Bantam Books

I feel some anxiety about touting a book again. The act calls up too many embarrassing memories of talking friends into reading Ram Dass or Castaneda — believing that something important turned on it. That kind of spiritual arm-twisting has consequences; if nothing else, it reminds us, as Hesse observes in Siddhartha, that “what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.”

Still, there are worse sins than nudging your neighbor to look at the rainbow. Given a glimpse of infinity I’m hard pressed not to blurt it out over dinner. As I read Seth Speaks all those loose pieces of understanding — the assorted souvenirs of my journeys through inner space, meditations, psychedelics — fell into place. No New Age cant. No cryptic pearls. No kissing the feet of the guru. Just the facts, friend. If they’re reading books a hundred years from now, they’ll be reading this one.

Don’t be deterred by the cover, with its photograph of “author” Jane Roberts in a trance while Seth, a personality no longer focused in physical reality, is communicating through her. Ms. Roberts, a writer, and her artist-husband Rob were using an Ouija board in 1963 when Seth began forming messages. Soon, she began passing into trance and Seth Speaks is, ostensibly, a direct communication from Seth through her, recorded by Rob.

Whether you accept that Seth is real or that these are her own ideas, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is the teaching, not the teacher. As Seth himself reminds us, “You would be much better off in reading this book if you asked yourself who you are rather than asked who I am, for you cannot understand what I am unless you understand the nature of personality and the characteristics of consciousness.”

Consciousness, Seth explains, creates form. It is not, as our mechanistic scientific tradition suggests, the other way around. “Consciousness is, among other things, a spontaneous exercise in creativity. You are learning now, in a three-dimensional context, the ways in which your emotional and psychic existence can create varieties of physical form. You manipulate within the psychic environment, and these manipulations are then automatically impressed upon the physical world.”

What does this mean? For one thing, that we form our own bodies, at a deeply unconscious level and with intimate knowledge of each cell that composes it. For another, that individually and en masse, we create the glories and the terrors of earthly experience. “Until you realize that you are the creators you will refuse to accept this responsibility.”

Some of the subjects Seth discusses are the validity of dreams as gateways into other realities; the simultaneous nature of all experience (for even though Seth speaks in terms of past existences he makes it clear that there is no past, present, or future); the experience of death, and how it differs for different individuals (“a belief in hell fires can cause you to hallucinate Hades’ conditions. A belief in stereotyped heaven can result in a hallucination of heavenly conditions. You always form your reality according to your ideas and expectations. Such hallucinations, I assure you, are temporary”); the nature of the multidimensional personality, or the soul, which is the source of environments quite different from, but just as valid, as our own three-dimensional existence; probable universes; reincarnation; the nature of physical matter; the god concept — but it’s better to let Seth speak for himself. If his words evoke for you the same renewed wonder at the possibilities of creation, the same suggestion of undreamt-of expression, unacknowledged realities, and unlimited self-realization, I might escape a little of the karmic shitstorm that comes from saying: read this book.

There are no limitations to the self. There are no limitations to its potentials. You can adopt artificial limitations through your own ignorance, however. You can identify, for example, with your outer ego alone, and cut yourself off from abilities that are a part of you. You can deny, but you cannot change, the facts. The personality is multidimensional, even though many people hide their heads, figuratively speaking, in the sand of three dimensional existence and pretend there is nothing more.

My environment, now, is not the one in which you will find yourself immediately after death. I cannot help speaking humorously, but you must die many times before you enter this particular plane of existence. (Birth is much more of a shock than death. Sometimes when you die you do not realize it, but birth almost always implies a sharp and sudden recognition.) So there is no need to fear death. And I, who have died more times than I care to tell, write this book to tell you so.

When one has been born and has died many times, expecting extinction with each death, and when this experience is followed by the realization that existence still continues, then a sense of the divine comedy enters in.

Your body is not beautiful or ugly, healthy or deformed, swift or slow simply because this is the kind of body that was thrust upon you indiscriminately at birth. Instead your physical form, your corporeal personal environment, is the physical materialization of your own thoughts, emotions, and interpretations.

At a very simple level . . . your consciousness leaves your body often in the sleep state. You communicate with people in other levels of reality that you have known, but far beyond this, you creatively maintain and revitalize your physical image. You process daily experience, project it into what you think of as the future, choose from an infinity of probable events those you will make physical, and begin the mental and psychic processes that will bring them into the world of substance.

Two periods of three hours apiece would be quite sufficient for most people, if the proper suggestions were given before sleep — suggestions that would insure the body’s complete recuperation. In many cases, ten hours sleep, for example, is actually disadvantageous, resulting in a sluggishness both of mind and body. In this case the spirit has simply been away from the body for too long a time, resulting in a loss of muscular flexibility.

For those of you who are lazy I offer no hope: death will not bring you an eternal resting place. You may rest, if this is your wish, for a while. Not only must you use your abilities after death, however, but you must face up to yourself for those that you did not use during your previous existence.

Dreams are no more hallucinatory than your physical life is. Your waking physical self is the dream, as far as your dreaming self is concerned: You are the dreamer it sends on its way.

It may outrage your intellect, and the evidence of your physical senses may shout that it is untrue, yet a belief in good without a belief in evil is actually highly realistic, since in physical life it will keep your body healthier, keep you psychologically free of many fears and mental difficulties, and bring you a feeling of ease and spontaneity in which the development of your abilities can be better fulfilled.

You have made appointments, each of you, that you have forgotten. They were signed, so to speak, before you were born in this existence. In many cases the friends that you make were close to you long before you met them in this present life.

Each mental act opens up a new dimension of actuality. In a manner of speaking, your slightest thought gives birth to worlds. This is not a dry metaphysical statement. It should arouse within you the strongest feelings of creativity and speculation. It is impossible for any being to be sterile, for any idea to die, or any ability to go unfulfilled.

You have walked away from more graves than you can remember — and will indeed, many of you, walk away from more. Why, then, do you worry about justifying your own existence in this hour?

Suffering is not good for the soul, unless it teaches you how to stop suffering. That is its purpose.

I simply want you to realize if that if this life is a trance, then you can turn the direction of your consciousness to perceive greater realities that presently exist. You can be aware of your own greater identity, even as I am. You sit within the miracle of yourselves and ask for signs. It is your inner eyes I would open.