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Chapter 9
Serial No. 181
Original Copyright 1943
Elbert Benjamine
Copyright
Church of Light
August 2002
Social Contacts and
Amusements in the
Next Life
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Chapter 9
Social Contacts and Amusements in the Next
Life
IF YOU have made some mental and spiritual progress while here, you will find
yourself, not long after passing over, amid conditions that in many respects resemble
those left on earth. The objects you contact will possess certain new and rather
startling properties by virtue of the greater-than-light velocity of this realm. But there
will be administration buildings, laboratory buildings, industrial buildings, and
houses that are used as homes. There will be plants and flowers that resemble those of
earth, and others with which you are unfamiliar. Animal life is abundant on the levels
close to earth, but as you reach higher levels you will find other bright creatures of
considerable intelligence that have no earthly counterpart. And there will be people
representing a wide variation in race and color.
If you are of the incurious, stay-at-home type, the races of people you normally will
contact in the duties of your new existence will be quite numerous enough to be
satisfying. But if you have a temperament that delights in exploration and in unusual
discoveries, this tendency can find full and thrilling scope for operation. And in the
journeys you can take, accompanied at first by a competent guide, you will be able, if
you desire, to contact people who have had their evolution on other planets than the
earth; not merely on other planets of the solar system, but on planets belonging to
other systems.
I do not wish to imply that the only highly developed beings that are evolved within
this galaxy we call the Milky Way are of the human form. In fact, from what I have
seen, I am confident there are orders of beings and intelligences of which man has
scarcely dreamed, and of whose functions his intellect is too puny even to guess. But
I do have reason to believe that the human form is evolved on other planets of our
system, and on other planets belonging to other systems. And when you pass to the
next life, if you are sufficiently interested in adventure and travel, you can pay a visit
to the astral regions that form the abode of certain of these other planetary-system
people.
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Origin Of The Human Form
--If you take such a trip you will encounter many quaint customs. And you will be
struck by many minor divergences from our habits of life. But even more you will be
surprised to find how closely all these people are to the well recognized human form.
Their proportions are sometimes markedly different; but they are real human beings,
and not distorted caricatures. The queer antenna, bird-like feet, and beetle-like head,
so attractive to the writers of the Sunday Supplement of the daily newspapers in
picturing the denizens of other planets, are noticeable only by their absence. These
people may be tall or short, slim or chunky, with long limbs or those more moderate,
with rather large heads or rather small heads, but, in so far as I am aware, they are all
distinctly and emphatically human.
The explanation given to me was that this human form is the natural product of
evolution in the planetary streams of systems resembling our own. What other kinds
of systems bring forth, at the present time I have not the slightest idea. But it seems
that our solar system is a definite type that, with some variation, occurs elsewhere in
the stellar galaxy. And in all systems of this type the astrological energies beat upon
the finer bodies of organisms there evolved very much in the same way. That is, they
all have a similar astral environment.
It is generally believed by naturalists on earth that the linear form, which is the
common characteristic of fish that live in swift streams, was developed through the
pressure of the water of such streams on organisms that previously were neither
linear nor flexible. This particular form was developed because it offered less
resistance to the current by which it was surrounded. If the fish were to live in
swift-running water, they were compelled to develop a form which would offer as
little resistance as possible to water movement. This subject is considered in more
detail in Course 12-1, Evolution of Life, Chapter 4.
As it was explained to me, a thought-cell form in which every section and function of
the universe is present in miniature offers less resistance to the astral currents by
which it is surrounded than any other possible form. As life evolves on the earth, or
on other planets, the pressure of these astrological currents make thought-cell
expression easier the more closely the form approaches that of normal man. Because
man, of all the creatures, is a complete microcosm, or miniature duplicate of the
universe, there is less resistance to his mental activities than to those of any other
creature. He is man not just because his remote ancestors learned to walk on their
hind legs, but because, as man, his thought-cell form can move through the in- visible
currents with a mental freedom that would be impossible to some other form.
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It is not for me to say what forms may, or may not, be assumed by those now human in
the illimitable future; but in so far as I have been able to peer, the human form,
although much perfected in detail, continues to persist. At least the human shape is
that common to man in all levels of both the astral and the spiritual worlds. And it is
the shape of those you will meet even in distant travel.
Exploration
--I cannot say, because I do not know, how many and how extensive are the
territories it is possible to visit after you pass to the next life. I do know that the
opportunities for exploration are immensely greater than those limited by the sphere
called earth. There are depths of space into which no one with whom I have talked has
ever gone, or even knows anything definitely about. Within the familiar limits of the
astral levels where most people continue to live, life moves forward serenely and
with little hazard. But off, apparently beyond the boundaries of the inhabited regions,
perhaps even beyond the edge of our own stellar galaxy, are other, and unexplored
regions.
No one is compelled to take trips beyond the region where dwell his own kind of
people. But if you are adventurously inclined, and demand action and hazard, you
will find plenty of opportunity to test your ability and courage. If you seek them out,
there are real dangers to be encountered in exploring the boundary lands.
And although in the next life you pass beyond the influence of the physical world,
and therefore beyond the rotation of the earth, there are still directions which
correspond to north, south, east and west. The sun does not rise and set, but, except in
the hells, there is always light of some degree of intensity. This light apparently is
diffusive, but a little attention indicates that the vibratory waves thus manifesting as
light have a direction of travel. That is, instead of beating down from above, they
move across the country, and the general direction of movement, although not
perceptible unless attention is closely directed to it, can be sensed.
The direction from which this light comes corresponds to east, and if you face this
direction, north will be at your left hand, south at your right hand, and west at your
back. This is not altogether an accurate description of the directions in the
after-realm; but it is as close as I can give it in slower-than-light velocity terms. In
reality you do not analyze as I have done, you just have a sense of direction.
I suppose that our ancestors of several hundred years ago, if they had been told about
the modern automobile and airplane, would have jumped at once to the conclusion
that a people possessed of these conveniences of travel would never deign to move
about on foot. Yet about our streets, as well as on health-developing trips into the
country or through the mountains, it is still customary to meet pedestrians. In spite of
possessing other methods of locomotion, people still find it advantageous to do some
walking.
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Thus in the next life, while for long trips from one region to another, and for
movement between the levels, aerial travel is the customary method of transport, you
will find that walking is no less popular there for going on short excursions, and about
the everyday affairs, than it is here. People walk about the gardens and parks, walk
through the buildings, and take walks through the country, very much as they do on
earth. But when there is a demand for a quicker mode of travel, they can generate a
thought-power such as we call extra-physical power, that carries them almost
instantly to their destination.
One cannot speak of chance meetings and be entirely accurate. The contacts with
other people that we form in the present life, and in the next one, are not brought
about by chance, but because we have within our finer form thought-cells that attract
to us, when they are given additional activity by thought or by astrological releases,
people that have an influence similar to their desires. Yet just such meetings as on
earth we commonly term chance meetings also occur on the inner planes. And in that
life, also, people so met may exert a profound influence upon our lives.
Acquaintances
--I need not here go into the detail of how, in the next life, we can attract others to us;
because the method there is precisely the same as the method here, as explained in
Course 14, Occultism Applied, Chapters 5, 6 and 10. The only thing that needs to be
added is that in the next life as well as in this one, if there is a strong, persistent and
devout desire to accomplish some definite thing for the benefit of humanity this
desire radiates an energy which is felt, consciously or unconsciously, by those who
are best fitted to give instructions and assistance in this work. Such aspiration is a
powerful force to attract both people and things into the life that can aid in its
realization.
But it is not merely those who help us who have an influence on our lives. There are
others whom we meet here, and some whom we meet in the after-life, who are not
attracted through our desire to accomplish some constructive work. Yet if the contact
is once made and if some degree of association results, it carries with it also some
degree of responsibility. It is a responsibility that requires the finest powers of
discrimination properly to fulfill. We should never permit these people to detract
from our larger usefulness to society through their demands upon our time,
sympathy, and energy, nor cause us to deviate from the high path of spirituality we
have outlined for ourselves. Yet on the other hand, every person closely contacted in
this life and in the next affords a possible opportunity for real helpfulness; and to the
extent we can give real assistance to each without detracting from our larger
usefulness to society as a whole, are we called upon to render this assistance.
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I mention this rather obvious doctrine here because the lines of association we form
while still on earth often are instrumental in bringing the same people into our lives
again in the next world. Not only our relatives, but others whose lives in some
manner we have contacted and influenced here, are very apt, through the memory
images retained in our minds, to be again contacted on the inner plane. Yet if it can be
seen clearly that no constructive purpose would be served by such a renewal of
acquaintance, it can be avoided.
If an injustice has been done, however, the memory of it in the mind of one or both
usually has enough power, sooner or later to bring the two together, and then a proper
adjustment can be made. And even when no injustice has transpired, if one has
through personal contact exerted considerable influence in the life of another, this
commonly brings -them together again. I do not mean they necessarily have a further
influence over each other's lives; but that, even as people from the same village, after
they have taken up residence in some large city, have annual picnics where they once
more meet and discuss old-time acquaintanceship, so in the after-life people are apt
to look up their earth-time acquaintances. And these renewed contacts not
infrequently offer the opportunity for much helpful service.
People, when they pass to the next life, take up their own particular work; but they do
not become so engrossed in it and in their own progress that they forget their old
friends. Even when they pass to much higher planes they retain an interest in loved
ones in worlds below, and as opportunity offers communicate with them.
The most approved method by which those of considerable spiritual advancement
communicate with their loved ones on earth, or with those who have made the
thought contact with them through kindred interests is by extra-sensory impression.
Voluntary and directed thought transference, when the one on earth is sufficiently
trained in intellectual extra-sensory perception, is also to be commended. But,
unfortunately, not all of those who pass to the next plane are very wise. And even
among those wise, it may, under certain circumstances, be deemed expedient to use
various other methods, simply because there is the necessity to get a message
through, and other avenues are closed.
Regarding the destructive and disintegrative forms of medium- ship, I have had
much to say in the last three chapters of Course 1, Laws of Occultism. It is quite natural
that those who pass to the next plane should wish to give assurance of their welfare to
the loved ones still on earth. They are still quite as eager to be of help as they were
while here. But up to the present time the lines of communication between the two
worlds have not reached as high a degree of perfection as might be desired.
When a message is being given through the channels of a public medium it is often
possible for some other entity to cut in on the line, or due to other reasons, for the
message to come through in garbled form. But, unable to impress them more directly,
those wishing to communicate with loved ones here use whatever means they can
best command.
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It must not be thought that there is but a single method of inter-world
communication. There are many engineers and signal experts who, on the inner
planes, are devoting their time exclusively to perfecting various means of
communication. We cannot say what discoveries in this field may not be made in the
near future. And in chapter 1, I have already mentioned a strictly mechanical device
that I feel confident, in time, will come into use to make communication with the
earth easy, accurate, and fully reliable.
Stations For Communicating With
The Earth
--But at the present time there are many well organized stations in the astral world,
with skilled operators in charge, where people who have passed on may go and
undertake to communicate with those left in the flesh. These stations do not all
operate on the same plan, as different methods are constantly being experimented
with. At some of the more popular ones there is always a crowd of people, each
awaiting his turn to try to get a message through to some loved one on the earth.
And aside from these well established stations, there are numerous ingenious
individuals living on various levels, and in various sections of each level, who
delight in experiments of their own. They construct devices, and tryout many plans
by which they hope to get into contact with those of earth. The work of some of these
amateurs is highly gratifying, and is making communication with those of the next
life increasingly popular.
Quite aside from this public aspect of communication between the planes is the more
satisfying thought-transference method of spirit communion. This requires that the
one on earth, or lower level, shall have a keenly developed sense of awareness to
words and images having their origin in the mind of another.
If you practice this sort of sending and receiving messages, you first visualize as
clearly as possible the image of the person on the other plane you wish to contact.
This puts in the call, and if the thought has the proper quality and force to reach him,
he feels it as a force coming from you. He then thinks as clearly as possible of your
image, and attempts to modulate his thoughts to the same vibratory frequency as
those coming from you. He does not need to leave the level where he resides. The two
of you merely try to tune in on the same wavelength. And if you are successful in this,
both of you feel it as a sense of nearness. In your consciousness it will feel as if he
were right by your side, just as the voice from your radio seems to come right from
the room where the receiving set is located.
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Spirit communion as here described is accomplished through what is now termed
Intellectual Extra-Sensory Perception. The unconscious mind of an individual on
earth continually resides on the astral plane and has faculties which, given sufficient
energy with which to work, and the right kind of impetus, can on this inner plane
communicate with the intelligences dwelling there. In such communicating
mediumship or control plays no more part than it does when one individual
exchanges information with another on the physical plane. Nor in such work, if
worthy of being called spirit communion, does hypersensitivity play more of an
important part than it does in the exchange of information between two persons
talking to each other both of whom are in the flesh.
What happens is that the unconscious mind, or soul, is given instructions by the
objective mind what information or question it is to convey to the inner-plane person
tuned in on, and that it is to bring back the answer. The soul conveys the image or
message to the inner-plane person and brings back the reply. The interval between
visualizing the message and thus getting the answer may be so short as to seem
instantaneous, and the inner-plane individual, whatever level he may occupy, may
seem present in person.
The reason the images or words received are perceived in your own mind, even
though you are aware they come from the other person, is that in reality they first are
recognized by your unconscious mind, and it projects them up into the region of your
objective consciousness. Also, the thoughts that are transferred to the inner-plane
person exist first in your objective mind, then are forced down into the unconscious
mind, and on the plane it normally occupies are delivered by it to the mind of the
inner-plane person.
This process when carried out between two persons both of whom occupy the
physical plane is called telepathy, but when carried out between persons occupying
different planes is called spirit communion. For either the successful use of telepathy
or spirit communion there must be suitable electromagnetic energy present to give
energy to the soul, to direct its activities, and to enable it after it has acquired the
thought of the other person to project the thought into the objective mind with
sufficient force and clarity that it is able to overcome competing trains of thought,
and register there.
Volume of electrical energy is not all that is required for quick and effective thinking.
While all objective thinking is carried out through electrical processes within the
brain, to be effective there must be generated by the nervous system wavelengths
suitable for this purpose. Nor is volume of electrical energy all that is required to
furnish energy for telepathy or spirit communion. The electrical energy must be of a
high-frequency suitable for such work. Breathing and tensing exercises may be used
to generate such electrical energy; and even as most persons are aware when they are
in fit shape to do good thinking, so with a little practice one may learn to recognize
when electrical conditions are present suitable for spirit communion.
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However much suitable electrical energy is present, if highly charged thoughts about
everyday problems and worries keep flocking through the brain the unconscious
mind is unable to use it to make an impression on the brain vivid enough to be
objectively recognized. Therefore those who strive for spirit communion must
cultivate the ability to inhibit cerebral thinking.
The actual tuning in is done through mood control and holding the image in the mind
of the one to be reached with the thoughts. And with some practice it is possible to
recognize when the soul is sufficiently giving its attention to inner-plane things and
has made the contact with the person with whom it is instructed to communicate.
Usually it takes long and persistent practice deliberately to move one's
consciousness and thought-processes out on the inner plane. But when you have thus
moved your consciousness to the inner plane, it only takes practice in directing the
desires to learn to hold spirit communion, or to do a variety of work there. The
recognition of what the soul is doing is similar to that of knowing when one musical
instrument is in tune with another musical instrument. To gain this ability the
musician undergoes practice in discriminating the similarities and dissimilarities
between tones. And even as after a time he quickly recognizes the slightest difference
in tones, so the individual who applies himself can learn to discriminate between his
inner vibrations sufficiently to recognize whether or not his soul is active, what it is
doing, and whether it has made the contact it has been sent to establish.
All inner-plane experiences, including those involved in spirit communion, must
exist first in the soul as a memory before they are recognized by objective
consciousness. And when raised, at once or after some delay, into the region of
objective consciousness, there is the problem of recognizing them. Due to the
electrical energies which move through the brain having established easy channels of
flow, the habitual movement of these energies and the thoughts they charge may so
seriously compete with the weak electrical charges with which the soul can endow
the information it has received that no recognizable impression is made on the brain.
This difficulty is partly overcome through cultivating the ability to inhibit cerebral
thinking. But even after some progress has been made in this, some training in
discrimination may be necessary to sort out the images and impressions which the
unconscious mind, or soul, brings from the inner-plane person, and not confuse
them, or mix them, with one's own thoughts given energy by thought-cell activity,
which may gain considerable power through the energy fed the thought-cells by the
progressed aspects of the planets.
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Prayer
--This tuning in on higher planes brings us to the subject of prayer. Prayer, of its own
dynamic force, due to the images formulated by desire and vitalized with emotional
energy, has extra-sensory power to bring its own answer. Prayers, however, are of
various grades and categories. Some are pure and quite unselfish, wishing for the
welfare of all mankind. Others, equally unselfish, ask help for certain individuals.
Still others which in essence are really prayers, are not so considered by those who
feel them.
All, however, are either vague or clear cut thoughts that have been endowed with
emotional quality. This emotional quality gives them a certain vitality; but more
frequently than not the motive is somewhat mixed, and has vibratory elements of
several levels. Thus it is that prayers frequently can be seen as thought-forms on
several different levels. The grosser elements affect only the substance of the levels
closer to earth, but the more spiritual elements reach and can be seen even in the
levels above the astral, in the spiritual world. That is, prayer, or thought vitalized by
emotional elements can reach and have an influence only on levels that are of no
higher frequency than the highest frequency embraced within the thought.
But in this connection there is a factor of sufficient importance that it should be noted.
It is that by visualizing a person, that is, having his image in the mind, the range of
accommodation to thought-frequencies is considerably increased. The image affords
a definite tone to which the thought-frequency attempts to reach. Even should no
actual person be represented by this image, if the image as held in the mind is of a
character indicating a very exalted level, the thoughts tend to tune up, as nearly as
possible, to this frequency-level. Those, therefore, who have lifted their souls in
prayers to saints and angels, as well as to Omnific Deity, have reached a level with
their thoughts, and there builded somewhat, which otherwise to them would have
been entirely impossible.
Those who have ascended in their progress entirely above the astral world can have
no direct communication with those on earth, except with those who have already in
some measure built for themselves a spiritual form. Everyone on earth has an astral
form and, therefore, under proper conditions can reach, and be reached by, those who
have passed to the next life who are not too highly advanced in the astral realms. But
man is not born with a spiritual form. It is built up through thoughts, emotions and
experiences which are refined enough to affect the substance of the spiritual world.
Thus only the most advanced of those on earth have developed a spiritual form of
sufficient texture that it affords a means of contact with those exalted beings of the
real high-frequency spiritual world.
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Nor, if we have not developed a spiritual form while on earth, do we immediately get
one when we pass to the next life. If it is not built up here, it must be built up through
effort and long training in the after-life. And in this after-life, until we have built up
something of a spiritual body, those in the spiritual world cannot contact us directly.
Of course, while in the flesh or after passing to the astral plane, if we can turn the dial
of our consciousness even temporarily to the frequencies of the still higher velocity
realm of spirit we can see the events of that world and converse with those who there
dwell. But unless one has made some spiritual development he will find it hard to
tune in on the high-frequencies with sufficient persistence to receive messages from
such sources clearly. Answers to prayers for guidance, however, sometimes come
from these exalted spheres.
This does not mean that information from the spiritual spheres seldom reaches the
earth. On the contrary, accepted neophytes who have been given some specific work
to do on earth, and who already have built up spiritual bodies of considerable
strength, are frequently instructed and advised directly by those in the spiritual
world. And much more of information and instruction is conveyed to the physical
world through the relay system. The communication is given from those in the
spiritual levels to someone in the astral world who has succeeded in building up a
spiritual body of sufficient density to make it easy for him to contact spiritual
frequencies. Then this individual of the astral world makes whatever contact he can
with someone in the flesh, and thus the message finds its way into the physical world.
You will understand this from your radio set, which may not be able to pick up the
high-frequency waves used to transmit a program from England to Los Angeles. The
National Broadcasting System, however, has a receiving set that registers this
program, and as it comes from the loud speaker it goes into another microphone and
is re-broadcast on some other frequency that is easily registered by your set.
This is analogous to the common method by which information from the spiritual
levels is relayed to earth. But when the mechanical devices which I mentioned in
chapter 1 are perfected and brought into use on the earth, re-broadcasting will be
unnecessary. In this process of the future there is a transformer, or a series of them
which steps the velocities down, so that a message or program broadcast on any level
of either the spiritual world or astral world can be made to set up vibrations of similar
significance on any particular level in a lower-velocity realm, reproducing
themselves perfectly in lower octaves in the slower moving substance of the realm
contacted, and thus be made recognizable even on earth.
The relay principle is also brought into play when some manifestation of substance
takes place. A person of high astral level can so change his vibratory rates as to pass
down to any lower astral level and there perform some work or service. To do this, of
course, requires special training. But an astral entity cannot move physical substance
unless some physical organic life is present to furnish the electromagnetic energy to
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be used in the physical manifestation. Nor can someone in the spiritual world move
the substance of any of the astral levels, or do any work there, except someone of the
astral or physical world who has already developed something of a spiritual form is
present. But those of the spiritual levels, through the aid of a spiritual person there
located, can manifest themselves, and do so, in the worlds of lower velocities.
Yet I should not state positively what can and what cannot be done. Rather, I should
say that up to the present time certain things have apparently not been done. Because,
either on the astral levels, or on those spiritual, things are not fixed and stationary.
Progress is constantly striven after. On all planes there is a continued and energetic
search for new things and for new ways of doing old things.
Forty years ago we might have said that man cannot fly; yet today he does fly. So
what I have said about communication between the worlds is merely an observation
on what seems at present customary. Some discovery of tomorrow may entirely
upset this; for one of the things those on the inner levels are seeking is to find a
method by which the life of the different worlds and different levels of each world
may better be coordinated. In the spiritual world and in the astral world inter-planal
communication has been developed to a rather high degree of efficiency. But much is
yet to be desired in the facility and completeness of communication between the
spiritual world levels and the astral world levels, and between the astral world levels
and the realm of physical life on other planets and the earth.
Not only is there a very complete system of communication between the various
levels of the astral world, by which those who voluntarily descend from upper levels
to work on those lower keep in touch with the level to which they belong, but definite
programs are arranged by those on higher levels, which are sent to lower levels,
where they are witnessed and heard by multitudes.
But do not think that these programs are all in the nature of lectures, sermons, and
profound discourses. Instead, more of them are devoted to music, art, the drama, and
other types of entertainment. That such entertainments have an inspiring quality is
not to be wondered, as even on earth any entertainment that has not some uplifting
quality is popularly frowned upon. Yet I suppose to many it will seem surprising that
so much time in the next life is devoted to entertainment.
Entertainment
--From what I have seen, and the reports of others, it would seem that entertainment
is given more importance there than here. With some twenty million people
attending the movies in the U. S. every day, in addition to football games, baseball
games, and the consumption of radio music, it might be rash to say that more time is
given to entertainment there than here, although even that seems to be the case. But at
least the entertainments seem to be somewhat better organized, and quite as well
attended.
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Occasionally we hear it asserted by someone who has a little knowledge of the astral
plane that not only are people bound to earth by their pleasures, but that even after
passing to the next life they may become entangled in the joys of the "Summerland."
And it is true that an absorption in the grosser pleasures, either on earth or in the next
life, may develop a callous selfishness and coarsen the character, and thus make
progress impossible.
But we must realize, from our studies of psychology, that man voluntarily moves
only in the direction of his pleasures. He moves away from pain. When he does
something it is because doing it is more pleasurable to him than not doing it, or less
painful to him than not doing it. He may have conditioned himself to find pleasure in
things that most people find painful; but whenever there is a struggle between doing
and not doing, the movement is always in the direction of the strongest image in the
mind, and this, unless he is dominated against his will, is away from pain and toward
pleasure.
In the next life, and in this one, one may cultivate pleasure in anti-social acts, in gross
conduct, and in vileness of various kinds. Thus it is possible to become entangled in
the grosser pleasures of the "Summerland." But this is no indictment of pleasure or of
joy; it merely indicates that the wrong kinds of pleasure are degrading.
On the other hand, either on earth or in the next life, the strongest force for progress,
in fact, almost the only force, is that derived from finding pleasure in experiences that
are beneficial to others, that refine the form, and that lift the soul in aspiration to more
noble endeavors. It is probably due to a recognition of this principle that we find
music, pageants, glorious displays of lights and colors, thought-built scenic
grandeurs, dramatic presentations, and splendid tableaus so common on all these
higher astral levels.
In these higher levels we find people planning their activities so as to get the utmost
from their lives. And the common method of doing this is to divide the activities into
four separate phases: Work, study, domestic life and rest, and amusement. The
proportionate amount of time spent in anyone of these phases in relation to the
amount spent in each of the other three is not constant, but varies with the individual,
and also with the same individual's requirements at different stages of his
advancement. Yet, through the counsel of those who specialize in such research, and
through personal observation, it is more common than otherwise to find people in
these higher levels dividing their time among those four interests after a manner that
will give the greatest all around value to their lives.
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Work And Play
--Some types of work require much reading, attending lectures, and personal
instruction for the highest effectiveness. Other types require very little of such
methods, and that which should be learned is derived largely from doing it and
through conversations with others who are following the same line. Thus just how
much time and energy are allotted to gaining information is determined by individual
needs.
No one, however, is considered too old, or too wise, to require further education, so
that while book knowledge and formal schooling may playa very small part in the
lives of some, everyone seems to recognize that any degree of progress calls for an
effort to increase his knowledge. Some educational effort, therefore, is common to
the life of practically everyone. In addition to other avenues of gaining information,
there are vast public libraries to which all have access. And I may add, in passing, that
these libraries are not totally inaccessible to those yet on earth.
When I speak of domestic life I do not mean that everyone is married and has a
separate and individual home, although this is more common than otherwise. Yet
everyone, after a period of strenuous activity, feels the need of rest, relaxation and
revitalization. On earth, people eat and sleep to recuperate their strength. In the
higher astral levels eating as we know it is not practiced, nor sleep. Yet periods of rest
and revitalization are required and, while some live in more congested quarters and
in conformity to their temperamental leanings, domestic ties and a home seem to find
favor with most as the ideal means to this end.
Because most of the accounts of the next life come to us through those especially
concerned with communicating with someone on earth, the impression might easily
be gained that the chief concern of those on the inner plane is the earth and what
happens to its people. After many years in a metropolis, one writing, or telephoning,
to the old home town might just as readily convey the impression that the most
important thing in life was what was happening in the village of his birth. But in
reality he might be living a varied and quite intense life in his present surroundings
and gives thought to the village only on special occasions. And in reality those of the
next life, while not forgetful of earth ties, are so actively engaged in their after-life
affairs that what happens on earth assumes no great importance.
Among these activities, and at least far better organized than on earth, are the
amusements. There are public pageants of vast splendor, which are presented at
times when the astrological forces correspond to the purpose of the pageant. In fact,
the periods not only devoted to amusement, but also to serious work, are coordinated
with astrological forces, and thus greater effectiveness for energy expended is
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secured. Building activities, for instance, are timed to periods when the astrological
influences correspond to those represented by our planet Mars; activities involving
special leadership to influences which correspond to those represented by our Sun,
etc. The pageants, likewise, and other types of public amusement, are set for periods
that have a corresponding astrological quality.
The gorgeousness of these displays cannot be conceived by one who has never left
the earth. Not infrequently those of higher levels are in charge of affairs.
Thought-molded substances are shaped into amazing and beautiful designs. Colors
of infinite harmony are blended to produce most exquisite effects. And as these
artistic arrays move forward like vehicles, various lights from a distance are played
upon them in such a manner as to produce a symphony of color combinations. Visual
music, as well as that auditory, thus lends an added enchantment.
In such pageants, people in splendid costumes take part; and along with them, and
trained to their part, are other bright creatures, pert and intelligent, with grace of
movement, beauty and charm, which have no counterpart on earth. They are not
fairies, for they seem to have developed in the realm where they now are; but they
exceed in their delightfulness even the wee folk of earthly forest glens.
Then there are festivals and various ceremonial occasions. These also occur under
special astrological influences and, as any high class entertainment should, they
carry a message of importance. The intellectual aspect, however, is quite
subordinate, and the chief end sought seems to be the arousing of beneficial
emotional responses. And the most striking thing about such affairs, to one who has
had no previous contact with these higher astral levels, is the number of people who
attend them.
If there were no other types of amusement this would not seem so surprising, but
there are public exhibitions of art, public musical recitals, public exhibitions of
dancing, public initiation ceremonies, and public reception, with appropriate music,
color and tableau, of those who have made enough progress on the next lower astral
level to be ready to take up their life permanently on this particular one.
Initiation Ceremonies
--When a large group is brought to a level, from some other and lower region, the
whole community seems to turn out to greet them. Banners fly, colored lights play
visual melodies, music resounds a welcome, and everyone makes it an occasion for
being both happy and gay. There are speeches of congratulation, and ceremonies of
initiation, all in full public view. Afterwards there is more music and dancing and
places where various kinds of dramatic entertainments may be witnessed.
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In such public initiations, which are not to be confused with the initiations given by
certain fraternities and orders, on occasions there is someone from earth, out of the
body during sleep, who has succeeded permanently in raising the dominant vibration
of his astral form to the plane level where the ceremony is taking place. Thus,
because he has made the same advancement as the others who are now just taking up
their existence on this particular astral level, he joins them and forms a part of their
group.
Even though everyone recognizes that he still has a physical body on the earth, he is
quite as welcome as the others. He is conducted through the same ceremony, and
cheered quite as royally.
When he awakens in his physical body he may remember considerable of the
ceremony, or only a very little of it; but usually he is at least conscious that he has
been away, has passed certain tests, and has been formally initiated somewhere. And
he may even remember that he was rather clumsy in this other environment; for those
fresh from earth show their ineptitude, and what they do often excites hilarious
though friendly merriment from the crowd. They laugh at his little blunders, and he
takes it all in good part and laughs with them, but they also make it plain that they
esteem him highly for, while still hampered with a physical body, making such
marked advancement.
Brotherhoods and societies of importance on the earth have their counterparts in the
next life. And it is not uncommon to find a brother who yet resides on earth attending
the meetings of his fraternity on the astral plane.
Of necessity, I have had to treat of the amusements and social activities of the next
life as if they were identical on all levels. As a matter of fact, the work of certain
lodges, for instance, is not just the same on different astral levels, but grows in
complexity as the levels are ascended. Nor is the type of amusement entirely similar
as found on various levels. I have, however, tried to give an accurate impression--as
an accurate description is beyond the written word--of conditions as you will
encounter them after you move your residence from physical earth to the astral
world.
If I have conveyed the impression that things are just stereotyped over there, that it is
a place of monotonous routine, and that every- thing is accepted with a serious
countenance, I have failed. But if I have conveyed to you that life there is brilliantly
and pleasingly active, that interests are varied and thrilling, that there is more real
romance in the after-life than has ever been thought of on earth, that social relations
are given plenty of attention, and that amusement and entertainment, instead of being
considered a waste of time, are deemed important in every well regulated life, I have
not failed. And if, in addition, you can feel that this next life is going to be intensely
more alluring, happy and vital than this one, I will consider this discourse a success.