The Higher World



from The Hidden Side of Things by C.W. Leadbeater

Rainbow Bridge by Allison L. Williams Hill

There is a hidden side to our physical world in a second and higher sense which is well known to all students of Theosophy, for many lectures have been delivered and many books have been written in the endeavour to describe the astral and mental worlds-- the unseen realm which interpenetrates that with which we are all familiar, and forms by far the most important part of it. A good deal of information about this higher aspect of our world has been given in the fifth and the sixth of the Theosophical manuals, and in my own book upon The Other Side of Death; so here I need do no more than make a short general statement for the benefit of any reader who has not yet met with those works.



Modern physicists tell us that matter is interpenetrated by aether-- a hypothetical substance which they endow with many apparently contradictory qualities. The occultist knows that there are many varieties of this finer interpenetrative matter, and that some of the qualities attributed to it by the scientific men belong not to it at all, but to the primordial substance of which it is the negation. I do not wish here to turn aside from the object of this book to give a lengthy disquisition upon the qualities of aether; those who wish to study this subject may be referred to the book upon Occult Chemistry , p. 93 . Here it must suffice to say that the true aether of space exists, just as scientific men have supposed, and possesses most of the curious contradictory qualities ascribed to it. It is not, however, of that aether itself, but of matter built up out of the bubbles in it, that the inner worlds of finer matter are built, of which we have spoken just now. That with which we are concerned at the moment is the fact that all the matter visible to us is interpenetrated not only by aether, but also by various kinds of finer matter, and that of this finer matter there are many degrees.

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To the type which is nearest to the physical world occult students have given the name astral matter; the kind next above that has been called mental, because out of its texture is built that mechanism of consciousness which is commonly called the mind in man; and there are other types finer still, with which for the moment we are not concerned. Every portion of space with which we have to do must be thought of as containing all these different kinds of matter. It is practically a scientific postulate that even in the densest forms of matter no two particles ever touch one another, but each floats alone in its field of aether, like a sun in space. Just in the same way each particle of the physical aether floats in a sea of astral matter, and each astral particle in turn floats in a mental ocean; so that all these additional worlds need no more space than does this fragment which we know, for in truth they are all parts of one and the same world. Man has within himself matter of these finer grades, and by learning to focus his consciousness in it, instead of only in his physical brain, he may become cognisant of these inner and higher parts of the world, and acquire much knowledge of the deepest interest and value. The nature of this unseen world, its scenery, its inhabitants, its possibilities, are described in the works above mentioned. It is the existence of these higher realms of nature that makes occultism possible; and few indeed are the departments of life in which their influence has not to be considered. From the cradle to the grave we are in close relation with them during what we call our waking life; during sleep and after we are even more intimately connected with them, for our existence is then almost confined to them. Perhaps the greatest of the many fundamental changes which are inevitable for the man who studies the facts of life is that which is produced in his attitude towards death. This matter has been fully treated elsewhere; here I need state only that the knowledge of the truth about death robs it of all its terror and much of its sorrow, and enables us to see it in its true proportion and to understand its place in the scheme of our evolution. It is perfectly possible to learn to know about all these things instead of accepting beliefs blindly at secondhand, as most people do; and knowledge means power, security and happiness.

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