GOOD NEWS ABOUT DEATH
If this Earth is the place where we learn through Reincarnation and Karman why need we leave it? Why aren't we just allowed to keep on being reborn from one body to another without forgetting our past lives? . . . Well, how would you like to give up altogether your rest at night? How we do grumble when something happens so that we get no sleep! A few weeks of it would reduce us to mental and physical wrecks. As it is, we go to bed for a long sleep every night and so for a time we get away from our troubles and problems. After a good sleep we wake up feeling like a million dollars and sometimes actually enjoy tackling a situation which discouraged us the day before. We are even glad to forget a whole lot of what happened yesterday. While as for what happened last year — if you look back and find out how little you can remember — well! you'll be surprised.
If we only understood it, death is a better friend to us than sleep and it works in exactly the same way only over a longer period. Theosophy has good news for us in its teachings about death. But this good news consists of knowledge. Ignorance is our greatest enemy. We do not need to dread death as we do. We dread to die because we do not know any better than to regard ourselves as merely bodies and to tie ourselves up only with the temporary things of this world. So first of all we must learn to turn right around and think of ourselves not as bodies moved somehow by a mind, but as a Spirit-soul dwelling in a temporary body. It is ourselves, the Spirit-souls, who survive after death. The Spirit of man is a pure Ray of the deathless Universal Spirit and therefore cannot die. The soul, which is the intellectual-emotional part of us — the psychological garment or apparatus of the Spirit, so to speak — the soul changes and grows. Therefore it cannot persist in the same condition for ever, though its finest essence survives after death.
Are there not many things in ourselves which we would be ashamed to exhibit in Heaven? Our quarrels and greed and hatreds and all those petty weaknesses so common to poor human nature? From these corrupting things — the "moth and rust" of life — death is a release for the Spirit. And death also purges the soul or psychological apparatus of all this selfish dross. Then it can rise into a long and blissful rest in the bosom of its "Father in Heaven," its own Divine Spirit. But this does not mean that the soul escapes permanently from these lower things. It only rests from them, as in a longer and deeper sleep. Those faults and problems, and of course joys and companionships too, must be taken up again when the Spirit is ready to cycle back to Earth. For the human soul, helped by the light of its Spirit, must work out the problems and weaknesses which spring from its own actions. But the reborn man has a new body with a new brain and mentality. That gives him fresh energy and power. Thus we gradually progress to the threshold of a higher evolution than this human one. We graduate from humanhood into godhood.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE