The disembodied soul does not lose all consciousness of the one who is still on earth; he can actually follow the latter’s actions. The soul who is first in Devachan is naturally unable to see physical colors and forms belonging to the earth because in that spiritual realm he has no physical organs. But everything in the physical world has its spiritual counterpart in Devachan and that is what is perceived by the soul already there. Every movement of the hand in the physical world, because it is preceded by an impulse of will that is either conscious or unconscious, every change in the physical human being, has a spiritual counterpart that can be perceived in Devachan by the soul whose death preceded that of the other human being concerned.
Existence in Devachan is not a kind of dreaming or sleeping but in all respects a conscious life. It is in Devachan that a human being develops the predispositions and impulses that enable the bond with those whom he loved to remain closer, in order that in a later incarnation he will find them again on earth. In many respects the purpose of incarnation on earth is to forge bonds of ever greater intimacy. Companionship in Devachan is, to say the least, as intimate as any life here on earth. Fellow feeling in Devachan is much more alert, much more intimate than it is on earth; one experiences another’s pain there as one’s own.
On earth, greater or less personal prosperity is possible at the cost of others but in Devachan that is out of the question. There, the misfortune caused by someone to another human being in order to better himself, would reverberate upon him; nobody could prosper at the expense of another. Adjustment starts from Devachan. It is from there that the impulse is brought to make brotherliness a reality on the earth. A law that is a matter of course in Devachan is a task that has to be fulfilled on earth.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 109 – Rosicrucian Esotericism: V: The Physical World as an Expression of Spiritual Forces and Beings – Budapest, 7th June 1909
Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond