Seeing things which have in ordinary life no existence

The ordinary man, held in bondage by his senses, cannot possibly gain admittance to this realm. It is only by the aid of certain methods of investigation that the spiritual world opens to the seeker. Thus, man must transform himself into an instrument for those higher powers, one able to penetrate into worlds hidden from those still enthralled by their physical senses. To such as can accomplish this, visions of a quite distinctive nature will appear. The ordinary human being is not capable of seeing for himself, or of consciously recognising things about him, when his senses are wrapped in slumber; but when he applies occult methods of investigation this incapacity ceases, and he begins to receive quite consciously impressions of the astral world.

There is at first a state of transition, familiar to all, between that exterior life of sense cognisance and that life which even in the most profound state of slumber is not quite extinguished. This state of transition is the chaos of dreams. To most people these will appear as mere reflections of what they have been experiencing during the previous day. Indeed, you will ask, how should a man be able to receive any new experiences during sleep, since the inner self has as yet no organs of cognition? But still, something is there — life is there. That which left the body when sleep wrapped it round has memory, and this remembrance rises before the sleeper in pictures more or less fantastic and confused. (Should anyone desire more information on this subject, it will be found in my books entitled The Way of Initiation and Initiation and its Results.)

Now, in place of this chaos, order and harmony will, in the course of time, be brought about; an order and a harmony governing this region of dreams, and this will be a sign that the person in question is beginning to develop spiritually. Then he will cease to see the mere aftermath of reality, grotesquely portrayed; he will see things which have in ordinary life no existence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 30, 54 – TWO ESSAYS ON HAECKEL II. Haeckel, “The Riddle of the Universe,” Theosophy – Berlin, 5 October 1905

Translated by Dr. Bertram Keightley, LL.D., M.A.