He was saying, however, that the inward world is largely closed to us, though this, hardly aware of its existence as we are, we may fail to realize, just as we may fail to realize that this inward world can be opened to us if we seek the right means to that end. He was saying that man inhabits this inward world much as an embryo inhabits the womb, and that in the majority of cases this embryo man miscarries and never comes to birth. But he was also saying that it is possible for the embryo to grow and to be born, to grow up and to become adult;
and that, if this were to happen, so that a person came to be a freeman of the inward world, able to live and work there as idult men live and work in the outward world, he would inherit the reality which is potentially his proper psychological place. Then much in his outward world, and in the life he leads in it, would be changed; such a person would no longer be life’s slave; freedom in the inward world would endow him with freedom in the outward world.
Finally Monsieur X was saying, with a certain severity, and as if with an authority which was nothing to do with the disparity of our ages, that I must seek to know and understand these things, that I must not allow myself to become content with outward life alone, and so seek nothing more than the fulfilment of ambition, the securing of a livehhood and an approved position among my fellow men.
He was saying that there is much more in life than living. This must be done to the full, but not as an end in itself, only as a beginning of the discovery, not beyond death, but within life, of “the next world”, the inward reality. Much of this, at the age of 18, I found bewildering, and Monsieur X certainly understood that I did, for he went on to say that there was in one sense no hurry when one was young, “so long as one never forgot that one must die”, and that therefore time is always short.
Presently he stopped talking and was silent for some time. Then, having paid his bill, he rose and said, “All this means that you must try to find out who you are,” and added, “not here, but there.” With this curious remark, which I take to have referred to the two worlds of which he had spoken, he walked away from the cafe and was lost among the people on the pavement; was lost, it seemed to me, surprisingly quickly and thoroughly. At one moment he was there, at the next he was gone.