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Proofs Of The Astral Body








Certain normal and abnormal or morbid phenomena in man have proved the
existence of this vehicle, which we will call the higher
consciousness, for it is far greater than normal, waking
consciousness, that of the brain. In the somewhat rare cases in which
this consciousness is expressed in the physical world, it is forced to
make use of the brain. Now, in the majority of men, the latter is
still incapable of vibrating harmoniously with the matter which forms
the astral vehicle; this is because the density of the atoms of the
brain cells which preside over thought is incapable of reproducing the
rapid vibrations of the finer matter belonging to the body immediately
above it. By special training (the yoga of the Hindus), by a
particular constitution of body (sensitiveness), by certain special
methods (hypnotism), or in certain maladies (somnambulism), the
brain may become receptive to these vibrations, and receive from them
an impression, though always an imperfect one. The rarity of this
impression, its imperfection, and especially the necessity for the
vibration of the physical brain that it may be manifested in our
environment; all these have made it very difficult to prove the
existence of this higher vehicle; still, there are certain
considerations which show that it exists, and that it alone is capable
of explaining the most characteristic phenomena of the higher
consciousness.

Let us first define these two states of consciousness rather more
completely, and fix their limits.

Normal consciousness is that which functions during waking hours, when
the brain is in full physiological activity, freely and completely
related to the outer physical world. This consciousness is more or
less developed according to the individual, but its component
parts--sensation, emotion, sentiment, reason, intelligence, will,
intuition--do not exceed known limits; for instance, we do not find
clairvoyance, the prophetic faculty, and certain other abnormal
faculties, which we shall class under the higher consciousness.

The higher consciousness works in the astral body, whether
externalised or not; it seldom manifests itself, and then
incompletely; it is accompanied by the more or less complete
inhibition of the senses, and by a kind of sleep in which the
relations of the subject with the physical world are wholly or
partially suspended. The characteristics of this state are greater
keenness of the normal faculties, and the appearance of new ones,
which are often inexplicable and extraordinary and the more remarkable
in proportion as sleep is more profound, the brain calmer, or the
physiological state more abnormal.

How can we explain the paradox that faculties shown by a brain in a
state of inactivity cover an extent of ground which the brain in a
state of activity cannot approach? The reason is that the brain, in
this case, is not an instrument moved directly by the cause of
consciousness, the soul, but a simple recipient, which the soul,
then centred in the astral body, impresses on returning to the
physical body (if it has been far away) or impresses directly when,
whilst acting in the finer vehicle, the latter has not left the
body.[4]

In other words, the brain, by reason of its functional inactivity,
vibrates little or not at all in its higher centres; it plays the part
of a sounding-board at rest, capable of vibrating sympathetically
under the influence of a similar board placed by its side.

The necessity of cerebral quiet, if the higher consciousness is to
make an impression, is now easy to understand; the finer vibration of
the astral body cannot be impressed upon the brain when the latter is
already strongly vibrating under the action of normal consciousness.
For this reason also, the deeper the sleep of the physical body the
better the higher consciousness manifests itself.

In ordinary man, organic quiet is scarcely ever complete during sleep;
the brain, as we shall see shortly, automatically repeats the
vibrations which normal consciousness has called forth during the
waking state; this, together with an habitual density of the nervous
elements, too great to respond to the higher vibration, explains the
rarity and the confused state of the impression of astral
consciousness on the brain.

The facts relating to the higher consciousness are as numerous as they
are varied. We shall not enter into full details, but choose only a
few phenomena quoted in well-known works.





Next: Manifestations Of The Higher Consciousness During The Different Kinds Of Sleep

Previous: The Soul And The Bodies



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