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Questions Dealing With Life After Death
Question: What is the use of knowing about the after-death state, what happens in the invisible world, and all these things? Is it not far better to take one world at a time? Sufficient unto the day is the trouble thereof. Why borrow more?
Answer: If we knew beyond a doubt that at some time we should be forced to leave our country and go to another place to live for a great many years before we would be allowed to return, would it not be a good policy for us to acquaint ourselves with the language, the customs, and the laws of that country? Thus equipped we would not feel so strange, and we would be able to take advantage of whatever opportunities for growth and study we should find there; we would not be apt to run contrary to its laws and get into trouble in consequence of our ignorance, and in many similar ways it would be to our advantage to know about that country.
The foregoing illustrates aptly our position with regard to the Invisible Worlds. After death we shall find ourselves there, and if we are able now to obtain information concerning the conditions there, it will surely benefit us greatly. In the first place, there is the advantage that knowledge will take away from us the fear of death, because we never fear that which we know. In the second place, by knowing about Purgatory and the First Heaven, and by knowing about the evening exercise where we review the happenings of the day in reverse order, we may live our Purgatory here and now in small doses, obtaining the forgiveness of sins instead of waiting to expiate our evil deeds; and if we take advantage of our knowledge we shall be living in an attitude such as we would not attain before entering the future lives, by assimilating daily the good that we have done and expurgating the evil. Thus we shall be able to go soaring through Purgatory and the First Heaven immediately after death.
By knowing what we are expected to accomplish in the Second Heaven, we can more intelligently apply ourselves to the work there; we gain greater consciousness of that realm by familiarizing ourselves with it daily. Thus in various ways we shall be fitting ourselves to become invisible helpers, to live consciously all the time and shorten our evolution by millions of years.
Question: Is there any limit of time set to the earth life before we are born?
Answer: Yes, at the time when the Ego is coming to rebirth, it forms the creative archetype of its physical form in the Second Heaven with the help of the Creative Hierarchies. That archetype is a singing, vibrating thing, which is set into vibration by the Ego with a certain force commensurate with the length of the life to be lived upon earth, and until that archetype ceases to vibrate the form which is built of the chemical constituents of the earth will continue to live.
The law of cause and effect, however, is the arbiter of the way the life is to be lived, and certain opportunities for spiritual growth are set before the Ego at various points in its earth life. If these opportunities are made use of, the life will continue along the straight path, but if not it diverges, as we might say, into a blind alley where the life then is terminated by the creative hierarchies, which destroy the archetype in the Heaven World. Thus we may say that the ultimate length of an earth life is determined before we are born physically, but the life may be shortened if we neglect certain opportunities. There is also the possibility in the case of a few, where the life has been thoroughly lived, where it has been very full, and where the person has endeavored in all cases to live up to his opportunities, that more life may be infused into the archetype than had been done in the first place, and so the life may be prolonged, but as said, that is only in exceptional cases.
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Question: Is it possible to shorten the time between death and a new birth, so as to hasten one's evolution, and, if so, how?
Answer: Yes, it is possible for everyone who will take the pains to review this life every day, in the reverse order, from evening until morning, judging himself for the things he has done amiss, promising himself to rectify his mistakes and doing it to the best of his endeavor. When he does that he will eradicate the sins he has committed from his life and he will steadily become a very much better man or woman than those who do not perform this simple exercise. Thus the sins which would otherwise be expurgated in Purgatory have been already dealt with in life and so the Purgatorial existence will be materially shortened. When at the time of the evening exercise, the man reviews the good he has done and promises himself to endeavor to do even better in the future he is also assimilating the good he has done each day, and will therefore make enormous strides in soul growth so that he will also obviate the necessity for life in the First Heaven. Such a man will then be definitely treading the path of initiation; he is then in reality outside the ordinary laws which govern mankind, for he is a helper in evolution and will, therefore, be given the opportunity to return to earth in that capacity much sooner than would otherwise be the case.
Question: Are there any seasons and times, ages and epochs, in the other world?
Answer: No. We might say that there it is all one long day. There is no time, for that which makes time here is the rotation of the earth upon its axis and its orbital revolution around the sun. These motions make day and night, summer and winter, heat and cold, etc., because the earth's opaque and solid composition renders it impervious to the rays of light and heat emitted by the sun, so that one-half of the earth is always cold and dark. But in that other world nothing is opaque nor solid, hence there is neither heat nor cold, there is neither summer nor winter, there is no light, there is no night, but it is one long bright day.
Therefore, we often find that those who have passed out by death, while fully remembering their past earth life, will have no sense of time since passing out, and may sometimes ask the question as to the length of time which has elapsed since that event.
There is only one method there of gauging time, and this is used by the trained clairvoyant in fixing events when he is reading in the memory of nature, namely, by astrology, by noting the positions of the stars. Of course, if the event he is looking for is something which happened in historical times, he may readily fix the year of the occurrence by noting some historical event which happened at the same time, but where he has to go back for many thousands of years, as, for instance, when he wishes to determine the time of the Atlantean floods, he uses particularly the precession of the equinoxes, which is the motion of the sun backward through the twelve signs of the zodiac, a motion that requires about twenty-six thousand years to bring the sun once around the circle. He may then read back to the times of the Atlantean floods, counting how many of such periods of twenty-six thousand years elapsed between the first flood and the second, the second and the third, and then the years from then to our present time. If he is ignorant of the stellar science, he cannot do that, so that is one more reason why the student of esotericism should familiarize himself with astronomy.
Question: Does a person who has been buried alive become conscious of his condition? And how does the spirit get back to the body when it lies in the grave?
Answer: It is evident from the changed position of corpses in coffins that sometimes when a body has been buried before the spirit had definitely left it, that spirit has returned to the body and moved that body about in agonizing attempts to obtain the necessary air. And, of course, that would show consciousness had been regained in the body. The spirit, of course, is not at all hindered by the solid nature of the earth and the coffin from coming and going, a spirit passes just as easily through a wall or other opaque or dense obstacle as we pass through the air.
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Question: Why do children die?
Answer: There are many causes for the death of children. We will give a few of the principal ones. In the first place, when an Ego returns to earth life, it is drawn to a certain family because it can there get the environment which is calculated to further its progress, and where it may liquidate a certain amount of the fate generated by itself in previous existences. Then when parents make such radical changes in their lives that the Ego would not be able to get that experience, or liquidate that fate, the Ego is usually withdrawn and sent to another place where it may get the right conditions for its growth at that time. Or it may be withdrawn for a few years and reborn in the same family when it is seen that the conditions can be obtained there at that late time. But there is a cause that is responsible for infant mortality which lies much farther back, namely, in previous lives, and to understand this cause it is necessary to know something about what takes place at death and immediately after.
When a spirit is passing out of the body, it takes with it the desire body, the mind and the vital body, and the vital body is at that time the storehouse for the pictures of the past life. These are then etched into the desire body during the three and one-half days immediately following death. Then the desire body becomes the arbiter of man's destiny in Purgatory and the First Heaven. The pains caused by expurgation of evil and the joy caused by the contemplation of the good in life are carried over to the next life as conscience to deter man from perpetuating the mistakes of past lives and to entice him to do that which caused him joy in the former life more abundantly.
When those next of kin to a dying person who are present in the death chamber burst into hysterical lamentations at the time the spirit passes out, and keep that up for the next few days, the spirit which is at that time in exceedingly close touch with the Physical World will be much moved by the grief of the dear ones, and will not be able to focus its attention closely upon the contemplation of its past life, and thus the etching made in the desire body will not be as deep as it would if the passing spirit were left in peace and undisturbed. Consequently the sufferings in Purgatory will not be as keen nor will the pleasures in the First Heaven be as great as otherwise and therefore, when the Ego returns to earth life, it will have lost a certain part of the experience from the previous life. that is to say, the voice of conscience will not speak with the same emphasis as would have been the case had the Ego been left undisturbed by lamentations.
In order to compensate for this lack, the Ego is then usually brought to birth among the same friends who lamented over it, and it is then taken away from them while yet in the years of childhood. Then it enters the Desire World, but, of course, a little child has not committed any sins that need to be expurgated and so its desire body and the mind remain intact; it then goes directly into the First Heaven to wait until a new embodiment offers, but this waiting time is used to school it directly in the effect of the different emotions, both good and evil. And often a relative meets it and takes it in charge, having the task of teaching it that which it had lost through the lamentation that person indulged in, or else it is taught by others. At any rate, the loss is more than made up, so that when the child returns to the second birth it will have as full a moral growth as it would have had under ordinary circumstances had there been no lamentation at the time when it passed out.
Question: What is the cause of the vast number of deaths which occur in infancy and childhood?
Answer: When the man passes out at death, he takes with him the mind, desire body, and vital body, the latter being the storehouse of the pictures of his past life. And during the three and one-half days following death these pictures are etched into the desire body to form the basis of the man's life in Purgatory and the First Heaven where the evil is expurgated and the good assimilated. The experience of the life itself is forgotten, as we have forgotten the process of learning to write, but have retained the faculty. So the cumulative extract of all his experiences, both during past earth lives and past existences in Purgatory and the various heavens, are retained by the man and form his stock in trade in the next birth. The pains he has sustained speak to him as the voice of conscience, the good he has done gives him a more and more altruistic character.
Now, when the three and a half days immediately following death are spent by the man under conditions of peace and quiet, he is able to concentrate much more upon the etching of his past life and the imprint upon the desire body will be deeper than if he is disturbed by the hysterical lamentations of his relatives or from other causes. And he will then experience a much keener feeling for either good or bad in Purgatory and in the First Heaven, and in after lives that keen feeling will speak to him with no unmistakable voice; but where the lamentations of relatives take away his attention or where a man passes out by an accident perhaps in a crowded street, in a train wreck, theater fire, or under other harrowing circumstances, there will, of course, be no opportunity for him to properly concentrate; neither can he concentrate upon a battle field if he is slain there, and yet it could not be just that he should lose the experiences of his life on account of passing out in such an untoward manner, so the law of cause and effect provides a compensation.
We usually think that when a child is born it is born and that is the end of it; but as during the period of gestation the dense body is shielded from the impact of the outside world by being placed within the protecting womb of the mother until it has arrived at sufficient maturity to meet the outside conditions, so are also the vital body, desire body and mind in a state of gestation and are born at later periods because they have not had as long an evolution behind them as the dense body and, therefore, it takes a longer time for them to arrive at a sufficient state of maturity to become individualized. The vital body is born at the seventh year, when the period of excessive growth marks its advent. The desire body is born at the time of puberty, the fourteenth year, and the mind is born at twenty-one, when the child is said to have become a man or woman—to have reached majority.
That which has not been quickened cannot die, and so when a child dies before the birth of the desire body it passes out into the invisible world in the First Heaven. It cannot ascend into the Second and Third Heaven because the mind and desire body are not born and will not die, so it simply waits in the First Heaven until a new opportunity for embodiment offers, and where it has died in its previous life under the before-mentioned harrowing circumstances, by accident or upon the battle field or where the lamentations of relatives rendered it impossible for it to gain as deep an impression of the evil committed and the good accomplished as would have been the case had it died in peace, it is instructed when it has died in the next life as a child in the effects of passions and desires so that it learns the lessons then which it should have learned in the Purgatorial life had it remained undisturbed. It is then reborn with the proper development of conscience so that it may continue its evolution.
As in the past man has been exceedingly warlike and not at all careful of the relatives who passed out at death because of his ignorance, holding wakes over those who died in bed, which were few, perhaps, compared to those who died on the battle field, there must necessarily on that account be an enormous amount of infant mortality, but as humanity arrives at a better understanding and realizes that we are never so much our brother's keeper as when he is passing out of this life and that we can help him enormously by being quiet and prayerful, so also will infant mortality cease to exist on such a large scale as at present.
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Question: Does the cremation of the dense body after death affect the Spirit in any way?
Answer: During life and in the waking state of consciousness, the vehicles of the Ego are all together and concentric, but at death the Ego, clothed in the mind and desire body, withdraws from the dense body, and as the vital functions are at an end, the vital body also is taken out of the dense body, leaving it inanimate upon the bed. One little atom in the heart is taken out and the rest of the body disintegrates in due course. But at that time there is an extremely important process going on, and those who attend the passing spirit in the death chamber should be very careful that the utmost quiet reigns there and in the whole house, for the pictures of the whole past life which have been stored in the vital body are passing before the eye of the spirit in a slow and orderly progression, in reverse order, from death back to birth. This panorama of the past life lasts from a few hours to three and one-half days. The time is dependent upon the strength of the vital body which determines how long a man could keep awake under the most severe stress. Some persons can work for fifty, sixty and seventy hours before they fall down exhausted, while others are capable of keeping awake only a few hours. The reason why it is important that there should be quiet in the house of death during the three and one-half days immediately following death is this: During that time the panorama of the past life is being etched upon the desire body which will be the man's vehicle while he stays in Purgatory and the First Heaven, where he is reaping the good or ill that he has sown, according to the deeds done in the body.
Now, where the life has been full of events and the man's vital body is strong, a longer time will be given to this etching than under conditions where the vital body is weak, but during all that time the dense body is connected with the higher vehicles by the silver cord and any hurt to the dense body is felt in a measure by the spirit. So that embalming, post-mortem examinations and cremation are all felt. therefore, these should be avoided during the first three and one-half days after the time of death, for when the panorama has been fully etched into the desire body, then the silver cord is broken, the vital body gravitates back to the dense body and there is no more connection with the spirit, which is then free to go on with its higher life.
When the body is buried, the vital body disintegrates slowly at the same time as the dense body, so that when, for instance, an arm has decayed in the grave, the etheric arm of the vital body which hovers over the grave also disappears, and so on until the last vestige of the body is gone. But where cremation is performed the vital body disintegrates at once, and as that is the store-house of the pictures of the past life, which, being etched upon the desire body to form the basis of life in Purgatory and the First Heaven, this would be a great calamity where cremation is performed before the three and a half days are past. Unless help were given, the passing spirit could not hold it together. And that is part of the work that is done by the invisible helpers for humanity. Sometimes they are assisted by nature spirits and others detailed by the Creative Hierarchies or leaders of humanity. There is also a loss where one is cremated before the silver cord has broken naturally, the imprint upon the desire body is never as deep as it would otherwise have been, and this has an effect upon future lives, for the deeper the imprint of the past life upon the desire body, the keener the sufferings in Purgatory for the ill committed and the keener also the pleasure in the First Heaven which results from the good deeds of the past life. It is these pains and pleasures of our past lives that create what we call conscience, so that where we have lost in suffering we lose also the realization of wrong which is to deter us in future lives from committing the same mistakes over and over again. Therefore, the effects of the premature cremation are very far reaching. Sad it is to say, that while we have a science of birth with obstetricians, trained nurses, antiseptics and everything else necessary to the comfort and well being of a little stranger, we sadly lack a science of death to help us to care for the departing friends of a lifetime.
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Question: If a person has lost his memory through nervous shock or fever does that affect his vital body and prevent him from getting the record of his life in the three days immediately following death?
Answer: No. Memory is of three kinds: There is, in the first place, the record which is made by our senses. We look about us in the world, we see and hear things, these impressions are engraved upon the cells of our brain and we are able to consciously call them back—yet not always, but in varying degree, for this memory is extremely unreliable and capricious, and were this the only method of gaining a record of our lives the law of cause and effect would be invalidated—our after life would not be a sequence of what we have done or left undone in the past.
There must be another memory, and this is what scientists have called the subconscious mind. Just as ether carries to the camera of the photographer a record of the surrounding landscape and imprints it upon the sensitive plate to the minutest detail, regardless of whether the photographer observed these details or not, so also does the same ether which carries a picture to our eye and imprints it upon the retina carry into our lungs a similar picture which then is absorbed by the blood, and as the blood passes through the heart this record is indelibly inscribed upon the sensitive seed atom which is located in the left ventricle of the heart near the apex. The forces of that seed atom are taken out by the spirit at death and contain the record of the whole life to the minutest detail, so that, regardless of whether we have observed the facts in a certain scene or not, they are, nevertheless, there.
George du Maurier has written a story called "Peter Ibbetson," wherein this theory of the subconscious memory is very clearly shown. Peter Ibbetson, a prisoner in an English penitentiary, learned how to "dream true," that is to say, by putting his body in a certain position he learned how to lock the currents of ether within himself so that at night he was able at will to keep in touch with any scene in his past life that he desired to; there he would see himself as a spectator (grown man that he was), and he would also see himself among his parents and playmates and in the environment as he was at the time that scene was enacted. He would see the whole scene with many more details than he had been able to observe at the time when the events took place in this material world. That was because, under these circumstances, he could get in touch with his own subconscious memory. He would have been unable to gain any information concerning the future, but the past had been inscribed upon the tablet of his heart and was, therefore, accessible under the proper conditions. It is from this subconscious memory that the record of life is taken after death, and as that is dependent upon the breath alone, it continues regardless of all other circumstances while life is in the body, and though a man may lose his conscious memory and become unable to recall past events at will, the subconscious memory contains them all and will give them up at the proper time.
Question: If a disembodied spirit can pass through a wall, can it also pass through a mountain and the Earth, and can it see what is inside?
Answer: That depends upon what kind of a disembodied spirit the enquirer has in mind. When a man dies, he is just the same as he was before with the exception that he has no dense body and, therefore, it is perfectly possible for him to pass through a wall or mountain either. But he is not able to pass through the earth.
It is a well known fact that, though most clairvoyants and ordinary psychics are capable of telling much about the sights and the scenes of the Desire World, there is very little information at hand concerning the inside of the earth, for it is found by ordinary clairvoyants that if they attempt to enter the earth there is something like the same effect as when a man hurls himself against a wall. That is because the earth is the body of a great spirit and that spirit may not be approached in its inner recesses, except by the path of initiation. There are nine layers of varying thickness in the earth around the core, which forms, as it were, a tenth part, and the Lesser Mysteries are the gate which leads to that innermost core. There are nine degrees in the Lesser Mysteries, and in each degree the candidate becomes able to penetrate into the corresponding layer of the earth, while the tenth initiation belongs to the Greater Mysteries where there are four divisions. The first teaches all that can be known by man in the Earth Period; the second of the great initiations would bring him the knowledge that will be gained by all humanity at the end of the Jupiter Period; the third of the great initiations would bring him the wisdom attained by humanity at the end of the Venus Period, and the fourth would end his evolution in the present scheme. He would have the same standing as humanity will have at the end of the Vulcan Period. Then he will know all that the earth will contain in this embodiment and its future manifestations. The lesser Mysteries will also have taught him the evolution he went through in the three periods previous to our present Earth Period. It is these secrets which are locked up in the earth, until man has opened the door himself in the proper manner, so that no spirit, whether in the body or discarnate, can see what is inside the earth until the gate of initiation has opened its latent faculties.
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Question: Do we meet our loved ones after death, even if they have held a different belief from our own? Or perhaps, been Atheists?
Answer: Yes, we certainly meet them and we know them, for there is no transforming power in death. The man will appear just as he was here because he thinks of himself as being of that shape, but the place where we meet, of course depends upon several things.
In the first place if we have lived a very religious life, so that we shall have no existence at all in Purgatory and but a very short existence in the First Heaven, going almost directly to the Second Heaven, whereas, the one whom we love was of such a nature that he would have a long stay in the Desire World, then, of course, we should not meet until he arrived in the Second Heaven. If we pass out shortly after our friend, the meeting would not take place for perhaps twenty years; but then, that would not matter for in those regions a person is entirely unconscious of time.
The materialistic friend, if he had lived a good moral life, as we usually find that those people do, would remain in the fourth region of the Desire World for a certain number of years, according to the length of time he had lived, and would then pass into the Second Heaven, though he would not have there as full and as perfect a consciousness as that possessed by a person who had been dwelling on the realities of life.
We would see him, know him and be associated with him for centuries in the work upon our future environment, and there he would not be materialistic at all, for when the spirit arrives in that region, it is not under the delusions which sometimes envelop it here in this material world. Each and every one knows himself as a spiritual being and feels the memory of this earth life as we feel a bad dream. The spirit, upon entering that world, wakes up to its own true nature in any case.
Question: Do we recognize loved ones who have passed out through the gate of death?
Answer: Yes, we certainly do. When a man passes out of this body, he is exactly the same as he was before. There is no difference whatever, except that he has no physical body; he sees himself in the Desire World, and as he retains in his consciousness a picture of himself as he looked here, this desire body will at once take the shape possessed by the physical body, so that anyone who had known him in earth life will also know him when he has passed over into the beyond. Besides, it may be well to add that there is no transforming power in death—that man is also mentally and morally the same person. We often hear people who have loved some one speak of the dear, departed angel, even if they conceded that he was very much of a devil here in earth life, but they usually think it irreverent to refer to him as such when he has passed out. The fact remains, nevertheless, that only those who were good here are good there.
Question: Does the man who commits suicide stay longer in Purgatory than the people who die naturally?
Answer: When the Ego is coming down to rebirth it descends through the Second Heaven. There it is helped by the Creative Hierarchies to build the archetype for its coming body, and it instills into that archetype a life that will last for a certain number of years. These archetypes are hollow spaces and they have a singing, vibratory motion which draws the material of the Physical World into them and sets all the atoms in the body to vibrating in tune with a little atom that is in the heart, called the seed atom, which, like a tuning fork, gives the pitch to all the rest of the material in the body. At the time when the full life has been lived on the earth the vibrations in the archetype cease, the seed atom is withdrawn, the dense body goes to decay and the desire body, wherein the Ego functions in Purgatory and the First Heaven, takes upon itself the shape of the physical body. Then the man commences his work of expiating his evil habits and deeds in Purgatory and assimilating the good of his life in the First Heaven.
The foregoing describes the ordinary conditions when the course of nature is undisturbed, but the case of the suicide is different. He has taken away the seed atom, but the hollow archetype still keeps on vibrating. Therefore he feels as if he were hollowed out and experiences a gnawing feeling inside that can best be likened to the pangs of intense hunger. Material for the building of a dense body is all around him, but seeing that he lacks the gauge of the seed atom, it is impossible for him to assimilate that matter and build it into a body. This dreadful hollowed-out feeling lasts as long as his ordinary life should have lasted. Thus the law of cause and effect teaches him that it is wrong to play truant from the school of life and that it cannot be done with impunity. Then in the next life, when difficulties beset his path, he will remember the sufferings of the past which resulted from suicide and go through with the experience that makes for his soul growth.
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Question: Does a good man have to go through Purgatory and be conscious of all the evil there before he can get into the First, Second and Third Heaven; and, if so, isn't that an undeserved punishment for him?
Answer: The inquirer should get away from the idea of punishment. There is no such thing as punishment. Whatever happens to a man is in consequence of immutable, invariable laws, and there is no personal God who gives rewards or punishments as He sees fit, according to an inscrutable will or any other such method. When the Ego invests itself with bodies, or when it divests itself of its vehicles, this is done on the very same principle and by the very same laws that govern, for instance, in the case of a planet. When a planet is being formed from the central firemist, a crystallization has taken place at the poles where motion is the slowest. The crystallized matter is thrown out by centrifugal force and flies into space because it is heavier than the rest of the firemist. For similar reasons, when the body of the spirit which is densest has become so crystallized and heavy that the spirit can no longer use it to gain experience the process of disrobement is accomplished by the centrifugal force which naturally eliminates the dense body first. That is what we call death. Then the spirit is free for a time, but the coarsest desire matter which was the embodiment for the lowest passions and desires must also be thrown off, and it is the forcible ejection of low desires that causes pain in Purgatory where the centrifugal force of repulsion is the strongest. If a man has any of that coarse matter in his desire body, naturally he will have to stay in Purgatory and undergo the process of purgation before he can enter the First Heaven. There the centripetal force of attraction whirls all the good in the life inward to the spiritual center, where it is assimilated as soul power available for the use of the spirit in its next earth life as conscience. Thus our stay in Purgatory depends upon how much of the coarse desire matter there is in the man, and a good man naturally would have very little or nothing of that kind. Therefore, he would have no life to speak of in Purgatory; he would pass directly through those regions into the Heaven World.
Question: What is the condition of the victim of a murder and the victim of an accident subsequent to death?
Answer: There is no such thing as an accident at least where the accident terminates fatally. The life of any person in its ultimate length is ordinarily decreed before birth, but there are certain points of life where there is as it were a parting of the ways, where certain opportunities for growth are placed before the person, which he may either take or leave. Where he fails to use his opportunities, the life, as it were, runs into a blind alley, and terminates shortly afterward.
That, however, is not usually the case in an accident, but there may be certain reasons which make it desirable that the man should be cast out of his body in a violent manner. He is then in the same position as all others when they have passed out; he commences his Purgatorial existence at once.
The case of the victim of murder, like the case of the suicide, is different. Man, on account of his divine nature, is the only being who has the prerogative of causing disorder in the scheme of his unfoldment, and as he may end his own life by an act of will, so may he also end the life of a fellow creature before its time has come. The suffering of the suicide would also be the suffering of the murdered, for the archetype of his body would keep on gathering material which it would be impossible for him to assimilate; but in his case, the intervention of other agencies prevent the suffering and he will be found floating about in his desire body, in a comatose state, for the length of time that he would ordinarily have lived. If the murderer is brought to justice, as we say, and suffers capital punishment, the magnetic attraction will bring him together with his victim, who will constantly remain before his gaze, and that is really a much more severe punishment than any which we could mete out to him; but the victim knows naught of the presence of its slayer.
Question: Where is Heaven?
Answer: The Christ said "Heaven is within," and yet we are shown that at the time when He left His disciples, he ascended into heaven. to understand this, we must analyze the constitution of a planet, and according to the hermetic action "as above so below," we shall understand better if we first analyze the constitution of man.
The man has first the dense body which we see with our eyes, but that dense body is not as solid as it appears; in fact it is permeated by a number of invisible vehicles. It is composed of the solids, the liquids and the gases of the Chemical Region, but these, science tells us, are interpenetrated by ether, for man's body is no different from all other things in the world, and in the densest solid as in the rarest gas, science says, and says truly, every little atom is vibrating in a sea of ether. This ether is still physical matter; a considerable portion is specialized by man and forms an exact counterpart of our dense body, besides protruding about an inch and a half beyond the periphery of our visible body. It was this part that the doctors in Boston weighed by placing dying people on scales. They noted that when the last breath was drawn something having weight left the body and the side of the scales which had the weight on it fell to the floor with startling suddenness. The newspaper reporters claimed that the doctors had weighed the soul, but what they did weigh was this vital body composed of ether which leaves the body at death.
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We have a still finer vehicle called the desire body, which is composed of what esotericists call desire stuff, and it may be seen by one having the sixth sense unfolded as an egg-shaped cloud enveloping the dense body on all sides, so that the latter is located in the center of the desire body, as the yolk is in the center of the egg, with the difference only that while the white envelops the yolk but does not interpenetrate, this desire body permeates both the vital body and the dense body in every nook and cranny. There is a still finer material in the makeup of man which we may call "mind stuff," composed of the coarsest material of the world of thought, the material wherein we form our concrete thoughts, and this envelops the indwelling Ego.
The world is similarly constituted. Besides this visible world which we see, composed of the solids, liquids and gases, and interpenetrated by ether, there is also a Desire World which permeates every part of the Physical World and reaches out into space beyond both air and ether. Then there is the World of Thought, and that also penetrates every part of our planet, from center to circumference, reaching out into space still farther than any of the other worlds.
During earth life, man lives upon this firm, visible earth, but after death, according to the deeds done in the body, he may be still imprisoned here, as the Purgatory regions are everywhere around and about us, also below in the inner recesses of the earth. The First Heaven is also here in a certain sense, insofar as similar material to that of which it is constituted is around and about us, but the First Heaven itself, the place where the spirits who have been liberated usually dwell, is beyond our atmosphere. The Second heaven may also be truly said to be within, for the material of which it is constituted is here and the spirits who are there might visit us, yet the conditions here, the thought currents, etc., would be derogatory to their work and development. Therefore, they prefer to stay in the farthermost, outermost part of our planet, where the pure mind stuff is unsullied by our selfish and deleterious thought currents.
The Third Heaven is a place in which very few people at the present stage of development have any consciousness, because most of us are guided in our thought activities more by emotions and feelings concerning concrete things than by abstract thought, which is the peculiar faculty pertaining to the Third Heaven. When we think of love, we usually think of love in connection with some person; that is a concrete thought. But of Love in the abstract, very few of us are able to think. We can think of a house, an animal, etc., they are concrete, but we dislike to think of an abstract proposition such as, for instance, that the square of the hypotenuse equals the square of the other two sides of a triangle. Therefore, most of us have very little consciousness in the Third Heaven, and consequently very little of the material of that world is in the makeup of our planet.
Question: It is said that there is no sorrow in Heaven, but if our loved ones are met there and then pass on, does not the parting from them involve at least a sense of dissatisfaction?
Answer: No, it does not, for there we see things as they are. Here we are blinded. When the Ego comes into the Physical World, it is in one sense a cause for rejoicing, as we rejoice at the birth of a child, for this world affords us experience and material for soul growth. But looking at it from another point of view, when the Ego comes into this world and enters the prison house of the dense body, it is in the most limited condition imaginable, and to rejoice at the time when the child is born and lament when it is liberated by death is in reality analogous to rejoicing when a friend is put in jail and giving way to hysterical lamentations when he is liberated.
When the spirit passes into the heaven World, it meets a number of those with whom it has associated in earth life in the First Heaven, but there it has already become so spiritual and so much in touch with the realities that it knows there is no death. Therefore, when someone passes into the beyond there is a rejoicing and a pleasure at the preferment of one whom we hold dear, and the knowledge that we shall meet again will certainly take away any pang that might be felt by those who are left behind.
Question: Please explain how to concentrate in order to help those in the other world? Do you mean sitting in the silence and sending out loving, helpful thoughts to them?
Answer: The ability to send out a thought and the power that that thought has to accomplish the purpose for which it is sent, depends upon the definiteness wherewith the thinker is able to visualize that which he desires to accomplish. And the usual esoteric schools, particularly those along the lines of Eastern thought, advise the method of concentration whereby thoughts are focused upon one single point, as the rays of the sun are brought to a focus in a magnifying glass for thus their forces are massed, and as the sun's rays will burn when focused, so will the thought invariably accomplish its object when concentrated to a sufficient intensity.
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It takes long practice, however, to learn how to do that, and there are very few people in the West who are able to thus direct their thoughts to any purpose. The western religion, recognizing this disability, teaches another method which is much more efficient than concentration, namely, prayer.
Therefore, if we wish to help those who have passed out of the body, we may pray earnestly for their welfare and that they may learn the lessons of this life thoroughly in their experiences in Purgatory and the First Heaven; then we shall accomplish much more than if we try the cold, intellectual method of concentration. The attitude of the body sometimes has a great deal to do with the intensity of the prayer, and if a kneeling position seems to facilitate the act, the kneeling position should be taken. On the other hand, as Emerson said:
"And though your knees are never bent
To Heaven, your hourly prayers are sent;
And, be they formed for good or ill,
Are registered and answered still,"
so that the attitude of the body during the act of prayer is immaterial except as found to be conducive to produce the greatest intensity of purpose; for that is what makes the prayer effective.
Question: Do those who have passed out of earth life keep watch and ward over us who are left behind; for instance, do mothers look after their little children, or even the larger ones?
Answer: Yes, very often a mother who has recently passed out will watch over her little children for a long time, and instances have been recorded where mothers have saved their babes from dangers. Though not knowing consciously how to materialize, love for the little ones and intense fear for their safety caused the mothers in such instances to draw to themselves material so that they could be seen by the little ones. Those whom we call dead do not usually go away from the house where they have lived until quite a long time after the funeral. They stay in the familiar rooms and move about among us, although they are unseen by us. Of course, when their time comes to go into the First Heaven, they do not remain any longer in our houses, but very often they visit them. When in time they enter the Second Heaven, they are no longer conscious of this physical sphere in the sense of having homes, or friends, or relatives; they are then rather to be looked upon as nature forces, for the time being, for they work upon the earth and humanity in the very same manner as the nature forces who do not take human embodiment.
Thus it is perfectly true that they watch over their loved ones for a long time after they have passed out, and it has been often noted by persons attending the death of a mother whose children had passed out, perhaps a number of years before, that at the time of dying she would see the children around her bed and exclaim: "Why, there is Johnny, and what a big boy he has grown to be," and so on. The people around the bed would probably think that it is a hallucination, but it is not, and it will be noted that a certain phenomenon always attends those visions, namely, when a person dies there comes over him a darkness which he feels descending upon him. Many persons pass out without again seeing the Physical World, that is the change from our light vibrations to the vibrations of the Desire World, and is similar to the darkness that spread over the earth at the time of the crucifixion. With other people it happens that the darkness lifts after a moment and then the person is clairvoyant, seeing both the present world and the Desire World, and there, of course, appear the loved ones, who have been attracted by the impending death, which is birth into their world.
Thus we may say that our loved ones are interested in our welfare for a long time after passing out, but it must be remembered that there is no transforming power in death; that it does not give them any special ability to care for us, and that they have no means of really influencing our affairs, so that it is not quite right to look upon them as our guardian angels. They are merely interested spectators except in a few specific cases where an intense love enables them to perform some slight service in case of great need. That service, however, would never take the form of enriching us or anything like that, but is more in the nature of a warning of danger or the like.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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