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The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth

Schmidt Number: S-2916

On-line since: 31st December, 2005


Vienna, 12th April, 1914.  

In my second public lecture here, I tried, as far as is possible in a public lecture, to describe in broad outline the life of man between death and rebirth. We shall go more deeply into this subject in the next two lectures, in order to gain a clearer understanding of our life here in the physical world. The preparation provided by the previous lectures was necessary before we could go further. This course of lectures will provide the means whereby we can enter more deeply into this subject than was possible in the public lectures.

I have often said that if a person wants to know and understand the spiritual worlds — and these are the worlds in which we live between death and rebirth — he must make certain conceptions and ideas his own, which cannot be gained from experience here on earth, but which, if once gained, will be of infinite importance to life on the physical plane; and this importance will increase more and more.

To begin with, let me now explain one difference between the experience in the spiritual world and the experience on the physical plane, which when heard for the first time must seem astonishing and strange, so that we might easily think that these things would be difficult of comprehension. But the deeper we go in Spiritual Science, the more we shall find that these things become ever more comprehensible. When we live on the physical plane and are affected by the experiences of the physical plane, one thing must, upon recollection strike us forcibly. That is, that on this physical plane we are confronted with what we call reality, existence, being. One might say that the more unspiritual a person is, the more does he rely upon what he has before him on the physical plane as the ‘reality’ that presses in upon him. But as regards what we wish to acquire on the physical plane as ‘knowledge,’ knowledge of this reality, the case is different. As children we have to be taught to develop the capacities for acquiring the knowledge of the physical plane and then we have to work further and further. The acquisition of knowledge demands mental work. Nature, that is to say external reality, does not of itself yield up the contents of its wisdom and its laws; we have to acquire this knowledge. Indeed, all human striving after knowledge consists in actively acquiring from passive experience, the wisdom and the law that Nature contains.

Now matters are quite different when either by the exercises which lead to spiritual investigation, or by passing through the portal of death, we enter into the spiritual world. The relation of man to the surrounding spiritual world is not, under all circumstances, what I am now about to describe; but it is so in important moments, during important experiences. In our life on the physical plane we are not always striving after knowledge, for sometimes we pause in this labour. So also, what I shall now describe is not continually necessary in the spiritual world, but it is requisite and necessary for us at certain times. The astonishing thing is that man has no lack of wisdom in the spiritual world. A person may be a fool in the sense-world, but simply through his entrance into the spiritual world wisdom streams towards him in its reality. Wisdom that we acquire with trouble in the physical world, that we have to work for day after day if we wish to possess it, is already ours in the spiritual world, just as surrounding nature is ours in the physical world. It is always there, and it is there in the greatest abundance. To a certain extent we may say that the less wisdom we have acquired on the physical plane, the more abundantly does this wisdom stream towards us on the spiritual plane. But, we have a special task, with respect to this wisdom on the spiritual plane.

In recent lectures I told you that on the spiritual plane the ideal of humanity stands before us, the content of the religion of the Gods, and that we have to strive towards it. We cannot do this, if we are incapable of so exercising our will — that is, our feeling-will, our willing-feeling — that we continually diminish this wisdom, continually take something away from the wisdom which for ever streams towards us and which there surrounds us as the phenomena of nature do here. We must have the power to deplete more and more the wisdom which there comes towards us. Here, on the physical plane we have to become wiser and wiser; there we have to endeavour so to exercise our will and our feeling that we diminish and darken the surrounding wisdom. For the less we are able to take from it, the less strength do we find within us whereby to fill ourselves with the necessary forces to approach the ideal of humanity as real being. This approach has to consist in our taking more and more away from the surrounding wisdom. What we thus take away we are able to transform within us so that the transformed wisdom becomes the life-force which drives us towards the ideal of humanity,. This life-force we have to acquire during the period between death and rebirth. It is only by changing into life-force, the wisdom which flows into us so abundantly, that we can approach a fresh incarnation in the correct way. When we return to earth, we must have changed so much wisdom into life-force, we must have diminished the wisdom by so much, that we have sufficient organising spiritual life-forces to permeate the substance we receive through heredity from father and mother. Thus we have to lose wisdom more and more.

When we find a thorough materialist again after his death, one who on the physical plane did not recognise any reality in spirit, who said during his life, ‘All that you say about spirit is nonsense; your wisdom is nothing but fantasy; I will have nothing to do with it. I admit nothing but what is to be found in external nature’ — in the case of such a person, when met with after his death, one sees wisdom stream towards him so abundantly that he cannot escape it. From all sides spirit streams towards him. To the same extent that he did not believe in spirit here, he is overflooded by it there. His task is now to change this wisdom into life-forces, so that he may produce a physical reality in his next incarnation. He is to produce what he called reality from this wisdom, he is to diminish this wisdom; but it will not permit itself to be diminished by him, it remains as it is. He is unable to form reality out of it. This dreadful punishment of the spirit confronts him, namely, that whereas in his last life here on the physical plane he relied only upon reality, whereas he entirely denied spirit, he is now unable to save himself, as it were, from spirit and he is unable to produce anything real out of this spirit. He is always faced with the danger of not being able to come again into the physical world through forces which he himself produces. He lives continually in the fear — ‘Spirit will push me into the physical world and I shall then have a physical existence which denies everything that I recognised as true in my previous life. I shall have to allow myself to be thrust by spirit into physical reality, I shall not have produced reality by myself.’ That is a most astonishing thing, but it is a fact. To be a great materialist and deny spirit before death is the way to be drowned, as it were, in spirit after death and to find in it nothing of the only reality one had formerly believed in, A man is then choked or drowned in spirit.

These are ideas which we have to acquire more and more in the course of our. study of spiritual science; for if we do acquire them they lead us onward harmoniously even in physical life and they show us, to a certain extent, how the two sides of life have to supplement and balance each other. We form the instinctive desire really to introduce this balance into our life.

I might give you another example of the connection between physical and spiritual life. Let us take a concrete, individual example. Suppose we have told a lie to someone on the physical plane — I am speaking of actual cases. When we tell a lie to someone, it happens at a certain point of time and what I shall now describe as the corresponding event in the spiritual world also takes place at a certain point of time between death and rebirth. Let us suppose we have told a lie to someone at some particular time on the physical plane; then, during our sojourn in the spiritual world, be it through initiation or through death, there comes a certain time when our soul in the spiritual world is entirely filled with the truth we ought to have expressed. This truth torments us; it stands before us and torments us to the same degree in which we deviated from it when we told the lie. Thus one need only tell a lie on the physical plane in order to bring about a time in the spiritual world when we are tormented by the corresponding truth, the opposite of the lie. There the truth torments us because it lives in us and burns us, and we cannot bear it. Our suffering consists in our seeing the truth before us. But we are in such a condition that this truth gives us no satisfaction, no joy, no pleasure; it torments us. One of the peculiarities of our experience in the spiritual world is that we are tormented by what is good, by the things which we know ought to uplift us.

Take another example. In our life in the physical world we may be lazy in doing something which it is our duty to do industriously; then comes a time in the spiritual world when we are filled with the industry we lacked in the physical world. Industry most surely comes; it is alive in us when we have been lazy in the physical plane. The time comes when from inner necessity, we have to exercise this industry unconditionally. We devote ourselves to it entirely and we know that it is something which is extremely valuable; but it torments us, it makes us suffer.

Let us take another case which is perhaps less under the control of human volition, but depends upon other processes of life which go on more in the background of existence and are connected with the course of our karma; let us take the case in which we have passed through an illness. When in physical life we have had an illness which has caused us pain, we experience at a certain point of time in the spiritual world the opposite feeling, the opposite condition, namely, that of health. And this feeling of health strengthens us during our sojourn in the spiritual world to the same degree that the illness weakened us. This is an instance which perhaps may not only shock our intellect, like the other things we have mentioned, but it may enter much more deeply into the emotional aspect of our soul and irritate it. We know that the things of Spiritual Science must always be grasped through our feelings; but in this case we must remember the following. We must clearly understand that something like a shadow lies over this connection between physical illness and the corresponding health and strength we have in the spiritual world. The connection exists, but there is something in the human breast which prevents the feelings from rightly coming to terms with this connection. We must indeed admit this connection has another result when we really understand it, and this result may be described as follows: —

Let us suppose that a person takes up Spiritual Science and devotes himself seriously to it — not in the way in which other sciences are taken up. These may be studied theoretically; one may receive what they give merely as thoughts and ideas. Spiritual Science ought never to be taken up in this manner. It ought to become a spiritual life-blood within us. Spiritual Science ought to live and work in us; it ought also to awaken feelings through the ideas it gives us. To one who really hearkens to Spiritual Science in the right way there is nothing it has to give which does not either, on the one hand, uplift us, or on the other, allow us to see into the abuses of existence in order that we may there find our way aright. The student who understands Spiritual Science correctly always follows what it says with the appropriate feelings. Spiritual Science when accepted will transform his soul, even while in the physical world, simply through the ideas that live in him and through his acquiring the habits of thought and feeling which we have just mentioned as being necessary. I have often said that the earnest study of Spiritual Science is one of the best and most deeply-penetrating of all exercises.

Something remarkable gradually appears in one who takes up Spiritual Science. A person who performs exercises — possibly he does not do it in order to become a spiritual investigator himself, but only tries earnestly to understand Spiritual Science — such a person may perhaps not be able for a very long time to think of seeing clairvoyantly for himself. He will be able to do it sometime; though this may perhaps be a far-off ideal. But if he really allows Spiritual Science to act upon his soul in the manner we have indicated, he will find that the instincts of life, the more unconscious impulses of life change. His soul really becomes different. No one can take up Spiritual Science without it influencing the instinctive life of the soul. It makes the soul different, it gives it different sympathies and antipathies, it fills it with a sort of light, so that it feels more certain than it did formerly. This may be noticed in every realm of life; in every realm of life Spiritual Science expresses itself in this way. For example, a person may be unskilled; but if he takes up Spiritual Science he will see that without doing anything else than filling himself with Spiritual Science, he will become more apt and capable, even to the manner in which he uses his hands. Do not say: ‘I know some very unskilled people who follow Spiritual Science; and they are still very unskilled!’ Try to reflect to what extent these have not yet really permeated themselves inwardly with Spiritual Science according to the necessities of karma. A person may be a painter and exercise the art of painting to a certain degree; if he takes up Spiritual Science he will find that what we have just mentioned will flow instinctively into the actions he performs. He will mix his colours more easily; the ideas he wants will come more quickly. Or suppose he is a teacher, and wishes to take up some science. Many who are in this position will know how much trouble it often costs to gather together the literature required to clear up some question or other. If he takes up Spiritual Science, he will not go as before to a library and take down fifty books that are of no use, but he will immediately lay his hands on the right one. Spiritual Science really enters into one's life; it makes the instincts different; it gives us the impulse to do the right thing.

Of course what I shall now say must always be thought of in conjunction with human karma. It must always be kept in mind that man is subject to the law of karma under all circumstances. But taking into consideration the law of karma, the following is still the case. Let us suppose that a certain kind of illness attacks someone who has taken up Spiritual Science in the way described and it is in his karma that he may be cured. Naturally, it may be in his karma that the disease cannot be cured; but, when considering an illness, karma never under any circumstance says that it must run a certain course in a fatalistic sense, it can be cured or it cannot be cured. Now, anyone who has earnestly taken up Spiritual Science acquires an instinctive feeling which helps him to oppose the illness and its weakening effect with the proper remedy. That which in the ordinary way is experienced as the result of the illness in the spiritual world works back into the soul, and, in so far as one is still in the physical body, it acts as instinct. One either succumbs to the illness or finds within oneself the way to the forces of healing. When the clairvoyant consciousness finds the right remedy for an illness, it happens in the following way: such a clairvoyant is able to call up before him the picture of the illness. Let us suppose that he has the picture before him of the illness which approaches a person in such or such a way and has a weakening effect on him. Owing to his clairvoyant consciousness there appears to him the counterpart of the illness, namely, the corresponding feeling of health, and the strengthening which springs from this feeling. That which can now happen to man in the spiritual world as the corresponding cure for that from which he is suffering in the physical world, is perceived by the clairvoyant. Through this the clairvoyant is enabled to advise the man for his good. Indeed, one need not even be a fully developed clairvoyant, but this may appear to one instinctively from seeing the picture of the illness. But the cause of that which to clairvoyant consciousness appears as compensation in the spiritual world, belongs to the picture of the illness as much as the swing of a pendulum to one side belongs to the swing to the other side.

From this example you will see how the physical plane is related to the spiritual world and how fruitful for the guidance of our life here the knowledge of the spiritual world may be.

Let us go back once more to the first concrete fact we mentioned, namely: that just as nature surrounds us on the physical plane, so what is spiritual, wisdom-filled spirit, surrounds us in the spiritual world and is always there. Now, if you understand this thoroughly, an extremely important light is cast on what takes place in the spiritual world. In the physical world we may pass by objects and observe them in such a way that we may ask: What is the principle or nature of this object? What is the law of this Being, or this process? Or, on the other hand, we may pass stupidly by and ask nothing at all. We shall never learn anything intelligently on the physical plane if we are not impelled, as it were, by the object itself to ask questions, if these objects do not present problems which we recognise as such. By merely looking at objects and processes, we should never on the physical plane arrive at being a soul that guides itself. On the spiritual plane this is different. On the physical plane we put our questions to objects and processes, and we have to make efforts to investigate them in order to find the answer to our questions from the things themselves. On the spiritual plane things and Beings surround us spiritually and they question us, not we them. They are there and we stand before them and are continually being questioned by them. We must now have the power to draw from the infinite ocean of wisdom the answer to these questions. We have not to seek the answers in the objects and processes, but in ourselves; for the objects question us; all around us are objects questioning us.

At this point the following comes under consideration. Let us suppose that we confront some process or some Being in the spiritual world; inevitably it asks us a question. We cannot approach it without its doing so. We stand there with our wisdom, but we are unable to develop sufficient will, sufficient feeling-will, or willing-feeling to give the answer from out this wisdom, although we know that the answer is within us. Our inner being is infinitely deep; all answers are within us — but we are unable really to give the answer. The consequence of this is that we rush past on the stream of time and fail to give the answer at the proper time, because we have not gained the capacity — perhaps through our previous evolution — we have not become mature enough to answer the question when the time comes for it to be answered. We have developed too slowly with respect to what we ought to answer; we can only give the answer later. But the opportunity does not recur; we have missed it. We have not made use of all our opportunities. Thus we pass by objects and events without answering them. We have experiences such as this continually in the spiritual world. Thus it may come about, that in our life between death and rebirth we stand before a Being which questions us. We have not developed ourselves sufficiently in our earthly life and the intervening spiritual life, to give the answer when we are asked. We have to pass on; we have to enter into our next incarnation. The consequence of this is that we must receive the impulse once more, in our next incarnation, through the good Gods, without being conscious of it, so that we shall not pass by the next time when the same question is asked. This is how things come to pass.

I have often mentioned that the further we go back in human evolution the more do we find that humanity did not then possess our present mentality, but had a kind of clairvoyance on the physical plane. Our present mental outlook developed from a dull, dreamy clairvoyance. The more primitive and elementary the stages of mental development of some races still are, the closer connection we find in their thought and feeling to this original clairvoyance. Although the primitive atavistic clairvoyance is becoming less and less frequent, we still find in unexplored regions of the earth people who have preserved something from former times, so that we still find echoes of the ancient days of clairvoyance. This clairvoyance reveals — although in a dim, dreamy form, because it is a seeing into the spiritual world — it reveals peculiarities which reappear in the developed clairvoyance; only in the latter case it is not dim and dreamy, but clear and distinct. Spiritual Science shows us that when a man of the present time goes through life between death and rebirth, he has progressively to answer the questioning Beings more and more at the proper time; for on his power to answer depends his true development, and his approach to the ideal of the Gods — the perfect man. As we have already said, in former times people had this experience in the domain of dreams and we have the remains of it in a great number of fairy-tales and sagas. These are gradually disappearing, but they run somewhat as follows. A certain person meets a spiritual Being. This Being repeatedly questions him and he has to answer. And he knows that he must give the answer by a certain time, when the clock strikes, or something of that sort. This ‘question motif’ in fairy-tales and sagas is very widespread and is a form of dreamlike clairvoyant consciousness which now reappears in the spiritual world, in the way have described. On the whole, the description of what takes place in the spiritual world provides in all cases a valuable clue to the understanding of myths, sagas, fairy-tales, etc., and enables us to place them where they belong. This is a point which shows that everywhere, even in the mental culture of the present day, evolution is standing, as it were, at the door of Spiritual Science.

It is very interesting, that a book such as the one by my friend Ludwig Laistner, The Riddle of the Sphinx, which in many respects is a good and well-intentioned book, is unsatisfactory, because in order to be satisfactory, the ‘question motif’, with which Ludwig Laistner specially deals, would have had to be treated from the basis of occult knowledge; the author would have had to know something about the truths of occult science which enter here.

Bearing these examples in mind, we see that the conditions in the spiritual world depend upon something quite definite. In the spiritual world it is not a case of gathering knowledge as we do here; it is even a case of diminished knowledge and changing the force of knowledge into life-force. One cannot be an investigator in the spiritual world in the same sense as one can in the physical world; that would be an absurdity, for there a person is able to know everything, it is all round about him. The question is whether he is able to develop his will and his feeling, in contradistinction to his knowledge, whether in individual cases he is able to bring forth from the treasure of his will sufficient power to make use of his wisdom; otherwise he is stifled by or drowned in it. Whereas in the physical world wisdom depends on thinking, in the spiritual world it depends upon the adequate development of the will, the feeling-will, the will which brings forth reality out of wisdom, which becomes a kind of creative power. There we have Spirit as here we have Nature, and our task is to lead Spirit to Nature. A beautiful statement is contained in the theosophical literature of the first half of the nineteenth century, a statement made by Oetinger, who lived at Murrhardt, in Wurtemburg, and who was so far advanced in his own spiritual development that at certain times he was able quite consciously to help spiritual beings, that is, souls who were not on the physical plane. He made the remarkable statement which is very beautiful and very true: ‘Nature and the form of nature is the aim of spiritual creative power.’ What I have just brought down to you from the spiritual world is contained in this sentence. In the spiritual world creative power strives to give reality to that which at first heaves and surges in wisdom. Here, we bring forth wisdom from the physical reality; there we do the reverse. Our task there is to produce realities from wisdom, to carry out in living realities the wisdom we find there. The goal of the Gods is reality in form.

Thus we see that it depends upon will permeated with feeling, or feeling-filled-will being changed into creative force; this we must employ in the spiritual world in the same way as here in the physical world we have to employ great mental efforts in order to arrive at wisdom.

Now, in order that this should be possible, it is very important that we should develop our feeling and thinking in the right way, that we should prepare ourselves here on the physical plane in a manner which is right for the present cycle of evolution; for all that takes place in the spiritual world between death and rebirth is the result of what takes place in the physical world between birth and death. It is indeed true, that conditions are so different in the spiritual world that we have to acquire entirely fresh conceptions and ideas if we wish to understand them, but all the same the two are connected like cause and effect. We only understand the connection between what is spiritual and what is physical, when we recognise it really as the connection of cause and effect. We have to prepare ourselves while in the physical world and we might therefore now consider the question: How, at the present age, can we prepare ourselves in the right way, so that — whether we enter the spiritual world through initiation or through death — we shall really possess the spiritual power necessary to draw what we have need of from the wisdom that is there — so that we may bring forth realities from this surging flowing wisdom. Whence comes such power? It is important that these questions should be answered in a manner adapted to our present age. In the age when mankind thought in such a way, that the origin of what I have called the ‘Saga motiv’ resulted, the case was different; but from whence comes this soul-force in the present age?

In order that we arrive at the answer to this, may I bring forward the following?

We can study the various philosophies and inquire as to how philosophers arrive at the idea of God — there are, of course, philosophers who have sufficient spiritual depth to be convinced from the existence of the world that we may speak of a Divine Being who pervades it. In the nineteenth century we need only take Lotze, who tried to produce in his religious philosophy something that was in harmony with the rest of his philosophy. Others too were sufficiently profound to have with all their philosophy a sort of religious philosophy also. We find one peculiarity in all these philosophers, a very definite peculiarity. They think to reach Divinity with ideas gathered from the physical plane; they reflect, they investigate in a philosophical manner, and come to the conclusion — as is the case with Lotze — that the phenomena and beings of the world are held together by a divine First Cause which pervades all and brings all into a certain harmony. But when we go more minutely into the ideas of these religious philosophers, we find that they always have one peculiarity. They arrive at a Divine Being who pervades all; and when we consider this Divine Being more closely, this God of the philosophers, we find that it is approximately the God called in the Hebrew, or rather, the Christian religion ‘God the Father’. Thus far do the philosophers go; they observe Nature and are profound enough not to deny everything Divine in an empty-headed, materialistic way; they can arrive at Divinity, but it is God the Father.

One can demonstrate most exactly, after studying these philosophers, that mere philosophy, as thinking philosophy, can lead nowhere but to a monotheistic Father-God.

If in the case of individual philosophers, such as Hegel and others, Christ is mentioned; it does not spring from philosophy — this can be proved — it comes from positive religion. These people have known that positive religion possesses the Christ and therefore they can speak of Him. The difference is, that the Father-God can be found through philosophy, but Christ cannot be found by any philosophy, by any method of thought. That is quite impossible.

That is a statement which I suggest you should weigh well and consider; if rightly understood it leads us far into the most important probings and strivings of the human soul. It is connected with something which is expressed in the Christian religion in a very beautiful, symbolic and pictorial manner; namely, that the relation of this other God, Christ, to the Father-God is understood as the relation of the Son to the Father. That is a very significant fact, although it is only a symbol. It is interesting to notice that Lotze, for example, cannot make anything out of it. ‘One cannot take this symbol literally, that is obvious,’ says Lotze. He means that one God cannot be the son of another. But there is something very striking in this symbol. Between father and son the relationship is something like that between cause and effect; for in a certain way one may see the father is the cause of the son. The son would not exist if the father were not there — like cause and effect. But we must take into account one peculiar thing, namely, that a man who eventually may have a son, may also have the possibility of not having a son, he may be childless. He would still be the same man. The cause is the man A, the effect is the man B, the son; but the effect need not come about, the effect is a free act, and follows as a free act from the cause. For this reason, when we study a cause considering it in connection with its effect, we must not merely inquire into the nature of the cause, for by this we have done nothing at all; but we must inquire whether the cause also really causes; that is the important question. Now a characteristic of all philosophy is that it follows a line of thought, it develops one thought out of another; it seeks for what follows in that which has gone before. Philosophers are justified in doing this; but in this way we never arrive at the connection which comes about when we call to mind the fact that the cause need not cause at all. The cause remains the same in its own nature whether it causes or not. That changes nothing in the nature of the cause. And this important fact is presented to us in the symbol of God the Father and God the Son: this important fact, that the Christ is added to the Father-God, as a free creation, as a creation which does not follow in due course, but which emerges as a free act alongside the previous creation and which also had the possibility not to be; the Christ is therefore not given to the world because the Father had to give the Son to the world, but the Son is given to the world as a free act, through grace, through freedom, through love, which when it creates, gives freely. For this reason we can never arrive at God the Son, the Christ, through the same kind of truth by which the philosophers arrive at God the Father. In order to arrive at Christ it is necessary to add the truth of faith to the philosophical truth, or — as the age of faith is declining more and more — to add the other truth which is obtained through clairvoyant investigation, which likewise only develops in the human soul as a free act.

Thus from the ordered processes of nature it may be demonstrated that there is a God; but it can never be proved by external means from the chain of causes and effects that there is a Christ. Christ exists and can pass by human souls if they do not feel in themselves the power to say: That is Christ! An active up-rousing of the impulse for truth is required in order to recognise Christ in that which was there as Christ. We can arrive at the other truths which lie in the realm of the Father-God, if we merely devote ourselves to thought and follow it consecutively; for to be a materialist means at the same time to be illogical. Religious philosophy according to Lotze, and religious philosophy in general, has its origin in the fact that through thought we can rise to this Divinity of religious philosophy. But never can we be led to recognise Christ merely through philosophy; this must be our own free act. In this case only two things are possible; we either follow faith to its ultimate conclusions, or we make a beginning with the investigation of the spiritual world, Spiritual Science. We follow faith to its ultimate conclusion when we say with the Russian philosopher Solovioff: ‘With regard to all the philosophical truths man gains about the world, to which his logic forces him, he does not stand related as to a free truth. The higher truth is that to which we are not forced, which is our free act, the highest truth won by faith.’ Solovioff reaches his highest point when he says: ‘The higher truth, that which recognises Christ, is the truth which works as a free act, which is not forced.’ To the spiritual investigator and to those who understand Spiritual Science, knowledge comes; but this is an active knowledge which rises from thought to Meditation, Inspiration and Intuition, which becomes inwardly creative, which, when creative, participates in spiritual worlds and thereby becomes similar to what we have to develop when we enter into the spiritual world, whether we do so through initiation or through death.

The wisdom which we acquire with such difficulty on earth, surrounds us in all its fullness and wealth in the spiritual world — just as nature surrounds us here on the physical plane.

The important thing in the spiritual world is that we should have the impulse, the power, to make something out of this wisdom, to produce from it reality. To create freely through wisdom, to bring about something spiritual as fact, must become a living impulse in us. This impulse can only be ours if we find the right relationship to Christ. Christ is not a Being who can be proved by external brain-bound logic, but who proves Himself, who realises Himself in us as we acquire spiritual knowledge. Just as Spiritual Science joins up with other science as a free act, so knowledge about Christ is added to us as soon as we approach the world into which we enter through spiritual investigation, or through death. If in our present age we seek to enter the spiritual world aright, that is to say, if we wish to die to the physical world, our attitude to the world must be that attitude which is only gained when we relate ourselves to Christ in the right way. Through the observation of nature we can attain to a God who is like ‘God the Father’ of the Christian religion, Him we find through the observation of what is around us when we live in the physical body; but to understand Christ aright, apart from tradition and revelation, from pure knowledge alone, is only possible through Spiritual Science. It leads into the realm which man enters by dying — whether it be that dying which is a symbolical dying, the going forth from the physical body in order to know oneself in the soul outside the body, or the other dying, the passing through the portal of death. We provide ourselves with the right impulses to pass through the portal of death, when we find the true relationship to Christ. The moment when death takes place, whether it comes about through Spiritual Science or whether we actually go through the portal of death, the moment it comes to dying, to leaving the physical body, the important thing in the present cycle of time is that we should confront in the right way the Being Who has come into the world, in order that we may find connection with Him. God the Father we can find during life; we find the Christ when we understand the entering into the Spirit, when we understand dying in the right way. In Christ we die —


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