Adriel explained it like this: Your physical form in this lower world is your mold. It is an organic meat shell that only lasts for a limited amount of time. In it, you experience a reality that is designed for the experiences themselves, the events that form you as an individual.
On this level, humans are infants, baby light-beings or souls, and they have not yet learned how to maintain their integrity outside of the meat-mold. Aging is part of the process, and it is one of the hardest lessons – the lesson of change and impermanence. The one constant in the universe is entropy, and in our lives, it takes the form of change. As your consciousness develops, the mold degrades. On this level, for a consciousness within the aging mold, it is like being trapped in a rotting pumpkin. The error of this world is that humans associate their identity with this rotting shell when it is merely a game piece moved along the board of this reality. A key notion his people have been trying to get through to this world is the one that says, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Integrity is meant to be developed over the course of one’s lifetime, using the experiences and lessons learned as the glue to hold it all together. When the body does die, you have precious little time to recollect your identity, and hopefully move it into a new shell to continue the integration process. Like hermit crabs that outgrow one shell, we must find another to inhabit. If you do not have strong integrity, you do not last as an individual consciousness.
Imagine your soul is like a coin, a solid bit of individual metal. It has unique markings that identify it – a date, a slogan, an image – stamped into it. When the body dies, that coin is dropped back into the universal furnace, into the molten iron from which it was poured into a mold and minted. Once back in the molten goo, it begins to dissolve and lose its individuality, its identity, and it just becomes one with the goo. That goo is the true concept of God, a powerful collective consciousness. It wants to exist, and it wants to procreate by creating tiny versions of itself as individual consciousnesses that can eventually grow to be beings like itself. It is constantly casting off these molds, hoping that the consciousness inside of each one will eventually become independent, able to live on its own outside of the mold, outside of the nursery. Some do, most fall back and start again, maintaining more and more of their own identity, their idea of self.
When the body dies, we try to maintain a concept of ourselves outside of the body, separate from it, so that we can survive on these higher frequencies, or at least until we can find another mold, another body, to occupy as we continue to work on our integrity.
“Reincarnation!” Bethany interjected. She had been listening dutifully for about ten minutes now, and felt she needed to exhibit her understanding thus far.
“Precisely,” Adriel said. “You’ve probably heard of people who are born with memories of past lives. The woman from India who could identify her former family, their home address, and the location of where she had carved her former name into her bedroom wall. The twin sisters who were killed in a car accident, only to be reborn to the same parents, remember the same toys, and the same park they used to play in as their former selves. It is rare, but it happens.”
Bethany was familiar with both of those accounts. She had found them while surfing the internet late one night back in college. She and her roommate used to play a game to see who could find the weirdest YouTube videos.
“Is there any way to control reincarnation?” she asked. “I mean, is it a conscious decision, or does it just happen whether we want it to or not?”
“It can happen randomly when people are not quite sure of what is happening when their bodies die. Mostly, though, it is a conscious decision. Most people just figure they are dead, give up, and dissolve into the collective. Like some Native Americans say, we are all droplets of water from one great lake, called up as rain, only to fall back and become one with the great lake again.”
“But what if we want to remain as rain, as individual droplets?” Bethany asked.
“Then you must work on the integrity of your soul.”
“By doing good deeds, going to church…?”
“Not necessarily. Being a good, kind consciousness does help, as it helps you to feel comfortable with yourself, and this strengthens your spirit. But the real trick is to create a mandala.”
“A mandala?” Bethany asked. “You mean like those colorful designs they make in Buddhist temples?”
“Precisely,” Adriel said. “But not quite that elaborate if this is your first time surviving death as a conscious entity. For beginners, it is good to start with something simple. It has to be something totally original, something that is totally your own, and something that you can recall in your mind in full clarity, with every detail.”
Bethany was nodding, thinking. “So, not like, say, a football team logo?”
Adriel laughed. She thought he had a nice laugh. She realized that was the first time she had heard it.
“No,” he said. “It has to be something that goes beyond spoken language, it has to be visual, but it can’t be associated with anyone or anything else. It has to be you.”
She gave him a dubious, quizzical look, so he opened a drawer in the coffee table and took out a pen and a pad of paper. On the paper, he started to draw. He would pause, contemplate what he had drawn, and add to it. A line here, a circle there, until he had a simple yet unique pattern.
“Well,” he finally said. “It’s not the greatest, but this is just an example. The thing is, it must be something you feel an emotional connection to, you have to feel like it is your creation. You can’t borrow from any other symbols that you have seen before. No marketing logos, no Chinese characters, no Zodiac symbols. It must come entirely from you, and when you have designed it, you have to feel something for it. And you must be able to draw it perfectly from memory and see it clearly in your mind in every detail that you have given it. Therefore, it is good to start simple. It takes practice.”
“Okay,” Bethany said as she studied the symbol. “So I couldn’t use this one?”
“No,” he replied. “I have seen it, and it came from me. If you tried to use this, it wouldn’t feel like your own to your deepest levels of consciousness, down into your subconsciousness. If you use something from another consciousness, you run the danger of melding with that consciousness in the ether, in the realm outside of this physical one. I mean, I have heard of some people, say, two lovers who just couldn’t get close enough in life that they decided to share a mandala, and they would become one in spirit and reincarnate that way. These are the people you see, the ‘single and loving it’ types. They don’t want anyone else in their lives because they feel completeness already within themselves. These may be people who have merged on a mandala.”
“Wow,” she said. “Now that seems appealing.”
“Well, hold your horses on that for now. That is something… well, I’ve never done that that I can recall, so I can’t really advise on it. For now, just create a mandala that is all you. Once you have that, carry it in your mind, and reflect on it with each new memorable experience you have. Spend at least fifteen minutes a day meditating on it, putting everything that you consider to be you into it. Talk to it like it is your best friend or most trusted counselor, tell it your life story, your memories, your victories, your losses, your pride, your shame… it takes on your ego. It connects you to everything that you are to yourself, your true identity. Become the sort of person that likes who you are. This is where good deeds and altruism come in.”
“So this symbol becomes my identity?”
He tilted his head side to side. “In a way. It’s more like it represents your identity, it reminds you of who you are.”
“So memories are the key?”
“Memories, experiences, are all we can keep when we leave the corporeal planes. They define us as beings. So these mandalas, or tokens, they help you recall who you are when your body dies and you, as a soul, must survive the furnace of creation again. You hold the mandala like a shield, and you move through until you find a new vessel. At first, your memories are small, perhaps just little glimmers buried in your subconscious. For people who do not know how to do this, they are usually deeply emotional or traumatic memories. Like people who died by drowning or suffocation can carry that memory into a new life as asthma. Using a token, you have a sort of carry-on for your memories, and not just the painful ones, but the good ones, the happy memories.”
“So we should only put happy memories into the token?”
“No, not at all,” he shrugged. “You should put in every experience that makes you you. Even the bad, the sad, the painful… because they made you stronger. Of course, you can leave out any memories that you do not wish to be a part of you. Stupid things you have done, embarrassing moments that you feel are not representative of your own true nature.”
“So I create a mandala, meditate on it, tie it emotionally to all of my key personality markers, and I can use this to remember my identity, my mind, after death?”
Key personality markers. Adriel smiled. She was picking up on everything very easily. He had been correct. She was remembering. This had been encoded in her before. He continued to stoke the memory.
“Yes, that’s essentially it. At first, your mandala should be simple so that it is easy to recall with your astral mind. This limits the memories you can recall, however, like packing for a trip with only a small backpack.” She was nodding. He eyes were on the floor, but her vision was someplace else. Since he figured this might not really be such a new concept to her, he shared something else.
“There are tricks to develop a little faster, though,” he said. “I once knew a woman, she had been reincarnating for many lifetimes, always on the same three frequencies. She said she first started by using a trick she called the Monkey Method.”
“The monkey method?” Bethany asked. “She started out as a monkey?”
He laughed again, and she smiled. “No, it was taken from the game, Barrel of Monkeys. Ever played it?”
“Yeah, you take one plastic monkey, and you link its arm with another plastic monkey, and so on and so on, seeing how many you can pick up until you have a long chain o’ monkeys.”
“Precisely,” he said. He seemed to like that word. “That was how she linked her memories. She fastened one firmly to her mandala – her ‘token,’ as she called it – and then used that one memory to link to other memories.”
“So if I design my own mandala, and do these meditations, then when I die, I mean, when my body dies, I just hold that image in my mind?”
“That’s the gist of it,” he said. “That way, when you reincarnate, you move past the trauma of death/birth by keeping your identity more or less intact. Then, as a new infant, all you have to do is focus on that image in your developing mind and all that it represents. You’ll be a baby and not much good at focusing on anything else. You just sleep, eat, and poop. As your brain develops, your mind develops around this image, the same neural pathways form, the same synapses connect around those memories, and you can retain some of them. At first, you won’t retain many, but the more you do this, life after life, soon…” Adriel raised his hands, fingers out in a sort of ‘ta-da!’ gesture,”… you’re a fully-developed, self-sufficient consciousness, and you can move up to the higher realms, or just keep reincarnating for more experiences to strengthen yourself or to help others. The Buddhists have a word for this. They call it a Bodhisattva. As you develop, you can make more elaborate mandalas, like the ones you’ve seen in Buddhist temples. The more elaborate the mandala, the richer your identity.”
Bethany was amazed. She really liked this idea, but, “Life after life?” she said. “That seems like an insanely long time.”
“To you, here and now, it does because you don’t really recall previous lives yet. You’re like a child who thinks waiting a week until Christmas will take forever. To an adult, it’s barely a minute. As we grow, we process time differently. As above, so below.”
“What about my current past lives?” she asked. “Can I retrieve those memories now?”
“You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There is a lot of potential for false memories, and they can be misguiding. They can cause problems.”
“Problems?” she asked. “Like what?”
“Well, nothing really permanent,” he said. “After all, what is permanent? But you can have some tough lifetimes.”
“Example?” she prodded.
“Well, let’s say you identify as female, but you get lost or confused on your path to reincarnation and end up in a male body.”
“Ah!” she lit up. “Yes, we do see a lot of that sort of thing, don’t we?”
“Yes,” Adriel said. “It is good that this current culture in this world is becoming more accepting and sympathetic to that. Just a decade ago, it was a terrible experience.”
“For many, it still is,” Bethany said.
Adriel continued with the main point of his lesson. “Really, you do remember all of your past lives. They are buried in small micro-representations deep in your subconscious, like icons on a computer screen. We sometimes refer to this as your Akashic Record. They can influence your behavior. Those little things we do but have no idea why we do them. In the end, however, what matters is what you can recall. Those memories that you can present on demand in your conscious mind.”
“But what if I want to recall my Akashic record?”
“There are entities that can read your Akashic record, but they are in the higher frequencies. They do not usually incarnate in these corporeal frequencies. You may find them in the spaces between.”
Bethany looked at him. “Can you read my Akashic record?”
He laughed again, this time a little harder than before. He was smiling at her, and it made her feel good, really good, something she had not felt in a long time. She was feeling hopeful.
“No,” he said. “I can’t. I’ve been reincarnating for a while now, but I am nowhere near that level of consciousness. And that’s probably good for both of us.”
She laughed. It was her first genuine laugh in weeks. It felt good. She had a sudden memory of herself as a child, laughing with her best friend Talia, and Talia, in the throes of hilarity over whatever it was that had struck the two little girls as so funny, had blurted out, “Laughing is fun!” and they had both gone off on fresh gales of laughter at this statement of the obvious. It was Talia’s voice she heard in her mind now, as clear as if she was sitting there beside them on the sofa. Laughing is fun.
And without even realizing she had started, Bethany was crying. And for the first time, Adriel put his arm around her as she sobbed, and it felt wonderful. Adriel watched her, realizing that she was truly happy, and that the tears were just emotions triggered by memories she was starting to reconnect with – memories she had not had for centuries.