Tour of the Akashic Records (Upper Mental Plane, Causal Body)AC 227: August 14, 2003.
According to theosophist Arthur Powell, the akashic records represent the memory of a whole system of developing consciousness (e.g., humanity), throughout its entire individual and mass evolution. These records exist on a higher plane and are "reflected" in the matter/consciousness of lower planes.
On the astral plane, perception of the akashic records is unreliable, "fragmentary," and "distorted" [The Mental Body (MB) 239]. Such perception tends to manifest itself as "a simple picture" like a still photograph from a movie [MB 241].
On the mental plane, perception of the akashic records is more "full and accurate." [MB 239] Such perception manifests itself as a sequence of animated images, like a movie or television show. These records are playing constantly in the background, unless attention is turned to them, in which case they become fully focused and clear [MB 241].
Using the mental body, it's possible to slow down or speed up the rate at which images from the records show themselves, as well as to understand what’s said, and the thoughts or motives behind it, no matter the original language of the historical event [MB 243].
Powell mentions that thought forms of frequently imagined historical events, novels, plays, other works of art also exist on the mental plane, and can sometimes be mistaken for the akashic records [MB 244]. The adventure recounted in The Unanswered Question [UQ], in which I visited an area of Otherwhere (nonphysical reality) dedicated to the world’s great operas is an example of how such thought forms appear on the mental plane [UQ 184-96].
A higher level of clarity and ease in reading the akashic records is possible when using the causal body. If we’re viewing a past life, we can experience the events as a direct participant, whereas in the mental body we’ll perceive them as a spectator.
On the buddhic plane, the akashic records may be experienced in terms of simultaneous time [MB 246]. We can now perceive the karmic causes of an event, its present results, and its possible future developments, all at once.
In the nirvanic body, we may be able to access the akashic records of other reality systems, physical or nonphysical [MB 247].
No matter the level of perception, it’s often difficult to bring information from the akashic records into waking consciousness, in order to understand or communicate it in words. I’ve certainly found this to be true.
On the one occasion when I visited the Akashic records, I was in my causal body. The domain I entered seemed a lot lighter in atmosphere than most areas of the Afterdeath Zone I’ve visited.
The energy of this zone took the form of a blue sky. I had the sense of being high above the Earth, surrounded by air and light, as well as white clouds in puffy clumps.
I came to a white-painted wooden gate among the clouds. It was set in a wall built of piled stones. Beyond the gate, I could see a gatehouse, which resembled a small Craftsman cottage with a prolific garden, full of green leafy plants, and large, bright, almost tropical flowers.
No one appeared to be home. The gate was closed. I couldn’t pass through it. It seemed to be locked by some force other than a mere mechanical latch.
“Is there anyone here?” I called out mentally.
An old man suddenly popped up, surprising me with his bushy white head, thick eyebrows, and straw sun hat. I recognized him as a Gatekeeper. He’d been working in the garden. He was wearing shorts, sandals, and a Hawaiian-style print shirt.
“Whoa there!” he said. “Looks like company!”
The Gatekeeper got quickly to his feet and made his way over to the gate, peering at me as he straightened out his slightly stooped back with one hand and scratched an itch on the back of his neck with the other.
He was thin and tanned, with a short white beard. Something about him made me think of California. I could see from his face and bearing that he was gentle, considerate, humorous, informal, deeply spiritual, a bit of a loner, the kind of old-time Californian I could well imagine having met in the 1940s or 1950s, before the counterculture redefined our image of that state.
“Don’t get much traffic away out in these parts,” the Gatekeeper said. “What brings you here?”
I was embarrassed to say that I didn’t know where I was or what I was doing there.
The Gatekeeper smiled widely at me, as if he already knew why I was there. Perhaps he could see the reason in my energy field. I wasn’t yet aware of it.
“Well, come in,” he said, pushing open the gate. “There’s no reason to send you back home again after coming out all this way. Might be something I can do for you.”
I entered the gate and found myself surrounded by the garden, a miniature jungle. The plants were taller than the Gatekeeper, who was taller than I. He led me to a little table with two chairs and beckoned for me to sit down.
“Where am I?” I asked, after the Gatekeeper had seated himself and crossed one leg over the other British-style.
“Well, that depends on where you come from,” he responded mysteriously, arching an eyebrow. “There are many names for who I am and what I do.
“But tell me, how do you see me? That will give me the best idea of how to respond. How you’ve represented my energy to yourself will let me know which tradition you come from and how I should behave.”
I described the Gatekeeper’s sky-like surroundings, the garden, the Craftsman bungalow, and his own old-soul California looks. Several times he slapped his knee in delight.
“Well,” he said when I’d finished, “I’ve often been perceived as God by those who imagine him to look like something by Michelangelo. But this is the first time that anyone has ever seen me as Dane Rudhyar!”
The Gatekeeper was extremely amused. I protested that I couldn’t recall ever having seen a picture of Rudhyar, a composer and author of books an astrology who had, indeed, lived in California.
“You may not remember having seen such a picture,” the Gatekeeper said, his eyes twinkling with merriment. “But I remember that you did once, many years ago! It may not have made much of an impression at the time, but you wouldn’t have represented me in this way if you hadn’t had some prior, received image to work from.”
“How could you possibly know?” I asked, confused by the Gatekeeper’s great sense of assurance. I did vaguely recall having seen a record album of Rudhyar’s piano pieces in a used record store, maybe twenty-five years earlier.
“That’s it!” the Gatekeeper said, smiling as he read my thoughts. “You’d heard about him for years and were curious enough to want to know what he looked like, because he was interested in both music and the occult. That was enough to lodge the memory deep within your psyche.”
“But how did you know?” I asked again.
The Gatekeeper replied, looking directly into my eyes, “I am the world’s memory.” He paused for dramatic effect. “Or at least the Guardian of that memory,” he continued, winking.
“Perhaps you’ve heard of akasha?” he asked.
I said I had. I understood it to be an impressionable nonphysical medium that contained a record of all of our thoughts, words, and deeds on Earth.
“Well,” the Gatekeeper responded, “this zone of what you call Otherwhere corresponds to that record. It’s not, technically speaking, part of the Afterdeath Zone. But it’s directly accessible to all human consciousness, in or out of the body, focused on Earth, or in the Afterdeath Zone.
“Problem is,” the Gatekeeper continued, “practically no one knows this plane exists. If they’ve heard of it, they don’t know how to get here. I might as well be posted on Mars for all the traffic I get here.”
“But I’m always hearing about psychics who claim that they read the Akashic records,” I protested.
“I doubt it,” the Gatekeeper sighed. “If it were true, I’d have a lot more to do here.”
“Then where do they get their information?” I asked.
“Well, if they’re not intentionally or unintentionally making it up,” the Gatekeeper replied, “they’re probably picking up on the soul’s own memory banks of its past lives. That’s fine, if all they want is karmic tendencies.
“Such information is limited to the soul’s own self-understanding, which varies according to its level of development. Only here can you get the big picture, unbiased by karmic tendencies or the soul’s level of development.”
“What do you mean by ‘karmic tendencies’?” I asked.
“Stuck places,” the Gatekeeper replied. “Say, the tendency to take things personally. That can show up lifetime after lifetime, creating a distortion in how particular events are viewed. At a certain level of development, the individual may be ready to come here and see what was really going on, simultaneously, from all the perspectives that were involved.
“Most people aren’t ready, or able, to see events from a multiplicity of perspectives. Doing so would be too threatening to their identity structure, which is mostly made up of reactions to what’s going on around them.
“More developed individuals would have no trouble expanding their perspective on such events. Though less common, they may find their way here and are welcome to browse.
“To get here, you need to identify yourself as something more than your reactions to other people. Then your identity won’t dissolve under the impact of seeing yourself through others’ eyes.
“Now you understand why I get so few visits here. Most people aren’t developed enough to make--or survive--the attempt. But this brings me back to my initial question: Why are you here?”
Fascinated as I was by the Gatekeeper’s explanation of the function of the zone I’d somehow stumbled into, I still had no idea of what I was doing there.
The Gatekeeper smiled gently over my confusion, then said, “Funny thing about memory. If you stick around here long enough, you might find yourself remembering things that haven’t happened yet.
“So, let’s see. If I were to try to remember your visit here, I would say that I took you on a little journey to help you answer a question that you didn’t know was bothering you until I pointed it out.”
The Gatekeeper looked directly at me, elbows on the table, hands in front of his face, eyes turned inward. He kept bringing his fingertips slowly together.
I searched deep within my memory. I still had no clue what the question was to which he was referring.
“Three and a half,” the Gatekeeper said. “Does that ring a bell?”
I admitted that it didn’t.
“Well,” he said, smiling, “enough teasing. That was part of the answer. But you wouldn’t know that yet.
“The question has to do with the extent to which the people you meet are connected with you from past lives. Someone you know thinks that just about everyone she likes must have a past-life connection with her. Over the years, you’ve lost interest in whether anyone you’ve met has such a connection with you.
“The true answer is ‘three and a half’--which is to say, somewhere between everyone and no one.” The Gatekeeper gave me a roguish glance. He was obviously enjoying this. But I still didn’t know what he was talking about.
I recognized the question, though. It had occurred to me, fleetingly, the night before this adventure occurred.
The Gatekeeper let me muse on the question for a moment, then gently interrupted me. “There are four ways in which relationships of various kinds develop between people.
“The first is through their making a contract, while between lives in the Afterdeath Zone, to meet each other in their next incarnation. That’s a mode that you’re already familiar with from the relationship between your parents, as well as that between your sister and her husband.
“Such relationships can develop on the basis of love at first sight, or can gradually insinuate themselves into your life. Either way, a greater feeling of comfort, relaxation, and desire to open up comes along with such a contract. This sort of relationship will usually have past-life antecedents--sometimes a great many of them.
“The opposite extreme is the development of a relationship with someone you’ve never been connected with in a previous lifetime. When I said ‘three and a half’ earlier, I was jokingly referring to this mode of meeting people: It’s the half.
“In this kind of relationship, you have a certain set of needs, and the other person has a complimentary set. The network of souls, by which your needs are satisfied, has brought you together.
“A relationship of this sort may or may not last. You can certainly grow out of it. Relationships of the first type, however, are likely to last a lifetime.
“Between these extremes are two other types of relationship that can involve past-life connections. In the first, no contract for growth was made between lifetimes. But a past-life connection, perhaps of some urgency, does exist. Such relationships are often built on the basis of unrequited longing
--a relationship in one’s past-life history that, for one reason or another, was never able to get off the ground and fulfill itself.
“Such a relationship waits for an opportunity in some later time when the people involved cross paths, as if by chance. There may be a sense of recognition. Often, certain aspects of their prior lifetime will be repeated. Their unrequited longing surfaces. Eventually, they establish a deeper connection that allows them to fulfill that longing.
“Romantic longing is not the only basis for such relationships. Guilt feelings, regret over missed opportunities, nostalgia for family situations broken up by war, are a few other examples of the longing that brings people together in this way.
“I call it optional karma, as opposed to the kind that results when you deprive someone of growth opportunities through imprisonment, torture, or murder. You’re required to work through such karma by providing new opportunities for growth for the person or persons you wronged. But this comes under the heading of contracts made between lifetimes.
“The longing associated with optional karma is often built up with many people over the course of numerous lifetimes. Discharging it can become a major preoccupation, constantly generating new lifetimes in the hope of finally clearing the slate..
“When yoga and Buddhism say that what you desire will keep you bound to the cycle of death and rebirth, they know whereof they speak. There are other ways of clearing out optional karma without such a sense of obligation to others--for example, by realizing it is optional.
“In the absence of a major relationship contract, the people you meet to whom you have a particularly strong response will probably be of this type. If you care to come with me, I’ll show you what I mean.”
The Gatekeeper took me to the side of the garden beyond his house. As we made our way through the profusion of growth that surrounded us, I found myself wondering why I was seeing the Guardian of the World’s Memory in such a setting. The Gatekeeper looked back at me, having caught my thought.
“It’s the Garden of Eden,” he said, winking. “Or, it’s supposed to point people’s awareness in that direction. That story represents the genesis of humankind, and of course the Akashic records pertaining to humanity go back at least that far.”
As we walked, I noticed that the Gatekeeper was a little stooped. He kept one hand on his lower back, as if it ached.
I’d never seen an advanced consciousness on the Other Side who appeared to be in pain.
Before I could ask him about it, the Gatekeeper announced: “That’s your perception. I said I was the world’s memory. Your kind has been around for quite a while. You see me stooped with the burden of all I know, as if I were carrying the heavy cares of the world on my back.
“Actually, I couldn’t care less about those cares. At my level of development, the motivations behind most human endeavor, except for genuine scientific and cultural advances, seem pretty silly. That’s why I come across to you as such a tease.”
“Were you joking about the Garden of Eden?” I asked.
“No. As I said, this portion of Otherwhere has been around since the dawn of human consciousness. You perceive it as a garden because this is a zone dedicated to growth.
“Nothing will accelerate your growth and expand your consciousness like exposing yourself to the true perspective on human affairs contained in the Akashic records. That’s why you see these plants as rioting in their own growth.”
Behind the house was another gate. Beyond it, an ancient vehicle was parked. It was open to the air like a Jeep or dune buggy.
The Gatekeeper got in on the driver’s side and motioned for me to join him on the passenger side. Once we were inside the vehicle, it began to move, climbing the banks of clouds as if they were sand dunes.
Up, down, and around the clouds we raced, as the Gatekeeper explained that each cloud bank represented an information storage bank. The records it contained, however, weren’t arranged chronologically. Each cloud bank represented a group of psychologically related souls.
“The last kind of connection between people,” the Gatekeeper explained, “consists of closely related groups of souls, which tend to incarnate together again and again to work out certain kinds of lessons that require a relatively consistent viewpoint, in terms of culture, time, and place. Individuals of this nature would also seem quite comfortable and familiar to you--even if you’d never met them before.
“Consciousness isn’t organized, in relation to other aspects of itself, in ways that you’re likely to understand at this point in your development. Just as clouds are continually dissolving and reforming, so can your consciousness change its association with others. You’re not necessarily part of a single--for want of a better word--oversoul.”
“For example, let’s suppose that your consciousness is part of a certain group. That group may have been caught up in the huge psychic storm clouds of World War II, along with many other soul groups. The fact of having been alive at that time will be imprinted on everyone else who was there.
“Thus, you’ll feel a sense of recognition, in the present life, whenever you encounter anyone who was present during WWII, even if you hadn’t met them in that earlier lifetime. And so it often is with various epochs and cultures: They leave recognizable imprints on the soul.
“Think of the elaborate cross-indexing system of a library catalog. If that cross-indexing were as visible as books in their stacks, you’d have some sense of how the Akashic records work.
“Each of the cloud forms in this sector of the World Memory Zone represents a different organization of consciousness. You may be a part of more than one of them. Your perceptual abilities, at this point in your development, cause you to see these clouds as separate entities, apparently unique and distinguishable from one another. Yet their seemingly spatial arrangement is an illusion.
“It would be much more accurate to say that your consciousness is a complex wave form that vibrates on a multitude of planes simultaneously, each plane carrying a portion of its identity, and corresponding to its membership in some larger association of souls. Your consciousness’s direction of focus, based on its needs, will determine which group memberships are most valid to you at a particular moment--and which souls you’ll tend to recognize, when encountering them on Earth. This will be true whether you’ve had a past life with someone, or have simply been imprinted in significant ways by having been present, though unknown to each other, during certain epochs of Earth’s history, such as the Civil War, or the plague years.
“Now, here we are,” the Gatekeeper said, as we stopped onto one of the dune-like cloud banks. “Come with me.”
We entered the cloud bank. I could see that it was made of myriad luminous particles rotating around a central core. I seemed to be on the edge of a galaxy, not a mere rain cloud.
The Gatekeeper brought me deeper into this galactic cloud and directed my attention to a bright light that was only a couple layers out from the center. It seemed to be locked in a complex orbital pattern with another bright light, like a double star.
It looked as if two stars had been in the process of passing each other, and had gotten enmeshed in their respective magnetic fields. They were gradually pulling each other closer and closer to a central orbital point.
“Those lights are the souls of two of your friends,” the Gatekeeper explained. “Do you remember the story of the lovers Francesca da Rimini and Piero from Dante’s Inferno? They’re supposedly doomed to swirl around forever, without rest, in a cloud of desire, because she was married, and he was her brother-in-law. They requited their love and were murdered by her husband [See Dante, Inferno, Canto V, 73-140].
“That story has some bearing on your friends’ relationship. Not literally, as in a past life. But they’ve been brought into orbit around each other by unrequited desire from a past life, in which they were in love, bu unable to be with each other because of their family ties. Now they can be together, as they wished to be then.
“So, your friends are closing a switch, so to speak, in their past-life histories. Yet they never would have met if the man hadn’t lived near the woman’s home town in Connecticut for several years. If he’d remained in the Midwest, he may have found someone there with whom he had a past-life history that involved some other unfulfilled longing, and would perhaps be working it off at this time.
“Thus, you see, there’s something both fated and arbitrary about this sort of relationship. It’s in the stars, in that the two parties are fated to meet at some point by their unfulfilled longing. But it also seems as if created by accident, when they stumble across each other in a particular lifetime--without their souls’ having made a contract between lifetimes that required such a connection.
“Now, perhaps, you can understand why I said that you saw me as Dane Rudhyar. He was both a composer and a writer on astrology, just as your friend’s relationship is both a compositional product of their apparently accidental meeting and fated by the stars of their unfulfilled longing.
“In other words, I was teasing you, even then, about a deeper question you didn’t know you’d come here to resolve. You wanted to know why your friends’ relationship felt right and wrong to you.
“It felt right to you when you saw them together, wrong when you thought about the relationships they dumped and the family and social chaos they created in order to get together. You see, they were acting out what they couldn’t do and secretly wished for in that other lifetime.
“Your friends belong to some several similar organizations of consciousness, which makes the feelings of resonance between them extremely strong, and brings them even closer together. Their growth needs in the present lifetime are well-suited to each other. This all bodes well for a lifelong relationship.
“The exact details of their previous connection aren’t important. I just wanted you to see what the interactions between people look like from the perspective of the Akashic records, as past-life longings pull them into orbit around each other in a later lifetime.
With that, the humorously smiling face of the Gatekeeper faded, as well as the galactic clouds and the vehicle that allowed us to traverse them. I awoke.
This adventure had an odd sequel. I did an Internet search to see what Dane Rudhyar looked like. I found a website with a copiously illustrated biography of the man. But none of the pictures resembled my image of the Gatekeeper.
While I was working on Music and the Soul, someone had loaned me a rare copy of one of Rudhyar’s books on music, which I skimmed and returned. I was pretty sure there was no picture of Rudhyar on the cover. But, just in case my memory failed me, I spent several months trying to track down another copy. When I found it, I saw that the whole front cover was taken up with a picture of the composer at his desk, behind his piano.
This photograph of Rudhyar, as a very old man with a beard, resembled my image of the Gatekeeper. I wondered how I could have forgotten it. Earlier that year, I had a copy of the book on my desk for several weeks.
In many adventures in Otherwhere, I’ve encountered beings with amazing powers of mind control over others. The Gatekeeper not only teased me about looking like Rudhyar, but also suppressed my most recent memory of what Rudhyar looked like, so that I would think back to an earlier one I’d forgotten.
As the Gatekeeper said, the image of Rudhyar was a clue about questions I’d come to him to resolve, involving past lives and present friends. But he may also have been putting across another point. Our memories tend to be unreliable. But the Keeper of World Memory remembers everything.