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Past Life

Ageless Wisdom:
The Timeless Psychology

by Al Mankoff


Copyright 1976, 1997, 1998, 1999 by Al Mankoff.

Certain portions of this manuscript are based on material originally appearing in the magazine, The Beacon, published by Lucis Press, Ltd. London. Other material, appearing in Chapter 14, is reproduced from works of Alice Bailey, and appears with the permission of the publishers, The Lucis Publishing Company, of New York City. To these sources, and to the helpers, both seen and unseen, who brought this book to physical reality, we are now and will forever be, most deeply grateful. -- The Author

Audrey, my loving companion through all time.

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1. Humankind in Transition 6. The Astral Body 11. Rebirth
2. Human Consciousness 7. Reincarnation and Karma 12. Humanity at the Threshold
3. The Nature of Humankind 8. Human Birth, Infancy, Adolescence and Growth 13. The Years to Come
4. The Etheric Body 9. The Creative Nature of Human Thought 14. The Great Invocation
5. The Chakras 10. Human Death and the After Death Life 15. A Student's Affirmation

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6. The Astral Body

To a capable clairvoyant, the astral body of a human being is an astonishing sight. The physical resemblance to the person is there, but the image is surrounded by a field of brilliantly colored matter of a vibrational fineness beyond that of physical matter.

The feelings, desires and passions of the human being are expressed in the flashing, weaving, ever-changing color combinations of the astral body. The emotions are revealed as the astral body fulfills its role of transmission between the physical brain and the actual mind, situated within the mental body on the mental plane.

In the Temple Beautiful of ancient Egypt, initiate priests took young children into their custody to view each child clairvoyantly. Knowing the cosmic history of the soul as well as the major purposes of the incarnation, the priests were able to guide the children and their parents in the proper fulfillment of the lives in their trust. This is one reason for the continuing stability of Egyptian civilization over so many centuries.

Our present science of psychology is as yet in its infancy, but before many more years have passed, psychological evaluation of the individual human being by clairvoyant psychologists, studying the quality and the combinations of astral colors, will once again institute the Temple Beautiful on earth. In the delicate shades and tones, and the densities of the color combinations, the true state of the person will be gleaned, and the predominant concerns, thought patterns, and potentials of the each person will be seen. Vocational guidance will be revealed in the pattern of the astral body.

Astral matter interpenetrates physical matter. A living being in the astral world may appear to be occupying the same space as a person living in the physical world. Each is entirely unaware of the other, but in no way impedes or interferes with the movement of the other. The reality of the interpenetration of the worlds simply shows that to experience the other worlds requires only an opening in ourselves to a finer reality. Indeed, if the "Seth" material is valid, the other realities open to us would seem to be literally without limit.

Known as the "world of desire," the astral plane is the repository of' human thoughtforms accumulated through all the ages of history. Its phenomena have been created and shaped according to the nature, the quality, the intensity, and the intent of human thought. The astral is also known as the "plane of illusion," simply because thought creates form and shape on the astral plane. Astral matter is fluid and fine enough to align itself with the energy patterns of human thought.

Humans becoming aware of life on the astral plane sooner or later come to realize that by the simple act of thinking, they can modify the conditions and the appearances of the astral life. The same holds true for physical matter, but the time interval for response is much longer, and we seldom link the event with the thought creating it. Since all human thought is reflected on the astral level, all that the mind of humankind has ever imagined can be found there. Ideas, concepts, the dreams, the images, the hopes and the wishes and all the desires of humankind are there, vividly alive and vibrating with an intensity that is all too real to the observer.

The gods of all of the religions of humankind exist on the astral plane. There, they may be seen and visited and even engaged in dialogue, the illusion is so real, so absolute. You may be assured that on the astral plane there is a great being in the person of Santa Claus, who appears in all his jolly glory, a shimmering, vibrating reality, red-faced, white bearded, laughing and smiling and enormously charged each year by the thoughts and desires of millions of believing young children. The Frankenstein monster exists on the astral plane, and so do the astral personifications of Sherlock Holmes, Holden Caulfield, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, and, of course, Tinker Bell. Snow White is there, and each of the seven dwarfs. And all of them may be visited by the human mind no longer impaired by the limitations of the physical body. The characters of fiction are there, acting out their many lives again and again, only as strong as the mental powers of the writers and readers have made them.

Absurd? Of course it's absurd, fantastic at best, in the light of our present understanding of the nature of humanity. But before we place limits on the possibilities open to the human mind freed in unlimited consciousness we must begin to understand what those limits, if they exist, may be. At this point, we have only our narrow, skeptical scientific value system to proscribe our field.

The absurdities of yesterday have a way of become the accepted scientific realities of today. I have a very clear recollection of being ejected from a sixth grade classroom in 1936 for insisting that men would someday walk on the moon. The conviction was so strong, so persistent, so real, that it was a certainty to me. To my teacher, Miss Salmon, of the Washington Elementary School in West Orange, New Jersey, the idea was pure folly. She grew quite angry with my persistence. I paid for my seership with an interview in the principal's office. Announcing that Santa Claus was real would have been a better and wiser course, and perhaps much easier to defend.

Because the astral plane is the plane of desire, it reflects all human thoughts and emotions of a desire nature. Found there, then, are the most profound of human ideals as well as the most degraded, represented in symbols, sights, forms, sounds, conditions, and sensations. There you will find all the real and imagined horrors of past and present time, the werewolves, demons, elves, gnomes, the strange gargoyles and man-beasts of mythology. It's why a drug-induced bad trip can be such a horrifying experience for someone who is not prepared for the experience of the lower astral levels. What's being lived appears as real as anything encountered in the world of physical life.

The higher levels of the astral reflect a much more benign environment, approaching in its upper reaches an ecstatic state of being, heaven-like and blissful. In our dream life, we visit all the levels off the astral, meet and talk with discarnate humans, often deceased family members. The astral is the source of our nightmares and our transcendent dream life as well.

The astral body of an unevolved human being is seen clairvoyantly as a loosely organized, cloudy, vaguely outlined mass of astral matter, with a prominence of dark, murky substances drawn from the lower grades of astral matter. The murky appearance can be so dense that the outline of the physical body almost becomes lost. As the person develops spiritually, as his or her orientation toward humanity grows outward, becoming over many lifetimes one of unselfish service to others, the lower astral matter is replaced by finer matter and the color and intensity of the astral body undergoes a startling change.

The astral body of a highly evolved human being can be seen as a vision of astonishing beauty, wheels and circles of pale blue, pink, gold, purple and white of high intensity, flashing and circulating and extending many feet from the physical body.

Reports of "OOBE" experiences--"out of body experiences"--are showing up in newspapers and in lab reports of researchers. Known also as "astral projection," an OOBE condition can result from intentional willing following careful training, or it can come about as a result of shock, trauma, extreme emotion, or an experience under anesthesia. In an OOBE, the astral body disengages from the physical body while the occupant retains full conscious awareness. The person may retain full recall of scenes witnessed thousands of miles distant, or of conversations held in an operating room while the physical form lay unconscious, apparently senseless, or anesthetized. Remarkable accounts exist from those who have had OOBES. The sensation of flying through space without a body, of viewing the earth far below, the stars in the sky streaking by, and of visits to strange and remote locales, faces familiar and unfamiliar, people alive and people long since dead can be deeply unsettling for a neophyte. OOBES account for many dream experiences, and for the "flying dream" so many people have experienced.

The near-death experience is somewhat more limited, generally involving movement through a shimmering tunnel toward a bright light, contact with a being of light or a deceased relative or friend, and a smooth return, usually as a new person deeply committed to life and to human service. Perhaps the most remarkable accounts of OOBE experiences are related by individuals who at the time were undergoing crises, after accidents or other trauma. Often, surgery or terminal illnesses in which death appears near will trigger the experience. Accounts from individuals restored to consciousness relate conversations and scenes which could not possibly have been overheard in the unconscious state.

A typical OOBE experience in a non-traumatic setting often shows that the experience under favorable conditions can be enthralling. Consider this report, from a man of middle-age:

I was alone in my living room, reading. I placed my book in my lap, closed my eyes, and, without falling asleep, found myself outside, high in the night sky. Below me I could see the lights of the city. I could pick out streets, avenues, and houses that I knew.

A voice came to me and asked me where I would like to go. I replied, "To the pyramids"--and with the words, I found myself moving at an immense speed through the night sky. The stars overhead were blurred. In what seemed an instant, I found myself in the deepest blackness I have ever experienced, but I did not panic because I knew this was to be an extraordinary event in my life.

I waited in the darkness until I realized that I could see, though my surroundings seemed clothed in a strange but beautifully eerie purple glow. I was in a corridor of some kind. The floor and the walls were of stone and I could feel the texture beneath my feet.

At the end of the corridor I saw a wall and on the wall were bronze or golden plates, inscribed with hieroglyphics. I willed myself close enough to touch the inscriptions, glowing with a light of their own. I read the symbols and understood them in a very strange and profound way. They held a deep meaning for me, but when I returned to my living room, though I recalled every moment of the experience, I could not consciously remember what it was that I had read.

Apparently, the capability of accomplishing OOBES is latent in every human being. Advanced humans may do this at will, often for the purpose of performing services for the good of humanity. Many of our human race are active in conscious service during the sleep state, but for the most part, bring back little if any conscious recall of what they do.

When major disasters, military action, or accidents in which large numbers of people suddenly lose their lives occur, there can be scenes of great confusion on the astral level as these individuals pass over, still retaining their consciousness and identity of self, still able to see the physical world and all that exists in the physical world, just as it was as death came and in the time immediately thereafter. Little wonder that they are confused! Many of them are simply unaware that they have died yet still live. The change in consciousness is bewildering and frightening, quite often because it's not what they have been taught to believe about death and dying.

Workers from the physical plane, functioning from their own sleep state, or even consciously while awake, go to great lengths to show the newly dead that they are in fact, dead in the physical world and no longer occupying a physical body. Anyone having the ability to OOBE at will may simply recline comfortably, lapse into a seeming sleep state, disengage the astral body, and, awake and fully aware, travel at will to any location on the physical earth, or to meet any personality or being on the astral level. There, conversations may be held with persons who may be alive on the physical plane, but in a state of sleep, in a coma, or otherwise unconscious, or with people who have died and are alive in the astral body.

Great minds of the past, who have not as yet chosen rebirth may be contacted and engaged in dialogue and in teaching. Physical plane meetings and assemblies may be attended by crowds of unseen participants observing from the astral world and sometimes taking active part in the proceedings by implanting ideas and thoughts in the auras of the physical earth participants, which may or may not register consciously. A research psychologist with the ability to function consciously on the astral level could conceivably convene a seminar of the greatest minds in the field with access to the conscious knowledge and support of Freud, Jung, James, Maslow, and any others who might be available.

There is evidence that research inspirations can come through the support of great personalities who may still retain consciousness on the astral. Rosemary Brewer, a British housewife unschooled in music, produced an astonishing stereo album of music purportedly created by Liszt, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, Grieg, Brahms, and Schumann on the astral level and channeled by her to the physical plane. Her recording, on the Phillips label; (RHS 900-256) and entitled "A Musical Seance," has raised questions as well as eyebrows on both sides of the Atlantic; yet the music exists and is as true to the great masters as any of their established works created in life on the physical plane.

At the same time, each of us in physical life has one or more discarnate human beings functioning from the astral level as guides and teachers during our period in earth life. Our guides and teachers serving us may vary during the course of a lifetime, according to the particular trials and tests which we may be facing. These unseen helpers, the legendary "guardian angels," attempt to influence us in a benign manner, through the major events and learning experiences we bring to ourselves by the conscious life choices we make as we move through our years on the earth plane.

A California couple, a man and a woman who have been together as twin souls since the beginning of time for them, have experienced only four physical incarnations together, while their major relationship has been as guides and teachers on the discarnate side, each while the other has been alive on the physical plane:

The present husband acted as a guide during a particularly difficult experience taken by the present wife as a persecuted Jewish woman during the Spanish Inquisition. He watched from the astral as the woman and her daughter became forced converts to Catholicism and then fled to North Africa when they were caught practicing their faith in secret.

The husband has clear recall of death experiences as a Roman soldier and earlier in a Grecian army, at when the present wife helped him to step over at death. He remembers across a plowed field with pungie sticks inserted in the soft ground, falling and taking a sharpened stick in the gut. Later, trying to stay with his marching column along a dirt road in Bavaria, he fell to the side, into a ditch. A young man approached him but could not help, and as the hours passed he lay dying. At dusk, a figure of light appeared before him, opened her arms, and said, "Come. It's easy!," at which point he rose from the body toward the figure, whose eyes were the eyes of his present wife.

The Greek experience was in North Africa. The army had been told that, if defeat should come, the individual units should make their way north, to the Mediterranean, where ships would cruise along the coast to pick up the remnants of the armies. The husband's group of soldiers did just that, arriving at the north coast starving and in tatters. When no ships came, an argument arose with some wishing to stay put waiting for ships, while other wanted to strike off to the west, toward mountain sanctuaries they knew would be open to them. One faction started off, but several remained behind. Faced with the prospect of immediate starvation, the group decided to murder and cannibalize one of their members. Lots were selected, but the husband refused to participate and left the group, moving alone to a group of rocks near the water. There, after some hours, he lost consciousness and awoke near dusk to find the same shining figure, once again with open arms, looking toward him and saying, "Come to me! It's so easy!" He did so, and saw the eyes of his beloved companion through all time, drawing him to the other side.

The classic occult film, The Exorcist, opened the door to public understanding of the phenomenon of possession. Thirsting for the experiences of the earth life, or mad with desire for vengeance or retribution of some kind, desperate entities seek out the physical bodies of individuals who are in incarnation and succeeding all too often. A good many less than kind acts stem from this age-old deviance.

Demonic possession is real, and is every bit as dangerous as the legends claim. It's a deadly threat, growing more so as thousands of people who do not understand the dangers open themselves to the lower astral. The openings can be created deliberately through the study and practice of Black Magic, involvement with spells and witchcraft, or by seeking out friends so inclined. Black magicians attempt to control the environment for personal gain, for power and influence and for control of others.

White magicians work with the pure white light of the Christ, using the same energies, but for altruistic purposes only. Openings can come about through a momentary lack of control, through emotional extremes of temper, jealousy, anger or pain, when the link between the individual consciousness and the body may be weakened. While guides are always close at hand to help prevent this, there are times when a particularly vulnerable person caves in and loses it. Possession may take place, temporarily or for a lengthy and troublesome term. An abusive spouse may become abusive because of possession. Advanced schizophrenic conditions can originate in possession. Multiple personalities often are nothing less than that. LSD and other drug-induced experiences may bring conscious awareness on the astral level, depending on the state of spiritual development of the user.

Sometimes, transition through the lower to the higher, or a reversal from the higher to the lower may come about. But the fact remains that if the person is not conditioned as to what to expect in these encounters with forces and beings of which he may have no prior knowledge, the result may be a bad trip, and can be traumatic in the extreme. Breaking through on the upper astral leads to untold and indescribable bliss and beauty. If that state cannot be held, if the vehicle of consciousness is not attuned to that level, the person may slip through to the lower astral where the illusions and hallucinations may create enormous stress. This is where the demons, the fluid demonic influences press in--Dante's Inferno, come to life.

Make no mistake, these things that are seen are real, as real as your own reality, in the here and the now of your present experience.

7. Reincarnation and Karma

Implicit in the Ancient Wisdom are the laws of Karma and of rebirth, or reincarnation. Karma is a law of cause and effect. It is impersonal, immutable, inexorable, and neutral, a balancing out over many life experiences of conditions originating in the complications of human relationships over the centuries. Karma results from imposing on others negative, hurtful, destructive, demeaning experiences or positive, constructive, supportive, and healing experiences.

When a human being takes action---Karma means, literally, "action"---that action is predicated on a thought. Thought, in turn, creates a vortex of energy on what is known as the mental. plane, appearing there as a point of light, holding within itself the pattern or seed of its true nature and potential. The thought pattern has its own identity. It is attached to and identified with its issuer, remaining in his or her environment, sometimes through many lifetimes, until it is eventually balanced by an event, condition, or happening. Its forces are returned to the pool of living creative energy which was its origin. A process of purification takes place within the central sun. In this way, the thoughts, acts, and actions of one person toward others return in the manner in which they are sent out--anger returns as anger, hatred as hatred, love as love. Oppressors will undergo oppression, those who destroy are destroyed, those who work for the common good will be uplifted, those who heal or teach or serve in any manner for the greater good of others eventually find a reward in a benign and enriched life circumstance.

The idea of Karma makes little sense unless it's viewed within the framework of a continuing series of life experiences in a number of human culture over many years of what we call time. In a span of seventy short years, no one person can possibly experience all that the world has to offer, though some may make an admirable try. If the purpose of human life is a steady but certain raising of consciousness, an evolutionary process eventually bringing humankind to become something more than human, then rebirth must be a natural law, operating universally. and conditioned by Karma.

When psychologists finally understand and accept the concept of Karma and rebirth, classic psychological disturbances will become treatable within the broadened framework of that knowledge. The real lesson to be learned here is that we do, indeed, control our own destinies, we are in charge, and we experience nothing, suffer no pain or illness, no joy or enrichment, without first having sown the seed for the experience at a point in time perhaps long lost to conscious memory. What can be more important than to know that our own thoughts, our own actions, create our destiny?

The implications for humanity are immense. To the person who can accept it, Karma and the idea of rebirth open new worlds of practical possibilities for shaping a life of action, for creating a benign future. Whatever you may face, you must understand that your Karma is now; you must live it now; you must act, and act rightly, for each day you face a thousand choices between what to do and what not to do. Your inner voice will tell you, and you must listen.

The world for you can be a meaningless chaos of chance, accident, and unintelligent cruelty, or it can be a magnificent vehicle for your own growth, with a rationale, a sense to it all, and ultimately a peace of mind that can override any human trial. It's your choice!

8. Human Birth, Infancy, Adoleslcence, and Growth

We have now examined the field concept of universal energy, the seven planes of existence, the etheric and astral bodies, and the concept of Karma and reincarnation.

With this background, we can begin our study of the psychological states of birth, sex, death, and the after-death conditions, offered by the Ancient Wisdom.

From the cosmic perspective, birth is an entrapment in physical matter of a higher energy, the true human being. An intense vortex of matter focused in time and space draws to it an essence limitless and free and without form, constricting it for a period of time in the world of the active senses so that it may experience the growth possible only within the limitations of matter. The transcendental self, the intelligence facing this experience, is itself a plan or a pattern.

The life span of its physical representative, known as the personality, must substantially conform to the plan, but will often be modified by the variables of free will and individual choice. The plan may or may not include physical or mental disabilities, strengths or weaknesses of character, brilliance or genius, and aptitudes of skills and potentials. The real person, the inner person, is placed in direct touch with the physical environment by the five senses of the physical body. The body is a living mask hiding, but at the same time expressing, the inner person wearing it. The physical body is not built by aimless chance. Its race, build, strengths, weaknesses, potentials and its sex are determined by the Karma generated from past life experiences and by the required plan of growth needed for the approaching physical plane experience.

The etheric body is built in advance of the physical. As the fetus forms, it conforms to the pattern existing on the etheric level. A mold is created and the physical molecules of the new body are fitted within it. This is done with etheric matter and is the responsibility of the incoming soul entity, or inner person, working with advanced intelligences having a perspective transcending space and time. Birth, then, is not a beginning, nor is it an ending. Birth is one of many focal points in an endless cycle of life, vibrant with potential and gathered from a long living past.

The threads known to physical science may run back through the ante-natal period, but the threads known to the Ageless Wisdom run back through eons of time, through endless series of incarnations. The threads that run beyond what we call death stretch to infinity. Imagine for a moment what it means to be born into the physical world, what it is to experience human birth.

Therapists often work with this as an actual exercise, death and rebirthing in the "Minerva experience," always a memorable and emotional experience in the group framework. In one moment, you are the inner person, the essence of your being, limitless and unbound, beyond time, able instantly with any thought to view or sense anything at any place in any time--without doubt, the ultimate freedom. And then, in the brief instant of birth, you are constricted, limited, bound within the minor universe of your new body, the prison of flesh. You are experiencing a darkness, a brilliant light, noise, confusion, voices, strange creatures in green smocks, a blinding chaos of stimuli, totally disrupting the peaceful environment of your home in the womb. What would your response be to such a traumatic experience? Surely, a howl of frightened protest at this compressing, limiting restriction of your being. You are now at the complete mercy of others, bound in a small, limp form over which you have no conscious control whatever. All of your needs must be met from outside. You must learn all over again what you have learned a thousand or more times before--to manipulate the limbs, to use the fingers and hands in the simple act of grasping, and to communicate in some way with the new strangers. The only communication you have is your eyes. And who has not looked into the eyes of a newborn and not seen this silent plea, this flickering question?

At the time of entry into the new body, memories of the higher realms and of past life experiences begin to dim until by the seventh year almost no conscious recall is left. There are exceptions, among them what we know as prodigies, in whom the major talents of past existences remain, resulting in the child composer, writer, artist, dancer or mathematical genius. These talents are lost or diminished well before puberty because as the inner being becomes more firmly rooted in the physical world and the memory dims and is eclipsed by the demands of physical plane existence.

Children in infancy live more in the psychic worlds than they do in the physical world. They are continually in touch with forces and with beings unseen by adults. Their unseen playmates remain until we finally hypnotize our children, convincing them that there are no secret playmates, pets or animals, no fairies or sprites or little people. Until that time, what we write off as simple childish imagination is actually the ability to perceive beings on the astral level, usually benign. Nightmares involving monsters and horrible animal forms are in reality perceptions of the lower astral conditions. It's well that the veil of memory drops over most of us in the early years, for who among us faced with the sum total of what we have been through in some of our seamier life experiences could retain any semblance of sanity?

And here's a clue for therapists: The subconscious memory of past-life trauma can form the roots of severe psychosis in the present life experience. Infants can be viewed objectively and behavioristically. You can see a newly born infant as a zero experience blank page to be conditioned as parents and the state decide, or you can see the newborn subjectively and humanistically, as an intelligent and understanding being here and now, temporarily unable to communicate except through the eyes and the mind (as every mother knows intuitively) or whatever rudimentary sounds the new vocal cords are able to produce.

Enormous gains can be made in developing the highest potential of a child if you make a serious effort is to communicate with the newborn, using any language at all. Infants are telepathic and understand the meanings of words in any language. A statement of commitment, made to the newborn within the first days of life, repeated at intervals for several weeks while maintaining eye contact will be a powerful and lasting influence on the developing personality. This statement should be direct, open and sincere. You should welcome the new personality to the world of form. Tell it that you understand the experience it has recently undergone, that you know it has come from the higher realms. Let it know that it now lies entrapped in matter, in a body of great potential, and that you as the parents pledge to provide the care and the love and the support necessary to protect it through its early life as an earth being. From this point on, the contract should be renewed periodically as the new life expands and grows.

And do we, indeed, choose our own parents? Absolutely! Just as surely as we choose our life environment, the culture, the race, and our particular era of time. Often, the parents we select are beings we have known and loved or even hated before, either in the earth life or in the higher worlds, or both, as associates, peers, friends or acquaintances in family and life relationships over the long spectrum of time.

From the teachings of hundreds of life experiences over time we come to know some beings much more deeply than others within the human framework. We may, for example, experience another soul entity in earth lives as a father, a mother, sister, brother, grandparents, or as a guide, teacher or pupil. In each life, with each exposure, we learn and experience more, in this unending testing, until all is known and mastered. Eventually, when we have evolved to a more enlightened state, elderly people nearing the end of the term of life will form contracts with young couples for sponsoring a new incarnation.

This will be done with the help of deep psychological and psychic insight into the qualities of character offered by the sponsoring couple. When the time approaches, the elderly person will take up residence with the young ones for a period of time during which the relationship will be strengthened. Records of the life of the older person will be retained in the household. At the proper astrological confluence of days and conditions, the elderly person will bring about abstraction from the physical shell. The body will be cremated. The dying person will leave the body fully conscious and aware of what is being happening and will understand the afterdeath experience. The transition will be easy and without complications.

When the proper astrological confluence of time and conditions arrives, the couple will conceive. The entity, or higher being, of the former elderly human will remain closely present and will assist in the design and the building of the fetus. At birth, the former entity will re-enter physical life fully conscious of all that has transpired, able with full memory from the earliest days of the new life to pick up where the past life ended. Years of training, education, life experience, and effort will be saved; the individual will be able to take on the responsibility for service to humanity at a much earlier stage, and the work will be much more effective as a result.

As Socrates raised the hemlock to his lips, he commented that the living do come from the dead. The dead quite obviously come from the living. We have known this since time began. On Socrates' statement, we have only conjecture. But when the events of birth and death can be seen not as isolated psychological experiences, but as part of an ordered, cyclic and continuing event, we have a rationale for understanding our own natures, and the nature of our universe.

"A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me,"

wrote the Lebanese philosopher, Kahlil Gibran. The truth of these words is never so obvious as it is in the eyes of a newborn child.

As adults, we can never really understand what it is to be a child. We are too much conditioned by the responsibilities of our adulthood, to view the world any longer through the eyes of the child we once were. Except in rare instances of recall, or through hypnotic regression, we are locked tightly into our here and now.

The first few years of life are dramatically different from what we suppose them to be. The human being is struggling to adjust to the new body and at the same time to release itself from the familiar cosmic forces. The earthly forces are demanding adjustment. The person is re-learning the old relationship with gravity and is once more struggling to control the physical environment. The cosmic life so recently abandoned did not require the use of limbs or senses. Consider the frustrations raised by arms, legs, hands, fingers, toes, body movement, and, the articulation of speech, all to be learned through trial and error. What a triumph the first words are! How insignificant were the first steps of man on the moon, compared to the first steps of a human child! Often, during this period of life, there is great yearning to return to the freedom of cosmic beingness, a desire to leave the new life, even in the earliest stages. The entity is trapped in matter. There is no better word to describe what it is that many babies experience, entrapped in matter, with no alternative but to experience and learn. There are zero options.

The etheric body is normally fully formed at about the age of seven. Until that time much of the child's learning streams from the higher worlds.

The astral or emotional body is fully formed at about the age of fourteen, and the mental body by the twenty-first year.

Before the seventh year the etheric body underlies the physical, but during that time it is using only a portion of its potential because the seven major centers and certain minor centers are not as yet fully functioning. During this time the etheric body maintains a gentle control over the physical, just enough to support consciousness, to vitalize the physical body, and to enhance the beingness of character and of personality, as a prelude for the development of the astral and mental forms.

As growth proceeds, two tasks are faced by the emerging human being. The person must develop the astral body as a means of transmission of a finer energy, and also as an independent body which may be used by the inner person for necessary work and enlightenment taking place on the astral level during physical life. The development of an independent astral form takes place as the person successfully begins to transmute the forces of desire and emotion. The transmutation of forces in turn eliminates denser, dross material from the astral form and results in a finer body of great beauty and effectiveness.

The reverse is also true. Desire and emotion, acted upon, can draw in coarse matter and deaden the lightening of the body. When this takes place, the stimulus is provided for re-experiencing the emotion or the desire, increasing and intensifying on each occasion, until it becomes the process by which habits are formed or broken. By diligently cultivating the higher emotions and desires, the human may progressively refine the constituents of the astral body.

The long range result of this discipline will be a color and tone leading to easy OOBE conditions as well as to considerably improved earth life circumstances.

An interesting development takes place around the mid-point of each human life. Up to then, the higher forces are in close touch and the flow of energy is inward. At mid-life, the process is reversed, and the flow is outward. The process of aging in the physical body begins as the body absorbs and retains more and more dense physical matter, which in turn begins to modify and sometimes block the flow of life-giving energy. The impediments manifest as disease and pain, and we become plagued with the ills of advancing age. Striation of the fingernails is a visible indicator of the decree of calcification of the body.

Death before the 35th year can be of great importance to the psychological growth of the inner person, and in some instances, to humankind itself. In exceptional patterns of world service, an entity will terminate the life experience prematurely in two or three successive incarnations, retaining and accumulating the life forces coming in prior to the 35th year. The forces are held over for use in a single incarnation, usually for some strenuous purpose requiring energy and activity in a major act or acts of world service. These are powers not available during any single incarnation.

The aging process is also sometimes responsible for vampirism. The true vampire is one who feeds on the energy of another. Some elderly people and certain adults suffering serious depletion of the life energy will seek out the company of young children so that their own feeble energy flow can be reinforced by drawing on the vital flow present in the bodies of children. This is why young ones sometimes tire easily while in the presence of the elderly.

The vivifying effect of sleep restores the depletion in healthy people. When sleep comes, the forces of the astral body extend to the limits of the solar system, enabling each sleeping human being to absorb the needed essence of the cosmic into his etheric body, and thence to the physical. On awakening each morning, the process of encapsulation within the physical frame is repeated, and the true person is once again confined. With each awakening, the person returns with vital energy absorbed from the depths of the solar system during the night's sleep.

9. The Creative Nature of Human Thought

Plato held that an idea such as beauty was an objective reality and a universal characteristic shared by all beautiful things. He held that these ideas were a part of the supersensible realm of pure being, beyond time and change. The Ageless Wisdom holds that all that exists has its origin in a co-existent realm of extremely fine matter, finer than the etheric or the astral, known as the mental plane of existence.

When a human beings thinks, a point of light issues on the mental plane. Much like a seed, this point holds within it a pattern radiating vibrations of a nature peculiar to its form and its shape. At its point of issue, it draws to it coarser matter from the astral and etheric worlds. As this happens, a vibration radiates from the point to all matter capable of attuning to it. This is the basis of telepathic communication, which, in a few generations, will be an ordinary human trait.

As the dense matter is drawn to the thought point and aligns to the pattern, a form emerges and can be seen clairvoyantly on the astral plane. The form contains the essence of its originator. As energy is drawn to the pattern, it draws the fine matter with it and the form becomes vivified and further reinforced by human thinking of the same nature and quality. It may appear alive and perfectly real. The gods of humanity are created and sustained in this way. The thought form is forever linked with its originator regardless of whether it represents a person, a thing or an event. The link with the creator remains until a time, place, and condition develops in the physical earthlife in one incarnation or another. The confluence of conditions enables the thought form to manifest in a manner precisely affecting its issuer as it affected others at the time of its creation. This is how the Karmic balance is achieved.

The legendary male or female ghostlike forms known as incubi and succubi are created by the desire-thoughts of celibates. Over a long period of time, they will eventually materialize on the physical plane. Here, they tempt and eventually control their creators, who have unwittingly brought them into being by charging them with their own sexual energy. Appearing as stunningly beautiful idealized human forms, they are easily be mistaken for angelic beings or for the Virgin Mother. However, they carry a strange, shimmering quality to their presence. At close range, the average person feels a strange lack of "soulness" in their appearance. In the end, they devour their creators.

The astral world is filled with limitless thought forms in one stage of energizing or another, some of incredible beauty and complexity, others of unbelievable horror, drifting, floating, awaiting the call to enter the physical plane as an incident, an occurrence, encounter, or experience which will affect one or more human beings.

Definite localized sites exist on the mental plane, drawing thoughts of similar nature to the site as a result of the affinity of their vibrations. The site forms a kind of vortex, acting as a focal point for the lines of thought linked with its subject matter and with all other thought centers, as well as with its creator, dead or alive. If the thought concerns a person, or if it is based on a personal feeling as are the majority of human thoughts, the pattern issuing from it will hover in the immediate vicinity of the issuer. When the person is in a passive condition, the pattern may re-enter his mind, becoming revitalized and recharged, and be issued once more. Or, it can enter the auras of other humans and influence their thinking, moving them to action, or re-issuing again with further conditioned as a consequence of the reinforcement.

Seen clairvoyantly, a person is surrounded by his thought forms, some of them so strong and enduring as to form what might be seen as a shell or a shield about the physical body. Intense brooding on a particular subject, as with the sexual longings of a celibate, or other continuing and unrelieved desire, will build shields about the person so strong that after death he the awareness is only of a sense of existing within a translucent shell. The person is unable to see beyond it or through it, conditioned as it has been by the entrapping thought over so many years of earth life. In the initial after-death state, the shell remains in place. Its possessor endures an existence of terrible isolation and loneliness, unaware even of the fact of his own death. Others, aware of the power of this force, can consciously build a thought "shield," using it as a protective wall against the unending and smothering waves of negativity and conflicting thought constantly generated by unenlightened humans.

Highly advanced humans build shields such as this so that light rays will bend and bypass the shield, making its originator invisible to normal human eyes. This ability is the source of the legends through history of "invisible" men who appear, make statements, pronouncements, or prophecies, and then seem to disappear. Other unexplainable appearances may be projections of persons alive on the physical plane, or dead or dead and on the astral.

Every human being has the ability to draw positive or negative thoughts of other human beings, attracting to their immediate environment enormous power or destructive impulses. A separate and distinct entity can result from this, as a Zeitgeist., a national purpose, a desire for war or for conquest, power and wealth, or collective action of some kind.

The second coming of Christ will take place only when the evocative powers of sufficient numbers of human beings attract this Great Energy back to the physical plane. Money itself is nothing less than a concretized form of energy. Men and women who make money, who are motivated by money, who seem to draw wealth, are unconsciously practicing the magic of energy control, drawing an inflowing energy to them, for good ends or bad. The energy itself is neutral. How it is used determines the "good" or the "bad."

Thought forms tinted with emotion or with feeling build Karmic links with other humans. A human who issuing a thought of bitter anger or revenge may create in someone else an impulse resulting in a crime of violence. The person who issued the thought is linked to the one who commits the act, though they may be total strangers living a continent apart, or centuries apart in human time. Because of what occurs, the issuer remains ultimately responsible for the act and for its consequences. Emotionally coated thought forms do not accumulate in "thought site," but will link with affinity forms and eventually generate extremely powerful pools of feeling, easily contacted by most human beings. From these contacts can come panic, maniacal fury, melancholy, and any mob action or individual action, such as running amok.

Sensitive persons entering sacred places, an ancient church or cathedral, for example, will reverberate to the worshipful sounds, vibrations, and mental energies of human beings, past and present, at the site. They will experience a sense of peace and well being, particularly at the altar, which the focus of profound and powerful attention and thought. Surroundings become imbued with the thought forms of present and former occupants.

More than a hundred years after events transpiring on battlefields, the sites still swarm with the fierce emotions playing out there. They are felt in their full fury by sensitive people who avoid them because of the pain and the agony they feel there. Jails and prisons carry thought forms of disturbing power, of frustration--pain, anger and hatred. Hospitals, court rooms, nursing homes, old houses, nurseries--any place which has been a focus of human thought and feeling will retain those vibrations and affect all who come near, consciously or otherwise.

Thought forms of a destructive nature precipitate havoc on the physical plane. They are sources of accidents and natural disasters of every kind, storms, earthquakes, floods, crime, disease and epidemics, social upheavals, and wars. Tornadoes are said to be the result of racially inspired emotions. Marcus Aurelius said, "A man is what he thinks about all day long." This is literally so. All that you can be, all that affects you, comes as a result of what you think about all day long. As Edgar Cayce put it, "We are continually meeting ourselves."

You may or may not encounter the major thought forms you've created in the past during your present life. Some lives are lived in times of relative serenity, in conditions of little trial and pain. These are "rest" periods, "vacation lives." In them, the major learnings take place during sleep and OOBE states. Learning, of course, is always there, but in these cases it is not learning drawn from terrible trauma.

Many unexpected surprises, the accidents, the so-called "coincidences," the tides of good fortune or of ill "luck" have had their origins not in this life, necessarily, but in past lives, perhaps thousands of years past. All that exists within the physical world of humankind, all natural objects in the physical world, plants, flowers, trees, grasses, and the animal kingdom, have their origins as thought forms within the human mind. The minds of humankind constantly create the mental patterns which appear in physical form on earth as the bodies of plants and animals.

A statement such as this immediately raises the question of the origins of the world before man appeared, and also the question of God's creation of the world. The fact is that there have been other humanities and prior incarnations of that Great Being known to us as the planet, Earth. This in no sense diminishes a creative God, but provides a powerful reinforcement of the ideal of Deity. Our concepts of God are moving from the anthropomorphic Deity of power, fear and anger to an understanding of the Creative Energy Who Is Not In Form but Is All Form.

The idea that all natural forms have their origin within the mind of man may seem to be a romantic notion, or it may be simply preposterous speculation. If human thought can create the civilization we see around us, as it has, indeed, together with every structure, every building, every road, every fashion, and if every device we know and use has existed first as an idea in the mind of a man or a woman, then same thought energy can create the tides of weather. Human passion, anger and hatred can give birth to tornadoes, windstorms, and earthquakes.

Is it any less conceivable that the forms of the lowest kingdom should issue from man's mind? How little we really know of the enormous potential of the human mind! It has been said that the universe is engaged in "eating itself," and that through the process of ingestion, digestion, and elimination, the consciousness of the planet as a whole is gradually raised. The elements of the mineral world, for example, being of very dense nature, are comprised of a consciousness as yet so dim, as to be virtually undetectable, except as radiation, which is the highest form of mineral consciousness.

We earlier termed this consciousness as being "asleep." As such, it is ingested into the bodies of the plant kingdom and its atoms form these bodies during the life of the plants. Through this process, the plant kingdom ingests the mineral kingdom. During the period that the units of the mineral kingdom are held in the plant forms, they are exposed to the "higher" vibrations of the plant consciousness. When the plant dies and the minerals return to the earth, the brief exposure to the higher consciousness has its effect. The mineral matter thus exposed is forever altered. Its sensitivity is reinforced again and again as the mineral units circulate into and through other plant forms over centuries of time. The mineral components have been "stepped up" through exposure to the higher consciousness. They thrall to the universal energies a tiny fraction more than before.

Repeated over and over again through endless time, the consciousness is slowly raised, and the mineral world eventually becomes radioactive. Higher life forms can accelerate the process., consciously or otherwise. It's not necessary for the human kingdom to devour the animal kingdom in order to assist in the evolution of the animal consciousness, but that is exactly what happens when people eat meat. Proximity to human beings places animal life within the influence of the human aura.

This contact alone can serve to raise the animal group consciousness. The plant form in its turn is devoured and becomes a part of the animal body, together with its mineral components, While within the body of an animal, both lower forms, the mineral and the plant, are exposed to the higher consciousness of the animal life, and then eventually returned to the earth to be recycled. Each time it cycles through it is helping to create a higher life from within its own kingdom, and there are grades or grades of fine-ness within each kingdom.

With its component plant and mineral forms, the animal flesh is ingested by meat-eating humans, or by higher animal forms, and in this experience is subjected to the thrall of the highest physical consciousness in the four lower worlds, the highest or most intense of the physical plane vibrations. For a brief period of time they dwell within the human body, resonating to the human vibration. In their molecular form, they become a part of the structure of that body.

When a human being strives to raise his or her consciousness through meditation, the consciousness of the meditator is being exposed to the thrall of a consciousness beyond the human, a superhuman vibration. We are being devoured by the Divine Fire. In this statement lies the key to "mystic union" or "cosmic consciousness." And so the long, patient process of evolution continues. And who is to say how higher consciousness beyond humankind may even now be affecting our environment. our minds, our evolving worlds?

9A. Sex

Few topics charge our American psyche as sex in all its glorious ramifications. Whether it's a popular review of clinical studies, hard or soft core porn, how-to and help books, films or novels, the fact is that sex holds many of us in rapt fascination. And well it should, for the sexual force is a form of the primal energy moving the universe itself.

Our exposure to sexual phenomena has heightened greatly because we are approaching major changes in human consciousness. The energies we are living in and working with today are enormously more potent than ever before in world history. They will become more so in the years immediately ahead.

The energy itself is neutral.

What we, the human race, choose to do with it is our choice. It can be siphoned off in the sexual process, it can be diverted as aggression, war or oppression, or it can be stepped up through meditation and used to build a better human condition.

It's not the choice of some super-human being, seen or unseen. The choice is ours, individually and collectively.

We must come to understand the nature of the energy and the forces working from it, we must learn how to draw it to us, focus it, transmute it, and manage the forces that come from it for good and constructive purposes. This is the purpose of energy meditation.

Now, we need not become a race of celibates. If you choose that path, fine and good. The answer lies in a wise balance and in moderation--the "noble middle path"--as well as at least a minimal grasp of the tremendous powers we have at our immediate command. With these powers come responsibility.

At one time, in an earlier state of our evolution, when the planet itself was very different in form than it is today, the primal energy forming the human pattern was capable of building only a much less complex form than we inhabit today. In that far distant time, the earth was a sphere shrouded in a dense, swirling fog. Thick, dark mists obscured everything, penetrated only by enormous flashes of electric fire, much like lightning. This was known as the age of the "Fire Mist." Ethereal forms drifted within the fire mist, destined to evolve and to become human.

The creatures were ovoid in form. They floated in the thick atmosphere, pale wraiths at the dawning age of humanity. In that earliest of "human" bodies only one of the five senses existed, the sense of touch and feeling in its most rudimentary form. The other senses were latent, with no means of expression. The forms drifted in the fire-mist like floating balloons, touching from time to time in brief, gentle encounters, then parted. With each touch came a response, a registering of "something" out there, something beyond self. Over eons of time this became the first stirrings of self-conscious awareness.

The beings of the fire-mist were androgynous. They reproduced seasonally, following cosmic impression, by the process of splitting, as an amoebae does today.

When this incredibly long evolution came to an end, it heralded a great cosmic event. The body of the moon was extruded from the planet Earth. The principle of duality was born, triggering the arrival of the first two-sexed beings, representing in physical form the polarity of the opposing forces of the earth and the moon. The creatures of the fire-mist were no longer seen on the earth. The new forms were cartilaginous--soft, pliable, with no skeletons.

Over time, they sank deeper into matter. The principle of materiality came into being. The skeleton developed, bringing with it the first truly humanoid forms, animal men. The true self-conscious human being had to await yet another great event in the history of the earth, the intervention of advanced human types, the legendary "Sons of God," who came from an extra-terrestrial location. They mated with the animal-human-females and brought forth the first true human forms.

The planet Venus at that time was very different from what we see it as, today. It was from there that our visitors brought bees, ants and wheat, to introduce agriculture to the new humanity. They also brought the Ageless Wisdom in the form of a perfected religion of science. From it evolved erroneously the origin of the ancient principle of divine right which dogged mankind for so long after the dawning was lost in time.

For millions of years the planet knew nothing but peace as the new humanity slowly learned its mission. And then the elders withdrew, leaving humanity to evolve in its own way, with free will. We live today with the consequences of that decision. Today we are at the threshold of yet another great event in the history of the planet.

We are the last generations of the humanity we have known. Already, the newcomers are arriving in ever increasing numbers.

Many who are leaving en masse will return quickly as "Children of the Blue Ray," to join the new race.

Our lifetimes will witness the first gleanings of what future humanity will be. Now, today, we are living in what may be the greatest era of human life. The long evolution described here took time beyond comprehension. The condensation of energy into dense matter took us deeper and deeper into the dark pit of mineral existence, and now the long and unbelievably slow re-emergence has begun, to take us into the light of life. Mankind and the world, in our present state and form, have passed the mid-point in the cycle of devolution into dense materiality, and have now begun the upward journey back toward the state of pure energy beingness. We have seen the deepest penetration into matter possible; the human body and intellect is now evolving back to an ethereal state, becoming finer with each generation, back to what it was uncounted ages ago, but on a higher turn of the eternal spiral of Life.

Our age will see the last gasp of a dying materialism in humankind. The dregs of human material thinking will not die easily. The long pattern of crisis, tension, and emergence has played itself out. Some of us will experience enormous upheavals, great trials, trauma undreamed of, but from the End Game a new earth and a new humanity will evolve.

The creation of life on a planet as we know it involves a series of emanations, or life-waves. Each wave issues from a central point as a point of energy capable of building the mineral world.

The second wave appears, and the first wave, having "experienced" physical existence in the mineral form, steps up, reaching the second level of evolution, the plant world. It can then create, build and nurture the plant form in all its diversity.

The onset of the third wave permits the original wave to create rudimentary animal forms, which are refined with the passing of millennia. as time passes, while its successor builds and maintains the plant forms of the era.

In the fourth emission, what was the original first wave has now become refined as the result of eons of existence and experience and is at last able to create the pre-human and then the human forms of life.

The succeeding waves build and maintain the other kingdoms in nature. Each time these transitions occur, all that exists passes out of existence--the planetary equivalent of our little death. The solar system passes out of existence on this plane and the cosmos sleeps. When it is reborn, each life wave reincarnates on a higher level. This is a long, tedious and inexpressibly complicated mission in which every form of life, every form of being, every physical manifestation, no matter how infinitesimal, functions at a separate rung in the limitless ladder of evolutionary existence, each perfect where it is, growing, learning, experiencing, thralling with consciousness in the long evolution of godhood.

There have been previous life-waves, long before ours appeared. The life wave immediately prior to ours evolved its then-human types to a state of higher consciousness now manifesting in nonphysical form in a superhuman state of being, the angelic realm. These exalted ones--the human beings of the last life wave--have now evolved beyond the need to function in a dense physical body. Known in other religious systems by other names, they are recognized in every culture.

Functioning in the higher worlds as spiritual intelligences, angels mediate between humankind and even more highly advanced energies concerned with the guidance of the cosmic system of evolution. These energies, too, were once at the human level in earlier solar systems.

The angelic group and their colleagues in human form, the "Elder Brothers," guide, teach, and lead their younger brothers and sisters, but do not interfere. They are highly advanced members of present humanity who have through many lives of service to the cause of humanity reached a point where they can be trusted to work dispassionately with the flow of higher energies on the earth level. They are pledged to lives of silent cooperation with the plan of evolution on the human level. As men and women they are unrecognizable for what they truly are. They exist in every walk and in every station of life, few in number, but always extremely effective humanists.

In the years immediately ahead, humanity will learn much more about the Plan and the fact of the existence of the Hierarchy on earth. All that can be said for the present is that there is a systematic and definite order of beings, a hierarchy of life, from the smallest one-celled organism, to man and beyond, and that humankind is not by any means the highest order of consciousness in the universe.

Earlier we dealt with the extrusion of the moon as the precipitating factor in the emergence of the principle of duality, or sex, in humankind. Integrating this idea with the concept of reincarnation, and the idea that the purpose of all evolution is to refine consciousness to the highest possible degree, we begin to see that if we are to gain knowledge and mastery of all natural law in our passage through human existence, we must experience all that there is to experience.

To accomplish this, we must know what it is to live life as a female human being, and as a male human being. And while the human soul itself is permanently of either the male or the female polarity, the physical personality expressions of the soul will vary according to the learnings gained from the physical experience. When the soul has begun the long series of life on earth as a human being, there are lengthy periods of incarnations in either male or female bodies. Eventually the pattern then switches to the opposite polarity for a lengthy period of incarnations. As the inner soul gains insight and learns to master the lessons of "female-ness" or "male-ness," or "humanness as male or female," the cycle begins to compress.

The more advanced and experienced soul will alter the sequence more frequently, sometimes taking an alternating pattern of male, female, male, female. Over a lengthy series of life experiences, the soul learns to balance the opposite duality and becomes comfortable in either framework of expression. The truly integrated human personality appears.

Homosexuality and transsexualism are transitional states appearing when a soul has changed gender or is about to change gender. A personality is sent forth into earth life with a strong subconscious memory of an earlier experience in the opposite gender, or begins to assume the qualities of the opposite gender in preparation for the change coming in an immediate future life. As the soul approaches a change in gender, its personality begins to feel the effects of the incoming forces to predominate in the next incarnation. A person living as a biological male, who will appear in the succeeding incarnation as a female, will sense the incoming forces. If he is not attuned to them and capable of integrating them with his existing force field, he may find that they create confusion of gender identity and adjustment. If these forces are particularly strong and the personality apparatus is unable to cope, the desire may arise to anticipate the experiences of the coming life as a female by seeking a physical change through surgery while still in the present incarnation.

The same dilemma appears when a present-day female personality comes in with an immediate past life experience as a strong male. Subconscious influences feed through time and the woman may live a life as a strong male might feel a woman should live. The awkwardness of this means that the person may feel completely out of tune with life as a member of the opposite gender. One woman of record experienced four marriages, each of which came to grief because of a dominating, controlling relationship imposed on otherwise passive males. Her past life record showed a number of strong male former lives, including one as a very powerful Roman senator.

In these people, there's often a subconscious yearning to return to the former state, particularly if the past life was a satisfying one. Dissatisfaction with the so-called "male" responsibilities, the "male" way of life, or the "female" can create enormous inner pressures to take up life in the opposite framework.

As to environmental conditioning and the effect of relationships with a mother or a father figure, the incoming entity has selected the biological parents most ideally suited to provide the conditions needed for the coming life experiences. It is true that we do indeed choose our own parents.

The eventual result of the evolution of humankind in a dual sex framework lies some several thousands of years in the future. At that time, there will emerge in the race the first truly androgynous human types. In the far distant future, humanity will have evolved beyond the need for physical reproduction as we know it today, and sex will no longer be sex as we know it today.

10. Human Death and the Life After Death

Hamlet was not alone in palming a human skull and reflecting upon the eternal question. In an earlier time, a perceptive Greek named Empedocles observed,

"There is no coming into being of aught that perishes, nor any end for it in baneful death, but only mingling and separation of what has been mingled. When the elements have been mingled in the fashion of man and come to the light of day, or in the fashion of a race of wild beasts or plants or birds, then men say that these came into being and when they are separated, they call, as is the custom, death."

We can talk about life because we are alive, but death? How can anyone claim to talk knowledgeably about death, without knowing what death is, or what it is to die? So goes the old argument.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead answers, "There is not one person who has not returned from death. What we call birth is merely the reverse side of death." The fact remains that through all of recorded history, and in growing numbers recently, reports have been made by credible (and not-so-credible) people who have claimed to have experienced "death," or having seen or conversed in some way with the so-called "dead,"

If you accept the possibility of other states of consciousness, or other realities, then the possibility of death as another state of consciousness is only a step beyond where you are now.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead as well as the Egyptian Book of the Dead teach the art of dying:

"Against his will he dieth who has not learned to die. Learn to die, and you shall learn to live, for there shall none learn to live that has not learned to die."

The fact that a set of rules or procedures exists to teach one how to die is not exactly common knowledge in our culture. Even less so is it known that this is by no means exclusively an "Eastern" concept. In truth, through the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, enough was known of the mystery teachings of old bearing on the art of dying to form the basis of many treatises of the times. The primitive churches of early Christendom offered rituals, observances, chants, and readings including the basic principles of this wisdom. Some survive even today, though significantly altered and disguised to the point of appearing to us as quaint and devoid of meaning.

Consider yourself fortunate if you die while conscious--that is, while not in a state of sleep or unconsciousness. Your transition is immediate and you may well understand what's happening. Others may not. They may not realize that they have stepped over, and they will continue to function, or attempt to function, in the world they've left behind in their new state of being. Great confusion and much anguish develops when they realize that they cannot be seen or recognized. Loved ones left behind are unaware of their presence and gradually, the realization that they have died comes. Others recognizing the change are often surprised at the ease of the transition.

Die in your sleep sleep, or while comatose, drugged or otherwise unconscious and you may find yourself for a period of time in a state of astral sleep, believing that you're asleep and still on the physical level, dreaming. Awakening to the changed state may be more than a little uncomfortable for you.

Even after withdrawing from the physical body at death, you remain the same personality you were before you died. You have the same values, beliefs, prejudices, wishes, desires, and emotions. This may come as something of a shock to you if you are grounded in the traditional view of a grand religious transformation beginning immediately after death, but you'll find that you possess the same intellect, the same intellect, the same wit--all of the personality characteristics that made you unique in physical life. When you become conscious on the astral plane, you will be in an environment you have created as a direct consequence of your own thoughts and desires during the life just ended. So will he see and experience it.

If you poured your being in physical life into making money, you will continue to follow your occupation; trading "stocks," accumulating "wealth"--all of which is illusion.

If you're an alcoholic, you'll crave the satisfaction of liquor or beer.

The drug addict will experience a maddening craving for a fix.

Addicted people experience intense suffering after death, for with no physical body, there is no way possible to find satisfaction for the addictions carried over.

This is the real "hell" of the after-death state .

You can create images of what you desire, but what you see are images and nothing else. You cannot consume nor can you act upon the hallucinations. The consequence is nothing less than unending frustration, or so it may appear.

At the moment of your death, if you die while conscious, you will sense an intense clarity of awareness that seems universal at the time, a feeling of expanding timelessness. You will see in an instant not only the experiences of your life just ended, but the major experiences of all your past incarnations, as well as the significant conditioning feelings and desires.

In a later after-death state, this replay is repeated on a much slower scale so that the you feel consciously exactly what you have dealt to others. As your actions impacted on others, so you now feel them. If you have caused suffering and hurt, you feel suffering and hurt. If he have helped and nurtured others, you will feel their gratitude and love. This period of reverie is of great importance to the inner person. The sad fact is that its 1earning impact can be lessened if the inner person is distracted by the sounds and sights of intense mourning for you departure.

Displays of emotion, wailing, or grieving can draw you back to the physical plane scene and away from important postmortem lessons. Death should be a time of celebration, and not of loud sorrow. Quiet joy should be felt for the person who has now moved on to a new and exciting phase of life. The simple fact of the death process which should be presented to patients in terminal care is that the worn, frail body will fall away, and there will be a continuing life in the astral.

There will be old friends and relatives to meet and greet, some long passed over.

You will live much as before, but with no need for physical sustenance and with greatly heightened insight into the causes of the difficulties of the past life.

Here, the interpersonal conflict, the errors of relationship and of life, are seen clearly from the viewpoint of the cosmic; old enemies are seen as instruments of Karma, bringing about the needed conditions in earth life for necessary learning and the balancing out of old debts.

At physical death, your consciousness leaves your body, and you with it, for you are the consciousness of your body. Your physical and etheric bodies both begin the process of decay. For a time a tie remains, but the break becomes complete when the elements of both have returned to the earth. Cremation is a blessing, as it destroys the integrity of the physical and the etheric bodies and frees the astral personality.

But cremation must not take place too quickly after physical death. At least three full days should pass, for the etheric body holds the tapes of the life just ended. The period of retrospection occurs during the three day postdeath period. If the physical and etheric bodies are destroyed before that period is over, the full impact of the lessons of the life just past may be altered or lost and the inner person may find it necessary to repeat some of the lost experiences and learnings.

Afterdeath conditioning and learning and the preparation for rebirth cannot begin until the physical and the etheric bodies have returned to the elements. The ancient Egyptians understood this. The true purpose of mummification as practiced by the Egyptians was not at all what we have supposed it to be, but rather a means of preventing the physical reincarnation of their divine leaders and key governmental officials for a definite period of time. We do not give the wisdom of the ancient Egyptians its due. In fact, we are ignorant and not they. How well they foretold the agonies to befall the human race up to and including what we know as the twentieth century! They also knew that beyond the twentieth century, a new era would dawn for humankind, a benign period of growth and learning. Rather than risk the dangers of earth life during the ages of darkness ahead, the physical body, with the etheric bound to it, was preserved through mummification. Ironically, our present practice of embalming actually prevents the ongoing evolution of the soul, but only for a moment of eternity.

As these facts become more generally known, cremation will become more widespread. The process of death itself is a physiological act as well as a psychological event. We have previously described the separation of the etheric and astral bodies from the physical body during sleep and during periods of unconsciousness and pointed out that during these periods the physical body is sustained through and connected with the higher bodies by a thread or cord of silver colored etheric matter.

At death the true being in an instant of time draws inward from the extremities of the body along the various nerve tracks, consolidating briefly in the neighborhood of the heart.

There is an instant of what might be called implosion of the forces energizing the physical body.

The inner person exits along the vagus nerve. In the average human of today, the issuance is from the region of the solar plexus. From the advanced human being, the exit is through the top of the head.

The glistening thread of etheric matter is then snapped.

The withdrawal and the broken connection destroys the integral unity of the physical body and leaves it as an uncoordinated collection of independent cells, no longer under cohesive control. The life of the cells continues independently. The units begin to dissolve, the "lower lives" run wild, and disorganization is complete.

With the central unifying principle gone, the body is alive in its cells, but not in its totality.

The impulse for the molecules of matter is to disengage, to separate and return to their natural state. The exiting etheric matter can often be seen by relatively insensitive humans as a cloud of violet mist gradually condensing over the inert physical form. Sensitive people will see this cloud as it takes on the rough form of the physical body itself.

At this time the review for the person now dead, encapsulating the events of the past life, is seen as if on a television screen. The review continues for about three days. Just prior to disengagement, as the consciousness has been withdrawn to the region of the heart, a first and very brief review takes place. At this point, the person is not yet dead, but is at the threshold.

Many accounts from people who have come to this point during falls from great heights, or near drowning or other near fatal experiences are on record, people who have been saved and revived, and tell of "seeing my whole life flash before my eyes." These are individuals who have been brought to the point where the inner person is prepared for exit and for termination of the life experience. The postmortem review is accomplished or is under way and is interrupted, preventing the final exit and the breaking of the etheric thread.

There are times when for any number of reasons the inner person refuses to accept the fact of death because of strong emotional ties to earth living, or to right a wrong or to inflict an act of vengeance. The wraith will attempt to remain close to the physical plane and to make contact with or influence those who are still alive. When this is successfully accomplished, we have the basis of folk tales of hauntings, ghosts and shades, spooks and apparitions, the so-called "earthbound" creatures. Here also is the basis of the idea of possession, which is no mere folk tale. For this reason black magic and witchcraft represent a real and present danger to the psychic and mental state of the human race. Every ignorant human being falling under the influence of the dark forces and practicing rites, ceremonies, spells and chants, opens a door to the influx of little known powers of incalculable potential, of which little is commonly known. These practices can bring psychological and physical harm to the individual and to his environment. Popular acceptance of books and films portraying and popularizing these practices only serves to reinforce the psychological stresses affecting practitioners on the deepest levels. Exorcism is a religious rite of purification. Even more so, it is a confrontation between a dense energy, attempting to force an emerging humanity back to the depths of earth matter, to darkness--and a higher energy, stemming from cosmic and stellar sources, working to overcome the urge to matter.

The personality yearns for matter, the soul yearns for the cosmic.

Since one avenue for this energy to manifest is through the channels of religious ritual, this is what it has become. A time will come when science will discover other equally appropriate and even more effective channels for suppressing and defeating the darker forces. One example now emerging is known as Third Force Psychology, freeing the inner human to meet the greatest possible inner potential. Psychosynthesis is perhaps the most potent example of the new movements aimed at unfolding the finest within us. A time comes in the astral life after physical death when the individual encounters a "second death."

The second death is different for everyone, although humans who know and understand the concepts presented in this treatise will experience shorter terms in the astral life, if what is written here is well remembered. Why? Because with this knowledge, there is not as much to be unlearned, not as much implanted dogma to penetrate before the expanded afterdeath experiences can begin. In your life on the astral plane following your physical death, you have slowly been working off the denser matter of the astral.

When you've accomplished this, the time comes in your astral life when you begin to fade away from your loving companions, who now know that your "second death" is imminent. By then, the advanced humans who have been your guides, have explained what is to happen and you have no fear or concern with what's to come.

You have now learned to live with no desires centered on material life.

Your astral body, your body of the emotional and desire world, is no longer needed, so it begins to dissolve.

You are freed to begin to move "upward" into the higher, mental world of being, to the world of pure thought.

Here, without loss of your true spiritual identity you find a sense of universality, of being one with All That Is.

The environment is one of pure light, growing ever more intense as you move "upward" and closer to the Central Light. If the you have mastered the need for earth life, if you have balanced your Karma, if you are the master of your being, you have at this instant the opportunity to merge with the Central Light, or God.

We're not concerned at this point with what takes place if this integration is achieved. No words in the human vocabulary can describe what takes place. Few are the human beings who at this stage of the development of the race can tolerate even for the brief but necessary encounter, the overwhelming intensity of the Central Light.

What takes place in the great mass of humankind at this stage is an instant of fear at the point when the Light reaches its greatest intensity, an unfounded but real fear of loss of self, of individual identity. However brief the emotion may be, the pull of unredeemed Karma immediately draws the inner person back to time and space, and to another earth life.

The exposure to the Light has created an inexpressible sense of bliss and well-being. An undeveloped human now experiences a period of unconsciousness, resting in this. "heaven" state of perceived eternal bliss, remaining until the pull of material life once again draws the divine earthbeing back to another physical incarnation. There is first a stirring similar to what takes place in earth life as a sleeping person returns to conscious awareness. The Light begins to dim: the pull becomes stronger. It cannot be denied. As water is drawn to a drain, slowly at first, then more quickly and ever more forcefully, the vortex pulls the reluctant person back and "down."

On to Part III

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