THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER VI
SPIRIT LIFE
Errant Spirits - Transitional Worlds - Spirit Perceptions, Sensations and Suffering of Spirits - Theoretical Essay of Spirit Sensation - Choice of Trials - Relationships Beyond the Grave - Spirit Sympathy and Antipathy – Soul Mates - Memory of Physical Life - Commemoration of the Dead – Funerals

Errant Spirits

223. Does the soul reincarnate immediately after being separated from the body?
“Sometimes the separation happens immediately, but more often it occurs after longer or shorter intervals of time. Reincarnation is almost always immediate in higher worlds. Corporeal matter is less coarse in those worlds and a spirit retains nearly full use of its spiritual faculties while incarnated. Its normal state is that of a lucid somnambulist.”

224. What happens to the soul in between incarnations?
“It becomes an errant spirit, hoping for a new destiny. It is in a state of waiting.”

a) How long can these periods last?
“From a few hours to thousands of centuries. There are no predetermined limits to the errant period, which may carry on for extensive intervals of time but is never perpetual. Sooner or later a spirit is permitted to start a new life to purify its previous lives.”

b) Does the length of time that a spirit is left in the errant state depend on the spirit’s will, or can it be imposed as a means of atonement?
“It is a consequence of the spirit’s free will. Spirits are fully aware of their actions, but, in some cases, it is also a punishment inflicted by God.. In others, it has been granted at their own request to enable them to pursue studies that are easier or more effectively carried out in the spirit state.”

225. Is the quality of being errant a sign of a spirit’s inferiority?
“No, because there are errant spirits of every degree. As we have already told you, being incarnated is a transitional state. Spirits are detached from matter in their normal state.”

226. Is it accurate to say that all spirits who are not incarnate are errant?
“Yes, in terms of those who are going to reincarnate. Pure spirits have reached perfection and are no longer errant since: their state is defnitive.”

Depending on their inherent qualities, spirits belong to different orders or pass through varying degrees of advancement successively as they become purifed. Regarding their state as spirits, they may be incarnated, or tied to a material body; errant or disengaged from a material body and awaiting a new incarnation for further improvement; or, pure spirits who are perfect and have no further need for incarnation.

227. How do errant spirits learn, since it cannot be in the same manner as incarnate people do?
“They study their past and try to think of ways to rise to a higher degree. They observe everything that is happening around them while listening to the discourses of enlightened individuals and the counsels of more advanced spirits than they are, and this provides them ideas they did not possess.”

228. Do spirits retain any of the human passions?
“Elevated spirits leave behind the bad passions when they shed their physical envelope and only retain the good passions. However, low order spirits retain their bad passions. Otherwise, they would belong to the highest order.”

229. Why do spirits not leave behind all their wrongful passions when they leave the Earth, considering that they are then able to perceive the disastrous consequences of those passions?
“There are people in your world who are excessively jealous, for example, do you think that they lose this imperfection immediately upon leaving your world? After the departure from physical life, especially those who have had well-marked passions,, the spirits retain a kind of atmosphere that envelops them that is infused with all their former negative base traits, since they are not entirely freed from the infuence of materiality. They catch glimpses of the truth here and there, showing them the true path to follow.”

230. Do spirits progress when they are in the errant state?
“They may in proportion to their efforts and desire for improvement. It is in the physical life that they put the new ideas they have acquired into practice.”

231. Are errant spirits happy or unhappy?
“It depends on their merit. They suffer from the passions they have retained, and are more or less happy depending on the strength of their connection to material life. When a spirit is in an errant state, it has perceptions of what it needs in order to be happy. When this happens, it is compelled to seek what it lacks. However, a spirit is not always permitted to reincarnate when it desires to do so, and in that case it becomes a punishment.”

232. Can errant spirits enter all worlds?
“That depends. When a spirit has left the body, it is not fully disengaged from matter. It still belongs to the world in which it has lived, or even a world of the same degree, unless it has risen to a world of a higher degree. This progressive elevation should be the perpetual goal of every spirit, or else it would never reach perfection. A spirit may enter higher worlds, but it would be as an outsider. It can only obtain a glimpse of them, but such glimpses often trigger a desire to improve, to become worthy of the happiness that is enjoyed in those worlds, and to eventually live in them.”

233. Do purifed spirits ever enter lower worlds?
“They enter them very frequently to help these worlds advance. Otherwise these worlds would be left to themselves, without any guides to direct them.”

Transitional Worlds

234. Are there worlds that serve as layovers and resting places for errant spirits?
“Yes, there are worlds that are specially adapted to temporarily serve errant spirits. They are like campgrounds where spirits may live and rest briefy after being errant for extended periods of time – a state that is always somewhat tiresome. These places are intermediary stations between the worlds of other orders, and are organized according to the nature of the spirits who enter them. These spirits fnd the conditions of rest there more or less enjoyable.”

a) Can the spirits who live in these worlds leave them whenever they want?
“Yes, they can go wherever they may want to go. They are like birds of passage stopping on an island to rest and regain strength to continue on their journey and reach their destination.”

235. Do spirits advance at all during their layovers in transitional worlds? “Of course, these visits contribute to their advancement and help them obtain permission to enter a higher world, until they reach the position of the elect.”

236. Are the transitional worlds destined to be layovers for errant spirits forever?
“No, their position is only temporary.”

a) Are they also inhabited by physical beings?
“No, they are barren. The beings that inhabit them have no physical needs or wants.”

b) Is this sterility permanent, and is there any special cause for it?
“No, their barrenness is only temporary.”

c) So these worlds have no natural wonders?
“The infnite splendor of creation is manifested by beauties that are no less splendid than the earthly miracles that you call natural wonders.”

d) Since the state of those worlds is only temporary, will Earth be of that nature at some point in the future?
“It has already been in this state.”

e) When?
“During its formation.”

Everything in nature has a purpose nothing is useless. There is no void everything is inhabited. Life is everywhere. Therefore, during the long centuries that preceded human beings’ existence on the Earth, during the slow periods of transition confrmed by the Earth’s sedimentary layers, before the frst organisms, upon that formless mass, there was no absence of life in that arid chaos in which the elements were mixed together. Beings who had neither human wants nor sensations found a refuge there. God made it so that the Earth, even in its initial barren state, would be useful. Who would dare maintain that only one planet out of the countless planets of the universe, and the smallest of them at that, has the exclusive privilege of being inhabited? Why would the others exist? Would God have created them solely for our pleasure, so that people could gaze up at a starry sky? Such a thought is completely illogical and contradicts the wisdom of God’s works. It becomes even more absurd when we think about the scores of planets and stars that we are unable to perceive. No one can deny the splendor of the idea that while worlds are still unft for material life, they are populated with living beings adapted to its conditions – an idea that may possibly contain the solution to more than one problem.

Spirit Perceptions, Sensations and Suffering of Spirits

237. When it returns to the spirit world, does the soul still possess the perceptions it had in its lifetime?
“Yes, and others that it did not possess because its body obscured them. Intelligence is an attribute of the spirit, but it is manifested more freely when unhindered.”

238. Do spirits have unlimited perceptions and knowledge? Basically, do they know everything?
“The closer they approach perfection, the more they know. Higher order spirits have a wide range of knowledge, while those of the lower orders are more or less unaware with respect to everything.”

239. Do spirits understand the frst principle of things?
“That depends on their degree of elevation and purity. Low order spirits know no more than people.”

240. Do spirits perceive time in the same manner as we do?
“No, and this is why you do not always understand us when you are trying to establish dates and time periods.”

A spirit’s life is outside the realm of time as we perceive it. The idea of time is lost on them and centuries, which seem so long to us, appear to be only a few instants lapsing into eternity for them, just as the variations of the ground would fade and disappear to someone high in space.

241. Do spirits have a more genuine and precise view of the present than us? “Compared to yours, their view is what sight is in comparison to blindness. They see what you do not see and therefore judge differently than you do. However, we must remind you that this depends on their degree of elevation.”

242. How do spirits acquire knowledge of the past, and is this knowledge unlimited? “The past, when we focus on it, is perceived as though it were the present, just like when you recall something over the course of your exile. The main difference is that we remember things that are currently erased from your memory, as the material shroud shielding your intelligence no longer obscures our view. However, spirits do not know everything, for example they know nothing of their creation.”

243. Do spirits see the future?
“That also depends on their degree of perfection. They often can partially see it, but, even when they see it more clearly, they are not always permitted to reveal it. When they see it, it seems like the present to them. A spirit sees the future more clearly as it approaches God. After death, the soul sees and embraces at a glance its past emigrations, but it cannot see what God has in store for it. This foresight is only possessed by a soul who has attained a complete union with God, after a long series of lives.”

a) Do spirits who have arrived at absolute perfection possess full knowledge of the future?
“‘Full’ is not the word because God alone is the Supreme Being, and nothing or no one can be equal to God.”

244. Do spirits see God?
“Only the highest order spirits see and understand God; lower spirits are conscious of and can feel the Creator.”

a) When a lower spirit says that something is permitted or forbidden by God, how does it know that this is really an order from God?
“It does not see God, but it feels Divine power. It feels a sort of intuition, an invisible warning that commands it to refrain from completing certain actions. Don’t you sometimes have a mysterious feeling, commanding you to do or not do something? It is the same thing with us, but at a higher degree. A spirit’s essence is more subtle than yours, they are better equipped to receive Divine warnings.”

b) Are Divine commands directly transmitted to each spirit by God, or through other spirits?
“Those commands do not come directly from God. A spirit must be worthy of direct communication with God. God transmits orders through spirits that are higher in perfection and instruction.”

245. Is spirit sight restricted, like the vision of living beings?
“No, it resides within them.”

246. Do spirits need light to see? “They see on their own and do not need any external source of light. For them, the only darkness that exists is that which they may fnd themselves as a means of atonement.”

247. Do spirits need to travel to see two different points? For example, can they see the two hemispheres of the Earth at the same time?
“Spirits travel from one point to another at the speed of thought, so in a way they can see everywhere at the same time. A spirit’s thought may radiate at the same time to many different points, but this depends on its purity. The more impure the spirit is, the narrower its range of sight. Only higher spirits can take in everything at a single glance.”

For spirits, sight is intrinsic to their nature and is located in their whole being, as light resides in every part of a luminous body. A universal luminosity extends to time, space, and everything in relation to which darkness or physical obstacles have no existence. In human beings, light acting upon a bodily organ produces sight; therefore, people would be plunged into darkness without light. However, as vision is an attribute of the spirit itself, independent from any external agent, spirit sight is independent of light. (See Omnipresence, No. 92)

248. Do spirits see things as distinctly as we do?
“Even more so, because their sight penetrates what yours cannot. Nothing obscures it.”

249. Do spirits hear sounds?
“Yes, they hear sounds that your simple senses cannot perceive.”

a) Do the faculties of hearing and sight reside within a spirit’s whole being?
“All of a spirit’s sensorial faculties are attributes of its nature, and form part of its being. When the spirit is using a material body, its senses are restricted to its bodily organs. When restored to freedom, the perceptions of a spirit are no longer localized.”

250. As the perceptive faculties are attributes of a spirit’s nature, can it withdraw from their action? “A spirit only sees and hears what it chooses to see and hear. Interpret this in general terms, and mainly with respect to higher spirits. Imperfect spirits are compelled to see and hear whatever may be useful for their betterment, often against their will.”

251. Are spirits sensitive to music?
“Are you talking about the music created on Earth? What is it in comparison to celestial music, which is of a harmony that has no comparison on Earth? Comparing the two is like comparing the wail of a savage to the sweetest melody. Lower spirits may enjoy your music because they are not yet able to appreciate anything more sublime. Music is an endless source of pleasure for spirits, due to the impressive development of their sensitive qualities. This of course is in regard to celestial music, of which the spiritual imagination can conceive nothing more divinely sweet.”

252. Are spirits sensitive to natural wonders?
“Natural wonders vary greatly between different planets and the spirits are far from knowing them all. Their sensitivity is in proportion to their aptitude for appreciating and understanding them. Higher spirits see a general level of beauty in which the appreciation of the details is lost.”

253. Do spirits experience our physical needs and suffering?
“They know them, because they have suffered them, but they do not experience them materially like you do because they are spirits.”

254. Do spirits get tired and need rest?
“They have no need for physical rest because they do not feel tired in the same manner. They have no bodily organs requiring the restoration of strength, but one can say that a spirit rests because it is not constantly in a state of activity. They do not act in a material way, its action is intellectual, and its rest is moral. There are times that its thoughts are less active and no longer directed at any special object. When this happens, it is in a state of rest that is unlike anything experienced by the body. The sort of fatigue that may be felt by spirits is proportionate to their inferiority, the higher their degree of elevation, the less rest they need.”

255. When a spirit says that it suffers, what is the nature of this suffering? “Mental anguish that causes torture far more painful than any type of physical suffering.”

256. Why do spirits sometimes complain of the cold or heat? “These sensations are caused by the spirit’s memory of the suffering experienced on Earth, and these memories are sometimes just as painful as if they were actually real. However, this type of complaint is often only figurative, for lack of better means of expression, when they try to describe their situation. When they remember their physical body, they experience the same impressions. This is what makes you feel like you still have a coat or wrap over your shoulders a few moments after removing it.”

Theoretical Essay of Spirit Sensation

257. The body is the instrument of pain, and if it is not the frst cause, it is at least the immediate cause. The soul perceives pain: it is an effect of the pain from the body. The memory the spirit preserves may be very painful, but it does not have any physical outcome. In effect, the soul cannot be affected by cold or heat, and can neither freeze nor burn. Do we not often see that the memory or worry about physical pain can produce the effect of pain in reality, and it may even result in death? For example, recently-amputated patients often complain of feeling pain in the missing limb, yet it is obvious that the amputated limb cannot really be the source or starting point of the pain. The brain has retained the impression of the pain experienced previously.
One can therefore conclude that the suffering felt by spirits after death is of a similar nature. A careful study of the perispirit, which plays an important role in spiritual phenomena, provides valuable insights into the nature and origin of vaporous or tangible apparitions as well as the state of the spirit at time of death. Inclusive of striking accounts presented by the victims of suicide and capital punishment, the sentiments communicated by the spirits of those who have been absorbed in material pleasures, as well as many other sources of information, have shed new light on this question, as is summarized below.
The perispirit is the link between the spirit and the material body. It is drawn from the atmosphere, from the universal fluid; it holds both electricity and magnetic fluid and to an extent inert matter. One can say that it is the essence of matter. It is the principle of organic life but not of intellectual life, since the spirit is the source of intellectual life. It is also the agent of all the sensations of the external life. Those sensations are located in the organs of the physical body which serve as their channels. When the body is destroyed, those sensations become generalized. This explains why a spirit never says that it suffers more in its head than in its feet. We must be careful not to confuse the sensations of the perispirit, which has become independent, with the sensations experienced by the body. The latter can only be understood as a means of comparison with the former, and not as an equivalent. A spirit may suffer when freed from the body, but its suffering is not physical. Yet, it is not purely moral suffering either, such as remorse, because the spirit complains of feeling cold or hot, despite suffering no more in the summer than in the winter. We have even seen spirits go through flames without feeling pain, as temperature has no impression on them. The pain that a spirit feels is not physical in the proper sense of that term, but is rather, a vague feeling perceived by the spirit, and for which it is not always able to account because it is not localized and not produced by any external agents. It is a memory rather than a reality, albeit a memory that is as painful as though it were a reality. Nevertheless, spirit suffering is sometimes more than a memory, as we shall see.
Observation has shown us that the perispirit is released gradually from the body at the time of death. In the frst few moments following death, a spirit does not clearly understand the situation. It feels alive and therefore does not realize that it died. It sees its body, know it for its own, and does not understand why it is separated from it. This confusion continues as long as there is any connection at all between the body and the perispirit, no matter how slight. For example, a person who had recently committed suicide said to us, “No, I am not dead,” and added, “yet I can feel the worms that are devouring my body.” The worms obviously were not devouring the perispirit, much less the spirit itself, but only the body. Still, a moral repercussion transmitted the sensation of what was taking place in the body because the separation between the body and the perispirit was not complete. Repercussion is perhaps not the right word to use in this case, as it may seem to imply an effect too closely linked to the material world. The sight of what was happening to the decaying body, still attached to the perispirit, produced an illusion that it mistook for reality. In this case, it was not a memory because worms had never devoured it during its lifetime. It was the perception of something that was actually taking place.
When we analyze the aforementioned case, we can draw conclusions based on an attentive observation of facts. During life, the body receives external impressions and transmits them to the spirit through the perispirit, which is probably what is called the neural fluid. The body, when dead, no longer feels anything because it no longer has a spirit or perispirit. The perispirit, when detached from the body, still experiences sensation but it no longer reaches it through a specific channel. Consequently, it is generalized rather than localized. Since the perispirit is only an agent of transmission – because only the spirit possesses consciousness – it may be deduced that if the perispirit could exist without the spirit, the perispirit would feel no more than a dead body. Likewise, if the spirit does not have a perispirit, it feels no pain, as is the case with completely purifed spirits. As the spirit progresses, the essence of its perispirit becomes more and more ethereal, demonstrating that the influence of matter diminishes in proportion to the advancement of the spirit, that is to say, as its perispirit becomes less and less coarse.
One may contend, however, that if it is through the perispirit that both good and bad sensations are transmitted to the spirit, then the assertion that an unpleasant sensation is inaccessible to a purified spirit must also imply that pleasant sensations are equally inaccessible. This is true with regard to the sensations that proceed solely from the influence of matter that we know and recognize. The sound of our instruments and perfume of flowers make no impression on higher spirits, and yet these same spirits experience vivid sensations of an indescribable charm. It is impossible for us to begin to fathom these sensations because when it comes to spirit sensations, we are like people blind from birth trying to understand the concept of light. We know that spirit sensations exist, but our knowledge is inadequate to explain their nature or how they are produced. What we do know is that spirits possess perception, sensation, hearing and sight, and that these faculties are attributes of their whole being, and are not limited to the five senses through which human beings experience them. But once again, in what way? However, in terms of trying to understand how these faculties act, we know nothing. The spirits themselves cannot explain it to us because our language cannot express ideas that transcend our comprehension, just as a savage is unable to express our arts, sciences, or philosophical theories.
When we say that spirits are immune to any form of impression from physical matter, it must be understood that we are speaking of spirits of a very high order whose etherealized envelope finds no analogy in this world. It is different with spirits whose perispirit is denser, because they perceive our sounds and smells, even though the perception no longer happens through specifc sensory organs, as they did during life. We may say that they feel molecular vibrations throughout their entire being, reaching their sensorium commune, although this is in a different manner and can cause a different impression that may change the resulting perception. They hear the sound of our voice, yet they can understand us by thought transmissions without speech. This penetration is easier for them as they are more dematerialized. Sight is independent of our light. The ability to see is an essential attribute of the soul and there is no darkness for spirits of a high order. It is more penetrating and extensive in those whose purifcation is more advanced. The soul or spirit possesses the faculty of all perceptions but the physical organs dull this perception down during corporeal life. However, in the spirit world, these perceptions become more and more vivid as the semi-material envelope is purifed.
This envelope is drawn from the atmosphere surrounding the spirit for the time being, and varies according to the nature of the different worlds. When spirits travel from one world to another, they change their envelope the same way we change our clothing when we transition from summer to winter, or travel from the North or South Pole to the equator. When they come to visit us, the most elevated spirits assume a terrestrial perispirit. They maintain this perispirit during their stay and their perceptions are therefore, produced in the same way as lower spirits. All spirits, whether of high or low ranking, only hear and feel what they choose to hear and feel.
Without possessing sensory organs, spirits can make their perceptions active or prevent their action. There is only one thing that they are compelled to hear, and that is the guidance of good spirits. Their sight is always active and they can make themselves invisible to one another, depending on their rank. Spirits of higher ranks have the power to hide from those who are below them. However, a lower-ranking spirit cannot hide from those who are above it. In the initial moments after death, a spirit’s vision is obscure and confused; it becomes clearer as it is free from the body. Not only does it acquire the same clarity it had during life, but also it has now the power of penetrating images that were opaque to it in physical life. As for the extension of a spirit’s vision through space, into the future and the past, that depends entirely on its degree of purity and subsequent elevation.
Some say that this theory is anything but encouraging. We had thought that, once freed from our rudimentary bodily envelope, the instrument for all our pain and suffering, we would no longer suffer. Now you tell us that we continue to suffer in the other life, but the fact that it can be in a different way does not make it any less painful. We may still have to suffer greatly, and for a long period of time, but there is also the possibility that we will no longer suffer, even from the very moment when our physical life ends.
The pain that we endure in our present life is sometimes independent of our actions, but it is often the consequence of our own volition. If we trace the root of our suffering, we see that in most cases it is due to causes that we could have avoided. How many problems and illnesses can a person trace back to overindulgence, ambition and the impulses of numerous passions! If a person could live a completely sober life without ever overindulging and remaining simple and modest in tastes and desires, such an individual would escape a large majority of the pain and suffering of human life.
The same theory applies to the spirit life, in which suffering is always the consequence of how a spirit lived on Earth. While it no longer suffers from gout or arthritis in the spirit life, its wrongdoing causes him or her to experience other woes that are no less painful. This pain is the result of the bonds that exist between a spirit and matter. The freer it is from the influence of matter, or the more dematerialized it is, the less pain it feels. Therefore we are each responsible for freeing ourselves from the infuence of matter by our actions in this present life. Human beings have free will, which gives them the power to choose, to do something or not. They must conquer their animal passions by freeing themselves of hatred, envy, jealousy and pride, and by breaking the shackles of selfshness, and purifying their souls by fostering honorable thoughts and ideas. They must do good and only attribute to physical things the importance that they deserve. Thereby, even in its corporeal envelope, it will have purifed itself by detaching from matter, and when it leaves the body behind, it will not suffer any longer from its infuence. For these individuals, the memory of the physical anguish suffered in the life they have just left is not painful, and does not produce unpleasant reactions because they only affected their bodies and left no trace on their souls. They are happy to be free and the tranquility of a clear conscience exempts them from moral suffering.
We have spoken with thousands of spirits who once belonged to every class of society and studied them at every period in their spirit life, starting from the moment when they left their bodies. We have followed them step-by-step in life beyond the grave to learn about the changes that took place in their ideas and sensations. In this respect, the most ordinary individuals were not the ones who furnished us with the least precious elements of study. This evaluation has invariably shown us that spirit suffering is the direct result of their own misconduct, and that their new existence is a source of overwhelming happiness for those who have followed the right road. Those who suffer do so as the result of their own choices, and have only themselves to blame for their suffering, in both this world and the next.

Choice of Trials

258. When they are in an errant state and before they assume a new physical existence do spirits see what will happen in that new existence?
“They choose the type of trials that they will experience, and free will exists in this freedom of choice.”

a) So does God not infict trials and tribulations as punishment?
“Nothing happens without God’s permission, because God has established all the laws that govern the universe. You would have to ask why God has made a specifc law, instead of another. In giving a spirit the freedom of choice, God bestows upon the spirit full responsibility for their actions and their consequences. Nothing blocks their future; both the right and wrong roads are open to them. If they fail, it is consoling to know that it is not all over, and that God allows them to redo the task that they have performed poorly. You must always distinguish between the work of God’s will and that of humans. If you are threatened by danger, it is God who has created it, not you. However, you have voluntarily chosen to expose yourself to this danger because you see a means of advancement through such behavior, and God has permitted you to do so.”

259. If the spirit can choose the kind of trials that it will experience, does this imply that we have anticipated and chosen our trials and tribulations on Earth?
“Not all of them, because you have not chosen and foreseen everything that will happen to you in this life and its details. You have chosen the type of trial that you will endure. The details of this trial are a consequence of the general situation that you chose, and are often the result of your own actions. For example, if a spirit chose to be born among criminals, it knew what kind of temptations it was going to have to face, but not each individual action. Those actions are the effect of its volition or free will.
A spirit knows that, in choosing such a road, it will experience a specifc struggle. It knows the nature of the problems that it will encounter, but does not know how they will present themselves. The details of events are the product of circumstances and the force of things; the spirit anticipates only the leading events of a new life and the determining effects on its destiny. If you turn down a road or path full of potholes, you know that you must proceed very carefully because you run a risk of falling. You do not know exactly where you may fall, and if you are prudent, you might not fall at all. If a tile falls on your head while you are walking down the street, you should not think that ‘it was meant to be,’ as is commonly said.”

260. Why would a spirit choose to be born among individuals who are leading a bad life?
“The spirit must be sent into the conditions appropriate to the trial it has requested. There must be a correspondence between the imperfection the spirit needs to shed, and the social context of where it is born. If the spirit has to struggle against theft, for example, it must live among thieves.”

a) If there were no bad people on Earth, could spirits not fnd the conditions they need for certain kinds of trials?
“If that were the case, would it be a bad thing? This idea concerns higher worlds that are only inhabited by good spirits, in which case iniquity does not exist, and that are only inhabited by good spirits. Try to make this the case as soon as possible on your Earth.”

261. In the course of the trials to which it must be subjected to reach perfection, does a spirit have to experience every sort of temptation? Must it go through all the circumstances that may stimulate pride, jealousy, greed, sensuality, and other similar sentiments?
“Of course not, because there are many spirits who from the outset follow a road that spares them the necessity of undergoing many of those trials. However, when they travel down the wrong road they expose themselves to all the dangers of that road. A spirit, for instance, may ask for wealth and the request may be granted. In that case, it may become greedy or wasteful, selfsh or generous, make a noble use of its wealth, or waste it on meaningless sensual pursuits depending on its character. But this does not imply that it is compelled to experience all those tendencies.”

262. As a spirit is simple, unaware, and has no experience at birth, how can it intelligently choose an existence, and how can it be responsible for such a choice?
“God supplies what the spirit lacks due to inexperience by tracing out the road that it must follow, as you do for an infant in its cradle. God allows it to become the master of its choice little by little as its free will develops, and it is then that it often loses its way and takes the wrong road if it ignores the guidance of the good spirits, who try their best to guide it. This is what is called the downfall of humanity.”

a) When a spirit has free will, does the choice of its corporeal existence always depend solely on its own volition? Does God sometimes force this existence as atonement?
“God is patient, God never rushes atonement. Nevertheless, God can impose an existence upon a spirit sometimes when due to its ignorance or stubbornness the spirit is incapable of distinguishing what would be most useful, and when God sees that such existence may help advance its purifcation, and serve as atonement.”

263. Do spirits immediately make their choices after death?
“No, many think that their destiny is to suffer forever. You have already been told that this is an atonement.”

264. What determines a spirit’s choice of the trials that it wants to endure?
“It chooses those which may help amend its faults, and at the same time help the spirit advance more quickly. With these goals in mind, some may impose a life of poverty and deprivation upon themselves to learn to bear them with courage. Others may wish to test their power to resist the temptations of fortune and power, which are much more dangerous because of the abuse they may entail, and the vile passions that they may develop. Others may want to strengthen their good resolutions by struggling against the infuence of vices.”

265. While some spirits choose to expose themselves to vice to test their virtue, could others make a similar choice simply because they want to live immersed in their immoral tastes, completely free to yield to their sensual tendencies?
“Of course this occurs, but only among people whose moral sense is imperfectly developed. In such cases, the required trial occurs spontaneously and they are subjected to it for a longer period of time. Sooner or later, they understand that indulging in animal instincts leads to disastrous consequences, which they undergo during a period so long that it seems to be eternal. God sometimes leaves them in this state until they have fully grasped the gravity of their faws and ask to be allowed to repair it by undergoing benefcial trials.”

266. Is it not natural to choose the least painful trials?
“From your point of view it would seem so, but not from that of the spirit. When it is free from the bonds of material existence, its illusions come to an end and it thinks differently.”

While living on Earth and subject to the infuence of physical ideas, human beings only see the painful aspect of the trials they must suffer. It therefore appears natural to them to choose the trials that are associated with material pleasure. When it returns to the spiritual life, it compares the unrefned and feeting joy with the permanent happiness it occasionally catches a glimpse of, and then, of what importance to the spirit are a few temporary hardships?. A spirit may therefore choose the hardest trial and the most painful existence in hopes of reaching a happier state quicker, just as a sick person often chooses the most unpleasant medicine or course of treatment in hopes of obtaining a rapid cure. A person who seeks to leave behind an eternal legacy by discovering an unknown country does not pursue a smooth course. It takes the road that most likely will help it reach its goal, and dangers that may lie ahead do not deter it. Quite the contrary, it braves those dangers for the sake of the glory it will receive if it succeeds.

The fact that we are free to choose our successive lives and the trials that we have to undergo ceases to appear strange when we consider that spirits, being free from matter, judge things differently. They perceive the ends that these trials are intended to meet, which are far more important than the fleeting gratifications found on Earth. After each existence, they see the steps they have already accomplished and understand what they still need to do to reach the purity, and this clarity of vision helps them reach their goals. That is the reason why they willingly submit to the tribulations of physical life, requesting to be allowed to experience those that will aid them in advancing the farthest and the fastest. Considering all this, there is nothing surprising in a spirit choosing a hard or painful life. It knows that it cannot, enjoy the supreme happiness it craves in its present state of imperfection. It catches glimpses of that happiness, and it tries to earn its own improvement as the sole means of reaching that happiness.

Don’t we see examples of similar choices every day? Individuals working tirelessly to amass the wealth that will enable them to live in comfort. They are carrying out tasks that have been voluntarily assumed as the means of insuring a more prosperous future. The soldier who sacrifces for the accomplishment of a perilous mission, the traveler who braves serious danger in the interest of science or their own fortune; these are examples of voluntary hardships taken on for the sake of the honor or proft that will result from their successful resolution. What will people not do for glory? Is not every sort of competitive examination a trial to which people voluntarily submit in the hope of advancing in the career they have chosen? To reach a high position in science, art or industry, a person must pass through all the lower degrees that lead up to it, and these constitute many trials. Spirit life models physical life and it presents the same variations on a smaller scale. As in human life, we often choose the hardest conditions as a means of attaining the highest ends. Why would a discarnate spirit, who sees farther than it did when it was in a physical body, not choose a hard or painful existence, if it may lead to eternal happiness? Those who believe that spirits will request to be princes and millionaires because they have the power to choose their lives are like the shortsighted who only see what they touch, or like greedy children, who say that they would like to be pastry-chefs or candy makers.

A spirit, while incarnate, is like a traveler who sees neither the length nor the end of its road in the depths of a valley obscured by fog. When he has reached the top of the hill and the fog has cleared, his view comprises both the road he has traveled and that which still remains. He sees the point that he has to reach and the obstacles that he has to overcome in reaching it, and he is able to take measures for successfully accomplishing his journey. A spirit, while incarnated, is like the traveler at the foot of the hill when freed from his earthbound shackles. It is like the traveler who has reached the top of the hill. The aim of the traveler is to obtain rest after getting tired, while the aim of the spirit is to attain perfect happiness after experiencing trials and tribulations.

Errant spirits say that they seek, study, and observe to choose wisely. We see similar examples in corporeal life. We often spend years deciding which career to choose, a decision that we freely make, because we consider it to be the one in which we are most likely to succeed. If we ultimately fail in the one we have chosen, we seek out another and each career constitutes a phase or period of our lives. Is it not each day used by us to decide what we will do tomorrow? What do different physical lives mean for a spirit if not simply transitional phases, periods and days, in comparison to its spirit life, which is its normal life? The corporeal life is nothing more than transitory and temporary.

267. Can a spirit make its choice while in the physical state?
“Its desire may have a certain amount of infuence, depending on its intention, but it often views things very differently when it returns to the spiritual life. It is only as a spirit that it chooses. However, some decisions may be made during the material life, because a spirit, even while incarnated, has occasional moments in which it is independent of the matter that it inhabits.”

a) Are there many cases where people desire greatness and wealth on Earth, but not as atonement or a trial?
“Absolutely, in such cases it is their material instinct that desires to enjoy material greatness. The spirit could only want it to understand its fuctuations.”

268. Until a spirit has reached the state of perfect purity, must it constantly undergo trials?
“Yes, but not as you understand it. By trials, you only mean material misfortunes. When a spirit has reached a certain degree of purifcation, it has no more hardships of that kind to undergo although it is not perfect yet. Nevertheless, it must perform certain duties to continue to improve. There is nothing painful in these duties, for example, the duty of helping others improve themselves.”

269. Is it possible for a spirit to make a mistake with respect to the value of the trial it chooses?
“It may choose one that exceeds its strength, and, in that case, it fails. Alternatively, it may choose one from which it will reap no proft at all; for instance, if it seeks to lead an idle and useless life. But, in such cases, when it returns to the spiritual world it realizes that it has gained nothing, and asks to make up for lost time.”

270. Why do some people have vocations and a spontaneous desire to follow one career over another?
“It seems to me that you could answer this question yourself. Is not that the existence of such vocations a consequence of what we have told you concerning the choice of trials, and the progress accomplished in a prior existence?”

271. An errant spirit studies the various conditions of a physical life that will lead it to progress. However, how can it think that it will make progress by being born, for example, among cannibals?
“Those who are born among cannibals are not advanced spirits. They are spirits who are still at the cannibal level, or possibly even lower.”

We know that cannibals are not at the bottom of the scale and that there are worlds in which degrees of cruelty are found that have no equivalent on Earth. The spirits of those worlds are, therefore, lower than the lowest of our world, and being a savage is a step up for them. It would be the same situation if our cannibals had to carry out some profession obliging them to shed blood in a civilized community. If they have no higher goal, it is because their moral inferiority does not allow them to grasp any higher degree of progress. A spirit can only advance gradually; it cannot clear the distance that separates barbarism from civilization in a single bound. Because of this inability, we see one of the reasons why reincarnation is necessary. Reincarnation is a product of God’s justice because otherwise what would become of the millions of human beings who die every day in the lowest depths of squalor if they had no means of arriving at higher states? Why would God deny them the favors granted to other human beings?

272. Can spirits be born among civilized people if they came from a world that is lower than Earth, or even if they were among the lowest members of the human race, such as cannibals?
“Yes, such spirits sometimes come into your world by trying to reach a degree that is too far above them. However, they are out of place among you because they have instincts and habits that clash with yours.”

These beings introduce cruelty and barbarism into civilization. For them, returning among cannibals is not a step down, but only resuming their proper place and they may even gain by doing so.

273. Can a civilized person reincarnate, as a form of atonement, as a savage?
“Yes, but that would depend on the kind of atonement that is due. Slave owners who had been cruel to their slaves might in turn become slaves and suffer the torment they once inficted on others. People who held positions of authority at one time may in a new life, be forced to obey those who formerly were their subordinates. Such an existence may be inficted on them as atonement if they had abused their power. A good spirit may also choose an infuential existence among the people of a lower race to hasten their advancement. In that case, such a reincarnation is a mission.”

Relationships Beyond the Grave

274. Do the different degrees of spirits establish a hierarchy? Do subservience and authority exist among spirits?
“Absolutely, the authority of spirits over one another according to their relative superiority is great and morally overpowering over lower spirits.”

a) Can lower spirits reject the authority of their superiors?
“As I said, it is irresistible.”

275. Do the power and respect that an individual may have enjoyed on Earth give that person superiority in the spirit world?
“No, because the humble are glorifed and the great abased. Read the Psalms.”

a) How should we interpret glorifed and abased?
“Are you not aware of the fact that spirits have different ranks according to their merit? Individuals who held the highest ranks on Earth may find themselves in the lowest rank in the spiritual world, while their inferiors may be in the highest. Do you understand this? After all, Jesus once said, ‘For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’”

276. When individuals who have lived in prominent social positions on Earth live in an inferior place in the spirit world, do they feel humiliated? “Often very humiliated, especially if they were arrogant and jealous.”

277. When soldiers encounter their general in the spiritual world after battle, do they still acknowledge him as their superior? “Titles are meaningless; intrinsic superiority is all that matters.”

278. Do spirits of different orders mingle?
“Yes and no, meaning, they see each other, but they are still separated. They avoid or approach one another depending on the empathy or aversion of their thoughts and ideas, just like you. Your world is merely the obscured refection of the spirit world. Those holding the same rank are attracted to each other, and form groups or families of spirits united by sympathy and a common goal. Good spirits are united by the desire to do good, while bad spirits are united by the desire to do wrong, the shame of their wrongdoing, and the desire to be among those they resemble.”

The spiritual world is like a big city where people of every social standing and means see and meet one another without actually mingling. Various social circles are formed based on the similarity of tastes. Vice and virtue rub elbows without interacting with one another.

279. Are all spirits mutually accessible to one another?
“The good can go everywhere, and it must be this way in order to bring their infuence to bear upon the bad ones. However, the regions inhabited by the good are blocked off to lower order spirits, so as to not disrupt those places by introducing vile passions.”

280. What are the relations like between good and bad spirits? “The good strive to combat the immoral propensities of others, to help them rise to a higher degree. This is a mission.”

281. Why do lower spirits take pleasure in tempting us to do wrong?
“Out of jealousy. They have not earned a place among the good and relish preventing other inexperienced spirits from reaching supreme happiness. They want to make others feel the same way they do. Do you not see this same desire among yourselves?”

282. How do spirits communicate with one another?
“They see and understand one another. Speech is a material creation that refects the spirit. The universal fuid establishes constant communication, a vehicle by which thought is transmitted, similar to air being the vehicle of sound in your world. This fuid is similar to a universal telegraph, uniting all worlds and enabling spirits to correspond from one world to another.”

283. Can spirits hide their thoughts from one another? Can they hide themselves from one another?
“No, everything is out in the open, particularly for those who have reached perfection. They may withdraw from one another, but they are always visible. Note that this is not an absolute rule. Higher spirits can render themselves invisible to lower spirits, when they deem it useful to do so.” 284. How can spirits establish their individuality and maintain their uniqueness from other beings around them when they no longer have a physical body? “Their individuality is established by their perispirit, which makes each spirit distinct from one another, as the body does for human beings.”

285. Do spirits recognize one another when they have lived together on Earth? Does a son recognize his father? Does a friend recognize a friend?
“Yes, and from generation to generation.”

a) How do those who have known each other on Earth recognize one another in the spirit world?
“We see our past life and can read it like a book. In seeing the past of our friends and our enemies, we see their journey from life to death.”

286. Does the soul see family and friends who have died before it immediately after vacating the body?
“Immediately is not the right word. As we have said, the soul needs time to restore its self-consciousness and shed the material veil.”

287. How is the soul welcomed when returning to the spirit world?
“The righteous is welcomed back as dearly loved family members who have been long expected, while the wicked are despised.”

288. How do impure spirits feel when they see another bad spirit joining them?
“They are delighted to see others like them who are also deprived of supreme happiness. Similar to thieves welcomed by their peers.”

289. Do our friends and family ever come to meet us when we leave this world?
“Yes, they meet the souls of their loved ones, welcome them like travelers safely returning from a journey, and help them to free themselves from their material bonds. Being met by loved ones is a favor granted to good spirits. Meanwhile, the wicked are punished by being left alone, or as a result of only being surrounded by spirits who are like themselves.”

290. Do relatives and friends always reunite after death?
“That depends on their elevation and their road to advancement. If one is more advanced and progresses more rapidly than the other, they cannot stay together. They may see each other occasionally.

They are reunited only when they can walk side by side, or when both of them have reached equality in perfection. Sometimes, spirits who are deprived of seeing friends and family have had this inficted upon them as an atonement.”


Spirit Sympathy and Antipathy – Soul Mates


291. Besides the general sense of sympathy for similar beings, do spirits have any special feelings or sense of affection?
“Yes, just like incarnate people. However, the link between spirits is stronger when the body is gone because it is no longer subjected to the impulses of the passions.”

292. Do spirits feel hatred?
“Hatred only exists among impure spirits. These spirits spread hatred and cause confict among people.”

293. Do enemies on Earth hold fast to their resentment of one another in the spirit world?
“No, because they see that it was stupid and meaningless. Only imperfect spirits maintain their hostility until they are purifed. When spirits are dematerialized they forget the anger they felt as incarnate people as it was merely due to a material interest. As the subject of their disagreement no longer exists, they may happily see each other again, provided there is no hostility remaining between them.”

Two schoolboys often realize the silliness of their quarrels when they grow up, and no longer hold a grudge.

294. Is the memory of crimes or injuries they may have committed against one another as human beings an obstacle to sympathy between two spirits?
“Yes, it keeps them apart.”

295. How do those whom we have wronged feel after death?
“If they are good, they forgive you once you repent. If they are bad, they may cling to their resentment against you, or even track you down in another existence. This may be allowed by God as an atonement.”

296. Can a spirit’s individual affections change?
“No, because they cannot be mistaken. Hypocrites can no longer hide behind a mask in the spirit world and their sentiments, when pure, are unchangeable. The love uniting them is a source of supreme happiness.”

297. Does the affection of two spirits carry over from this world to the spirit world?
“Yes, if it is based on true sympathy. If physical causes have infuenced this affection more than sympathy, it ends with those causes. Affections are more solid and lasting among spirits than human beings because they are not subject to the whims of material interests and self-love.”

298. Are souls predestined to be together from inception, and do we each have our other half somewhere in the universe with whom we will be reunited one day?
“No, there is no destined union between two souls. Union exists between all spirits, but in varying degrees according to their ranking, or their degree of perfection. The closer to perfect, the more united they are. Disharmony produces all the problems of human life, while harmony generates perfect happiness.”

299. In what sense should we interpret the term half, sometimes used by spirits when referring to sympathetic spirits?
“That expression is inaccurate. If one spirit were the half of another, it would be incomplete when separated from its other half.”

300. When two perfectly sympathetic spirits are reunited, do they remain united for all eternity, or can they separate and unite with other spirits?
“All spirits who have reached perfection are united. In all other worlds, when a spirit ascends from a lower world to a higher one, it does not always feel the same sympathy for those it has left behind.”

301. When two spirits are completely like-minded, do they complement one another, or is this sympathy the consequence of their perfect identity of character?
“The sympathy attracting one spirit to another is the result of the perfect harmony of their predispositions and instincts. If one were needed to complete the other, individuality would be lost.”

302. Does a similarity of thoughts and ideas constitute perfect sympathy, or is the uniformity of knowledge also required?
“Perfect sympathy results from having an equal degree of elevation.”

303. May spirits become sympathetic in the future even if they are not so today?
“Yes, they all eventually will. A spirit who is currently in a lower sphere will advance to join another spirit in a higher world. Their reunion will occur sooner if the higher spirit fails any of its trials and remains stationary.”

a) Can two currently sympathetic spirits cease to be so?
“Absolutely, if one of them is lazy.”

The theory of soul mates is merely a fgurative representation of the union of two sympathetic spirits, and should not be taken literally. Spirits using this expression do not belong to the higher orders. Hindered by their narrow range of ideas, they have expressed their thoughts using terms that they employed during their physical lives. We must disregard this idea of two spirits created for each other, who must someday be inevitably reunited in eternity after having remained separated for a more or less long period of time.

Memory of Physical Life

304. Does a spirit remember its physical life?
“Yes, since a spirit has lived as a human being many times, it remembers what it has been and often laughs at the foolishness of its past.” Like adults who laugh when reminiscing about the foolishness of their youth and the silliness of their childhood.

305. Do spirits spontaneously recover memory of their physical life immediately after death?
“No, it comes back to them little by little, like objects gradually becoming visible out of a fog once they focus on it.”

306. Does a spirit remember every detail of its life? Can it grasp its entire life at a single retrospective glance?
“Depending on the infuence things have had on its state as a spirit, it remembers them more or less clearly. However, we should understand there are many trivial things in its life of no importance; as such, the spirit does not even try to remember them.”

a) Could it remember them if it wanted to remember?
“It could recall the most obscure details of every incident of its life, even of its thoughts. However, a spirit will not choose to do this if it does not fulfll a useful purpose.”

b) Does it understand the purpose of its physical life in relation to the future life?
“Of course, it sees it and understands it better than when incarnated in the living. It understands the need for purifcation to reach God, and it knows that some of its impurities are shed in each existence.”

307. How does a spirit recall its past life? Is it through an effort of imagination, or is it like a picture right before its eyes?
“Both. Everything that it is interested in remembering appears to it as if it were present. Others life events appear more or less vaguely in its thoughts, or are forgotten entirely. The more dematerialized the spirit is, the less importance it attaches to material things. When we communicate with an errant spirit who has just left this world, it often forgets the names of people it liked or other details that may seem important to you. They are inconsequential to the spirit and it erases them from its memory. However, it remembers perfectly the main events of its life that have contributed to its improvement.”

308. Does a spirit recall all the lives that have preceded the one it has just left?
“Its entire past unfurls before it like the legs of a journey completed by a traveler. As we have told you, it does not precisely remember all its past actions. It can only remember them in proportion to the impact they have had on its present state. Its earliest lives are hazy, like infancy for instance, and swallowed by the night of oblivion.”

309. How does a spirit view the body that it has just vacated?
“As uncomfortable clothing that encumbered it. It is elated to fnally be rid of it.”

a) How does it feel when it sees the decomposition of its body?
“Almost always indifferent, like something it no longer cares about.”

310. In time, does a spirit recognize the remains that once belonged to it?
“Sometimes, but this depends on a more or less elevated perspective with regard to material matters.”

311. Does respect for the material items once owned by a spirit attract its attention to those objects, and is it pleased by this respect?
“A spirit is always happy to be remembered by those it has left behind. The objects preserved jog the memory of those holding onto them; however a spirit is attracted by their thought and not the objects themselves.”

312. Do spirits preserve the memory of the pain and suffering that they endured in their last physical life?
“They often do and this memory further accentuates the happiness they enjoy as spirits.”

313. Do people who have been happy in their physical lives miss their earthly pleasures when they leave this world?
“Only lower order spirits miss pleasures that accompany the impurity of their nature, and which must be atoned by suffering. Higher spirits prefer the happiness of eternity to the feeting happiness of human life.” Just as an adult despises the delights of his or her youth.

314. When individuals have initiated important endeavors for a worthwhile cause and their lives are cut short by death, do they regret leaving the work unfnished when they reach the other world?
“No, because they understand that others are destined to complete them. On the contrary, they try to inspire other people to carry on what they left behind. Their goal in this world is to be useful to the human race, and it is the same in the spirit world.”

315. When individuals leave behind works of art or literature, are they still as interested in these matters when they reach the spirit world as they were in this world?
“They view them from a different perspective, according to their elevation, and often criticize what they once admired.”

316. Is a spirit interested in the unfolding of events in this world that affect the progress of the arts and sciences?
“That depends on its degree of elevation, and the mission it may have to accomplish. What appears brilliant to you is often trivial to spirits. If they take an interest in it, it is only as a teacher takes an interest in the work of a schoolboy. They survey all indications of elevation for incarnated spirits and take note of their progress.”

317. Do spirits retain a love of their country and patriotism after death?
“For elevated spirits, their country is the universe. In terms of the Earth, they only prefer the spot wherever the most like-minded individuals assemble.”

A spirit’s circumstances and perspectives are infnitely diverse according to their many degrees of moral and intellectual development. Higher spirits generally stay on Earth for short periods of time. Everything that happens here is so trivial in comparison to the splendor of infnity, yet human beings attach so much importance to incredibly foolish matters. Higher spirits have very little interest in earthly things, unless they have been sent here with a mission to contribute to the progress of its people. Lower spirits visit our Earth more frequently, but have a higher perspective of earthly matters than humans. Most spirits are sedentary and make up the ambient population of the invisible world. They retain the same ideas and tastes that they had while clad with their corporeal envelope, and intermingle at our gatherings, in business, and during pastimes. According to their character, they partake in all of these matters more or less actively. No longer able to satisfy their material passions, they relish watching those who immerse themselves in their indulgences and encourage them to do so. Some have better inclinations and simply watch and observe in order to bring about their advancement by acquiring knowledge.

318. Do spirits change their ideas when in the spirit state?
“Very often. A spirit’s ideas undergo drastic changes as it becomes dematerialized. It may occasionally retain the same ideas for a long period of time, but gradually the infuence of matter diminishes, and it sees more clearly. Eventually, a moment arrives when it seeks the means of advancing.”

319. As spirits have already lived in the spirit world before they incarnate here, why are they astonished when they re-enter that world?
“This feeling is only feeting, and results from the confusion that follows their waking. They soon recover their consciousness as the memory of the past comes back to them, and the impression of the earthbound life is erased.” (163 et seq.)

Commemoration of the Dead – Funerals

320. Do memories of people they loved on Earth affect spirits?
“Much more so than you may believe. This memory increases their happiness if they are already happy, and gives them immense solace if they are unhappy.”

321. Are spirits particularly attracted to their loved ones on the Earth on All Souls’ Day? Do they make it a point to visit people who pray before their graves?
“Spirits respond to the appeals of loving memory on that day just like any other.”

a) Do they visit the burial site of their physical body on that day?
“They visit cemeteries in droves on All Souls’ Day because they are attracted by the thoughts of a large number of people. However, each spirit goes there solely for its own loved ones and not for those who mean nothing to them.”

b) What is their form when they visit these places? If we could see them, what would they look like?
“The form and appearance by which they were known during their lifetime.”

322. Do the spirits of forgotten people, whose graves no one visits, visit cemeteries despite this neglect? Do they feel remorse or regret in realizing that no one remembers them?
“What is the Earth to them? They are only connected to it sentimentally. If there was no affection for a spirit while it was in this world, nothing can attach it to it. It has the whole universe before it.”

323. Does a spirit derive more pleasure from someone visiting its grave than a prayer offered in its name by loved ones in their own home?
“Visiting a grave site is a symbolic gesture and a way of showing a spirit that it was not forgotten. As I have told you, the prayer blesses the gesture of remembrance. Where the prayer is offered is of little signifcance, so long as it comes from the heart.”

324. When statues or other monuments are erected in honor of the deceased, are spirits present at inauguration? Do they derive any pleasure from these ceremonies?
“Spirits often attend such occasions when they can, but they attach less importance to these honors than the memory in which they are held.”

325. What makes some individuals prefer one burial spot over another? Do they go there more willingly after death? Is it a sign of inferiority if a spirit attributes such importance to a material issue?
“Spirits who have preferences for certain burial places show a sign of moral inferiority. Why would the different burial spots be of a concern to elevated spirits? Aren’t they aware that they will be reunited with their loved ones regardless of the location of their physical remains?”

a) Is it pointless to bury the physical remains of an entire family in the same spot?
“No, this is a heartfelt testimony to the consideration for our loved ones. It is of little importance to spirits, it is useful to people whose memory of the deceased is strengthened.”

326. When the soul returns to the spirit life, does it fnd the honors paid to its material remains pleasing?
“When a spirit has reached a certain degree of perfection, it is no longer controlled by human pride or pleasure and understands their futility. Still, there are many spirits who take great pleasure in the honors paid to their memory. There are some who are disturbed at discovering that they have been forgotten when they frst cross over into the other life. They still have not shed some of the false ideas they held during their physical life.”

327. Do spirits ever attend their own funeral?
“Very often, but they frequently do not understand what is happening because they are still in that state of confusion that usually follows death.” a) Do they feel fattered by a large attendance of people at their funeral? “This depends on the sentiment that has brought these people together.”

328. Does a spirit ever attend the meetings organized for the reading of his or her last will and testament?
“Almost always. It is God’s requirement for the enlightenment of some spirits and the atonement of greedy and selfsh ones. The deceased can evaluate the loyalty and affection people had for them because they can perceive all true feelings then. They are often extremely disappointed in witnessing the greed of those who dispute their assets. Greedy heirs are in turn punished in due time.”

329. Is the respect human beings have instinctively given to the dead attributed to an intuitive belief in a future life?
“That is the natural consequence. If this belief did not exist, such respect would have no purpose.”

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