AFTER a delay of eight days, we broke camp on Monday morning and proceeded on our way.
The afternoon of the third day out, we came to the bank of a larger river. The stream was about two thousand feet wide, running bank-full, and the current was at least ten miles per hour. We were told that this stream, in ordinary times, could be crossed at this place without any inconvenience.
We decided to camp until morning and observe the rise and fall of the water. We were informed that we would be able to cross by bridge farther up stream, but to reach this bridge would necessitate a detour of at least four days’ hard travel. We felt that if the water was receding, it would be better to wait a few days rather than undertake the long detour. It had been demonstrated to us that we need not take any thought as to our provisions for, from the day already referred to, when our provisions were exhausted the whole company, consisting of over three hundred persons, had been supplied with an abundance of provisions from the invisible, as we called it. This supply was maintained for sixty-four days, until we returned to the village from which we started. Thus far, none of us had any idea of the true significance or meaning of the things we were experiencing. Neither were we able to see that these things were performed by definite law, a law that all can use.
When we were assembled for breakfast next morning, we found five strangers in camp. They were introduced and it was mentioned that they were from a party that was camped on the other side of the stream and were returning from the village of our destination. We thought very little of this at the time, as we naturally supposed they had found a boat and had crossed in it. One of our party said, “If these people have a boat, why can we not use it to cross the stream?” I think all of us saw this as a way out of our difficulty; but we were told that there was no boat as the crossing was not thought to be of sufficient importance to maintain one.
After finishing breakfast that morning we were all assembled on the banks of the stream. We noticed that Emil, Jast, and Neprow with four others of our party were talking with the five strangers. Jast came to us and said they would like to cross with the others to the camp on the other side of the stream as they had decided to wait until the next morning to see if the water showed signs of receding. Of course, our curiosity was aroused and we thought it rather foolhardy to attempt to swim a stream as swift as the one before us just to make a friendly call upon a neighbor. We felt that swimming was the only way the crossing could be accomplished.
When Jast rejoined the group, the twelve, fully dressed, walked to the bank of the stream, and with the utmost composure stepped on the water, not into it. I never shall forget my feelings as I saw each of those twelve men step from solid ground upon the running water. I held my breath, expecting, of course, to see them plunge beneath and disappear. I found afterwards that that was the thought of all our party. At the time, I think each of us held his breath until they were all past midstream, so astonished were we to see those twelve men walking calmly across the surface of the stream without the least inconvenience and not sinking below the soles of their sandals. When they stepped from the water to the farther bank I felt that tons of weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I believe this was the feeling of every one of our party, judging from the sighs of relief as the last man stepped ashore. It certainly was an experience that words fail to describe. The seven belonging to our party returned for lunch. While the excitement was not so intense at the second crossing, every one of us breathed more freely when the seven were safe ashore again. Not one of our party had left the bank of the stream that forenoon. There was very little discussion regarding what we had witnessed, so engrossed were we with our own thoughts.
It was decided that afternoon that we would be obliged to make the detour to the bridge in order to cross the stream. We were up early next morning ready to proceed on the long detour. Before we started, fifty-two of the company walked calmly down to the stream and across, the same as the twelve had done the day before. We were told that we would be able to cross with them, but none of us had the faith to make the attempt. Jast and Neprow insisted upon accompanying us. We attempted to dissuade them, saying that we could follow along with the others, thus saving them the inconvenience. They were unyielding and stayed with us, saying that it was absolutely no inconvenience to them.
The subject of conversation and thought during the four days it took us to join those that had crossed was the remarkable things we had seen accomplished during the short time we had been with those wonderful people. The second day the company was toiling up the steep side of a mountain with the hot sun pouring down upon us when our Chief, who had said but little during the last two days, suddenly remarked, “Boys, why is it that man is obliged to crawl and grovel over this earth?” We answered in chorus that he had voiced our thoughts exactly.
He went on to say, “How is it, if a few are able to do the things we have seen accomplished, that all men cannot accomplish the same things? How is it that man is content to crawl, and not only content to crawl but is obliged to do so? If man was given dominion over all things, he was certainly given power to fly above the birds. If this is his dominion why has he not asserted this dominion long ago? The fault must certainly be in man’s own mind. This must all have come about by man’s own mortal concept of himself. He has only been able, in his own mind, to see himself crawling; thus he has only been able to crawl.”
Then Jast took up the thought and said, “You are perfectly right, it is all in man’s consciousness. He is limited or unlimited, bound or free, just as he thinks. Do you think that the men you saw walk across the stream yesterday to save themselves the inconvenience of this trip are in any way special creations any more than you are? No. They are not created in any way different from you. They do not have one atom more power than you were created with. They have, by the right use of their thought forces, developed their God-given power. The things you have seen accomplished while you have been with us, you, yourselves, can accomplish just as fully and freely. The things you have seen are accomplished in accord with definite law and every human being can use the law if he will.”
The talk ended here and we went on and joined the fifty-two who had crossed, then proceeded to the village.
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