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The intelligent thinker always asks, sooner or later, 'What is on the other side of death?' To the materialist, who believes in the brain as the only factor of perception, there is no hereafter. To those who believe in tradition, there is another life, but mostly they are very vague as to its real meaning. For those who are seeking the truth, there is a right way and a wrong way of finding out about it. The right way consists of the study of the self, and the wrong way is in seeking to communicate with spirits.
When we are awake, the consciousness is for the most part on the physical plane, and a very small part is on the mental plane. This is proved by the fact that we are sometimes unconscious of what is going on around us, because our consciousness is at that time on another plane, and we are apt to call any thought or feeling an imagination. The dream plane is higher than the physical plane, for everything that happens there is a reality to the consciousness. It is only in our waking state that we say that what we experienced then was a dream. It is the physical body that makes the contrast between the dream and the wakeful state of being. In the dream we are free of this body, and the consciousness experiences things as reality and not as a dream or imagination, for it is the tendency of the consciousness to take as real what it is experiencing at the moment.
All experiences, thoughts, feelings, and emotions are stored in the mental plane, and when rid of the physical body, the consciousness experiences all these to their full extent. If a man has been cheerful and happy all through life, the consciousness, when it has left the physical body, experiences the state of happiness to the full extent on the mental plane, and if he has been unhappy and miserable all through life, the consciousness experiences that state to its full extent on the mental plane. This explains the meaning of heaven and hell. We experience heaven or hell in this way each day of our lives, and our heaven or hell depends on what impressions we allow ourselves to store in our mental plane.
Our minds need to be dusted and swept just as much as our houses, and this we do by meditation and concentration, which wipe away all wrong impressions. We must be masters of our own minds as well as our houses, and not allow them to be like a furniture warehouse with all the furniture mixed up together. We must direct where everything is to be placed, so that complete order may reign therein. We must not allow any impression we do not wish, to impress itself on our mental plane. On this side of life we have more will power to control our impressions than we have on the other side. There we experience the impressions we have formed in our life.
What chiefly concerns us is to study what makes things right or wrong, good or bad. And we shall find that good, bad, right, or wrong, is according to the point of view in which we look at each one of them. And when we understand this thoroughly, then we shall know the secret of making things right or wrong, good or bad at will.
This stage of understanding gives mastery, and raises men above heaven and hell.