Death and the Art of Dying

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Summary: A collection of statements by the Tibetan.

     "I speak about Death as one who knows the matter both from the outer world experience and the inner life expression : There is no death. There is as you know, entrance into a fuller life. There is freedom from the handicaps of the fleshy vehicle. The rending process so much dreaded does not exist, except in cases of violent and of sudden death, and then the only true disagreeables are an instant and overwhelming sense of imminent peril and destruction, and something approaching an electric shock. No more. For the unevolved, death is literally a sleep and forgetting, for the mind is not sufficiently awakened to react, and the storehouse of memory is as yet practically empty. For the average good citizen, death is a continuance of the living process in his consciousness and a carrying forward of the interests and tendencies of the life. His consciousness and his sense of awareness are the same and unaltered. He does not sense much difference, is well taken care of, and is oft unaware that he has passes through the episode of death. For the wicked and cruelly selfish, for the criminal and those few who live for the material side only, there eventuates that condition which we call 'earth-bound'. The links they have forged with earth and the earthward bias of all their desires force them to remain close to the earth and their last setting in the earth enviroment. They seek desperately and by every means possible to re-contact it and re-enter. In a few cases, great personal love and for those left behind or the non-fufilment of a recognised and urgent duty, holds the good and beautiful in a somewhat similar condition. For the aspirant, death is an immediate entrance into a sphere of service and of expression to which he is well accustomed and which he at once recognises as not new. In his sleeping hours he has developed a field of active service and of learning. He now simply functions in it for the entire twenty-four hours (talking in terms of physical plane time) instead of for his usual few hours of earthly sleep." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 300/1)

     "The mind of man is so little developed that fear of the unknown, terror of the unfamiliar, and attachment to form have brought about a situation where one of the most beneficent occurrences in the life cycle of an incarnating Son of God is looked upon as something to be avoided and postponed for as long a time as possible.
     Death, if we could all but realise it, is one of our most practiced activities. We have died many times, and shall die again and again. Death is essentially a matter of consciousness. We are conscious one moment on the physical plane, and a moment later we have withdrawn onto another plane and are actively conscious there. Just as long our consciousness is identified with the form aspect, death will hold for us its ancient terror. Just as soon as we know ourselves to be souls, and find that we are capable of focussing our consciousness or sense of awareness in any form or plane at will, or in any direction within the form of God, we shall no longer know death.
     . . . People are apt to forget 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; 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 ocassional 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, disintegrates." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 494/5)

     "The young forget, and rightly forget, the the inevitability of that final symbolic detachment which we call Death. But when life has played its part, and age has taken its toll of interests and strength, the tired and world weary man has no fear of the detaching process, and seeks not to hold on to that which was earlier desired. He welcomes death, and relinquishes wllingly that which earlier engrossed his attention." (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p.15-76)

     "Death, as human consciousness understands it, pain and sorrow, loss and disaster, joy and distress, are only such because man, as yet, identifies himself with the life of the form and not with the life and consciousness of the soul, the solar angel. . . . The moment a man identifies himself with the soul and not with his form, then he understands the Law of Sacrifice; he is spontaneously governed by it; and he is one who will, with deliberate intent, choose to die. But there is no pain, no sorrow, and no real death involved." (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 94)

     "The intent is for man to die, as every man has to die, at the demand of his own soul. When man has reached a higher state in evolution, with deliberation and choice of time, he will consciously withdraw from his physical body. It will be left silent and empty of the soul, devoid of light, yet sound and whole; it will disintegrate, under the natural process, and its constituent atoms will pass back into the 'pool of waiting units' until they are again required for the use of the incarnating souls. Again, on the subjective side of life, the process is repeated, but many have already learnt to withdraw from the astral body without being subject to that 'impact in the fog', which is the symbolic way of describing the death of man upon the astral plane. He then withdraws on to the mental level, and leaves his carcass to swell the fog, and increase its density." (Esoteric Healing, p.29)

     "Death has been present on the planet from the very night of time itself; forms have come and gone; death has overtaken plants and trees, animals and the forms of human beings for untold aeons, and yet our planet is not a charnel house, as it well might be in the face of this fact, but is still a thing of beauty, unspoilt even by man. The processes of dying and dissolution and the dissapation of forms, goes on every moment without producing contagious contamination, or the disfiguring of the surface of the earth. The results of dissolution are benificent in effect. Ponder on this benificent activity, and on the beauty of the divine plan of death and disappearance." (Esoteric Healing, p. 245)

     "The cycle in which we now live, has seen the greatest destruction of human forms in the entire history of our planet. There has been no destruction of human beings. I would have you note this statement. Because of this wholesale destruction, humanity has made a very rapid advance towards a more serene attitude in connection with death. This is not yet apparent but -- in a few years time -- the new attitude will begin to be marked, and the fear of death will begin to die out in the world. This will also be largely due to the increased sensitivity of the human response apparatus, leading to a turning inward, or to a new orientation of the human mind, with unpredictible results." (Esoteric Healing, p. 432)

     "Could you but see a little further into the matter, you would learn that death releases the individualised life into a less cramped and confined existence, and eventually -- when the death process has been applied to all the three vehicles in the three worlds -- into the life of universality. This is a point of inexpressible bliss." (Esoteric Healing, p. 433)

     "The sin of murder in reality is based upon the fact that it interferes with the soul purpose, and not really upon the the killing of a particular human physical body . . .
     Death appears frequently to be so purposeless; that is because the intention of the soul is not known; past development, through the process of incarnation, remains a hidden matter; ancient heredities and enviroments are ignored, and the recognition of the voice of the soul is not generally developed. These are matters, however, which are on the very verge of recognition; revelation is on its way, and for that I am laying the foundation." (Esoteric Healing, p.436)

     "Death to the average thinking man is a point of catastrophic crisis. it is the cessation and ending of all that has been loved, all that is familiar and to be desired; it is a crashing entrance into the unknown, into uncertainy, and the abrupt conclusion of all plans and projects. No matter how much true faith in the spiritual values may be present, no matter how clear the rationalising of the mind may be anent immortality, no matter how conclusive the evidence of persistence and eternity, there still remains a questioning, a recognition of the possibility of complete finality and negation, and end of all activity, of all heart reaction, of all thought, emotion, desire, aspiration, and the intentions which focus around the central core of man's being. The longing and the determination to persist, and the sense of continuity still rest, even to the most determined believer, upon probability, upon an unstable foundation, and upon the testimony of others -- who have never in reality returned to tell the truth." (Esoteric Healing, p.438)

     "Perhaps some lines from the Manual of Death which is to be found in the hierarchial archives would prove explanatory to you, and might aid you in gaining a new perspective upon death . . .

     'This descending and ascension men call life, existence, and decease; this We Who tread the Lighted way call death, experience and life.'
     'Light which descends anchors itself upon the plane of temporary appearance. Seven threads it outward puts, and seven rays of light pulsate along these threads. Twenty-one lesser threads are radiated thence, causing the forty-nine fires to glow and burn. Upon the plane of manifested life, the word goes forth : Behold! A man is born.'
     'As life proceeds, the quality of light appears; dim and murky it may be, or radiant, bright and shining. Thus do the points of light within the flame pass and repass; they come and go. This men call life; they call it true existence. They thus delude themselves, yet serve the purpose of their souls and fit into the greater Plan.'
     'And then a Word sounds forth. The descended, radiating point of light ascends, responsive to the dimly sounding note, attracted to its emanating source. This man calls death and the soul calls life.' " (Esoteric Healing, p. 9)

     "Death is now the result of the will of the soul. Eventually it has to be the result of the united soul and the personality, and when that happens, there will be no fear of death." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 669)

Death: Restitution

     "After all, death is in itself a work of resititution. It involves the work of rendering back of substance to the three worlds of substance, and doing it willingly and gladly; it involves also the restoration of the human soul to the soul from whence it emanated, and doing this in the joy of reabsortption. You must all learn to look upon death as an act of restitution; when you can do this, it will take on a new light and true meaning, and become an integral part -- recognized and desired -- of a constant living process.
     If I were asked to say, what is the major task of healing groups, such as the Hierarchy seeks to see functioning in the future, I would say it is to prepare human beings for what we should regard as the restorative aspect of death, and thus give to that hitherto dreaded enemy of mankind, a new and happier significance. You will find that if you work along these indicated lines of thought, the entire themes of death will constantly recur, and that the result of this will be new attitudes to dying, and the inculcation of a happy expectancy, where that inevitable and most familiar even occurs. Healing groups must prepare to deal with this basic condition of all living, and a major part of their work will be the elucidating of the principle of death. The soul, we are told, must return to the one who gave it. To date that has been an enforced and dreaded restitution, one which engenders fear, and leads men and women everywhere to clamor for the physical healing of the body, overemphasising its importance, and making them regard the prolongation of earthly exsistence as the most important factor in their lives. During the next cycle, the these wrong attitudes must come to an end; death will become a normal and understood process -- as normal as the process of birth, though evoking less pain and fear. This comment of mine is in the nature of a prophecy, and should be noted as such." (Esoteric Healing, p. 389/90)

     "The words, 'earth to earth and dust to dust', so familiar in the burial rituals of the Occident, refer to this act of restitution, and connote the return of the physical body elements to the original reservoir of matter, and of the substance of the vital form to the general etheric reservoir; the words 'the spirit shall return unto the God who gave it' are a distorted reference to the absorption of the soul by the Universal soul. The ordinary rituals, however, fail to emphasise it is that individualized soul, in process of reabsorption, which institutes and orders, by an act of the spiritual will, that restitution." (Esoteric Healing, p. 435)

Death: The Art of Dying

     "The problem of death or the art of dying. This is something which all seriously ill people must inevitably face and for those which in good health should prepare themselves, through correct thinking and sane anticipation. The morbid attitude of the majority of men to the subject of death, and their refusal to consider it when in good health, is something which must be altered and deliberately changed. Christ demonstrated to His disciples the correct attitude, when refering to His coming and immediate decease at the hands of His enemies; He chided them when they evidenced sorrow, reminding them that He was, occultly speaking, 'making restitution to the Monad'; ordinary people, and those below the grade of an initiate of the third degree, 'make restitution to the soul'. The fear and morbidness which the subject of death usually evokes, and the unwillingness to face it with understanding, are due to the emphasis which people lay upon the fact of the physical body, and the facility with which they identify themselves with it; it is based also upon on an inate sense of loneliness, and the loss of the familiar. Yet the loneliness which eventuates after death, when man finds himself without a physical vehicle, is nothing compared to the loneliness of birth. At birth, the soul finds itself in new surroundings, and immersed in a body which is at first totally incompetent to take care of itself, or to establish intelligent contact with surrounding conditions for a long period of time. The man comes into incarnation with no recollection as to the identity or significance to him of the group of souls in bodies with which he finds himself in relationship: this loneliness only disappears gradually as he makes his own personality contacts, discovers those who are congenial to him, and eventually gathers around him those whom he calls his friends. After death this is not so, for the man finds on the other side of the veil those whom he knows, and who have been connected with him in physical plane life, and he is never alone as human beings understand loneliness; he is also conscious of those still in physical bodies; he can see them, he can tune in on their emotions, and also upon their thinking, for the physical brain, being non-exsistent, no longer acts as a deterrent. If people knew but more, birth would be the experience which they would dread, and not death, for birth establishes the soul in the true prison, and physical death is the first step towards liberation." (Esoteric Healing, p. 391/3)

Death: Sequence of Events

     "I feel it is the best that I can do, in order to clarify this subject more completely, is to describe the sequence of events which happen at a death bed, reminding you that the points of final abstraction are three in number: the head, for disciples and initiates and also for advanced mental types; the heart, for aspirants and men of goodwill, and for all those who have acheived a measure of personality, integrity, and are attempting to fufill, as far in them lies, the law of love; and the solar plexus, for the undeveloped and emotionally polarised persons. All I can do is tabulate the stages of the process, leaving you to accept them as an interesting and possible hypothesis awaiting verification; to believe them unquestionably because you you have confidence in my knowledge, or to reject them as fantastic, unverifiable and of no moment anyway. I recomend the first of the three, for it will enable you to preserve your mental integrity, it will indicate an open mind, and at the same time it will protect you from gullibility, and from narrow-mindedness. These stages, therefore are :

1. The soul sounds forth a 'word of withdrawl' from its own plane, and immediately an interior process and reaction is invoked within the man upon the physical plane.

a. Certain psychological events take place at the seat of the disease, in connection with the heart, and affecting also the three great systems which so potently condition the physical man : the blood stream, the nervous system in its various expressions, and the endocrine system . . .
b. A vibration runs along the nadis. The nadis are, as you well know, the etheric counterpart of the entire nervous system, and they underlie every single nerve in the entire physical body. They are the agents par excellence, of the directing impulses of the soul, reacting to the vibratory activity which emanates from the etheric counterpart of the brain. They respond to the directing Word, react to the 'pull' of the soul, and then organise themselves for abstraction.
c. The blood stream becomes affected in a peculiarly occult manner.
d. A psychic tremor is established, which has the affect of loosening or breaking the connection between the nadis and the nervous system; the etheric body is thereby detached from its dense physical sheath, though still interpenetrating every part of it.

2. There is frequently a pause at this point, of a shorter or longer period of time. This is allowed in order to carry forward the loosening process as smoothly and as painlessly as possible. This loosening of the nadis starts in the eyes. This process of detachment, often shows itself in the relaxation and lack of fear which dying persons so often show; they evidence a condition of peace, and a willingness to go, plus an inability to make a mental effort. It is as if the dying person, still preserving his consciousness, gathers his resources for the final extraction . . .

3. Next, the organised etheric body, loosened from all nervous relationship through the action of the nadis, begins to gather itself together for final departure. It withdraws from the extremities towards the required 'door of exit' and focusses itself in the area around that door, for the final 'pull' of the directing soul. . . . A dual attractive process is at this stage going on :

a. The vital body is being prepared for exit.
b. The physical body is responding to dissolution.

     It might be added that a third activity is also present. It is that of the conscious man, withdrawing his consciousness, steadily and gradually, into the astral and mental vehicles, preparatory to the complete extraction of the etheric body when the right time comes. The man is becoming less and less attached to the physical plane, and more withdrawn within himself. In the case of an advanced person, this process is consciously undertaken, and the man retains his vital interests and his awareness of relationships to others even whilst losing his grip on physical exsistence. In old age this detachment can be more easily noted than in death through disease, and frequently the soul or the living, interested, inner man, can be seen loosing his grip on physical and therefore illusory reality.

4. Again a pause ensues. This is the point where the physical elemental can at times regain its hold upon the etheric body, if that is deemed desirable by the soul, if death is not a part of the inner plan,or if the physical elemental is so powerful that it can prolong the process of dying. This elemental will sometimes fight a battle lasting for days and weeks. When, however, death is inevitable, the pause at this point will be exceedingly brief, sometimes only for a matter of seconds. The physical elemental has lost its hold, and the etheric body awaits the final 'tug' from the soul, acting under the Law of Attraction.

5. The etheric body emerges from the dense phyical body in gradual stages, and at the chosen point of exit. When this emergence is complete, the vital body assumes the vague outline of the form that it energised, and under the influence of the thoughtform of himself, which the man has built up over the years. This thoughtform exists in the case of every human being, and must be destroyed before the second stage of elimination is complete. We will touch upon this later. Though freed from the prison of the physical body, the etheric body is not yet freed from its influence. There is still a slight rapport between the two, and this keeps the spiritual man close to the body just vacated. That is why clairvoyants claim to see the etheric body hovering around the death bed or the coffin. Still interpenetrating the etheric body, are the integrated energies, which we call the astral body, and the mental vehicle, and at the center is a point of light which indicates the presence of the soul.

6. The etheric body is gradually dispersed as the energies of which it is composed, are reorganised and withdrawn, leaving only the pranic substance which is identified with the etheric vehicle of the planet itself. This process of dispersal, is, as I have earlier said, greatly aided by cremation. In the case of the undeveloped person, the etheric body can linger for a long time in the neigbourhood of its outer disintegrating shell, because the pull of the soul is not potent, and the material aspect is. Where the person is advanced, and therefore detached in his thinking from the physical plane, the dissolution of the vital body can be exeedingly rapid. Once it is accomplished, the process of restitution is over, the man is freed, temporarily at least, from all reaction to the attractive pull of physical matter; he stands in his subtle bodies, ready for the great act to which I have given the name, 'The Art of Elimination'.

The Integrity of the Inner Man:
     One thought emergences as we conclude this inadequate consideration of the death of the physical body in its two aspects : that thought is the integrity of the inner man. He remains himself. He is untouched and untrammeled; he is a free agent as far as the physical plane is concerned, and is responsive now to only three predisposing factors :

1. The quality of his astral-emotional equipment.
2. The mental condition in which he habitually lives.
3. The voice of the soul, often unfamiliar but sometimes well known and loved.

     Individuality is not lost; the same person is still present upon the planet. Only that has disapeared which was an integral part of the tangible appearance of our planet. That which has been loved or hated, which has been useful to humanity or a liability, which has served the race or been an ineffectual member of it, still persists, is still in touch with the qualitive and mental processes of existence, and will forever remain -- individual, qualified by ray type, part of the kingdom of souls, and a high initiate in his own right." (Esoteric Healing, p. 472/8)

     "The process of death is occultly as follows :

a. The first stage is the withdrawl of the life force in the etheric vehicle, from the dense physical body, and the consequent 'falling into corruption' and becoming 'scattered to the elements'. Objective man fades out and is no more seen by the physical eye, though still in his etheric body. When etheric vision is developed, the thought of death will assume very different proportions. When a man can be seen functioning in his etheric physical body by the majority of a race, the dropping of the dense body will be considered just as a release.
b. The second stage is the withdrawl of the life force from the etheric body, and its devitalisation . . .
c. The third stage is the withdrawl of the life force from the astral or emotional form, so that it disintegrates in a similar manner, and the life is centralised elsewhere. It has gained an increase of vitality through physical plane existence, and added color through emotional experience.
d. The final stage for the human being, its withdrawl from the mental vehicle. The life forces after this fourfold abstraction are centralised entirely in the soul." (Esoteric Healing, p. 414/5), (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 735/7)