An introduction to Spiritism. What you should know about the beginnings and the doctrine of Spiritism before you decide to become a Spiritist. Next, determine what Spiritism means to you and how it can help you survive your trials, the rough parts and the good ones.
I want to give you good news. You are immortal. Your spirit will live forever. You will experience life after life in a quest to perfect yourself. You have a mission, the most important mission possible; to improve, to love, to be charitable. To be part of a grand plan to not only raise yourself, but your neighbors and the entire human race.
As we go through this learning experience for every wrong you commit, your will have to pay for it in this life or the next. And, the trials you are experiencing now are the results of errors you have committed in the past, plus a splattering of coursework that you have been assigned.
How do we know all of this?
Jesus Promised Us more Information
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Consoler to help you and be with you forever…the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” New Testament John 14: 15-17
“But the Consoler, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.“ New Testament John 14: 26
What did the Consoler actually do? What did he contribute? Spiritism states that Allan Kardec was the Codifier, who presented the Spirit of Truth (Consoler) and that in the five books that Allan Kardec assembled, he revealed the extent of the Spirit world, who is God and Jesus, why we are here on earth, how we should live and the doctrine to follow. That is all. The answers to questions that every one of us have spent nights pondering.
To start at the beginning, because that is the logical place, Allan Kardec is the pen name of the French teacher and educator Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail (Lyon, October 3, 1804 – Paris, March 31, 1869). Wikipedia describes his early life;
Rivail was born in Lyon in 1804. He was raised as a Catholic. He was a disciple and collaborator of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, and a teacher of mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, physiology, comparative anatomy and French in Paris. For one of his research papers, he was inducted in 1831 into the Royal Academy of Arras. He organized and taught free courses for the underprivileged.
Allan Kardec, was fifty-one years old when he first encountered spirits. Anna Blackwell, who translated his books into English in 1881, describes his first encounters and what set him off in his journey;
“When, about 1850, the phenomenon of “table-turning” was exciting the attention of Europe and ushering in the other phenomena since known as “spiritist”, he quickly divined the real nature of those phenomena, as evidence of the existence of an order of relationships hitherto suspected rather than known, namely, those which unite the visible and invisible worlds. Foreseeing the vast importance, to science and to religion, of such an extension of the field of human observation, he entered at once upon a careful investigation of the new phenomena. A friend of his had two daughters who had become what are now called “mediums.” They were gay, lively, amiable girls, fond of society, dancing, and amusement, and habitually received, when “sitting” by themselves or with their young companions, “communications” in harmony with their worldly and somewhat frivolous disposition. But, to the surprise of all concerned, it was found that, whenever he was present, the messages transmitted through these young ladies were of a very grave and serious character; and on his inquiring of the invisible intelligences as to the cause of this change, he was told that “spirits of a much higher order than those who habitually communicated through the two young mediums came expressly for him, and would continue to do so, in order to enable him to fulfill an important religious mission.”
He was extremely interested in this message of a mission and wished to delve deeper. He discussed how he could ask and organize a series of questions to get a more complete understanding of the spirit world with his wife. His wife, Amelie, encouraged him to undertake this task. Given his background, he organized a series of questions that would be posed by mediums to spirits. Allan Kardec was not a medium himself, so he used the service of various mediums to gather the information. He did not rely on one reply, but made sure that an answer to one question was seconded by another medium in a different location.
Allan Kardec wrote five books (The Spirits’ Book, 1857; The Mediums’ Book, 1861; The Gospel according to Spiritism, 1864; Heaven and Hell, 1865; Genesis, 1868), each dealing with separate subjects, but at the same time overlapping in their complete description of the Spiritist doctrine. The first and most famous is the book that he was given the title by his spirit messengers.
What is Spiritism?
The basic tenets of Spiritism are:
1. Love God.
2. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
3. Practice justice.
4. Forgive all who offend you.
5. Make amends for our own wrong doing.
The spirits revealed to us the basic facts of our existence:
1. Your soul is immortal.
2. You travel through multiple lives as a process to learn to love, be fraternal, and be selfless.
3. The goal of God is for every spirit to one day be pure.
4. There is no eternal hell, it is a station for souls who are materialistic and have an excessive love of self.
5. There are many levels of heaven. Heaven is not a place where we have eternal leisure, but one of ongoing work to help others.
6. Life on earth is like a school. You are assigned events in your life and how you react and behave will determine your spiritual progress.
A more detailed explanation of the process of reincarnation is in my book, The Case for Reincarnation – Your Path to Perfection.
In the 1930’s in Brazil, the medium Chico Xavier began psychographing (the process of a medium writing under the direction of a spirit) messages and books sent by spirits. From the very beginning he was told to always follow the doctrines of Allan Kardec. Chico wrote more than 400 books by the time of his death in 2002. Within these books, the Spirits revealed information about Allan Kardec and the Spirit world’s plan for our future;
1. When Jesus referred to the “Great Consoler”, he was foretelling the arrival of the Spirit of Truth, which was codified by Allan Kardec.
2. For the earth to progress, the human race needs to understand that every action they do here on earth will have consequences in their next life.
3. The Bible was written by men under the influence of their beliefs and culture at their time. While the central spiritual message of love is eternal, the stories of the Bible, such as the Earth being made in 6 days are allegories and not meant to be taken literally.
4. We are being told this now because the human race is culturally and technically advanced to be able to accept these messages.
5. Spiritism is not meant to replace religions, but to supplement them with the knowledge of the basic doctrine of reincarnation and its purpose.
6. The spreading and acceptance of Spiritism will enable to world to begin a new age, where war is a thing of the past.
7. The Spirit world has planned these events and is guiding the earth through subtle interventions.
8. At some time in the future, science will definitely prove the existence of a soul and an afterlife.
As one can see, the tenets of reincarnation have also been delivered to us via an alternative channel That of the Spirit world communicating directly to mediums to alert us of a life beyond our single human existence. While all around us people who have psychic abilities or those who had NDEs experiences are reporting the same philosophy of love and redemption through trials.
What is Our Plan?
Discovering Spiritism leads one to the feeling that you are on a roller coaster and are unable to get off. The more you read, the more questions you have, then you try to find where they could be answered, but at the end you have a larger set of questions than when you started. The numerous questions could be separated into major categories. One of the most significant set of inquiries concerns the matter of your personal destiny. The discussion of the plan for your life on earth is scattered throughout Kardec’s books and in psychographed books by mediums, such as Francisco C. Xavier.
In Allan Kardec’s The Gospel According to Spiritism, the starting point for understanding your trials is in this paragraph, “Christ said, ‘Blessed are the afflicted, for they shall be comforted’. But how can we bless suffering if we don’t know why we suffer? Spiritism shows that the cause lies in previous existences and in the destiny of earth, where humans expiate their past. It shows them the purpose of their suffering as being salutary which lead to healing and which are the purification that ensures happiness in future existences. Humans understand that they deserve to suffer and they find suffering to be just. They know that this suffering aids their progress and they accept it without complaining, just as workers accept the work that will ensure their wages.”
Why is it important to understand our place in our destiny? According to the quote above, we should gladly accept whatever is thrown at us with a smile and work our butts off to get through it. Well, except for the few of us that possess that perfect attitude of accepting all of life’s vicissitudes, we need to first comprehend what is occurring so we can meditate on it and try to mold our attitude so we may survive the ordeal the best that we can.
First the good news. We do have freewill. Although, I believe it is less than what is advertised. Why, because the Spirit world wants all of us charging ahead in life as well as we are able. And after all, you want to keep the troops motivated, don’t you? The bad news, as stated in the beginning, is that you will be paying for your transgressions in past lives; there is no escaping that fact. So here is the hard part, how do you combine the expiation of your sins with making free-will choices and doing what you desire in your life?
In the book, Missionaries of Light, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, where Andre Luiz (the spirit author of the book) is discussing the imminent birth of a spirit (Segismundo), who will undergo trials for his past wrongs. Andre asks about the plan for the spirit’s life, Alexandre, Andre’s teacher at the moment, replies, “Notice that I said benefit and not destiny. Many people confuse a constructive plan with fatalism. Both Segismundo and our brother Herculano have the information we are talking about, because nobody enters a school for a more or less long period without a specific purpose and without knowing the rules that he or she should obey”.
We are all assigned a curriculum, a course of study in the college campus that suits our needs for our present life. A learning institution that is intended to move us to a higher level. A higher level only if we are able to accumulate enough credits, or we may be required to repeat.
Andre probes deeper into the contours of the plan for Segismundo. Andre wishes to know how the trials are matched up with the past sins in Segismundo’s future life and receives further information from Alexandre, “For that reason the diagram of useful trials is drawn up beforehand, much like a student’s work book at a regular school. In view of this, the diagram corresponding to Segismundo has been duly drawn up, taking in consideration the physiological cooperation of his parents, the domestic backdrop and the fraternal assistance that will be given to him by countless friends from this side. So, imagine our friend returning to a school – earth – and in doing so fulfilling a purpose; to acquire new qualities. In order to do this, he will have to submit to the rules of the school, renouncing up to a point the great freedom he used to enjoy in our environment.”
Hearing this, Andre is confused, he believes Alexandre’s description implies a fixed destiny, since a detailed plan is formulated and all external events seemingly factored into the plan. Alexandre corrects him, “Don’t fall into the error assumed by many people. That would imply an obligatory form of spiritual conduct. Of course, individuals are reborn with a relative independence and are sometimes subjected to certain harsher conditions for educational purposes, but such imperative never suppresses the free impulse of the soul in its aim toward advancement, stagnation or fall into lower conditions. There is a plan of spiritually edifying tasks to be fulfilled by spirits who reincarnate, where their guides set the approximate quota of eternal qualities that they are prone to acquire during their transitory existence. The spirit who is returning to the physical realm can either improve this quota and surpass its superior’s predictions by means of its own intensive efforts or it can fall short and go further into debt to its neighbor, scorning the holy opportunities that had been granted it.”
Therefore, we should think of our life like we are at school, a school we can’t possibly escape until we graduate. Graduation is death, but don’t think about that right now! In that school, we have classes we like and others that we either detest or find extremely boring. In most cases we sit and dread the possibility of being called to answer something. Like all things, the bell eventually rings and we move on to the next class. We don’t have the freedom to leave the school or the classroom for the time allocated to the subject. But we do have the freedom to either raise our hand and answer correctly, with enthusiasm or slink in the back and mutter something, hoping to escape that moment of terror. Guess which one gets you the better grade?
What Can You Do About It?
How should you handle difficult times? Periods of life where nothing seemingly works and there are no ladders to escape? Again, Alexandre gives the answer, “Every plan that is drawn up in the higher spheres has the good and ascension as its basic objectives, and every soul that reincarnates, even one that finds itself in apparent desperate conditions, has resources to continue to improve.” Therefore, first feel certain that you do have the means to successively climb out of whatever problem you are in.
There are two important actions you can accomplish, in any situation, one is to remember the golden rule, the basis of Spiritism, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”; in fact go further and actively help others if at all possible. The second is to maintain a positive attitude. In the book, Action and Reaction, again inspired by the spirit Andre Luiz, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, Andre wishes to know how an utterly bad spirit has any chance to improve themselves while they are in a difficult trial on earth. He receives this answer, “Let’s imagine a monstrous criminal who has been segregated in a prison. Accused of many crimes, he has been deprived of any of the freedom he would experience in an ordinary cell. Even in this condition, if he were to use his time in prison to willingly work for the well-being of the authorities and his fellow inmates, accepting with humility and respect the decisions of the law that is used to correct him – such attitude being the result of his free will to help or harm himself – in a short time this prisoner would begin to attract the sympathy of those about him, thus advancing surely toward self-regeneration”.
What we are being told is that the constraints of our fate is of our own making. Certain events and trials we must live through, our only freedom is our attitude and love for others during these times. The less we have to pay for past sins, the more freedom we gain to make choices to improve our souls.
For those in the midst of painful trials, pray for help and forgiveness, but above all else maintain a positive outlook and love and care for others. By this you will have paid your debt and exceeded the expectations of those that created your plan.
How to Prepare for Future Trials
How do you build up the required strength to survive future trials? As in school, where there are periods between classes, there are periods between trials. These are the times to learn about Spiritism, participate in charity work and ponder on why you have gone through the occurrences of your life so far. In the book, Action and Reaction, Andre learns about a man who at forty committed suicide. He learns that after years of suffering in the Spirit world, the man is reincarnated. Andre is told that as part of the man’s trials he will have an “overwhelming temptation to commit suicide again at the exact age in which he forsook his responsibilities the previous time”.
So, think carefully when you have great events in your life. Contemplate about how you must have made the wrong decision in a previous existence and what steps you can take to improve. Andre asks how can this unfortunate man resist the lure the second time? He learns that, “If this man has not saved up renewing and educational resources through learning and the practice of fraternity so as to overcome the inevitable crisis, it will be very hard for him to avoid committing suicide again because, despite being reinforced from the outside, temptations have their starting point within us and they feed on what is already there”.
This is not a new trial, but a chance for a retest. If you have studied hard and learned to live with others as you should, you will pass the test. After you live through it, rejoice in the knowledge that you won’t have to live through this type of event ever again.
Our destiny, our course of study in our school on earth, is not supposed to be tranquil, if it was you wouldn’t be able to advance. Take comfort that which you believe are tough lessons are nothing compared to what truly failed spirits must experience. Pray for those who are in the middle of justly difficult lessons and learn to travel through yours with a positive outlook. Graduation from the school of life is indeed death, which if you fully passed all of your classes could mean you are finished with earthly universities, but at least the reward for good grades in most classes is an even more fascinating life the next time and an exciting and fulfilling job in the Spirit world before its back to the campus.
Your life has more meaning and complexities than you realize. There are levels of the spirit world that helps us and hinders us. To understand how your individual fate is determined, tracked, and evaluated please read my book, Explore Your Destiny – Since Your Life’s Path is (mostly) Predetermined.
Brian Foster has a BSCS degree and a MBA. He has worked in R&D for medical device corporations and in IT for large financial institutions. Brian Foster has a blog at http://www.nwspiritism.com.
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Kardec, A. (2010). The Spirits Book. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books.
Wikipedia. (2014, March 7). Allan Kardec. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Kardec
Wikipedia. (2014, March 7). Chico Xavier. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico_Xavier
Xavier, F. C. (2009). Missionaries of the Light. Brasilia (DF), Brazil: International Spiritist Council.
Xavier, F. C. (2010). Action and Reaction. Brasilia (DF), Brazil: International Spiritist Council.
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