The astral body
by Aart Jurriaanse
It is of vital importance that every student should reach a clear understanding
of the astral plane  by knowing its nature he can learn to stand free from it,
and once this freedom has been gained he will also know how to work on it
when required by circumstances. When the astral plane is seen for the first
time through the 'opened eye', it will give the impression of a kaleidoscopic
world in a state of utter confusion, and for the greater part only vaguely
discernable through a foggy atmosphere, blurring the constantly changing
forms and intermingled colours. This is the meeting ground of innumerable
uncontrolled forces resulting in apparently total chaos.
The astral is the plane of illusion, of glamour, and of a distorted presentation
of reality. Every individual in the world is to some extent working in astral
matter, resulting in innumerable urges and cravings. It is the outpouring of
this host of human desires into the astral cauldron, which results in the
phantasmagoria of astral scenes and illusions. This conglomeration of
interacting forces arising from humanity also includes numerous other forces,
and all these jointly act upon and influence the human being. The response to
these impulses will depend on the calibre of the lower vehicles, and more
specifically on the condition and quality of the etheric centres.
Through this illusory labyrinth the aspirant has to find his way, snatching at
every clue which promises to be of help, and after many years of experience
he learns to distinguish between truth and glamour, the real and the unreal.
Every individual who in the course of time succeeds in liberating himself,
who begins to see more clearly, and who releases himself from the glamour of
illusion, contributes towards the realization of the Divine Plan.
Great dualities
The pairs of opposites meet and interact on the astral plane, and this is the
terrain where the potent pull of the great dualities are felt, where the
interaction between the soul and the personality takes its course, and also
where numerous lesser dualities play their part. Light and darkness struggle
for dominance, and so do pleasure and pain, good and evil, poverty and
riches, health and disease, heat and cold, and so many more. The light which
man has discovered within himself makes him more aware of the dark;
through the good which attracts him, he sees the evil which is in the line of
least resistance; the activity leading to pain simultaneously permits him to
visualize the contrasting pleasure, and thus he experiences something of both
hell and heaven. And so the wretched aspirant becomes aware of these
dualities, and is constantly pulled hither and thither between the two. The
secret of eventual human liberation lies in the correct balancing of these
opposing forces, and in finding the narrow path between these dualities which
will finally lead him to the Light. The deciding factor in this Herculean
struggle is the divine Will as expressed through the soul, which so often
comes into collision with the selfish personal will  but though the battle
may be long and arduous, the final triumph of the soul remains inevitable. It is
on the astral plane that these battles are fought which eventually will lead to
the release of the imprisoned soul.

Great reflector
The emotional body of the average man fulfils the role of a great reflector, but
at the same time it is a most unreliable mirror, ever distorting the image of
that which is received. It records the impulses from every kind of force and
influence radiated from its environment, and mixes all these colours and
movements, as well as every form of desire, emotion, action and sound into a
muddled conglomeration of impressions. The objective of the aspiring
individual should be to bring some measure of order into this chaos, and to
still the agitated surface of the waters of this plane to such an extent that it
can serve as a clear mirror for reflecting the qualities and impulses from the
soul.
It is through the analysing mind that the astral body is brought under control.
No excessive emotion should be permitted, though strong currents of love for
all that breathes should be allowed to sweep through man's being. Systemic
love is constructive and stabilizing, and does not contain the dangers hidden
in sentimental or emotional love. The aspirant should rid his emotional body
of all fear and worry by cultivating serenity and stability, and a sense of
secure dependence on Higher Powers. He should never harbour jealousy,
dark depression, greed or self-pity, but instead proceed calmly on the Way
with quiet and joyous confidence in his heart.
Every individual constructs his own astral body from the energies of the
surrounding astral plane, a body which will be responsive to his particular
note and quality, and limited to his specific point on the ladder of evolution.
This emotional body will constitute his field of response to life experience
within defined limits, but it will also lend itself to tremendous expansion,
development, adjustment and control, harmonizing with impulses received
from a growing mental body, and a soul progressively asserting itself over its
three bodies of expression  the physical, astral and mental.
The astral body is usually animated by forces which can be grouped under
three main headings:
o Forces of selfish desire. This forms an essential part of the evolutionary
process, because man has to experience every phase that life in the physical
has to offer, including both the good and the evil; honour and opprobrium; the
pleasant and the distressful; wealth and poverty; leadership and servility; the
pride and glory of position in contrast with utter humiliation. It is these
desires which constitute the forces which will drive him on from life to life,
and from one experience to another, ever craving that which he does not
possess, that which belongs to others, whether material possessions, money,
power, status or knowledge. These desires will remain dominant till man is
sated with all that material life has to offer; till the soul has extracted the
essence from all these experiences, and the higher mind takes over from the
lower and the light is seen ahead.
o The second group of forces are those engendered by sexual attraction.
There is nothing wrong with the basic principle of physical attraction, for that
is part of nature's way for the propogation of man. But man has abused this
natural urge, and it has deteriorated into emotional and lustful desire.
However, even these hurdles will be surmounted after the necessary
experience has been gained and the needed lessons have been learnt.
o The third group of forces impelling man along the way of life is fear. This
illusory force is displayed daily in its many patterns, causing excruciating
pain, suffering and frustration, sometimes driving man to the most
irresponsible action. These fears may be of a selfish nature, but often they
concern those who are emotionally near to us. How many torturing hours are
spent in anguish on premonitions, doubts, questionings and imaginary
illusions which never come to pass? These fears may assume many guises 
one's own, family fears, national and racial fears, including fear of pain, of the
future, of death, and fear of failure. Some of these will be dealt with in greater
detail in:  [The emotions, by A.J.]

Aart Jurriaanse, wrote a number of compilations from the books of Alice A. Bailey. Among these are: Of Life and other worlds; Prophecies; Ponder on this; Serving Humanity; The Soul; The Quality of Life; and he is also the author of Bridges which is a Commentary on these teachings.   


"To wash one's hands of the struggle between the poor and rich is not to be
neutral. It is to side with the rich."    (Brazilian educator Paulo Freire)

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