If I have time (and I may not if the “whirlwind” starts), I’d like to look at the process of advancement on the spirit planes. If we advance, say, from the Lower Summerlands to the Higher Summerlands, that can be called progress.
But when we advance from the Astral Plane or Fourth Dimension generally, of which Lower and Higher Summerlands are subplanes, to the Mental Plane, or Fifth Dimension, then we can be said to have ascended. This particular Ascension on the spirit planes involves a dropping of the astral body leaving us in the mental body like a Babushka doll that has dropped one casing.
In our Ascension, we will not have to drop the body. It has changed from a carbon base to a crystalline base, capable of enduring higher vibrations. That is one new development in the process of Ascension.
“There are many deaths and many births,” Silver Birch, the well-known British spiritualist guide once said. (1) “You ‘die’ and are born again and again.” (2) By “deaths and births” he meant what we call Ascension.
When the spirit, for instance, passes from the Astral Plane to the Mental Plane, or from the Fourth to the Fifth Dimension, it drops the astral body and enters the higher plane in the mental body. This could be considered a death and a birth.
Frederic Myers, the first President of the Psychical Research Society, says that “for the most part, we dwell in each state or world during the time we are attached to the appearances that constitute that world. … However, I would urge that no fixed rule should be applied to our sojourn in each world or state.” (3)
So long as we’re attached to our desires, we remain in the Astral Plane, which Hindus call the Kamaloka or Plane of Desires. Once we tire of simply catering to our wants and whims, we’re ready to pass into the Fifth Dimension or Mental Planes. The unnamed teacher of Betty Bethards communicates this lesson in slightly different terms as well: “You experience the level to which you have learned to attune your consciousness. When you learn the lessons of a particular vibration, you may move to a finer vibration of experience.” (4)
This is why our sources like Archangel Michael tell us to finish with our desire for Third Dimensionality. When we do so, we detach from it and are ready to move higher.
Silver Birch puts the lesson of advancement in more general terms, but shines the light on how all is a question of learning and evolution: “As you advance beyond [one plane], you leave it behind. As the spirit qualifies itself, by growth, progress and evolution, so it naturally passes to the next stage of spirit life.” (5)
He says that advancement is not so much a matter of climbing as one climbs a mountain, but of evolving: “You do not climb from one sphere into another; you grow, you evolve. The lower gives way to the higher.” (6)
The spirit teacher “Imperator,” actually the prophet Malachi, emphasizes how the way we live now in the Third Dimension, the realm of experience, determines where we end up on the spirit planes and how fast we rise. “May you so live now,” he suggests, “that hereafter you may pass easily through the intermediary spheres, without pain, to the realms of joy.” (7)
The realms of joy are higher than the Mental Plane or Fifth Dimension, but we may consider it a realm of joy compared to Third Dimensionality.
The residents of the spirit planes are conversant with these facts, whereas we on the Physical Plane often are not. T.E. Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia,” tells us they are: “We know that our stay on any one plane is temporary and, however our estimate of time may compare with the earth calendar, this notion of progress from plane to plane as development justifies it is common knowledge here.” (8)
They still retain different opinions however about the ultimate purpose of life. Many don’t concern themselves with such questions and choose to remain on the Plane of Desires, the Astral Plane.
“There is room for much speculation and difference of opinion as to ultimate ends, of course. Much of the thought of higher spheres is open to those who care to know, but there are many here who are satisfied to enjoy the easy satisfactions of their care-free lives without speculating upon any further development.” (9)
Those who are concerned with the wider matters of life make the most progress the quickest, he says.
“In general, I think that those who have the farthest to go are most concerned with the journey. As I have said before, among thoughtful people at the university [here] much study is given to the progress of the human spirit, its ascent of the planes, and its probable return to earth when purification is complete.” (10)
The individual’s growth, progress, advancement, evolution are seen as the most important matter by spirit dwellers, Arthur Ford says.
“Growth of spirit as well as development of soul are essential whether here or there. We are the ones who must put forth the effort to grow. Nothing will grow in our behalf. That is why I would have you picture each of us as God, for you and we are gods who decide whether we grow or remain as embryos.” (11)
Professor William James discusses how the inquiring individual soon finds him or herself outgrowing their form and understandings.
“I feel myself growing out of myself in a certain fashion. My adopted characteristics are becoming too small and cramped to contain my new growth and development, and I will move on most certainly to larger psychological quarters.
“It is not only the physical body we outlive, but the psychological house we have chosen. First after death we add new rooms and suites to accommodate our greater experience, but it is soon obvious that the entire structure has had its day. We must move out of it completely.” (12)
When he leaves the physical and psychological house he has long lived in, he will ascend from the Fourth or Astral Plane to the Fifth or Mental Plane.
“I do not know when I will finish this composition, but I will suddenly know that I had added my last comments, written my last words as a tenant of my present psychological manse, and will then move into the larger framework of myself which I feel is being constructed.” (13)
Bishop Samuel Wilberforce reflects the attitude of so many on the spirit planes, who are impelled to advance by the longing for liberation, a design feature built-in to sentient beings.
“Already, under the guidance of my guardians, I have passed through the first sphere, where are gathered those who are bound to earth by the affections or are unable to rise as yet. There I saw some whom I had known in the body and learned from them, and from others, much that I needed to know. My work will be of a similar sort till I reach my appointed sphere.” (14)
Periodic visits by higher-dimensional beings inspire residents of the Astral Planes and higher to continue evolving, as Philip Gilbert discusses in his comments on the high being he “works for,” whom he calls the Chief.
“Here we at least know by personal experience that there are higher strata and higher still: people like the Chief, for instance. … They look as if they were made of radium. We rarely see them but now and then one appears, to inspire us.” (15)
An unnamed spirit communicator summarizes the process of Ascension on the spirit planes to medium Charlotte Dresser:
“’What constitutes a ‘higher plane?’
“’I think you will understand it better as a sort of higher grade, like college after high school. It is a different plane or sphere or space where those of a certain degree of advancement can remain for a time.
“‘These spheres or planes are separated more by spiritual advancement than by distance, though the latter is sometimes great. We ascend as we grow, or we remain to teach others.
“’But it is all normal, and like the different grades of advancement in college or school, if I may use the comparison.
“Each grade has its peculiar work or degree of advancement, not set by any rule except that of congeniality.”‘” (16)
So although Ascension is a new phenomenon to us, it is known much more widely to spirit communicators who look forward to ascending into the higher realms of the spirit life. They spend years studying in spirit universities or with higher beings to perfect themselves and move on to higher planes before needing to reincarnate on Earth in the Third Dimension again to “prove” the permanence of their learnings.
Like us, they too will ascend when the time arrives and need no more to descend into the Third Dimension. Duality is wrapping up all over the universe and will cause the progression of their world as well as ours.
(1) Silver Birch, Silver Birch Anthology. Ed. Wm. Naylor. London: Spiritualist Press, 1974; c1955, 57.
(2) Ibid., 58.
(3) Frederic W.H. Myers through Geraldine Cummins, medium, Beyond Human Personality. Downloaded from http://www.trans4mind.com/spiritual/cummins/cummins2.html, n.p.
(4) Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, medium, There is No Death. Novato, CA: Inner Light Foundation, 1976; c1975, 15.
(5) Silver Birch, SBA, 57.
(6) Ibid., 58.
(7) Spirit leader Imperator in Stainton Moses, More Spirit Teachings. Electronically published by Meilach.com. http://www.meilach.com/spiritual/books/morest/mspteach.htm 7.
(8) T.E. Lawrence through Jane Sherwood, medium, Post-Mortem Journal. Communications from T.E. Lawrence. London: Spearman, 1964, 122.
(9) Loc. cit.
(10) Loc. cit.
(11) Arthur Ford through Ruth Montgomery, medium. A World Beyond. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1971, 17.
(12) William James through Jane Roberts, medium, The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher: The World View of William James. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978 159.
(13) Loc. cit.
(14) Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester in Julia [Julia T. Ames] through W.T. Stead, medium, After Death. A Personal Narrative. New York: George H. Doran, n.d.; c. 1914., 86.
(15) Philip Gilbert through Alice Gilbert, medium. Philip in the Spheres. London: Psychic Book Club, n.d. , 45.
(16) Unnamed spirit communicator to Charlotte E. Dresser, medium, and Fred Rafferty, editor, Spirit World and Spirit Life. Los Angeles: Rafferty, 1922., 169-70.