Edited by Peter Shepherd
Personal development has, as one of its aims, to transcend the human condition. If consciousness is limited to one’s current lifetime, and if one’s only route to immortality is to reproduce one’s genes and to try to make one’s mark on the world for the benefit of future generations, then still these are worthwhile aims.
But if, instead, one’s consciousness survives death, then the motivation to transcend the human condition becomes far stronger. One’s personal development in this lifetime will affect one’s situation in the after-life, and it will determine one’s future – whether it be to reincarnate in this world (in a worse, similar or better condition than one is now) or to fulfill one’s potential by moving on to higher purposes and responsibilities.
Frederick Myers recognized this as a critical question for all intelligent people and worked relentlessly to provide us with a solid proof of life after death.
1. Frederic Myers
Frederick Myers was a professor of classics at Cambridge University in England. He was born in 1843 and he died in 1901. One overriding interest characterized this man: a passionate curiosity about the meaning of human life. He devoted most of his adult years to trying to satisfy this curiosity, but he did it in a rather unusual way. He did not pore over theological writings and philosophical speculation. He felt that if human life did have a purpose, then it could be discovered in only one way: through the study of human experiences. This conviction led him, in 1882, to found the first Society for Psychical Research with some of his Cambridge colleagues.
In particular, Myers and his associates wanted to know if human beings survived bodily death. If they did, then life in a body must have a discoverable purpose. Myers was a man of enormous energy and great intellectual ability. After twenty years of intensive investigation, he concluded that he had answered this question. He wrote a book about what he had learned that became a classic – probably the most important work ever written in this strange field – called “Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death”.
Myers had a strong interest in mediumship, and grappled to the end of his life with the problems involved in interpreting its results. The difficulties lay not with the limitations of the mediums’ powers, but with their scope. When a medium became entranced, and a voice, remarkably like that of a dead person, issued forth from her mouth, claiming to be that person and showing an encyclopedic knowledge of that person’s life, then it seemed to Myers that contact was being made with the dead. Or when a medium, in a half-trance, seemed to be talking to someone who had been in his grave for some time, and was able to answer detailed questions about his life, Myers at first reached the conclusion that the dead still live.
But his research, in the end, didn’t turn out to be quite that simple. For he became aware of cases in which those attending a seance had been given such detail about a person they knew who claimed in the communication to be dead. Later, however, they would discover that he was still alive! And in a few cases, as an experiment, someone had gone to a medium and mentally concentrated on an entirely fictitious personality, only to receive ‘communications’ from that ‘personality,’ claiming to come from beyond the grave! In other words, when mediums went into trance states, they could at times pick up accurate information about living or fictitious persons telepathically and deliver it as if it came from the dead. In other words, the medium may be unable to distinguish between telepathic communication from the living and telepathic communication from the dead.
So this posed a problem. Mediums did not seem to do such things in a fraudulent spirit; they were sometimes unable to tell whether information came from the living or from the dead, but tended to make the sometimes false assumption it was from the latter. Myers never solved this problem during his life. What he did was even more impressive. He solved it after he was dead!
2. The Cross-Correspondences
Within a few weeks of Myers’s death in 1901, some very strange communications began to be received by psychics in England, the United States and India. They came through automatic writing to a total of a dozen psychics and continued for a period of thirty years and then later by his fellow leaders of the Society for Psychical Research, Professor Henry Sidgwick and Edmund Gurney as they too died. What was strangest about them was that they made no sense. Or perhaps they did – for they were so mysteriously worded that it almost seemed their meaning was being deliberately concealed. And most of them were signed, “Myers.” In all more than three thousand scripts were transmitted over thirty years. Some of them were more than forty typed pages long.
But although the text of the messages seemed indecipherable, the ‘instructions’ which often accompanied them were clear. These instructions repeated a number of themes. The ‘script’ should be sent to a particular person, who would turn out to be one of the other psychics involved. Or it should be sent to the Society for Psychical Research. And that although its content may seem to be senseless, it was in reality anything but: it was an attempt by the deseased communicator to prove his continued existence. These instructions and explanations were, in fact, frequent and explicit. “Record the bits,” wrote Myers, “and when fitted they will make the whole.” And again, “I will give the words between you that neither alone can read but together they will give the clue.”
It was some time, however, before the people involved fully realized what was happening. When they did, they gathered the fragments together and found that they had communications which were clear, coherent and continuous. Most of these scripts consisted of references to and quotations from both classical and modern literature. Some were so obscure that only a scolar, and a specialized one at that, would recognize them. The intention was to make these scripts seem random and pointless to the individual psychics, in order to avoid giving clues to the train of thought behind them. They would only become meaningful and show evidence of design when pieced together by an independent investigator. The interest lies in the question: Who selected them to convey a train a thought which could not be deduced from any one person’s script? The answer was the dead communicator.
Myers was trying to prove that the mind of the medium could not be the creator of the message: how could it be when the message was only a fragment which made no sense unless linked with other, equally ‘meaningless’ fragments. Myers was quite explicit about what he was doing. He was causing a dozen psychics, in various widely separated parts of the world, not only to refer to the same topic – often a highly obscure one – but to do so in ways which were complementary. Like the parts of a jigsaw puzzle, these ‘pieces’ did more than refer to the same theme; they did so in ways which were intricately intertwined. Those who studied and tried to interpret these ‘jigsaw puzzles’ called them cross-correspondences.
The simplest case involved the repetition of particular themes drawn from various language and literary sources. On April 24, 1907, while in trance in the United States, an American medium named Mrs Piper three times uttered the word “Thantos,” a Greek word meaning ‘death,’ despite the fact that she had no knowledge of Greek. Such repetitions were often a signal that cross-correspondences were about to begin. But it had begun already. About a week earlier, in India, Mrs Holland had done some automatic writing, and in that script the following enigmatic communication had appeared: “Mors [Latin for death]. And with that the shadow of death fell upon his limbs.” On April 29th, in England, Mrs Verrall, writing automatically, produced the words: “Warmed both hands before the fire of life. It fades and I am ready to depart.” This is a quotation from a poem by nineteenth-century English poet, Walter Landor. Mrs Verrall next drew a triangle. This could be Delta, the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. She had always considered it a symbol of death. She then wrote: “Manibus date lilia plenis” [give lilies with full hands]. This is a quotation from Virgil’s Aeneid in which an early death is foretold. This was followed by the statement: “Come away, come away, Pallida mors [Latin for pale death],” and, finally, an explicit statement from the communicator: “You have got the word plainly written all along in your writing. Look back.” The ‘word,’ or ‘theme,’ was quite obvious when these fragments, given in the same month to three mediums thousands of miles apart, were put together and scrutinized. And in view of the lifelong interest of the communicator, it was certainly an appropriate theme. Death.
This gives some indication of the complexity of even the simplest cross-correspondence. And most of those who have studied them have concluded that they were exactly what they claimed to be: an experiment conducted from beyond the grave to establish that Myers still lived.
Myers pursued this task with a diligence characteristic of him in life. From 1901 to 1932, more than three thousand scripts were communicated. Receiving and interpreting such a vast body of material was often burdensome to those involved. But for Myers, the whole enterprise was a source of anguish. He had survived physical death, as others do, and now he was desperately eager to communicate this fact in a fashion which would convince his still living colleagues. But, because he had no body, he had to use the minds of others. He had to struggle to ‘get through.’ And in the scripts he sent, he refers again and again to the suffering that this cost him.
“Oh, if I could only leave you the proof that I continue. Yet another attempt to run the blockade – to strive to get a message through. How can I make your hand docile enough – how can I convince them? I am trying, amid unspeakable difficulties. It is impossible for me to know how much of what I send reaches you. I feel as if I had presented my credentials – reiterated the proofs of my identity in a wearisomely repetitive manner. The nearest simile I can find to express the difficulty of sending a message is that I appear to be standing behind a sheet of frosted glass, which blurs sight and deadens sound, dicatating feebly to a reluctant and somewhat obtuse secretary. A feeling of terrible impotence burdens me. Oh it is a dark road.”
Myers, for all the grand scope of his interests, was a very modest man. And he was also a very systematic one. These two qualities perfectly explained the style and timing of his after-death communications. He had first to prove to his friends that he still lived and he devoted thirty years to that. But what was of even greater interest, once that was established, was his description of what it was like to be dead. Myers, always the scholar, was not about to run hastily into a discussion about such a momentous subject. He was very systematic and cautious about that too. He had been dead for nearly twenty-three years before, at last, he started to communicate on that most mysterious of all geographies – the world of the dead.
Myers was not, of course, the first to describe life after death. Plenty of other communicators had done that in spiritualist seances, but although their reports had at first been examined with fascinated anticipation, thay were soon dismissed with snorts of derision. For Heaven, the afterlife, had always been something very special to man – a transcendent paradise where the pain and struggle of this life would be surmounted and the mysteries of human life and death would at last be revealed in the very abode of God himself. But what was reported was quite something else indeed. For what the communicators described was nothing but an earth-life. It was terribly beautiful, and the ‘dead’ were very happy, and active too. What exactly did they do there? Well, pretty much what they had always done – they played golf, for example, and drank Scotch. They had sexual adventures and they smoked cigars. They played cards, lived in houses like those they had occupied on earth, and even went to work! Now this, obviously, could not be Heaven: it was clearly spiritualist self-delusion. Myers, however, was to show that these communicators were right – at least in part. For it had never occurred to the critics that if men were going to transcend their earth-lives after death and move onwards to a ‘divine’ realm, then it would certainly be a kindness to them them to start them off with something familiar – to match the lives and beliefs they were familiar with on earth.
3. The World of the Dead
Hades, the underworld, the world of shadows, is the realm where the lowest states of consciousness possible after death occur. Myers did not have much to say about Hades, for it did not greatly interest him. But when the comments which he did make are put together with those of other investigators, a reasonably clear picture of this world emerges. The dead who remain at this level have had their transition to the normal world of post-death existence aborted. In this realm dwell haunting ghosts and possessing spirits. The lowest after-death state possible is complete unconsciousness; a comatose, non-dreaming sleep-like state. A brief period of unconsciousness often follows a tiring death and is recuperative and normal. But where it is prolonged, it usually results from a kind of reverse faith – a belief, or an intense hope, that only nothingness and complete personal extinction follows death. This belief can produce a prolonged comatose state, just as religious beliefs or other preoccupations or expectations can model the after-death world in which the individual finds himself. When such unconscious spirits are brought by ‘helping’ discarnates to the body of a medium engaged in ‘rescue’ work for the dead, they typically result in instant loss of consciousness for the medium, and can be awakened and enlightened only with difficulty.
The next highest state involves consciousness without sensory input. Spirits in this state complain that they wander in darkness or dense mist. Should they come into the vicinity of a psychically sensitive person with a bright aura, they will be drawn to this light – as it exists in this alternative plane of existence – and may inadvertently ‘possess’ or attach to the victim. Clearly, the immediate cause of this condition is a low state of consciousness. People at this level can perceive neither the after-death environment nor the previous physical one. Only a small minority of the dead have to endure this state.
One step above the ‘darkness’ is the normal physical envirnment of the living – our present world. The dead who remain in this world find themselves ‘right here’ with the physically embodied. The great majority of those who get involved with hauntings or possessions dwell in this dis-embodied state. The anger and vindictiveness so often displayed by such spirits is understandable, for they have to operate in the physical realm, with their old physical and earthly interests, obsessions and desires, but without the body that would make their gratification possible, and often, as well, without even the realization that they are dead. This state can be prolonged; in fact, some communications with haunting ghosts show that it can last for centuries, even millenia. It may be that especially intense emotional attachments – of love, hatred, anguish – to embodied persons or earthly places is responsible for this condition.
After death, most of us, thankfully, will not have to endure unconsciousness, darkness, or bodiless frustration at the physical level. We pass immediately to the first normal after-death plane of existence. Myers’s feelings about it were deeply ambivalent. He had loved it, for it could be supremely beautiful. It was obvious that this was the heaven for which men yearn and of which their theologies had always told them. But Myers discovered there were realms beyond it, and once he had developed enough to dwell there, he defined this first state of existence negatively – “the plane of illusion.”
4. The Chain of Being
Myers discovered more. In fact, though a modest man, he discovered nothing less than the basic purpose of the universe. Were he the only one ever to maintain that this particular intent underlay the existence of the physical universe, there could be less reason to take him seriously; but the fact is that identical explanations have been asserted by others, both disembodied and embodied.
Myers’s theory can be simply stated. Reality has two fundamental attributes – a physical one and a psychic one. The physical is represented by a universe of matter, located in a fixed space and time continuum. The psychic constitutes another, complementary world, which is not solid and fixed in matter, energy, space and time – instead of being a creation it is creative, instead of being an effect it is causative.
Developing psychic entities must gather numberless experiences, manifest and express themselves in uncountable forms, before they attain to completion. Once these are acquired the entities take on divine attributes. The reason therefore, for the universe – and the purpose of our existence – is the evolution of mind in matter.
Each of us begins as an extremely rudimentary psychic entity, capable of only a very simple physical embodiment. Through repeated embodiments, the psyche grows steadily more complex and ascends the chain of matter. Reincarnation, then, doesn’t just involve human bodies – it involves every kind of matter and life form. Hence there are two fundamental kinds of ‘learning’ – embodied or physical, and disembodied or psychic. Between each embodied life there is a disembodied one. And to be a human being is not, according to Myers, anything like an ultimate state. One learns in a human body for a period of time and then – provided one has learnt the appropriate lessons – one moves on. One passes beyond physical embodiment altogether.
The ultimate existence conceivable to the mind of man is that of ‘God,’ and according to Myers, that is precisely where we are headed. Our training takes us through every form of existence – from mineral to plant, from plant to animal, from animal to human, from human to devine. We eventually return to our psychic origin, our true nature, which is that of God. It is like God exploring His Creation through our individual travels, experiences and education.
These stupendous conceptions endow a very odd poem with sense. Mystics have always claimed to have had direct experience of the nature of ultimate reality, and seven centuries ago, Rumi, a Persian mystic, wrote the following enigmatic lines:
I died a mineral and became a plant; I died a plant and rose an animal; I died an animal and I was a man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? Yet once more I shall die as a man, to soar With blessed angels; even from angelhood I must pass on … When I have sacrificed my angel soul, I shall become that which no mind conceived.
Seven hundred years later we find the remarkable psychic Joan Grant reaffirming exactly those ideas, which she derived from her own paranormal experiences:
“I acquired sufficient empirical experience to see the broad outlines of the progress of an individual during the initial four phases of his evolution. He starts with only enough ability to organize a single molecule. As his experience increases, and his consciousness begins to expand, he requires more complex forms through which to express that consciousness. When he can no longer be contained by the mineral phase of existence, he enters the plant kingdom, then graduates by a series of incarnations as various species of animal, to his first incarnation as a member of the human race.”
5. Seth Speaks
Myers states that human beings reincarnate from the plane of illusion, but that once they have learned enough from periodic existences in the confines of this physical reality, they pass beyond these planes and need be embodied no longer.
An identical claim is made by ‘Seth,’ a discarnate teacher who communicates through the medium Jane Roberts. According to Seth, each individual consciousness – or spark of God-consciousness – must undergo a long period of training and learning through repeated physical embodiments. Being human is simply one ‘stage’ in this process of development, and when, through repeated incarnations, this stage is complete, one passes onward to further planes of existence which offer more exalted opportunities for development and creative expression of the God-like qualities of love, life and truth. The most crucial lesson to be learned is karmic or ethical. Through repeated embodiments, the undeveloped individual – through ignorant selfishness – treats others with cruelty and hatred, and, in accordance with natural process, is subjected to cruelty and hatred in return. When one treats others with unconditional and selfless love and kindness, one is likewise rewarded.
The ultimate result of these lessons is spiritual development and a passage beyond physical embodiment, giving access to God-like creative powers once the entity is highly enough evolved to use these in an ethically responsible way. While he is still unevolved and would use these powers to injure, control, exploit or destroy others, he does not have access to them.
In a series of trance communications, Seth had given Jane Roberts and her husband Rob a series of ‘lectures’ on the nature of reality as he perceived it from a plane higher than the human. With all Seth had told them about man’s potentials, they wondered why the race isn’t more developed morally and spiritually. They were pretty upset about the state of the world in general. That evening, Seth came through in his usual distinct, clear voice. Among other things, Seth said:
“The human race is a stage through which various forms of consciousness travel. Before you can enter into systems of reality that are more open and extensive, you must first learn through physical life. As a child forms mud pies from dirt, so you form your civilizations. When you leave the physical system after reincarnations, you have learned the lessons – and you are literally no longer a member of the human race for you elect to leave it. In more advanced systems, thoughts and emotions are automatically and immediately translated into whatever approximation of matter that exists. Therefore, the lessons must be taught and learned well.
“The responsibility for creation must be clearly understood. In physical life on earth, you are in a soundproof and isolated room. Hate creates destruction in that room, and until the lessons are learned, destruction follows destruction … the agonies are sorely felt. You must be taught to create responsibly. Earth life is a training system for emerging consciousness. If the sorrows and agonies of your system were not felt as real, the lessons would not be learned. It is like an educational play.”
In other words, in these realms beyond the human, thought and emotion can immediately create – through the causative attribute of consciousness that is the power of intention – a concrete, objectively real environment. Entities – being essentially ‘of God’ – do not allow themselves to enter these realms until they are highly developed enough to create ‘responsibly.’
6. Dr. Grof’s LSD Research
Hypnosis and deep psychoanalysis has been able to demonstrate that the subconscious mind contains not only an incredibly detailed and accurate record of present-life experiences, but similarly a whole set of past existences. Going even deeper, Stanislav Grof in the 1970’s undertook remarkable research using the powerful drug LSD in the context of psychotherapeutic procedures. The results were astounding. When patients were given a series of LSD treatments, their subconscious minds yielded up memories from progressively more remote points in time. First are memories from this life, vividly re-lived, including many from foetal life in the womb and from the actual birth experience. Once these memories have been therapeutically released, the individuals then began to re-experience past human lives. Grof writes:
“The opening of the area of past incarnation experiences in LSD sessions is sometimes preceded by complex instructions received through non-verbal means (i.e. on an intuitive level) through the assignment of an individual spiritual entity. This being introduces the subject to the fact of reincarnation, and helps him to recognize his responsibility for past actions.”
Although this is extraordinary enough, the evidnce from hypnotic regression will have prepared us for it. But with LSD regression we find ourselves in an even more alien and dizzying realm, for LSD subjects not infrequently report experiences as animals, plants and minerals. These experiences are typically accompanied by uncannily accurate knowledge of the nature of such creatures and structures. Grof writes:
“Evolutionary memories have specific experiential characteristics that make them distinct from human experiences and often seem to transcend the scope of human fantasy and imagination. The individual can have, for example, an illuminating insight into what it feels like when a snake is hungry, when a turtle is sexually excited, when a hummingbird is feeding its young, or when a shark breathes through its gills. Subjects have reported the drive the sustains a salmon on its journey against the river’s flow, the sensations of a spider weaving it’s web, or the mysterious Cultivate Life! of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Subjects commonly have a detailed knowledgeof the animals with whom they have identified – of their physical characteristics, habits and behavior patterns – that far exceeds their education in the natural sciences. Subjects have accurately described courtship dances, complicated reproductive cycles, techniques of nest-building, patterns of aggression and defense, and many other such zoological facts.”
With respect to plant experiences, Grof says:
“The instances of experiencing plant forms are less frequent than those involving animal life. The individual has the unique feeling of participating in the basic physiological processes of plants: as a germinating seed, a leaf in the course of photosynthesis or a root reaching out for nourishment. A subject might become a plankton in the ocean and experience pollination or cellular divisions during vegetable growth.”
And these experiences of existence in forms simpler than the human are not confined to biological life:
“They can include inorganic nature. Subjects have repeatedly reported that they experienced consciousness of the ocean or of particular minerals such as diamond, granite or gold. Similar experiences can reach even the microworld and depict the dynamic structure of atoms, the nature of electrodynamic forces involved, the world of interatomic bonds or the Brownian dance of molecules. LSD subjects often consider the possibility that consciousness is a basic cosmic phenomenon – that it exists throughout the universe – and that human consciousness appears to be only one of its many varieties.”
Of course, the lower you go in the chain of matter, the greater the number of ‘forms’ which exist. How can so many become so few? Myers has an answer:
“Place plants, insects, fish, reptiles, birds and beasts into their several classes. These resemble the grades in a school. The souls of plants, after dying, gather together in their myriads and form larger psychic units. These innumerable little units go one step up, then as one psychic entity enter the body of an insect after conception. Myriads of insect lives again make one being which, in due course, enters the body of a fish or bird. And so the process continues. Finally the embryonic souls of animals so evolve that many, making one psychic entity, eventually become one human soul.”
In other words, every material form and variety of life in the universe is at a different stage in the very long process of psychic evolution. More than ‘men’ are brothers!
7. The Planes of Existence
After death a person enters a second, intermediate plane of existence. This is familiar from descriptions of near-death survivors who pass through a tunnel towards the light that is the third plane. As they go, memories of their entire past lives flash before them. If this contains sinister episodes and terrifying experiences, these will drift by the person’s vision along with the more joyful happenings. Some persons begin at this stage to feel what is called “the earth pull, the birth pull” and the person may decide immediately to return to the earth plane. For others, they may not reach the light and remain in unconsciousness. But for most, stage two is brief and is followed by entry into a more stable world called “the plane of illusion.” According to Myers, after death, most of us can expect to enter this realm. Although extraordinary, this world will not seem strange, for our dreams and our earth life will have prepared us for it. Dreams, although manufactured mysteriously by our minds, seem very real. The world of the third plane is similar, except that the ‘dreams’ are completely objectified. The third plane, according to Myers, consists of a subtle form of matter which is responsive to the individual’s emotion and thought. And because human beings come there after years of mental and emotional immersion in earth life, the worlds their minds create are based entirely on earthly memories and desires.
The worlds of the third plane are created by thought, and so are at the same time subjective and objective. The process may be either conscious or unconscious, depending on the state of awareness of the being. In either case, what is created is based on one’s deepest desires – for pleasure, for beauty, for the familiar, and the fulfillment of one’s beliefs. According to Myers, people who are close to one another, and who have similar tastes and inclinations, come together in little communities where their entire world is mutually constructed. Those of a more solitary temperament may build their own worlds. Often the real nature of these thought creations is completely unknown to their creators, who simply find themselves in a world where every desire is gratified. This world, then, is a depiction of the ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise’ of the ancient theologies.
Sometimes living persons have had a preview of this plane in out-of-the-body experiences, maybe during sleep or at times of extreme threat to the body’s survival. Because this ‘heaven’ is based on earth desires, it is a far cry from the pallid and etherealized afterlife depicted in conventional religious prints. For example, a recently-dead alcoholic may find himself surrounded by liquor in a favourite drinking environment, surrounded by congenial companions who may be other dead alcoholics or simply self-created thought-forms. Because such a person desires prolonged drunkeness, this is exactly what he will experience.
Thus the third plane is a paradise for voluptuaries. Those with intense sexual interests may have their desires gratified, surrounded by orgiasts similarly committed to the pleasures of sexual adventure. Ascetics are generously supplied, by their own minds, with bread and water. The newly-dead are utterly enchanted by this paradise. And because on this plane what is created depends entirely upon earthly tatstes, wedded to the scope and power of the creator’s imagination, an almost infinite variety of different worlds can be effortlessly formed and dwelt within. This if course explains the tremendous variety of after-death descriptions received through mediums and near-death experiences related by survivors.
But there is a strange kind of limitation to this world. The effortless satisfaction of any desire can enchant for a time, but eventually it begins to bore. A sense of dissatisfaction arises, a desire for some kind of effort or challenge in contrast to this world lacking in adventure beyond trivial games, because one is not fulfilling one’s higher goals. And this, in fact, seems to be the major evolutionary purpose of the third plane – to partially exhaust the possibilities of creation and desire at the level of earthly matter. At this point – which may be arrived at very quickly or after a great deal of ‘time’ – the individual may choose to ascend to the fourth plane, if it has become real for him due to his further development and insight, attained through experience of earthly life, bodily death and life on the third plane. Before leaving, however, the more enterprising souls may choose to experience one of the great wonders of this plane of consciousness – to view desired sections of The Akashic Record. Just as on earth one may go to a library and see newsreels of important earth events of history, so on the third plane, one may witness any event that occurred from the beginning of existence. Everything that has ever happened has been recorded by the cosmic memory. Of course, great lessons are there to be learnt.
The alternative is to choose to reincarnate again on earth because of needs that can only be fulfilled there. To help him clarify this decision, the individual undergoes a kind of karmic ‘review’ – similar to and yet in a way crucially different from – the ‘life review’ he experienced immediately following death. The individual relives the incidents of his previous life once again but this time re-experiences the emotions he felt at the time; and simulataneously he experiences the emotions of the other persons who were involved. In other words, the torturer becomes, simultaneously, both torturer and victim. It would be difficult to imagine a more instructive and chastening experience than this. He is assisted in this by a spiritual guide, who being from a higher plane, is able to perceive the subject’s experiences and repressed feelings, and project them back to him. Myers writes:
“The individual is a spectator and perceives the episodes in the past existence. He becomes aware of all the emotions roused in his victims by his acts. No pain, no anguish he has caused has perished. All has been registered. His soul becomes gradually purified through his identification with those who suffered as a result of his acts or inactions.”
This experience appears to result in enlightened decisions about the nature of the next life the individual will live, with new purposes based on the lessons he has leaned from all his experiences. This, then, is taken into the next incarnation.
8. The Higher Planes
Myers calls the fourth plane, “the world of idealized form,” and when one attains this level, all desire for an earth existence is gone. Here one dwells in a realm from which no traveller returns to earth. Consciousness and existence are more intense than anything we know. This is a world of magnificent, unimagineable beauty in which the mind learns the ultimate mastery of form. Using substances, light and color unknown on earth, the mind, now god-like in its powers, learns to create an infinite variety of forms having beauty of an ultimate, unsurpassable quality. One leaves behind all rigid intellectual structures and dogmas, be they scientific, religious, or philosophical. Spiritual beings find a much wider freedom to function with more highly energized intellect and creativity, presenting challenges that are not competitive but far more fulfilling.
Since Myers had not progressed beyond the fourth plane at the time of his communication, his accounts of the higher levels of consciousness beyond this are less detailed and more speculative. He seems to have picked up enough hearsay, however, to outline with some confidence the general nature of the further advance.
If on the fourth plane the soul becomes free from the earth pull, the soul is qualified to experience cosmic ranges beyond earth’s confines. One of these ranges is the next plane, the “plane of flame,” in which the being explores the physical universe beyond the earth, and thus completes its knowledge of matter. In the fifth plane, one acquires a body of flame, enabling him to tour the stellar universe without being harmed by its temperatures and turbulence and to return with a fuller experience of these cosmic reaches.
The sixth plane is the “plane of light”. Individuals on this plane are matured spirits, having lived through, with conscious understanding, all the aspects of the created universe and wrought every variety of mentally-created form. They are capable of passing beyond matter and form, of existing as white light, as pure thought.
But one step now remains – the final passage to the ultimate plane of being, the achievement of the last goal on an infinitely long path of personal evolution. It is important to remember at this point that Myers was not a religious man. His lifelong commitment was to experience, and to the teachings of experience. What he reports from beyond the grave he has either experienced himself or been told of by those more highly evolved than he. Myers called this last goal the seventh plane, and he said that when one enters it, he becomes a part of God. He writes:
“The final stage of evolution baffles description. It is heart-breaking even to attempt to write of it. You dwell not only outside of time but outside of any universe, on this last plane of being. It might be described as the passage from form into formlessness, an existence which has no need to express itself in a shape, however tenuous, however fine. The soul who enters that seventh state passes into the Beyond and becomes one with God.”
It is clear that Mankind still has a long way to go to achieve the required enlightenment for the game on earth to move on to a higher level. Indeed, in some ways, we in Western cultures have gone backwards. But for the individual there is a unique personal choice: to remain a human being or to undertake spiritual development and attempt to achieve – in this lifetime – a transcendence of the human state. The tools of The Insight Project are intended to accelerate the process of development, so instead of many lifetimes of roller-coaster struggle, you can learn the lessons necessary to evolve to higher planes, even to the Godhead, within this life.
These pages are closely based on the final chapter of the excellent book, “You Cannot Die: The Incredible Findings of a Century of Research on Death” by Ian Currie.
The complete texts of the books by Geraldine Cummins (the primary channel of Frederick Myers) are available online here: “The Road to Immortality”, “Beyond Human Personality”, “The Childhood of Jesus” and “The Manhood of Jesus”.
Frederic Myers wrote the classic book, “Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death”.
Articles of Interest by Chris Carter:
- “Does Consciousness Depend on the Brain?” [PDF]
- A Critique of “Does Consciousness Depend on the Brain?” by Keith Augustine [PDF]
- Chris Carter’s reply to Keith Augustine [PDF]
Past Lives Of Children
For the skeptics. This information comes not from a New Age source but rather from two respected professors at the University of Virginia. Amazing revelations.
Further recommended links:
Past Life Regression | Past Lives
Find out who you were in a past life with this fascinating CD or download.
The Other Side – EVP – Proof of Life After Death
EVP is a phenomenon where voices have been imprinted on audio tape or digital recorders, which can be heard at playback — they are voices that come from an unknown source and are believed by many to be those of the deceased communicating with us.
Near Death Experiences
Many individual near death experiences are vividly described. These are highly illuminating accounts.
Near Death Experience Research Foundation
The largest worldwide Near Death Experience website with entire experiences posted, forum to share experiences, research papers, and lots more!
A Lawyer Argues the Case for the Afterlife
Fascinating online book.
The Hell Quiz
This website lets you take a 3 part Hell Test to see what your chances of going to Hell are, and you can post/share your results on your profile/blog.
The Greater Reality
Understand the Greater Reality, life after death, eternal life, the soul, mediums, the eternal nature of the soul, the Higher Power, remote viewing, psychic ability, and the importance of loving and living.
The afterlife described from the perspective of Monroe explorations.
Children’s Past Lives
This wonderful online book by Carol Bowman explains how past-life memories emerge and how they heal. It gives guidelines for distinguishing between genuine past life memories and fantasy and it tells parents how to respond if their child has such a memory.
International Academy of Consciousness
IAC is a non-profit research and educational organization that studies out-of-body experiences (astral projection), bioenergy (chi, prana, subtle energies), and the evolution of consciousness.