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An Outline of Occult Science

another respect from those during life. During the time of purification man lives, as it were, backwards. He lives over again the whole span of his life since birth; beginning with the events immediately preceding his death, and reversing the order of his experiences, he goes through them again until he reaches back to childhood. In this process he sees with spiritually enlightened eyes all those things which were not inspired by the spiritual nature of the ego, with the difference that he now experiences these things in reverse order. For instance, a man who died in his sixtieth year, and who at the age of forty had, in an outburst of anger, caused some one either physical or mental pain, will go through this experience again when, on the return journey of existence after death, he reaches that point in his fortieth year; but now he does not experience the satisfaction which his attack had afforded him during life; instead, he experiences the pain which he inflicted upon the other man. It may at once be seen, however, that whatever pain he feels in the after-death experience is caused by a desire of the ego arising only from the outer physical world; in reality the ego does not only injure another by the indulgence of such a desire, but it also injures itself; although the injury to itself is not apparent during life. After death, however, the whole of the harmful world of desires becomes visible to the ego, which then feels attracted toward every being or object which had kindled the desire, in order that this may be destroyed in the “consuming fire� by the same means that created it. When man, on his return journey, reaches the moment of his birth, then only have all such desires been purged in the purifying flames, and henceforth nothing remains to hinder him from devoting himself entirely to the spiritual world. He enters upon a new phase of existence. In the same way that he laid aside his physical body at death and, soon afterward, his etheric body, so does that part of his astral body dissolve which can only live in the consciousness of the outer

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