Nourishment for the dead

It will become increasingly clear to us how this earthly life is connected with spiritual life. We rely on nature, which is on a lower level than we are, for our nourishment. For some time after death, the dead derive their nourishment from the ideas and the unconscious emotions that we here on earth take into sleep with us. Those who have died perceive a tremendous difference between people who in their waking life are filled only with materialistic feelings and ideas and also take them into sleep, and others who are wholly filled with spiritual ideas while awake and who continue to be filled with them in sleep. 

The two types of people are as different in their effect on the dead as a barren region where no food can grow, where people would starve, and a fruitful area that offers nourishment in abundance. For many years after death, the dead draw a vitality from the souls sleeping here on earth filled with spiritual content, a vitality that is similar, only transposed into the spiritual realm, to what we draw in our physical life from the beings of the kingdoms of nature below us. We literally turn ourselves into fruitful pastures for the dead when we fill ourselves with the ideas of spiritual science. And we turn ourselves into barren ground and starve the dead if we take only materialistic ideas and attitudes into sleep.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: Lecture Three: Awakening Spiritual Thoughts – Basel, May 5, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on November 29, 2016

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Without materialism man could not have become free

At the primeval time of his development man had not only the two states he now has, of sleeping and waking and between these a chaotic dreamy state; there was then a, third state, in which reality was present. This was not merely a state of dreaming, for in it man was able, although his consciousness was damped down, to see pictures and to learn by them, for these pictures were true to spiritual reality. 

Now, as we know, in order that man should develop the full Earth-consciousness, this method of perception had to be withdrawn. If it had persisted, man would never have gained his freedom, he could not have become free if he had not been subjected to all the dangers, arguments and temptations of materialism; but he has to find his way back again to the Spiritual world, and must now be able to grasp it in full Earth consciousness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 2 – The Metamorphoses of the Soul-Forces – Berlin, 13th February 1917

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on April 19,  2017

Our life in the higher worlds

As here we live rhythmically between waking and sleeping, so in the other world life alternates between withdrawal into ourselves and sociable intercourse with other souls. As I have described above, our life in the higher worlds depends on how we have prepared ourselves here on earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – XV: Intercourse With the Dead – Düsseldorf, April 27, 1913

Translated by Rene Querido

 Previously posted on October 17, 2017

Unconscious experiences between going to sleep and waking

We carry within us during the day, from waking until going to sleep, the after-effects of the experiences of the night; and if it is true that for the civilization in which we live what we do with the instrumentality of consciousness is of great significance, it is no less true that all that goes on with our own selves depends very little indeed upon our consciousness, and very much upon what we experience unconsciously between going to sleep and waking.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 218 – The Experiences of Sleep and their Spiritual Background – Stuttgart, October 9th, 1922