The connection between life in the spiritual world and life on earth

Many souls are sleeping their lives away without a glance toward the spiritual world, without any connection, through prayer or otherwise, with the spiritual world. Think of a sleeping city where the souls have all gone out of their bodies. Whatever these souls took in of a spiritual nature during the day now lives on in them. If they took in nothing, nothing can live on in them during the time between falling asleep and waking up. But if something spiritual is experienced while awake, or if something is raised to the spiritual through prayer or meditation, then this will be for the dead, when it has been carried over into sleep, just what the cornfields are for living persons. If nothing thrives in the cornfields, people starve. What people take with them into sleep is like seeds for the fields where the dead sojourn. What we bring with us in the way of spiritual thoughts, of devotion to the world of soul and spirit, is what the dead live on, nourish themselves with, consume. And as famine ensues here on earth if the fruits do not thrive, so a sort of famine ensues when souls live materialistically and carry nothing with them into sleep. This is the connection between life in the spiritual world and life on earth.

Now someone might say: Maybe there will be a great number of deaths over there. That cannot happen. The dead souls can experience hunger and the pangs of hunger, but the dead cannot die. This brings us to an important question.

You see, death is something known only in the physical world. It is present only in the physical world, and not at all in the supersensible world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – From a Branch Lecture in Essen on 23 April 1913

This single lecture does not have a Bn/GA number assigned to it. It was published in the Goetheanum News, Vol. 45, 1977, no. 5/6 (May/June)