As a matter of fact, people know little of what surrounds them on earth. How do they view life? The events of life as they unfold are strung on a thread, as it were. Some are considered to be causes, others effects, but beyond this little thought is given to the matter. It may sound strange that the actual things that happen form the smallest content of real life. They only represent the external content. There is yet another sphere of life apart from the things that happen, and this is of no less importance for life.
Let us take an example. A person is in the habit of leaving home punctually every morning at eight. He has a definite way to go, across a square. One day circumstances are such that he leaves three minutes later than usual. He now notices something strange on the square, under the colonnade where he used to walk every day. The roof of the colonnade has collapsed! Had he left at the accustomed time, the falling roof certainly would have killed him.
There are many such instances in life. We often find that had circumstances been different, this or that might have taken quite another course. We are protected from many dangers. Much of what could happen does not come to pass. In life we consider the external realities, not the inner possibilities. Yet these possibilities constantly lie concealed behind the actual events. The events of a particular day only constitute the external reality of life. Behind them lies an entire world of possibilities.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – XI – The Mission of Earthly Life as a Transitional Stage for the Beyond – Frankfurt, March 2, 1913
Translated by Rene Querido