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Chapter III. Sleep and Death


the hidden and spiritual world which lies behind it; and the ego could never attain spiritual happiness through the bodily senses, which are the only form in which the spiritual can be manifested, unless it utilized the senses to seek the spiritual element in sense-experience. Nevertheless, the ego loses sight of the true spiritual reality in the physical world to such an extent that it experiences sensual desires irrespective of the needs of the spirit. If sense pleasure, as the expression of the spirit, serves to raise and develop the ego, any pleasure which is not an expression of the spirit warps and impoverishes it. Even though such a desire finds the means of its gratification in the sense-world, still its destructive effect upon the ego is thereby in no way diminished; but it is not until after death that its disastrous effects become apparent. For this reason a man may, by gratifying such desires, create, during his life, new and similar desires, wholly unaware that he is enveloping himself in a “consuming fire.” What becomes visible to him after death is only what already surrounded him during his life, and by thus becoming visible it at once appears in its salutary and beneficent effect. A human being who loves another is certainly not attracted merely by that part of him which is perceptible to the physical senses—the only part which is cut off from observation after death—but after death, just that part of the dear one then becomes visible for the perception of which the physical organs were only the means. The one thing, in fact, which would prevent a man from beholding his friend clearly is the presence of desires which can be satisfied only by means of physical organs. Unless these desires are extinguished, he can have no conscious perception of his friend after death. When looked at in this light, the terrible and hopeless character which after-death experiences might assume for man, according to the descriptions given by occult science, becomes changed into one which is thoroughly satisfying and consoling. Now the first after-death experiences differ entirely in yet


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