From – God the Substance of All Form

By Joel Goldsmith

The Last Enemy – Part 3 of 5
Chap 7 – Progress or Retrogression

When people in the ordinary run of human existence die, or pass on, there is only a momentary lapse of consciousness from which they awaken in practically the same degree of mortality or material sense. They have not advanced or been made spiritual through the act of passing on; they have not been released from materiality into spirituality. True, they may have been released from the immediate pain or the immediate disease, but such release is similar to the release brought about by materia medica.
Medical aid might release them from their pain or disease but it would never advance them spiritually. In the same way, even though the experience of death may relieve them of the particular disease or the particular distressing sense under which they labor, it does not change their level of consciousness; and they continue on the same mortal, material level, with the same opportunity at any moment to turn to the spiritual path and advance upon it or with the opportunity to retrograde. The choice is theirs either here or hereafter. All of this, of course, applies to those on the ordinary level of human existence who die, or pass on, from accident or disease, or from what is commonly termed “normal death.”
Those who leave this plane of existence while on the downward spiral of life, that is, as an alcoholic or drug addict, as a criminal, or in any state of dense materiality, continue on that downward spiral immediately after their passing. Their materiality becomes even more dense, although at any time, awakening to their true identity, they can change their course and begin their spiritual ascent.
The student of religion or metaphysics who experiences death, or passing, while on the spiritual ascent, while on the upward path, not only awakens well advanced on the path; but in many cases, if his closeness to spiritual truth is sufficiently great, his passing may be the means of complete liberation from physical or mortal experience. That is the liberation which followers of certain Eastern religions have in mind when, in connection with their teaching of reincarnation, they refer to that state which they hope to attain when they no longer have to return to earth. In other words, some individuals reach such a level of spiritual consciousness that they are in full awareness of their true identity and understand that the physical body, so-called, is not they, is not of itself a living intelligence, but that it is a vehicle or an instrument through which they appear as form. To such, the experience of passing may completely end their experience with mortal or material sense-consciousness, and they go on in the fullness of spiritual living.