1. You Travel When You Sleep.
You travel when your body is in the state called sleep. The real “you” is not your body; it is an unseen organization, your spirit. It has senses like those of the body, but far superior. It can see forms and hear voices miles away from the body. Your spirit is not in your body. It never was wholly in it; it acts on it and uses it as an instrument. It is a power which can make itself felt miles from your body. One‑half of our life is a blank to us; that is, the life of our spirit when it leaves the body at night. It goes then to countries far distant, and sees people we never know in the flesh.
Thought is a substance as much as air or any other unseen element of which chemistry makes us aware. It is of many and varying degrees in strength. Strong thought or mind is the same as strong will. Some persons are so weak in thought.
When we “go to sleep,” the spirit has been by its day’s workings sent widely scattered away from the body; with so little of its force left by it, the body falls into the trance state of slumber.
It is the spirit that is tired at night. It is exhausted of its force, and therefore not able to use the body vigorously. The spirit is weak at night, because its forces have in thought been sent in so many different directions during the day that it cannot call them together. Every thought is one of these forces, and a part of your spirit. Every thought, spoken or unspoken, is a thing, a substance, as real, though invisible, as water or metal. Every thought, though unspoken, is something which goes to that person, thing, or locality on which it is placed. Your spirit, then, has during the day been so sent in a thousand, perhaps ten thousand, different directions. When you think, you work. Every thought represents an outlay of force. So sending out force for sixteen or eighteen hours, there is not at night sufficient left in or near the body to use it. The body therefore falls into the condition of insensibility we call sleep. During this condition the spirit collects its scattered forces, its thoughts which have been sent far and wide; it returns with its powers so concentrated to the body, and again possesses it with its full strength. It is when scattered as so many scattered rills of water trickling in many directions. Put all these together in a single volume, and you have the power that turns the mill‑wheel.
Could you call all of your spirit at once to its center, and so collect its widely scattered forces, you could be fresh and strong in as many minutes as it now takes hours to rest you. This power was known to the first Napoleon, and sustained him for days with very little sleep during the crisis of his campaigns when his energies were taxed to the utmost. It is a power which can be acquired by all through a certain training. It is done by first placing the body in a state of as complete rest as possible; stopping all involuntary physical motions, such as the swinging of limbs, tapping with the foot, or drumming with the fingers. All such involuntary movements waste your force, and, worse, train you unconsciously to a habit hard to break, of wasting force. The involuntary working of the mind, the straying of thought in every direction,—towards persons, things, plans, and projects,—the useless frettings over cares great and small, must be similarly stopped, and the mind for a few minutes made as near a blank as possible. Concentration of thought on the word “in‑drawing,” or “drawing into self,” or the mind‑picture of your spirit with its fine electric filaments reaching to persons, places, and things far from you, being all drawn back, and massed in a focus, is a help to do this; because whatso you image in your mind is a spiritual reality. That is, what you image, you are actually in spirit and by spirit doing. Every plan or invention clearly seen in thought is of thought‑substance, as real a thing as the wood, stone, iron, or other substance in which afterward it may be embodied and made visible to the body’s eye, and made to work results on the physical stratum of life.
If a person is ever thinking of sickness, he sends from him the element of sickness; if he thinks of health, strength, and cheerfulness, he sends from him constructions of thought affecting others to health and strength as well as himself. A man sends from him in thought what he (his spirit) is most built of. “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Your spirit is a bundle of thought; what you think most of, that is your spirit.
When thought is sent out to any thing, you send out your force. When it is centered in a single thing, and so drawn in and kept from straying every moment, you are drawing in force.
Your spirit can, and does frequently, go from your body to other places during sleep. It is then still connected with it by this thread of exceedingly fine element. This can be drawn out to a great distance. It is as an expanding or contracting electric wire connecting your spirit with the instrument it operates, your body.
Your real being is ever sending out, with each thought, a fine electric ray or filament, representing so much of your life, your force, your vitality, and reaching to the object, place, or person to which such thought is sent, be it six feet or thousands of miles from your body.
Your thought is your real strength. When you lift a weight, you put your thought on the muscle that lifts. The heavier the weight, the more of your thought do you put on it. If, in so lifting, a part of your thought is turned in some other direction, if some one talks to you, if something frightens or annoys you, a part of your strength or thought leaves you. It goes to whatever has taken away a part of your attention from lifting.
It is mind, thought, spirit, that use the muscle to lift, as we use a rope to pull up a weight. There is no lifting or working without intelligence. Intelligence, thought, mind, and spirit mean about the same thing.
Sleeplessness comes of the difficulty of the spirit to bring itself to a center and collect its forces. Insanity comes of the total inability of the spirit to focus its thoughts. The permanent cure for sleeplessness must commence in the daytime. You must drill your mind to put its whole thought on the act you are now doing. If you tie your shoe, think shoe and nothing else. Then you bring yourself to a center, and collect your forces. If you tie your shoe, and think of what you are going to buy the next hour, you are sending needlessly half of your force from yourself. You are in reality trying to do two things at once. You do neither well. You are scattering your spirit on as many things as you think of while tying the shoe. You are cultivating the bad habit of scattering your force, until such habit becomes involuntary. You are making it more and more difficult for your spirit to collect itself together. By so doing, you make it more difficult for the spirit to return with strength to its body in the morning, or to leave it at night. You can get no healthy sleep at night unless your spirit does withdraw from its body. Sleeplessness means simply that your spirit cannot leave its body.
If you fall into the dangerous habit of fretting, your spirit may fret as much on going from its body at night as when using it in the daytime. Or, if you are of a quarrelsome disposition, it may be quarrelling, fighting, and hating all night, and so return to its body without any strength to use it; because all quarrelling, if only in thought, is constantly using up force.
It is for this very reason dangerous and unhealthy to let the “sun go down on your wrath;” that is, to have in mind, just before the body’s eyes close in sleep, the recollection of the persons you dislike, and be then engaged in sending hating thought to them. The spirit will keep up the process after it leaves the body. To hate is simply to expend force in tearing yourself, your spirit, to pieces. Hate is a destructive force. Good‑will to all is constructive: it builds you up stronger and stronger. Hate tears you down. Good‑will to all draws to you healthy and constructive elements from all with whom you come in contact. Could you see the actual elements as they flow from them to you, in their liking for you, you would see them as fine rills of life feeding yours. Could you see the contrary elements of hatred which you may excite in others, you would see them flowing toward you as dark rays or rills of dangerous, poisonous substance. If you send out to it its like, the thought of hatred, you only add to the unhealthy force and power of that element, because these two opposed and dangerous elements meet and mingle, act and re‑act on those who send them, ever calling on each to send fresh supply of force to keep up the war, until both are exhausted. Self‑interest should prompt people to hate none. It weakens the body, and causes disease. You never saw a healthy cynic, growler, or grumbler. Their soured thought poisons them. Their bodily disease originates in their minds. Their spirits are sick. That makes the body sick. All disease originates in this way. Cure the spirit, change the state of the mind, replace the desire to make others feel disagreeably by that of making them feel agreeably, and you are on the road to cure disease. When the spirit originates no warring, hating, gloomy, despondent thought, no manner of unpleasant thought, the body will take no disease whatever.
You can only oppose successfully the hatred or evil thought of others by throwing out toward it the thought of good‑will. Good‑will as a thought‑element is more powerful than the thought of hate. It can turn it aside. The “shafts of malice,” even in thought, are real things. They can and do hurt people on whom they are directed, and make them sick. The Christ precept, “Do good to them that hate you,” is based on a scientific law. It means that thoughts are things, and that the thought of good can always overpower that of evil. By power is here meant power in as literal a sense as in speaking of the force that lifts a table or chair. The fact that all thought, all emotion, all of what is called sentiment, or qualities such as mercy, patience, love, etc., are elements as real as any we see.
What you call dreams are realities. Your spirit away from your body at night goes to and sees persons and places. To some of these you may have never gone with your body. You remember on the body’s awakening very little of what you have seen. What you do remember is mixed pell‑mell together. That is because your memory of the body can hold but a little of what is grasped by the memory of your spirit. You have two memories, one trained and adapted to the life of your body, the other of your spirit. Had you known of the life and power of your spirit from infancy, and recognized it as a reality, the memory of your spirit would have been so trained that it would remember all of its own life and bring it back to you on the awakening of the body. But as you have been taught to regard even your spirit as a myth, so you make of its memory a myth. Were a human being taught from infancy to discredit the evidence of any of its senses, then that sense would be blunted and almost destroyed. Let all associated with a child for years deliberately set to work and tell it that they could not see the sky or houses, fields, or other familiar objects at hand; and with none allowed to break the delusion, that child’s eyesight as well as its judgment would be seriously affected. We are similarly taught to deny all the senses and powers of our spirits; or, rather, the real powers of ourselves, of which the senses of the body are a faint counterpart, are persistently denied. Substantially we are taught that we are nothing but bodies. This is equivalent to telling the carpenter that he is nothing but the hammer he uses.
If in a so‑called dream you see a person who died years ago, you see simply a person whose body, being worn out, could no longer be used by him on this stratum of life.
Fiji Island Holiday (n.d). [Image]. Retrieved June 30, 2021, from https://www.fijiislands.com.au/valentines-day-holiday-fiji/
Mulford, P. (1886-1887). You travel when you sleep. Your forces and how to use them (pp.5-14). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09
(doi means Digital Object Identifier).