|Simplified Scientific Christianity
"In the Desire World the distinction between the forces and the matter is not so definite and apparent as in the Physical World. One might almost say that here the ideas of force and matter are identical or interchangeable. it is not quite so, but we may say that to a certain extent the Desire World consists of force-matter."
Man, the indwelling Spirit, has at his present stage of development four vehicles through which he functions: the dense body, the vital body, the desire body, and the mind. Although these bodies are closely interrelated and are affected by each other, it is helpful to the student in understanding thoroughly their functions and possibilities to study each one separately and intensively. To facilitate such study Max Heindel's material concerning the desire body has been collected and published in this one convenient volume.
The desire body of man is his vehicle of feelings, desires, wishes, and emotions. It is responsible for all his actions, reveling in unrestrained motion. If unbridled it makes the body do all the unnecessary and undignified things which are so detrimental to soul growth. However, that temper which is such a great menace when it takes control, may be as effective for service under proper guidance. Hence the temper of the desire body must be controlled but not by any means killed.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity therefore emphasizes the transmuting of the lower desires into higher ones through service motivated by devotion to high ideals. This generates the Emotional Soul, essential nourishment for the evolving spirit.
In the Rosicrucian teaching the universe is divided into seven different Worlds, or states of matter, as follows:
This division is not arbitrary but necessary, because the substance of each of these Worlds is amenable to laws which are practically inoperative in the others. For instance, in the Physical World, matter is subject to gravity, contraction, and expansion. In the Desire World there is neither heat nor cold, and forms levitate as easily as they gravitate. Distance and time are also governing factors of existence in the Physical World, but are almost non-existent in the Desire World.
The matter of these worlds also varies in density, the Physical World being the densest of the seven.
Each World is subdivided into seven Regions or subdivisions of matter.
Desire stuff in the Desire World persists through its seven subdivisions or regions as material for the embodiment of desire. As the Chemical Region is the realm of form and as the Etheric Region is the home of the forces carrying on life activities in these forms enabling them to live, move, and propagate, so the forces in the Desire World, working in the quickened dense body, impel it to move in this or that direction.
If there were only the activities of the Chemical and Etheric Regions of the Physical World, there would be forms having life, able to move, but with no incentive for so doing. This incentive is supplied by the cosmic forces active in the Desire World and without this activity playing through every fiber of the vitalized body, urging action in this direction or that, there would be no experience and no moral growth. The function of the different ethers would take care of the growth of the form, for it is only in response to the requirements of spiritual growth that forms evolve to higher states. Thus we at once see the great importance of this realm of Nature.
Desires, wishes, passions, and feelings express themselves in the matter of the different regions of the Desire World as form and feature express themselves in the Chemical Region of the Physical World. They take forms which last for a longer or shorter time, according to the intensity of the desire, wish, or feeling embodied in them. In the Desire World the distinction between the forces and the matter is not so definite and apparent as in the Physical World. One might almost say that here the ideas of force and matter are identical or interchangeable. it is not quite so, but we may say that to a certain extent the Desire World consists of force-matter.
When speaking of the matter of the Desire World, it is true that it is one degree less dense than the matter of the Physical World, but we entertain an entirely wrong idea if we imagine it is finer physical matter.
Though the mountain and the daisy, the man, the horse, and a piece of iron, are composed of one ultimate atomic substance, we do not say that the daisy is a finer form of iron. Similarly it is impossible to explain in words the change or difference in physical matter when it is broken into desire stuff. If there were no difference it would be amenable to the laws of the Physical World, which it is not.
The law of the Chemical Region is inertia — the tendency to remain in status quo. It takes a certain amount of force to overcome this inertia and cause a body which is at rest to move, or to stop a body in motion. Not so with the matter of the Desire World. That matter itself is almost living. It is an unceasing motion, fluid, taking all imaginable and unimaginable forms with inconceivable facility and rapidity, at the same time coruscating and scintillating in a thousand ever-changing shades of color, incomparable to anything we know in this physical state of consciousness. Something very faintly resembling the action and appearance of this matter will be seen in the play of colors on an abalone shell when held in the sunlight and moved to and fro.
This is what the Desire World is — ever-changing light and color — in which the forces of animal and man intermingle with the forces of innumerable Hierarchies of spiritual beings which do not appear in our Physical World, but which are as active in the Desire World as we are here.
The forces sent out by this vast and varied host of Beings mold the everchanging matter of the Desire World into innumerable and differing forms of more or less durability, according to the kinetic energy of the impulse which gave them birth.
The three Worlds of our planet (World of Thought, Desire World, and Physical World) are at present the field of evolution for a number of different kingdoms of life, at various stages of development. Only four of these need concern us at present, viz.: the mineral, plant, animal, and human kingdoms.
These four kingdoms are related to the three Worlds in different ways, according to the progress these groups of evolving life have made in the school of experience.
To show feeling and emotion it is necessary to have a vehicle composed of the materials of the Desire World.
It is necessary to have a separate vital body, desire body, etc., to express the qualities of a particular realm, because the atoms of the World of Desire, of the World of Thought, and even of the higher worlds interpenetrate the mineral as well as the dense body. If the interpenetration of the planetary ether, which is the ether that envelops the atoms of the mineral, were enough to make it feel and propagate, its interpenetration by the planetary World of Thought would also be sufficient to make it think. This it cannot do, because it lacks a separate vehicle. It is penetrated by the planetary ether only, and is therefore incapable of individual growth. Only the lowest of the four states of ether — the chemical — is active in the mineral. The chemical forces in minerals are due to that fact.
Having noted the relations of the four kingdoms to the Etheric Region of the Physical World, we will next turn our attention to their relation to the Desire World.
Here we find that both minerals and plants lack the separate desire body. They are permeated only by the planetary desire body, the Desire World. Lacking the separate vehicle, they are incapable of feeling, desire, and emotion, which are faculties pertaining to the Desire World. When a stone is broken, it does not feel; but it would be wrong to infer that there is no feeling connected with such an action. That is the materialistic view taken by the uncomprehending multitude. The esoteric scientist knows that there is no act, great or small, which is not felt throughout the universe, and even though the stone, because it has no separate desire body, cannot feel, the Spirit of the Earth feels because it is the Earth's desire body that permeates the stone. When a man cuts his finger, the finger, having no separate desire body, does not feel pain, but the man does, because it is his desire body which permeates the finger. If a plant is torn up by the roots, it is felt by the Spirit of the Earth as a man would feel if a hair were torn from his head. This Earth is a living, feeling body, and all the forms which are without separate desire bodies through which their informing Spirits may experience feeling, are included in the desire body of the Earth and that desire body has feeling. The breaking of a stone and the breaking off of flowers are productive of pleasure to the Earth, while the pulling out of plants by the roots causes pain.
In the plant there is no separate desire body, hence it feels no passion. It stretches its creative organ, the flower, chastely and unashamed toward the Sun, a thing of beauty and a delight.
In man the individual desire body must necessarily cause passion and desire unless subjugated by some ulterior means. Therefore man is the inversion of the chaste plant, both figuratively and literally, for he is passionate and turns his creative organ towards the Earth and is ashamed of it. The plant takes its food by way of the root; man's nourishment enters his body by way of the head. Man inhales life-giving oxygen and exhales death-dealing carbon dioxide. This is taken by the plant, which extracts the poison and returns the vitalizing principle to man.
The Planetary World pulsates through the dense and vital bodies of animal and man in the same way that it penetrates the mineral and plant, but in addition to this, animal and man have separate desire bodies, which enable them to feel desire, emotion, and passion. There is a difference, however. The desire body of the animal is built entirely of the material of the denser regions of the Desire World, while in the case of the human being a little of the matter of the higher regions enters into the composition of the desire body. The feelings of animals and many humans are almost entirely concerned with the gratification of the lowest desires and passions which find their expression in the matter of the lower regions of the desire body.
The desire body is rooted in the liver, as the vital body is in the spleen.
In all warm-blooded creatures — which are the highest evolved and have feelings, passions, and emotions; which reach outward into the world with desire; which may be said really to live in the fuller meaning of the term and not merely vegetate — the currents of the desire body flow outward from the liver. The desire stuff is continually welling out in streams or currents which travel in curved lines to every point of the periphery of the ovoid and then return to the liver through a number of vortices, much as boiling water is continually welling outward from the source of heat and returning to it after completing its cycle.
The plants are devoid of this impelling, energizing principle, hence they cannot show life and motion as can the more highly developed organisms.
Where there is vitality and motion, but no red blood, there is no separate desire body. The creature is simply in the transition stage from plant to animal and therefore it moves entirely in the strength of the Group Spirit.
In the cold-blooded animals which have a liver and red blood, there is a separate desire body and the Group Spirit directs the currents inward, because in their case the separate spirit (of the individual fish or reptile, for instance) is entirely outside the dense vehicle.
When the organism has evolved so far that the separate spirit can commence to draw into its vehicles then it (the individual Spirit) commences to direct the currents outward, and we see the beginning of passionate existence and warm blood. It is the warm red blood in the liver of the organism sufficiently evolved to have an indwelling Spirit which energizes the outgoing currents of desire stuff that cause the animal or the man to display desire and passion. In the case of the animal the spirit is not as yet entirely indwelling. The present mammalia, which have in their animal stage attained to the possession of warm, red blood, are capable of experiencing desire and emotion to some extent.
The animal spirit has in its descent reached only the Desire World. It has not yet evolved to the point where it can "enter" a dense body. Therefore the animal has no individual indwelling Spirit, but a Group Spirit which directs it from without. The animal has the dense body, the vital body, and the desire body, but the Group Spirit which directs it is outside. The vital body and the desire body of an animal are not entirely within the dense body, especially where the head is concerned.
All forms are impelled into motion by desire — the bird and the animal roam land and air in their desire to secure food and shelter, or for the purpose of breeding; man is also moved by these desires, but has in addition other and higher incentives to spur him to effort, among them is desire for rapidity of motion which led him to construct the steam engine and other devices that move in obedience to his desire.
If there were no iron in the mountains man could not build machines. If there were no clay in the soil, the bony structure of the skeleton would be an impossibility, and if there were no Physical World at all, with its solids, liquids and gases, this dense body of ours could never have come into existence. Reasoning along similar lines it must be at once apparent that if there were no Desire World composed of desire stuff, we should have no way of forming feelings, emotions, and desires. A planet composed of the materials we perceive with our physical eyes and of no other substance, might be the home of plants which grow unconsciously, but have no desires to cause them to grow. The human and animal kingdoms, however, would be impossibilities.
Both animals and man have a desire body and are swayed by the twin feelings and the twin forces. A tigress in the jungle will pass a loaf of bread with indifference but she will feel interested in the owner. Her interest will rouse the force of attraction, yet she will endeavor to kill him. The destructive act is not the end and the aim, however, but only a necessary step toward assimilation. If she spies another beast of prey having designs on what she considers her booty, that also will cause her to feel interest. But in that case the feeling of interest will arouse the force of repulsion, and if a fight ensues, destruction of her adversary will be an end in itself. In the above case and in cases where the animal desires of man are factors, the twin forces and twin feelings operate alike, but there is a difference in the composition of the desire body of man and animal.
The desire body of an animal is composed solely of matter from the four lower regions of the Desire World. Hence it is incapable of feeling any but the animal desires for food, shelter, and the like. A saint would feel the keenest remorse if he had inadvertently spoken a hasty word; the tigress remains undisturbed by any sense of wrong, though she kills daily. The reason is that man's desire body is composed of the matter of all the seven regions of the Desire World so that he is capable of feeling in a higher sense than the animal.
The evolutionary scheme is carried through five Worlds in seven great Periods of Manifestation, during which the Virgin Spirit, or evolving life, becomes first man — then, a God.
In the Rosicrucian terminology, the names of the seven Periods are as follows:
The three first mentioned periods (the Saturn, Sun, and Moon Periods) have been passed through. We are now in the fourth, or Earth Period. When this Earth Period of our Globe has been completed, we and it shall pass in turn through the Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan conditions before the great septenary Day of Manifestation comes to an end, when all that now is will once more be merged in the Absolute for a period of rest and assimilation of the fruits of our evolution, to re-emerge for further and higher development of another Great Day.
The three and one-half Periods already behind us have been spent in gaining our present vehicles and consciousness. The remaining three and one-half Periods will be devoted to perfecting these different vehicles and expanding our consciousness into something akin to omniscience.
We have seen that man is a very complex organism, consisting of:
The Dense Body, which is his tool in action.
The Vital Body, a medium of "vitality" which makes action possible.
The Desire Body, whence comes Desire and compels action.
The Mind, a brake on impulse, giving purpose to action.
The Ego, which acts and gathers experience from action.
The Human Spirit and the desire body commenced to evolve in the Moon Period and are therefore the special wards of the Holy Spirit.
From the study of The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception we learn that our desire body was generated in the Moon Period. If you wish to obtain a mental picture of the way things looked then, take an illustration of the fetus as shown in any book on anatomy. There are three principle parts: the placenta, which is filled with the maternal blood, the umbilical cord, which carries this vital stream, and the fetus, which is nourished from embryo to maturity thereby. Fancy now, in that far-off time, the firmament as one immense placenta from which there depended billions of umbilical cords, each with its fetal appendage. Through the whole human family, then in the making, circulated the one universal essence of desire and emotion, generating in all the impulses to action which are now manifest in every phase of the world's work. These umbilical cords and fetal appendages were molded from the moist desire stuff by the emotions of the Lunar Angels, while the fiery desire currents which were endeavoring to stir the latent life in mankind, then in the making, were generated by the fiery martial Lucifer Spirits. The color of that first slow vibration which they set in motion in that emotional desire stuff was red.
In the Moon Period it was necessary to reconstruct the dense body to make it capable of being interpenetrated by a desire body, and also capable of evolving a nervous system, muscle, cartilage, and a rudimentary skeleton. This reconstruction was the work of the Saturn Revolution of the Moon Period.
In the second, or Sun Revolution, the vital body was also modified to render it capable of being interpenetrated by a desire body, also of accommodating itself to the nervous system, muscle, skeleton, etc. The Lords of Wisdom, who were the originators of the vital body, also helped the lords of Individuality with this work.
From this moist substance (in the Moon Period) the densest body of these "Water-men" was built. The thought form for the dense body had consolidated to a moist gas, the thought form for our present vital body had descended into the Desire World. It was formed of desire matter. To this twofold body the thought form for our present desire body was added in the Moon Period and the Seraphim awakened the third aspect of the Virgin-Spirit: "the Human Spirit." The Virgin Spirit became an "Ego," so that at the close of the Moon Period man-in-the-making possessed a threefold Spirit and a threefold body.
Thus we see at the close of the Moon Period man possessed a threefold body in varying stages of development; and also the germ of the threefold Spirit. He had dense, vital, and desire bodies, and Divine, Life, and Human Spirit. All he lacked was the link to connect them.
At the end of the Moon Period these classes possessed these vehicles, and started with them in the beginning of the Earth period. During the time which has elapsed since then, the human kingdom has been evolving the link of mind, and has thereby attained full waking consciousness. The animals have obtained a desire body; the plants a vital body; the stragglers of the life wave which entered evolution in the Moon Period have escaped the hard and fast conditions of rock formation and now their dense bodies compose our softer soils; while the life wave that entered evolution here in the Earth period forms the hard rocks and stones.
It was said that man had built his threefold body by the help of others higher than he, but in the previous period there was no coordinating power; the threefold Spirit, the Ego, was separate and apart from its vehicles. Now the time had come to unite the Spirit and the body.
Where the desire body separated, the higher part became somewhat master over the lower part and over the dense and vital bodies. It formed a sort of animal-soul with which the Spirit could unite by means of the link of mind. Where there was no division of the desire body, the vehicle was given over to desires and passions without any check, and could therefore not be used as a vehicle within which the Spirit could dwell. So it was put under the control of a Group Spirit which ruled it from without. It became an animal body, and that kind has now degenerated into the body of the anthropoid.
Where there was a division of the desire body, the dense body gradually assumed a vertical position, thus taking the spine out of the horizontal currents of the Desire World in which the Group Spirit acts upon the animal through the horizontal spine. The Ego could then enter, work in, and express itself through the vertical spine and build the vertical larynx and brain for its adequate expression in the dense body. A horizontal larynx is also under the domination of the Group Spirit. While it is true that some animals, as the starling, raven, parrot, etc., previously mentioned, are able, because of the possession of a vertical larynx, to utter words, they cannot use them understandingly. The use of words to express thought is the highest human privilege and can be exercised only by a reasoning, thinking entity like man.
In the Polarian Epoch man acquired the dense body as an instrument of action. In the Hyperborean Epoch the vital body was added to give power of motion necessary to action. In the Lemurian Epoch the desire body furnished incentive to action.
In the third, or Lemurian Epoch, man cultivated a desire body, a vehicle of passions and emotions, and was then constituted as the animal. Then milk, a product of living animals, was added to his diet, for this substance is most easily worked upon by the emotions. Abel, the man of that time, is described as a shepherd. It is nowhere stated that he killed an animal for food.
The third, or Lemurian Epoch, presents conditions analogous to the Moon Period, but denser. The fiery core of the Earth is in the center, the boiling, seething water next, and the steamy atmosphere or "fire-fog" outside, for thus "God had divided the land from the waters," as Genesis says; the dense moisture from the steam, and there man lived on islands of the forming solid crust scattered in the sea of fire or boiling water. His form was then quite firm and solid, it had a trunk, limbs, and the head was beginning to form. The desire body was added, and man brought under the dominion of the Archangels.
In the far past, when man was in touch with the "inner" worlds, these organs (pituitary body and pineal gland) were his means of ingress thereto, and they will again serve that purpose at a later stage. They were connected with the involuntary or sympathetic nervous system. Man then saw the inner worlds, as in the Moon Period and the latter part of the Lemurian and early Atlantean Epochs. Pictures presented themselves quite independent of his will. The sense centers of his desire body were spinning around counter-clockwise (following negatively the motion of the Earth, which revolves on its axis in that direction) as the sense centers of "mediums" do to this day. In most people these sense centers are inactive, but true development will set them spinning clockwise.
The mind was given to man in the Atlantean Epoch to give purpose to action, but as the Ego was exceedingly weak and the desire nature strong, the nascent mind coalesced with the desire body; the faculty of Cunning resulted and was the cause of all the wickedness of the middle third of the Atlantean Epoch.
In a far distant future man's desire body will become as definitely organized as are the vital and dense bodies. When that stage is reached we shall all have the power to function in the desire body as we now do in the dense body, which is the oldest and best organized of these bodies of man — the desire body being the youngest.
In the Hyperborean Epoch, before man possessed a desire body, there was but one universal mode of communication and when the desire body has become sufficiently purified, all men will again be able to understand one another, for then the separative Race differentiation will have passed away.
The desire body was started in the Moon Period, reconstructed in the Earth Period, will be further modified in the Jupiter Period, reaching perfection in the Venus Period.
Globe D of the Venus Period is located in the Desire World (see Diagram 8 from the Cosmo-Conception), hence neither a dense nor a vital body could be used as an instrument of consciousness, therefore the essences of the perfected dense and vital bodies are incorporated in the completed desire body, the latter thus becoming a vehicle of transcendent qualities, marvelously adaptable and so responsive to the slightest wish of the indwelling Spirit that in our present limitations, it is beyond our utmost conception.
Yet the efficiency of even this splendid vehicle will be transcended when in the Vulcan Period its essence, together with the essences of the dense and vital bodies, are added to the mind body, which becomes the highest of man's vehicles, containing within itself the quintessence of all that was best in all the vehicles.
The vehicles of the new-born do not at once become active. The dense body is helpless for a long time after birth. It is the same with the forces working in the desire body. The passive feeling of physical pain is present, while the feeling of emotion is almost entirely absent. The child will, of course, show emotion on the slightest provocation, but the duration of that emotion is but momentary. It is all on the surface.
The vital body of the plant builds leaf after leaf, carrying the stem higher and higher. Were it not for the macrocosmic desire body it would keep on in that way indefinitely, but the macrocosmic desire body steps in at a certain point and checks further growth. The force that is not needed for further growth is then available for other purposes and is used to build the flower and the seed. In like manner the human vital body, when the dense body comes under its sway, after the seventh year, makes the latter grow very rapidly, but about the fourteenth year the individual desire body is born from the womb of the macrocosmic desire body and is then free to work on its dense body. The excessive growth is then checked and the force theretofore used for that purpose becomes available for propagation that the human plant may flower and bring forth. Therefore the birth of the personal desire body marks the period of puberty. From this period the attraction towards the opposite sex is felt, being especially active and unrestrained in the third septenary period of life — from the fourteenth to the twenty-first year — because the restraining mind is then still unborn.
It must not be imagined, however, that when the little body of a child has been born, the process of birth is completed. The dense physical body has had the longest evolution, and as a shoemaker who has worked at his trade for a number of years is more expert than an apprentice and can make better shoes and quicker, so also the Spirit which has built many physical bodies produces them quickly, but the vital body is a later acquisition of the human being. Therefore, we are not so expert in building that vehicle. Consequently it takes longer to construct that from the materials not used up in making the lining of the archetype, and the vital body is not born until the seventh year. Then the period of rapid growth commences. The desire body is a still later addition of composite man, and is not brought to birth until the fourteenth year when the desire nature expresses itself most strongly during so-called "hot" youth, and the mind, which makes man man, does not come to birth until the twenty-first year. In law that age is recognize as the earliest time he is fitted to exercise a franchise.
At the age of fourteen we have the birth of the desire body, which marks the commencement of self-assertion. In earlier years the child regards itself more as belonging to a family and subordinate to the wishes of its parents than after the fourteenth year. The reason is this: in the throat of the fetus and the young child there is a gland called the thymus gland, which is largest before birth, then gradually diminishes through the years of childhood and finally disappears at ages which vary according to the characteristics of the child. Anatomists have been puzzled as to the function of this organ and have not yet come to any settled conclusion, but it has been suggested that before development of the red marrow bones, the child is not able to manufacture its own blood, and that therefore the thymus gland contains an essence, supplied by the parents, upon which the child may draw during infancy and childhood, till able to manufacture its own blood. That theory is approximately true, and as the family blood flows in the child, it looks upon itself as part of the family and not as an Ego. But the moment it commences to manufacture its own blood, the Ego asserts itself, it is no longer papa's girl or mamma's boy. It has an "I"-dentity of its own. Then comes the critical age when parents reap what they have sown. The mind has not yet been born, nothing holds the desire nature in check, and much, very much, depends upon how the child has been taught in earlier years and what example the parents have set. At this point in life self-assertion, the feeling "I am myself," is stronger than at any other time and therefore authority should give place to advice. The parent should practice the utmost tolerance, for at no time in life is a human being as much in need of sympathy as during the seven years from fourteen to twenty-one when the desire nature is rampant and unchecked.
The desire body requires protection from the onslaughts of the Desire World until at about the fourteenth year it is born at the time we call puberty; and the mind is not sufficiently ripe to be released from its protective cover until the man reaches his majority at about twenty-one. These periods are only approximately correct, for each person differs from all others in regard to exact time periods, but those given are near enough.
We saw that when the Ego had finished its day in the school of life the centrifugal force of Repulsion caused it to throw off its dense vehicle at death, then the vital body, which is the next coarsest. Next in Purgatory the coarsest desire stuff accumulated by the Ego as embodiment for its lowest desires was purged by this centrifugal force. In the higher realms only the force of Attraction holds sway and keeps the good by centripetal action, which tends to draw everything from the periphery to the center.
This centripetal force of Attraction also governs when the Ego is coming to rebirth. We know that we can throw a stone farther than we can throw a feather. Therefore, the coarsest matter was thrown outwards after death by the force of Repulsion, and for the same reason the coarsest material wherein the returning Ego embodies the tendencies to evil is whirled inwards to the center by the centripetal force of Attraction, with the result that when a child is born all that is best and purest appears on the outside. The latent evil does not usually manifest until after the desire body is born at about the age of fourteen, and the currents in that vehicle commence to well outwards from the liver. At that time the Ego commences to "live" its individual life and show what is within.
The desire body is born about the 14th year, at the time of puberty. That is the time the feelings and passions are beginning to exercise their power upon the young man or woman, as the womb of desire-stuff which formerly protected the nascent desire body is removed. This is in most cases a trying time, and it is well for the youth who has learned to reverently look to parents or teachers, for they will be to him an anchor of strength against the inrush of the feelings. If he has been accustomed to take the statements of his elders on trust, and they have given him wise teaching, he will by now have developed an inherent sense of truth that will be a sure guide but just in the measure that he has failed to do so will he be liable to go adrift.
When a person dies in childhood in one life, he or she not infrequently remembers that life in the next body, because children under fourteen years do not journey around the entire life cycle, which necessitates the building of a complete set of new vehicles. They simply pass into the upper regions of the Desire World and there wait for a new embodiment, which usually takes place in from one to twenty years after death. When the return to birth, they bring with them the old mind and desire body.
In addition to the visible body and the vital body we also have a body made of desire stuff from which we form our feelings and emotions. This vehicle also impels us to seek sense gratification. But while the two instruments of which we have already spoken, are well organized, the desire body appears to spiritual sight as an ovoid cloud extending from sixteen to twenty inches beyond the physical body. It is above the head and below the feet so that our dense body sits in the center of this egg-shaped cloud as the yolk is in the center of an egg.
The reason for the rudimentary state of this vehicle is that is has been added to the human constitution more recently than the bodies previously mentioned. Evolution of form may be likened to the manner in which the juices in the snail first condense into flesh and later become a hard shell. When our present visible body first germinated in the Spirit, it was a thought form, but gradually it has become denser and more concrete until it is now a chemical crystallization. The vital body was next emanated by the Spirit as a thought form and is in the third stage of concretion, which is etheric. The desire body is a still later acquisition. That also was a thought form at its inception, but has now condensed to desire stuff. The mind, only recently received, is still but a mere cloudy thought form.
Arms and limbs, ears and eyes are not necessary to use the desire body, for it can glide through space more swiftly than wind without such means of locomotion as we require in this visible world.
When viewed by spiritual sight, it appears that there are in this desire body a number of whirling vortices. It is a characteristic of desire stuff to be in constant motion, and from the main vortex in the region of the liver there is a constant outwelling flow which radiates towards the periphery of this egg-shaped body and returns to the center through a number of other vortices. The desire body exhibits all the colors and shades which we know and a vast number of others which are indescribable in earthly language. Those colors vary in every person according to his characteristics and temperament and they also vary from moment to moment as passing moods, fancies, or emotions are experienced by him. There is, however, in each one a certain basic color dependent upon the ruling star at the moment of his birth. The man in whose horoscope Mars is peculiarly strong usually has a crimson tint in his aura. Where Jupiter is the strongest planet the prevailing tint seems to be a bluish tone, and so on with the other planets.
There was a time in the Earth's past history when incrustation was not yet complete, and human beings of that time lived upon islands here and there, amid boiling seas. They had not yet evolved eyes or ears, but a little organ: the pineal gland, which anatomists have called the Third Eye, protruded through the back of the head and was a localized organ of feeling, which warned the man when he came too near a volcanic crater and thus enabled him to escape destruction. Since then the cerebral hemispheres have covered the pineal gland, and instead of a single organ of feeling, the whole body inside and out is sensitive to impacts, which of course is a much higher state of development.
In the desire body every particle is sensitive to vibrations similar to those we call sight, sound, and feeling, and every particle is in incessant motion, rapidly swirling about so that in the same instant it may be at the top and bottom of the desire body and impart at all points to all the other particles a sensation of that which it has experienced. Thus every particle of desire stuff in this vehicle of ours will instantly feel any sensation experienced by any single particle. Therefore, the desire body is of an exceedingly sensitive nature, capable of most intense feelings and emotions.
The desire body is the vehicle of feelings and emotions which are always changing from moment to moment. Though it has been said that the ether which forms our soul body is in constant motion and mingles with the blood stream, that motion is relatively slow compared to the rapidity of the current of the desire body.
Desire stuff moves with inconceivable rapidity comparable only with light.
The impulses of the desire body drive the blood through the system at varying rates of speed according to the strength of the emotions.
At present the materials of both the lower and the higher regions enter into the composition of the desire bodies of the great majority of mankind. None are so bad but that they have some good trait. This is expressed in the materials of the higher regions which we find in their desire bodies. But, on the other hand, very, very few are so good that they do not use some of the materials of the lower regions.
In the same way that the planetary vital and desire bodies interpenetrate the dense material of the Earth, as we saw in the illustration of the sponge, the sand, and the water, so the vital and desire bodies interpenetrate the dense body of plant, animal, and man. But during the life of man his desire body is not shaped like his dense and vital bodies. After death it assumes that shape. During life it has the appearance of a luminous ovoid which, in waking hours, completely surrounds the dense body, as the albumen does the yolk of an egg. It extends from twelve to sixteen inches beyond the dense body. In this desire body there are a number of sense centers, but, in the great majority of people, they are latent. It is the awakening of these centers of perception that corresponds to the opening of the blind man's eyes in our former illustration. The matter in the human desire body is in incessant motion of inconceivable rapidity. There is in it no settled place for any particle, as in the dense body. The matter that is at the head one moment may be at the feet in the next and back again. There are no organs in the desire body, as in the dense and vital bodies, but there are centers of perception, which, when active, appear as vortices, always remaining in the same relative position to the dense body, most of them about the head. In the majority of people they are mere eddies and are of no use as centers of perception. They may be awakened in all, however but different methods produce different results.
In the involuntary clairvoyant developed along improper, negative lines, these vortices turn from right to left, or in the opposite direction to the hands of a clock — counter-clockwise.
In the desire body of the properly trained voluntary clairvoyant, they turn in the same direction as the hands of a clock — clockwise, glowing with exceeding splendor, far surpassing the brilliant luminosity of the ordinary desire body. These centers furnish him with means for the perception of things in the Desire World and he sees, and investigates as he wills, while the person whose centers turn counter-clockwise is like a mirror, which reflects what passes before it. Such a person is incapable of reaching out for information. The above is one of the fundamental differences between a medium and a properly trained clairvoyant. It is impossible for most people to distinguish between the two; yet there is one infallible rule that can be followed by anyone: No genuinely developed seer will ever exercise this faculty for money or its equivalent; nor will he use it to gratify curiosity, but only to help humanity.
Christ said, "Let your light shine." To the spiritual vision each human being appears as a flame of light, variously colored according to temperament, and of greater or less brilliancy in proportion to purity of character. Science has discovered that all matter is in a state of flux, that the particles which compose our bodies continually decay and are eliminated from the system, to be replaced by others which remain for a short time until they also decompose. Likewise our moods, emotions, and desires change with every passing moment, the old giving place to the new in an interminable succession. Therefore, they also must be composed of matter and subject to laws similar to those which govern visible physical substances.
Let us now see how the desire body changes under the varying feelings, desires, passions, and emotions, so that we may learn to build wisely and well the mystic temple wherein we dwell.
When we study one of the so-called physical sciences, such as anatomy or architecture, which deals with tangible things, our task is facilitated by the fact that we have words which describe the things whereof we treat, but even then the mental picture conceived by a word differs with each individual. When we speak of a "bridge," one may make a mental picture of a million-dollar iron structure, another may think of a plank across a streamlet. The difficulty which we experience in conveying accurate impressions of our meaning increases apace when we attempt to convey ideas concerning Nature's intangible forces, such as electricity. We measure the strength of the current in volts, the volume in amperes, and the resistance of the conductor in ohms, but, as a matter of fact, such terms are only inventions to cover up our ignorance of the matter. We all know what a pound of coffee is, but the world's greatest scientist has no more accurate conception of what the volts, amperes and ohms are of which he so learnedly discourses than the schoolboy who hears these terms for the first time.
What wonder then that superphysical subjects are described in vague and often misleading terms, for we have no words in any physical language which will accurately describe these subjects, and one is almost helpless and utterly at a loss for descriptive terms wherewith to express oneself regarding them. If it were possible to throw colored moving pictures of the desire body upon the screen and there show how this restless vehicle changes contour and color according to the emotions, even then it would not give an adequate understanding to anyone who was not capable of seeing these things himself, for the vehicles of every single human being differ from the vehicles of all others in the way they respond to certain emotions. That which causes one to feel intense love, hate, anger, fear, or any other emotion may leave another entirely untouched.
The writer has a number of times watched crowds for the purpose of comparison in this respect, and has always found something startlingly new and different from what had hitherto been observed. On one occasion a demagogue was endeavoring to incite a labor union to strike; he was very much excited himself, and though the basic color of deep orange was perceivable, it was for the time being almost obliterated by a scarlet color of the brightest hue; the contour of his desire body was like the body of a porcupine with its quills sticking out. There was a strong element of opposition in the place, and as he talked one could clearly distinguish the two factions by the colors of their respective auras. One set of men showed the scarlet of anger but in the other set this color was intermingled with a grey, the color of fear.
It was also remarkable that, although the grey men were in the majority, the others carried the day, for each timid one believed himself alone or at least with a very few supporters, and was therefore afraid to vote for or express his opinion. If one who was able to see this condition had been present and had gone to each one who manifested in his aura the signs of dissension, and had given him the assurance that he was one of a majority, the tide would have turned in the opposite direction. It is often so in human affairs, for at the present time the majority are unable to see beneath the surface of the physical body and thus to perceive the true state of the thoughts and feelings of others.
On another occasion a revival meeting was visited where many thousands were present to hear a speaker of national repute. At the beginning of the meeting it was evident from the state of the auras of the people that the great majority had come there with no other purpose than to have a good time and see some fun. The thoughts feelings, and emotions connection with the ordinary life of each were plainly visible, but in a number a certain darkish blue color showed an attitude of worry; it seemed that they had had some disappointment in life and were very uneasy. When the speaker appeared, a curious phenomenon took place. Desire bodies are usually in a state of restless motion, but at that moment it seemed as if the whole vast audience must have held its breath in an attitude of expectancy, for the varied colorplay in the individual desire bodies ceased and the basic orange hue was plainly perceptible for an instant. Presently each commenced his emotional activities as before, while the prelude was being played. Then commenced the singing of hymns, and this showed the value and effect of music, for as all united in singing identical words to the same tune, the same rhythmic vibrations which surged through all these desire bodies seemed to blend them and make them, for the time being, almost one. Quite a number were sitting in the scoffer's seat, so to speak, refusing to sing and unite with the others. To the spiritual sight they appeared as men of steel, clothed in an armor of that color, and from each one, without exception went out a vibration which said so much plainer than mere words could ever have done, "Leave me alone, you shall not touch me." Something from within had drawn them there, but they were mortally afraid of giving way, and therefore their whole aura expressed this steel color of fear which is an armor of the soul against outside interference.
When the first song was ended, the unity of color and vibration lapsed almost immediately, each one taking anew his customary thought atmosphere; and had nothing more been done, each would have lapsed into his habitual inner life. But the evangelist, though not able to see this, knew from past experience that his audience was not yet ripe, and a succession of songs were therefore sung the accompaniment of clapping hands, beating drums, and gesticulations from the leader, aided by a trained chorus. This brought the scattered souls again into a bond of harmony; gradually people were overwhelmed with religious fervor, and the unity necessary for the next effort was established. From the music, the leader's handclapping, and the stirring appeal of the songs, that vast audience had become as one, for the men of steel, the gray-tinted scoffers who thought themselves too wise to be fooled (when their emotion was really fear), were a negligible part in that vast congregation. All were then attuned as the many strings upon one great instrument, and the evangelist who appeared before them was a master artist at playing upon their emotions. He moved them from laughter to tears, from sorrow to shame; great waves of the corresponding colors seemed to go over the whole audience, as bewildering as they were magnificent. Then there were the customary calls to "stand up for Jesus"; the invitation to the "mourner's bench," etc., and each brought forth from all over the audience a certain emotional response which was plainly shown in colors, golden and blue. Then there were more songs, more clappings and gesticulations which, for the time, furthered the unity and gave this audience an experience resembling the feeling of universal brotherhood and the reality of the Fatherhood of God. The only ones upon whom the music had no effect were the men clad in the steel-blue armor of fear. This color seems to be almost impervious to any other emotion; and even thought the feelings experienced by the great majority were relatively impermanent, the people benefited in a measure by the revival, with the exception of these men of steel.
So far as the writer has been able to learn, the inner fear of yielding to emotion — fear being saturnine in effect and twin sister to worry — seems to require a shock that will take the person so affected out of his environment and set him down in a new place among new conditions before the old conditions can be overcome.
Worry is a condition where the desire currents do not sweep in long curved lines in any part of the desire body, but where the vehicle is full of eddies — nothing but eddies in extreme cases. The person so affected does not endeavor to take action in any line; he sees calamities where there are none, and instead of generating currents which lead to action that may prevent the thing he fears, each thought of worry causes an eddy in the desire body, and he does nothing in consequence. This condition of worry in the desire body may be likened to water which is about to congeal under a lowering temperature; fear which expresses itself as skepticism, cynicism, and pessimism may be likened to that same water when it has frozen, for the desire bodies of such people are almost motionless, and nothing one can say or do seems to have the power to alter the condition. They have, to use a common expression which fits the condition excellently, "drawn into a shell", and that saturnine shell must be broken before it is possible to get at the man and help him out of his pitiable state.
These saturnine emotions of fear and worry are usually caused by the sufferer's apprehension of economic or social difficulties. "perhaps this investment which I have made may depreciate or become a total loss. I may lose my position and find myself starving upon the street; everything I undertake seems to go wrong; my neighbors are slandering me and trying to undermine my social position; my husband (or wife) does not care for me any more; my children are neglecting me"; and a thousand and one kindred suggestions present themselves to the mind. He should remember that every time one of these thoughts is indulged in, it helps to congeal the currents in the desire body and build a steel-blue shell in which the person who habitually fosters fear and worry will some time find himself shut off from the love, sympathy, and help of all the world. Therefore, we ought to strive to be cheerful, even under adverse circumstances or we may find ourselves in a serious condition here and hereafter.
In the beginning of the Great War (WWI) the emotions of Europe ran riot in a most horrible manner, first among the so-called "living," and then among the killed — when they awoke. This awakening took a long time because of the large guns used — but more of that later. The whole atmosphere of the countries involved was seething with currents of anger and hate; like a cloud of dark crimson it hung around every human being and over the land. Then there were dark, tinted streaks like a funeral pall, which seems always to be generated in crises of sudden disaster when reason is at a standstill and despair grips the heart. This was undoubtedly caused by the fact that the peoples involved realized that a catastrophe of a magnitude which they were unable to comprehend was happening. The desire bodies of the majority whirled at high speed in long waves of rhythmic pulsation which said more plainly than words, "Just kill, kill, kill."
When two or three or a crowd met and commenced to discuss the war, the rhythmic pulsations indicating the settled purpose to do and dare ceased, and the thoughts and feelings of excitement generated by the discussion or speech took shape as conical projections which rapidly grew to a height of about six or eight inches, then they burst and emitted a tongue of flame. Some people generated a number of these volcanic structures at one time, in others there were only one or two at the same time. When one of these bubbles had burst in one place, another appeared somewhere else on the desire body while the discussion lasted, and it was the flames from them that colored the cloud over the land scarlet. When a crowd disbanded or friends parted after such a discussion, the bubbling and eruptions grew smaller and less frequent, finally ceasing and giving place again to the long rhythmic pulsations first mentioned.
These conditions are now (1916) seldom if ever seen; the explosive anger at the enemy thus indicated is a thing of the past so far as the great majority are concerned. The basic orange color of the western people's aura is again visible, and both officers and men seem to have settled down to war as to a game; each is anxious to outdo and outwit the other. The war is now mainly a channel for their ingenuity; but a number of the lay brothers of the Rosicrucian Order believe that the condition of anger will return in a modified form when active hostilities cease and peace negotiations commence.
This form of emotion we may call abstract anger, and it differs widely from what is observed in the case of two persons who become angry with each other in private life, whether they start to fight physically or not. Seen from the hidden side of Nature, there are hostilities before blows are struck. Jagged, dagger-like desire forms project themselves from one to the other like spears until the fury which generated them has expended itself. In the patriotic anger there is no personal enemy, therefore the desire forms are more blunt and explode without leaving the person who generated them.
The "steel men" so common in private life where worry over the thousand and one things that never happen crystallizes an armor around the person who allows old Saturn thus to grip him, were and are conspicuous by their absence. The writer accounts for it on the hypothesis that the tension in their environment forced them to enlist and the shock broke the shell; then familiarity with danger bred contempt for it. It is certain that these people have benefited greatly by the war, for there is no state more hampering to soul growth than constant fear and worry.
It is also a remarkable fact that though the men engaged in war suffer awful privations, the mass of them are cultivating a tinge of soft sky-blue which stands for hope, optimism, and a dawning religious feeling, giving an altruistic touch to the character. It is an indication that that universal fellow-feeling which knows no distinctions of creed, color, or country is growing in the human heart.
The red cloud of hate is lifting, the black veil of despair is gone, there are no volcanic outbursts of passion in either the living or the dead, but so far as the writer is able to read the signs of the times in the aura of the nations, there is a settled purpose to play the game to the end. Even in homes bereaved of many members, this seems to hold good. There is an intense longing for the friends beyond but no hatred for the earthly foe. This longing is shared by the friends in the unseen and many are piercing the veil, for the intensity of their longing is awakening in the "dead" the power to manifest by attracting a quantity of ether and gas which often is taken from the vital body of a "sensitive" friend, as materializing Spirits use the vital body of an entranced medium. Thus the eyes blinded by tears are often opened by a yearning heart so that loved ones now in the spirit world are met again face to face, heart to heart. This is Nature's method of cultivating the sixth sense which will eventually enable all to know that man is an immortal Spirit and continuity of life a fact in Nature.
It is a law in the Desire World that as a man thinketh, so is he — literally and without qualification.
A dense body formed of the inert substance of the Chemical Region, quickened and vitalized by the vital body composed of the ethers of the Etheric Region, receives the incentive to action from the desire body, and incentive which the animals follow absolutely, but which in man is checked by another factor — reason, which sometimes causes him to act contrary to desire. Were there no other realms in nature but the Physical World and the Desire World, that factor would be non-existent. We could have mineral, plant and animal, but man, a thinking, reasoning being, would be an impossibility in Nature.
We, ourselves, as Egos, function directly in the subtle substance of the Region of Abstract Thought, which we have specialized within the periphery of our individual aura. Thence we view the impressions made by the outer world upon the vital body through the senses, together with the feelings and emotions generated by them in the desire body, and mirrored in the mind.
From these mental images we form our conclusions, in the substance of the Region of Abstract Thought, concerning the subjects with which they deal. These conclusions are ideas. By the power of will we project an idea through the mind, where it takes concrete shape as a thought form by drawing mind stuff around itself from the Region of Concrete Thought.
The mind is like the projecting lens of a stereopticon. It projects the image in one of three directions, according to the will of the thinker, which ensouls the thought form.
(1) It may be projected against the desire body in an endeavor to arouse feeling which will lead to immediate action.
(a) If the thought awakens Interest, one of the twin forces, Attraction or Repulsion, will be stirred up.
If Attraction, the centripetal force, is aroused it seizes the thought, whirls it into the desire body, endows the image with added life and clothes it with desire stuff. Then the thought is able to act on the etheric brain, and propel the vital force through the appropriate brain centers and nerves to the voluntary muscles which perform the necessary action. Thus the force in the thought is expended and the image remains in the ether of the vital body as memory of the act and the feeling that caused it.
(b) Repulsion is the centrifugal force and if that is aroused by the thought there will be a struggle between the spiritual force (the will of the man) within the thought form, and the desire body. This is the battle between conscience and desire, the higher and the lower nature. The spiritual force, in spite of resistance, will seek to clothe the thought form in the desire stuff needed to manipulate the brain and muscles. The force of Repulsion will endeavor to scatter the appropriated material and oust the thought. If the spiritual energy is strong it may force its way through to the brain centers and hold its clothing of desire stuff while manipulating the vital force, thus compelling action, and will then leave upon the memory a vivid impression of the struggle and the victory. If the spiritual energy is exhausted before action has resulted, it will be overcome by the force of Repulsion, and will be stored in the memory, as are all other thought forms when they have expended their energy.
We have in our body two nervous systems, the Voluntary and the Involuntary. The first named is operated directly by the desire body, and controls the movements of the body, tends to break down and destroy, only partially restrained in its ruthless task by the mind.
It is this war between the vital body and the desire body which produces consciousness in the Physical World, but did not the mind act as a brake on the desire body, our waking hours would be very short. So would our lives, for the vital body would soon be overridden in its beneficent offices by the reckless desire body, as evidenced in the exhaustion which follows a fit of temper. Temper is a condition where the man has "lost control" and the desire body rules unchecked.
Disease takes many forms; one is insanity, and that also is of different kinds. Where the connection between the sense centers of the dense body and the vital body is askew, where sometimes the head of the vital body towers above the dense head instead of being concentric with it, the vital body is out of adjustment with both the higher vehicles and the dense body. Then we have the docile mentally disabled individual. Where the dense and vital bodies are in adjustment but the break is between the vital body and the desire body, a similar condition obtains, but when the break is between the desire body and the mind we have the raving maniac, who is more ungovernable than a wild animal, for that is checked by the Group Spirit. In that case all the animal propensities are followed blindly.
The natural tendency of the desire body is to harden and consolidate all it comes into contact with. Materialistic thought accentuates this tendency to such an extent that it very often results in succeeding lives, in that dread disease, consumption, which is a hardening of the lungs. These should remain soft and elastic. It also sometimes happens that the desire body crushes the vital body in the next life, so that it fails altogether to counteract the hardening process, and then we have quick consumption. In some cases materialism makes the desire body brittle, as it were. Then it cannot perform its proper hardening work on the dense body, and as a result we have "rachitis," where the bones soften. So we see what dangers we run by entertaining materialistic tendencies: either hardening of the soft parts of the body, as in consumption, or softening of the hard bony parts, as in rachitis. Of course not every case of consumption shows that the sufferer was materialistic in a former life, but it is the teaching of esoteric science that such a result often follows materialism.
Our thoughts are of vastly more importance than our acts, for if we will only think right, we shall always act right. No man can think love to his fellowmen, can scheme in his mind how to aid and help them, spiritually, mentally, or physically, without also acting out these thoughts at some time in his life, and if we will only cultivate such thoughts, we shall soon find sunshine spreading around us. We shall find that people will meet us in that same spirit that we send out, and if we would realize that the desire body (which surrounds each of us and extends about sixteen to eighteen inches beyond the periphery of the physical body) contains all these feelings and emotions, we would meet people differently. Then we would understand that everything we see is viewed through the atmosphere we have created around ourselves which colors all we behold in others.
If the astronomer exercises his will and focuses the telescope as he desires, telling it to attend to its business of transmitting the rays that strike it, leaving the results to him, the work will proceed well, but if the lens has the stronger will and the mechanism of the telescope is in league with it, the astronomer will be seriously hampered in having to contend with a refractory instrument, and the result will be blurred pictures, of little or no value.
Thus it is with the Ego. it works with a threefold body, which it controls, or should control through the mind. But, sad to say, this body has a will of its own and is often aided and abetted by the mind, thus frustrating the purposes of the Ego.
This antagonistic "lower will" is an expression of the higher part of the desire body. When the division of the Sun, Moon, and Earth took place, in the early part of the Lemurian Epoch, the more advanced portion of humanity-in-the-making experienced a division of the desire body into a higher and a lower part. The rest of humanity did likewise in the early part of the Atlantean Epoch.
This higher part of the desire body became a sort of animal soul. It built the cerebro-spinal nervous system and the voluntary muscles, by that means controlling the lower part of the threefold body until the link of mind was given. Then the mind "coalesced" with this animal soul and became a co-regent.
The mind is thus bound up in desire; is enmeshed in the selfish lower nature, making it difficult for the Spirit to control the body. The focusing mind, which should be the ally of the higher nature, is alienated by and in league with the lower nature — enslaved by desire.
The law of the Race Religions was given to emancipate intellect from desire. The "fear of God" was pitted against "the desires of the flesh." This, however, was not enough to enable one to become master of the body and secure its willing cooperation. It became necessary for the Spirit to find in the body another point of vantage, which was not under the sway of the desire nature. All muscles are expressions of the desire body and a straight road to the capital, where the traitorous mind is wedded to desire and reigns supreme.
To understand the degree of consciousness which results from the possession of the vehicles used by the life evolving in the four kingdoms, we turn our attention to Diagram 4, which shows that man, the Ego, the Thinker, has descended into the Chemical Region of the Physical World. Here he has marshaled all his vehicles, thereby attaining the state of waking consciousness. He is learning to control his vehicles. The organs of neither the desire body nor the mind are yet evolved. The latter is not yet even a body. At present it is simply a link, a sheath for the use of the Ego as a focusing point. It is the last of the vehicles that have been built. The Spirit works gradually from finer into coarser substance, the vehicles also being built in fine substance first, then in coarser and coarser substance. The dense body was built first and has now come into its fourth stage of density; the vital body is in its third stage. The desire body is in its second, hence it is still cloud-like, and the sheath of mind is filmier still. As those vehicles have not, as yet, evolved any organs, it is clear that they alone would be useless as vehicles of consciousness. The Ego, however, enters into the dense body and connects these organless vehicles with the physical sense centers and thus attains the waking state of consciousness in the Physical World.
The student should particularly note that it is because of their connection with the splendidly organized mechanism of the dense body that these higher vehicles become of value at present. He will thus avoid a mistake frequently made by people who, when they come into the knowledge that there are higher bodies, grow to despise the dense body; to speak of it as "low" and "vile" — turning their eyes to heaven and wishing that they might soon be able to leave this earthly lump of clay and fly about in their "higher vehicles."
Strange as the statement may seem, it is nevertheless true that the great majority of mankind are partially asleep most of the time, notwithstanding the fact that their physical bodies may seem to be intensely occupied in active work. Under ordinary conditions the desire body in the case of the great majority is the most awake part of composite man, who lives almost entirely in his feelings and emotions, but scarcely ever thinks of the problem of existence beyond what is necessary to keep body and soul together. Most of this class have probably never given the great questions of life, "Whence have we come, why are we here, and whither are we going?" any serious consideration. Their vital bodies are kept active repairing the ravages of the desire body upon the physical vehicle, and purveying the vitality which is later dissipated in gratifying the desires and emotions.
It is this hard-fought battle between the vital and desire bodies which generates consciousness in the Physical World and makes men and women so intensely alert that, viewed from the standpoint of the Physical World, it seems to give the lie to our assertion that they are partially asleep. Nevertheless, upon examination of all the facts it will be found that this is the case, and we may also say that this state of affairs has come about by the desire of the great Hierarchs who have our evolution in charge.
The particular stronghold of the desire body is in the muscles and the cerebro-spinal nervous system. The energy displayed by a person when laboring under great excitement or anger is an example of this. At such times the whole muscular system is tense and no hard labor is so exhausting as a "fit of temper." It sometimes leaves the body prostrated for weeks. There can be seen the necessity for improving the desire body by controlling the temper, thus sparing the dense body the suffering resulting from the ungoverned action of the desire body.
Looking at the matter from an esoteric standpoint, all consciousness in the Physical World is the result of the constant war between the desire and the vital bodies.
The tendency of the vital body is to soften and build. Its chief expression is the blood and the glands, also the sympathetic nervous system, having obtained ingress into the stronghold of the desire body (the muscular and the voluntary nervous systems) when it began to develop the heart into a voluntary muscle.
The tendency of the desire body is to harden, and it in turn has invaded the realm of the vital body, gaining possession of the spleen and making the white blood corpuscles, which are not "the policemen of the system" as science now thinks, but destroyers. It uses the blood to carry these tiny destroyers all over the body. They pass through the walls of arteries and veins whenever annoyance is felt, and especially in times of great anger. Then the rush of forces in the desire body makes the arteries and veins swell and opens the way for the passage of the white blood corpuscles into the tissues of the body, where they form bases for the earthly matter which kills the body.
During the waking state there is a constant war between the vital body and the desire body. The desires and impulses from the desire body are constantly impinging upon the dense body, impelling it to action, regardless of any damage resulting to the latter instrument, so that desire is gratified.
It is the desire vehicle that urges the drunkard to fill his system with liquor, so that the chemical combustion of spirit may raise the vibrations of the dense body to such a pitch as to make it the willing tool of every mad impulse, wasting its stored energy with reckless prodigality.
The desire body is the vehicle of our emotions, feelings, and desires which expends the energies in the dense body by the vital processes through control of the cerebro-spinal or voluntary nervous system. In its activities this desire body is constantly destroying and breaking down tissue built by the vital body and it is the war between these two vehicles which causes what we call consciousness in the Physical World. The etheric forces in the vital body act in such a manner that they convert as much of the food as possible into the blood, and this is the highest expression of the vital body.
The spleen is the gateway of the vital body. There the solar force which abounds in the surrounding atmosphere enters in a constant stream, to aid us in the vital processes, and there also the war between the desire body and the vital body is waged most fiercely.
Thoughts of worry, fear, and anger interfere with the processes of evaporation in the spleen. A speck of plasm is the result, and this is at once seized upon by a thought elemental which forms a nucleus and embodies itself therein. Then it commences to live a life of destruction, coalescing with other waste products and decaying elements wherever formed, making the body a charnel house instead of the temple of an indwelling living Spirit.
This destruction is constantly going on and it is not possible to keep all the destroyers out, nor is such the intention. If the vital body had uninterrupted sway, it would build and build, using all the energy for that purpose. There would be no consciousness and thought. It is because the desire body checks and hardens the inner parts that consciousness develops.
As has been previously explained, the desire body is an unorganized ovoid, holding the dense body as a dark spot within its center, as the white of an egg surrounds the yolk. There are a number of sense centers in the ovoid, which have appeared since the beginning of the Earth Period. In the average human being these centers appear merely as eddies in a current and are not awake, hence his desire body is of no use to him as a separate vehicle of consciousness; but when the sense centers are awakened they look like whirling vortices.
The Desire World is an ocean of wisdom and harmony. Into this the Ego takes the mind and the desire body when the lower vehicles have been left in sleep. There the first care of the Ego is the restoration of the rhythm and harmony of the mind and the desire body. This restoration is accomplished gradually as the harmonious vibrations of the Desire World flow through them. There is an essence in the Desire World corresponding to the vital fluid which permeates the dense body by means of the vital body. The higher vehicles, as it were, steep themselves in this elixir of life. When strengthened, they commence work on the vital body, which was left with the sleeping dense body. Then the vital body begins to specialize the solar energy anew, rebuilding the dense body, using particularly the chemical ether as its medium in the process of restoration.
It happens, however, that at times the desire body does not fully withdraw, so that part of it remains connected with the vital body, the vehicle for sense perception and memory. The result is that restoration is only partly accomplished and that the scenes and actions of the Desire World are brought into the physical consciousness as dreams. Of course most dreams are confused as the axis of perception is askew, because of the improper relation of one body to another. The memory is also confused by this incongruous relation of the vehicles and as a result of the loss of the restoring force, dream-filled sleep is restless and the body feels tired on awakening.
What is it that makes sleep a restorative state? In the very term "restorative" there is implied an activity. If a building is to be restored, it is necessary that the tenants move out, and that wear and tear cease. But that is not enough. Workmen must be brought in to repair the damage incident to the use of the building. Only when that work has been done is restoration complete and the building ready for reoccupancy by the tenants.
So also with the temple of the Ego, our dense body, when that has been exhausted. It is then necessary that the Ego, mind, and desire body vacate and give the vital body full sway, that it may restore the tone of the dense body; and thus, when the dense body goes to sleep, there is a separation. The Ego and the mind, clothed in the desire body, draw out from the vital body and the dense body, the two latter remaining on the bed, while the higher vehicles hover above or near the sleeping body.
The process of restoration now begins. In a fight in the Physical World the injuries are never all on one side; the winner always has some lesions. The fiercer the fight, and the more evenly the combatants are matched, the more lesions go to each. So with the combating vital and desire bodies, the desire body wins every time, yet its victory is always a defeat, for it is then forced to leave the battle field and the prize, the dense body, in the hands of the vanquished vital body, and withdraw to repair its own shattered harmony.
When it withdraws from the sleeping body it enters that sea of force and harmony called the Desire World. Here it lives over the scenes of the day, but in reverse order, from effects to causes, straightening out the tangles of the day, forming true pictures to replace the wrong impressions due to the limitations of the life in the dense body, and as the harmonies of the Desire World pervade it, and wisdom and truth replace error, it regains its rhythm and its tone, the time required to restore it varying according to how illusive, impulsive, and strenuous had been the life of the day.
Then, and then only, does the work of restoring the vehicles left on the bed commence, and the restored desire body starts to revive the vital body, pumping rhythmic energy into it, and that in turn starts to work upon the dense body, eliminating the products of decay, principally by means of the sympathetic nervous system, with the result that the dense body is restored and overflowing with life when the desire body, mind, and Ego enter in the morning and cause it to wake.
It sometimes happens, however, that we have become so absorbed and interested in the affairs of our mundane existence that even after the vital body has collapsed and rendered the dense body unconscious we cannot make up our minds to leave it and commence the work of restoration; the desire body will cling like grim death, is perhaps only half dragged out by the Ego, and starts to ruminate over the happenings of the day in that position.
It is evident that this is an abnormal condition. The proper connection between the different vehicles is ruptured in the first place by the collapse of the vital body, and further disarranged by the unusual relative positions of the higher vehicles, which has partially disconnected the sense centers of the former from the latter, and the inevitable result is those confused dreams where the sounds and sights of the Desire World are mixed with the happenings of daily life in the most grotesque and impossible way.
At times, when something in daily life has particularly agitated the desire body, it happens that when it has severed connection with the lower vehicles and is engaged in the work of restoration by the above-mentioned review, that when a trying incident of the day appears, and the desire body sees the solution, it will rush back into the dense body in order to impress the ideas on the brain, thereby causing the dense body to wake with a start. It is only in the fewest cases that it is able to bring back the solution that was so clear in the Desire World. Even if it does succeed in impressing the solution on the brain, it is usually forgotten in the morning.
There are times of course when dreams are prophetic and come true, but such dreams result only after complete extraction of the desire body, under circumstances where the Spirit has seen some danger perhaps, which may befall, and then impresses the fact upon the brain at the moment of awakening.
It also happens that the Spirit goes upon a soul flight and omits to perform its part of the work of restoration. Then the body will not be fit to re-enter in the morning, so it sleeps on. The Spirit may thus roam afield for a number of days, or even weeks, before it again enters its physical body and assumes the normal routine of alternating waking and sleep. This condition is called trance, and the Spirit may remember upon its return what it has seen and heard in the superphysical realm, or it may have forgotten, according to the stage of its development and the depth of the trance condition. When the trance is very light, the Spirit is usually present in the room where its body lies all the time, and upon its return to the body it will be able to recount to relatives all they said and did while its body lay unconscious. Where the trance is deeper, the returning Spirit will usually be unconscious of what happened around its body, but may recount experiences from the invisible world.
In ordinary life most people live to eat. They drink, gratify the sex-passion in an unrestrained manner, and lose their tempers on the slightest provocation. Though outwardly these people may be very "respectable," they are, nearly every day of their lives, causing almost utter confusion in their organization. The entire period of sleep is spent by the desire and the vital bodies in repairing the damage done in the day time, leaving no time for outside work of any kind. But as the individual begins to feel the needs of the higher life, controls sex-force, and temper, and cultivates a serene disposition, there is less disturbance caused in the vehicles during waking hours. Consequently, less time is required to repair the damage during sleep. Thus it becomes possible to leave the dense body for long periods during sleeping hours, and function in the inner worlds in the higher vehicles. As the desire body and the mind are not yet organized, they are of no use as separate vehicles of consciousness. Neither can the vital body leave the dense body, as that would cause death, so measures must be taken to provide an organized vehicle which is fluidic and so constructed that it will meet the needs of the Ego in the inner worlds as does the dense body in the Physical World.
The silver cord which has grown from the seed atom of the dense body (located in the heart) since conception, is welded to the part (located in the liver), that has sprouted from the central vortex of the desire body, and when the silver cord is tied by the seed atom of the vital body (located in the solar plexus), the Spirit dies to life in the supersensible world, and quickens the body it is to use in its coming earth life. This life on Earth lasts until the course of events foreshadowed in the wheel of life, the horoscope, has been run; and when the Spirit again reaches the realm of Samael, the Angel of Death, the mystic eighth house, the silver cord is loosed, and the Spirit returns to God who gave it, until the dawn of another life-day in the School of Earth beckons it to a new birth that it may acquire more skill in the arts and crafts of temple-building.
The serpent said: "Ye shall not surely die, for the God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as the gods, knowing good and evil." The latter was then unknown to man.
Acting upon this advice, the woman secured the cooperation of man and by the power of will they freed their desire bodies. That faculty was then much greater than now, for it is a law that each new faculty is always bought at the cost of weakening some previous power, as when the faculty of thought was bought at the price of half the creative force. Then the man's will power was such that the anxiety of the God "lest man eat also of 'the tree of life' and become immortal" was well founded, for had he secured possession of the secret of renewing the vital body as well as the dense body, he would have been able to create a body and vitalize it forever. Then there would truly have been no death, but neither would there have been any evolution. As man did not then, and does not yet, know how to build a perfect body, that would have been the greatest possible calamity. Death is not a curse, but a friend when it comes naturally, for it releases us from an environment we have outgrown, and from a body that ties us, in order that we may get a new chance in a new and better body to learn new lessons.
When the moment arrives which marks the completion of life in the Physical World, the usefulness of the dense body has ended, and the Ego withdraws from it by way of the head, taking with it the mind and the desire body, as it does every night during sleep, but now the vital body is useless, so that, too, is withdrawn, and when the "silver cord" which united the higher to the lower vehicles snaps, it can never be repaired.
The higher vehicles — vital body, desire body, and mind — are seen to leave the dense body with a spiral movement, taking with them the soul of one dense atom — not the atom itself, but the forces that played through it.
Cremation should be particularly avoided in the first three days after death, because it tends to disintegrate the vital body, which should be kept intact until the panorama of the past life has been etched into the desire body.
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. 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. 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 and 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, or 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.
When the man dies and loses his dense and vital bodies there is the same condition as when one falls asleep. The desire body, as has been explained, has no organs ready for use. It is now transformed from an ovoid to a figure resembling the dense body which has been abandoned. We can easily understand that there must be an interval of unconsciousness resembling sleep and then the man awakes in the Desire World. It not infrequently happens, however, that such people are, for a long time, unaware of what has happened to them. They do not realize that they have died. They know that they are able to move and think. It is sometimes even a very hard matter to get them to believe that they are really "dead." They realize that something is different, but they are not able to understand what it is.
A cleavage takes place in the vital body (after death) similar to that made by the process of initiation. So much of this vehicle as can be termed "soul," coalesces with the higher vehicles and is the basis of consciousness in the invisible worlds after death.
In leaving the vital body the process is much the same as when the dense body is discarded. The life forces of one atom are taken, to be used as a nucleus for the vital body of a future embodiment. Thus, upon his entrance into the Desire World the man has the seed atoms of the dense and the vital bodies, in addition to the desire body and the mind.
It is often asked why children die. There are many causes. One is death under the dreadful strain of accident, by fire, or on the battle field in a previous life, for under such circumstances the departing Ego could not properly concentrate upon the panoramic view of its past life. This is also the case where loud lamentations of relatives hinder. The result is of course a weak imprint of the life-experiences upon the desire body, with an insipid purgatorial and First Heaven life.
In such cases the Ego does not reap what it has sown, and so it might commit the same follies or sins life after life. To prevent such a contingency the new desire body which the Ego gathers before its next birth must be impressed with the needed lesson. The Ego is always unconscious on its way to rebirth, blinded by the matter it draws around itself, as we are blinded when we enter a house on a sunny day. Only after birth does the consciousness return in a measure. Then, when by death it passes into the First Heaven it is taught objectively in a different way the lesson it should have learned on its outward passage in the former life. When that lesson has been mastered and impressed upon the still unborn desire body the Ego is reborn on Earth and goes on in the ordinary manner.
Children who died before the seventh year have been born only so far as the dense and vital bodies are concerned and are not responsible to the Law of Consequence. Even up to twelve or fourteen years the desire body is in process of gestation, and as that which has not been quickened cannot die, the dense and vital bodies alone go to decay when a child dies. It retains its desire body and mind to the next birth. Therefore, it does not go around the whole path which the Ego usually traverses in a life cycle, but only ascends to the First Heaven to learn needed lessons, and after a wait of from one to twenty years it is reborn, often in the same family as a younger child.
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 his desire body will be deeper than if he is disturbed by the hysterical lamentations of his relatives or from other causes. 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 concentrate properly. Neither can he concentrate upon a battle field if he is slain there. Yet it would 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. However 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 also are 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. 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, 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 Heavens because the mind and desire body are not born and cannot die. The Ego 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 had died in bed (which were few, perhaps, compared to those who died on the battle field), there must necessarily 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.
This is readily apparent as soon as we consider the gentle action of the vital body and contrast it with that of the desire body in a fit of temper, where it is said that a man has "lost control" of himself. Under such conditions the muscles become tense, and nervous energy is expended at a suicidal rate, so that after such an outbreak the body may sometimes be prostrated for weeks. The hardest labor brings no such fatigue as a fit of temper; likewise a child conceived in passion under the crystallizing tendencies of the desire nature is naturally short-lived.
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 more abundantly that which caused him joy in the former life.
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. 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. 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 since a little child has not committed any sins that need to be expurgated its desire body and 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. 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.
When a person passes out under untoward circumstances, such as a fire or a railroad accident, or suddenly as by a fall from a building or a mountain, or on a battle field, or when lamentations of relatives around the bedside of the newly dead make it impossible for him to concentrate upon the life-panorama, then the etching in the two higher ethers, the light and reflecting ethers, and their amalgamation with the desire body does not take place. Man does not then lose consciousness, and because there is no etching on the finer vehicles such as is normally the case, he has no purgatorial existence; that is to say, he does not reap what he has sown, there is no suffering in consequence of his wrong-doings and no feeling of joy on account of the good he has done. The fruitage of the life has been lost.
To offset this great disaster the Spirit on entering its next Earth life is caused to die in childhood so far as the physical body is concerned, but the vital body, the desire body, and mind, which do not ordinarily come to birth until the dense body is seven, fourteen, and twenty-one years old, respectively, remain with the passing Spirit, as that which has not been quickened cannot die. Then in the First Heaven the Spirit stays from one to twenty years, receiving such instructions and object lessons as will teach it that which it would otherwise have learned by the accident which terminated it. So it is reborn, ready to take its proper place on the path of evolution.
In the Desire World it is easy to give object-lessons in the influence of good and evil passions on conduct and happiness. These lessons are indelibly imprinted upon the child's sensitive and emotional desire body, and remain with it after rebirth, so that many a one living a noble life owes much of it to the fact that he was given this training. Often when a weak Spirit is born, the Compassionate Ones (the invisible Leaders who guide our evolution) cause it to die in early life that it may have this extra training to fit it for what may be perhaps a hard life. This seems to be the case particularly where the etching on the desire body was weak in consequence of a dying person having been disturbed by the lamentations of his relatives, or because he met death by accident or on the battle field. He did not under those circumstances experience the appropriate intensity of feeling in his post-mortem existence. Therefore, when he is born and dies in early life, the loss is made up as above. Often the duty of caring for such a child in the heaven life falls to those who were the cause of the anomaly. They are thus afforded a chance to make up for the fault and to learn better. Or perhaps they become the parents of the one they harmed and care for it during the few years it lives. It does not matter then if they do lament hysterically over its death, because there would be no pictures of any consequence in a child's vital body.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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