- Question 1 -- Where is the world of the spirit?
- Question 2 -- What Do We Do in the world of the spirit?
- Question 3 -- Do Surroundings affect how spirit operates?
- Question 4 -- What is in the Afterlife? is there a Hell?
- Question 5 -- What is "Crossing Over", Why do we die at all?
- Question 6 -- Is there a Heaven?
- Question 7 -- Views on Reincarnation.
We do not have to travel in order to get to the world of the spirit. It is not separated from the Earth plane by distance, as we perceive distance. The world of the spirit is right here, where we are. What separates the Earth plane from the world of the spirit is OUR OWN PERCEPTIONS.
It is through the doorway of consciousness (also known as the dimensional door) we must cross over in order to enter the world of the spirit. It is a Journey we all have to make at the end of our days here on earth, how we get through life varies with people, conditions and circumstances. What we experience, once we pass through that doorway varies as well, with those circumstances. But it is the same doorway for all of us. Peasants, Kings, Potentates and Paupers, Prophets and Beggars, Messiahs and Tyrants, Saints and Sinners, Filthy Rich and Dirt Poor, and everyone in between. All pass through the same doorway from Physical (disconnected) Life to Etheric(connected) Life.
The portal human worlds is a respecter of no person. It is the same doorway, and each person passes through it in exactly the same manner regardless of the direction they go.
The world of spirit exists in a higher realm of vibration and has more dimensions than does our three-dimensional Earth plane. From time to time, people experience a heightened or extended sense of perception, and they catch glimpses of this amazing world. Mediums have trained themselves to do this, somewhat at will. An out of body experience, or OBE, happens when the spirit or consciousness separates itself from the confines of the body and brain; thus becoming free to experience other worlds.
Every night, while most of us sleep, our spirits can and often do separate from the earthly confines and visit the Spirit world. We often experience that visitation through dreams. Sometimes, those dreams are colored by our fears, cares, and concerns; sometimes not. Many are the people who claim they have visited departed loved ones in their dreams. The skeptic will say that such experiences result from wishful thinking, manifested in those dreams. But, most people know better: these precious experiences are far more than wishful thinking.
So, you see, the first thing we have to understand about the world of the spirit is that we do not have to die in order for us to visit this grand place. Furthermore, we can be in touch with our departed loved ones, even while on earth.
This is an often asked question but seldom understood filly. It stems from the fact that we are so ingrained to perceiving life only through the physical form that we simply cannot perceive any form of active or productive life without a physical body. For so many, no body and no earth translate into NO LIFE.
In Spirit, we do not go to jobs (although we are most assuredly occupied), we do not have to earn money, we do not have to worry about mortgages and food on the table; these are all aspects of earthly life.
So, what's left? It's very simple: LIFE. We engage in life and living.
What motivates us on the Earth plane will, very likely, motivate us in Spirit. The opposite of this is equally true: what motivates us, here on the Earth plane, has its roots deeply embedded within the Spirit and the soul. Death accomplishes one thing: it allows us to shed the earthly body and move through the doorway of consciousness and dimension. We do not change dramatically, nor do we become all-knowing and perfect. We are the same person on one side of the threshold as we are on the other side of the threshold. For many, this is disappointing. It would be nice to think that death suddenly removes all problems, all obstacles, all sin and evil, and all ignorance. That is not the arrangement we made with the Creator.
We learn, very often through struggle, and we grow through hard work. Nothing of the Spirit is handed to us on a silver platter. That would be cheap and not beneficial to the journey of the soul. Thus it is in the world of the spirit.
In Spirit, we seek to communicate with our earthly loved ones. We meet our already departed loved ones, and there is a grand reunion of sorts. Spirit tells us that it is so wondrously amazing when we meet those loving family members, waiting at the threshold to welcome us into the new life. People who suffer long illnesses, as they come closer to the time of death, often see their loved ones, in Spirit, waiting for them at the gate. This gives them joy, comfort and a sense of knowing that everything will be OK.
Our loves, our hopes, our aspirations, our dreams are all part of us, and we are given every opportunity to follow those dreams in Spirit. Thus, the world of the spirit is a world of tremendous opportunity and fulfillment, even more so than the Earth plane. In Spirit, we devote much time in assessing the recent earth life. We look at the successes and the failures, and we do so with unclouded vision. There are special Spirit helpers who guide and assist us in this. For some, this can be very painful, as they face themselves and their earthly deeds. But, even for these unfortunate souls, there is always love and guidance given, as they wend their way through the consequences of what may have been a very evil life.
There are halls of learning and great schools of the Spirit, where we are given the opportunity to learn and become wise in our knowledge. Many of these great schools of learning have counterparts on the Earth plane. The Mystery Schools of the past are an example of this.
There is the opportunity to pray and offer healing from Spirit, just as we can do here on earth.
In all of this, we await the arrival of our earthly loved ones, as our previously departed loved ones awaited our own arrival.
As time passes on, we integrate more and more of our recent earth life and its experiences into the essence of the Spirit. More and more of our family and loved ones join us. And eventually, we move further along the world of the spirit, into areas which are more separated, in terms of vibration, from the Earth plane. We can always draw back, closer to the earthly condition, in order to communicate with earthly loved ones or family members. So, we are never separated from our beloved, no matter where they or we may be. Please keep this in mind.
The whole of the world of the spirit is comprised of various levels of consciousness and states of vibration. As we move along in the world of the spirit, we pass through these various stages. There are even varying levels of vibration within each of the afterlife stages. In fact, we experience a sort of death, as we proceed from one level of Spirit into another. We shall not discuss this, as it goes beyond the scope of this series of articles.
The area of the world of the spirit to which we all go, once we pass from the Earth plane, is known as the Astral world, or the Astral plane. It is here where we spend a good amount of our time assessing the most recent earthly life, while awaiting the arrival of our earthly loved ones. It is here, also, where much of the more difficult aspects of the recent earth life are confronted and healed, to the degree that we are willing to confront them and to the degree that they can be healed, according to our overall stage of spiritual progression. Freedom of choice is inherent to all Spirit. We are healed and we experience transformation only to the degree that we are willing to confront and change that which must be changed. There are countless Spirit emissaries and helpers, always anxious to guide and inspire us along the pathway of spiritual healing and transformation, but change can only come about through our own desire to change and our own willingness to work through that which needs to be changed.
Therefore, better we should endeavor to make those changes now, while on the Earth plane, than when we arrive in Spirit. Why? Because, in Spirit, there is so much to learn and to experience; there is so much wonder to behold and incorporate into our selves. There is so much pure love and beneficence to experience and share in. All this, and so much more, is available to us; BUT, only to the degree that we can experience and receive it all. So, let us be healed and develop those loving qualities, now, here on Earth, that we may be free to experience all this wonder, once we pass into the world of the spirit. It is the Astral plane which is most closely linked to the Earth plane. In fact, within the Astral plane there exists an exact replica of the Earth plane, with houses, cities, mountains, people, etc. It is not really a replica; rather, within the Astral plane is the astral counterpart of our Earth plane. Everything on this earth, ourselves included, has an astral counterpart. Remember, we are Spirit in body. Our true home and our roots are in Spirit, not on the earth. We "visit" the earth, from time to time, in order to experience it and its lessons. Therefore, even while on the Earth plane, we are Spirit, with our connection to the world of the spirit. This astral counterpart represents the link, so to speak, between us and the Spirit world.
Everything which happens on the earth -- individually and collectively -- has an impact within the Astral plane. So, the Astral plane is inhabited by three types of spirits: those who have passed from the Earth plane and are, still, within the Astral plane; those who are moving toward the Earth plane, in the process of incarnation, and have not yet been born; and us -- or our astral counterparts. In fact, without going into complicated discussions, suffice it to say that we live within and experience multiple levels of life and consciousness, even while on the Earth plane. It so happens that, right now, our focus of attention and concentration is on the Earth plane. But, that does not deny the fact that we are rooted in the Spirit.
If we were not living on multiple levels of Spirit, simultaneously, then we could not experience such things as mediumship, extended sensory perception, out of body experiences, or, even, dreams. It is because we are living life AS SPIRIT ON EARTH that we are able to shift from one level of awareness to another, back and forth; sometimes spontaneously, other times quite intentionally. Thus, there is a strong link and connection between the Earth plane and the Astral plane. It is through the Astral plane that so much of the spiritual help and assistance is given to us. The Astral plane represents the doorway between the Earth plane and the higher levels of the world of the spirit.
The Astral plane has been subject to much confusion and misinformation. It is called the Astral plane because, within it, there is light and sparkling energy, very much like stars. Astral originates from the Latin "aster," meaning star. Because the Astral plane is where we deal with our recent earthly challenges and the more negative issues of that life, people tend to consider it to be a place of punishment and negativity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Within the Astral plane, there is offered the greatest opportunity to set right that which may have gone wrong and to become even more intimately involved with our family and friends, in a truly spiritual manner. What is even more amazing is that, once we step through the Astral plane and enter the next level of the world of the spirit, the degree of love and intimacy magnifies itself a thousand-fold. Indeed, it is a place of work, but of far greater significance is this: the Astral plane is a place of healing, love and compassion.
Because the Astral plane is so closely linked to the Earth plane and its inhabitants, many proclaim that it is inhabited by countless spirits who are lost or earthbound. NONSENSE! The idea of lost souls and earthbound spirits makes great movies, sells books, and, unfortunately, gives many unscrupulous psychics and mediums lots of work; but is not based on fact.
Very few are they who become "stuck" between "here" and "there". Some certainly do have difficulty in making their earthly transition, but always there are loved ones and special Spirit friends who endeavor to help in that transition. And, if for some reason, a spirit is just not ready or willing to make the transition complete, he or she will fall into a sleep state and remain quiescent, until the time comes for a reawakening into the world of the spirit. Furthermore, that reawakening is aided through love and healing by those special Spirit helpers. Such spirits do NOT go around haunting the Earth plane; nor do they sit around just waiting to possess a weak earthling; nor do they hang around graveyards or around bars, inhaling smoke and the smell of alcohol.
Thus it is in the world of the spirit; or at least the first phase of the world of the spirit, immediately following physical death.
Would it surpprise you to hear that there are many people who would prefer NOT to believe in an afterlife? For many, the prospect of what they may face after death can be quite horrifying.
"When you're dead, that's it, it's over..." is one way of looking at life. It is grounded totally in the physical world and its body; but, for many, this concept of life offers great comfort. Why? Because believing this way allows the individual to do whatever he or she wishes to whomever he or she wishes, without having to worry about future consequences, in some afterlife.
But, alas, this profoundly sad way of looking at life is not based on fact, and eventually, the reality of life after death stands before us all, face-to-face.
The issue of life's consequences is fundamental to religious thought and persuasion. Most religions of the earth accept this basic concept of life: we all have to face our mistakes, at some point or another. For eons of time, people have been "whipped into shape" by church leaders and their threats of eternal damnation and fire. Satan plays a very important role in religion, especially Christianity; unfortunately, to the point where it often seems as if Satan is given more credence and power than God, Himself.
So many people believe: Live a good life, and you go to Heaven. Sin, and you go to Hell. Accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and you will find that special seat next to the throne of God. Do not accept Jesus as Savior, and you will never sit at the right hand of the Father, no matter how good, how loving, or how charitable a life you may have lived on earth.
How can this be? Would God discriminate for some and against others? Would God open His arms to die-hard Christians, while turning His back to those of other faiths, or those Christians who may not utter that special formula of salvation? I remember, several years ago, hearing, with utter horror, Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, state that Mother Teresa would never go to Heaven, because she was not born again, according to the Christian Fundamentalist's view of rebirth. What a horrid and ignorant statement!
So, what is the truth regarding Heaven and Hell? How do we deal with life's injustices; those perpetrated by ourselves and those perpetrated against us by others?
Ancient teaching states that we must all deal with life's errors, first by facing those mistakes, then by learning from those mistakes, then by forgiving ourselves and others and, finally, by not repeating those mistakes. The Lord's Prayer asks God to "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
Obviously, it would be far better to begin this process of forgiveness, healing and transformation sooner than later; that is, while on the Earth plane. But, so often we pass into the Spirit world without even having begun this process.
There is no beginning and no end to life's journey. It is a continuous experience, sometimes here and sometimes there; sometimes within a physical body, but more often without a physical body. We are not alive at certain times and dead at others. We are always alive. Therefore, there is always the opportunity to grow and expand in our awareness. Likewise, there is always the opportunity to be healed and transformed of our transgressions.
In the Spirit world, we are given greater opportunity to correct the errors of the past because, in the Spirit world, we tend to see things from a more expansive and all-embracing perspective. We are able to perceive a greater part of the whole. We are not quite so blinded by the earthly personality and its multitude of passions. But, even in Spirit, we will change ONLY to the degree that we are willing and able to do so. Nothing in life is ever forced upon the Spirit, except the consequence of his or her actions, according to the Great Law of Karma, or Cause and Effect.
Grace and salvation are not handed to us on a silver platter. Jesus Christ did NOT come to earth, suffer as he did, experience the horror of crucifixion and reveal the wonder and mystery of resurrection, so that we would be given an excuse to sin our lives away and, upon reciting a few words, be let off the hook. That type of belief cheapens and denigrates everything that Jesus stood for. Furthermore, it minimizes God's Grace.
Without going into too much detail, the Spirit world can be divided into two basic areas or levels of experience: the Astral plane and the Mental plane. Actually, there are more, but for our intents and purposes, let us leave it at these two. Very briefly, we can make these comments regarding these two aspects of the Spirit world: in the Astral plane, we confront the errors of the past and we look at ourselves, face to face, in order to transform and heal those things which need healing. In the Mental plane, we reap the rewards of our efforts and we continue in our spiritual growth.
The Astral plane [or Aether (the upper Sky)] is where we all go, immediately upon departing this earthly life, through physical death. Everyone goes there and spends a certain amount of time within this area of the Spirit world. It is within the Astral plane that we deal, to a great degree, with those areas of healing, transformation and forgiveness mentioned above. It is here where we gather with those loved ones with whom we shared the recent earth life and determine, amongst ourselves, what we all need to deal with and how we shall go about correcting the mistakes of the past. In this, there are special Spirit emissaries or angels who help us in this process of assessment. We look at the successes and the failures of our recent earth life and its many relationships, and we determine what needs to be changed, what needs to be forgiven, what needs to be healed and what needs to be transformed.
Because the Astral plane is where we deal with some of the more negative elements of ourselves, many refer to it as a place of evil and negativity. This could not be further from the truth. It is a world of confrontation, assessment, evaluation, and looking at ourselves face-to-face. Indeed, for some these processes may be difficult, but the results can be summed up in two words: HEALING and TRANSFORMATION.
Some spirits may consider this aspect of life -- looking at one's self honestly and face-to-face -- as a kind of Hell. But, then again, there are those who consider any aspect of life which is challenging and confronting as Hell. Thus, for some, "Hell on Earth" is a very real state of mind and consciousness.
Now, this brings us to the question of Hell. Is there a specific place, known as Hell, where all the sinners are doomed to eternal fire and damnation? Absolutely not!
Hell is more a state of mind rather than a place of condemnation. God condemns no person to a life of pain and suffering. God gives us all freedom of choice, but demands that we be accountable to Him, to ourselves, and to each other for the choices which we make.
Eventually, after many earthly incarnations, little by little, we begin to see the Light, so to speak. We recognize that, as Spirit, we are all created in God's image, as Spirit. We recognize that we were born out of love and should live life in this love.
For some, these lessons come painfully slow, while others learn a bit more quickly. Does this make one spirit better than another? No. It simply means that one spirit may be further along the pathway to Heaven than another. God is a Respecter of no person, in that He favors not one of His children above another. In a Church hymn, it states: "In His eyes there is no great nor small."
Now, what about Heaven? Unlike Hell, Heaven IS a place to which we will all eventually travel. Once we deal with as many of the negative aspects of the self as we can, while in the Astral plane, we experience what can be considered a second death. We enter a very brief period of slumber and we step across yet another doorway of life and enter the Mental plane.
It is within the higher levels of the Mental plane -- we will not discuss the various levels of the great Mental plane -- that we experience what can be termed a state of Heaven. Hindu texts refer to this level of the Spirit world as Devachan, or Heaven.
Devachan is not the ultimate state of oneness, nor is it the final "resting place" of the Spirit, but it is a place where we can truly experience the wonder, majesty, beauty and joy of the Human experience, to the degree that each person is capable of so doing.
It is here where we finally reap the rewards of our efforts, to the degree that we have worked at transformation and healing. Therefore, within this level of the Spirit world, the individual experiences the Light of God's Love and Creation to the degree that he or she is able to do so. And how is that degree measured? It is measured by the degree of honesty, love, charity and kindness which that individual is capable of manifesting outwardly in his or her life.
Devachan, although a place of immense beauty, love and joy, does have its limitations. Therefore, Devachan is not the true Heaven or the final resting place of the spirit. But, it is a place where the human spirit can experience total joy and oneness, to the degree that he or she can do so. And every spirit goes to this place, within the Spirit world, no matter what kind of life he or she may have conducted while on the Earth plane. In fact, it is from here where the next earthly incarnation is planned and set into motion.
It is as if God allows each and every one of us to touch the best and the greatest that we are, in order to inspire us to become even better and more great, as we prepare to move onto a new earthly life.
This is not ultimate Heaven, but it is as good as it gets, at least for the time being. That Heaven will come to us when we are finally capable of experiencing our oneness with God and with each other. That Heaven is the ultimate home from which all emerged and to which we shall all return at some timeless point in time. That Heaven is truly cosmic in nature and beyond any human's comprehension.
The Heaven that we are talking about -- Devachan -- is about as close to that state of ultimate joy that we can experience at this point in our travels. To the individual in Devachan, there is total joy and wholeness, even though on a grander scheme, it is limited.
Life is like traveling from A to Z, with Z as the destination. If an individual has traveled only as far as K, then, to him, K will seem like Z, because K is the limit to what he can consciously experience. The beauty of life is that, as we learn and evolve, we expand our current limitations - K - and recognize that there is an L, looming at the distance. We, then, strive to move onto to L; then onto M, etc.
Thus, life -- in and out of physical form -- becomes a process of continuously extending beyond what we perceive as our limitations, that we may experience wider and more expansive limitations. Eventually, all limitation will be gone and we will all be one with God. The one will become the One. Etched within the cornerstone of our original Church building are the Alpha and Omega -- the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, representing the beginning at the end -- superimposed, one over the other. This indicates that the beginning is the end, and the end is the beginning. Both have communed and become one.
Therefore, there is but one time that is of essence; that point in time where past and future meet: the PRESENT. Thus, the importance of living the moment -- the present -- to its fullest. Remember: you are, today, the result of what you have been yesterday; and you shall be, tomorrow, the result of what you are today.
Who are we? What makes us who we are? What happens to us when we pass through that elusive doorway, known as death, and arise within the Spirit world? Are we the same person, or do we become absorbed within some cosmic or collective consciousness?
To the non-reincarnationist, the answer is quite plain and simple. "Uncle Joe" will remain "Uncle Joe" in the Spirit world, perhaps forever. Traditional Spiritualism teaches that a child who passes from the Earth plane at a young age will grow up, physically, in the Spirit world. How this thought ever wound up within a philosophy which promulgates the reality and eternal nature of the SPIRIT has always amazed me.
If we consider the truth of reincarnation, the answer to these basic questions may seem a bit more complex, yet more fulfilling. Am I the person who just died, or am I the person who died in a previous incarnation; or the one before that; etc.?
Reincarnation has never promulgated that we are alive at certain times and not alive at other times. Nor has it ever promulgated that we are less alive at any one point in time than at another. Reincarnation simply recognizes the truth that the Spirit lives eternally, without ANY break of consciousness; sometimes clothed within a physical body, upon the Earth plane, but, most often, not clothed within physical form.
So, when our loved ones pass into the Spirit world, what happens to their loves; their likes and dislikes; their characteristic features which made them unique to us; their hopes and dreams; their memories? They survive and live. Why? Because these are all elements of the Spirit, not the body.
Having said this, what happens to all those influences which were developed in previous incarnations? Have they become lost within the maze of cosmic consciousness? No! They live as well. How? They live as character traits which make our loved ones who they are.
We are who we are, based upon who we have been. Likewise, we shall be who we shall be, based on who we are. They key to life is living in the present; the moment of the now. The present shall always be the stepping stone between the past and the future.
When we pass into the Spirit world, very little of an internal nature changes. We do not suddenly become angels, nor are we suddenly privy to all the secrets of the Universe. These come to us in time and with work and study, here and there in many lives. We simply step across the threshold of life and continue to live in another state of existence. Certainly, for some, the very fact that they have survived death is a profound revelation and changes them deeply. But, for the most part, we will remain pretty much the same person on that side of the doorway as we are on this side.
Eventually, as time passes and more and more of our earthly loved ones join us in Spirit, our ties to the earthly life and its recent incarnation begin to weaken. Why should that be the case? Because the people whom we love and to whom we desire to maintain a connection are now with us in the Spirit world.
And here is where the remarkable process of spiritual synthesis takes place. As more and more of our earthly loved ones join us, in Spirit, and the earthly ties of the most recent incarnation become weaker, we begin to perceive ourselves and others less through the eyes of the recent earthly personality, and more through the eyes of the Spirit, who we truly are.
This allows us to perceive ourselves not simply through the experience of the recent earth life, but as a whole, living Spirit, which has had many such earthly experiences. We begin to perceive ourselves in eternal totality, rather than in periodic chunks of time. In this, we appreciate more and more our spiritual quest through life and its many earthly incarnations, and we begin to understand that each life is but a small segment of a greater whole. And, like life in general, the whole is always far greater than the sum of the parts.
For some, this process of integration and synthesis begins earlier than for others. Some find it more difficult to "let go" of the recent earthly personality; but, eventually, we all do, to the degree that we are each able.
Does this diminish the importance or relevance of the most recent earthly life? I do not think it does. In fact, I believe that, when we see things through the eyes of the Spirit and we perceive a greater whole, we begin appreciating just how important each of the parts or lives really are.
Ultimately, this allows us to have far greater and far more meaningful relationships with our loved ones; not only those loved ones from the most recent earthly life, but those loved ones from prior earthly incarnations.
This can all be compared to a puzzle. We pick up a piece of the puzzle, look at it and try to figure out where it fits. As more and more pieces are picked up and placed in their proper positions, we begin to see a picture unfolding. If we look only at one or a few of the pieces, we see only a very small part of the picture; sometimes not even recognizing what the picture is. But, when we step aside and look at the puzzle as a whole and not focus upon any one piece, then and only then do we truly appreciate the picture which we have painted through the journey of our experiences. Remove any one piece and a gaping hole is created.
Thus it is with life in Spirit. Once we join our loved ones, and other loved ones join us, we begin to step away from that one incarnation and we begin the process of deciphering the whole picture of our journey and integrating the piece of the recent incarnation into the picture we have been painting all along.
Finally, at some point in the future, we begin to realize that the picture must grow and expand in some way; in other words, a new piece has to be created and integrated into the picture. Thus, we begin the process of incarnating back onto the Earth plane, that we may create this new piece.
Now, the questions is: How are we going to fit that new piece into a picture which seems complete? We do so by allowing the picture to grow and expand in some way, thus creating a "space" for that new piece which we are about to create. Thus, the picture -- that is, our journey through life -- continues to grow and grow and grow! Amazing, is it not?