We are living together with the so-called dead. The dead are always present. They move and have their being in a super-sensible world. We are not separated from them by our ‘real being,’ only by our condition of consciousness. We are only separated from them as in sleep we are separated from the things around us; we sleep in a room and do not see the chairs and other things. Though we do not describe it thus, yet as regards our feeling and will, we ‘sleep’ in the so-called waking condition among the dead, just as we do not perceive the physical objects around us when we sleep.
Thus we do not live separated from the world ruled by the forces of the dead, we are together with them in one common world. In our ordinary consciousness we are only separated from them by the state of that consciousness.
This knowledge of our common life with the dead will be one of the most important elements which Spiritual Science is to implant in the general human consciousness, in the general civilisation of mankind for the future; for those who believe that what takes place around them occurs only through the forces perceived in the life of the senses, know nothing of the reality; they do not know that the forces of the dead are always at work, always present.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Earthly Death and Cosmic Life: Lecture 3: The Living and the Dead – Berlin, 5th February 1918
Translated by Harry Collison