all on board
I know that with the pictures of memory mingle pictures which come to us, sometimes from the minds of others, sometimes are glimpses of distant countries, sometimes are reflections of happenings in regions invisible to the outer eyes; and as meditation grows more exalted, the forms traceable to memory tend to disappear and we have access to a memory greater than our own, the treasure-house of august memories in the innumerable being of Earth. When minute analysis is made of images in the brain, those foolish fables about memory and imagination no longer affect those who begin this quest, and we see how many streams are tributary to our life. All I have said may be proved by any as curious about things of the mind as I was, if they will but light the candle on their forehead and examine the denizens in the brain. They will find that their sphere is populous with the innermost thoughts of others, and will more and more be led by wonder and awe to believe that we and all things swim in an aether of deity, and that the least motion of our minds is incomprehensible except in memory of this: ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’ Analysis of the simplest mental apparition will lead us often to stay ourselves on that thought. Once in an idle interval in my work I sat with my face pressed in my hands, and in that dimness pictures began flickering in my brain. I saw a little dark shop, the counter before me, and behind it an old man fumbling with some papers, a man so old that his motions had lost swiftness and precision. Deeper in the store was a girl, red-haired, with grey watchful eyes fixed on the old man. I saw that to enter the shop one must take two steps downwards from a cobbled pavement without. I questioned a young man, my office companion, who then was writing a letter, and I found that what I had seen was his father’s shop. All my imaginations –the old man, his yellow white beard, his fumbling movements, the watchful girl, her color, the steps, the cobbled pavement– were not imaginations of mine in any true sense, for while I was in a vacant mood my companion had been thinking of his home, and his brain was populous with quickened memories, and they invaded my own mind, and when I made question I found their origin. But how many thousand times are we invaded by such images and there is no speculation over them? Possibly I might have made use of such things in my art. I might have made a tale about the old man and girl. But if I had done so, if other characters had appeared in my tale that seemed just as living, where would they have come from? Would I have again been drawing upon the reservoir of my companion’s memories? The vision of the girl and old man may in reality have been but a little part of the images with which my brain was flooded. Did I then see all, or might not other images in the same series emerge at some later time and the connection be lost? If I had written a tale and had imagined an inner room, an old mother. an absent son, a family trouble, might I not all the while be still adventuring in another’s life? While we think we are imagining a character we may, so marvelous are the hidden ways, be really interpreting a being actually existing, brought into psychic contact with us by some affinity of sentiment or soul.