Essay 2 welcoming birth

Challenges of Birth, Life and Death – Welcoming birth
Chapter 11 of Mysteries and Challenges of Birth, Life and Death

 

Have you ever felt the longing for a different motherhood, or a different fatherhood than the earthly one? Motherhood as to this nature is the consequence of the fall into this emergency order. If you are really serious about going the path of transfiguration, then this problem will inevitably crop up in you.
For in the human soul life that has been liberated from earthly standards, there is a new motherhood, and every female pupil of a bonafide Spiritual School must begin to long for that new, heavenly motherhood.
It is necessary to know what this motherhood signifies. Only when you know about this inwardly, can you live and approach it, without any strain.
The first woman to be mentioned in the Bible is Eve. To us she is the prototype of the original soul human being in its female manifestation. The name ‘Eve’ means, ‘Mother of Living Souls’. She is the bearer of the human life wave in the all-manifestation. Just as Adam can be indicated by the cabalistic number nine, the number of humanity, so Eve can be indicated by the cabalistic number seven, the number of the Holy Spirit.

Catharose de Petri,The Living Word, chapter 47

When does the life of a human being actually begin? Many will say: ‘at birth’. Others claim: ‘when a pregnant woman feels the child moving in her belly for the first time’. Still others declare: ‘at the conception, when an egg and a sperm merge into a new cell, from which a completely new human body will then develop.’ All those answers are correct in a certain way, but it is only part of the truth because these answers are limited to the bodily aspect, the biological organism that is so wonderfully organised and about which the psalmist sings: 

For thou didst form my inward parts:
Thou didst cover me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks unto thee;
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
Wonderful are thy works;
And that my soul knoweth right well.
My frame was not hidden from thee,
When I was made in secret,
And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance;
And in thy book they were all written,
Even the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was none of them.
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
(Psalm 139:13-17) 

According to the universal wisdom, the human being is essentially a thought of God, a purely spiritual and eternal being, free of time and space and with the task of cooperating in the execution of the divine plan by assimilating higher energies, to transform them and radiate them. This spiritual being is also referred to as the microcosm and can be regarded as a small universe in itself, a reflection of the macrocosm. 

How is it then that we as humans have a mortal, physical body? It is the result of an incident known as the Fall, described as a myth in Genesis 3, in which it is said that man, despite warnings, eats from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and therefore is expelled from paradise. This mythical story does not relate to historical persons who lived long ago, but to the microcosm in which we currently live. 

Emergency solution 

It was not intended in God’s plan that human microcosmoi would receive a mortal physical body like that of the mammals. That is an emergency solution to give them the opportunity through many earthly lives to repair the damage to the microcosm that resulted from the fall. The formation of the biological body is ex- pressed in the Bible as: ‘And Jehovah God made for Adam and for his wife coats of skins, and clothed them’ (Genesis 3:21). 

The original microcosm lived in paradise, a field of development that is part of what Jesus calls the Kingdom of Heaven, a field characterised by unity, freedom, love and eternal creation. He consisted of spirit, soul and body. It is very important to realise that this was not a physical body as we know it now, but an im- mortal spiritual body that is hard for us to imagine. 

That which is called the Fall can be seen as a shift in focus from the big picture – a concentration on the execution of God’s plan – to a focus on oneself. If a microcosm in paradise receives the divine radiations but does not convert them and radiate them because he keeps them for himself, then a great heat develops in the entire system. As a result, his spiritual body falls apart as it were, and evaporates. 

Such a broken microcosm with only a spirit and a soul cannot remain in paradise because it can no longer endure the high le- vel of vibration, and must necessarily descend into an area with a much lower vibration, in which everything constantly moves between polarities and becomes subjected to the cycle of rising, shining and fading. 

In this situation, the microcosm must again and again receive a new mortal body and a personality linked to it, to whom is said: ‘Thorns also and thistles shall the ground bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return’ (Genesis 3:18-19). 

And so the microcosm became chained to the wheel of birth and death that is called samsara in Buddhism and Hinduism, a concept that is associated with illusion, delusion and suffering. Life on earth presents us with many challenges, but that is not without reason. They enable us to gather a fullness of experience and to long for the paradise we lost. It is a spiritual desire for total healing that flows from the core of the microcosm, the spirit-spark. 

On the basis of this yearning, this homesickness of the soul, a person may enter a spiritual path on which an immortal spiritual body is woven, a glorified body, a body of resurrection. Only then is the microcosm free from the continuous cycle of being born, living and dying. A fallen microcosm that has returned to its divine origin after many earthly lives is greater and more powerful than the microcosmoi that did not have the experience of the Fall. In ‘The Gospel of the Holy Twelve’ we read:

Blessed are they who suffer many experiences, for they shall be made perfect through suffering: they shall be as the angels of God in Heaven and shall die no more, neither shall they be born any more, for death and birth have no more dominion over them. They who have suffered and overcome shall be made Pillars in the Temple of my God, and they shall go out no more. Verily I say unto you, except ye be born again of water and of fire, ye cannot see the kingdom of God’ (The Gospel of the Holy Twelve 37:2-3). 

Personality and microcosm 

In ancient times the idea of reincarnation was fairly common, not only in the Far East but also in the countries around the Mediterranean and among the peoples in Western Europe. Among the first Christian communities the belief in reincarnation was certainly not unusual. There were even Christian church fathers who were convinced of the correctness of the concept of reincarnation, including Hieronymus, Origines and Clement of Alexandria. Only at the second council of Constantinople in the year 533 was the doctrine of reincarnation, and thus of karma, removed from Christian theology because it was seen as a heretical doctrine.

For many centuries the concept of reincarnation went underground in the West because it was dangerous to profess it publicly. Written comments on this subject were therefore often presented in a disguised form to prevent opposition and persecution. We read for example in the writings ‘The Confession of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood’ from 1615: ‘Would it not be glorious if one could always live so, as if one had lived from the beginning of the world, and would continue to live until the end of it?’

The German philosopher Gotthold Efraim Lessing (1729-1781) poses a number of questions at the end of his book ‘The Education of the Human Race’ from 1780 that clearly refer to the concept of reincarnation, also known as metempsychosis or soul relocation:

    • Why can everyone not have lived more than once in this world? 
    • Is that assumption so ridiculous because it is the most ancient? 
    • Why should I not return as often as I am able, to acquire new knowledge and capabilities? 
    • Do I take so much with me in one life that it is no longer worth the trouble to come back? 
    • Is not all eternity mine?

From the end of the nineteenth century, the concept of reincarnation in the Western world received a strong impulse from the writings of Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society. In her work ‘Isis unveiled ‘(1877) she writes that the doctrine of reincarnation is incorrect, but in her later book ‘The Secret Doctrine’ (1888) she embraces the concept of reincarnation. Did she change her belief in the intervening eleven years? Not really, because ‘Isis Unveiled’ is written from out of the earthly personality and ‘The Secret Doctrine’ from the perspective of the microcosm.

There is no reincarnation for the personality. It gradually dissolves after the death of the physical body and does not return. However the damaged microcosm is an eternal being and again and again reconnects with a mortal body, until it is healed and can continue its development in the realms beyond space and time.

In a popular reincarnation belief your body is compared to a car. Death is the moment that the car has broken down and can no longer be repaired so that you can no longer move. Then you buy a new car, symbol for incarnating in a new body, so you can continue on your journey. This comparison is of course flawed, because reincarnation applies to the immortal and divine microcosm, and not to the mortal personality. The psalmist expresses this duality as: ‘I said, ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High. Never- theless ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes’ (Psalm 82: 6-7).

Resistance against the concept of reincarnation 

The concept of reincarnation and the associated law of karma provide insights into all sorts of questions of life. Nevertheless there is traditionally much resistance from science and Western religions to the concept of reincarnation. Why is this? Carol Bowman, an American regression therapist and reincarnation researcher, writes in her book ‘Children’s Past Lives’:

‘Why does the church put so much effort into discrediting reincarnation? The most obvious explanation for this is the implicit psychology of the concept of reincarnation. Someone who believes in reincarnation must take responsibility for his own spiritual development through rebirth. He does not need priests, confessions, and rituals anymore to protect himself from damnation (all ideas that, by the way, are not part of Jesus’ teaching). His only concerns are his own actions and their consequences for himself and for others.
The belief in reincarnation eliminates the fear of an eternal hell and damnation, which the church uses to keep its flock under its thumb. In other words, reincarnation directly undermines the authority and power of the dogmatic church.’ 

Scientists who take reincarnation seriously will have to recognise that the paradigms which they have been taught, and from which they work every day, are inadequate. This can be experienced as painful and perceived as an attack on their authority. Then it is safer, but very unscientific, to maintain that reincarnation is pure speculation or that consciousness is the result of certain physical-chemical processes in the brain. The Dutch journalist Michiel Hegener took stock of what has been researched in the field of reincarnation in the world and wrote about it in his Dutch book with the translated title ‘Living from repetition – proving reincarnation’. At the end of his book he concludes:

The big question is of course: does reincarnation really exist? Given that these memories, spontaneously or under hypnosis, are always about lives that came to an end before the person who now remem-bers them was born, the conclusion that reincarnation exists seems tenable. If, furthermore, no two people remember the same life, then the conclusion that reincarnation exists is virtually positive. But I also note that there is no definitive evidence that proves once and for all the existence of reincarnation. It is ‘almost certain’, and that is the limit of my conclusion. Carol Bowman rhetorically sighed: “How much evidence do we need before it is proven?!” The great question is no longer whether reincarnation exists but why Western science, Islam and orthodox Christianity are in a collective state of denial’. 

A person who believes in reincarnation and karma is less likely to commit crimes or deliberately harm others than someone who does not believe in it, because he knows that his misdeeds will always turn against him. Yet it is not primarily about what someone believes or not, because his or her state of being is the primary focus. The Dalai Lama agrees with this in his statement: ‘It does not matter so much if you believe in God or not, whether you believe in Buddha or not, whether you believe in reincarnation or not. You must lead a good life’. 

Faith, hope and love 

Whoever really believes does not depend on a system of teachings but is touched inwardly. The Epistle to the Hebrews describes faith as the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is a mighty power of which is written that it can move mountains (Matthew 17:10). But the power of love is even greater. That is why Paul writes: ‘But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13). 

Many who follow the news conclude that there is not much of this love in our world. Some draw the conclusion that they are well advised not to conceive and raise children because they do not want them to live in this terrible world. Of course, everyone has the right to his own opinion, but it is good to realise that this starting point is not in accordance with the universal wisdom. The news reports that keep flooding the world give a heavily distorted picture, and it is of great importance that microcosms in the reflection sphere are given the opportunity to experience yet another earthly life because only in this way can they progress on their way back to their divine origin. It is also important that human life on earth be continued. 

We do not need to worry as yet about a decrease of the world’s population. The number of inhabitants of the earth is expected to rise from about 7 billion in 2017 to about 9.7 billion in 2050. We therefore may welcome these new human entities! Of course this does not detract from the fact that it is at the same time wise to limit births through the possibilities of contraception. Every child has the right to the attention and love that it needs to develop into a more or less harmonious personality. In our current society this is easier to realise in smaller families than in very large families. Furthermore, it is also important that parents not spend most of their life just to raise children, but that they also have time for their own (inner) development. 

In prosperous countries fewer and fewer handicapped children are born, because a pregnancy is prematurely terminated when there is a diagnosis that the child has Down’s syndrome. That is understandable because it can be difficult to have a disabled child. It is however worth remembering that nothing happens in vain and that a human entity may incarnate in a disabled body because it has to work out a certain karmic lesson. It is also possible that a disabled child enables the parents to develop certain qualities. If they try to avoid their karma, they will still be confronted with it in a different way. Parents can generally learn a lot from their children, and vice versa of course!  

Protective field 

If a woman and a man have a close loving relationship and both are following a spiritual path, together they form a protective field with a relatively high vibration level that is attractive to those microcosms who have a fullness of experience and who seek a new opportunity to incarnate, because they can then be born in an environment in which they can continue their develop in an optimal environment. 

When however, there is hardly any love in the relationship between a man and a woman, and the focus is mostly on individual gratification, this will attract a different type of human entity with less attractive soul qualities. We can imagine that a similar mechanism also occurs with in vitro fertilisation or in test tube fertilisation, where the fertilization takes place outside the body and the resulting embryo is then placed in the uterus. 

When a human entity wants to be born to a particular woman, it begins to gather astral substance around her. Clairvoyants can often perceive this in the aura of the woman concerned, not only after conception, but also before it. The development of the human embryo is a fascinating process in which we symbolically recognise the outer and inner development that can occur after birth (see image 14). 

Much can be deduced from the way the embryo changes in its shape. We discuss embryology here by and large from the point of view of phenomenology. This is a philosophical movement that uses direct as well as intuitive experience of phenomena and from these tries to arrive at the underlying and essential qualities of what is experienced. An important principle is that it is possible to discover invisible phenomena through the visible phenomena. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe applied such a phenomenological approach in his scientific studies of plants and colours.

Embryology 

In a zygote or fertilised egg there is already a certain connection with a human microcosm. In the first three days after fertilisation, several cell divisions take place in the zygote as it moves through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. This is called the mineral phase because the embryo does grow but remains the same in size. On the fourth day there is a ball of cells that is referred to as ‘morula’. From it grows a cellular structure with an open space called a ‘blastula’ that settles in the uterine wall around the seventh day. This phase is called the plant phase because it is reminiscent of a growing plant that connects more strongly with the nutrient medium. 

The cells in the embryo start to differentiate about two weeks after fertilisation. Then the animal phase starts, where each cell has a certain destination. Cells that later form the skeleton go to the outside of the embryo and cells that will form the intestines move to the inside. An embryo is created that at first does not differ much from the embryo of animals, but which clearly changes into a human fetus some ten weeks after conception. Then everything that is necessary to create a human body is basically present, although naturally much must still change and mature. As the embryo and later the fetus grows, the connection between the growing physical body and the human microcosm becomes stronger. 

In the sixteenth week of pregnancy, the child becomes sensitive to light to a certain extent. Around the fourth month it develops basic reflexes and a series of facial expressions. After five or six months, it is just as sensitive to touch as a newborn baby. From the 24th week on, it can hear sounds continuously – and it listens to the sounds in the mother’s body and to voices, music and other sounds. Between weeks 28 and 34, the cranial nerves are as advanced as those of a newborn baby, and the cerebral cortex is sufficiently formed for the consciousness to function. A few weeks later, brain waves, including those of REM dreams, are recognisable. From the sixth month the fetus is equipped with most of the physiological capabilities of a newborn baby.

The human embryo develops in a different way than the embryo of mammals. Because it grows from the inside out, it begins to move. In the beginning it is turned inwards, but at a certain moment it lifts its head as a result of its development. This growth movement ensures that the pelvis rotates outwards and the embryo grows upright. We see a similar movement later in a toddler who stands up and starts to walk upright. No mammal naturally stands upright on two legs with an upright spine. The human embryo has already practiced stretching its limbs and spine in the womb. 

We are not four-legged animals because we straighten our bodies naturally. From this standpoint we can see that we are essentially souls who are destined to form a living connection between earth and heaven. As humans, we are distinguished from mammals through our thinking. Thinking processes are possible because of our brain. In order for the brain to function as well as possible, the head of the upright human is supported by the neck and the torso. 

Being born 

After the foregoing explanation it will be clear that a child does not come into the world as a blank page. The birth of a child is an uncertain and radical event, both for the parents and the child. Immediately after birth, the baby starts to live and breathe in a different world and in a new element. Then some elements are literally left behind that until recently were of vital importance: the placenta and the umbilical cord. The placenta is associated with the mother but in fact it originates from the zygote, the very first cell that carries all the characteristics of the new person. The placenta actually belongs to the fetus. 

The physical birth is often seen as a metaphor for a spiritual birth. Just as with a physical birth, something also dies with a spiritual birth: the old man, specifically the ego that was mostly focused on self-preservation and a drive for possession, power and honour. In fairy tales, we recognise the ego in characters like the stepmother, the witch and the wolf who die towards the end of the story. Thus on the spiritual path, man must let go of his old nature so that the spiritual soul can develop. Just as a newborn baby begins to breathe in the sensory world, so the newborn soul assimilates forces from the world of the soul. The parents of a newborn are advised to ensure that it can develop optimally in a way that is beautifully described in the book ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran.

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of children.
And he said: Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.’