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Life in the Spirit World: Part One
General Introduction
By Rev. Simeon Stefanidakis

Over the years, countless people have asked us: what is the Spirit world like? Answering this question is both easy and difficult. It is easy because so much information concerning life in Spirit has been given to us. It is difficult because much of that information tends to be confusing or, at least, contradictory.

There is only one way in which we can be given information about what it is like in the Spirit world. That information has to come from someone who is there, first hand. And there are two ways in which someone can go to the Spirit world: either temporarily, through some type of out of body experience or expansion of consciousness; or permanently through death. Both have been sources of good, insightful information on what the Spirit world is all about.

Indeed, most of what we have learned about the Spirit world comes from those who reside there. Obviously, that information has to be passed through mediums and channels. The problem lies in the oftentimes contradictory information given to us. Oddly enough, much of the contradiction seems to come from within the more traditional Spiritualist movement.

As any student of mediumship knows, the preconceived ideas and prejudices of the medium can, very often, color or influence the information which passes through his or her mediumship. It is the wise medium who understands this fact clearly and, therefore, endeavors to separate himself or herself, as completely as possible, from the communication coming from those in Spirit.

Horace Leaf, in his book "What Mediumship Is" (Spiritualist Press, London; 1976), pages 133-134, describes this quite admirably by stating:

"Mediums are not like gramophone records; they are living beings with brain and mind governed by lifelong habits. Every person's mind is full of tendencies, capacities, desires, ideas and habits. These are so vital that, in the main, they govern the way in which the individual thinks and behaves.

"All controlling entities desirous of transmitting philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas through a medium find themselves as much under the control of the medium as the medium is under theirs. The consequence is, if the medium is ignorant and his mind untrained to serious thinking, the less successful will the speech be. The reverse is also true. An educated medium with a well-trained mind will, with few exceptions, produce better results."

So, how do we come to any reasonable and truthful conclusions concerning life in Spirit? In other words, how do we separate the wheat from the chaff? Really quite simple: truth ALWAYS passes the test of time. New age fads and fancies come and go with the winds of time and people's folly; but truth remains steadfast, eternal, constant, and is generally free from contradiction. And here is where we must be discerning in our search for truth.

Much truthful information regarding life in Spirit has, indeed, come from with the Modern Spiritualist movement, and for this we should be eternally grateful; but, far more has come to us from outside Modern Spiritualism's ranks and members.

It is unwise to think that Spiritualism had its birth in 1848, with the events at Hydesville, New York. 1848 marked the beginning of a movement, not the beginning of Spiritualism itself. What happened in 1848 marks the rebirth -- or reincarnation -- of that which has been with us from the moment we appeared on this great Earth plane. The events in Hydesville also marked the seedlings of a movement which would eventually emerge from within the home circle, that nursery for so much of mediumship's phenomenal manifestations.

Spiritualism was given birth with the creation of the spirits (that's you and me); Modern Spiritualism was born in 1848. And there is a difference between Spiritualism and the Modern Spiritualist movement.

For more information on the founding of the Modern Spiritualist movement, please see our section on Modern Spiritualism.

What many Modern Spiritualists fail to accept is that while their movement was being fashioned, so, too, were other movements of the Spirit; most notably Theosophy. Furthermore, an abundance of information regarding life in Spirit has been given to us through mediums and channels outside the more traditional Spiritualist Movement. Alice Bailey, Edgar Cayce, Jane Roberts, Eileen Garrett, as well as the multitude of investigators from within the Theosophical movement, are but a few.

What is most intriguing about this is that, once you step outside the more traditional Spiritualist circles, the contradictions concerning life in the Spirit world seem to disappear.

What does this mean, and why do we mention this fact before getting into the meat of the subject of this series of articles? It means something very important; something which our Church has been promulgating since its founding, in 1883: mediumship; life after death; spirit communication; and, yes, even Spiritualism, itself, belong to no group, no Church, no denomination, and no faith. These are universal elements of the Spirit, and the Spirit knows no boundaries.

Having said this, let us, now, get to our subject: Life in Spirit.

Where is the Spirit World?

The Spirit world is right here, where we are. We do not have to travel in order to get to the Spirit world. It is not separated from the Earth plane by distance, as we perceive distance. What separates the Earth plane from the Spirit world is DIMENSION.

It is through the doorway of consciousness and dimension that the Spirit must pass in order to enter the Spirit world. That is the doorway through which we shall all pass at some point in time, when we leave this Earth plane. How we get to that doorway varies with people, conditions, and circumstances. What we experience, once we pass through that doorway varies, to some degree, with those circumstances. But it is the same doorway for all of us. Kings, paupers, prophets, messiahs, tyrants, saints, rich, poor, and everyone in between all pass through the same doorway of life.

The Spirit world exists in a higher rate of vibration than does our three-dimensional Earth plane. From time to time, people experience a heightened or extended sense of perception, and they catch glimpses of this amazing world. Mediums have trained themselves to do this, somewhat at will. An out of body experience, or OBE, happens when the spirit or consciousness separates itself from the confines of the body and brain; thus becoming free to experience other worlds.

Every night, while most of us sleep, our spirits separate from the earthly confines and visit the Spirit world. We often experience that visitation through dreams. Sometimes, those dreams are colored by our fears, cares, and concerns; sometimes not. Many are the people who claim they have visited departed loved ones in their dreams. The skeptic will say that such experiences result from wishful thinking, manifested in those dreams. But, most people know better: these precious experiences are far more than wishful thinking.

So, you see, the first thing we have to understand about the Spirit world is that we do not have to die in order for us to visit this grand place. Furthermore, we can be in touch with our departed loved ones, even while on earth.

What Do We Do in the Spirit World?

This is a question which many people ask. It stems from the fact that we are so ingrained to perceiving life only through the physical form that we simply cannot imagine what one can do without a physical body. For so many, no body and no earth translate into NO LIFE.

In Spirit, we do not go to jobs, we do not have to earn money, we do not have to worry about mortgages and food on the table; these are all aspects of earthly life. So, what's left? Very simple: LIFE. We engage in life and living.

What motivates us on the Earth plane will, very likely, motivate us in Spirit. Death accomplishes one thing: it allows us to shed the earthly body and move through the doorway. We do not change dramatically, nor do we become all-knowing and perfect. We are the same person on that side of the threshold as we are on this side of the threshold. For many, this is disappointing. It would be nice to think that death suddenly removes all problems, all obstacles, all sin and evil, and all ignorance. That is not the arrangement we made with our Creator.

We learn, very often through struggle, and we grow through hard work. Nothing of the Spirit is handed to us on a silver platter. That would be cheap and not beneficial to us at all. Thus it is in the Spirit world.

In Spirit, we seek to communicate with our earthly loved ones. We meet our already departed loved ones, and there is a grand reunion of sorts. Spirit tells us that it is so wondrously amazing when we meet those loving family members, waiting at the threshold to welcome us into the new life. People who suffer long term illness, as they come closer to the time of death, often see their loved ones, in Spirit, waiting for them at the gate. This gives them joy, comfort, and a sense of knowing that everything will be OK.

Our loves, our hopes, our aspirations, our dreams are all part of us, and we are given every opportunity to follow those dreams in Spirit. Thus, the Spirit world is a world of tremendous opportunity and fulfillment, even more so than the Earth plane.

In Spirit, we devote much time to assessing the recent earth life. We look at the successes and the failures, and we do so with unclouded vision. There are special Spirit helpers who guide and assist us in this. For some, this can be very painful, as they face themselves and their earthly deeds. But, even for these unfortunate souls, there is always love and guidance given, as they wend their way through the consequences of what may have been a very evil life.

There are halls of learning and great schools of the Spirit, where we are given the opportunity to learn and become wise in our knowledge. Many of these great schools of learning have counterparts on the Earth plane. The Mystery Schools of the past are an example of this.

There is the opportunity to pray and offer healing from Spirit, just as we can do here on earth.

In all of this, we await the arrival of our earthly loved ones, as our previously departed loved ones awaited our own arrival.

As time passes on, we integrate more and more of our recent earth life and its experiences into the essence of the Spirit. More and more of our family and loved ones join us. And eventually, we move further along the Spirit world, into areas which are more separated, in terms of vibration, from the Earth plane. We can always draw back, closer to the earthly condition, in order to communicate with earthly loved ones or family members. So, we are never separated from our beloved, no matter where they or we may be. Please keep this in mind.

What About Surroundings?

The whole of the Spirit world is comprised of various levels of consciousness and states of vibration. As we move along in the Spirit world, we pass through these various stages. There are even varying levels of vibration within each of the afterlife stages. In fact, we experience a sort of death, as we proceed from one level of Spirit into another. We shall not discuss this, as it goes beyond the scope of this series of articles.

The area of the Spirit world to which we all go, once we pass from the Earth plane, is known as the Astral world, or the Astral plane. It is here where we spend a good amount of our time assessing the most recent earthly life, while awaiting the arrival of our earthly loved ones. It is here, also, where much of the more difficult aspects of the recent earth life are confronted and healed, to the degree that we are willing to confront them and to the degree that they can be healed, according to our overall stage of spiritual progression.

Freedom of choice is inherent to all Spirit. We are healed and we experience transformation only to the degree that we are willing to confront and change that which must be changed. There are countless Spirit emissaries and helpers, always anxious to guide and inspire us along the pathway of spiritual healing and transformation, but change can only come about through our own desire to change and our own willingness to work through that which needs to be changed.

Therefore, better we should endeavor to make those changes now, while on the Earth plane, than when we arrive in Spirit. Why? Because, in Spirit, there is so much to learn and to experience; there is so much wonder to behold and incorporate into our selves. There is so much pure love and beneficence to share in. All this, and so much more, is available to us; BUT, only to the degree that we can experience and receive it all. So, let us be healed and develop those loving qualities, now, here on Earth, that we might be free to experience all this wonder, once we pass into the Spirit world.

It is the Astral plane which is most closely linked to the Earth plane. In fact, within the Astral plane there exists an exact replica of the Earth plane, with houses, cities, mountains, people, etc. It is not really a replica; rather, within the Astral plane is the astral counterpart of our Earth plane. Everything on this earth, ourselves included, has an astral counterpart. Remember, we are Spirit in body. Our true home and our roots are in Spirit, not on the earth. We "visit" the earth, from time to time, in order to experience it and its lessons. Therefore, even while on the Earth plane, we are Spirit, with our connection to the Spirit world. This astral counterpart represents the link, so to speak, between us and the Spirit world.

Everything which happens on the earth -- individually and collectively -- has an impact within the Astral plane. So, the Astral plane is inhabited by two types of spirits: those who have passed from the Earth plane and are, still, within the Astral plane; and us -- or our astral counterparts. In fact, without going into complicated discussions, suffice it to say that we live within and experience multiple levels of life and consciousness, even while on the Earth plane. It so happens that, right now, our focus of attention and concentration is on the Earth plane. But, that does not deny the fact that we are rooted in the Spirit.

If we were not living on multiple levels of Spirit, simultaneously, then we could not experience such things as mediumship, extended sensory perception, out of body experiences, or, even, dreams. It is because we are living life AS SPIRIT ON EARTH that we are able to shift from one level of awareness to another, back and forth; sometimes spontaneously, other times quite intentionally.

Thus, there is a strong link and connection between the Earth plane and the Astral plane. It is through the Astral plane that so much of the spiritual help and assistance is given to us. The Astral plane represents the doorway between the Earth plane and the higher levels of the Spirit world.

The Astral plane has been subject to much confusion and misinformation. It is called the Astral plane because, within it, there is light and sparkling energy, very much like stars. Astral originates from the Latin "aster," meaning star. Because the Astral plane is where we deal with our recent earthly difficulties, people tend to consider it to be a place of punishment and negativity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Within the Astral plane, there is offered the greatest opportunity to set right that which may have gone wrong and to become even more intimately involved with our family and friends, in a truly spiritual manner. What is even more amazing is that, once we step through the Astral plane and enter the next level of the Spirit world, the degree of love and intimacy magnifies itself a thousand-fold.

Indeed, it is a place of work; but of far greater significance, the Astral plane is a place of healing, love, and compassion.

Because the Astral plane is so closely linked to the Earth plane and its inhabitants, many proclaim that it is inhabited by countless spirits who are lost or earthbound. NONSENSE! The idea of lost souls and earthbound spirits makes great movies, sells lots of books, and, unfortunately, gives many unscrupulous psychics and mediums lots of work; but is not based on fact.

Very few are they who become "stuck" between "here" and "there". Some certainly do have difficulty in making their earthly transition, but always there are loved ones and special Spirit friends who endeavor to help in that transition. And, if for some reason, a spirit is just not ready or willing to make the transition complete, he or she will fall into a sleep state and remain quiet, until the time comes for a reawakening into the Spirit world. Furthermore, that reawakening is aided through love and healing by those special Spirit helpers. Such spirits do NOT go around haunting the Earth plane; nor do they sit around just waiting to possess a weak earthling; nor do they hang around graveyards or around bars, inhaling smoke and the smell of alcohol.

Thus it is in the Spirit world; or at least the first phase of the Spirit world, immediately following physical death.

In Part Two of this series, we shall look at the concepts of Heaven and Hell, as they apply to the Spirit world. Are Heaven and Hell, in fact, places; are they merely states of mind; and who goes or experiences what? Should prove to be very interesting.

If you would like further information on the journey of your Spirit and Soul, through life and the Spirit life, we suggest you consider purchasing our very informative and very complete Journey of the Soul. You will be hard pressed to come up with a question concerning your Spirit and its journey through creation that is not addressed somewhere in this study course. It is an excellent and truthful course of study and experience.

© 2001 First Spiritual Temple. All rights reserved.
Reproduction or reuse of any pages without written permission is strictly prohibited.

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The Ayer Institute
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