(Concluded from Part 1.)
What causes people on the other side of life to leave the Astral Plane for the Mental; i.e., to ascend?
Professor William James explains that staying in the astral body past the time when the desires fade leaves a person feeling as if they’re living in cramped quarters.
“I feel myself growing out of myself in a certain fashion. My adopted [i.e, conditioned] characteristics are becoming too small and cramped to contain my new growth and development, and I will move on most certainly to larger psychological quarters.
“It is not only the physical body we outlive, but the psychological house we have chosen. First after death we add new rooms and suites to accommodate our greater experience, but it is soon obvious that the entire structure has had its day. We must move out of it completely.” (1)
Adding new rooms and suites may refer to moving up the subplanes of the Astral Plane to the highest of the Summerlands, from which the next place to go is the Mental Plane.
Moving out of it completely equates to shedding the astral bodies and, with it, its desires.
After he finishes his afterlife testament, James suspects that He “will then move into the larger framework of myself which I feel is being constructed.” (2)
Sir Alvary Gascoigne describes his transition into the mental body or Merkebah.
“It’s the great strength of the group soul within us that forced me into this. You can’t think how agonizing it was to push off my old, much-loved physical remnant of a body and goodbye for always and ever and become vaporized. That is what it means.
“I said, ‘I will do this,’ and Douglas and Pat, both now high Initiates, were able, with Flo’s help, to drag me – the real me – out of all the soft friendly acts and encounters of the physical.
“It was an experience, I can tell you. Now I’m very glad I’ve been through it, but at the time it felt like annihilation. This is what I ask you both to avoid by accepting the flow of weightlessness into your mind [mental] body.” (3)
Gascoigne could be describing one of two entities. To thoroughly leave the Astral, one must completely dissolve the ties to the old, dead physical body because even though we’ve left it, so long as we remain tied to it emotionally, the tie holds us back from advancing.
Or he could be referring to the astral body as the “physical remnant.”
Frederick Myers, well known psychic researcher in his day, describes the Second-Death process:
“There comes a time when the soul who dwells on the Fourth plane of life prepares for the incident of death [i.e., the Second Death]. This death does not resemble the death of man.
“At this particular point in evolution the soul has perfect and absolute control of form, of his appearance, of his eidolon or living ghost. This is the last veil between him and a conception of existence without form.
“He must free himself before he can go up another rung of the ladder, and freedom can only come through the deliberate process called ‘The Breaking of the Image.’ It is the farewell to appearance, to form as a necessity, to color, to feeling as a certainty, as a condition of life.
“Again the soul enters into unconsciousness; and when he is born into the Fifth stage he has cast from him certain attributes that were his when he still inhabited the Image; for his soul was, in part, that Shape of Light he has now discarded.” (4)
Again Myers may be describing the final release from the discarded physical body or the dropping of the astral body. The image that’s broken is the holographic projection that the being’s lower bodies represent, which are finally discarded on the Mental Plane.
Here is Rosicrutian Max Heindel’s description of the Second Death.
Heindel’s comments show how difficult it is to study the afterlife because of the multiplicity of names for the same region. What he calls the “Desire World,” others call the Astral Plane. What he calls the “first heaven” is the first subplane of the Mental Plane; the second heaven is the second subplane.
The “first heaven” is said to be part of the Astral Plane because we’re still in our astral bodies until after the Second Death. Heindel says:
“The change is made from the first heaven, which is in the Desire World, to the second heaven. … Then the man passes into a great stillness. For the time being everything seems to fade away. He cannot think. No faculty is alive, yet he knows that he is. He has a feeling of standing in “The Great Forever’; of standing utterly alone, yet unafraid; and his soul is filled with a wonderful peace. … In occult science this is called ‘The Great Silence.’ Then comes the awakening. The spirit is now in its home-world – heaven.” (5)
“Heaven” of course is the early Christian Fathers’ name for the Mental Plane or Fifth Dimension.
The “Great Silence,” if I’m correct, would be Sahaja Samadhi, our natural state of being.
How do people who ascend to the Mental Plan change? Here Mike Swain shows his psychic father his new form, modelling for him the wider life of the Mental Plane:
“Mike continued to look at his father with an affectionate smile on his face: then, suddenly, Jasper was looking at a mature and wonderfully beautiful soul.
“In a flash he realized that his son’s life had been the final link in a long, long series of lives and that it had been Jasper’s privilege to have been his father while he was alive.
“’At last you can see me as I really am,’ Mike greeted him. ‘Now you can see me with the dark glasses removed from your eyes. …’
“The joy that Jasper experienced flooded throughout the whole of his mind.
“’But for the time being,’ continued Mike pleasantly, ‘I think we’ll all feel more at ease if I retain the outward form of Mike!’
“Jasper could only nod, inarticulate with happiness at the sight of this golden figure.” (6)
Philip Gilbert presented the same sight to his mother, Alice Gilbert, who was also his medium. Philip has always reminded me of Matthew Ward and his mother Alice of Matthew’s mother, Suzy Ward.
“There is a most wonderful young man building up, but in a blaze of light – brilliant white light – he is very advanced.” (7)
“He is far more advanced than you realized on earth. He is working very hard.” (8)
Philip tells his mother:
“I am rather losing my sense of my brief earth-personality and merging into the entity that I have always been – your partner through many lives.” (9)
These then are snapshots of people going through what I believe is the equivalent of Ascension on the other side of life.
Their process is subtractive: They discard the astral body as no longer useful. But ours will be additive: We’ll add our Light Body to our present physical body, simply changing the base from carbon to crystalline.
They describe the need to discard our self-serving interests. We too have been purifying ourselves by completing our vasanas and dropping our conditioning: These acts of purification will naturally lead to a diminution of self-servingness.
However we need to go through neither the onerous spiritual disciplines of our ascended masters nor the rigorous process of the afterlife residents. The gently rising energies are bringing about the desired results and we mostly have to remember simply to remain open to them and all else that comes down the road in this most amazing of lifetimes.
Moreover, as if there were not enough complication already in the study of the higher dimensions generally, we’re told that we’re entering a brand new space and that all the rules have changed.
There’s little chance that scholars can capture what awaits us. Our most likely sources, I think, will be retrospective.
(1) William James through Jane Roberts, medium, The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher: The World View of William James. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978, 159.
(2) Ibid., 160.
(3) Sir Alvary Gascoigne in Cynthia Sandys and Rosamund Lehmann, The Awakening Letters. Jersey: Neville Spearman, 1978, 155.
(4) Frederic W.H. Myers through Geraldine Cummins, medium. The Road to Immortality. Being a description of the after-life purporting to be communicated by the late F. W. H. Myers. Located at http://www.trans4mind.com/spiritual/cummins/cummins1.html, n.p.
(5) Max Heindel in Paul Beard, Living On. How Consciousness Continues and Evolves After Death. New York: Continuum, 1981, 131.
(6) Mike Swain to his father, Jasper, in Jasper Swain, From My World to Yours: A Young Man’s Account of the Afterlife. New York: Walker, 1977, 72.
(7) Mrs. Robert, medium, to Alice Gilbert of Philip Gilbert in Alice Gilbert, Philip in Two Worlds. London: Andrew Dakers, 1948, 224.
(8) Ibid., 225.
(9) Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, ibid., 133.