1 WHAT REINCARNATES 2 WHAT IS REAL MEMORY ?
Jun 12, 2006 07:19 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Monday, June 12, 2006
Our continuing attention to THEOSOPHY raises two questions:
1 WHAT REINCARNATES ?
2 WHAT IS REAL MEMORY ?
Let us consider them, and see if they are useful :
What reincarnates is a mystery to many minds because they find a difficulty
in understanding such a permanency as must stand behind repeated
incarnations. They know that the body is born and dies and is dissolved, but
their minds are so identified with the body in its relations and
surroundings that they are unable to dissociate themselves from it.
They think of themselves as persons, as bodies of a physical nature, and
hence can not see where in them may reside that power of incarnating from
life to life.
Theosophy presents a larger view in showing that man is not his body,
because the body is continually changing; that man is not his mind, because
he is constantly changing his mind; that there is in man a permanency which
is the identity throughout all kinds of embodiments.
There has been no change in our identity from childhood up to the present
day. The body has changed; the surroundings have changed; but the identity
remains the same and will not change from now on through all changes of body
or mind or circumstance. That in us which is itself unchanging is the only
Nothing is real that changes. It is only the real that perceives change.
Change can not see change. Only that which is constant perceives change;
only the permanent can perceive impermanence. However dimly we may perceive
it, there is that in us which is eternal and changeless.
This unchanging, constant, and immortal something in us is not absent from
any particle or any being whatever. There is only one Life in the world to
which we, as well as all other beings, pertain.
We all proceeded from the same one Source?not many? and we are proceeding on
the same path to the same great goal. The ancients said that the Divine Self
is in all beings, but in all it does not shine forth.
The real is within, and may be realized by any human being in himself.
Everyone needs that realization that he may shine forth and express the God
within, which all beings but partially express.
ONE UNIVERSAL SPIRIT
If then the Source is the same?the One Spirit?in all beings, why so many
forms, so many, personalities, so many individualizations?
All, again Theosophy shows, are developments. In that great Ocean of Life,
which is at the same time Consciousness and Spirit, we move and live and
have our being. That ocean is separable into its constituent drops and the
separation is effected through the great course of evolution.
THE KINGDOMS OF NATURE
Even in the kingdoms below us, which are from the same Source, the tendency
to separate into drops of individualized consciousness goes on in
In the animal kingdom, those species that are nearest to us make an approach
to self-consciousness; but we as human beings have arrived at that stage
where each is a constituent drop of the great ocean of Consciousness. As
with an ocean of water, each drop of it contains all the elements of the
great body, so each constituent drop of humanity?a human being?contains
within its range every element of the great universe.
The same power exists in all of us, yet where we stand on the ladder of
being we see many below us and others greater than we above us.
THINKING and the MIND
Humanity now is building the bridge of thought, the bridge of that connects
the lower with the higher. The whole purpose of incarnation, or our descent
into matter, was not only to gain further knowledge of matter, but to impel
the lower kingdoms to come up to where we are.
We stand as gods to the lower kingdoms. It is our impulsion that brings them
weal or woe.
AIM OF LIVING
It is our misconception of the aim of life that makes Nature so hard; that
causes all the distress and disasters which afflict us in cyclones,
tornadoes, diseases, pestilences of every kind. All are our own doing; and
why? Because there is a sublimation of mineral, vegetable and animal
kingdoms in our bodies, which are lives in themselves.
ATOMS, LIVES, CELLS -- IMMORTALS ?
Every cell in our bodies has its birth, youth, manhood, decay and death, and
its reincarnation. We are impelling each one of those lives according to
whatever thought, will, or feeling we may have, whether for help or injury
to others. These lives go out from us for good or evil, back into their
kingdoms with good or evil.
So by our lack of understanding of our own true natures, without a
comprehension of universal brotherhood, we are imperfectly performing our
duties on this plane and are imperfectly helping the evolution of the lower
RESPONSIBILITIES and LAW
We shall realize our responsibility to them only as we see that every being
is on his way upward; that all above man have been men at one time; that all
below man will some time reach man?s estate, when we have gone on further;
that all forms, all beings, all individualizations are but aspects of the
Granted, then, that this ONE UNCHANGING SPIRIT is in all?the cause of all
evolutionary development, the cause of all incarnations ?where, we may ask,
do we carry the power to see and know from life to life? How is continuity
of knowledge, gained by observation and experience, preserved? How is the
individual maintained as such?
We should remember that we were self-conscious beings when this planet
began; some even were self-conscious when this solar system began; for there
is a difference in degree of development among human beings.
NATURE OF OUR IMMORTAL BODY
If the planet or solar system began in a state of primordial substance, or
nebulous matter, as Science calls it, then we must have had bodies of that
state of substance. In that finest substance are all the possibilities of
every grade of matter, and hence it is that within the true body of
primordial matter all the changes of coarser and coarser substance have been
brought about; and within that body is all experience.
Our birth is within that body. Everything that occurs to us is within that
body?a body of a nature which does not change throughout the whole
Manvantara. Each one has such a body of finest substance, of the Inner
Nature, which is the real container for the individual.
THE REAL, ETERNAL, "MANVANTARIC" ?MAN?
In it he lives and moves and has his being, and yet even the great glory and
fineness of that body is not the man; it is merely THE HIGHEST VESTURE OF
THE SOUL -- The Real Man we are -- is the Man that was, that is, and that
ever shall be, for whom the hour will never strike? Man, the thinker; Man,
the perceiver?always thinking, continually acting.
LIFE is one. SPIRIT is one. CONSCIOUSNESS is one.
These three are one?a trinity?and we are that trinity. All the changes of
substance and form are brought about by Spirit and Consciousness and
expressed in various forms of life.
We are that One Spirit, each standing in a vast assemblage of beings in this
great universe, seeing and knowing what he can through the instruments he
has. We are the Trinity?the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; or, in
theosophical parlance, we are Alma, Buddhi, and Manas.
1 Atma is the One Spirit, not belonging to any one, but to all.
2 Buddhi is the Sublimated Experience Of All The Past.
3 Manas is the Thinking Power, The Thinker, The Man, The Immortal Man.
There is no man without the Spirit, and no man without that experience of
the past; but the mind is the realm of creation, of ideas; and the Spirit
itself, with all its power, acts according to the ideas that are in the
The VOICE OF THE SILENCE [ p. 28] says,
?Mind is like a mirror. It gathers dust while it reflects.?
It needs soul-wisdom to brush away the dust. This mind of ours, or that
which we call the mind, is merely the reflector, which presents as we train
it, different pictures.
GOOD and EVIL -- CHOOSING
The Spirit acts in accord with the ideas seen, for good or for evil. Is
there evil in the world? It is the power of Spirit that caused it. Is there
good in the world? It is the power of Spirit that caused it. For there is
only one power. The misdirection of that power brings evil; its right
direction brings good.
We must give up the idea that we are poor, weak, miserable creatures who can
never do anything for ourselves; for as long as we hold that idea, so long
will we never do anything. We must get the other idea?that we are Spirit,
that we are immortal?and when we come to realize what that means, the power
of it will flow directly in and through us, unrestricted in any direction,
save by the instruments which we ourselves caused to be imperfect.
Let us get away from the idea that we are this poor, miserable, defective
physical body over which we have so little control. We can not stop a heart
beat; we can not stop the breath without destroying the body; we can not
stop the constant dissociation of matter that goes on in it, nor prevent its
final dissolution. Some people talk of ?demonstrating? against death, but we
might as well try to demonstrate against the trees shedding their leaves
when the winter blasts come.
DEATH -- AND UNIVERSAL PROGRESS
Death will always be, and there is a great advantage in it. If we could not
change our bodies, how would there be any chance for advancement? Are we so
well pleased with the bodies now ours that we would desire no change?
Certainly not. There is only one thing in this life that can be retained
permanently, and that is The Spiritual Nature, and the great divine
compassion which we may translate by the word ?love.?
WHY REINCARNATION ?
We are the reincarnating Egos who will continue to incarnate until the great
task which we undertook is completed. That task is the raising up of the
whole of humanity to the highest possible stage of perfection on an earth of
We incarnate from age to age for the preservation of the just, the
destruction of wickedness, and the establishment of righteousness.
That is what we are here for, whether we know it or not, and we must come to
a recognition of the immortality of our own natures before we shall ever
relieve ourselves from the distresses that afflict humanity everywhere. We
have to bring ourselves in touch and tune with the whole great purpose of
Nature which is the evolution of Soul, and for which alone all the universe
WHAT IS REAL MEMORY ?
The general idea with regard to memory is that it depends entirely on the
orderly functioning of the physical brain, and that where derangement of
that function occurs, there is loss of memory. It is quite true that certain
forms of memory depend upon the brain, as in those two particular functions
known as remembrance and recollection.
In "remembrance," we can get the idea, but not all the particulars that have
brought about some feeling, event, or circumstance of the past.
In "recollection," we can collect back from one point all the other points
connected with it.
But there is a third function of the memory, known as "reminiscence," which
is not at all dependent upon the brain.
It is brought into function oftentimes, not by any present object or
occurrence arousing attention in that direction, but as it were, springs
direct from the soul itself. It is a direct perception of what was. It comes
from something behind the brain?the brain serving merely as a sort of
filter, or interceptor, or translator of impressions.
We can understand why remote memories are difficult to recall to our brain
perception, when we consider the fact that the brain cells are constantly
changing. It is not conceivable that the millions of impressions received
during a lifetime could be retained and given out again by those changing
cells. All the time during our lives there is a continuity of perception,
but we do not remember one-thousandth part of the impressions that we have
received in those days or years.
REMEMBRANCE, RECOLLECTION, REMINISCENCE
Very few events are impressed upon us, or are immediately translatable
through the brain, by way of remembrance. Even if we so desired, we could
never make any complete history of all those impressions through the faculty
of recollection. Yet there is the innate faculty of recalling and
recollecting in such a way as to have a consecutive or synthetic grasp of
all those impressions through reminiscence, that faculty of memory which
applies to the soul?is a peculiarly innate quality of the soul.
To reach into and exercise Soul Memory, we must first understand the real
nature of man.
We must first see that all beings of every grade?not only man, but the
beings above man and the beings below man?are of the same essence, the same
Spirit, the same Life, and of the same potential powers.
The higher beings have brought these potential powers into activity, and
differ from the lower orders by reason of a greater degree of development, a
greater range of perception and a finer evolution of form. But highest as
well as lowest are rays from and one with the Divine Absolute Principle.
Each one is the Seer, the Perceiver, who stands in the center of his own
universe, through which alone we may know all that may be known of the
LAW PERMEATES ALL AND PERSISTS
We must recognize the fact that this is a universe of law, with no chance or
accident anywhere in it, and that we have arrived at our present position
under law?the law of our own being, set in operation by ourselves; that the
same law rules in every direction in space and in nature.
The races of men that now exist are the result of races of men which
preceded them; the planet on which we now live is the result of a planet
that preceded it; the solar system of which our planet is a part is the
result of a solar system that preceded it. Everything is an exact
consequence of that which preceded it?everything is a repetition of that
which was. This return of the same action or preceding impression occurs
under the true aspect of memory; it is the memory of what we have been
through that brings about the repetition.
On the physical plane, the action of true memory is seen in all those stages
through which the human form goes from conception to birth?representations,
in fact, of the evolution of earlier races. In every act of our existence we
are exhibiting true memory, whether we realize it or not. The memory of
walking is with us now; the memory of talking is with us now. We may not
remember how nor when we learned to talk or to walk, but we have present
with us the knowing how to walk and to talk.
True memory is just that?the possession of the knowledge of the past. It is
memory which connects us physically with the body, through all changes of
body, scene and circumstance; without it, we should be living merely from
impression to impression; there would be no connection whatever with the
past and there would be no sense of self-identity.
Memory exists also in other inner departments of our nature. Living on the
physical plane, our ideas connected almost entirely with the
?three-dimensional? state of matter, we are no more conscious of those inner
planes of being than, when in sleep, we are conscious of the physical plane,
being absolutely shut off from the outside world, from the happenings to our
friends, to the nation, and to the world at large, which are then of no
consequence whatever to us. Yet there is an active life in those inner
departments of our nature, and there is a memory of it.
The Thinker who uses the brain in the waking state is simply acting on
another plane of matter and using another plane of memory. Every plane of
consciousness has a memory of its own.
That consciousness never ceases, but is continuously active, is evidenced by
the fact that no one has ever experienced sleep. Nor does death come to us
any more than sleep. We may be aware that sleep or death is coming for the
body, but we know those states only as we see them in others. When we say ?I
was asleep,? we mean that the body was in the sleeping state, while we
passed away altogether from this plane for the time being. Then we passed
back again from the inner planes to this, picking up the memory of the
waking state where we laid it down, and leaving behind the memory of what
passed on the other side.
There is no record made in this physical instrument of the inner planes, for
the brain has not been trained in that direction, and hence it can not
translate those planes of consciousness, except in some partial
recollections such as occur in dreams. Dreams attest that we are alive and
active on inner planes; for in them, we think, speak, smell, taste, hear and
move, as individuals, and never have any question as to our identity, even
though the personality presented should be that of some past incarnation.
The dreaming state is very close to the point of waking?the intermediate
state between waking and sleep?so that we are able to impress the
brain-cells with what has occurred before waking, and remember.
DEEP SLEEP DREAMS -- PARADISE
But beyond the dreaming stage, which is a very short stage of sleep, there
is a vast extent of human thought and action. We go in and in until we are
close to the source of our own being, where the Thinker is at work, where he
knows all that he has been before?all his past incarnations?where he sees
and knows himself as he is.
The memory of all the experiences through which he has been as an
individualized being is there in one consecutive whole. That, indeed, was
the Paradise of man, when he walked with Deity, when he knew himself as he
True memory is the Paradise which all human beings should strive to regain.
To recover that whole memory, to make that great knowledge of the past
usable, here and now in the brain and in the body, is the true work of
Only when we understand what we really are, shall we be able to take a
conscious, active, purposeful part in the evolution of our race. Only when
we gain the perception that we are the Eternal Spirit, that Death never
touches us at all, that we may have a conscious life in spirit, not in
matter?only when we begin to think and act from that basis, can true memory
come through to the brain; only then can we know for ourselves, have nothing
to ask of anyone, but have everything to give to every other one. That true
memory is possible for every living being.
The barrier for every man is not in the memory, but in the false ideas of
life according to which he acts.
However much the Soul remembers, if we are using the brain contrary to the
nature of the soul, the brain can not translate its impressions. The Thinker
must transfer the memory of the soul to the brain, and he can do so only by
thinking and acting along right lines during active waking consciousness,
until the brain responds to the ideas and learns to transmit what occurs
while the body is inoperative. Then the true memory of the past that is in
the soul is our knowledge in the brain.
ELDER BROTHERS -- THE MASTERS OF WISDOM
The ?Masters of Wisdom? are those [Elder Brothers] who have the true memory
of every step through which They have gone?the knowledge of all past
civilizations, the understanding of all that every human being has to
experience, the recognition of all the laws ruling evolution.
As custodians of that knowledge, and as our Elder Brothers, They stand ready
to help mankind in the only way open to Them?by recording as much of that
knowledge as we can assimilate, by directing us to its proper use for the
benefit of all other human beings, that all humanity may advance in an
orderly way to the true goal.
Greater and greater individualization, wider and wider range of perception,
are the objects of evolution; but there are two paths by which we may reach
One path leads to an individualization that is selfish, and self-righteous?a
state of separateness from all human beings; on the other, there is no
cessation of work for humanity.
The Elder Brother goes as high as he can, but he stops before he enters the
final door that separates him from the rest; he returns and takes up again a
body of the race, as Jesus did, that he may help those who know less than He
does. [see The VOICE OF THE SILENCE, pp. 75 -79]
So we are never alone. Never will there come a time when those Great Beings
will cease from that labor, which is a labor of love. But we are the ones
who must determine for ourselves, sooner or later, whether to go on through
aeons of suffering and millions of lives of ignorance, or to follow the path
They show, which leads straight to the goal?which involves the power of
direct cognition of truth without any mistake whatever, and which includes
[Extracted from the FRIENDLY PHILOSOPHER ]
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