by Robert Wilkinson
From everyone's favorite, The Magic of Space, some profound thoughts about our "spiritual" bodies, life in the higher realms, and why there's nothing to fear after we die. From Chapter 8, "The Reality and Illusion of Death," some comforting words.
Man's body is of such design that no use of it will be denied him after he reaches the spiritual realms. Here on earth there are beings who can fly, who can walk, can swim, drift, float - beings who can go swiftly or slowly. No one can do all of them combined. Each one has his own particular limitations, but eventually, after transition, the collective powers appear in everyone. We do not have physical bodies in the higher realms, because there is really no physical substance there, as we understand it here. In order that you may more readily understand this, it is necessary to recall that Universal Consciousness passed through a series of stages and changes in order to make matter out of light. Our bodies there will be composed, not of the chemical elements as here, but simply of the substance that preceded the stage of such elements. In other words, it is merely the taking of the development as far as it had gone prior to the creation of actual matter, as we call it, and molding that mass into form.
From this it would seem that the creations, after death, go backward - but this is not so. It is merely the putting aside of the material burdens of the form, and clearing itself of the debris out of which it was born. What we look upon as material and "substantial" is really only a dream, for all matter is unstable, transitiory, and so goes back to its composite conditions. The body of the soul is a part of Universal Thought, advanced beyond the stage of light, but not as far as the stage of chemical elements. There is no change when the elements are not used. The infinite Soul is composed of no elements; therefore it does not change, as nothing can affect it. The intelligence in the tree is not the tree itself. The mind in man is not the "man" himself. He can have his legs cut off, and his arms; yet his mind does not suffer any loss. That part which can leave the body while the latter is asleep, and visit distant parts of the globe, is not the body, nor the mind, but the soul-consciousness. The Shrimad Bhagavata explains that this is the stage that one experiences in the reality of the arch-formulae, "Thou Are That" (tat-tvamasi); "all this is but the Principle, the Brahmin" (sarvam Khalu-idam Brahma). All is One.
Many cannot understand how we will be able to recognize our relatives and friends on the "other side" if they do not have their physical bodies. They do not realize that the identity is wholly in the mind; but it is not in the physical mind. All of our experiences, enjoyments, and happiness are stored away in the subconscious mind. After death, subconscious mind comes into its own estate. It is the power that feels, that knows, and that enjoys the scenes. The individual Being exists in its mental activity, and there is a spiritual body created out of the new birth, so that the Creator may have around Him immortal companions, for both His and their happiness. The love for companionship is a very strong emotion.
If you can imagine what a life in the higher realms will mean - with a body as described, and a mind of the keenest appreciation, with a sense of perpetual endurance and strength, then you will realize how worth while it would be for you to try to free yourself from the dream world, or earthly existence. When you arrive in the new world, there is a feeling, which will take possession of you, of the limitlessness of this new world. You do not arrive at the border, and you do not know which way leads to the center. Every direction in which you look you see the vast dominions stretch out. And if you were to fly over that infinte world, you would seek the end in vain, for there are broad, level fields for thousands and thousands of miles, to use an "earth" term.