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Excerpted from Life After Death by Deepak Chopra. Copyright © 2006 by Deepak Chopra. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"Slipping in and out of material existence was our version of traveling to outer space."

  Deepak Chopra, Life After Death, Part 3

In the twentieth century Western science came to understand that all solid objects are actually made of invisible vibrations. In my childhood, solid things were seen to have a large portion of the earth element. To put it another way, solid things had dense vibrations, or vibrations on a lower plane. Vaporous things had a fine vibration, on a higher plane.

Just as there are different planes of material things, there are also different spiritual planes, a shocking notion to the pious Catholic brothers, mostly Irish, who were my teachers at school. To them the only spirit was the Holy Ghost that lived in heaven. We children were politic enough not to disagree, yet in our cosmos it only made sense that if the Earth was a dense spiritual world, there must be higher spiritual planes, known to us as Lokas, which in Western mystical circles became known as "astral planes." There are an almost infinite number of astral planes, divided into a higher and lower astral world, and even the lowest ones vibrate at a higher frequency than the material world.

Long ago the West gave up trying to hear the music of the spheres, but in India it is believed that a person with finely tuned consciousness can go inward and actually hear the vibration of various higher planes. In the astral plane you can see your own body, for instance, yet it might change in age from moment to moment.

In the lower astral planes we find clairvoyance, telepathy, and other refinements of the five senses, as well as ghosts, disembodied souls, and spirits that for one reason or another are "stuck." As a child I was certain that when a cat or dog paused to assess the air, it saw something I couldn't. So it came as no surprise to later read, in various texts both Eastern and Western, that lower astral planes sometimes sensed by humans in higher states of awareness are often sensed by animals. Nor was I surprised to meet a psychiatry resident who told me that if the hospital room was dimly lit enough, he could see -- on the very edge of visibility -- when the soul left a dying person. Every Indian child devours comic books about the exploits of various heroes who fought their battles in faraway Lokas. Slipping in and out of material existence was our version of traveling to outer space. Our comic book heroes would come across thought forms and thought clouds, astral bodies traveling during sleep, astral colors and auras. All these are vibrations in the lower astral plane.

In the Indian tradition every physical body is assigned an accompanying astral body. Your astral body is a complete mirror of your physical body; it has a heart, liver, arms, legs, a face, etc., but since it operates at a higher frequency, most people are unaware of it. During life, the physical body provides a garment for the soul; it gives it the appearance of being localized in the material world. In death, as the physical body begins to disintegrate, the departing soul enters an astral plane that corresponds to its existence on the material plane, the frequency that corresponds most closely to its former life.

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