Joseph J. Weed
The two greatest mysteries of life are birth, its beginning and death, its ending. Of the physical facts of both we know a great deal, but beyond the outward and the obvious very little is known by even our most learned scientists and medical men. What is life ? What brings life into the body of the new born babe ? What is death ? What takes place when the breath ceases and the heart stops beating ? What, if anything, precedes birth ? And what happens after death ?
Throughout the teaching can be found quite a few answers to these questions and in the literature recommended as supplementary reading there is additional information. But it is somewhat scattered. So let us try here to put together what we as Rosicrucians know and have had revealed to us on these two fascinating subjects.
Before the soul-personality is ever assigned to, or attracted to, a definite physical body, before the birth of that body, it has an opportunity to review the possibilities which may be offered by the life to come. For each life offers certain opportunities for development, for learning, for expanding consciousness, for working out past Karma and for working ever closer to the proper and full expression of that particular God quality selected by the soul prior to its very first incarnation in a physical form. Each one of us is working towards a certain aspect of perfection, a certain beauty which we have glimpsed in the aura of God himself and which we are ever seeking to reproduce here on earth. Our many lives here on this planet, for as you know we live again and again, are testimony to the difficulty of the task to which we set ourselves so many, many years ago. To achieve our objective we asked for permission to use certain energies, the raw material with which we work, and we were granted these energies on the condition that we return them in as pure a state as they came to us. To our dishonor and unhappiness we allowed ourselves to be led astray from the original and most worthy objective which we had in mind and in so doing we corrupted, changed and soiled the energies which we borrowed.
All of us here present are now working to correct the mistakes we have made and restore the energy we have altered and changed. We are determined to pay our debts and once again draw together the threads we have torn. We still continue to draw upon the reservoir of psychic energy and with each breath, we draw into our bodies and our auras fresh, clean, pure, unsullied, energy which we intend to employ unselfishly and impersonally. But as you know, even now in spite of our good intentions, we frequently slip and create more Karma for ourselves by misusing this energy.
This looks like an endless circle, a maze from which we could never extricate ourselves. And indeed we could not unless we received help from beings higher than ourselves who self-sacrificingly devote their own time and life energy to this task. Thus before incarnation each one of us is given the opportunity of observing several possible future lives each embodying certain lines of endeavor for us and certain possibilities for paying debts. Usually the advanced soul selects a most difficult existence in order to speed up his development. But the Lords of Karma are merciful as well as just. They know well the innate capacity of each soul personality and they refuse to allow a soul to choose a path which is beyond its power and capacity to endure. They know they must "temper the wind to the shorn lamb."
Of course, not every soul personality takes this attitude. Some are relatively undeveloped and seek only to reincarnate at the first opportunity without caring what responsibilities await. Others have a tendency to shy away from physical incarnation and try to remain over-long in the psychic realm. These soul-personalities are assigned bodies and life opportunities by the Karmic board without their having very much voice in their selection. But I think I can say that most of us here have actually selected the body which we now have, the opportunities that have presented themselves to us and the life we are now leading. And what is more, we are making and remaking our lives from day to day right now. Some of you are doing this consciously and others without quite realizing what you are doing, but almost every one of you has altered your life stream and life opportunities at least once since birth. This is true of most people in esoteric work who sincerely apply themselves to the study and exercises taught to them. This consecration of the idea of self-development and the broadening of one's consciousness causes the seeker's life to take a new turning, to present new opportunities of working off old Karma and to open doors to a new and broader understanding of life and God. This is almost like being born again into a whole new life, replete with new opportunities, and I say that most of you here have done that at least once and some of you many times in this present incarnation.
The Master Jesus referred to this in the words "You shall be born again of water and the Holy Ghost". The Christian Church symbolizes this in the Sacrament of Baptism, using water and invoking the power of the Holy Ghost. But each one of you have performed this miracle for yourselves and may do so again. The clues are a new direction, a rededication, so to speak, involving a decision on your part and the cleansing symbolized by water, and through the assistance of a Higher Power whose aid you petition and invoke, symbolized by the Holy Ghost.
Before this digression, we left the soul personality facing several possible lives and the necessity of choosing between them. The normal tendency of the advanced soul is to choose a life beyond his powers of safe accomplishments, but the Lords of Karma, in their mercy, do not permit this and limit him to those lives which offer the best opportunity for success. So the soul-personality chooses a certain future and is then attracted to the physical embryo that will lead him into that future.
The soul hovers over the mother and attempts to guide her and guard her until the child is born and at birth, with the child's first breath, it enters the body and the new born babe becomes a person, a living soul. Wordsworth says "Trailing clouds of glory". For the first few weeks the soul-personality retains a good memory of its life in the psychic world and the events leading up to its birth in a new body. But the new physical equipment is unfamiliar and does not respond. It tries to talk and only strange sounds issue fourth from its mouth. It hears, but nothing makes sense. It sees, but the eyes are not yet under control, half the time they are out of focus and even when they occasionally accidentally do focus directly upon some object, its size and dimensions are uncorrelated with the sense of touch and are meaningless. Thus, after a few weeks of trying to understand and use its new equipment, the newly born person finally slips into the dream state of babyhood and not until a year or so later does it gradually emerge as a new personality.
The ensuing lifetime presents the opportunity of paying the debts incurred in previous lives and of permitting others to repay you for your help to them. These debts must be repaid and the energy purified at the level at which the original misapplication occurred. Thus, physical violence of the past must be balanced off by physical suffering, an emotional upset like hate must be balanced by love and the mental errors of vanity or pride, for example, must be balanced by humility. In this manner is the energy which was loaned to the struggling soul purified and turned to its divine source freeing the individual from any further need of meeting and coping with the outward manifestations of that particular form of energy again. Thus, gradually do we free ourselves from the ties that bind us to this physical existence. When finally the last debt has been paid and the last bit of energy purified, we are then free to leave this planet and return no more. We then need never again incarnate in a physical body. Some will take advantage of this opportunity and move on to other worlds, a few with the example of the unselfish help and service of the great Mahatmas of this planet fresh in their minds will decide to stay on here and help their struggling brothers and sisters. This work may be, and is, performed either in a physical body or from the etheric level without a physical counterpart.
But, alas, in spite of the high resolve and good intentions of the soul-personality before birth, the physical envelope is often weak and fails to live up to the standards set up by the soul. Fresh new energy is petitioned and obtained and unfortunately frequently misused, so that at the end of the life-span but very little forward progress has been made. And this means another round of death, instruction and rebirth for the soul-personality.
At death most people fall into a deep slumber which is most restful and enables them to forget much of the unpleasantness and tension of life. A few low-grade entities retain consciousness and fight to get back into a physical body while on the other hand the advanced student will proceed in full consciousness away from the earth plane and up to the higher realms. Actually, when souls pass through transition, they are in various states of consciousness. The highly developed, the conscious chela of a master and the advanced student pass over in full waking consciousness and are usually met by their own Master or a high being sent at His direction to minister to them. They are usually quite eager to present themselves immediately to the Board of Judgment as the Lords of Karma are called and frequently the chelas and their sponsors may appear for judgment within as little as 12 hours after transition. However, the mercy of the Law is such that, after the soul passes from the body it is given what is called a "spiritual vacation"; a little release and relief from the pressures of life. The average individual, anticipating a reunion with departed members of the family and friends is given every opportunity to vacation, so to speak, with these loved ones for a certain period of time, to renew associations and to have the happiness which they have anticipated. However, the diligent student usually wishes to dispense with any activity which does not aid the progress of the soul and asks to come quickly before the Karmic Board.
Now this Board of Judgment or Karmic Board is not sitting there to mete out punishment. This is the erroneous impression created by certain organized religions which teach that the dead must face judgment and then be sent to either heaven or hell. Nothing could be more mistaken. The soul faces a judgment board, yes, but the main thought and desire of this board is to find a way and means by which each soul is given its greatest opportunity to balanced its debt to life by learning how to control energy and complete its evolution. Probably the worst experience of the newly department soul and the experience which comes nearest to the hell of religious teachings is the feeling of remorse and regrets he experiences as he stands in the freedom of the etheric body and looks back and sees what he might have accomplished and failed to do.
The Karmic Board at all times acts for the good of the individual and for the best interest of the entire human evolution. After the chela and the Karmic Board have together examined the life just passed and essayed how near he came to obtaining his plans and promises made before birth, a decision is jointly reached. Usually, the soul's decision is much too severe and must be tempered by the mercy and wisdom of the Lords of Karma. The chela then sets to work at inner levels to expiate as much of his Karma as is possible in the astral world. There is nothing painful about this. For the student it is a joyous service and fills him with a sense of accomplishment. Yet this is the stage referred to by some religions as Purgatory. Many men think of it as a place of punishment yet the opposite is nearer the truth.
The forgoing description applies to the advanced student, the accepted chela or disciple. However, when the average man passes through transition he usually is allowed a certain time to visit with loved ones and friends. When he is ready he is called gently and sometimes in a group, to come before the Karmic board. Usually, he responds quite readily but he need not. This is a matter of individual decision. There are some who prefer to stay in the dream state of the astral realm and refuse to face the Lords of Karma, thus delaying there own evolution until some time as they tire of the pleasures they have created for themselves.
Going still further down the scale you find those who are convinced there is no existence after death and refused to recognize one. These and certain sluggish-minded individuals fall into a deep sleep which lasts a long while, sometimes for hundreds of years. All the time they are asleep, the healing and nourishing process of the Cosmic are at work on them and usually they awake finally in a refreshed state and much more willing to take the necessary steps in their own behalf.
Then still further down the evolutionary scale there are those who are earthbound, so to speak. These are the individuals with such a strong love or such a strong hate of the things of earth or the people of earth, that they fight death and even after death refuse to believe they are not still alive. They cling to the people or things they loved or disliked and live on the vitality and magnetism of living people. These types tend to reincarnate at the first opportunity, usually quite recklessly, and thus create for themselves another chaotic existence.
The events after transition are different therefore for each individual and depend upon the state of consciousness and previous training. But eventually all come again to the need for rebirth into a physical body and the process starts all over again. It is true that between incarnations, the soul-personality is nourished, trained and improved. Usually, the soul-personality at birth is in pretty fine condition, capable of great things. You have noticed, I am sure, that the average youngster is a pretty fine person and it is only as he grows up that his standards slip and temptation overcomes him too often.
I urge you therefore to protect our children, your children. Guard them in the privacy of your own home and also publicly in the schools, playgrounds and meeting places where children group together. When young they are highly telepathic and respond most sensitively to your every thought and every emotion, in many cases far more truly than to your words and actions. Therefore, watch your thoughts and restrain your emotions when you are near them. Bathe them in love and confidence and they will blossom and grow strong like flowers in the sunshine.
I also urge you to pray for the dead, for those you love and know and also for those you don't know. We are all in this world together as parts of one great evolutionary process. No one of us can proceed along the path too far in advance of the rest. And in like manner a certain few delinquents can hold up the development of all the others. But we can help them when they find it most difficult to help themselves. I refer to the time immediately after transition when if willing and cooperative, the soul can be taught so much and trained so well. Pray for the departed ones, see them surrounded by light, see them accepting the Light. Send your good thoughts to them on the wings of your life energy and you can be the means of lifting a soul-personality to a point where he will begin to try to help himself. This is a great step upward and it can be accomplished through your contribution of energy.
This is one of the tasks of the New Age and it is truly work worthy of an esoteric student. In performing this task you help an individual to redeem itself, you advance the evolution of the entire human race and most of all help yourself. This is a good work. Pray for the dead!
Joseph J. Weed
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A Rosicrucian Speaks
Joseph J. Weed
Copyright, The Chatsworth Press
January 19, 2014
Transcription Audited: June 30, 2003