Marvels: Letters from an Elder, Part 9
Letter # 6, July 1st 1948
I am glad that our correspondence has resulted in a change in your habits, however small you may consider those changes to be. The fact that you gave someone something without expecting or even wanting an exchange shows that the tidal shift is occurring in you which is the whole point of me sending these words to you.
Intellectualising about Life is almost useless. Like a swimmer standing by the side of a pool, you make no impression at all upon the water, and misuse your time; but, as the swimmer who places even one foot in the water, you create ripples. The purpose of Life is the ripples: creating them, guiding them, crafting beauty and love with them. And sometimes, its purpose is to rescue from turbulent waters those who are in danger of drowning.
But let us again consider the mechanics of death, as this is where most of your attention is still.
The graveyards of the world are full of the dust that the living entity known as ‘the body’ was using at that moment in time when it decided to stop doing what it was doing — the moment, if you like, that it stepped back out of the pool. What you as a mortal call ‘dying' is the moment at which the living entity steps out of the water of the finite world, and starts operating using the different medium of the spiritual air of the immortal world. What you call ‘the body’ is not the dust which it is organising on a micro-level into cells and chemicals and compounds and molecules and interchanges and organs and all the rest of organic life — your body is the complex and extremely well-structured pattern of operations which is manipulating all that matter. Note that by far the most of what it does lies outside your sphere of knowledge or direct influence: your heart beats, your lungs breathe, your blood circulates, all beyond your awareness most of the time. A billion complex chemical and biological interactions occur beneath your notice. Death is the moment of change, when that same operating pattern starts to organise higher, lighter energies and materials.
Your body does not die: it merely lays aside specific tools and comes with you, into the new world, to begin to learn how to function in new ways.
Much of the worry, anxiety and dread from which you suffer in the mortal world is based on your body’s confusion of itself with its tools. The concept of bodily death is based on a misunderstanding of what the ‘body’ is. The Western cultural division of matter and spirit or body and soul is misaligned, misplaced: bodies are spiritual instruments through which you, the individual, are able to interact with your physical surroundings. When your surroundings change, as when you move into the next plane, all that is left behind is the gross matter which these organisms have used to create those instruments.
Your body in mortal mode replaces that gross matter every seven to ten years, with some of your most important organs replacing their cell make-up even more rapidly. Atoms inside the body – the smallest units of matter, which form the molecules that form cells – are replaced each year, from the air you breathe, the food you eat and the liquids you drink. ‘The body’ as you normally think of it — the organic humanoid shape you walk around with or in — is not what you normally imagine it to be: it doesn’t have some kind of independent existence which you feed and which ‘runs out’ when you reach a certain age. The body you have now is not the same entity it was last month, last year — its substances are in constant flux. What coordinates and manages that flux? That is the real ‘body’. That is the constant behind all the newness, the ‘organising principle’ separate from the tiny amounts of physical matter which make up the chemical structures. Cells that line the surface of your stomach and intestines, for example, have a difficult, short life. Constantly battered by corrosives like stomach acids, they typically last only up to five days. Some neurons in your cerebral cortex – the brain's outside layer that is said to govern memory, thought, language, attention and consciousness – stay with you from birth to death, but even they are just material tools used to achieve interaction.
The rest of what you call your body changes at different paces all the time.
You are not who you thought you were, from minute to minute. And when your body finally ‘gives up the ghost’ it’s not the ‘ghost’ it will be giving up, but the dust. And when you find yourself stepping back from all the dust, free from it at last, you will look at yourself and see the glowing, super-organised and beautiful ‘principle’ which ran all that dust for you, like an old friend. But now, free from the pool of the material world, that same principle which you have grown to love over time will be able to gather new kinds of particles and make new forms and vehicles for you. You don’t die; neither does your body.