The yearning for immortality is fundamental in man. Perhaps it is only due to the instinct for self-preservation, or to a wish caused by the fear of death — or is it a clue, a more or less clear intuition of an essential truth, a glorious reality?
There are two ways to answer this question, in order to free ourselves and others from materialistic denial and from doubt about immortality.
By Roberto Assagioli, published 15.4 2011 in the “Psicosintesi” Magazine
1.The scientific proof of our survival.
The amount of evidence gathered by psychic researchers all over the world is so impressive that anyone who takes the trouble to read all the books on the subject, with a mind free from preconceptions, comes to admit the survival and activity of the human psyche after the death of the physical body. When intelligent men, accustomed to the use of the scientific method, such as the physicists William Crookes and Oliver Lodge, the philosopher Charles Richet and many others, come to these conclusions after years of painstaking experiments, their findings should have the same weight as what they, and other scientists, have done in other fields of scientific investigation. Such evidence of human survival is important because it destroys the barrier erected by materialism and gives access to a series of invisible planes, levels or realms in which human and other psychic beings exist and operate. Proof of survival is not enough, however, to solve the central mystery of the psyche, therefore we must go further and deeper and follow the second way.
2.The direct realization of immortality
To reach this realization we must ask ourselves: “What or who is immortal?” The answer to this question involves the analysis or knowledge of the various aspects of levels of the psyche. They have been described in different ways during the various eras, but I believe the following classification accords as much with esoteric teachings as with the discoveries of modern psychology.
The levels are:
It is important to note that the first level, the instinctive, is for the most part unconscious or subconscious; the second and third levels are partly conscious and partly subconscious; the fourth usually remains almost completely superconscious. The realization of immortality can only be achieved through, or within, the spiritual psyche.
So the problem can only be solved by raising our consciousness to that level, or by opening our minds to the revelations that come from that level. This is possible and has been accomplished by a significant minority of people at all times and everywhere. Founders of religions, initiates and Masters, mystics and prophets, philosophers and poets make up this imposing “cloud of witnesses.” The Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita, the Old and the New Testament, Plato, Plotinus, mystics of all religions and, in modern times, the testimonies of intuitives and inspired people such as Walt Whitman and E. Carpenter, and those collected and interpreted by Buck, James, Winslow Hall and Ouspensky, all complement and corroborate each other.
If we try to isolate the points and elements common to all these testimonies, or to most of them — setting aside the differences due to the temperaments and mentalities of the witnesses — we find that the main points of agreement are the following:
- An internal perception of light, which in some cases is so intense as to be described as dazzling glory and an impression of fire. From this perception comes the term “illumination,” which is often used to designate these superconscious states. This illumination, in many cases, extends to the external world, which is perceived as if transfigured and pervaded by an ineffable light;
- A sense of liberation from ordinary subconscious and from the usual self-centeredness, and a sense of great expansion and elevation of consciousness;
- A sense of the unity of the whole. This realization has the paradoxical character that, even though it is associated with the aforementioned sense of loss or forgetting of one’s own personality, there is at the same time in the subject the sense of a fuller, wide-ranging, more real life;
- A feeling of beauty, both of an internal beauty and beauty without form, and the revelation of the beauty of the external world, even in its most common and ordinary aspects that were not perceived until then (it certainly resembles the state of falling in love, in which everything is seen as beautiful – editor’s note);
- Feelings of joy, peace, and love, mixed in various proportions;
- The loss of the sense of time: rising above of the flow of “becoming,” above the past, present, and future; the realization of the eternal now and the permanence and indestructibility of one’s own Spiritual Self, of the Center of one’s being;
- An unshakable certainty and internal security concerning the reality of this internal experience;
- A drive to express, to communicate this illumination to others, to allow them to participate in this precious treasure, and a sense of love and compassion for those who are groping in the dark.
At this point a question arises spontaneously: “How can one experience such a realization?” In some cases it occurs spontaneously and unexpectedly — the individual is astonished and amazed. In others it is the fruit and the reward of discipline, of a well-defined internal training, of a deliberate program of Yoga, or union with the Spiritual Reality.
The means and methods for doing this can be enumerated in the following way:
- Prayer (emotional and devotional)
- Meditation (mental)
- Contemplation (intuitive)
- Affirmation (use of the will)
- Invocation (which seeks to combine and unite all others in a synthetic internal action of the entire psyche).
Among the many passages intended to facilitate spiritual realizations I will share two of the most beautiful and effective:
More radiant than the Sun,
Purer than the snow,
Finer than the ether,
Is the Self,
The Spirit within me.
I am that Self,
That Self am I (Indian poetry)
The Spirit never dies; the Spirit will never cease to exist. There was never a time when it was not. Beginnings and endings are dreams. Unborn, immortal, immutable, the Spirit always remains. Death does not touch it in any way, even though its “home” may seem without life (translation from the Bhagavad-Gita).
In conclusion, it is possible to have an inner spiritual experience of immortality, and the means to reach it are known and available to all those who want to use them.
 Translated from Italian to English http://www.psicosintesi.it/sites/default/files/magazine_015_aboutimmortality.pdf