Now: There is an 'unknown' reality. I am part of it, and so are you.
"Some time ago I suddenly appeared within your space and time. Since then I have spoken to many people. There would be nothing strange to anyone in any of this if I had been born into your world in a body of my own, in usual terms. Instead I began to express myself by speaking through Jane Roberts. Period. In all of this there has been a purpose, and part of that purpose lies in this present book.
"Each individual is a part of the unknown reality. Because of my position, however, I am obviously more a part of it than most. My psychological awareness bridges worlds of which you are consciously aware, and others that seem, at least, to escape your notice. The woman through whom I speak found herself in an unusual situation, for no theories—metaphysical, psychological, or otherwise—could adequately explain her experience. She was led to develop her own, therefore, and this book is an extension of certain ideas already mentioned in Adventures in Consciousness. To write that book, Jane Roberts drew on deep resources of energy.
"The unknown reality, however, is unknown enough to usual reaches of the most flexible consciousness, in your terms, that it can only be approached by a personality as couched in it as I am. Once expressed, however, it can be comprehended. One of my purposes then has been to make this unknown reality consciously known.
"Man thought once, historically speaking, that there was but one world. Now he knows differently, but he still clings to the idea of one god, one self, and one body through which to express it.
"There is one God, but within that God are many. There is one self, but within that self are many. There is one body, in one time, but the self has other bodies in other times. All 'times' exist at once. Historically speaking, mankind chose a certain line of development. In it his consciousness specialized, focusing upon sharp particulars of experience. But inherent always, psychologically and biologically, there has been the possibility of a change in that pattern, an alteration that would effectively lift the race into another kind of weather.
"Such a development would, however, necessitate first of all a broadening of concepts about the self, and a greater understanding of human potential. Human consciousness is now at a stage where such a development is not only feasible. but necessary if the race is to achieve its greatest fulfillment.
"Jane Roberts experience to some extent hints at the multidimensional nature of the human psyche and gives clues as to the abilities that lie within each individual. These are part of your racial heritage. They give notice of psychic bridges connecting the known and 'unknown' realities in which you dwell.
"While you have highly limited concepts about the nature of the self, you cannot begin to conceive of a multidimensional godhood, or a universal reality in which all consciousness is unique, inviolate—and yet given to the formation of infinite gestalts of organization and meaning.
"In my other books I used many accepted ideas as a springboard to lead readers into other levels of understanding. Here, I wish to make it clear that this book will initiate a journey in which it may seem that the familiar is left far behind. Yet when I am finished, I hope you will discover that the known reality is even more precious, more "real," because you will find it illuminated both within and without by the rich fabric of an 'unknown' reality now seen emerging from the most intimate portions of daily life. Give us a moment. Your concepts of personhood are now limiting you personally and en masse, and yet your religions, metaphysics, histories, and even your sciences are hinged upon your ideas of who and what you are. Your psychologies do not explain your own reality to you. They cannot contain your experience. Your religions do not explain your greater reality, and your sciences leave you just as ignorant about the nature of the universe in which you dwell.
"These institutions and disciplines are composed of individuals, each restrained by limiting ideas about their own private reality; and so it is with private reality that we will begin and always return, period. These ideas in this book are meant to expand the private reality of each reader. They may appear esoteric or complicated, yet they are not beyond the reach of any person who is determined to understand the nature of the unknown elements of the self, and its greater world.
"So the book had a private beginning. Jane Robert's husband, Robert Butts, wondered about the death of his mother. In a session he brought out some old photographs. Now: Life after death has usually been described quite in keeping with the old accepted ideas about one self, and limited concepts of personhood. I took that opportunity, however, to begin this book.
"The self is multidimensional when it is physically alive. It is a triumph of spiritual and psychological identity, ever choosing from a myriad of probable realities its own clear unassailable focus. When you don't realize this, then you project upon life after death all of the old misconceptions. You expect the dead to be little different from the living--if you believe in afterlife at all--but perhaps more at peace, more understanding, and, hopefully, wiser.
"The fact is that in life you poise delicately and yet perfectly between realities, and after death you do the same. I use the opportunity, then, to explain the great freedom available to Robert Butts's mother after death—but also to explain those elements of her reality present during life that had been closed to him consciously because of mankind's concepts about the nature of the psyche. I comment now and then about photographs that belong to the Butts family, including Jane Roberts, yet any reader can look at old photographs and ask the same questions, applying what is said here to private experience. The 'unknown' reality—you are its known equivalent. Then know yourself. Your expand as you become acquainted with these ideas.
"I speak, myself, for those portions of your being that already understand. My voice rises from stratas of the psyche in which you also have your experience. Listen, therefore, to your own knowing.