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Separation of Spirit and Body

Part 1 of 2

As mentioned previously, death is actually a passage, or transition.  Therefore, there is no defining moment that distinctively separates life from death.  It is, rather, a process in which the bonds that attach the spirit's perispirit╣ to the material body are loosened and finally undone.  This process begins at the extremities and continues until all fluidic ties between the spiritual and material bodies are completely broken.  Allan Kardec writes, in discussion to question 153 of "The Spirits' Book":

"During life, a spirit is held to the body by its semi-material envelope, or perispirit.  Death destroys the body but not this second envelope, which separates itself from the body at death.  Observations show us that the separation of the perispirit from the the body doesn't happen abruptly at the moment of death but gradually and with various degrees of slowness in different individuals.  In some cases, it happens so quickly that the perispirit is entirely separated from the body within a few hours.  In others, and especially in those whose lives have been highly materialistic and sensual, the release is much slower, sometimes taking days, weeks, even months.

This delay doesn't mean that the life of the body in any way continues or that there is any possibility that it will return to life.  It is simply the result of a certain affinity between the body and the spirit, which is always more or less tenacious, depending on how close to material life the spirit was while on Earth.  It is, in fact, only rational to suppose that the closer a spirit has identified itself with matter, the greater the difficulty it will have in separating itself from its material body.  On the contrary, intellectual and introspective activity, and habitual elevation of thought, causes this separation to start even during the life of the body.  Consequently, when death occurs, the separation is almost instantaneous.

The study of a great number of individuals has also shown that an inordinate identification between the soul and the body can, after death, be extremely distressing since, by resonance, it forces the spirit into an awareness of the horror of the body decomposition.  Such unfortunate experiences, however, are the exception rather than the rule; it is peculiar only to certain kinds of life and certain kinds of death.  It occurs, sometimes, in the case of suicides.

╣  i.e., the spirit body, or the soul's fluidic, ethereal covering

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