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|Esoteric Healing - Chapter V - The Process of Restitution|
|2. The Act of Restitution
In considering the consciousness of the departing soul (note that phrase) as it undertakes the act of restitution, I would again point out that I am dealing with a subject of which there is no tangible physical proof. Occasionally men are brought back again into physical plane existence when at the exact point of complete physical restitution. This can only be done as long as the conscious entity is still occupying the etheric vehicle, though the discarding of the dense physical body has to all intents and purposes been completed. Though the etheric body interpenetrates the entire physical body, it is much larger than that body, and the astral body and the mental nature can still remain etherically polarized even if the death of the physical body - the cessation of all heart activity and the concentration of the basic etheric focus in the region of the head, or the heart, or the solar plexus - has been effective and the withdrawal is already well under way.
The etheric forces are first of all withdrawn into the surrounding extension of the etheric ring-pass-not, prior to that final dissipation which leaves the man free to stand as a human soul within the ring-pass-not of his astral vehicle. You have here a somewhat new aspect of the death process. The withdrawal of the etheric body from occupation of the dense physical body has oft been posited and presented. But even when that has been accomplished, death is not yet complete; it still awaits a secondary activity of the will of the soul. This secondary activity will result in all the etheric forces dissolving into an emanating source which is the  general reservoir of forces. Forget not that the etheric body has no distinctive life of its own. It is only an amalgamation of all the forces and energies which animated the physical body and which galvanized it into activity during the outer life cycle. Remember also that the five centers up the spine are not within the physical body, but are found at certain distinctive points in the paralleling etheric substance; they are (even in the case of the undeveloped man, and still more in the case of the average man) at least two inches away from the physical spine. The three head centers are also outside the dense physical body. The recollection of this will facilitate your understanding of the statement that the physical body is, per se, vacated when death is assumed by the watching authorities, but that, nevertheless, the man may not be truly dead. I would remind you also that this is equally true of the many minor centers as well as of the major centers, with which we are so familiar.
The last of the minor centers to "fade out into nothingness," in order to be resolved into the totality of etheric substance, are two which are closely related to and in the region of the lungs. It is on these two centers that the soul works if recalled into the dense physical body for some reason. It is when they swing into a returning or a fresh ingoing activity that the breath of life returns to the vacated physical form. It is an unconscious realization of this which constitutes the prompting cause of the process which is normally carried out in all cases of drowning or of asphyxiation. When a man has succumbed to disease and the physical body is consequently weakened, such restorative exercises are not possible and should not be employed. In cases of sudden death through accident, suicide, murder, unexpected heart attacks or through the processes of war, the shock is such that the somewhat leisurely process of soul withdrawal is entirely offset, and the vacating of the physical  body and the complete dissolution of the etheric body are practically simultaneous. In normal cases of death from disease, the withdrawal is slow, and (where the malignancy of the disease has not caused too great deterioration of the physical organism involved) there is the possibility of a return for a shorter or a longer period of time. This frequently happens, especially when the will to live is strong or the life task remains as yet unaccomplished and is not correctly concluded.
There is another point upon which I wish to touch and which has relation to the eternal conflict being waged between the dualities of the dense physical body and the etheric vehicle. The physical elemental (which is the name given to the integrated life of the physical body) and the soul, as it seeks to withdraw and dissolve the sumtotal of the combined energies of the etheric body, are in violent conflict and the process is often fierce and long; it is this battle which is being waged during the long or short period of coma which characterizes so many death beds. Coma, esoterically speaking, is of two kinds: there is the "coma of battle" which precedes true death; there is also the "coma of restoration" which takes place when the soul has withdrawn the consciousness thread or aspect, but not the life thread, in an effort to give the physical elemental time to regain its grip upon the organism and thus to restore health. As yet, modern science does not recognize the distinction between these two aspects of coma. Later, when etheric or clairvoyant vision is more common, the quality of the coma prevailing will be known, and the elements of hope or of despair will no longer control. The friends and relations of the unconscious person will know exactly whether they are watching a great and final withdrawal from present incarnation or simply looking on at a restorative process. In the latter case, the soul is still retaining its hold upon  the physical body, via the centers, but is withstraining temporarily all energizing processes. The exceptions to this withstraint are the heart center, the spleen, and two minor centers connected with the breathing apparatus. These will remain normally energized, even if somewhat weakened in their activity; and through them control is retained. When true death is the soul's intention, then control over the spleen first of all takes place; then control over the two minor centers follows, and finally control over the heart center supervenes and the man dies.
The above will give you some idea of the many points connected with dying that still remain to be discovered by orthodox medicine, and which will be revealed as the race of men reaches an increasing sensitivity.
I would ask you to remember that in all our present considerations we are dealing with the reactions and activities of the soul which is deliberately recalling its incarnated aspect because a life cycle has been concluded. The term of that life cycle may be long or short, according to the purposes involved; it may cover only a very few short years, or a century. Prior to the seventh year, the vitality of the physical elemental is largely the determining factor. The soul is then focused in the etheric body, but is not fully utilizing all the centers; it has simply a gently pulsating control and a gentle impulsive activity - sufficient to preserve consciousness, to vitalize the various physical processes, and to initiate the demonstration of character and of disposition. These become increasingly marked until the twenty-first year, when they stabilize into what we call the personality. In the case of disciples, the grip of the soul upon the etheric centers will be more powerful from the very start of the physical existence. By the time the fourteenth year is reached, the quality and the nature of the incarnated soul and its approximate age or experience are determined, the  physical, astral and mental elemental are under control, and the soul, the indwelling spiritual man, already determines the life tendencies and choices.
In the case of the ordinary man, where death is intended, the battle between the physical elemental and the soul is a distinctive factor; it is occultly called a "Lemurian departure"; in the case of the average citizen, where the focus of the life is in the desire nature, the conflict is between the astral elemental and the soul, and this is given the name "the death of an Atlantean"; where disciples are concerned, the conflict will be more purely mental and is oft focused around the will-to-serve and the determination to fulfil a particular aspect of the Plan and the will-to-return in full force to the ashramic center. Where initiates are concerned, there is no conflict, but simply a conscious and deliberate withdrawal. Curiously enough, if there appears to be a conflict, it will be between the two elemental forces then remaining in the personality: the physical elemental and the mental life. There is no astral elemental to be found in the equipment of an initiate of high standing. Desire has been completely transcended as far as the individual's own nature is involved.
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