal interpretation as may be seen from the works

of the Kabalists, and in regard to their individual application may

be regarded in a fourfold light, having reference to the spiritual,

rational, psychic and physical planes of existence. It is by means

of symbols that the spiritual intelligences signal themselves to

our minds, and the most exalted vision is, as an expression of

intelligence, only intelligible by reason of its symbolism.

Something more may be said in regard to the interpretation of

symbols which may possibly be of use to those who have made

no special study of the subject, and this may conveniently form

the material of another chapter.