After death (5 of 5)

So when, for example, you experience after death the pain of another man through having caused him pain on earth, you say to yourself at once: ‘If I did not feel this pain, I would remain an imperfect human soul, for the pain I have caused in the universe would continually take something from me. I only become a whole human being by experiencing this compensation.’

It may cost us a struggle to see that pain experienced after death in return for pain caused to another, is really a blessing. It will depend on the inner constitution of our soul whether we find this difficult or not; but there is a certain state of soul in which this painful compensation for many things done on earth is even experienced as bliss. It is the state of soul that results from acquiring on earth some knowledge of the super-sensible life. We feel that, through this painful compensation, we are perfecting our human being, while, without it, we should fall short of full human stature. If you have caused another pain, you are of less value than before; so, if you judge reasonably, you will say: In face of the universe I am a worse human soul after causing pain to another than before. You will feel it a blessing that you are able, after death, to compensate for this pain by experiencing it yourself.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 234 – Anthroposophy, An Introduction – Lecture IX – Dornach, 10th February 1924

Translated by Vera Compton-Burnett

Previously posted on April 7, 2018

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Goetheanum, designed by Steiner

After death (1 of 5)

When we go through the gate of death our life on earth is followed by a few days in which pictures of the life just ended come before us in a gigantic perspective. These pictures are suddenly there: the events of years long past and of the last few days are there simultaneously. As the spatial exists side by side and only possesses spatial perspective, so the temporal events of our earthly life are now seen side by side and possess ‘time-perspective’. This tableau appears suddenly, but, during the short time it is there, it becomes more and more shadowy, weaker and weaker. Whereas in earthly life we look into ourselves and feel that we have our memory-pictures ‘rolled up’ within us, these pictures now become greater and greater. We feel as if they were being received by the universe. What is at first comprised within the memory tableau as in a narrow space, becomes greater and greater, more and more shadowy, until we find it has expanded to a universe, becoming so faint that we can scarcely decipher what we first saw plainly. We can still divine it; then it vanishes in the far spaces and is no longer there.

That is the second form taken by memory — in a sense, its second metamorphosis — in the first few days after death. It is the phase which we can describe as the flight of our memories out into the cosmos. And all that, like memory, we have bound so closely to our life between birth and death, expands and becomes more and more shadowy, to be finally lost in the wide spaces of the cosmos.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 234 – Anthroposophy, An Introduction – Lecture IX – Dornach, 10th February 1924

Translated by Vera Compton-Burnett

Previously posted on April 3, 2018

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By David Newbatt

Perception of the etheric world

True perception of the etheric world after death or here on earth in clairvoyant Imaginations requires greater strength than we usually have between birth and death. We need greater inner strength of soul. We do not perceive the etheric world around us during earthly life because we lack sufficient strength of soul. To perceive the etheric world we must become much more active, work much harder than we do in ordinary life. 

After death, too, the soul must be filled with much more active strength than in ordinary life to relate to its environment. Otherwise we do not perceive the etheric world, just as we wouldn’t perceive anything if we lacked all senses in the physical world. Thus, we need a more active strength of soul to find our way after death and not to be deaf and blind, figuratively speaking, to the world we enter then.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (PART ONE) – Berlin, April 18, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim and edited by Joachim Reuter

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Assimilating spiritual thoughts on Earth is fundamental to achieving consciousness after death  

The ideas of ancient religious founders gave something to human souls that awakened them spiritually and gave them strength to perceive in the etheric world, and that also means to lead a conscious life after death. Assimilating modern spiritual science will in turn give our soul the strength to develop the necessary power of thinking after death to consciously perceive its etheric environment. Both people of ancient times who followed their religious founders and modern people who are willing to understand spiritual science will be able to find their way after death.

Only one type of person will have difficulty in finding his or her way after death. In fact, this type will frequently not even experience a life after death, because it will have become so dulled and obscured. This sort of person is the dyed-in-the-wool materialist who clings to images of the physical world and does not want to develop any strength to perceive the world we enter after death. In terms of the soul-spiritual, to be a materialist really means the same as wanting to destroy one’s eyes and ears in the physical world, gradually deadening one’s senses. It is no different from someone saying, “These eyes — they can’t be trusted, they provide only impressions of light. Away with them! These ears — they perceive only vibrations, not the one single truth. Get rid of them! Get rid of the senses, one by one!” To be a materialist in regard to the spiritual world makes as much sense as this attitude in regard to the sensory world. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – THE PRESENCE OF THE DEAD on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE ONE: UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (PART ONE) – Berlin, April 18, 1914

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Stars: Outer sign and symbol of spiritual worlds which look down upon us

We know [for I have often spoken with you of these things] how, when man has gone through the gate of death, he enters the world of the stars. What we are accustomed to call “stars” in the external, physical sense are no more than the outer sign and symbol of spiritual worlds which look down upon us and take their share and part in all the deeds of the evolution of mankind.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 238 – The Last Address By Rudolf SteinerDornach, Michaelmas Eve, September 28, 1924

Translated by George Adams

Previously posted on April 18, 2020

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