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Having reviewed the experiences encountered in the lower regions, we will now consider the so-called realms of bliss, namely, the various heaven worlds. But let us disabuse our minds of the idea that the sole function of these higher regions is to give us bliss. Bliss is only one of the products of the life that is led there. The more important functions of these regions are assimilative and educational. First, we assimilate and build into the consciousness the spiritual quality of the good actions which we performed during earth life. This gives us the quality of right feeling, which will be with us in future lives as an incentive to right action. Second, we are educated in the higher processes of life and body building.
The first heaven, into which the Ego proceeds after leaving purgatory, is situated in the three higher regions of the desire world. This is the world of color and of emotion. Here the life panorama again unrolls, but now it gives us joy instead of pain. We now feel all the happiness which we caused others in the preceding life and the gratitude which they felt. We also experience joy from the spiritual qualities of the constructive acts which we performed. Thus we learn the lesson that good and truth and right bring a supreme reward. Here, also, the Ego realizes the fruition of all the constructive desires which it had during the preceding earth life but which were not then gratified. Here he is able to enjoy art and poetry if he has within him the qualities which correlate him with them. Character counts here—nothing else.
Altruism and beneficence here receive their reward. Moreover, the plans are developed by which in succeeding lives the person may carry his humanitarian activities still farther. The studious have at their command unlimited facilities for the study of the sciences and arts. The artist has unrivaled facilities for developing his artistic conceptions. The colors with which he works are living colors, and he molds them with his thought.
In the first heaven the children have a wonderful time, namely, those who die under the age of fourteen before the birth of the desire body. They are organized into classes, and are given systematic instruction in the spiritual principles of right living, so that when they return to earth, they may be far advanced in that direction. Many a weak spirit is caused to die young in order that it may get this training, by which greater success may be insured to it in future lives.
After having exhausted all the experiences of the preceding life which had to do with the desires and emotions, the ego sloughs off its desire body and proceeds into the second heaven, which is located in the Region of Concrete Thought, and which is the world of tone. Music of the most sublime character constitutes one of the special enjoyments of this region. The Second Heaven is the Ego's real home. Here it remains for hundreds of years ordinarily, leading a very active existence. This is the region of archetypes. Nothing can exist on earth, from a physical body to the physical contour of a continent, until its archetype has been constructed in this region. Here the ego undergoes an extensive course of instruction in the building of archetypes. It also examines the archetypes of the projects and structures upon which it worked during life and finds out wherein they were good or wherein they were defective; thus it discovers why it failed in carrying out certain designs in the preceding life.
An important part of the work in this region is to prepare archetypes for the vehicles of the next earth life. In general the Ego is not permitted to inhabit a body better than it is capable of building, and here the Ego takes a university course in this process. It also builds the quintessence of its discarded bodies into the threefold spirit, making it usable as future spiritual power and perception. In the last stages of this period the Ego resolves its mind into the essence which feeds or builds the threefold spirit, and it is then ready to take another flight to still higher regions.
The world which the Ego now enters is called the third heaven, located in the Region of Abstract Thought. The threefold spirit is now naked, having left its four lower vehicles behind it but retaining, however, the seed atoms of each for future use in building new vehicles. For the ordinary individual at our stage of evolution the third heaven is not a place of activity. Its vibrations are too far above him. About all the Ego can ordinarily do here is to rest, bathing in the divine harmony which pervades this region and gaining the strength to come back to rebirth. When sufficient spiritual force has thus been assimilated, the Ego is imbued with a desire for new experiences and proceeds on its way to rebirth.
The process of nightly retrospection is a great aid to the Ego in connection with this phase of the post-mortem existence, because by practicing Retrospection each night the first heaven life (as well as the purgatorial life) may be lived on earth, leaving the Ego free to proceed immediately into the second heaven after it has passed out of the body. By so doing it is able to make far greater progress in its spiritual education in the higher regions than otherwise, and also it is able to return to earth for service in the plan of evolution at an earlier date. We should begin by examining in reverse order all the acts of the day where we helped others or made them happy in any way. We should endeavor to feel the happiness and gratitude which they experienced, and also to realize the spiritual quality of our good actions. This process is earnestly recommended to the esoteric student who wishes to make rapid progress.
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1. What are the most important functions of the heaven worlds?
2. What is the origin of the happiness experienced in heaven?
3. Where is the first heaven located, and what are some of its activities?
4. Describe the second heaven existence.
5. Where and how do we learn to build our bodies?
6. Where is the third heaven, and what does it do for the ego?
7. Why do we leave heaven after having once arrived there?
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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