I should emphasize that I am a student of the subject - like I am a student of history and a student of archaeology and music and art. There have been periods in my life when I have read voraciously on the topic - and I have subsequently found myself drawn into certain esoteric streams for deeper study. The result is an amalgam of many viewpoints regarding this idea - which is far more universal than it is unique, not just across the current time-line of the world, but throughout history.What is the nature of this profound integration on a spiritual level and how is this connected to the lived experiences of unique identities? I'm curious about your line of thinking here. What's the model you are proposing, Tyger?
Anyway, obviously, anything I may say is solely my distillation of what I've gleaned - as well as my understanding of what I've gleaned - where all the usual caveats therefore apply.
What is the model? As usual, a simple question requiring context.....and epic run-on sentences.......
First and foremost, that the physical universe is but the outermost 'sheath' of a many-layered existence. I've talked about the four lower sheaths (or bodies): the physical body (or sheath) that draws it's elements from the physical universe; the life-body - energy body - also called the etheric body in certain streams (the Immune System first described in the early 1980's as a result of the AIDS epidemic is viewed as the first main-stream medical science identification of some of the dynamics of this sheath - and a total off-the wall: I know people that view the abductee phenomenon as occurring at the etheric level, in fact - 'honey-movement' dead give-away in their view); emotional body, or notoriously known as the astral body, formed from the astral 'stuff' of that universe; and lastly, the mental body - the nexus point between the lower, concrete mind and the loftier abstract, imaginative and intuitive mind - a sheath also made from the mental 'stuff' of that universe. The upper mind begins the sheaths of the spiritual world.
Embedded in all these sheaths - both developed (physical, life/etheric, emotional/astral and lower mental) and in the process of development (higher mind and beyond/spirit - resides the Ego (not the Freudian ego), the directing force and the over-arching Individuality that 'sends forth' the impulse to incarnate in successive movements. It is to the Ego that we are gathered back to after death - it is the Ego that holds all the identities. It is the Ego that gathers the sheaths for an incarnation according to 'laws' detailed in countless texts around the world.
Vision your hands steepled with fingers of each hand touching like a clam-shell - this is the human being's time-line: birth into the physical universe is actually a 'death' in the spiritual universe, a going to sleep in the spiritual world - yet still the child has 'memories' of that glory, as spoken of in William Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood": 536. Ode. Intimations of Immortality. William Wordsworth. The Oxford Book of English Verse
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Imagine God not as a personality but as a universe - from which we come, sent forth by our Ego, to yet again traverse the physical universe for purposes and reasons mysterious to us now. But it was not always mysterious according to the chroniclers. We knew - and we also knew that a day would come when the spirit would be denied and humankind would live with the glass ceiling, in a tape-loop, yet desperate to get out.
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother's mind,
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her Inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.
The story goes - and I've read the prognostications from as recent as the turn of the 20th century - that humanity would begin to deny the very existence of the spiritual universe. There are esoteric streams that even identify a particular god-head that is causing this ultra-materialism - and indicate that we are entering a civilization that will be materialistic in the extreme. However, simultaneous with that, it was indicated at the beginning of the 20th century by certain esoteric authors that human beings would begin to 'cross the threshold' before death, while still in the physical realm, and without being 'prepared' (as in being initiated first). As a result, all manner of problems would result from people entering universes/worlds they were not prepared to see and experience. I think we are actually seeing that occurring - if one is using this world-view.
Anyway, when we 'die' to the physical, we are being 'born' back into the spiritual universe where we begin our long (or short) trek back to our Ego. The whole of a human life is from a full 24 'hour' clock - 12 'hours' of physical existence and 12 'hours' of spiritual existence. Night/Day. Those Egos that have successfully learned greater and greater skill in incarnating manifest lives as adepts in physical life - capable of Yogi-like command of body and mind, to the point of the advanced so-called initiations where the physical body is a vehicle of manifestation at will. But at that level we are dealing with mere story and the sketchiest of information.
It has been suggested by some teachers in this area that the reincarnational cycle is or has been disturbed and that reincarnations are taking place far more rapidly than in the past. This would impact souls being able to return to the Ego - it could also mean that the Ego is having the synthesis of the life just lived take place within the new life rather than in the spiritual world. One rather significant occult teacher from the early 1900's indicated that within 100 years (so in our time) people would begin to have memories of previous lives as a regular experience. This is part of the 'threshold' being crossed in our time.
So there you go - a model, of a kind. Not to be held too tightly - but lightly - with humor and ease - because simply the rendering of one person, colored by my mind's prism. The point of tension will always be with those who see humanity as a physical being and no more - glass ceiling - possessor of a soul (if that) but no more - and those who see humanity as a spiritual Individuality that comes from elsewhere to be here for a while on this 'darkling plain'. I will say that in terms of 'logic' the spiritual Individuality holds more of the cards when it comes to evidence. The physical is clearly a temporary gig.