THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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400. Does an incarnate spirit willingly reside in its physical envelope?
“It is as if you asked if a prisoner likes to remain locked up in prison? The incarnate spirit endlessly pines for its freedom and the more rudimentary its envelope, the more it wishes to be rid of it.”


401. Does the soul rest during sleep as does the body?
“No, a spirit is never inactive. The bonds that tie it to the body are relaxed during slumber, and as the body does not require its presence, it travels through space and has direct relationships with other spirits.”


402. How can we prove a spirit’s freedom during sleep?
“By dreams. When the body is asleep, a spirit enjoys the use of faculties it does not possess when awake. It remembers the past and sometimes sees the future. It acquires more power, and is able to communicate with other spirits, either in this world or in another. You often say, ‘I had a strange dream, a terrible dream, nothing like reality.’ You are mistaken in thinking this because it is often a recollection of places and things that you have seen in the past, or a premonition of those that you will see in a future existence, or even in this life at some future time. As the body is slow, the spirit tries to break free of its shackles and seeks, in the past or in the future, any means of doing so.”


“Poor humans! How little you know regarding the most basic phenomena in your life! You fancy yourselves to be very educated and are puzzled by the most ordinary things. You are incapable of answering simple questions that a child might ask, such as, ‘What do we do when we are asleep?’ ‘What are dreams?’”


“Sleep frees the soul partially from the body. When you sleep, your spirit is in the state in which you will fnd yourself after death. The spirits who are promptly freed from matter upon death are those who, during their life, had intelligent sleep. Such individuals meet with other spirits superior to themselves when asleep. They spend time with them, conversing and learning from them. They even work on undertakings in the spirit world that they discover to already be initiated or completed upon death. Based on this you should see how death should not be feared, since you ‘die daily’20 according to the words of a saint.


“What we have just stated refers to elevated spirits. Those who remain in a state of confusion and uncertainty for hours after death venture into worlds lower than Earth when asleep. They are drawn back to these worlds by old penchants, or the attraction of desires or inclinations more despicable than those to which they are addicted in your world. During these visits, they accumulate more shameful and mischievous ideas than those that they had acknowledged when awake. What produces a sense of sympathy in the physical life is nothing more than the fact that they feel attracted to those with whom they have spent eight or nine hours of happiness or pleasure. On the other hand, the basis of the unyielding aversion they sometimes feel for certain individuals is also found in the intuitive knowledge they have acquired that those individuals have a conscience that is different than theirs. They know them without having physically seen them. This same fact explains the indifference some people feel for others. They do not care to make new friends, because they know that they have others who love and cherish them. Sleep has more infuence than you think on your life.”


“Incarnate spirits connect with the spirit world through sleep. This is why higher spirits agree to incarnate themselves among you. God has resolved that they may fortify themselves at the source of goodness during their contact with vice so that they may not fall into wrongdoing while trying to enlighten others. God opens the gate of slumber, through which they may pass to see their friends in the spirit world. It is their leisure time after work, while awaiting their fnal liberation, which restores them to their true place.”


“Dreams are the recollection of what your spirit has seen during sleep. However, you must realize that you do not always dream, because you do not always remember what you have seen, or everything that you have seen. Your dreams do not always refect the action of your soul in its full development. They often are merely the refection of the confusion accompanying your departure or return, sprinkled with the hazy recollection of what you have done, or what has occupied your thoughts in your waking state. How else can you explain the absurd dreams dreamt by the wisest and most foolish of human beings? Bad spirits also use dreams to torment weak and apprehensive souls.”


“You will soon see the development of another kind of dream, one that is primordial but of which you are unaware. This dream is that of Joan of Arc, Jacob, the Jewish prophets, and certain Hindu ascetics, a dream that is the memory of the soul’s experiences while entirely free from the body. This is the memory of the second life of which I just spoke.”


“You should try to carefully distinguish between these two kinds of dreams, at least out of those that you are able to recall, otherwise you run the risk of falling into contradictions and errors that would be prejudicial to your faith.”


Dreams are a consequence of the emancipation of the soul. Souls have more independence by the suspension of the active and social life, and enjoy indefnite clairvoyance extending to faraway places, or those we have never seen, or even to other worlds. This emancipation is what causes the reminiscence that retraces the events from our present or prior lives. The peculiarity of the images of what has taken place in worlds unknown to us, mixed with the present world, produces bizarre and whimsical patchworks that seem to be devoid of meaning. The incoherence of dreams is further explained by gaps resulting from the incomplete recollection of what has appeared to us in our dreams. This incompleteness is similar to a narrative that has whole sentences or sections omitted, and the remaining fragments are randomly thrown together, with a resulting loss of all logical meaning.


403. Why do we not always remember our dreams?
“Sleep is only rest for the body, and the spirit always remains active. The spirit is partially free while sleeping, and communicates with loved ones, in both this world and other worlds. As the body is heavy and material, it is diffcult for it to retain possession of the impressions received by the spirit during sleep, because those impressions were not received through the physical organs.”


404. What should we think of the signifcance attributed to dreams?
“Dreams are not indications of the future, as is often alleged by fortune-tellers. It is absurd to believe that a certain kind of dream reveals the occurrence of a specifc event. However, they are indications in the sense that they present images which are real for the spirit, though they may have nothing to do with its present physical life. In many cases, dreams are a memory, and sometimes an intuition, of the future, if permitted by God, or the vision of something that is taking place in some other place to which the soul has traveled. Have you not heard of the many instances proving that individuals may appear to friends and family in dreams, warning them of what is happening to them? What are apparitions, if not the soul or spirit of individuals who are communicating with you? When you are certain that what you saw has actually taken place, is it not proof that it was not a fgment of your imagination, especially if what you saw was something that you had not thought of when you were awake?”


405. We often see things in dreams that appear to be premonitions, but they do not come to fruition. What is the reason for this?
“The spirit may experience these things, while the body does not. The spirit sees what it wishes to see because it goes out looking for it. During sleep, the spirit is always more or less under the infuence of matter. Consequently, it is never completely free from human ideas, and the objects of its waking thoughts may conjure up what it desires or fears, producing an effect of the imagination. When the mind is preoccupied with an idea, it is very quick to connect everything it sees to that idea.”


406. When we see living persons, whom we know quite well, doing things in dreams that they would never dare do in reality, is it a mere effect of the imagination?
“That they would never dare? How do you know? Their spirit may visit yours, as yours may visit theirs, and you do not always know what they may be thinking. Besides, in dreams you often apply to individuals you know, and according to your own desires, what took place, or is taking place, in other existences,.”


407. Is complete sleep necessary for the emancipation of the spirit?
“No, the spirit recovers its freedom as soon as the senses become drowsy. It takes advantage of every moment of bodily rest to be free. The second that the body begins to get weary, the spirit detaches from the body. The weaker the bodily state, the freer the spirit.” This is why dozing, or a mere dulling of the senses, often presents the same images as dreaming.


408. We sometimes seem to distinctly hear words that have no connection with what we are thinking. What is the cause of this?
“Yes, you often hear words and even whole sentences, especially when your senses begin to grow drowsy. It is sometimes the faint echo of a spirit who wants to communicate with you.”


409. When not yet half asleep and with our eyes closed, we often see distinct images and highly detailed fgures. Is this a product of our imagination or an actual effect of vision?
“The body being numb, the spirit tries to break free from its shackles. It is transported and sees, and if the sleep were deeper, the vision would be a dream.”


410. Sometimes, when asleep or half asleep, we have ideas that seem to be excellent, but despite every effort we make to recall them, these ideas are wiped from our memory upon waking. From where do these ideas originate?
“They are the consequence of the freedom of the spirit, who frees itself from the body, and enjoys the use of other faculties when free. They are often advice given to you by other spirits.”


a) What is the purpose of such ideas and advice, since we forget them anyway?
“Those ideas often belong to the spirit world rather than the physical world. However, though the body may forget them, the spirit does not and the idea recurs to it at the right moment when awake, as a sudden inspiration.”


411. Does the incarnate spirit, when it is free from matter and acting as a spirit, knows the time of its death?
“It often has an intuition of it. It sometimes has a very clear vision of it that allows the intuition to be retained upon waking. This is what gives some the ability to foresee the time of their death with perfect accuracy.”


412. Do spirit activities when the body is sleeping or resting fatigue the body?
“Yes, because the spirit is attached to the body, like a balloon tied to a post. As the post is shaken by the movements of the balloon, the activity of the spirit reacts upon the body, and may cause it to feel tired.”


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