The last breath

What the Spirit´s Book from Allan Kardec has to say about death?

156. Can the definitive separation of the soul and body take place before the complete
cessation of organic life?

“It sometimes happens that the soul has quitted the body before the last agony comes on, so that the latter is only the closing act of merely organic life. The dying man has no longer any conssciousness of himself, and nevertheless there still remains in him a faint breathing of vitality.

The body is a machine that is kept in movement by the heart. It continues to live as long as
tile heart causes the blood to circulate in the veins, and has no need of the soul to do that.”

986. Can a spirit who has progressed in his terrestrial existence be reincarnated in the same world?
“Yes; and if he have not been able to accomplish his mission, he may himself demand to
complete it in a new existence; but, in that case, it is no longer an expiation for him.”

141. Is there any truth in the opinion of those who suppose that the soul is exterior to the
body and environs it?
“The soul is not shut up in the body like a bird in a cage. It radiates in all directions, and
manifests itself outside the body as a light radiates from a glass globe, or as a sound is
propagated from a sonorous centre. In this sense the soul may be said to be exterior to the
body, but it is not therefore to be considered as enveloping the body. The soul has two
envelopes; the first, or innermost, of these, of a light and subtle nature, is what you call the
perispirit the other, gross, material, heavy, is the body. The soul is the centre of both these
envelopes, like the germ in the stone of the fruit, as we have already said.
154. Is the separation of the soul from the body a painful process?’
“No; the body often suffers more during life than at the moment of death, when the soul is
usually unconscious of what is occurring to the body. The sensations experienced at the moment of death are often a source of enjoyment for the spirit, who recognises them as putting an end to the term of his exile.”
In cases of natural death, where dissolution occurs as a consequence of the exhaustion of the bodily organs through age, man passes out of life without perceiving that he is doing so. It is like the flame of a lamp that goes out for want of aliment.
155. How is the separation of soul and body effected?
“The bonds which retained the soul being broken, it disengages itself from the body.”
– Is this separation effected instantaneously, and by means of an abrupt transition? Is there
any distinctly marked line of demarcation between life and death?
“No; the soul disengages itself gradually. It does not escape at once from the body, like a bird whose cage is suddenly opened. The two states touch and run into each other; and the spirit extricates himself, little by little, from his fleshly bonds, which are loosed, but not broken.”
During life, a spirit is held to the body by his semi-material envelope, or
perispirit. Death is the destruction of the body only. but not of this second envelope, which separates itself from the body when the play of organic life ceases in the latter. Observation shows us that the separation of the perispirit from the body is not suddenly completed at the moment of death. but is only effected gradually, and more or less slowly in different Individuals. In some cases it is effected so quickly that the perispirit is entirely separated from the body within a few hours of the death of the latter but. in other cases, and especially in the case of those whose life has been grossly material and sensual , this deliverance is much less rapid, and sometimes takes days. weeks, and even months, for its accomplishment. This delay does not imply the slightest
persistence of vitality in the body, nor any possibility of Its return to life, but is simply the result of a certain affinity between the body and the spirit which affinity is always more or less tenacious in proportion to the preponderance of materiality in the affections of the spirit during his earthly life. It is in fact, only rational to suppose that the more closely a spirit has identified himself with matter, the greater will be his difficulty in separating himself from his material body; while, on the contrary, intellectual and moral activity, and habitual elevation of thought, effect a commencement of this separation even during the life of the body, and therefore, when death occurs, the separation is almost instantaneous. The study of a great number of individuals after their death has shown that affinity which,
in some cases, continues to exist between the soul and the body is sometimes extremely painful for it causes the spirit to perceive all the horror of the decomposition of the latter. This experience is exceptional, and peculiar to certain kinds of life and to certain kinds of death. It sometimes occurs in the case of those who have committed suicide.
Spiritualist Philosophy – Allan Kardec – Year of Publication: 1857
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