Psyche and Spirit
by Paul Werner
3. The Existence of Spirit World
The Reality of the Spirit World
Understanding the Spirit World
Relationship o f the Spirit World and the Physical World
The Existence of Spirit World
God and Satan. Both exist. And both desire control of the physical and the spiritual worlds. They are invisible spiritual beings, therefore, we will not necessarily see their battles. But were we to examine our life carefully, we could definitely discern the effects of such warring, even in day-to-day events, and even within the history of nations and the world.
What do we know about the hidden world? That which is "behind" the brain and "underneath" the skin? It is a lost horizon, that realm of the spirit! It is not just a world somewhere behind the clouds, or over the proverbial rainbow. It is not a place to which we will go either at the time of our death or the rapture. The spiritual world is all around us, and we live in it at this moment.
What is communicated to the reader within this book is not just a series of mere words, for written or spoken language contains a spiritual essence as well. Paper and ink are tools which convey more than ideas, as are gestures, eye contact, and voice intonation. In much the same way, we use words, thoughts, and actions to transmit spiritual values in our relationships-be they high or low, good or evil. It is as if in circular movement, they originate in one heart, and reach the hearts of others.
The Reality of the Spirit World
It could be considered that the thought process begins in the world of the spirit, for either the heart or the mind (which could be deemed as a part of the unseen world) can command the brain to direct the body in a certain way. A response is simultaneously returned to both the spiritual world and the physical world, and could be experienced by both physical and spiritual senses. For instance, it is not always easy to surmise whether it is our physical eyes alone which perceive something, or whether our spiritual eyes see the same thing at the same time. The spiritual eyes actually have the capacity to perceive and probe more deeply than the physical eyes, for at the same time that we see something, we also feel a particular sensation. For example, when a person drinks in a beautiful landscape with his eyes, his heart might "sing;" yet at the same time his memory be triggered, causing emotions of sentiment or melancholy to well up within him. This is a cognitive process which involves the brain, and cannot be explained in physical terms.
God created the spirit world in accordance with His master plan. One tragic result of the Fall is that human beings became cut off from, and consequently ignorant of, the spirit world. Throughout history, many people thought of the spirit world as something spooky, or merely tossed it aside as just an "idea." They neither understood nor recognized that all of us live within the spirit world every moment of our earthly life. Those people who do understand this live their physical lives with greater awareness that they are preparing for life in the spirit world. Those who believe there is no life after this life may manipulate people or situations in an effort to advance materially, or as a way to seek some other type of personal gain. But a person who knows with absolute conviction that his spirit will continue to live after his body dies, realizes that what he does on earth will determine his status and his home in the spirit world.
Many people consider feelings and emotions to be mere chemical reactions. They may crusade their belief that love is also mostly a matter of "chemistry." Surely a certain amount of chemistry is involved, but at the same time something else occurs within the heart.
Temper could be thought of as a displayed "reaction" -- the effect of something felt -- whether it stemmed from righteous or provoked anger. The world unseen, then, cannot simply be a world of thought. Suffering, joy, and the gamut of emotions one can feel are internal "happenings" caused by something originating within us and/or because of what our spirit experiences. At the same time, they are also definitely a part of the physical world, for although sadness and happiness are very different from one another, the effects of either can be felt throughout the nervous system.
Some people feel that the spirit world exists only in their imagination. But what is "imagination?" What can one "imagine" or create in his mind? Can one imagine something that isn't? Books of fiction -- written about the supposed world of "fantasy" -- are best sellers. People love stories -- real or imagined. Our mind is full of certain concepts and thought patterns, therefore, we have the ability to close our eyes and "experience" things -- to recall memories, for instance, or to "dream." An artist might do this before he puts color to canvas, as could an architect who sketches his design without initially doing it to scale. We often invent new worlds, new frontiers in our minds by visualizing our creation, before that inspiration takes form.
Although the spirit world may not manifest before our eyes, it is not simply a world of "imagination." Each of us is both a spirit person and a physical being. We each have the power and the ability to touch emotionally. What we say and do can surely affect both the psyche and the spirit of other people. We can and do communicate "spiritually" through giving and receiving emotions, glances, even mere vibrations. We are able to feel and convey love or hate, joy or anger. Although when we close our eyes we still relate to the physical, the world unseen suddenly becomes more real, and we become more keenly aware of the world of emotions. We feel more, we sense more, and this often motivates our heart to take center stage. Not every person necessarily "sees" spiritual visions or "hears" spiritual voices, but the world of spirit is not limited to such things. It is the "place" in which we get in touch with our feelings, in which we more easily perceive the quality of the love we give out or accept from others. In fact, it is the realm in which we can share such love, for the spirit world is definitely connected to the "world" of heart.
Understanding the Spirit World
Man has searched to gain deeper insight into spirit world, unfortunately with relatively little success. It does not photograph well, nor can one easily tape record spiritual choirs singing the "Alleluias." Although it is the subject of much curiosity, we should also realize that it is the world of our origin, and at the same time, the world in which we will live eternally. Communicating with God in prayer or through meditation, visions, or dreams, should suffice to convince us it is real. But many people deem these "proofs" are not enough.
A person who knew with assurance that thousands and even millions of spirits were around him and watching him every moment, would naturally act different from the way he normally does. If we were absolutely convinced that God was with us at all times, we would act in such a way so as not to disappoint Him. But to many people such ideas seem like conjecture and purely abstract, for they claim there is no proof.
When we think of spirit world, then, we should not think of a place far away. Instead we should view and understand the spirit world as the environment in which spirit persons live. It is a world with its own set of laws and regulations, but is no doubt composed of elements quite different from minerals, vegetation, and animals.
Fallen man generally views things in physical terms. Again, because we do not "see" spiritually, we also do not realize that we are in a certain realm in the spirit world at this moment. We cannot actually perceive whether we are currently in a room with "spiritual" golden brocade and silk, or one containing soot and ashes. We do not know how spiritual beings view us, neither can we accurately perceive our own spiritual status at this moment. But any misperception or misunderstanding of the spirit world does not make it any less real.
While some people believe there is an electromagnetic force or aura-around every person, other people discount this possibility completely. Because their spiritual senses are closed, most people cannot perceive the spiritual vibration which surrounds and emanates from each person. Yet when we employ sensitivity, we can detect "vibrations" coming from each person; although this "countenance" is invisible, often depending upon a person's mood, we are either drawn to be near him or repulsed by what he projects.
Because we see the effects of wind, we tend to believe in its existence. Just because we do not "see" the spirit world, does not mean it does not exist. We have to learn to perceive its effects, discerning in particular the influence spirit persons have on our life. While poltergeists may be on the relatively rare side, there are other less tangible ways spirits might make their presence known in our lives. We must shed our fear and ignorance of them, and of the spirit world in general. For if we could come to "recognize" them, we also could generate a great deal more cooperation between the two worlds.
Man's ignorance of his spiritual predicament has perpetuated throughout the ages. Consequently, most people are afraid of death; we do not know what, if anything, will happen. Man may secretly hope life is everlasting, but he is not absolutely certain. He may remain silent about his suspicions, but in that case, his many questions might stay unresolved. Consequently he does not know how to live, what priorities to emphasize, and what goals to set forth.
Some people who have received an understanding of the spirit world by becoming the channel for automatic handwriting, prophetic dreams or visions, and the like, have revealed certain aspects of life there, as conveyed by spirit persons. But man's spiritual senses are still dimmed, therefore, none of us are able to glean an accurate or total picture of the spirit world. It is not hard for any of us to conjure up images in our mind of life among lush and beautiful gardens laden with flowers and fruit, or even a scene of fiery pits. But inevitably one asks how true and realistic these images are, and what life there will really be like.
Even though a number of people have had a "near-death" experience, not everyone believes what to those individuals has been a valid occurrence. Yet books as well as radio and television talk shows often spotlight these encounters; audiences find them fascinating, because uncovering the possibility that the spirit world does indeed exist stimulates the imagination and instills hope. The great majority of those who have had such an experience claim it was not until afterward that they finally understood what the focus of human life should be-that every moment is most precious, and for it to hold full value, life must be lived for the benefit of others.
Some people have had experiences with the lower realms of the spirit world. A failed suicide attempt, for example, could encourage a person to change his life drastically. His brush with evil spirit beings and the conditions he experienced in the hellish realm he visited, gave him a glimpse as to where he might live. And it could give him just enough insight to realize that what he does in his life influences where his home will be in spirit world.
Christians have traditionally considered the term "resurrection" to mean that the physically dead would literally be revived at Christ's return. Yet according to the Principle, God's dispensation for resurrection is an ongoing process which has primarily focused on earth rather than the spirit world. Man's personal spiritual "resurrection" is taking place even at this time, and is connected with what religion commonly refers to as "salvation." Unfortunately, there is widespread ignorance of how God has been working to restore the world.
"Resurrection" is a term which means to come back to life (as explained in the Principle). According to God's original intention, man's spirit self is to grow and become perfect through its relationship with his physical self. The quantity and quality of that relationship is of obvious importance in determining the rate of spiritual growth.
How, then, does one grow to perfection? The Principle explains in detail about the "returning resurrection" and the manner in which both spiritual beings and physical beings are to be "saved." What we are ignorant about is that the resurrection of spiritual beings has a direct effect upon man's earthly life, for spiritual beings can be resurrected only by cooperating and working through a physical body. Therefore, spiritual beings-of either good or evil persuasion-can and do directly influence man in a positive or a negative way.
For spiritual resurrection to occur, man must fulfill his responsibility to believe in and live according to God's word. Certain points must be reiterated: although many Christians believe that the resurrection of the physically dead will occur when Christ comes again -- on the Day of Judgment -- when those faithful to Christ will be lifted in the air with him. The Principle explains clearly that physical bodies will not come alive or "resurrect" in the literal sense. According to the Principle, "resurrection" is a process involving man's spiritual growth, and it essentially takes place daily. Mankind as a whole has been "resurrected" since the time of the Fall, achieving certain levels of spiritual growth based upon the amount of truth given by God, and how much he believed in and followed that truth.
Throughout history, those who believed in God's word spiritually resurrected and grew to a certain level, in part, according to the "merits of the age" (as explained in the Principle). For example, those who believed in Noah -- ultimately only his family -- were saved from the flood based on Noah's faithfulness to God's word. Likewise, those who believed in and followed Moses were also given certain benefits. According to the Principle, when the Messiah comes again, individuals who believe in and attend him will have a chance to attain spiritual and physical salvation, and based on their reaching perfection will ultimately be able to enter the spiritual realm of the Kingdom of Heaven at the time of their death.
Some spirit persons take a long time to respond to God's will; many people on earth are the same way. Their response, however, does not grossly interfere with God's restoration providence. Regardless of the time involved, each spiritual being must eventually return to God. Life holds no guarantee that a person will return directly to God when he dies; many beings in the spirit world are far from God, and many are still ignorant of or go against His will. Spiritual beings, too, must understand their need to connect to God through the Messiah. This entails change. Those unable to embrace this truth will continue to live in the lower realms of the spirit world.
As the Unification teaching explains, love is the "air" of the spiritual world. As restoration takes place on earth, however, there is a simultaneous restoration taking place within the spirit world. But until evil spirit persons change and grow, they will continue to live in hell within the spirit world, just as they lived in the "hell" they themselves created within the physical world. They are unable to enter the higher realms of the spirit world, because they literally cannot (spiritually) "breathe" there. It is so because they did not practice loving enough during their earthly life. The situation could be likened to a stillborn baby. Something stopped functioning during his life in the womb, and his body then has no capacity to breathe -- to live in this world.
Accordingly, neither God nor Satan will "choose" our place in the spirit world. Rather, we ourselves will make such a choice, and in fact make it even now. Certain things may become more clear to us when we enter the spirit world. Once there, we will be able to determine how well we used our earthly life, and how well we prepared for life there. We will see both our spiritual merits and our spiritual demerits, based on what we committed, and even what we omitted to do.
In some areas of the world, belief in reincarnation is strong. People are convinced that they will live again, and in their new life might be anything from a king to a pauper. They further claim that they will live again, and yet again after that life. Many experience certain sensations or emotions which seem to "prove" to them that in one of their former lives they must have been a particular type of person or held a certain position.
Acceptance of the premise that the spirit world exists and that the principle of spiritual resurrection is valid, leads to an understanding that the theory of reincarnation is misguided. Once a person dies, he does not "reincarnate" and live again -- whether as another physical body, an animal, a plant, or inorganic matter. In much the same way that people reside in a certain village or city within the physical world, after our death we will abide in a particular realm of the spirit world. As has been indicated elsewhere, our dwelling in the spirit world will be based upon the way we lived on earth. Depending upon how strongly he desires to grow spiritually, a spirit person may fulfill particular conditions through cooperating with physical beings. This could potentially resurrect him to a higher realm.
Because a number of spiritual beings can influence a particular individual at any one time, that person might ascertain that all his knowledge is from the various experiences he has gained through the many lives he has lived. Those who adamantly cling to their belief in the traditional understanding of reincarnation do not perceive it is actually the influence of one or more spirits they feel, and that it is spirit beings who reinforce certain impressions or even provide them with certain knowledge. Once in the spirit world those individuals who did not fulfill their God-given mission may experience a great deal of inner turmoil, based on their lack of accomplishment. Above all they must feel desperate to cooperate with a physical being to complete the task they left unfulfilled. Yet the person on earth being influenced -- although he might feel incredible spiritual pressure -- might not necessarily perceive that he is the one who should fulfill the mission of and/or restore the mistakes of an historical figure -- whether someone in his family, community, nation, or world.
The Bible records instances in which a particular physical being represented a spiritual being. Such is the case with John the Baptist, who was to fulfill the mission of Elijah (Luke 1:17. Likewise, Jesus' own mission could certainly be viewed as a restoration of the failure of Adam (I Corinthians 15:45), as he was to fulfill God's original blessings to man. Assuredly, acceptance of this explanation of the nature of "reincarnation" bestows more responsibility upon an individual.
One of the blessings God gave man was to "fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion" (Genesis: 1:28). To fulfill his position as mediator between the physical and spiritual worlds, man should have matured to the point that he could assume dominion physically and spiritually. Man was to be served by spiritual beings, yet because Lucifer succeeded in usurping the position of authority, man has "served" spiritual beings, and even been "dominated" by them. Whether or not he is conscious of it, their influence in his life is strong. To create stability for both his psyche and spirit, man must come to recognize how spiritual beings actually depend upon him for growth, and thus, what he should do to restore his rightful position in relationship to them.
Most people are mainly concerned with their physical life, and do little to prepare for their eternal life. Some people, however, are extremely open, spiritually. They might not realize how many times they encounter, and indeed how much communication they have with, spirit persons on a daily basis. Others may shun such a person, considering him crazy. He may be quite unsure of what he experiences, and unaware that his spiritual senses are more full-functioning. He is unable to discern which world is which, and his confusion leads to spiritual and emotional instability and chaos.
Some people in the prime of life and in good health become completely preoccupied with death. Some even long for death, dwelling on it until it nearly becomes an obsession. This, too, could be an instance of spiritual influence. If those affected knew that it was at least in part due to spiritual influence, they could deal with it more effectively.
We will go to the spirit world with the same cognition we have on earth. A man who was miserly on earth and spent his life counting his money, may also spend his time in the spirit world doing the very same thing. A man who has certain opinions while living in the physical world might not immediately change them once he lives in spirit world. Spirits with a broader vision and experience who live in more pleasant realms of the spirit world than his might want to minister to him, encouraging him to grow and leave the lower realms. But he may well refute the advice of these "social workers," insisting he knows better, or feel apathetic about raising his "standard of living." If so, he might sit in his little corner of spirit world for thousands of years -- miserable and sure "the world" is still out to get him.
There is no difference here or there. Spirits in the spirit world are people, just like us. Each of us tries to overcome our problems, but what most people do not realize is that, according to the Principle, whatever difficulties we do not overcome in our lifetime, we will have to confront and finally conquer once we live totally in the spirit world.
If a person of spiritual merit here on earth is deathly ill or for some other reason will soon ascend to the spirit world, many spirits will become excited to meet him. They will no doubt even prepare for his coming. We must understand that just as a baby is created in the womb and born anew into the physical world, we are being "created" in the physical world, to be born anew into the spirit world. After a baby is conceived, his parents and relatives prepare for months to give a wonderful reception to that child when he enters this world. According to accounts given by those who have had near-death experiences, the same is true when a person leaves this world for the spirit world. Many who have had such an encounter testify that they saw long-departed relatives and friends beckon to and welcome them.
Cooperation of Spirit Persons
Spirit persons are waiting to minister to us, but can do little if we do not "seek and knock" to gain their cooperation. This is a little known aspect of human responsibility. If we are grateful to God even under the most difficult circumstances, we would certainly make steps to overcome our fallen nature. And the subsequent response and cooperation from good spirits would surely encourage and spur us on. Unfortunately, most people barely acknowledge spirit persons, much less understand how to activate their assistance. So many people just live from day to day, scraping by -- existing, rather than living -- all the while in depression. Such weak will does not stimulate the good spirit persons to act. If we feel depressed but make a decision to change our attitude and come to know we will triumph over our negativity, our next step would be to develop the willpower and then take action. At that point, the good forces of spirit world could assist us. Yet if we burden others with our negative thinking and attitude and have little or no motivation to change, such spirits will want nothing to do with us; spirits from the lower realms may be attracted to us, but if we allow them to cooperate with us, we will become more and more vulnerable to their influence. It must be reiterated: unless problems of depression and hopelessness are dealt with here on earth, those emotions will still be part of us once we live in spirit world.
Nobody can conquer a problem on behalf of someone else. If we have no courage to do the will of God, sooner or later, we will find ourselves spiritually isolated, and in many senses, deadened to our potential. We might just hang on, but certainly not be fully alive. It is a question of what we want to do with our life.
There are many good spirit persons working to fulfill God's goal to make this world and the spirit world His Kingdom, while there are others who are thwarting those very efforts in favor of assisting Satan. If we are so plagued and overwhelmed by countless personal problems that we have no time or strength to do something for God and humanity, those in the higher realms of the spirit world will have little or no desire to cooperate with us. There would be no benefit for them, were they to help us. They want to gain merit, grow, and be successful, but if we allow our problems to become so big that they end up consuming us, we will have little time for much else. Being apathetic does nothing to attract spirits who want to grow. Even though the physical world is ignorant about spiritual growth, spiritual beings know clearly that if they work with someone who is not growing, they also will not resurrect.
Many people experience the phenomenon of premonition -- a sense of danger, a surety that something is amiss. Some people have visions and even pain, or have experienced other phenomena the very moment a loved one was seriously injured or killed, even though they were separated by thousands of miles. Is this coincidence? Simply a transmission of brain waves or sensory perception? The spiritual world is not bound by time or space, and since spirits do have the ability to influence us through thought, a distinct and logical possibility is that this phenomenon can be explained, at least in part, as spiritual cooperation.
The Gift o f Tongues
A person who has been given the gift of tongues may be unaware that a spirit speaks through him. In charismatic circles, parents often teach and encourage their children to be receptive to this phenomenon, as they consider it to be a spiritual endowment. They believe that the Holy Spirit is at work, and thus it is a tremendous blessing. Some people can become so caught up in the "spirit" that they roll on the floor and shout to the heavens; the mysticism surrounding the whole phenomenon delights them, as they feel the Holy Spirit is manifesting through them.
What actually happens is that people who desire to speak in tongues invite the presence of spiritual beings. The believer forms a base and becomes akin to a spiritual magnet; in this way, he draws the spirit person to "manifest" through him. The "tongue" spoken could be one which is well-known to him, or even an ancient dialect. This is one substantial way spirit persons communicate with people on earth.
Relationship of the Spirit World and the Physical World
When one goes against a law, he inevitably faces problems. When a person violates some rule or regulation, depending upon the severity of the crime, he could find himself in trouble. For order to be maintained in this world, people must obey laws. The same is true in maintaining spiritual order. For example, people have difficulty putting the gospel of Jesus into practice. Those religious concepts are noble and beautiful, but certainly not easy to implement; the down-to-earth reality of living our faith is surely difficult. The fact is, God created both the spiritual world and the physical world, and the two are meant to function in cooperation with each other.
We are more knowledgeable about the laws that govern this world. If someone disbelieves the law of gravity and then steps off a tenth floor balcony, no amount of faith will stop him from falling down. Likewise, there are also laws which govern our spiritual existence. The concept of "karma," for example, reflects either the merit or demerit we receive, something which is tied to how well we obey spiritual law. Going against either physical or spiritual laws will bring disaster; living by them will bring fulfillment. Man is, unfortunately, misguided about such principles. Our role should be that of mediator between the two worlds. Man is still fallen and lives with the effects of the Fall. His physical body, then, still assumes the subjective role and governs his spirit, something which blocks and prevents the spirit from growing toward perfection.
Some people who have spiritual experiences end up in mental institutions. They perceive spirit world, yet themselves are emotionally and spiritually unstable, and cannot discern in which world they are living. If they do not have the physical and mental capacity to deal with a spiritual being who found a base within them, they may become completely overtaken by him, and lose their self-control. Even if the person turns to a professional for help, the right kind of guidance might not be forthcoming. The problem could be solved more easily if the professional-be it psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, or spiritual counselor-in the position to help such people, could accept and believe that their patient indeed had valid and legitimate encounters with the spiritual world, and then guide him according to the laws of spiritual growth to reverse the dominion -- instructing him in ways to control spirit persons rather than allow the spirits to continue dominating him.
How much do we know about spirit world? If we blindly open ourselves to the influence of the spirit world, any spirit could take control, and thus we may be led to do something foolish. For example, if we were sitting behind the steering wheel when suddenly we began to converse with spirits, we may unconsciously drive in the wrong lane and become involved in an accident. Infamous killers have done things because a voice instructed them. New York's notorious "Son of Sam" is a case in point. In the mid-seventies he killed a number of women based on the "orders" he received from spirit world.
There are also times when the spirit world intercedes and tries to help by forewarning us of danger. But how can one function properly in this world, while at the same time deal with seeing spiritual visions or hearing spiritual voices? It is unnecessary to "experience" spiritual phenomena at all times. Rather, we must be conscious of the job we have to do here on earth, for ultimately, our spiritual growth and position in spirit world depend upon it.
When we were a fetus in our mother's womb, we knew almost nothing about the physical world. We may have sensed something transmitted from our mother's influence, but we had no idea what amazing potential awaited us. Once again, our time on earth is a period of preparation which should allow us to experience a deeper and more meaningful life with God once we pass into spirit world. Man possesses both a body and spirit, arid therefore is to be the harmonizing mediator between the spirit world and the physical world. Unfortunately, far too many people never fulfill that role because they deny the existence of the spiritual world, and do nothing to further their spiritual growth.
Other people may feel that based on the faith they exhibited in the past, were they to enter the spirit world at this moment, they would automatically go to the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a gross misunderstanding. We will bring into the spirit world the same state of mind and heart that we have at the time of our death. Although God and man are working toward it, the Kingdom of Heaven has not yet been established here on earth. No one can reach perfection in a matter of minutes. If we would really reflect God's nature, we would incarnate perfect love and have nothing to fear. Yet most people fear death; subconsciously they are afraid they will go to a place far away from the paradise they hope to live in.
Some people have out-of-body experiences. Some dream prophetic dreams. Others have experiences with ESP. Still other individuals experience the spirit world through hallucinations resulting from the after-effects of drugs. Coma victims seem unconscious to the world, but must go "somewhere." And those who have witnessed the phenomenon of telekinesis must have marveled at this prospect. All of these strange occurrences point to something which we may not understand, but does exist. The whole field of parapsychology is indeed a mysterious one -- one which bewilders, yet also enchants. How are these episodes to be interpreted? Although they captivate the imagination and mystify the intellect, such things are far too prevalent to be shrugged off as mere happenstance. There are so many factors in everyday life which cannot simply be discounted, or lumped together and labeled as a fluke. These things absolutely affect us-psyche and spirit alike. They determine our behavior, and even influence our relationships; they are definitely catalysts which determine our identity and map out our development and destiny.
The spiritual world exists -- although we may not yet comprehend its set of laws. Since each of us possesses a spirit, we would do well to understand the way it should function, and its potential. To do so would greatly aid our psychological warfare. Mankind as a whole is bewildered about the purpose of life; we still grope for answers because we look principally to the physical world -- to what affects our psyche; yet truly, there is much more to be investigated in fact, a whole "world" for this is only half the problem.
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