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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule Eleven - Salvation from Death
Death for the average man is the cataclysmic end, involving the termination of all human relations, the cessation of all physical activity, the severing of all signs of love and of affection, and the passage (unwilling and protesting) into the unknown and the dreaded. It is analogous to leaving a lighted and a warmed room, friendly and familiar, where our loved ones are assembled, and going out into the cold and dark night, alone and terror stricken, hoping for the best and sure of nothing.

But people are apt to forget that every night, in the hours of sleep, we die to the physical plane and are alive and functioning elsewhere. They forget that they have already achieved facility in leaving the physical body; [495] because they cannot as yet bring back into the physical brain consciousness the recollection of that passing out, and of the subsequent interval of active living, they fail to relate death and sleep. Death, after all, is only a longer interval in the life of physical plane functioning; one has only "gone abroad" for a longer period. But the process of daily sleep and the process of occasional dying are identical, with the one difference that in sleep the magnetic thread or current of energy along which the life force streams is preserved intact, and constitutes the path of return to the body. In death, this life thread is broken or snapped. When this has happened, the conscious entity cannot return to the dense physical body and that body, lacking the principle of coherence, then disintegrates.

It should be remembered that the purpose and will of the soul, the spiritual determination to be and to do, utilizes the thread soul, the sutratma, the life current, as its means of expression in form. This life current differentiates into two currents or two threads when it reaches the body, and is "anchored", if I might so express it, in two locations in that body. This is symbolic of the differentiations of Atma, or Spirit, into its two reflections, soul and body. The soul, or consciousness aspect, that which makes a human being a rational, thinking entity, is "anchored" by one aspect of this thread soul to a "seat" in the brain, found in the region of the pineal gland. The other aspect of the life which animates every atom of the body and which constitutes the principle of coherence or of integration, finds its way to the heart and is focused or "anchored" there. From these two points, the spiritual man seeks to control the mechanism. Thus functioning on the physical plane becomes possible, and objective existence becomes a temporary mode of expression. The soul, seated in the brain, makes man an intelligent rational entity, self-conscious and [496] self-directing; he is aware in varying degree of the world in which he lives, according to the point in evolution and the consequent development of the mechanism. That mechanism is triple in expression. There are first of all the nadis and the seven centers of force; then the nervous system in its three divisions: cerebro-spinal, sympathetic, and peripheral; and then there is the endocrine system, which might be regarded as the densest aspect or externalization of the other two.

The soul, seated in the heart, is the life principle, the principle of self-determination, the central nucleus of positive energy by means of which all the atoms of the body are held in their right place and subordinated to the "will-to-be" of the soul. This principle of life utilizes the blood stream as its mode of expression and as its controlling agency, and through the close relation of the endocrine system to the blood stream, we have the two aspects of soul activity brought together in order to make man a living, conscious, functioning entity, governed by the soul, and expressing the purpose of the soul in all the activities of daily living.

Death, therefore, is literally the withdrawal from the heart and from the head of these two streams of energy, producing consequently, complete loss of consciousness and disintegration of the body. Death differs from sleep in that both streams of energy are withdrawn. In sleep only the thread of energy, which is anchored in the brain is withdrawn, and when this happens the man becomes unconscious. By this we mean that his consciousness or sense of awareness is focused elsewhere. His attention is no longer directed towards things tangible and physical but is turned upon another world of being and becomes centered in another apparatus or mechanism. In death, both the threads are withdrawn or unified in the life thread. Vitality ceases to penetrate through the medium of the blood stream and the heart fails to function [497] just as the brain fails to record, and thus silence settles down. The house is empty. Activity ceases except that amazing and immediate activity which is the prerogative of matter itself and which expresses itself in the process of decomposition. From certain aspects, therefore, that process indicates man's unity with everything that is material; it demonstrates that he is part of nature itself and by nature we mean the body of the one life in whom "we live and move and have our being". In those three words - living, moving and being - we have the entire story.

  • Being is awareness, self-consciousness and self-expression and of this man's head and brain are the exoteric symbols.
  • Living is energy, desire in form, coherence and adhesion to an idea and of this the heart and the blood are the exoteric symbols.
  • Moving indicates the integration and response of the existing, aware, living entity into the universal activity, and of this the stomach, pancreas and liver are the symbols.
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