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Chapter V. Knowledge of the Higher Worlds

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does in sleep; but instead of passing, as in the latter case, into unconsciousness, it experiences a world it did not know before. Although as regards detachment from the body this condition may be compared with sleep, yet it is such that, compared with ordinary waking consciousness, it may be characterized as a more intense waking state. By this means the soul learns to know itself in its true, inner, independent being. But in ordinary life, owing to the weaker development of its forces, it is only with the help of the body that the soul arrives at self-consciousness. Therefore it does not experience itself but merely sees itself in that image which—like a kind of reflection—is traced, by the physical body (or, properly speaking, by its processes). These symbols built up in the manner above described are not as yet related to anything real in the spiritual world, but they serve to detach the human soul from sense-observations and from that instrument, the brain, to which the reason is at first fettered. This detachment is not effected until man is able to feel: “I am now perceiving something by means of powers for which neither my senses nor my brain serve as the instruments”; and the first thing man thus experiences is a liberation from the organs of sense. He is then able to say to himself: “My consciousness does not vanish when I cease to take cognizance of sense-perceptions and ordinary reasoned thought; I can lift myself out of those conditions and then feel myself as a being alongside of that which I was before”—and this is the first purely spiritual experience; the perception of a psycho-spiritual Egobeing. This has arisen as a new self out of that self which is linked to the physical senses and physical reason only. Had this detachment from the world of the senses and from the reason been effected without meditation, the person would have lapsed into the nothingness of the unconscious state. This psycho-spiritual being was our possession prior to meditation also, but it then lacked the organs for perception of the spiritworld; and it might, indeed, have been compared to the physical

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