In general, the various branches of parapsychological study related to the soul are Near-Death Experience (NDE); Out-of-the-Body Experience (OBE); Biomagnetic Radiation/Field (aura); Hauntings; Posessions; Bilocation; Past-Life Regression, and ESP.
Many instruments and methods are used in the investigation of psychic phenomena. Hypnosis is often used to uncover subconscious knowledge on a subject. Such a method has been successful in regressing a person to a past life and even between lifetimes. Much knowledge related to the after-life and the soul’s continued existence have thus been acquired.
Unorthodox methods that purports to contact disembodied intelligence might include séances, the Ouija board, the planchette, automatic writing, and the pendulum; some of these methods are similar to the Indonesian Jailangkung and Nini Towok.
One of the former presidents of the Society of Psychical Research, C.D. Broad (1887-1971), believed that paranormal research might eventually prove that psychological events can survive bodily death. He theorized that man had an invisible constituent; this he called the psi-component, or “psychogenic factor.” Ever since the days of Broad, parapsychology has indeed made much progress.
When we speak of the viewpoints of metaphysics questions might arise inquiring of the source of these teachings. Generally speaking, the tenets of metaphysics are derived from the esoteric transmissions of lofty beings to select members of the human family. These beings have already evolved far beyond the human kingdom and its pinnacle–the perfect human being as portrayed by the archetype Adam Kadmon. These teachings are based on their personal experiences and awareness of the Truth of all things. Some of the students of these lofty beings were able to verify, again by personal experience, part of the teachings that was conveyed by these Spiritual Masters. This would leave aspects of metaphysical teachings as theoretical or hypothetical from the student’s perspective.
There are also metaphysical teachings that have been formulated by students intellectually without knowing its truth experientially before-hand and may consequently be without a foundation in reality. This is the reason why certain metaphysical doctrines are ever-evolving. May the reader ever keep this in mind.
From the superficial investigation of metaphysical conceptions one comes to the conclusion that they are as diverse as the many theories developed by science or theology; however, in essence they all share a common thread in that the soul, the spirit intelligence, is regarded as being a distinctive part of the human organism and has a divine origin. One of the most basic fundamentals in contemporary metaphysics is that there is only One Substance, One Power, One Life, One Mind, One Law in the whole Universe, and each being in its innermost “I AM” core, is part of that One. The other laws and principles of metaphysics stems from this basis. The above statement is not entirely accurate, however. We referred to the One as being in the Universe, when in fact, it is entirely opposite. The Universe is in the One, or is a partial manifestation of the One. To the metaphysician, everything has a divine origin and is essentially eternal. We emphasize the word “essentially,” for there is a difference between form and expression, and its divine essence. For instance we may liken the essence with electricity, the form-the electric bulb, the clarity and power (wattage) of the bulb its expression. Electricity is indestructible, so is the Spirit, the divine intelligence in man. The bulb, the form of man, is ephemeral in nature. The clarity and the wattage, the power that it gives off, is the evolving aspect of man called the soul. The clarity is dependent upon the purity of the bulb, or the soul. It is often tainted by dust and dirt–or the negative emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. This illustration would indicate that the Spirit is immortal, the form transient, and the soul that aspect of the microcosm that seeks to ever grow spiritually until it is aware of its essential nature. By being aware it becomes immortal, meaning that it is continually conscious of its essential nature. The soul, therefore, is only potentially immortal.
After making our statements above, it should be understood that the soul-concept is ever-evolving, whether from the scientific, theological, philosophical, or metaphysical point of view. One could argue that truth is changeless and that what was true in the past is likewise true for the present and the future. We concur with this, but the problem here is man’s understanding of truth, and the presentation of truth, and not truth itself. Metaphysics may be understood intellectually–this has its limitations; or it may be understood mystically–this provides real knowledge that the intellect has trouble analyzing, formulating into ideas, and putting into words.
One school of metaphysical thought believes the soul to be a function or development arising out of the vital life force that animates all living forms. This vital life force permeates the whole universe. Matter is evolving to the point where it may support life while living organisms evolve to the point where they may eventually support the development of self-consciousness, and this we call “the soul.” However, this does not signify that souls are dependent upon matter for their existence. They are associated with the vital principle of the universe. Some scientists regard the universe as a living organism, or a living thought rather than something lifeless or mechanical. The soul or self-consciousness may be regarded as a higher expression of the life-force that permeates the universe. This signifies that the soul is a dynamic potential inherent within energy. As energy is indestructible, so is the soul in its essence indestructible. As energy is kinetic, forever in movement, so is the soul never the same in its expression–it continually evolves.
Esoteric teachings classify the microcosm into, three, five, or even seven aspects. In the threefold division we have Personality, Soul, and Spirit; or in Indonesian we may say Jiwa, Roh, and Sukma–but keep in mind what we have said before that there is no standard agreement as to the terms used. Sukma may be called “Ingsun,” “Atma,” “the Self,” whatever. Terms are not important in this context, principles are. In the Judaic Qaballa, the threefold microcosm is designated as Nephesh, Neshamah/Ruah, and Yechidah. In Buddhism as Nirmanakaya, Sambogakaya, and Dharmakaya. In Theosophy as Personality, Ego, and Monad. In Hinduism as Rupa, Jiwa, and Atma. In ancient Egypt as Khat, Ka , and Ba.
These threefold divisions have subdivisions. In certain Hindu teachings they are subdivided into five. Theosophical and Rosicrucian teachings divides the microcosm into seven:
In the Rosicrucian system, the Divine, Life and Human Spirit may be considered as the Soul. The Monad as the Spirit, and the other lower components as the Personality. Each of these components of the microcosm reside in their own plane or dimension, and they are composed of the substances of their respective realm. Each has its own particular function in the operation of the microcosm. Each component vibrates at a certain frequency. Vibrations may be perceived as sound, light, or hue. The seven components of the microcosm, therefore, collectively produces a musical chord, or as a certain color–the conglomeration of all the colors of the components. This collective sound or color may be said to be our “soul” name. This sound may be dissonant or harmonious depending upon one’s soul-development. Each microcosm vibrates at a different frequency; there are no two microcosms quite alike, just as there are no two snowflakes of the exact same pattern. Each component of the microcosm has its primary faculty. The intellect is the faculty of the Lower Mental, the imagination of the Higher Mental, the Intuition of Buddhi, and Inspiration of Atma.
Since this is not a thesis on the occult anatomy of man we will not delve too deeply into the subject, suffice to say that there are many more components in the microcosm than what we have referred to above that are vibrating at a frequency undetectable as yet by our modern technological instruments. However, we will discuss a little so as to give a brief picture of man’s hidden composition.
Aside from the seven major components in man, the microcosm, there is also the thread that connects them all. This is called the sutratma. Forces and impulses from the highest aspect of the microcosm flows to the lower aspects via this connecting bridge. Our reaching up towards our divine Source builds another bridge called the antahkarana. This antahkarana grows from the lowest aspect of the microcosm and eventually anchors itself to the Monad.
The etheric body of man is constructed out of “lines of force.” These are the counterpart of the physical nervous system. Where they criss-cross a power-spot is formed. These are the acupuncture points, the minor and major chakras, and the tan-tiens. Certain energies from external sources accumulate in the etheric body of man. Kundalini is one of them. Kundalini is the cosmic fire, the force that has the power to purify and awaken the lower energy structures of the microcosm. When it awakens it flows through certain pathways of the etheric body. There are various main channels associated with kundalini awakening.
Another vital aspect of the microcosm are the seed atoms. These atoms are records of the evolutionary development of the soul, physically, emotionally, and mentally. They also store our karmic tendencies, expressions, and records. Though each of the seven components of the microcosm has its seed, only three are normally considered in esoteric writings. These are the Physical Seed-Atom, the Emotional Seed-Atom, and the Mental Seed-Atom. Each of these seed atoms has its position in the physical body. The mental seed atom lies in the pineal gland, and this is where our consciousness is seemingly focused. As can be seen from this, Descartes was not entirely wrong in presuming the pineal gland to be the seat of the soul.
As we said before, the seeds are records. They may be thought of as our recording angels. They record our every thought, feeling, and action. Our karma are stored in these seeds as well, and from time to time, when the time is ripe, they release the effects of the karma that we put into motion in our past. The timing of this is determined by a higher aspect of the microcosm, the Ego and our Solar Angel in conjunction with the advice and decree of the Lords of Karma–those beings that assists humanity in balancing and harmonizing all karmic actions.
The pineal gland is also the host of other spiritual components, and this is what makes it the most important gland of the endocrine system. The pineal and pituitary glands are psychic complementaries and their harmonized functioning results in a more perfect human expression. They are there not merely to secrete the known hormones but they play an important role in occult physiology. We regret that very little can be said in this paper.
Within the physical heart lies a spark of the Ego, the Soul, or the Higher Self. The Upanishads refer to this as the “Supreme Person, the size of the thumb.” This spark is threefold in nature, in has three aspects-power/will, love/wisdom, intelligence/activity. They are represented by three colours-blue, pink, and yellow, respectively.
According to mystical thought the physical body is the temple of the soul, and although religion is in agreement, many religious persons have turned their temple into a tomb, with its occupant dead asleep in the darkness of ignorance. Outward ceremonies, forms, and rituals are actually devoid of any true spiritual benefit when mechanically conducted. They may please the emotions but they deceive devotees into believing in their piousness. The outward forms are merely signs of spiritual realities within. It is by understanding and living these realities that one progresses in a true religious sense. For instance, formal religion may ask us to pray once a day, or five times a day; but in true religion we have to be in a constant state of prayer, “25 hours a day, 8 days a week.” Prayer is a certain mental attitude and awareness. It is not in requesting something but accepting that all that we could ever ask for is ours and is being done to us right now. Succinctly, Religion is Mysticism poorly understood as Science is its child that is undergoing a maturing process. More could be said of this but we would stray too far from our main subject.
Origin of the Soul
Man’s innermost being is the Monad. This is the SELF, the God within Man. Its nature is Sat-Chit-Ananda–Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss. The Monad is a spark of the Divine Flame which is the One Existence. The Monad is not a creation, it is an emanation. It is God individualized within the microcosm. The Ego, or the Soul, is in turn an emanation of the Monad, and the Personality an emanation of the Soul. It is the Soul that “creates” the physical body.
All things are manifestations of the One. IT manifests as energy. Energy is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. It is indestructible and eternal. Man, like everything else is made up of energy. He has certain magnetic fields and structures all composed of energy. The Monad within man qualitatively speaking is of God, is God. Quantitatively, the Monad is but a miniscule fragment of the infinite whole. When man is aware of his divine SELF-nature, he experiences the inner essence, the God within and thus declares “unification” with his Source. He realizes that essentially he is “God”–however, keep in mind that this refers to the God nature within and not to God’s totality, to the essence of man and not to his physical form or false ego. Like Jesus Christ he affirms: “I and my Father are one.” This is not blasphemy as theology might teach us. It is the recognition of the love of our Source who has bestowed ITs very being upon us. IT has given us ITs identity. This whole notion might be incomprehensible to some, nevertheless, it is a Truth experienced by mystics of all generations and cultures. There is no separation between God and Man, between God and the Universe. God is immanent within all, and also transcends all. The forgetfulness of this divine union is Man’s fall from divine grace. Man ate the forbidden fruit of intellectual knowledge and has forgotten his essential nature. This densified his being and he was made to wear “animal skins,” that is, the physical body. Man’s innermost being is Light, but because of ignorance he fell into the lower dimensions. Each dimensional descent enshrouded his light with a thicker and thicker vestment until finally he wore animal skins in the three-dimensional world and entrapped himself in matter–the most stupid part of the Mind as Leibnitz said. Man’s original sin is the sin of ignorance and forgetfulness. He who will hear let him hear!
Purpose of the Soul: Evolution
Change is one of the laws of the universe, it results in the cycles of creation/destruction; involution/evolution, etc. The Monad, a spark of the One, is in essence divine. It possesses a divine collective consciousness without any particular awareness of individuality and separation from its Source. However, it was emanated by its Progenitor for a purpose. As a focus point of the One Being it was manifested so that the One could experience various aspects of Itself, to grow in awareness of ITs inner potentiality, nature and power. In order to do that it had to further densify ITs being to the lowest possible dimensional reality. This is the act of involution. Thus, the Monad issued from itself a threefold-Soul which in turned manifested the four-lower bodies: the physical, etheric, astral, and lower mental. Having undergone the involutionary cycle, man is now on the upward path. Humanity is presently on the path of evolution as a continuance of its soul-journey and purpose. Along the path of evolution humanity’s consciousness grew through various lower consciousness levels typified by the consciousness of the minerals, plants, and animals, until finally it attained human-consciousness. What is the end of the soul’s journey? It probably has none. There is no end to evolution in the school of life, or spiritual and cosmic growth. We could say that the end is to merge with God but that is only half the truth. Words cannot express what goes on beyond that, neither can the intellect conceive. Absolute Inertia does not exist in the universe. Galaxies are born, and galaxies die, this goes on eternally. By attaining God-Consciousness, or a higher consciousness level, one goes on to even more lofty spiritual heights that are beyond human understanding. The human kingdom is not the ultimate achievement, infinite possibilities lies before the evolving soul. With God all things are possible–and God partly lies within our being experiencing all things through us. We concede that what we have said above is not easily assimilable and is controversial; however, realize that we do not force ideas upon anyone. It is rather difficult for us to convey abstract ideas with words, therefore, a debate upon this is needless. What we have explained above is simply the main points regarding the soul’s purpose and its cosmic trek, and is not to be considered as the whole-truth. It is merely a partial revelation. The whole subject of the soul’s purpose would take us deep into the study of cycles, rhythms, spiritual races, etc.
There are two aspects of evolution: the evolution of form and the evolution of consciousness; and also two factors regarding the soul to consider: soul essence and soul expressions. When we speak of evolution we refer to the consciousness aspect, and the expression of the soul of its innate divinity.
It takes a complex nervous system and brain to support a higher expression of the Soul, or the sense of Self; and an even greater unfoldment is required for the sustenance of a higher form of consciousness called “Christ Consciousness” or “Cosmic Consciousness.” This is, however, related to organic development.
The evolution of Darwinism refers to the form aspect of life and need not be considered further in this paper except to say that what Darwinism refer to as evolution might simply be a case of adaptation or genetic mutation.
Above we mentioned “soul-essence” and “soul-expression.” The soul’s inner essence is God-essence. It has all the powers, virtues, potentialities of God inherent within it. All of God’s attributes are encoded within the fundamental nature of the soul, just as the human blue-print is encoded in the DNA of every cell of the physical body. Though the soul’s inner nature is divine, its expression or personality is ever-evolving. While incarnated in physical form the soul has a dual task of removing the stains accumulated upon its personality, and of awakening its inner divine being that its expression would reflect the perfection of its essence.
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