The actual instant of death brings a remarkable experience: for a brief space of time the man remembers all that has happened to him in the life just ended. His entire life appears before his soul in a moment, like a great tableau. Something like this can happen during life, in rare moments of great shock or anger — for instance a man who is drowning, or falling from a great height, when death seems imminent, may see his whole life before him in this way.
A similar phenomenon is the peculiar tingling feeling we have when a limb “goes to sleep”. What happens here is that the etheric body is loosened. If a finger, for example, goes to sleep, a clairvoyant would see a little second finger protruding at the side of the actual finger: this is a part of the etheric body which has got loose. Herein also lies the danger of hypnotism, for the brain then has the same experience as the finger has when it goes to sleep. The clairvoyant can see the loosened etheric body hanging like a pair of bags or sacks on either side of the head. If the hypnotism is repeated, the etheric body will develop an inclination to get loose, and this can be very dangerous. The victims become dreamy, subject to fainting fits, lose their independence, and so on.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: LECTURE THREE: LIFE OF THE SOUL IN KAMALOKA – Stuttgart, 24th August 1909
Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy
Previously posted on November 7, 2016