Part 1 of 2 here.
There is a big difference now between the scientific method of bringing people into incarnation and the perfectly blind and oft frightened and surely ignorant way in which we usher them out of incarnation. I seek today to open the door in the occident to a newer and more scientific method of handling the process of dying, and let me make myself perfectly clear. What I have to say in no way abrogates modern medical science with its palliatives and skill. All I plead for is a sane approach to death; all I seek to make is a suggestion that when pain has worn itself out and weakness has supervened, the dying person be permitted to prepare himself, even if apparently unconscious, for the great transition. Forget not that it takes strength and a strong hold on the nervous apparatus to produce pain. Is it impossible to conceive of a time when the act of dying will be a triumphant finale of life? Is it impossible to vision the time when the hours spent on the death bed may be but a glorious prelude to a conscious exit? When the fact that the man is to discard the handicap of the physical sheath may be for him and those around him the long waited for and joyous consummation? Can you not visualize the time when instead of tears and fear and the refusal to recognize the inevitable, the dying person and his friends would mutually agree on the hour and that nothing but happiness would characterize the passing? That in the minds of those left behind the thought of sorrow will not enter and death beds will be regarded as happier occasions than births and marriages? I tell you, that before so very long this will be deeply so for the intelligent of the race, and little by little for all.
You say there are as yet only beliefs as to immortality and no sure evidences. In the accumulation of testimony, in the inner assurances of the human heart, in the fact of belief in eternal persistence as an idea in the minds of men lies sure indication. But indication will give place to conviction and knowledge before another hundred years has elapsed, for an event will take place and a revelation be given to the race which will turn hope into certainty and belief into knowledge. In the meantime, let a new attitude to death be cultivated and a new science of death be inaugurated. Let it cease to be the one thing we cannot control and which inevitably defeats us and let us begin to control our passing over to the other side, and to understand somewhat the technique of transition.
Before I take up this subject in greater detail I would like to make reference to the “web in the brain”, which is intact for the majority but is non-existent for the illumined seer.
In the human body, as you know, we have an underlying, interpenetrating vital body which is the counterpart of the physical, which is larger than the physical and which we call the etheric body or double. It is an energy body and is composed of force centers and nadis or force threads. These underlie or are the counterparts of the nervous apparatus – the nerves and the nerve ganglia. In two places in the human vital body there are orifices of exit for the life force. One opening is in the solar plexus and the other is in the brain at the top of the head. Protecting both is a closely woven web of etheric matter, composed of interlacing strands of life energy.
During the process of death, the pressure of the life energy beating against the web produces eventually a puncturing or opening. Out of this the life force pours as the potency of the abstracting influence of the soul increases. In the case of animals, of infants and of men and women who are polarized entirely in the physical and astral bodies, the door of exit is the solar plexus and it is that web which is punctured, thus permitting the passing out. In the case of mental types, of the more highly evolved human units, it is the web at the top of the head in the region of the fontanel which is ruptured, thus again permitting the exit of the thinking rational being.
In psychics and in the case of mediums and lower seers (clairvoyant and clairaudient people) the solar plexus web is permanently ruptured early in life and easily therefore they pass in or out of the body, going into trance, as it is called, and functioning on the astral plane. But for these types there is no continuity of consciousness and there seems no relation between their physical plane existence and the happenings which they relate whilst in trance and of which they usually remain totally unaware in the waking consciousness. The whole performance is below the diaphragm and is related primarily to animal sentient life. In the case of conscious clairvoyance and in the work of the higher psychics and seers there is no trance, obsession or mediumship. It is the web in the brain which is punctured and the opening in that region permits the inflow of light, information and inspiration; it confers also the power to pass into the state of Samadhi which is the spiritual correspondence to the trance condition of the animal nature.
In the process of death these are, therefore, the two main exits: the solar plexus for the astrally polarized, physically biased human being and therefore of the vast majority, and the head center for the mentally polarized and spiritually oriented human being. This is the first and most important fact to remember and it will easily be seen how the trend of a life tendency and the focus of the life attention determine the mode of exit at death. It can be seen also that an effort to control the astral life and the emotional nature and to orient one’s self to the mental world and to spiritual things has a momentous effect upon the phenomenal aspects of the death process.
If the student is thinking clearly, it will be apparent to him that one exit concerns the spiritual and highly evolved man, whilst the other concerns the low grade human being who has scarcely advanced beyond the animal stage. What then of the average man? A third exit is now in temporary use; just below the apex of the heart another etheric web is found covering an orifice of exit. We have, therefore, the following situation:
- The exit in the head, used by the intellectual type, by the disciples and initiates of the world.
- The exit in the heart, used by the kindly, well-meaning man or woman who is a good citizen, an intelligent friend and a philanthropic worker.
- The exit in the region of the solar plexus, used by the emotional, unintelligent, unthinking man and by those whose animal nature is strong.
This is the first point in the new information which will slowly become common knowledge in the West during the next century. Much of it is already known by thinkers in the East and is in the nature of a first step towards a rational understanding of the death process.
The second point to be grasped is that there can be a technique of dying and a training given during life which will lead up to the utilization of that technique.
As regards the training to which a man can submit himself I will give a few hints which will be found to convey a new meaning to much work now being done by all aspirants. The Elder Brothers of the race who have guided humanity through long centuries, are now busy preparing people for the next great step to be taken. This step will bring in a continuity of consciousness which will do away with all fear of death and link the physical and astral planes in such a close relation that they will in reality constitute one plane. Just as an at-one-ment has to be brought about between the various aspects of man, so a similar unification has to take place in connection with the various aspects of the planetary life. The planes have to be at-one-ed as well as soul and body. This has already been largely accomplished between the etheric plane and the dense physical plane. Now it is being rapidly carried forward between the physical and the astral.
- Learn to keep focused in the head through visualization and meditation and through the steady practice of concentration; develop the capacity to live increasingly as the king seated on the throne between the eyebrows. This is a rule that can be applied to the every day affairs of life.
- Learn to render heart service and not an emotional insistence on activity directed towards handling the affairs of others. This involves, prior to all such activity, the answering of two questions: – Am I rendering this service to an individual as an individual, or am I rendering it as a member of a group to a group? Is my motive an egoic impulse, or am I prompted by emotion, ambition to shine and love of being loved or admired? These two activities will result in the focusing of the life energies above the diaphragm and so negate the attractive power of the solar plexus. Hence, that center will become increasingly inactive and there will not be so much danger of puncturing the web in that locality.
- Learn, as you go to sleep, to withdraw the consciousness to the head. This should be practiced as a definite exercise as one falls to sleep. One should not permit oneself to drift off to sleep, but should endeavor to preserve the consciousness intact until there is a conscious passing out onto the astral plane. Relaxation, close attention, and a steady drawing upwards to the center in the head should be attempted, for until the aspirant has learned to be steadily aware of all processes in going to sleep and to preserve at the same time his positivity, there is danger in this work. The first steps must be taken with intelligence and followed for many years until facility in the work of abstraction is achieved.
- Record and watch all phenomena connected with the withdrawing process, whether followed in the meditation work or in going to sleep. It will be found, for instance, that many people wake with an almost painful start just as they have dropped asleep. This is due to the slipping out of the consciousness through a web which is not adequately clear and through an orifice which is partially closed. Others may hear an intensely loud snap in the region of the head. This is caused by the vital airs in the head of which we are not usually aware and is produced by an inner aural sensitivity which causes awareness of sounds always present but not usually registered. Others will see light as they fall asleep, or clouds of color, or banners and streamers of violet, all of which are etheric phenomena. These phenomena which are of no real moment, are all related to the vital body, to pranic emanations, and to the web of light.
The carrying on of this practice and the following of these four rules over a period of years will do much to facilitate the technique of the death bed, for the man who has learned to handle his body as he falls asleep, has an advantage over the man who never pays any attention to the process.
In relation to the technique of dying it is only possible for me at this time to make one or two suggestions. I deal not here with the attitude of the attendant watchers, I deal only with those points which will make for an easier passing over of the transient soul.
First, let there be silence in the chamber. This is, of course, frequently the case. It must be remembered that the dying person may usually be unconscious. This unconsciousness is apparent but not real. In nine hundred cases out of a thousand the brain awareness is there, with a full consciousness of happenings, but there is a complete paralysis of the will to express and complete inability to generate the energy which will indicate aliveness. When silence and understanding rule the sick room, the departing soul can hold possession of its instrument with clarity until the last minute and can make due preparation.
Later, when more anent color is known, only orange lights will be permitted in the sick room of a dying person, and these will only be installed with due ceremony when there is assuredly no possibility of recovery. Orange aids the focusing in the head, just as red stimulates the solar plexus and green has a definite effect upon the heart and life streams.
Certain types of music will be used when more in connection with sound is understood, but there is no music as yet which will facilitate the work of the soul in abstracting itself from the body, though certain notes on the organ will be found effective. At the exact moment of death, if a person’s own note is sounded, it will coordinate the two streams of energy and eventually rupture the life thread, but the knowledge of this is too dangerous to transmit yet and can only later be given. I would indicate the future and the lines along which future occult study will run.
It will be found also that pressure on certain nerve centers and on certain arteries will facilitate the work. (This science of dying is held in custody, as many students know, in Tibet.) Pressure on the jugular vein and on certain big nerves in the region of the head and on a particular spot in the medulla oblongata will be found helpful and effective. A definite science of death will inevitably later be elaborated, but only when the fact of the soul is recognized and its relation to the body has been scientifically demonstrated.
Mantric phrases will also be employed and definitely built into the consciousness of the dying person by those around him, or employed deliberately and mentally by himself. The Christ demonstrated their use when be cried aloud, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” And we have another instance in the words, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace.” The steady use of the Sacred Word chanted in an undertone or on a particular key (to which the dying man will be found to respond) may later constitute also a part of the ritual of transition accompanied by the anointing with oil, as preserved in the Catholic Church. Extreme unction has an occult, scientific basis. The top of the head of the dying man should also symbolically point towards the East and the feet and the hands should be crossed. Sandalwood only should be burned in the room and no incense of any other kind permitted, for sandalwood is the incense of the first or destroyer ray and the soul is in process of destroying its habitation.
This is all I can at this time communicate on the subject of death for the consideration of the general public. But I conjure all of you to push the study of death and its technique as far as possible and to carry forward occult investigation of this matter.