Death appears to us as a victory of the spirit

During our life upon the physical plane we cannot look back as far as the hour of our birth; we cannot look back upon it with the aid of our ordinary cognitive power. There is not one person who can remember his own birth, nor look back upon it. The only thing we know is that we were born, in the first place, because we have been told so by others, and in the second place, because all the other human beings that came to the earth after us were also born, so that we infer from this that we, too, were born. But we cannot pass through the real experience of our own birth.

Exactly the opposite is the case with the corresponding experience after death. Whereas, during our physical life, the immediate contemplation of our birth can never rise up before our soul, the moment of death stands before our soul throughout our life between death and a new birth, if we only look upon it spiritually. We must realize that we then look upon the moment of death from the other side. Here, on earth, death has a terrifying aspect only because we look upon it as a kind of dissolution, as an end. But when we look back upon the moment of death from the other side, from the spiritual side, then death continually appears to us as a victory of the spirit, as the Spirit that is extricating itself from the physical. It then appears as the greatest, most beautiful and significant event. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner ‐ GA 168 –THE MOMENT OF DEATH AND THE PERIOD THEREAFTER – Leipzig, 22 February 1916

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Experiences are transformed and become capabilities, skills and talents

The way in which the experiences here on earth are processed, is such that only a very small portion of these experiences are retained; every ability one acquires needs much more than what is retained in the end. For example, one does not remember how one has learned to write. Acquiring the ability to write was accompanied by a variety of experiences. These experiences contract, as it were, into a single power, the skill of writing. What at first is outer experience turns into a skill. In all experiences there lies such a possibility, such an opportunity: the experiences one gains in life can later on transform into abilities, talents. The conversion takes place after death. When the person is born again they will appear as talents, as capabilities. This is the basic feeling in devachan: that all experiences are transformed to capabilities, life-skills. That results in a feeling of bliss…. a stream of happiness permeates the people. All creative activity evokes a feeling of bliss. The relationships that have been spun in the world are much more intense in devachan than here on Earth. The limitations of space and time fall away. One can in fact penetrate other people.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft – Berlin, 22nd October 1906 (page182-183)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on June 28, 2018

Accidents

Consider the case of a man from whom life is snatched away in his prime because of an accident. Then the spiritual investigator can see the following happening. When he follows this soul after death, it turns out that through undergoing this unfortunate event, forces are absorbed, that will prepare him for greater intellectual capacities in the following earth life, than if this accident had not happened.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 063 – Geisteswissenschaft als Lebensgut – Berlin, 4th December 1913 (page 171)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on June13, 2018

Good and bad influences  

As we know, man lives not only for himself but also in connection with human evolution as a whole. Usually when man passes through death his etheric body dissolves into the cosmos. A part of this dissolving etheric body always stays intact, however, and so we are always surrounded by these remaining parts of the etheric bodies of the dead, for our good, or also to our detriment. They affect us for good or ill according to whether we ourselves are good or bad. Far reaching effects emanate also from the etheric bodies of great individualities. Great forces emanating from the etheric body of Christian Rosenkreutz can work into our soul and also into our spirit. It is our duty to get to know these forces.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – ROSICRUCIAN CHRISTIANITY – Lecture 1 – Neuchatel, 27th September 1911

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DRAWING BY MIA ARAUJO

Previously posted on October16, 2020

Wishes and desires after death (3 of 3)

Such a point of view is possible only as long as one does not consider the fact that all wishes and desires, which after death are seized by the “consuming fire,” in a higher sense represent not beneficial but destroying forces in life. By means of such destructive forces, the ego tightens the bond with the sense world more strongly than is necessary in order to absorb from this very sense world what is beneficial to it. This sense world is a manifestation of the spirit hidden behind it. The ego would never be able to enjoy the spirit in the form in which it is able to manifest through bodily senses alone, did it not want to use these senses for the enjoyment of the spiritual within the sense world. Yet the ego deprives itself of the true spiritual reality in the world to the degree that it desires the sense world without the spirit. If the enjoyment of the senses, as an expression of the spirit, signifies an elevation and development of the ego, then an enjoyment that is not an expression of the spirit signifies the impoverishing, the desolation of the ego. If a desire of this kind is satisfied in the sense world, its desolating effect upon the ego nevertheless remains. Before death, however, this destructive effect upon the ego is not apparent. Therefore the satisfaction of such desires can produce similar desires during life, and man is not at all aware that he is enveloping himself, through himself, in a “consuming fire.” 

After death, what has surrounded him in life becomes visible, and by becoming visible it appears in its healing, beneficial consequences. A person who loves another is certainly not attracted only to that in him which can be experienced through the physical organs. But only of what can thus be experienced may it be said that it is withdrawn from perception at death; just that part of the loved one then becomes visible for the perception of which the physical organs were only the means. Moreover, the only thing that then hinders that part from becoming completely visible is the presence of the desire that can only be satisfied through physical organs. If this desire were not extirpated, the conscious perception of the beloved person could not arise after death. Considered in this way, the picture of frightfulness and despair that might arise in the human being concerning the events after death, as depicted by supersensible knowledge, must change into one of deep satisfaction and consolation.

Source:Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – III. Sleep and Death

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.

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