Christian Rationalism: Part V


CHAPTER VI (cont'd)

SOCIAL MORALS AND SELF-EDUCATION

Success or failure of others, the causes of their joys or sorrows, are valuable lessons. Everyone should benefit from such examples in order to avoid incurring the same mistakes which caused pain and loss to others, and to take the same roads that led others to success and well-being.

If man feels debased in the eyes of his fellow-men, by doing something which reveals lack of morals or good principles, the more so would he feel is his spiritual awareness were alert and watchful to appreciate and analyse the extent of wrongful actions.

The existence of various social levels on Earth is partly justified not only by the fact that is a school-world but also by shortcomings in the education of its inhabitants.

An individual who is inadequately brought up restricts his field of action to the level in which he lives, and becomes undesirable in the higher levels of upbringing. Hence the need for man to spare no efforts to improve his social conditions, thus helping to raise the degree of morals in our planet.

EXAMPLES OF HONOUR AND DEVOTION TO WORK

Honourable examples are the greatest contribution man can give to society.

Honour is not restricted to punctuality in payments, honesty in business operations and close adherence to contract agreements. Honour involves, above all, strength of character, uncompromising loyalty and unswerving rectitude in the fulfilment of duty.

Those who are devoid of noble feelings, unselfishness and valour cannot claim to be honourable since such attributes are inseparable from honour.

Examples of devotion of noble feelings, unselfishness and valour, cannot claim to be honourable since such attributes are inseparable from honour.

Examples of devotion to work are the most useful to the goals of mankind.

The Universe in itself is all motion and action. The great craftsmen of progress were untiring hard workers.

Those who live in idleness are nothing but social parasites thriving on other people's work even if they are wealthy and consider themselves important personalities.

Work always noble and dignifying for men and women no matter whether they do manual labour or intellectual, artistic or scientific work.

What is actually of benefit to the spirit is not the nature of the work done but its moral value and the pleasure derived from doing it.

Everyone should therefore seek the kind of work that fits his vocation and do it with joy and enthusiasm. Work should be considered a reward, not a punishment because without it nobody would advance a step further in evolution.

PRAISEWORTHY ACTIONS; DELIBERATE AND INVOLUNTARY MISTAKES

Among the most praiseworthy human accomplishments are the educational books that are written, the schools that are opened, the scientific organisations that are founded and the work that is done to promote and encourage intellectual, spiritual and material exchange among people. From this viewpoint, we might also add the enterprises intended to foster industrial, mineral and agricultural production towards the improvement of living standards.

All inhabitants of this planet are imperfect, some more, some less. Therefore, nobody is perfect. Some mistakes are involuntary. Others are the result of the improper exercise of free will.

To err is human. Nothing could be more true. However, once an honest person is advised and becomes convinced of his mistake, he should admit it and try not to repeat it.

It is common practice to conceal one's mistakes, instead of avoiding them. This is very detrimental to spiritual growth.

Most people seldom use impartiality and justice in the innermost evaluation of their own actions. Even those who are too harsh in the judgement of other people's actions, for whom they always have words of criticism and reproach, do not escape the usual tendency. When their own faults are concerned, they find a full, lenient, absolvent justification.

In this way, mistakes end up incorporated to human habits. Man thus loses his self-respect and his sense of character and dignity becomes corrupted.

What everyone should do is to face up his mistakes and avoid new mistakes with the help of his will power.

SPIRITUAL IMPROVEMENT AND THE EVILS OF IGNORANCE

Spiritual improvement should be man's main concern in all his fields of activity

Man should try to excel in the fulfilment of his duties, and work with utmost devotion.

No progress towards perfection is achieved without attention, concern, knowledge, effort, devotion, joy, good humour and unshakeable determination to obtain positive results. And improvement is closely related to evolution, besides being the main purpose of the spirit's presence on Earth. There will be no spiritual progress unless man strives for improvement.

No one should spare efforts to fight ignorance because ignorance is the cause of the majority of man's evils. Ignorance is a completely negative force. It is always harmful and, when it does not pull backwards, it hampers forward motion. Evolution means light. The brighter the light, the more effectively it drives away the darkness of ignorance.

Ignorance is therefore a strong, powerful, uncompromising enemy of the incarnate spirit. Those who really wish to grow spiritually and make good use of their incarnation should take every available opportunity to fight ignorance.

Having no time to waste, they should try to always learn more. They should be aware that each new skill they learn is a new asset added to the spiritual wealth.

Those who did not have the good fortune of attending schools should realise that Earth itself is a School where the most varied lessons can be learned. There is never lack of good knowledge.

The courses of learning which the spirit is supposed to attend on Earth, during numberless reincarnations, comprise many subjects. Inattentive, lax students are frequently repeating courses.

If mankind only realised what a profitable reincarnation means to the spirit, we would not see so many failures and so much disregard for spiritual values on Earth.

The more advanced man is, the more he realises the endless distance that separates him from absolute knowledge, which requires infinite learning. True scholars do not lose sight of their limitations because they always strive to learn more and more. They are, as a rule, unpretentious, contrary to the average person whose main concern is to show off and to pass as persons of great talent and importance.

Many people do not realise how ridiculous they become when they make their intelligence, their kindness, or their personal attributes the subject of conversation.

Boasting of self-endowed qualities, either imaginary or real, is becoming to no one. Therefore judiciousness and moderation in all gestures and attitudes should become a sound habit in man's life to enable him to behave with exemplary dignity.

PRINCIPLE OF AUTHORITY

The principle of authority should never be exercised in a tyrannical, intolerant way since it cannot be dissociated from the precepts of moral, moderation and justice.

Although many people command respect due to the fear that their actions instil, the true, the most authentic, the most legitimate authority is generous and fair. This is what makes it endeared and respected.

This does not mean that people in authority should relinquish the right - and even the duty - to use strength and severity when necessary. What should never happen is for people in authority to become overbearing and despotic.

Those in authority should ponder carefully before taking any action, in order to reduce their chances of making mistakes and committing injustice to a minimum.

ECONOMY

Whenever material resources allow it, economy should interfere with neither good appearance nor material, moral and intellectual needs.

Squandering is just as reproachable as stinginess and miserliness. Everyone should abstain from excess, repel vice, oppose waste and squandering , but not deprive himself of what is necessary.

It should be borne in mind that earthly possessions belong to Earth and will remain here. Man is merely their manager or trustee.

One of the most serious mistakes made by many people is to behave selfishly, to enslave oneself to sheer earthly values, in the belief that happiness is contingent on them.

The assets gathered by the spirit in the course of each earthly journey consist only of its praiseworthy actions.

These are, in fact, the only gains the spirit takes along after disincarnation. On the spiritual level, they will fill the spirit with joy and happiness.

FEAR, EFFECTIVENESS, RESPECT

Fear is one of the most harmful, disquieting, distressing and tormenting evils that plague mankind. Its roots begin to grow in early childhood at a time when so many wrong ideas are instilled in children's minds.

The fear complex, which gradually takes hold of children, and the ominous influence it exercises on their whole lives should be blamed on certain ridiculous fairy-tales involving goblins, werewolves and other fabrications.

It is the duty of everyone who is responsible for children to, during the process of their education, fight everything that may contribute to make them shy or fearful. Of course extremes that may lead to want of foresight and recklessness should like wise be avoided.

To live effectively means to live fully in the proper sense, i.e., to take good care of one's physical and mental health, to share actively mankind's common effort to improve the world's conditions and always to conduct oneself in a disciplined, methodical, orderly manner.

Man should respect himself and his fellow men. A dignified earthly existence that is well adjusted to the common well-being is inconceivable without respect.

Respect must exist between parents and children, husband and wife, brothers and sisters and generally speaking, between individuals. Nothing is more harmful, more contaminating, more destructive of the feeling of friendship than lack of respect. In no way does intimacy forego respectful treatment.

To treat one's fellow man without respect reveals lack of moral principles and is equivalent to indignity. And in order to be treated with respect and consideration, man needs to follow an irreprehensible pattern of conduct at all times.

ZEAL AND WORK

Fulfilment of any task requires zeal, devotion and concern in obtaining the best possible results. Examples, however, should be set from above, since only those who know how to fulfil their duties have the moral authority to make demands.

Carelessness in the performance of a job hurts the character, tarnishes the individual and lowers one's reputation in the eyes of other people. Those whose activities are characterised by negligence, laxity and slackness err against themselves.

Human work, although it may sometimes appear isolated, is overall co-ordinated, and everyone plays a part in it. Those who perform their share poorly reveal negative qualities and lack of a sense of responsibility.

In order to make the best use of time, everyone should plan their work intelligently so that each task is carried out at the right moment. Work, recreation and rest are three equally important prerequisites of physical and spiritual well-being.

Everyone should follow a time table that best suits his conveniences and the demands of work but should not neglect rest and recreation.

Only in this way will he find pleasure in work, benefit in rest and joy in recreation. These factors will contribute to his good health and well-being.

INTEGRITY

Integrity should be the constant concern of every incarnate spirit. Man will profit greatly is in each existence on earth he will succeed in polishing at least one of the many facets of this valuable moral treasure.

Man's spirit will never reach the final point of earthly incarnations until the highest level of integrity is attained.

This world is not lacking in cunning ways of providing profitable, but dishonest situations.

In the presence of these situations, the weak always surrender. The strong resist, those who resist win, and victory strengthens man. Truly righteous men are formed by the sum of these victories. However, it should be understood that one's moral behaviour is not to be evaluated simply on the basis that he has not sold his conscience. More than that is needed. It is necessary to feel life in all its grandeur and fullness. The truly righteous are those who - in addition to being honourable - are just, dignified, loyal, brave, and always willing to contribute to the well-being of mankind.

REASONING

The reason why so many wrong things are done on Earth is because man does not take the trouble to reason at length before acting in order to be able to foresee the consequences. Human reasoning becomes sharper the more it is exercised.

Due to self-indulgence, lassitude, mental laziness, many people leave to others the task of reasoning and then accept the ideas of others as if they were their own.

Hence the sectarian movements, composed of numerous followers, always inclined to believe what others believe or pretend to believe, no matter how absurd that belief may be. This is true especially in the ample and deceitful filed of mysticism where spiritualistic investigation of truth is not allowed.

Using the insight for research derived from reason, it is not difficult to distinguish the rational from the absurd, the logical from the illogical, right from wrong, and to find the path that will firmly lead man to Truth.

ATTRACTING GOOD, REPELLING EVIL AND FULFILLING ONE'S DUTY

Besides other powers, man is endowed with the power of intuition. This quality is more receptive and more developed in some people than in others.

With its help, disincarnate spirits that wander in Earth's atmosphere is a disturbed condition (in this book generically referred to as Inferior Astral) interfere with the lives and thoughts of the incarnate spirits. Thus they lead them to the worst actions, and even to obsession, unless they react through reasoning that is set in motion by self-awareness.

Calls for help against such influences, addressed to hypothetical gods and saints, are completely useless. Such calls are usually made by those who are ignorant of the basic, fundamental principles of Universal Life: attraction and repulsion, action and reaction, cause and effect. Man, therefore, needs to know the power of thought, the power of will, the psychic force of attraction which can be exercised for both good and evil purposes, depending on the nature of the thoughts that impel it. Man consequently needs to know the ways and means at his disposal in order to attract good and repel evil.

Only the ignorant will choose materialism, religious or not - which has led mankind to so many failures - in lieu of the spiritualizing truth so clearly consubstantiated in the rational principles set forth in this book.

Man should always be aware of his material and moral duties.

Life demands from every individual, at every turn, an attitude, a gesture, a word which translates into fulfilment of a duty.

Fulfilment of duty means honesty, self-respect, dignity, a high moral level and enlightened awareness.

Every fulfilled duty represents settlement of an obligation, a step forward, one more point scored on the way to evolution.

Man should be always on the alert, watchful, mindful of his duties, bearing in mind that whatever obligations he fails to fulfil in one incarnation will unfailingly be accumulated in subsequent incarnations.

CHAPTER VII

DISINCARNATION OF THE SPIRIT

Human life is arranged in such a way that events occur at the right time, provided natural laws are not opposed in the course of life.

Violation of natural laws is a frequent cause of disturbances and instability which, by altering the natural rhythm of life, bring about much suffering to the spirit.

Evolution demands time, work, sacrifice. Normally, disincarnation occurs in old age. However, to ensure this, it is necessary to take good care of physical and mental health.

Many factors on Earth contribute to premature disincarnation. Among these are abrupt changes in temperature, earthquakes, air pollution, insalubrity in certain regions, epidemics, sources of contamination, vices and, last but not least, the harmful influence of spirits of the Inferior Astral.

There are also certain social phenomena which generate conflicts and wars of extermination.

In any event, premature disincarnation always represents a lapse in evolution that can only be repaired in one way: by reincarnation.

However, such reincarnation is not an easy problem. Candidates to reincarnation are innumerable and exceed existing possibilities. Hence the need to wait.

To avoid wasting time, many spirits, willing to face whatever difficulties they may encounter, decide to incarnate in an unfavourable environment.

It is a source of suffering for these spirits to realise that others of the same class, through more effort and better use of their time in earthly life, succeeded in ascending to a higher class. It is not their ascension itself, that causes this suffering, but the realisation that it was impossible to accompany them and that the distance separating them became greater on the way to evolution.

Spirits of a certain class are aware to others of their own class and of lower classes. They are unaware, however, of what happens to spirits of higher classes.

Those that stay behind or stop lose contact with old, dear friends, comrades of long journeys in previous incarnations, and therefore they suffer like incarnate spirits who see their dear ones die.

This contact, however, can be re-established, as those in spiritual worlds well know. But how? The answer is obvious. If a person walks at a slower pace than another, who walks faster, they become further and further apart. And, if the person who is in front is not willing to slow down, the one behind will have to speed up if he wants to reach him.

That is precisely what many spirits do when they decide to incarnate and face all earthly sufferings, which they know are transitory. They do so to enrich themselves with knowledge and moral values that will enable them to ascend to the next class.

With strong determination and redoubled effort, they succeed in recovering the time lost and fraternally reapproaching those that had surpassed them.

Normally, disincarnation should occur in old age. The human body is like a flower or a fruit: It is born, grows, blooms, and withers. When it withers, it ceases to be useful to the spirit. The one natural, spontaneous, wise solution therefore would be disincarnation.

Only in exceptional instances may disincarnation take place, without loss to the spirit, before man has completed the four stages of earthly existence. For instance, when a spirit belongs to a higher class than the 17th and incarnates on a special mission to awaken mankind or to contribute to moral changes designed to hasten the rhythm of evolution on this planet.

After all, what is disincarnation? What does it consist of? How does it occur?

DISINCARNATION, A NATURAL PHENOMENON

Disincarnation is a natural phenomenon in human life. It is the opposite of incarnation. The spirit incarnates the moment it takes hold of the body, at birth. It disincarnates the moment it leaves the same body definitely.

When this happens, the spirit causes the fluidic links, which conveyed life to the physical body, to be disconnected, and withdraws from it along with the astral body.

Let us however not lose sight of the fact that the word 'spirit' applies only to those particles of Force that have already evolved enough to incarnate in a human body.

Once it has been abandoned by the spirit, the physical body is but a composite of matter. Its source of life is no longer present. Life having ceased, due to withdrawal of the spirit, the body falls under the domain of chemical laws: it disintegrates, and its molecules go on to make up other forms of life and to compose other organisms.

The sorrow of those who survive is only natural in the absence of those who have been deceased. Sorrow indeed, not despair. A feeling of fond remembrance, not one of mortification, is both understandable and admissible.

A thorough understanding of evolution is a great blessing. It is the only way to make people view disincarnation naturally, recognising that it is an event as normal as incarnation in the unfolding of human life.

In as much as disincarnate spirits do not lose sight of their fellow incarnate spirits, they do not suffer separation the way incarnate spirits do. Obviously they cannot talk the way they did before. However, they are endowed with a telepathic sense which enables them to transmit thoughts to incarnate spirits, who receive them as if they were their own.

And what is worse: while still subject to earthly influences, a spirit does not transmit thoughts only. It also transmits feelings, many of them morbid, evil, obsessive.

Therefore, men should, with the help of noble thoughts, assist their dear ones who have disincarnated to rise to the worlds where they belong, where life is felt realistically without the disturbing influences prevailing on Earth.

UNFOUNDED BELIEFS

It is time we give up the belief that disincarnate spirits need prayers or supplications. This is simply not true. In the spiritual field, where disturbing influences do not exist, life is felt in full reality. The mental soundness of the spirit is complete. The spirit is fully aware of life's eternity and of the process of evolution.

Blissful, paradisiacal heavens, probationary purgatories, hells and red-hot boilers, these are all imaginative human creations that common-sense itself repels.

The same applies to a supposed divine trial, which is sheer fabrication. There are no gods to try those who disincarnate.

After leaving Earth's atmosphere - and with it all the factors of confusion and disturbance - the spirit views the good it has done with joy, and its reprehensible actions with deep regret.

Cemeteries and churches, where mental evocations of disincarnate spirits take place, are focal points of attraction of spirits of the Inferior Astral, due to the similar fluidic currents formed in those places by the thoughts of incarnate and disincarnate spirits. Therefore, whenever man's presence in such surroundings becomes necessary, he should do so with enlightened awareness in order to avoid taking part in the vibration of those currents.

If for instance, one feels a moral obligation to be present at a funeral, he should divert his thoughts from those of the surrounding assembly and elevate them, serenely, clearly, conscientiously to the Superior Astral. That is the goal of all spirits freed from matter and from the fluidic influences derived from inferior emotions so prevalent on Earth.

USELESS DELAYS ON EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE

We already know how disincarnation works. When the spirit abandons its physical body definitely, it withdraws, taking along with it the animistic body which is made of fluidic matter, imponderable to the ordinary senses.

Most spirits, when they disincarnate, know nothing about spiritual life. Consequently, things closely related to matter are the ones that influence them the most in the moments immediately before or after disincarnation, of which they are often unaware.

These influences are still stronger, still more powerful if the spirit has lived wallowing in vice, with thoughts turned only to materialistic pleasures.

In such condition - and because the spirit is under the impression that the astral body is physical - it roams Earth's surface like a common pedestrian, annoyed at the disregard of his fellow beings, who are understandably unaware of its presence. However, it finds plenty of opportunities to establish relationships with other disncarnate spirits in similar situations.

The movements of disncarnate spirits on Earth follow the pattern of their astral bodies. If the latter are saturated with coarse components due to their vicious conduct on Earth, they move about step by step like incarnate spirits.

Those, however, that led a less materialistic life, glide in the atmosphere, according to the density of their astral bodies, impelled by the action of thought.

Although such spirits become easily aware of the phenomenon of disincarnation, their thoughts are excessively concentrated on events of earthly life. Their aim is to continue feeling the emotions and delights of earthly life. Therefore they begin to exercise influence over incarnate spirits and such influence, when it persists, eventually becomes obsessive. It is this desire that prompts them to remain on Earth's atmosphere engaged in activities similar to those they exercised while incarnated.

For instance, those that were physicians try to exercise their activities wherever they find developed mediumnity which is used without the safeguards of the Christian Rationalist discipline.

However, since the spirits roaming earth's atmosphere have no way of expanding their knowledge, they are unable to avoid mystifications and get rid of the harmful influences prevailing in their living environment.

Therefore, no matter what their degree of evolution may be, as long as they stay on earth's atmosphere, their influence over the incarnate spirits is always harmful.