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Chapter 8 On the Emanations of Mind, or Spiritual Spheres

It is a truth recognized by science, that every material body is surrounded by an atmosphere generated by a subtle emanation of its own substance. The air enveloping the globe we inhabit is charged with the minute particles proceeding from the various objects of nature. The atmosphere thus becomes the general repository of these visible and invisible effluvia. But what is true of the globe at large, may be affirmed of the smallest thing.

There perpetually exhales from it an effluvium of its own corpuscles and atoms, which surround it as the air envelops and pervades the earth. These emanations sometimes become visible and manifest to the senses. The sensation of smell is occasioned in us by an emanation of the minute particles of the odorous body, which impinge against the delicate membrane of the nostrils, as in the case of the rose. These invisible effluvia are often wafted to a great distance. Sailors detect their approach to land in this way, before even the mountains become visible to the eye. The acute sense of smell in animals — as the dog and various beasts of prey — is affected by them sometimes when they are miles away from the object producing them.

A familiar illustration of emanation is seen in water, which perpetually emits vapor into the atmosphere, where, if it could all be condensed, there would be enough to form an ocean. The human body is surrounded with a sphere of the substances that compose it, which go forth in the sensible and insensible perspiration. The same is true of all animals, vegetables, and minerals.

This phenomenon, like all the forces and movements of the material universe, is an effect of which something spiritual is the cause. At least, there is something analogous to this in the world of the mind. The mind is a spiritual substance or essence, and there goes forth from it a sphere that surrounds it. It is a radiant force like heat and light. In fact love is spiritual heat, and truth is spiritual light. This doctrine of spiritual spheres is of great importance in mental philosophy, but has been almost wholly ignored.

In the system of Swedenborg, it has been given that prominence that belongs to it. Every angel, every spirit, is surrounded by a spiritual sphere of affection and thought, or radiant circles of an emanating force, within which he imparts — often silently and unintentionally — his own feelings and ideas. Just as a heated body, for innstance a stove, imparts its heat to surrounding objects, and a lamp its light.

There are persons who exert a secret but powerful influence over those who come in contact with the sphere of their inner nature. This influence is good or bad, happy or depressing, elevating or degrading, according to the confirmed affec-tional state or ruling love of him from whom it proceeds. For it is to be borne in mind, that it goes forth primarily from the love which constitutes the soul’s life. If the mental state be joy or melancholy, gladncss or sorrow, meekness or anger, contentment or impatience, faith or fear, it affects others with a like feeling, in a degree proportioned to their impressibility. In this way the mind propagates its own prevailing condition, and all our mental states are contagious.

This law of our being operates to bring all into a similitude of spiritual condition. In the heavenly realm, there is a communication of all to each, and of each to all, — a universal fellowship of thought and affection. The sphere of each intermingles with that of the whole in a divine community of life and celestial harmony. The encircling sphere or emanating wave, surrounding every created spirit is more or less extended and powerful, according as the angel or man is more or less elevated in the moral scale or degrees of life. There are those whose influence (from in and fluo, to flow in) extends to great distances. And mind acts upon mind, so far as we know, independently of spatial neatness or remoteness.

The sphere of the Deity is infinite, and is the inmost life of all things. We use the term divine, to express that which goes forth from the Godhead. By divinity, we mean the radios Deitatis as Jerome calls it, the radiations of Deity, that which is not, when taken by itself, infinite, but proceeds from God. All our light and love, our good and truth, are an emanation, or undulstion from the eternal Goodness. It is somewhat of the Divinity in us, and makes him who receives it, in a mitigated sense, an Immanuel, an individuality which is an outgrowth of the Deity.

The doctrine of mental spheres explains many phenomena in the science of mind, and is of much practical value and comes into constant application, with everyone who would cure disease by spiritual remedies. What we call sympathy and antipathy finds here its cause and explanation. When the sphere of two or more persons is homogeneous and concordant, their spiritual emanations meet and mingle without repulsion, like the vibrations occasioned by musical instruments in tune. Their life blends in harmony, constituting nearness, union, and sympathy. The opposite of this is antipathy. All associations and conjunctions in the realm of spirit are thus effected. All disjunction, separation, and remoteness, which are there a feeling, rather than distance of space, are the result of discordant spheres. Like joins itself to like, by a law as invariable in the spirit-world, as that of gravitation and chemical affinity in this.

There are many persons of negative and passive nature, who are easily affected by these subtle influances. There seems to be no reactive force in their mental organism to repel them. They are like a vessel at sea impelled by sails, and at the mercy of every wind that blows, and not like the powerful steamer driven by a force within, and pursuing its course against opposing currents and contrary winds. They become impregnated at once by the influence of more positive minds, with whom they happen to come in contact.

There are many disorderly, inharmonious mental states, that affect even the body, that are the result of this peculiar organism and susceptibility of the patient, and they only need the influence of some more positive will, adequate to the casting out of demons, to restore them to mental and moral soundness. Here is the secret origin of more diseases of mind and body than the world at large is aware of. There are many subtle causes at work to generate a diseased condition, which the science of Pathology does not notice. And I believe with the force of a conviction, that within the vast storehouse of nature, there lie concealed very many undeveloped, and unused forces and laws, that are available for the care of the diseases that flesh is heir to. Science is beginning to turn its attention in that direction and to explore this hitherto unknown realm of spiritual causation. The attempt will be fruitful in results.

It is worthy of observation, before leaving this topic, to remark, that the spiritual emanations or those that proceed from our affectional and intellectual states, infuse themselves into the natural sphere continually flowing from the body. This latter is poured forth from the palms of the hands more copiously then from any other part of the body, because, as has been demonstrated by the microscope, the pores are there the most numerous. Hence the imposition of hands was not once an unmeaning ceremony, nor a mere sign or symbol. It was an actual communication of spiritual life.

Our affectional states, which are our inmost vital force, are communicated by the touch, which is the sense sacred to the love. Hence in blessing others — as Jacob his sons, and Christ little children — the hands were placed upon the head. The mental sphere also goes forth with the breath. Hence Jesus, who perfectly understood these laws, breathed on his disciples, and said, “Receive ye the holy spirit” (Jn. xx. 22), and thus imparted to them, so far as they were recipient of it, his own gentle, loving, and tranquil frame of mind.

Thus we have silent and powerful influcnce, for good or evil, over those who come within the sphere of our minds. Our touch is morally healthful or poisonous, and our very presence is salutary or noxious. There goes out with our breath a celestial aura, or a hellish miasm. Our spiritual states are contagious, and it is a serious and earnest thing to live and move among our fellows. Many of our troublesome thoughts, and unhappy feelings, are excited in us by the sphere of those around us, and come to us from spirits in the flesh, rather than from those who have passed to the world beyond, to whom they are often unjustly charged.

There is a tendency, through the operation of this law of our minds, to make all others like ourselves. This tendency is not originated, but only intensified, by the action of our wills. Even if we are outwardly good, but interiorly selfish and corrupt, our influence will be morally unwholesome and deleterious. Through a beautiful garb of feigned sanctity, the sphere of the real character will penetrate and spread, as the odor of a decaying body will make its way through a shroud of the finest linen.

The best way to be useful, is to be inwardly good and true. And it is one of our highest duties to be innocently happy, not merely for our own sake, but for the general weal. For our life will mingle itself with the ocean of created mind, and we should seek so to live, that our tributary stream be not added to it as a turbid element.


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