an example of an aura

Part II —
The Process of Reincarnation

The Aura

We now continue in the matter of Reincarnation and let us call this part "The Process of Reincarnation." A slight awakening of what is known as clairvoyant sight makes visible a delicate mist of luminous matter surrounding every living human body. The mist, usually called the aura, has been seen by thousands of people and is now indeed one of the common-places of psychical research. Usually it extends out about eighteen inches on all sides from the surface of the physical body. Its form is egg-shaped from whatever angle it may be observed.

The delicate colours which sweep through it vary in hue according to the qualities of character and habitual thoughts of the person observed and, in the same person, according to the mood or the thought of the moment. The colours themselves, be they arranged in different areas in the aura, are subject to frequent changes and modifications because each change in consciousness is accompanied by a new vibratory wave through the matter of the aura and each such wave has its own special colours according to the nature of the thought or feeling.

At death the aura is withdrawn from the physical body and it is then possible to study it by itself to see what it is like. It has been found that in the midst of the faintly luminous ovoid is a life-size duplicate or counterpart of the physical body which is much more prominent than the aura proper because 99% of the matter of the ovoid is contained within it. Hence after death, although the real form of the subtle body - in which we are active and conscious - is ovoid, nevertheless we appear exactly as we do here because of the counterpart of the physical body within the scarcely perceptible aura.

Research done on the Earth has shown that this luminous ovoid with its counterpart is, in reality, composed of three inter-penetrating bodies of about the same size and with very much the same arrangement of colours. They occupy the same space, the rarified matter of which they are made intermingling with no more difficulty than ether permeates dense physical matter. These three bodies of Man are known as the Emotional or Astral body, the Mental or Thinking body, and the Causal or Soul body. In their totality they constitute the invisible ovoid by which every living human being is surrounded and inter-penetrated.

When it is said that a human body is "ensouled", we ought not to get the impression that something has been put into it like water in a vase. The relationship between the physical body and the mind is a vibratory one. So long as the physical body is surrounded and inter-penetrated by the luminous ovoid, the brain responds to the vibrations of the consciousness and we may rightly say that the body is ensouled. When, at Earth death, the relationship is broken, it is not inapt to say that the soul has departed. In neither case, however, has the consciousness been poured into, or taken out of, the body: the vibratory relationship alone has been broken.

After Death

After death we find ourselves conscious and active in that part of the unseen regions surrounding the Earth which some call the astral world. Here we may live, entering into the interesting activities of that world, keeping in touch with our friends and getting rid of the impurities which may have crept into our character during our life on Earth. Further, our suffering which is of the Earth (and a thing of great feeling to us) is over. It has only been temporary and of a purifying nature. Believe me, my friends, no Hell exists except in the imagination of men.

It is well to remember that the life after death is by far the happiest and much the freest part of our whole existence and that we experience no suffering whatsoever. Physical existence is really the most arduous and trying of all. Before describing that part of the cycle of existence - which brings us back into incarnation again - after we have realised our oneness with the soul consciousness, it would probably be helpful if we pause for a moment in order to explain the origin of the soul body. Although this story is a long one involving many complexities and could only really be presented adequately in a very advanced textbook of the Earth, we ought to be able to grasp, without difficulty, some of the essential points by a quick survey of the evolutionary plan. First of all we should realise that the whole of nature is living and that every natural form, from the Crystal to Man, is serving as the body of a growing consciousness. We may picture wave after wave of evolving life surging up through the various kingdoms - mineral, vegetable, animal and human. In the mineral, consciousness is scarcely awake; in the vegetable it is beginning to show forth like and dislike and a faint trace of sensitiveness; in the animal it is manifest in definite feelings, passions and desires; and in Man, having been subjected to the experience of hundreds of incarnations, it reaches sublime heights of spiritual understanding.

Taking a New Life

At the commencement of a new incarnation, when we have exhausted our previous experience and begin to yearn for more, we draw round ourselves automatically a cloud-like mass of mental and astral matter. Out of this, later on, we are able to fashion our mental and emotional bodies. In the meantime we await, in the astral world, the formation of our new physical body which is to be supplied by our Earth parents.

First of all, we have already informed the Master of the Acacia Records that we are desirous of again returning to Earth and to a new life. At a variable period between conception and birth we are told of that body, for as that which is to be a child enters the Earth from the womb of the mother, the spirit enters from Home. At birth our consciousness, which begins to function through the infant brain, is so slight that for at least two years after birth we are unable to retain physically any memories whatsoever of what happens to us.

The sex of our physical bodies is not always the same, for the unfolding of the human character can best be furthered by a series of incarnations in one sex followed by a series in the other and so on, alternately, during the whole of our evolution. The number of incarnations in any one sex ranges from one to whatever is desired by The Unnamed One but usually we have not less than three, no more than seven consecutive incarnations in one sex. The needs of our growth determine the sex of any one incarnation since when we are born as a woman it is obvious that we develop a different set of qualities than when we are born as a man. When we have completed our human evolution our character is a magnificent blending of the virtues of both sexes.

The length of the interval between incarnations varies within wide limits as it depends upon three factors which, in their turn, are variable. Firstly, the length of the preceding Earth life because a very long life on Earth is usually followed by a long stay at Home. (This does not apply to highly evolved or Ancient spirits). Secondly, the intensity of the preceding Earth life; some lives are placid and uneventful whilst others are overcrowded with varied happenings. The greater the amount of experience, the longer the interval between incarnations. Thirdly, the level of development which has been reached in evolution. The more advanced the soul the longer the time spent at Home because the more vigourous the consciousness, the richer the meaning of every experience and, therefore, the longer the time necessary to assimilate that experience.

Reincarnation is not - repeat not - an endless process, and when we have learned the lessons taught in the World School we return no more to physical incarnations, unless we come back of our own accord to act as teachers or as helpers in the Great Plan of Evolution.

Many Questions

The first question that occurs to a person who has listened to a discourse on reincarnation is: "What proof have you that reincarnation is a fact?" This question is a fair one and should be answered in a satisfactory manner if the study is ever to command the attention of thoughtful people. Before considering the arguments in favour of reincarnation it may be well to clear out of the way a number of the minor objections so that we are able to examine more carefully the points worth considering at length. Some of these objections are as follows:

I shall now deal with each objection in turn. With regard to the first objection, I have already told you that we cannot be reborn as animals.

Where the second objection is concerned the idea generally current in Christian lands is that after death, if we have lived up to certain standards of morality and accepted certain theological beliefs (which differ with the different characters), we shall go to Heaven and live there for ever and ever. Just what we do in Heaven to while away the countless millions of years is not stated. Presumably there is some sort of progress but just what that means is not defined. It cannot mean moral progress as we usually understand morality, for in Heaven, where there are no moral temptations, there would be no need to exercise, and hence no possibility of developing, moral strength and understanding. It cannot mean intellectual progress as we understand it here, for at Home there would be no commercial, political, economical, social, racial or international problems for us to cope with. There would be nothing left but metaphysical reasoning, and for many people such reasoning is not only distasteful but actually impossible.

Some people seem particularly fond of the last objection to reincarnation upon Earth, picturing the soul as wandering from planet to planet and even from star to star, forgetting for the moment that the stars are incandescent suns! They imagine, for some reason, that conditions for progress must be better elsewhere than here. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that on Mars there is a backward humanity, while on Venus there lives a race as far ahead of us in evolution as we are ahead of some of the pygmies in Central Africa. If we reincarnated on Mars we would encounter such primitive conditions that our progress would not be helped and if we reincarnated on Venus we should probably be regarded as most ignorant savages. Surely it is better for us, in every way, to reincarnate on this Earth where our own development matches up with the level reached by this civilisation.

Some people say that reincarnation brings confusion of relationship. Surely a little consideration will make clear that the priceless element in any human relationship is not the relation our physical body may hold to the physical body of another person, but the tie of affection which exists. Without affection, of what moment is any relationship? Now reincarnation makes possible the continuation and the continual enrichment of the tie of affection by a constant change in physical relationship, life after life. At first thought the idea may be repellent but after consideration we realise that no plan could be better adapted to round out and perfect the love between friends.

Some people say : "If reincarnation were true then there could not be any increase in population." While it is true that the total population of this planet is now practically fixed numerically because civilisation has advanced too far to admit many new souls from the Animal Kingdom, nevertheless we ought not to lose sight of the fact that the progress of evolving beings throughout all the kingdoms is a continuous one, just as the continuous stream of pupils pass through the various classes in our schools. Later on, during another evolutionary cycle, a great host of reincarnation entities will graduate from the Animal Kingdom to be with the Humans.

By means of reincarnation there is not one field of knowledge we may not explore; there is not one great civilisation whose genius we may not study firsthand; there is not one human activity in which we may not share! In the long history of our soul's growth we have lived in many an ancient city, we have witnessed and taken part in great events, we have met some of the famous characters of the past and in the lives to come even greater richness of experience awaits us. There is no hurry, unless we are eager to train ourselves to that we may the sooner be able, wisely, to help others; but under any circumstances it is well to take time to master thoroughly each phase of life as it comes to us then, when the time comes for graduation from the World School, we shall be proficient in many lives and wise in all of them!

Answers to Questions

To think of God as being good, loving, just and all-powerful and, at the same time, explain why the world should be filled with misery, sorrow and injustice, has been a problem so troublesome that philosophers and theologians have been unable to solve it. The reason has been that they either ignore, or did not know of, reincarnation. Let us see what light reincarnation can cast upon this problem.

Within each soul, at the beginning of its incarnation, are latent all the moral, intellectual and spiritual qualities which later it will show forth. By the process of reincarnation, which brings each soul back again and again into the activities and problems of daily life, these qualities are slowly awakened, one by one. Until they are so awakened, however, human beings are immoral, unintelligent, unspiritual. The so-called evil qualities of Man are due to the unawakened state of the opposite good qualities. If we are cruel it is because we have not yet awakened compassion; if we are selfish it is because we have not yet awakened unselfishness. When a good quality is aroused the evil quality disappears: evil is not a positive thing in itself but only the absence of the good.

The answer given by reincarnation is that while we get our physical bodies from our parents, we, as reincarnating egos, ids, whatever word you choose, bring with us our mental and moral characteristics. Combined with any human being is an intimate blend of the physical qualities derived from its parents and the non-physical qualities resulting from its own past experiences.

Memories of Past Lives

How can we explain logically, except by reincarnation, the enormous mental and moral differences between people? There is no other answer, my friends, none at all. You hear of the memory of past lives and the existence of memories. If there are no memories of the past and therefore no way for the soul to learn from its destiny by matching effect with cause, then most certainly reincarnation is meaningless and the whole process of evolution cruel and futile torment. Not only the validity of the theory of reincarnation but the moral character of the evolutionary process itself centres around the brief question : "Do memories exist?" If they do not, then it is not true. I would suggest that the first step to take in answering this all-important question is to determine in what form the memories of this life are retained; then with a clear understanding of the working of memory in one life we can apply such tests as will show whether we retain any memories of past lives, thus proving or disproving the truth of reincarnation.

We find, probably to our surprise, that the memories we have now of the earlier years of this life are quite different from what we usually suppose. In the first place, the first three or four years of our existence have been entirely blotted out from memory; yet we know we must have been alive and conscious during those years because we are alive and conscious now. We have not the slightest personal proof of the matter, however, so far as memory goes, and in the next place we notice that practically all memory of the details of the past have disappeared. This is not only true of the earlier years of this life but also of this year, this week, yesterday. Even at the end of a day some people cannot recall exactly what they did during the day, much less remember what they said and thought! Evidently then, the brain is enabling us to forget great masses of details. Indeed, this may be one of the important functions of the brain. Of all the experiences through which we have gone, of all the thoughts which have thronged our brains, what remains are summaries only and it is by these summaries alone that we know we have gone through the detailed experiences.

We read easily but in the act of reading we have not the slightest memory of the thousands of ways and places by which we have learned the meaning and grammatical arrangement of the printed letters beneath our eyes. We know that in the past we learned the meaning of the words, not because we recall the details which make possible the act of reading but because we can read! The possession of that faculty is the sole proof that we have encountered a great mass of experience in the past. We have many such faculties at our command.

We are very careful now not to put our fingers into boiling water. Why? Not becuase we have been scalded recently but because many years ago, at a time out of reach of our daily memories, we suffered when we thrust inquisitive and ignorant fingers into boiling water. We have completely forgotten that early experience but we know we must have gone through such an episode because of the present tendency to be careful. Such a tendency is a summary of past experience and we have hundreds of such tendencies controlling our actions. Turning now to the consideration of reincarnation, is it possible to find any memory summaries which indicate we have lived on Earth before? Obviously it will be necessary to study with special care the characteristics of children since, theoretically, it is in the child mind that such memories will be most clearly seen. It may be that we are already fully acquainted with the existence of such summaries but have not recognised them as memories of past lives because our attention has never been drawn before to reincarnation. But let us look at the various forms of these possible memories of past lives. Have you ever been struck by the mental and moral difference between children, even in the same family, and sometimes in the case of twins where the pre-natal conditions are the same? Children, however, are very different. One child will turn towards art; another is always building things and when older it haunts every place where manufacturing is found. A third may show itself to be very shrewd in trade and as soon as possible will secure a business position. A fourth is a dreamy student, caring more for a book than the hurry of life. The types of children are many and almost puzzling to the students of hereditary because in so many cases the characteristics of the children do not match up with those of the parents or of more remote relations. Further, these innate tendencies show forth very early in life and oft-times in the midst of hostile conditions. May it not be that the innate qualities of the child indicate quite clearly the general lines along which the soul of that child has been trained in previous incarnations and that every such quality is in reality a memory summary? It is true that many young children remember parts of their past incarnations much more frequently than adults, possibly because the child brain is so much more plastic to impressions. Many cases of such child memories are on record while, not infrequently, one meets children who have remembered. Unfortunately, the majority of parents have not the slightest knowledge of reincarnation and when their children try to tell them of what seems so real to them, they are usually scolded or punished into silence. How much we might learn if only we paid more attention to childish fancies!

When a child reaches the age of 6 or 7, whatever memories it may have had generally fade away, probably because the brain is becoming so fully occupied with external impressions; and by the time they have reached the age of 10 they are - except in very rare cases - gone for all time. It is certain, for example, that in the past we have made many moral blunders because in no other way could we have developed moral strength. We may have seen our mistakes since then and grown so strong that our incarnations are now clean and wholesome but, nevertheless, if all events of the past form part of our memory then within each new incarnation we should have to carry around with us an extremely and exceedingly unpleasant set of mental pictures. Think what would happen if memories of this sort kept surging up into the mind of a child, especially during the period of adolescence. They would surely exert a most unwholesome influence and probably ruin the whole incarnation. There is no better way to ensure the security of a physical incarnation than to blot out all the details of past mistakes, leaving only summaries of the lessons learnt from those mistakes in the form of a warning conscience. We do know, of course, that some of those who are infiltrators on the Earth at this moment - and especially if they are Ancient - do have the facility to open and use their memory box at any time because these, my friends, are people who are here for a special purpose; who are here to help in depth in the great spiritual upsurgence which, since 1980, has been in being and which will continue. The years to follow 1980 - say seven or eight - may be very difficult, especially for those who wish to call themselves Gardeners for God, working out in His fields, tilling so that His harvest may be good. I know that everyone might like to have their memory box open. They think how stirring is the romance of the past! We have hunted in the forests as savages; as peasants we have toiled in the fields; the armies of long-forgotten kings and pharoahs numbered us in their ranks; we may have revelled in the debauchery of voluptuous cities of buried civilisations; as merchants we have trafficked in fabrics made on looms that have crumbled into dust before known history began; we have worshipped God under many names and each time the form of religion into which we were born seemed the only one for Man; we bowed before the dark images in the mighty temples of ocean-covered Atlantis; flowers we laid with hearts of joy at the feet of the Gods of Egypt; we fell in reverence when the Divine Fire flashed down upon a Crucriacian altar; we made offerings before Vishnu in the rock-hewn temples of Ind; we wore the yellow robe of Buddah and chanted the roles of the noble Eight-Fold Faith; we poured out joyous libations before the fair Gods in the marble plains of Greece; we followed rigidly the stern decrees of Roman law and perchance were of those who gathered around the unknown Teacher as he walked and talked in Palestine; and, with our narrow views outraged by what he said and did, threw stones at him, a blasphemous vagabond; we lived in the Middle Ages the austere life of a priest or nun and now we have come once more to Earth to work again for the Eternal God and tread once more the round of birth, life and death in this wonderful old World School.

But what we are really doing is this: We are working for the Eternal God. The Eternal Father. The Father of all Mankind.

Oh those who hear - please answer to the call!

Please listen to the voice of silence in spirit!

Please help to make this world a place fit for God to live in! For when God made it, He made it in great beauty and Man has defiled it - please let it be beautiful again.

For God! God! The Eternal God!

Paddina Cole. 1915-2003