Category: Enlightenment and Teachings
Death is an integral part of evolution in our present Earthly phase. It is important that we develop an understanding of its function and significance so that when the time comes the process can take place smoothly, and indeed joyfully.
Many accounts of ‘having died’ have been given by persons still living, those who have undergone certified clinical death, then returned to life. These are known as ‘near-death experiences’ and many have been documented in recent years. The experiences recounted show a remarkable consistency in certain fundamental respects: the sense of passing through a very bright tunnel, the presence of a great light at the end of it, and the emergence into the ‘Light’ with strong feelings of being greeted with great spiritual warmth and love.
Many also report experiencing ‘panoramic memory’, a remarkable clarity of thought, and seeing a moving recollection of their entire life story. A large number of these individual cases of ‘near-death experiences’ are recounted in Raymond Moody's book ‘Life After Life’, and clearly goes to prove that ‘death’ is not the ‘eternal blackout’ which many people assume to be their lot at the end of life.
There are indeed numerous sources of teaching which describe the spiritual process on Earth of ‘death’ and the various paths which may be taken thereafter, from ancient Tibetan manuscripts to the many contemporary accounts given through channeled transmission handed down into books by those who have ‘passed over’.
Those who are already mentally prepared for the ‘after life’, and therefore ‘die in peace’, are likely to leave the dead physical body in full consciousness, able to observe the soul-self's departure as it rises gently above the now discarded physical ‘casing’. It is usual for a Spiritual Guide to be on hand to greet the arriving soul, leading him or her to the Higher Spheres. Alternatively, the departing soul may travel alone rapidly through a bright tunnel towards an ‘intense light’, to emerge in a world full of brilliant colors and scenes of great beauty.
The time and place of death is always known well beforehand by the Spiritual Hierarchy, as well as by the incarnated soul's own Higher Self. This is part of the agreement made with one’s spiritual self and one's Guides and the Spiritual Hierarchy before incarnation. Relatives and former friends who have already passed over to the Spiritual world are alerted to an impending ‘transition’, and will be on hand to greet the arrival on the new plane.
At the critical moment of death we are usually assisted by an Angelic Being, known as an ‘Angel of Mercy’, who has been charged with the special responsibility of cutting the silvery life-cord, an etheric cord of light that connects our physical body with our higher spiritual bodies.
Ripley Webb’s channeled book ‘Full Cycle’, gives us a good description of an Angel of Mercy attending the passing of an elderly lady, in this case named Martha, at her death-bed on Earth. This is described as witnessed by the recently ‘passed-over’ Michael and his Spiritual Guide, Raphael, after they had descended together from the Higher Spiritual Realms to view the event:
"The centre of the room was occupied by a bed on which lay the figure of a woman of about seventy years. Round the bed were a doctor, a nurse, and a man and woman who were presumably relatives of the dying woman. The occupant of the bed would sometimes murmur a few words and the light of her eyes showed that there was little wrong with her brain. Her busy fingers were fumbling at the counterpane.
As if sensing Michael's thoughts Raphael spoke. "She is not really ill, it is just old age. Her time has come. Look, see who has entered the door." Michael glanced at the doorway and saw a Being standing there so dignified and stately that he guessed it could not be an ordinary spirit. "This is an Angel of Mercy," explained Raphael. "He comes personally to perform the cutting of the life-cord which keeps a spirit chained to its Earthly body. It is a duty which God only entrusts to advanced Beings such as he. He knows God's will and how and when to perform the function." Then he added, "See, the old lady has sensed his arrival."
As if she were indeed aware of the entrance of the Angel, the old lady raised her head slightly and gazed fixedly at the door. Then her face creased and tears began to pour down her cheeks. "I don't want to die, doctor, I don't want to die. Don't let me die." The querulous voice ended in a wail of self-pity. The doctor took her hand in his and murmured the things he would be expected to say at such a time. He knew that nothing could be done and the end was approaching.
Reassured by the gesture she looked again at the door. Following her gaze Michael saw the features of the Angel change and become transfigured, as a glow of love was projected like a beam of light towards the bed. The old lady's lips began to move as she tried to tell the others of what she saw, but the life-force was ebbing fast from the frail body. The Angel held out his hand to her. As if obeying the call the woman in a sudden access of strength raised herself into a sitting position, her eyes suddenly alight. In the distance could be heard music from a spiritual source, relayed from the Higher Realms.
"Look behind the Angel" said Raphael. There behind the radiant figure was a little crowd of spirits, all with welcoming smiles. They were friends or relatives of the woman making the transition, who had come to aid her arrival and greet her in the new world.
Something attracted Michael's attention to the bed once more. A thin wisp of vapour began to weave its way out of the top of the dying woman's head and hung there in a little cloud. Then the body dropped back suddenly and the hands dropped lifelessly upon the coverlet. Very soon after, a form, a replica of the mortal body, was elevated to a position horizontally extended above the physical body and facing downwards. This wraith-like form gradually assumed a denser condition as the etheric forces were released from the physical body and built themselves into the spirit body.
When the process was completed, the etheric body assumed an upright posture at the foot of the bed. Here the Angel advanced and placed his hands upon the eyes of the etheric form, then stepped aside. The life-cord still connected physical and etheric bodies but it was attenuated and was scarcely visible. Martha was free and in her new freedom was advancing to meet those who had come to fetch her. Exclamations of pleased surprise came from her lips. She began to respond to the greeting of these friends, the existence of some of whom she had almost forgotten. The little group began to move away.
"The Angel has not cut the life-cord yet," observed Michael.
"No," replied Raphael. "He will not do that yet, it would be a shock to the spirit. He will guard the remains for a little time before he performs that last office."
The Angel now turned towards the retreating group and stretched out his arms towards them, obviously concentrating his thoughts upon them. Instantly the Earthly room vanished and after a momentary period of darkness, they all found themselves in the grounds of the hospital on the Etheric/Astral level. There ahead of them were the old lady and her friends now approaching the entrance to the main building. She gave a yawn. Meeting friends had tired her for some time past and she felt that this strange experience must also prove tiring. So she was tired. Raphael stepped forward and spoke to the visitors. They seemed to respect his authority and made their excuses. A nurse came out of the building and to her Raphael gave charge of the new arrival." [‘Full Cycle’ by Ripley Webb - Marcus Books, Queensville, Ontario, Canada]
The vibratory level on which we first arrive after ‘death’ depends on the spiritual progress and attainment made whilst on Earth. Most Earth incarnates of moderate spiritual development arrive on the Astral/Emotional plane, the next vibrational level above the physical. Though this largely reproduces conditions as they appeared on Earth, there are some differences, reflecting the higher vibratory rate. The colors of nature are more brilliant, the scents of flowers stronger, while the senses of the soul in its now higher manifestation are sharper and more alert to the surrounding beauty. The body feels lighter, for there is not the heavy gravitational pull of Earth, and with experience one will soon be able to transport oneself through the air or eventually mold matter to any desired shape by the power of thought alone.
The newly arriving soul may be surprised to be conducted to his or her personal ‘dream home’. By constantly imagining an ideal whilst on Earth, we are unconsciously creating a ‘counterpart’ of thought material on higher Mental or Astral levels, where it registers as a concrete thought-form. Using this thought-form as a guide, spiritual assistants on the higher plane can shape the less dense and more malleable matter on that plane by mental power, reconstructing the ideal home in time for the newly arriving soul's ‘homecoming’.
One of many after-death experiences related through subsequently channeled transmission is given by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson shortly after his death in 1914, to his former friend on Earth, Anthony Borgia. Monsignor Benson recounts that after his ‘death’, and whilst still in his Earth body, he was joined by an old colleague, a priest, who greeted him warmly:
"He told me to take hold of his arm firmly, and to have no fear whatever. I could if I wished, close my eyes. I at once experienced a sensation of floating such as one has in physical dreams, though this was very real and quite unattended by any doubts of personal security.
After a short while our progress seemed to slacken somewhat, and I could feel that there was something very solid under my feet. I was told to open my eyes. I did so. What I saw was my old home that I had lived in on the Earth-plane; my old home - but with a difference. It was improved in a way that I had not been able to do to its Earthly counterpart. The house itself was rejuvenated, as it seemed to me from a first glance, rather than restored; but it was the gardens around it that attracted my attention more fully.
They appeared to be quite extensive, and they were in a state of the most perfect order and arrangement. By this I do not mean the regular orderliness that one is accustomed to see in public gardens on the Earth-plane, but that they were beautifully kept and tended. There were no wild growths or masses of tangled foliage and weeds, but the most glorious profusion of beautiful flowers so arranged as to show themselves to absolute perfection.
Of the flowers themselves, when I was able to examine them more closely, I must say that I never saw either their like or their counterpart, upon the Earth, of many that were there in full bloom. Numbers were to be found, of course, of the old familiar blossoms, but by far the greater number seemed to be something entirely new to my rather small knowledge of flowers. It was not merely the flowers themselves and their unbelievable range of superb colorings that caught my attention, but the vital atmosphere of eternal life that they threw out, as it were, in every direction. And as one approached any particular group of flowers, or even a single bloom, there seemed to pour out great streams of energising power which uplifted the soul spiritually and gave it strength, while the heavenly perfumes they exhaled were such as no soul clothed in its mantle of flesh has ever experienced. All these flowers were living and breathing, and they were, so my friend informed me, incorruptible." [‘Life in the World Unseen’, channeled by Anthony Borgia - Psychic Press Ltd, London, and M.A.P. Midway, Utah]
Those who were not aware of, or did not believe in an afterlife whilst on Earth may need some convincing that they are in fact ‘dead’; after all, they do not appear to feel so very different. It can take quite some time for them to accept that they are really ‘dead’ in Earth terms, despite the slightly strange difference in the qualities of light and color in their new surroundings. Because such people are slow to accept change, they usually choose, upon death, to move into a vibrational level nearest to that of Earth. Here they can pursue a life in surroundings related as closely as possible to their previous environment. Eventually, through the help of Guides from higher spheres, they will come to recognize their new ‘reality’ and free themselves to move up to higher planes.
Those who have considerably lowered their vibrational rates whilst living on Earth, such as through uncaring or damaging behavior towards others, or abuse of their own bodies through lack of bodily care and drug-use, may find themselves descending to the lower dark Astral regions, the traditional Biblical ‘Hell’. There they will encounter a dark and gloomy world of bleak surroundings, the result of a collective creation by others of a similar nature. These bleak and grim planes range downwards from cold, gray foggy wastelands, to the lowest dark pits of depravity where evil deeds are constantly re-enacted over and over again. The soul, on higher levels, may decide that its lower personality needs to dwell in these conditions for some time, until it has fully assimilated the relevant lessons through a constant repetition of former evil deeds and is finally forced to see the wrong path it has taken. Eventually the errant soul will begin to ‘see the Light’ and feel the need to rise up again to higher vibrational planes. Once the soul has made this commitment, Spiritual Guides will immediately be on hand to gently assist it to the Higher levels.
The lower Astral plane also contains many other less dark but nonetheless low-level areas, where people of little spiritual development or aspiration live in their own subjectively re-created conditions, similar to the less inspiring urban areas of Earth. Many of these souls continue to remain unaware or unwilling to believe they are dead. They relive life as on Earth in relatively grim conditions, going through the same motions as before, eating food which they no longer need, going to ‘work’ every day, and using ‘money’ which is now no longer necessary. They also find that everything around them seems to decay rather rapidly and constantly needs replacement; this experience is to teach them to eventually relinquish their attachment to material possessions and encourage them to seek an upward move to more spiritual spheres. Eventually they too seek help from above and are subsequently taken up to the higher Mental and Spiritual planes surrounding Earth.
When the fact of death has been thoroughly assimilated, the newly arrived soul is then given access to the Akashic Records, a form of universal memory-bank which records all events that have ever taken place anywhere in the universe as well as every thought and action of every individual. Through this medium the soul can then review, in multi-dimensional sight and sound, significant episodes of the Earth incarnation recently completed. By reviewing the mistakes, personality faults and unkindnesses to others made whilst still on Earth, the various lessons still remaining unlearnt can be identified.
This process is described in Ripley Webb's channeled book ‘Full Cycle’, as Michael returns to the Spiritual World after his death on Earth and begins, through the medium of the Akashic Records, to review his recently completed lifespan. He is taken by his Spiritual Guide to a special building on the Spiritual Plane somewhat similar to a small cinema, and where a screen at one end now becomes illuminated:
"The picture assumed movement and resolved itself into a form of symbolism quite impossible to translate into words. The mind of Spirit however found it easier to attach a meaning to the symbols and Michael was able to grasp the inner meaning of all the major events which built up the sequence of his existence. Little events of seemingly small importance now assumed a larger character by reason of their effect on himself or others.
He became aware of a voice that provided a running commentary on the portrayal. At first he thought it must be a part of the picture, an accompanying sound track, giving in thought-language the symbology of the events. The voice was critical beyond measure; he began to wonder who this person was who took it upon himself to judge him in such forthright terms. No one had warned him of this. His heart smote him suddenly. The awesome thought came to him that this might be some manifestation of God's anger with him...
He summoned his courage and faced the picturisation of his past in a spirit of determination. To his astonishment he discovered that the voice was not external to himself but was coming from within his own being. As if following his train of thought the voice broke in, "It is the voice of Conscience, your Conscience." The thought stunned him. It was not God who spoke, not some superior accusing Being judging him from the lofty seat of omnipotence. It was his own Self, his own Spirit speaking from the highest pinnacle of its consciousness, from the pure essence of his being. He shrank into his seat as the terrible significance of the fact burst into his mind. Never in his wildest dreams had he envisioned his ultimate judge as himself. Not the easy-going self-excusing mind of the human makeup, but the most implacable part of his being, the all-knowing Centre of his own super-consciousness. How could he excuse himself before the terrible indictment of his own Spirit?
In no uncertain terms the voice went on to emphasize his weaknesses and to mark the points in his career where his foolishness or ignorance or lack of effort had influenced other lives to their detriment. Again it would indicate where his failure to seize an opportunity had resulted in some unhappy consequence to others, which he might have aided them to avoid had he been less wrapped up in himself. The voice was fair, it gave him credit for what he had accomplished. But there was no doubt which way the Scales of Justice were balanced." [‘Full Cycle’, by Ripley Webb - Marcus Books, Queensville, Ontario, Canada]
Having reviewed our past life and seen all our faults with the clearer and more objective spiritual vision available on higher dimensions, we are now able, with the help of our Spiritual Guides, to assess which failed lessons need to be re-learnt, and to review those further lessons remaining to be learnt.
But unless Karma requires an immediate return to Earth, as after a life prematurely interrupted by suicide, most souls spend a considerable time residing on the Spiritual levels. This is usually up to two hundred years or more, and can sometimes be over a thousand years or more of Earth time.
During this period of spiritual refurbishment we can explore the vast Spiritual Worlds or attend the numerous Halls of Learning to acquire new knowledge and skills. There is also ample opportunity, for those of us ready to do so, to serve others such as by helping those who have recently arrived from the Earth plane to adjust to their new dimension, or by passing down spiritual strength to those on Earth who are lonely or in distress.
Following this period of spiritual refreshment, learning and service on higher planes, the soul, recognizing that further basic lessons have still to be mastered or learnt, feels the need to reincarnate yet once again on the dense physical Earth level. Here, through the hard and demanding lessons of physical Earth life, further useful evolutionary progress can be made at a much faster rate than possible on the Spiritual Plane. This then initiates a process of detailed planning with one’s Guides for the new incarnation ahead.
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