I speak about death as one who knows the matter from both the outer world experience and the inner life expression: there is no death period. There is, as you know, entrance into fuller life. There is freedom from the handicaps of the fleshy vehicle. The rending process so much dreaded does not exist, except in the cases of violent and sudden death; and then the only true disagreeables are an instant and overwhelming sense of imminent peril and destruction, and something closely approaching an electric shock. No more. For the unevolved, death is literally a sleep and a forgetting, for the mind is not sufficiently awakened to react, and the storehouse of memory is as yet practically empty. For the average good citizen, death is a continuance of the living process in its consciousness and a carrying forward of the interest and tendencies of the life. His consciousness and his sense of awareness are the same and unaltered. He does not sense much difference, is well taken care of, and oft is unaware that he has passed through the episode of death. For the wicked and cruelly selfish, for the criminal and for those who live for the material side only, there eventuates the condition which we call ‘earth-bound’.
The links they have forged with earth and the earthward bias of all their desires, forces them to remain close to the earth and their last setting in the earth environment. They seek desperately and by every possible means to re-contact it and to reenter. In a few cases, great personal love for those left behind on the non-fulfillment of a recognized and urgent duty holds the good and beautiful in a somewhat similar condition. For the aspirant, death is an immediate entrance into a sphere of service and of expression to which he is well accustomed and which he at once recognizes as not new. In his sleeping hours he has developed a field of active service and of learning. He now simply functions in it for the entire 24 hours (talking in terms of physical plane time), instead of for his usual few hours of earthly sleep. The mind of man is so little developed that fear of the unknown, terror of the unfamiliar, and attachment to form have brought about a situation where one of the most beneficent occurrences in the life cycle of an incarnating Son of God is looked upon as something to be avoided and postponed for as long a time as possible. Death if we could but realize it, is one of our most practiced activities. We have died many times, and shall die again and again. Death is essentially a matter of consciousness. We are conscious one moment in the physical plane and a moment later we have withdrawn into another plane and we are actively conscious there. Just as long as our consciousness is identified with the form aspect, death will hold us for its ancient terror. Just as soon as we know ourselves to be souls and find that we are capable of focusing our consciousness, our sense of awareness in any form or any plane at will, or in any direction within the form of God we shall no longer know death.
People are apt to forget that every night, in the hours of sleep, we die, the physical plane, and are alive and functioning elsewhere. They forget that have already achieved facility in leaving the physical body; because they cannot as yet bring back into their physical brain, consciousness the recollection of that passing out and of the subsequent interval of active living, they fail to relate death and sleep. Death after all, is only a longer interval in the life of physical plane functioning; one has only ‘gone abroad’ for a longer period. But the process of daily sleep, and the process of occasional dying are identical with one difference in the sleep; the magnetic thread or current energy along with the life force streams, is preserved intact and constitutes the path of return to the body. In death, this life thread is broken or snapped. When this has happened, the conscious entity cannot return to the dense physical body, and that body lacking the principle of coherence then disintegrates.
The young forget, and rightly forget, the inevitability of that final symbolic detachment which we call death. But when life has played its part and age has taken its toll of interest and strength, the tired and world-weary man has no fear of the detaching process, and seeks not to hold on to that which was earlier desired. He welcomes death and relinquishes willingly that which earlier engrossed his attention.
Death as the human consciousness understands it, pain and sorrow, loss and disaster, joy and distress, are only such because man, have yet, identifies himself with the life of the form and not with the life and consciousness of the soul, the solar angel. …… the moment a man identifies himself with his soul and not with his form then he understands the meaning of the law of sacrifice; he is spontaneously governed by it; and he is one who will, with deliberate intent, choose to die. But there is no pain, no sorrow, no real death involved.
The intent is for man to die, as every man has to die, at the demand of his soul. When a man has reached a higher stage in evolution, with deliberation and definite choice of time, he will consciously withdraw from his physical body. It will be left silent and empty of the soul, devoid of light, yet sound and whole. It will then disintegrate, under the natural process, and its constituent atom will pass back into the ‘pool of waiting units’, until they are again required for the use of incarnating souls. Again, on the subjective side of life, the process is repeated, but many have already learnt to withdraw from the astral body without being subject to that ‘impact in the fog’ which is a symbolic way of describing the death of a man upon the astral plane. He then withdraws to the mental level and leaves his astral carcass to swell the fog and increase its density.
Death has been present upon our planet from the very night of time itself; forms have come and gone; death has overtaken plants and trees, animals and the forms of human beings for untold eons, and yet our planet is not a charnel house, and it well might be in the face of this fact, but is still a thing of beauty, unspoiled even by man. The process of dying and of dissolution and the dissipation of form goes on every moment without producing contagious contamination or the disfiguring of the surface of the earth. The results of dissolution are beneficent in effect. Ponder on this beneficent activity and beauty of the design plan of death and disappearance. (From Ponder on this by Alice Bailey).