By Two Students
One of the most asked questions in metaphysics concerns the spiritual growth of the individual personality. If the soul is perfect, how can it grow? Also, if one believes in reincarnation, one also believes that we can only evolve. However, when reviewing the incarnations of those that are recorded, it would seem that on occasion a previous life seemed to demonstrate a higher evolvement that a current one. This can even be the case within a life. I’m sure we have known people who started out on a high plane only to fall later in life.
To begin with, let’s examine the difference between Soul and soul personality. The soul personality is also known as the persona or your identity in any particular lifetime. Simply stated, the Soul is that spark within each of us which is God, the Infinite, the All That Is. You might notice that we said that it was God, and not a part of God. God is, and therefore is everything. God is not divided but a continuous energy that is everything. The soul personality is our respective reflection of God or that infinite energy. Because our respective reflection evolves as we attain higher and higher states of consciousness, the soul personality evolves. An analogy would be to place a brilliant light behind a glass window; the clearer the window [soul personality], the more brilliant the light shining through it.
As we reflect on the apparent evolution or lack thereof from one life to another or even within a lifetime, the goal of every person on this planet is to evolve spiritually, until we are not subject to the mandatory cycle of rebirth. The requirements for reaching this level of consciousness are different with every person. This is due to the fact that every person is at a different level of evolvement or consciousness due to the understanding and wisdom he has gained. Our consciousness is raised by the decisions we make on this planet. In other words, how we treat ourselves as well as each other and whether or not we try to build a conscious alignment with our soul.
The opportunities for this growth are presented to us through life’s experiences and depending upon how we meet these experiences, we attain more vivified frequencies of consciousness. We are given choices on how to lead our lives and how to grow spiritually. We are given the chance to follow the Light that is within us completely or to disregard that Light in part or in whole. The degree to which we follow the wisdom that comes to us from our Higher Self determines how clear our window is. To polish the window to a high degree requires that we clean it in steps. I know of no one who can completely clean the window in one wipe. It would be like asking a 1st grader to explain the theory of relativity. It is necessary for the 1st grader to learn all the building blocks that would lead him to a complete understanding of that advanced theory. The same principle applies to spiritual evolvement. We learn in steps. The steps can be presented in many forms.
One of the most commonly used forms is in the experiences of life. We are afforded opportunities through different experiences to make choices that enhance our evolvement. Sometimes we make choices that take full advantage of these experiences. Sometimes we don’t. In either case, it is important to realize that we still grow. Even if we don’t take full advantage of a situation, we still realize some growth that will assist us the next time the situation repeats. And it will repeat.
This is done in many different ways. We usually feel that we evolve by learning more about how to lead a good life or simply practicing the Golden Rule. Although this is certainly an appropriate guide for all of us, there is more entailed in evolving the soul personality. We come to this life not as a new soul personality but as a person who has had many experiences and many past opportunities to evolve. During our former lives we made many decisions. Some aided us more than others. Fortunately we have additional opportunities to build on the positive decisions we made before, as well as altering the decisions we made that were not the best.
We come into this life with a sort of grocery list of improvements to be made in our character. Let us say that we choose to address ten areas for improvement. Very rarely does one accomplish all ten. Usually it is between four and eight. This implies that there will be some left over to deal with during a later incarnation.
This also applies within a life. We may have the opportunity to deal with two or three areas in our first twenty to thirty years. During that time we may be successful in transmuting those areas from a lower vibration to one that better reflects our higher nature. This success leads us to greater opportunities to deal with some of the more advanced areas for improvement. It might well be that because these areas are much more difficult, we falter or only succeed partially in transmuting the challenge. To an observer or sometimes even to ourselves, it might appear that we have devolved from our earlier status in life. However the actuality is that we have progressed. We have made the effort and the result is that we transmuted the vibration, at least in part. In other words, we have learned some of the lesson with which we have chosen to deal and this applies from life to life.
Reincarnation is the cycle of birth and rebirth of the soul personality. It is, in a sense, the process of purification of the ego part of one’s consciousness, transforming that ego into the essence of God or the Infinite-One’s consciousness. That is, by the experience of life, the ego is changed into the pure thoughts of the consciousness of the Infinite-Life. The process of transmutation takes place here on earth, because it is here on the lower level of awareness that the ego is closely attuned. By associating with this environment and by passing through a series of experiences, the ego begins to change, gradually attaining the state of awareness we know as Cosmic Consciousness.
In The Nature of the Soul, Lucille Cedercrans states:
The persona [soul personality] is the fusion of three major forces and their subjection to the impact of soul energy. This impact is made in three different stages or in what are occultly termed three impulsive movements – using the word impulsive in its true connotation and not in the usual emotional and enthusiastic significance. These impulsive movements are:
- The impact of the soul at the stage of human evolution which we call individualization. At that time, the form becomes aware for the first time of the touch of the soul. This is called in the language of esotericism the Touch of Appropriation. The soul then appropriates its vehicle.
This stage is succeeded by a long period of adjustment and of gradual development and unfoldment. This takes place upon the way of experience, and during that period the soul tightens its hold upon its instrument, the lower form nature.
The impact of the soul is called forth by the dilemmas and through the emergencies of the later stages of the path of experience. During this stage, the urgency of the need, and the dilemmas brought about by the forces of opposition, lead man to submit to a higher influence. He calls then in desperation upon the soul and upon the spiritual resources laid up in his divine nature and hitherto remaining unused. This impact is called the Touch of Acquiescence, and marks the acceptance by the soul of the demand of the persona for help and Light. The soul acquiesces in the plea of the persona for guidance.
It is to be noted that we are here considering the attitude of the soul to the persona and not that of the persona to the soul, which is the attitude usually under consideration. We are dealing primarily in this treatise with the reactions and activities of the soul through its ray energy, and its response to the demand of the forces – focused, combined and integrated – of the persona.
The impact of the soul at the time of the various and sequential initiations to which the disciple is eventually subjected, as he transits out of the fourth into the fifth kingdom in nature. This stage is called the Touch of Enlightenment, and through the bringing together of the forces of the purified persona and those of the approaching soul, a Light is engendered which fadeth not away.
In these three impacts,
- The touch of appropriation on the physical plane,
- The touch of acquiescence on the astral plane,
- The touch of enlightenment upon the mental plane.
From the moment of the birth of a persona, which is a self-conscious unit within the greater consciousness of the One Life, the process of human evolution begins. The new birth of awareness is swept into activity by the Divine Impulses of the Will, Intelligence and Love which are inherent within it. These, working under the Divine Laws of Evolution, Reincarnation, and Karma, build the first cycle of vehicles for the incarnating Soul, with little attention being given the building process by the consciousness itself. In the beginning, the process automatically proceeds according to Divine Law, and the inherent Plan. Later, however, when the Soul has evolved a certain degree of Wisdom (awakened, via its experience with form, to its essential reality, and it’s Divine Nature), it takes a more specific part in the building process.
It observes the growth of the persona, which is that aspect of its consciousness which is imprisoned within and identified with the form and determines what further experiences, in accordance with Divine Law, are needed.
Then, consciously manipulating Divine Will and Intelligence, the Soul creates the vehicles of incarnation. This is an important concept, to bear in mind. The Soul does not seek out a vehicle already created and then incarnates into it, but rather the Soul builds the persona vehicle via a meditation process.
In cooperation with the Soul of the persona and parents (determined by evolutionary development and karma) the Soul proceeds with the process of creation from Its own plane of affairs.
Ordinarily when a life, in the body, has served its purpose, i.e., when it has worked out a sufficient degree of karma, and effected a pre-determined degree of growth, the Soul brings about an abstraction of the persona from its physical body, and that transition known as death ensues. The consciousness is removed from the karmic limitations of its physical environment in order to move on to new ones. Consider what takes place in the life and affairs of the persona, at the time of the transition. He is removed from his family, from his friends, from his home and place of work, and from his particular station in life. He undergoes then, after passing over, a period of reorientation in which he detaches from the forms his past life has taken. The karmic relationships of father, mother, life partner, children, etc., are gradually removed from his consciousness as such, so that his former mother or son is no longer mother and son, but rather brother Souls.
All the while that he is engaged in this reorientation, he extracts the wisdom gained from his experiences via a review of the past life. He sees it in retrospect, gaining a new understanding of its lessons through observation, and gradually he is enabled to detach from the forms that life took. The length of this period will be determined by the age of the Soul, and the relative unfoldment of the Soul within the persona, so that some spend the equivalent of centuries in this devachanic experience, some the equivalent of a few years or even moments, after which they go on to higher forms of learning and other paths of experience while out of the body, and still others are so unable to detach, so earthbound, that they seek reincarnation prematurely into a like environmental condition. The detachment from the forms the past life has taken makes possible the re-birth of the soul personality into a new and different environment, a new and different set of coordinates which will provide the karmic possibilities and limitations the new life shall take, and render possible another expansion or growth of consciousness and the balancing of another aspect of the total karma.
Consider how necessary this is to the evolutionary process. What would happen if a man carried over from one life to another his old loves, his old enemies, his old likes and dislikes which were created largely by the childhood environment, rather than his intelligent choices, or his former status in life? Even his talents must change, or the painter should always be the painter, the statesman the statesman, and the thief the thief, etc., and the Soul would never achieve a rounded out development. Yet, when it is suggested to the probationer that he must initiate his own service activity, he is stunned, shocked, and frightened as he begins to grasp the meaning of that statement.
We have entered into an area which is sometimes difficult for the human mind to comprehend. If one realizes that he is not expected to understand the all of the text at present, and if he will not make an attempt to either accept or reject it, but rather to become receptive, allowing the consciousness to respond in its own time, the way will be made easier. This text is not written for the human mind. It is written for the soul consciousness; therefore, the method of comprehension is via the higher intuitive faculty rather than the intellect.