Building for the Future Life

LETTER NO. 70 - September, 1916

You know of course that the Fellowship teaches rebirth to be a fact in nature, and you believe in this doctrine because it explains so many facts in life which we are otherwise unable to account for. But I wonder how many students have really taken the practical use of this truth to heart, and are fixing their attention upon it by consciously and systematically molding themselves and thus making their environment for future lives.

It is true that in the Second Heaven we devote all of our time to making the environment for our future life, forming the earth and the sea, providing the conditions for the flora and fauna, and generally shaping things to give us a suitable arena for our coming life work. But we do that according to the way we have been living here in this present life. If we have been lazy and shiftless here, living in a happy-go-lucky manner, it is not likely that when we come to the Second Heaven we will be careful to prepare a fertile soil, which we may later till. Therefore our next embodiment will probably find us with the barest means of existence at hand, so that under the whip of necessity we may learn to exert ourselves.

It is similar with our moral qualities. When we are ready to descend into the next embodiment,we can only build into our new vehicles what we have garnered in this. Therefore it is wise for us to commence now, when our next life is in the moldable clay stage, to make our ideals what we would like them to be and to make the environment in which we would like to be raised.

We are without a doubt all ready to agree in the first place than our present bodies are not as we wish them. Diseases of all sorts come to most people; some are subject to pain all their lives, and no one is ever able to go through life from the cradle to the grave without having at least some suffering. Thus each one of us may well picture himself in a future life with a healthy body in which he will be free from diseases that are now his worst plague.

With respect to the moral and mental faculties we are also far from perfect, and each one may therefore take up with profit the subject of improvement in that direction. Do we realize that we have a critical spirit, a sharp tongue, a hasty temper, or other kindred faults which bring us into trouble with others and make life unpleasant in our environment? Very well; by holding in mind and visualizing our ideal self for the future--having equipose under all circumstances, being soft-spoken, kindly, and affectionate, etc.--we shall build these ideals into the thought form we have already shaped for ourselves in that distant day. And according to the intensity of the concentration which we apply tot he matter will be the result. In so far as we endeavor now to cultivate and aspire virtues, we shall possess them then; and this applies to faculties as well. If we are solely now, by the aspiration to maintain order we shall later bring back that virtue. Are we lacking the sense of ryhthm? Very well, it may be ours in the future by asking now. Mechanical ability, or any thing else that is necessary to give us the life experience we seek, may be had in the same way.

Therefore we ought systematically to set aside a certain time at intervals, as frequent as is consistent with our other duties, to think forward and plan for future life--what sort of a body, what faculties, virtues, and environment we wish. When we are able to make our choice intelligently, we are undoubtedly given a great deal more latitude than if we had not thought about the matter at all.

You understand of course that the highest form of aspiration to virtue is the constant endeavor to practice in it our daily lives. But while we are endeavoring to cultivate virtures, as we should, by practice, it is scientific to plan ahead the use we shall make of the future life just as we now plan ahead the use of the day that is before us. I trust that this idea may take root among the students and be consistently carried to its legitimate consummation, for in that way it will be bound to have a wonderful effect upon the future of ourselves and the future of the world about us.