Question: If this Earth life is so important and really the basis of all our soul growth, the latter resulting from the experiences we gain here, why is our Earth life so short in comparison with the life in the Inner Worlds, approximating a thousand years between two earth lives?(Vol.I, #4)
Answer: All that is in this world which has been made by the hand of man is crystallized thought; the chairs upon which we sit, the houses in which we live, the various conveniences, such as telephone, steamship, locomotive, etc. were once a thought in the mind of man. If it had not been for that thought, the thing would never have appeared. In similar manner, the trees, the flowers, the mountains and the seas are the crystallized thought forms of the nature forces. Man, when he leaves this body after death and enters the Second Heaven, becomes one with those nature forces; he works under the direction of the creative hierarchies, making for himself the environment which is necessary for his nest step in unfoldment. There he builds in "mind stuff" the archetypes of the land and the sea; he works upon the flora and the fauna; he creates everything in his environment as thought forms, and he changes the conditions, so they appear when he is reborn.
But working things out in mind stuff is very different from working things out in the concrete. At the present time we are very poor thinkers, and therefore it takes an enormous period of time for us to shape the thought forms in the second heaven; then, also, we must wait a considerable time before these thought forms have crystallized into the actual dense physical environment to which we are able to come back. Therefore, it is necessary that we should stay in the Heaven World for a much longer time than we remain in the Earth life. When we have learned to think aright, we shall be able to create things here in the Physical World in a much shorter time than it now takes to laboriously form them. Neither will it be necessary then to stay out of Earth life as long as at the present time.
Question: How long will it be before we can do without these physical bodies, and function altogether in the Spiritual Worlds again?(Vol.I, #5)
Answer: This question reveals a state of mind which is all too common among people who have become acquainted with the fact that we possess spiritual bodies in which we may move through space with lightning rapidity, bodies which do not need the material raiment and, therefore, will require no care upon the part of their owners. These people long then for the time when they may grow such figurative wings and shed this "low and vile mortal coil" altogether.
Such a state of mind is extremely unfortunate. We should be very thankful for the material instrument which we have, for that is the most valuable of all our vehicles. While it is perfectly true that our physical body is the lowest of all our vehicles, it is also a fact that this vehicle is the most finished of our instruments, and without that the other vehicles would be of little use to us at this time. For while this splendidly organized instrument enables us to meet the thousand and one conditions here, our higher vehicles are practically unorganized. The vital body is formed organ for organ as our dense physical body, but until it has been trained by esoteric exercises it is not a fit instrument to function in alone. The desire body has only a number of sense centers which are not even active in the great majority of people, and as for the mind, it is an unformed cloud with the great majority. We should aim today to spiritualize the physical instrument, and we should realize that we must train our higher vehicles before they can be of use. For the great mass of people that will take a long, long time. Therefore, it is best to do the duty that is close to our hands, then we hasten the day when we shall be able to use the higher vehicles, for that day depends upon ourselves.
Question: Does the spirit enter the body at the time of conception or at the time of birth?(Vol.I, #6)
Answer: It has been ascertained by clairvoyant investigation that at the time of death the spirit takes with it the forces of one little atom located in the left ventricle of the heart, which is called the seed atom, for it is the nucleus or seed around which all the material in the body gathers, and every atom in the body must be capable of vibrating in unison with that seed atom. Therefore, that atom is deposited in the semen of the father some time previous to conception, and later placed in the womb of the mother. But conception is not at all identical with the time of sexual union of the parents. The impregnated spermatozoa is sometimes not embedded in the ovum until fourteen days after the union of the parents. It is this impregnation of the ovum that may be called the time of conception, for from the moment when the impregnated ovum leaves the fallopian tube the period of gestation commences. During the first eighteen to twenty-one days, all the work is done by the mother, but at that time the reincarnating Ego, clothed in a bell-shaped cloud of desire and mind stuff, enters the womb of the mother and the bell-shaped cloud closes at the bottom so that it is then ovoid, or egg-shaped. Then the spirit is definitely enmeshed in the flesh and cannot escape any more, but must stay with the mother until liberated by birth. In the present stage of our unfoldment, the spirit does very little conscious work upon its coming vehicle, but it is present all the time and helps unconsciously in the task of providing its instrument. This is no more remarkable than that we are able to digest our food and work our respiratory organs without being conscious of the process.
Question:How is it that one atones for all sin in Purgatory, then at rebirth must again suffer through the Law of Cause and Effect for sins of a former life? (Vol.I, #11)
Answer: There are two distinct activities in Purgatory. First, there is the eradication of bad habits. For instance, the drunkard craves drink just as much as he or she did before death, but now he has no stomach and alimentary canal wherein to contain the liquor, so that, although he may even get inside the whiskey casks and steep himself in the liquor. He obtains no satisfaction, for there are no fumes as when chemical combustion takes place in the stomach. Thus he suffers all the tortures of Tantalus — "Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink."
But, as desire in this world burns out when we realize that it cannot be gratified, so in time the drunkard is cured of his desire for drink, because he can obtain no liquor, and he is born innocent of evil so far as that particular vice is concerned. However, he or she must overcome that vice consciously, and so at a certain time temptation will come in his way. When he has grown up a companion may ask him to "come and have a drink." Then it depends upon whether he yields or not. If he does, he sins anew and must be purged anew, till at last the cumulative pains of repeated purgatorial existence will cause him to have a disgust for drink. Then he will have consciously overcome temptation and there will be no more suffering from that source.
As to the evil that we have done to others, for instance, where we have
dealt cruelly with a child placed under our care, where we have beaten and
starved it to otherwise maltreated it, the scenes where we have thus done
wrong will have impressed themselves upon the atom in the heart; later on, the
etching will have been transferred to the desire body and the panorama of
life, which unrolls backward, will again bring these scenes before our
consciousness. We shall then ourselves feel as the child felt who was
victim; we shall feel the stripes that we inflicted just as the child felt
then; we shall suffer the mental anguish and mortification; we shall suffer
pang for pang, and then, when we are reborn, we shall meet our victim and have
the opportunity to do good to that victim instead of doing evil. If we do so,
well and good; if our old enmity asserts itself as before, then further
stripes in the next Purgatory will at last cause us to see that we ought to be
merciful to those under our care. So we do not suffer anew for sins of a former life; we are born innocent through the blessed ministrations of Purgatory, and at least every evil acts we commit is an act of free will. But
temptations are placed before us in order to ascertain whether the purging has
been sufficient to teach us the needed lessons, and it is our privilege either
to yield or to stand strong and firm for the good.
— Max Heindel (circa 1912)
This article was adapted from "The Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers, Vol. I," by Max Heindel.