WHEN WE DIE - Exploring the Great Beyond
by Geoffrey Farthing
Chapter XI - The Keys of Life
A Description of the After-Death States and Processes
In one of their Letters the Masters made the paradoxical statement that "he who holds the keys to the secrets of Death is possessed of the keys of Life". Possibly before we had read this book, such a statement would have appeared quite meaningless. Now, although we can hardly claim to hold the keys to the secrets of death, we do have many ideas on the subject which we had not at the beginning. These new ideas must have amplified and possibly considerably reoriented our thinking.
We have now become used to the idea of the endless continuity in the grand process of life with its alternating periods of activity and rest, and of an ever-flowing process of cause and effect. Within that process we have seen how things come into being in the objective realms, from the (for us) subjective ones, and then return from being to non-being. These worlds of non-being are, for us, subjective ones, but they are the worlds of power, of constructive and destructive energy, of the animating principle of life, the source of all dynamism. In talking of our higher principles we have used such words as divine and immortal. We have seen that, whereas the total process of Nature is quite unending, nevertheless there are periodical manifestations into objectivity of the universe and all that is contained in it, and its periodic withdrawal into the inner depths. We have seen that this process reflects into man. He, as earthly man, has his days of earth-life activity and his nights of recuperation and assimilation in sleep in the non-physical worlds, the one alternating with the other. Each cycle of day and night is analogous to our earth lives and the after-death periods.
The teaching tells us that Cosmos is a living whole and that everything in it is living, giving expression in its own way to one Universal Life. We are told of the hierarchical structure of Cosmos on different levels or planes of being. The beings comprising these hierarchies range, as do the planes, from the physical up to the highest spiritual. The lowly beings (the Elementals) are, together with the Elements, the essential constituents of rudimentary Nature. They are associated with both the inner and the outer worlds: they underlie all creation. From these we pass through the many gradations of being, and beings, through man to the angelic or even god-like entities as the apex of the
pyramid of lives is approached. At each level of being the lives of the lower levels are subservient to those of the level immediately above them. It is in this way that intelligence rules throughout. The high entities are both the creators and the governors of all existent things.
Evolutionary progression based on the collective experience of an infinity of living things from the beginning of time, results in ordered development, in expansion and growth. What exists in the present is continually being transformed into what will be in the future. Present time is as it were a section made at a given instant through this process. For example, we now are the result of all our yesterdays, and what we are and what we do now creates our tomorrows. This process is inevitable and inexorable; it is the Law.
We have learnt of this Law, the law of Karma, as it applies to the after-death condition. It operates in all the realms of being; it has a moral aspect which affects the consequences of any act or even thought; it is as certain in its action as any physical law of motion. The operations of this Law are immensely complex. No human mind can comprehend its complexity enough to predict the future, unless it be in a very general way, nor accurately foretell the outcome of any act with certainty.
Turning to ourselves as men and women, we have seen something of our total constitution, spiritual, mental, emotional, as well as physical. We now know we have principles corresponding to each of these faculties. We see that our psychic and mental abilities operate in us through our principles of Kama and Manas. We have followed the fate of these principles into the after-death states. We have also learned of something which can be of inestimable importance to us. In our personal lives each of us is overshadowed by what we can only regard as a divine entity, our higher Ego. We have also seen that this higher Ego is a reflection, maybe microcosmic - in any dimensional terms we can think in - of the universal macrocosmic upper principles of Cosmos.
So, individually each of us has this everlasting core of essential being, about which, however, we know very little in our normal lives. We have seen in this book that it is this essence of being that in fact is the seat of all our life functions and of our very consciousness as living beings. Our active functioning stems from this universal dynamic principle, in which, literally, in the limit everything moves and has its being. By processes of differentiation and transformation down through the planes of existence, this one life becomes all that we know. Ultimately it constitutes, by processes of differentiation down through the planes, our objective world and all that is
in it, with which we are so familiar through our senses. It also constitutes the inner worlds and all that is in them.
When we are immersed in the activities of the world of objectivity, our normal being seems to us to be wholly related to it. We feel physically to be of its nature. We have learned, however, that our inner nature constitutes our life just as much as does our body. We know of both worlds: the one through our outer physical senses of perception, the other through our inner senses of response and appreciation. We know of both of these worlds through a central awareness, our unit of consciousness. Knowing is a result of something - a visual impression, or a feeling, or even a thought - registering in our consciousness. Acquired knowledge is when we remember our impressions, however gained. Each one of us, in the inner sense, is a unit of consciousness. We could define consciousness as the ability to be aware. This unit of consciousness is, as far as we are concerned, our ultimate being, it is the ultimate subject. It is the knower which, so to speak, cannot be known. It can never be objective to us. This ultimate "I" is, perhaps, the great mystery of existence - the final unknowable. It is said that we can consciously be "THAT", the indefinable universal "I" or SELF, and when we are, we are, so to speak, GOD. We are then in the state of Nirvanic immortality.
The teaching tells us that our higher faculties are capable of tremendous extension by purification and refinement and that one of the purposes of our living on this earth is eventually so to condition our physical and psychic vehicles as to make them proper vehicles for the reception and expression of the unimaginable wonders and powers of the Spirit which overshadows us all.
We are therefore all here on this purposeful evolutionary journey. It is not only a physical journey, it is also a psychic and a spiritual one. We are learning first to become properly human instead of largely animal, then we are learning to become supermen, in every sense, and finally to become Gods in our turn.
We ended our account of the after-death processes with some thoughts on immortality. We cannot possibly conceive in any real terms and with our ordinary minds what this might be, but we have seen that it is an existence of unbroken consciousness, although not necessarily in terms of any consciousness we now know, but one running without any breaks through eternities of time. Nevertheless, even these obey the cyclic law. We have seen a vast, virtually endless process of which each of us is a part and wherein each of us in our embryonic human stage is nurtured so that we may
take part in ever-ascending levels of being as ourselves and then as members of a hierarchy composed of greater and greater super-human entities. The vistas of this post-human journey are so great as to be beyond our very imagining. This would seem to be the message conveyed by the few words of the Masters that "he who holds the keys to the secrets of Death is possessed of the keys of Life". The very thoughts evoked by what we have learned surely liberate us from the cramping limitations of our everyday personalities. It is to these imprisoning illusions that we must die if we would be born again in spirit and enter Life, unlimited - Reality Itself.
When We Die ... Exploring the Great Beyond > Next Page Appendix - Some Supplementary General Information