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 But only of what can thus be experienced may it be said that it is withdrawn from perception at death; just that part of the loved one then becomes visible for the perception of which the physical organs were only the means.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.



Extraordinarily complex

As soon as the veil that is spread before man in order that he may see only the sense-world and not the spiritual world behind it, is drawn aside, life becomes extraordinarily complex.

It is found to begin with that man is influenced not only by those Beings and their physical reflections, the Stars, which can be directly observed, but that within earthly existence itself, supersensible Beings akin to those of the world of Stars have so to speak set up their abode in the earthly realm.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 219 – Man and the World of Stars: III: Man’s Relation to the World of the Stars – Dornach, December 3, 1922

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on June 28, 2017

Continuity of consciousness

The condition experienced by the pupils (of occult development) is called “continuity of consciousness”. When an ordinary person is completely withdrawn from the sense-world in sleep, he is unconscious. This is no longer so with a pupil who has reached the stage just mentioned. By day and by night, with no interruption, he lives in a state of fully clear consciousness, even when his physical body is at rest.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture Twelve: Occult Development – Stuttgart, 2nd September 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on October 19, 2016

Whether we absorb spiritual concepts or reject them determines our environment on the other side of the threshold

When man under the present conditions of evolution passes through the portal of death, he takes with him the conditions of consciousness that he has created for himself between birth and death. The person who has occupied himself under present circumstances exclusively with materialistic ideas, concepts, and sense impressions of the material, of the sense world, condemns himself after death to live in an environment in which only concepts defined during bodily life have bearing. 

The human being who has absorbed spiritual ideas enters the spiritual world legitimately, but one who has rejected spiritual ideas is forced to remain in a certain sense within earthly conditions until he — and this may endure for a long time — has learned there to absorb enough spiritual concepts that he can be carried by them into the spiritual world. 

Whether we absorb spiritual concepts or reject them therefore determines our environment on the other side of the threshold. Many of those souls — and this must be said with compassion — who have rejected or were hindered from absorbing spiritual concepts here in life are still wandering about on earth and, though dead, remain bound to the earthly sphere. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 178 – The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric – X – Individual Spirit Beings and the Undivided Foundation of the World: Part 1 – St. Gallen – 18th November 1917

Translated by Margaret Ingram deRis & Alice Wulsin

Previously posted on March 17, 2017

No contradiction

In the spirit and true sense of the word, no real scientist will be able to find a contradiction between his science built upon the facts of the sense world and the method by which the supersensible world is investigated. The scientist makes use of certain instruments and methods. He produces his instruments by transforming what “nature” offers him. The supersensible method of knowledge also makes use of an instrument. This instrument is man himself. This instrument, too, must first be made ready for higher research. The capacities and forces given to man by nature, without his assistance, must be transformed into higher capacities and powers. Man is thereby able to make himself the instrument for research in the supersensible world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – 1. The Character of Occult Science

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