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Proofs Of The Astral Body

Certain normal and abnormal or morbid phenomena in man have proved the

existence of this vehicle, which we will call the higher

consciousness, for it is far greater than normal, waking

consciousness, that of the brain. In the somewhat rare cases in which

this consciousness is expressed in the physical world, it is forced to

make use of the brain. Now, in the majority of men, the latter is

still incapable of vibrating h
rmoniously with the matter which forms

the astral vehicle; this is because the density of the atoms of the

brain cells which preside over thought is incapable of reproducing the

rapid vibrations of the finer matter belonging to the body immediately

above it. By special training (the yoga of the Hindus), by a

particular constitution of body (sensitiveness), by certain special

methods (hypnotism), or in certain maladies (somnambulism), the

brain may become receptive to these vibrations, and receive from them

an impression, though always an imperfect one. The rarity of this

impression, its imperfection, and especially the necessity for the

vibration of the physical brain that it may be manifested in our

environment; all these have made it very difficult to prove the

existence of this higher vehicle; still, there are certain

considerations which show that it exists, and that it alone is capable

of explaining the most characteristic phenomena of the higher


Let us first define these two states of consciousness rather more

completely, and fix their limits.

Normal consciousness is that which functions during waking hours, when

the brain is in full physiological activity, freely and completely

related to the outer physical world. This consciousness is more or

less developed according to the individual, but its component

parts--sensation, emotion, sentiment, reason, intelligence, will,

intuition--do not exceed known limits; for instance, we do not find

clairvoyance, the prophetic faculty, and certain other abnormal

faculties, which we shall class under the higher consciousness.

The higher consciousness works in the astral body, whether

externalised or not; it seldom manifests itself, and then

incompletely; it is accompanied by the more or less complete

inhibition of the senses, and by a kind of sleep in which the

relations of the subject with the physical world are wholly or

partially suspended. The characteristics of this state are greater

keenness of the normal faculties, and the appearance of new ones,

which are often inexplicable and extraordinary and the more remarkable

in proportion as sleep is more profound, the brain calmer, or the

physiological state more abnormal.

How can we explain the paradox that faculties shown by a brain in a

state of inactivity cover an extent of ground which the brain in a

state of activity cannot approach? The reason is that the brain, in

this case, is not an instrument moved directly by the cause of

consciousness, the soul, but a simple recipient, which the soul,

then centred in the astral body, impresses on returning to the

physical body (if it has been far away) or impresses directly when,

whilst acting in the finer vehicle, the latter has not left the


In other words, the brain, by reason of its functional inactivity,

vibrates little or not at all in its higher centres; it plays the part

of a sounding-board at rest, capable of vibrating sympathetically

under the influence of a similar board placed by its side.

The necessity of cerebral quiet, if the higher consciousness is to

make an impression, is now easy to understand; the finer vibration of

the astral body cannot be impressed upon the brain when the latter is

already strongly vibrating under the action of normal consciousness.

For this reason also, the deeper the sleep of the physical body the

better the higher consciousness manifests itself.

In ordinary man, organic quiet is scarcely ever complete during sleep;

the brain, as we shall see shortly, automatically repeats the

vibrations which normal consciousness has called forth during the

waking state; this, together with an habitual density of the nervous

elements, too great to respond to the higher vibration, explains the

rarity and the confused state of the impression of astral

consciousness on the brain.

The facts relating to the higher consciousness are as numerous as they

are varied. We shall not enter into full details, but choose only a

few phenomena quoted in well-known works.