The Word Foundation
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Copyright 1909 by H. W. PERCIVAL


In what essential points does the astral world differ from the spiritual? These terms are often used interchangeably in books and magazines dealing with these subjects, and this use is apt to confuse the mind of the reader.

“Astral world” and “spiritual world” are not synonymous terms. They cannot be so used by one who is acquainted with the subject. The astral world is essentially a world of reflections. In it the physical world and all doings in the physical are reflected, and within the astral are also reflected the thoughts of the mental world, and, through the mental world, the ideas of the spiritual world. The spiritual world is the realm in which all things are known to be as they are, there no deception can be practiced on those beings who live consciously in it. The spiritual world is the realm in which one when he enters, finds no confusion, but knows and is known. The distinguishing characteristics of the two worlds are desire and knowledge. Desire is the ruling force in the astral world. Knowledge is the ruling principle in the spiritual world. Beings inhabit the astral world as animals inhabit the physical world. They are moved and guided by desire. Other beings inhabit the spiritual world and they are moved by knowledge. While one is confused and uncertain about a thing he need not consider that he is “spiritually minded,” though it is quite likely that he may be psychic. One who may enter the spiritual world of knowledge is in no uncertain state of mind about it. He does not merely desire to be, nor does he guess, or believe, or think that he knows. If he knows the spiritual world it is knowledge with him and not guesswork. The difference between the astral world and the spiritual world is the difference which there is between desire and knowledge.


Is each organ of the body an intelligent entity or does it do its work automatically?

No organ in the body is intelligent though every organ is conscious. Each organic structure in the world must be conscious if it has any functional activity. If it were not conscious of its function it could not perform it. But an organ is not intelligent if by intelligence is meant an entity with mind. By an intelligence we mean a being who may be higher, but who is not lower, than the state of man. The organs of the body are not intelligent, but they act under a guiding intelligence. Each organ in the body is governed by an entity who is conscious of the organ’s particular function. By this conscious function the organ causes the cells and molecules and atoms which compose it, to contribute in work to the function of the organ. Each atom entering into the makeup of a molecule is ruled by the conscious entity of the molecule. Each molecule entering into the composition of a cell is controlled by the dominant influence of the cell. Each cell making up the structure of an organ is directed by the organic conscious entity of the organ, and each organ as a component part of the bodily organization is governed by a conscious coordinating formative principle which governs the organization of the body as a whole. Atom, molecule, cell, organ are each conscious in their particular sphere of action. But none of these can be said to be intelligent though they perform their work in their different fields of action with mechanical exactness.


If each organ or part of the physical body is represented in the mind, then why does an insane person not lose the use of his body when he loses the use of his mind?

The mind has seven functions, but the body has a greater number of organs. Therefore, not each organ can represent or be represented by a particular function of the mind. The organs of the body may be divided into many classes. The first division could be made by distinguishing the organs which have, as their first duty the care and preservation of the body. Among these come first the organs which are engaged in digestion and assimilation. These organs, such as the stomach, liver, kidneys and spleen are in the abdominal section of the body. Next are those in the thoracic cavity, the heart and lungs, which have to do with the oxygenation and purification of the blood. These organs act involuntarily and without control of the mind. Among the organs connected with the mind primarily are the pituitary body and pineal gland and certain other interior organs of the brain. A person who has lost the use of his mind will, as a matter of fact, appear upon examination to have some of these organs affected. Insanity may be due to one or many causes. Sometimes the immediate cause is physical only, or it may be due to some psychically abnormal condition, or insanity may be due to the mind having entirely left and departed from a person. Insanity may be brought about by some physical cause, such as a disease of one of the internal organs of the brain, or by an abnormal condition or loss of the thyroid gland. If any of the organs which are connected with the mind, or through which the mind operates the physical body, are lost or their action interfered with, then the mind cannot act directly upon and through the physical body, though it may be connected with it. The mind is then like a bicyclist whose machine has lost its pedals, and though upon it, he cannot make it go. Or the mind may be likened to a rider strapped to his horse, but whose arms and legs are tied and his mouth gagged so that he is unable to direct the animal. Owing to some affection or loss of an organ of the body by which the mind operates or controls the body, the mind may be in contact with the body but unable to guide it.

A Friend [H. W. Percival]