Near Death Experiences
Can We Survive Death?
Can We Survive Death? Many children and adults have what is called a ‘near-dQuoted from ath-experience’ or NDE. This may occur while they are ill, or due to an accident. For instance 11year-old Brad Steiger was caught in the blades of a large piece of machinery on his parents farm in Iowa. He suffered several skull fractures as the metal blades hit his head. While on this borderline state between life and death, Brad felt himself drift away from his body and was able to watch what was happening from a distance. He could see his injured body on the ground, and saw his sister run for help. He could both watch his father carrying him, and feel something of the sensations of being in his father’s arms all at the same time. While out of the body he also became aware of knowledge beyond his usual ability, being able to see the patterns or processes in life. Although young, he felt he had been shown a plan of the universe and people’s life in it. He wanted to tell people that we are all part of eternal life, and are not alone in the universe.
Near death experiences suggest that our awareness can at times reach far beyond the limitations of our seeing, hearing and feeling. We live in a universe in which our mind is still a largely unknown territory. Scientifically we have travelled further within our solar system to map and understand it, than we have within the huge space of the human mind. We have all heard the saying, “Space – the final frontier”. Well it’s not true – the mind, consciousness is the FINAL frontier that most of us dare not cross. Near Death and Out of Body Experiences are very similar. See THERE IS A HUGE CHANGE HAPPENING
When I was eighteen and living in German, I was woken from sleep one summer evening by a sensation of rushing upward in darkness and a release from pressure. When I could see, I was looking down on my sleeping body and experienced terror because something was happening to me I had no explanation for. Then suddenly I realised I had read that some people experience leaving their sleeping body. That is what was happening to me. I had left my body behind and was still conscious and independent of it. The terror disappeared and I found myself curled up with my arms around my knees, flying over the countryside, still light because of the summer evening.
But suddenly I was in my home in London, standing behind our couch. I felt more awake than I had ever been before in my life, was amazed at what was happening. I seemed as solid as ever, despite having no physical body. My mother was sitting knitting, alone except for our Alsatian dog asleep in front of the gas fire. I was so excited I called to my mother, “Look what’s happening mum.” She paused for a moment but carried on knitting. This puzzled me as I seemed completely solid and real to myself and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see me. So I shouted to attract her attention. She carried on knitting, but as I shouted the dog heard me, awoke and came bounding to me, barking and howling to see me. I later found out my mother had been alone that evening, and the dog had suddenly rushed to the back of the settee barking and howling.
The Story of Katie’s defeat of Death
Dr Melvyn Morse specialises in the care of young children. Katie, a young girl, had been found floating face down in a YMCA swimming pool was brought to Dr Morse apparently dead. A CAT scan revealed that her brain was abnormally swollen. If not dead, she was certainly in a deep coma, and was placed on a machine that breathed for her.
In his book Closer to the Light, Dr. Morse describes how Katie made a full recovery, and because he had to find out how Katie came to be face down in a swimming pool, Dr Morse had to interview her. To his amazement Katie described the operating theatre in which she had been placed while in coma. She also described the other people who were working on her and what they did. While this was happening she told Dr Morse that she knew what was going on in her family home and could described in detail what her brothers and sisters were doing. In fact it seemed as if she existed in a different state of time and space.
An Investigation of Hundreds of Cases of Near Death Experience
Dr. Morse went on to investigate hundreds of such experiences. He did this as a long term study, and also followed up on the children he had investigated and recorded their experience of out of body awareness during their apparent death. Of course, many authorities try to explain such experiences away if they have not experienced it themselves. But Dr. Morse examined the possibilities of drugs influencing the brain, and other possibilities and found these did not apply. Again and again, people could witness and report actual happenings around them while they were apparently unconscious or without a heartbeat.
His long term finding discovered that all of the children who had an NDE show an absence of any drug use. They have little rebellion against authority, and showed a keenness to learn and be active in the world. Their maturity and wisdom was marked, and they each claimed that during their NDE they had learned profound lessons about how to live and the meaning of their life.
Because we often believe that what we see in the physical world is an ultimate truth, we hold the concept that distance takes time to cover, and that our body is the very foundation of who and what we are. Many people do not believe that there is anything to learn from within them. They hold the view that there is only one reality and that is the physical world and all it offers. They believe this despite the fact that consciousness is an extraordinary miracle, and imagination a profound argument against all that is in the exterior world. Such ideas have given rise to mistaken views of the world that we enter in lucidity. As can be seen from my own and Katie’s experience, when released from the domination of her five physical senses she had a completely different relationship with time, space and her environment.
The Astounding Possibility that we can Exist Beyond Time and Space
This points to an astounding possibility – beyond the limitations of the world we know through our five senses, our mind or core consciousness can move around and live in a world not limited by time and space, or the needs of the body. In this world of experience within us lie enormous resources of information that are deeply relevant to who you are. From it you can gather insights that clarify the most important lessons you face in this life, and your greatest talents and best direction.
Some aspects of modern physics suggest that at a fundamental level the separate parts and units of the universe are totally and immediately connected beyond distance or time. If we add awareness to this, it is saying that consciousness fills the entire universe beyond the limitations of space and time. It also suggests to us there are possibilities open to us beyond our imagination – if we reach out for them! Near death experiences, out of body experiences, and lucidity, give us entrance into that world of timeless and spaceless existence.
Ned Dougherty’s Meeting with Death
Ned Dougherty was a most successful nightclub owner and lived life in the fast lane. Despite his religious upbringing as a Roman Catholic, he had no interest in a spiritual life because he didn’t believe in an afterlife. He was too busy searching for a good time to be bothered with such things. This all changed when he had a near-death experience resulting from a heart attack during a heated fist fight with a business associate. His near-death experience gave him a conscious awareness of his mission in life. The following is an excerpt from his book:
As a massive field of energy began to form in the sky directly in front of me, I heard a loud, grinding mechanical noise as the mass of energy shaped itself into a cylinder funneling upwards. It seemed as if the darkness of the sky turned into liquid as the mass of energy curled like an ocean wave and formed a perfect tunnel that stretched into the heavens.
As I stared into the large and imposing tunnel of energy, a shimmering, luminescent-blue field of energy began to float down the tunnel toward me. As it rapidly approached, I watched the luminescent-blue field mass into a form and begin to materialize into an image of a human being. As the image composed itself, I found myself face to face with an old friend. His name was Dan McCampbell, but I had never expected to see him again. After all, he had been killed in Vietnam.
As Dan and I communicated, I realized that we did not speak to each other as we had communicated in our earthly lives. As soon as I thought, “Dan, I recognize you,” it was communicated to him. We were communicating telepathically, which connotes a communication of words between minds by means other than by vocal communication, but such a description falls short of the spiritual communication we were experiencing. We were not only communicating with words; we were communicating with feelings and emotions. As we thought, we also emoted our thoughts. Both thoughts and emotions were being communicated telepathically and spiritually in a manner that far surpassed normal human communication.
Dan communicated to me, “You are on the threshold of an important journey. Each of these places and events that are before you are for you to absorb as much as you can. It is important that you remember everything that you see before you. You will be going back, and you must go back with what you experience. You have a mission ahead of you in your life, and this experience will guide you on that mission.”
Suddenly, I was enveloped in this brilliant golden light. The light was more brilliant than the light emanating from the sun, many times more powerful and radiant than the sun itself. Yet, I was not blinded by it nor was I burned by it. Instead, the light was a source of energy that embraced my being.
I was alone in the glow of this light and suspended before a magnificent presence. I immediately believed that I was in the presence of God, my Creator. I felt that God was embracing me, and he had love for me, a love greater than any love I had ever known on Earth. I realized that God was bestowing his light of love on me, as his light transformed from a brilliant golden light to a pure white light. As I became more accepting of God’s love, the light of God became brighter, of a pure whiteness beyond description. When I sensed that my spiritual being had received God’s love to the point of overflowing, I became aware that God was stabilizing and energizing my being in preparation for my mission. I realized that I would be returning to earthly life and that God was preparing and orienting me for that return.
God began to imbue me with universal knowledge. I realized that I had always thirsted for this knowledge and I wanted to absorb as much as I could. As I remained suspended in God’s light, I felt this knowledge penetrate and absorbed by my spiritual being. This knowledge was flowing through me in the same manner as God’s love, pulsating through my being. Dan was back at my side again. We descended together from God’s light into a universe of bright stars. We were again in the deepest void of space, but now I felt comfortable in this environment as well as in my spirit body, and I felt at home in this celestial location. As Dan and I continued to descend, I was startled by the magnificent ethereal structure directly below us. The heavenly structure resembled an amphitheater similar to those found in ancient civilizations. This amphitheater was made of a brilliant, crystal-like substance that radiated multi-colored waves of energy throughout its form. The amphitheater was suspended in the void of space in the same fashion that a space station might hover in space. The amphitheater was similar in size to a sports stadium and conveyed a great majesty.
As Dan and I descended closer to the amphitheater, I realized that it was filled with thousands of spiritual beings. We hovered directly over the structure, and I felt a vibrant energy envelop me. The energy seemed to come from the crystalline structure of the amphitheater. The lower we descended, the more I was drawn to the energy.
I sensed that the thousands of spiritual beings there were also absorbing this energy. They were sending out waves of energy to one another as well as to Dan and me. We were now descending onto the celestial field, which was surrounded by the large arc of the amphitheater. Although I first felt it as energy, I recognized that the energy emanating from the crystalline structure was also a symphonic sound.
Soon Dan and I were suspended in the center of the celestial field which meant that we were the focus of attention for the thousands of spiritual beings positioned throughout the amphitheater. Above, below, and behind us was the deep void of space. In front of us, thousands of spiritual beings were communicating, by musical sounds, feelings of goodwill to me. Their sounds of greeting were in harmony with the symphonic sounds of energy emanating from the amphitheater. Once I settled onto the celestial field, I could look directly into the crystalline surface of the amphitheater and watch as multi-colored prisms of light pulsated through the structure.
I was overwhelmed by the awesome sight before me, but the feelings of love that were conveyed to me by the spiritual beings were even more overwhelming. The spiritual beings were cheering me, conveying loving encouragement and support. “You are doing wonderfully. We are here to support you. Continue to do good work, and we will help you. You are part of us, and we are part of you. We stand ready to come to your aid when you need us, and you will. Call us. Beckon us. We will flock to you when the time comes!”
Frankly, I was confused by all the attention. There wasn’t anything wonderful about the way I had conducted my life. Perhaps the spiritual beings were speaking of what was yet to come. They certainly could not have been speaking of earlier events in my life. I thought, “How can I be doing wonderfully? I almost killed someone tonight. Could I be justified in what I tried to do?”
This is an extract from his book Fast Lane to Heaven or see the page from which this was taken Ned Dougherty.
“I WILL WALK YOU BACK”
Many people who almost die report seeing departed relatives. This didn’t happen to me, largely, I think, because I hadn’t lost anyone who was close to me. But a woman I met in Florida told me about her near-death experience, in which she saw a number of dead relatives, including a stillborn son:
I almost died during childbirth. In all the straining that goes on, I burst a blood vessel and my blood pressure plummeted.
I was in great pain and then suddenly I was out of my body, floating above my body. I watched the doctors for a while and then began floating higher and higher until I was above the ceiling and actually able to see the wiring.
Then I went up a cave, and at the end I was with a number of people who looked just like me. I saw my grandparents, who had been dead for years, and an uncle who had been killed in the Korean War. Then a young man walked up to me, a child really. He said, “Hi, Mom,” and I realized that this was the stillborn child I had had a few years earlier.
I got to talk to him for quite some time and felt very happy that he was here in this place with his relatives. Then he took my hand and said, “You have to go back now. I will walk with you.”
I didn’t want to go back, but he insisted. He walked with me and said goodbye. Then I was back in my body.
Quoted from Russell Lynn’s book, The Wonder of You: What the Near Death Experience Tells You About Yourself – If you wish to own the book see The Wonder of You
Debi wanted to be dead. She said she was depressed and fed up with life and humanity. She explains she was very aware killing herself was wrong but, by that time she simply did not care. She was in pain and wanted the peace of oblivion. She had lost all hope her life would ever get better and was aware that what she was doing would cause her death; it was not an accident.
“I did not die. You will not die.
My body was dead. I was still alive. I knew it then, and I know it know, as a truth. My body stopped working. The self I am did not.
I tried to understand what was happening to me; I was still me. I was, apparently, alive. I could not see myself. I could not raise my hand to look at it, but I was something-I still felt ‘myself’.”
This fellow drowned himself during a time of depression. He does not tell us much of what led up to his actions, but the learning he gained is enlightening.
“Suddenly in the void, I heard a voice. A male voice that said, “It’s okay, it is all right, it is all good.” I went from totally terror to total peace and acceptance of my life and responsibility. I was no longer worried about heaven or hell or my death. This voice accepted me and did not judge me. I, in a way accepted myself and clearly had an instant of understanding of my life and how important it is to play our lives out to the end, regardless of how hard it is, and get off ourselves and be in the company of each other to help each other. That abyss was total separation from all. I was in the I AM.”
I saw that I, myself, had designed the life I would be leading before voluntarily coming into this world and that my freedom within a physical body was to be found only by consciously cultivating happiness, because I had designed or chosen my own destiny before taking on a physical body.
Love is the prevailing force at all times, no matter how things may appear in this world of duality and illusion. It is merely a hologram— created by the collective consciousness— for the sake of growth and evolution.
Her awareness of her brother’s presence from out of state brought the realization of how serious her illness was. A short time before she died Karen felt herself fading and asked God, “Please don’t let my brain turn off.” Moments later she was filled with answers.
“I remember feeling like my brain just opened up and all the answers to life were right there flowing through my head so quickly, like all the troubles of the world (not just mine) were all going to be okay. I remember feeling amused that everything, and I mean everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world was all in control. It was all planned and almost wasn’t even real. Geralyn was thirteen years old.”
Bridget was in a serious car accident in which her vehicle rolled and landed on top of her and she died. Bridget tells us a delightful account of how she had always known the Creator because as a child as she used to play games with God by asking questions about the universe and then flying through the cosmos to find the answer. For that reason, when she died she was not surprised to find herself filled with vast amounts of knowledge.
“And I got really excited and started asking questions like a small child. What about aliens? And parallel universes and life on other planets and UFOs and, and, and… That’s when I perceived a great yet quiet chuckle of amusement and like a pat on the head I was given the Source into the top of my head. It was like a giant stream and when my head was stuck inside of it I could see from the beginning of the beginning of the beginning of everything and nothing. I saw the entirety of the universe from its big bang to big stop to big bang and to big stop; I had the memory of the universe. I understood cosmology, biology, spiritualism, consciousness, being, non-being, physics, mathematics— basically I knew everything there is to know and un-know. God is everything that can ever be and everything that can never be at the same time and I am human so I can only understand it in human terms. Even the best of humanity is still human and everything will be anthropomorphic.”
Summary of after death experience
Before we can understand the after death experience there are things we need to know about our own mind/consciousness. Many of us are used to believing that when we are awake we know who and what we are, and we give this knowing a name such as Susan or Bill. Also we tend to think that what we know through our senses give us an appreciation of reality.
But such appreciation is very limited. To start with out sight only registers about one percent of visible light and our hearing only about one percent of audible sound. So in fact we are almost blind and deaf. We also live in a mental world that is mostly formed by public opinion. It is called a paradigm, and it is generally called the paradigm of the western mind. It is really the religion of most of the western world – could also be called the worldview – a religion because actually it is a belief system. However, if you asked most people in the streets of western cities about it they would not say they believed in what is being described as a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares it, they would insist it is reality.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a paradigm as – “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.”
I think it is true to say in regard to people on the street that many of us share ‘assumptions, concepts, values’ and prejudices that are at the base of how we believe life to be, and that we consider to be reality. However, if we examine this ‘reality’ we see it is made up of a set of theories and beliefs that have become cultural and generally accepted. The imprisoning aspect of this is that we take these assumptions, these theories of what reality is, to be reality itself. We actually see and live in the world as if what are shifting theories is concretely real.
In its simplest form, the paradigm most of us believe is reality can be described as having arisen from the mechanistic ideas of Newtonian physics, in which the universe was seen as a huge mechanical device. As Newtonian physics developed, the fundamental particle of the universe was defined as the atom. Nothing in scientific research at the time could prove that anything existed beyond the atom, and the atom is a physical object. Therefore, nothing other than physical substance was ‘real’. This, so it appeared, disproved the possibility of personal awareness being anything other than some trick of chemicals, molecules and atoms in the brain and body. There could be no soul or life after death because, after all, we are only atoms! Nothing in our consciousness can exist unless it is produced by the physical brain.
But in 1900 Max Planck proposed a revolutionary new view of the universe in publishing the quantum theory. Since then the theory has gathered strength through an enormous amount of research, and is suggesting a universe in which the atom is by no means the fundamental material of our body or the cosmos. In fact it says that the core of our being is an almost indescribable condition of infinite potential. They go so far as to say that we are co-creators of the world we live in, as our personal awareness changes the nature of the things surrounding us. This locks human consciousness into the very fundamental workings of the deepest levels of our body and the universe. In fact quantum physicists have said we are co-creators because consciousness alters ‘reality’. See Quantum Physics
Many modern physicists, working with the information arising in experiments with quantum theory, tell us that our view of the world is based upon our blindness, and is very limited, and through its limitation, unreal. Yet this view we take to be the REAL universe. This new view of the universe sees consciousness as fundamental. The implications of the theorem are enormous. Something can be in two places at once. Apparently distant objects, or people, are intricately linked in an immediate way. There is no separate existence as we previously thought. Our view of the world is not one supported by the facts of physics. Time and space are transcended.
But now we need to move into the examination of living experience. If we start with the word consciousness or awareness, we can begin to open the book of our own life experience. Daily we pass through an extraordinary change that we often take so much for granted we miss the wonder of it. The change occurs between sleeping and waking. For most of us being awake is when we most fully feel ourselves. Compared with this sleeping is a period during which we lose any focused awareness of being an individual, and we sink into what is generally called unconsciousness — the lack of personal awareness.
This swing between waking and sleeping can be seen as the extremes within the possibilities of our experience. Sleeping and waking are the polarities, the North and South Poles of what we can confront. In quite a real sense we can say there is nothing beyond what is included in those polarities. For without consciousness there is nothing and we do not exist.
People feel that they sleep to rest their body, but that is only partly true. Experiments prove that it is the lack of dreaming that is the biggest need. People who were woken each time they started to dream, which is shown by rapid eye movements (REM) in the sleeping person, soon showed signs of severe mental disturbance. Many people say they never dream, but everyone dreams, but such people are deeply unconscious and so have not memory of dreaming. See Science Sleep and Dreams
Dr. Dement and others experimented with dream deprivation with many subjects. The most obvious finding was that if the REM – dreaming – period of sleep is disturbed or prevented by waking the subject each time the REM activity begins, the REM periods of dreaming quickly became more and more frequent. The experiments had to be abandoned because without the use of force it became impossible to stop REM sleep, and the subjects were becoming seriously affected. With experiments with animals where the deprivation was forcible continued, stopping the animal from dreaming, the animals all died.
This suggests that something very important is happening while we are deeply unconscious. The reason for this is that our whole body and mind are directed by a self regulatory process – homeostasis – which constantly regulates all our function, or if it is interrupted, interfered with, attacked or stopped, as it is with dream deprivation, illness of body and mind occurs. See Life’s Little Secrets
Sleep is a little death
How can sleep be death? Well it is a little death because while we dream – a self-regulatory action – we are paralysed and cannot move with our conscious will. But because we are always a dual being – conscious and unconscious – we are moved by another will which I call the Life Will, quite different action than our Conscious Will. Of course we know the Life Will because we experience it all the time as the action of breathing and our heart beat. We take them so much for granted that we miss realising their mystery, and because of that we also miss the other wonders that the Life Will can do. See We are Paralyzed
When I was sixteen I practised a form of meditation for three months. It wasn’t a meditation with a goal or with the aim of getting anywhere, those aims all are attempts made by our Conscious Will. My ‘meditation’ was a complete surrender of my Conscious Will, which allowed my Life Will to express. That allowed me be personally aware as I dived into deep dreamless sleep. I had touched my core self, the core that was the real controlling factor in life. As such I knew that I was bodiless consciousness. I had woken up in what people feel is death – no body, no physical senses, no personality – but vitally alive beyond restrictions. That is not the usual person’s experience of death because mostly people experience a dream state where they have a body and are much the same person as they were in their life.
My experience was not unique for the path had been travelled by many before me. See William Lilley
The after death experience
Because after death we are still in a dream like existence, we tend to create around us those things we expect to see or experience. So someone who has no previous information about death may wander around for awhile confused. A Christian may see Christ welcoming them, so the beginnings are very varied. But there is some sort of life review. This is about harvesting all of value from the life experience. It seems as if there is a great difference between existing in a body and surviving in the grand world of the spirit. For here there has to be found something that will link the life with giving and receiving from others, and of course the integration with a greater purpose. Many people say they go along a tunnel toward a great light, and then great spirit leads them through life review.
This harvesting or reliving of experience is actually a means of entering a completely different world or dimension. It is a graduating process in which you have left the world of the body, with its local laws of time and space where you have to transport your body from place to place to get anywhere; where your body can be crushed or hurt, where you have to constantly eat to keep the furnace going that heats and energises your body, where you are polarised as either a male or female and have a great need to have regular sex; where to communicate you have to make sounds or write symbols both of which we have to learn the appropriate associations to understand, and so our communications are often not understood and create conflicts. Also most humans feel lonely and find it difficult if left alone, and have to constantly try to keep their contact and togetherness alive. Yet it is so difficult to live their life that many have to drug themselves, stimulate themselves constantly with coffee or other stimulants, and feel pain in relationships, fear of death, suffer depression to manage their difficult life. They say it is normal to grieve at someone’s death and to feel painful emotions when a partner leaves them.
At death all of that is left behind and we have to adapt to universal laws and not the local laws and customs of our life in the body. We were citizens of earth, and we now are citizens of the universe, and it takes time to adapt.
But let us look at the life of those who die or have widened their awareness to include consciousness of what was previously unconscious. They do not have to rely on physical speech with its dependence on associations with words and different language, they know what another person communicates, even though out of sight, which is difficult because simply thinking about someone immediately you are with them. Often people as soon as they die are changed in appearance as any illness quickly disappears and they appear younger. Remember, this is the levels of dreams, so you can in fact appear in any form that you are capable of imagining. At first you may keep your body’s features and your sexual gender, but if you can realise that you are unlimited in your awareness, then the dead gradually move toward having both genders blended. But many people who are dead are so fixed in their ideas that they may never move on to greater horizons.
Having lost their body and its appetites there may be a period of adaptation to a life in a world without boundaries. Also because the first level of the spirit world is similar to the world of dreams, you create around you an environment made up of your own inner state. So if you are full of hate, murderous impulses and selfishness, you create a world like that, usually called hell. We are not ‘cast into hell’ we create it ourselves. But we may pass through an experience of purification.
Rudolf Steiner points out that the desire to eat, for instance, is basically an urge arising from the Spirit, as it wishes to take part in physical experience. But frequently we extend this urge and eat just for the pleasure of tasting, or being in company, through insecurity and so on. This also applies, of course, to sexuality, emotions and thinking. If our activities had arisen purely out of spiritual impulse, we would experience no purification. However, we have built into our soul nature, many longings and desires that can only be fulfilled through the body, which are out of harmony with the spirit. There is thus experienced a period of burning desires; as these longings consume themselves in their own fire. During this time, one lives again through memories of life, but only those that were out of harmony with one’s innermost nature. Not only does one remember such deeds and emotions, but also experiences them as happening to oneself. Thus pain given to others, destruction wrought in the world, loneliness and fear sown, are now gone through personally. As with all these experiences, many people go through them during life, and are thus already cleansed.
The same with heaven, it is created out of all the attitudes and ideas and feelings that are in harmony with the way the universe works or is. As a friend told me after his death, “I cannot escape myself. This is because everywhere I look is like a mirror. Every direction I find a reflection of me. It is three-dimensional. It doesn’t matter if I look up or down, left or right, all I see are expressions of who I am.”
At first one will look much as you did at death, except if you are old or ill, then you have quickly gained a more youthful and healthy appearance. But of course that is only your physical shape, and you will create that because that is who you think you are. But a great and probably slow swing over will occur. Because your body is gone, and you are moving toward the spiritual being that has always stood behind your life and witnessed it and given it impulses to try to live out. So gradually you may lose any sense of being male or female.
It is possible some people will not make it that far, but go into a sleep state until their next life in the body. But if they can maintain consciousness as they meet these changes they will slowly become a greater being, and have an awareness that could be seen as super human, touching all around them. This is why some dead relatives come back to us in dreams and visions and tell us things they would never have normally been capable of knowing.
Another conversation with a dead friend stated some of this:
“It seems to me that things are different for me now. I feel something that is difficult to understand. I seem to be getting less and less of the me I knew; yet at the same time more of who I am. More of me is being lost, but at the same time more of me is being gained – a strange paradox”.
Then there is the going beyond even more barriers toward what can be called real spiritual awareness.
As the negative aspects of self are burnt out, there opens depth upon depth of entrance into other beings. From within begins to emerge the flow of direct knowledge and love that we blocked by our dislikes, prejudices and desires. As the ideas of self-being a physical form drops away, as’ the realisation that lasting pleasure arises from within, and is not dependent upon physical objects or activities dawns, one begins to become and to see others as beings of light and tones. These streaming colours and sounds, one gradually realises, are not separate or distinct from all else. They begin to be seen as flowing from greater beings, or a greater being, than oneself, and flowing through all. But through one’s own activities, loves, and thinking, one has woven these tones and colours in a unique fashion. Barriers of separation between others and ourselves melt away, and real union and love exists at this level. We can then, Steiner says, ‘live in each other without that separation which all companionship must experience in the physical world.
In the next region, one sees how the person’s life has accorded not only with their own Self, but with the ‘true being of the world’. We see ourselves as we exist, in or out of harmony with that world consciousness, that essence of all beings, sometimes called the Christ, or Krishna, or Buddha. Here is the judging, the self judging, of the ‘quick and the dead.’ But in fact the meeting with the Christ, Krishna or Buddha, or any other image we have of a great spititual being is actually a meeting with out own core self.
And finally, in this withdrawal, the seventh region is reached, ‘quick or dead’, asleep or awake to the highest in us. ‘The man stands here’ says Steiner, ‘in the presence of the “Life-kernels”, which have been transplanted from higher worlds, in order that in them they may fulfil their tasks.’ These ‘tasks’, expressing through the self, mediated by the soul, and materialised by the body, usually motivate us unconsciously through our body organs. In this seventh region, if consciousness remains, we know ourselves as the whole cosmos of sun, moon, planets, and stars; as all beings, creatures and kingdoms. When we look at these through our physical eyes, we are looking at our own wholeness. The ‘Life kernel’ is the doorway to other ‘cosmic beings’. ‘The life between death and a new birth, and is really a living through the world of stars: but this means, through the spirit of the world of stars,’ not the physical stars. For more information see Rudolph Steiner’s Philosophy of Life and Death
Coming back to earth
Having made this ascent to the innermost of our nature, the essence of the whole cosmos, there now comes for most of us, a return to a fresh physical experience.
There awakens a ‘desire’ or direction, to perfect one’s own being and that of the earth. ‘Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven,’ is an impulse from this region. Depending upon what fruits were brought to each region, this descent enables certain things, qualities or strengths to be ‘claimed’ from each level of our being. A new spiritual ‘seed’ or ‘germ’ is fashioned which will play its part in fashioning our body. The essence of the future personality chooses the hereditary line and its parents. Steiner says the parents provide a seed bed of physical substance, impregnated with their own characteristics of body and psyche. At conception, the material substance is broken down into the germinal level of chaos, in which all physical form is dissolved. The spirit ‘germ’ of the new being takes hold of this.
At birth the ‘germ’ of the future personality and body, is clothed with physical substance drawn from the parents, along with inherited temperamental qualities. Working with these as materials is the essence of the past life and death experience. This spiritual impulse, takes the ‘model’ given by the parents, and works into it the pattern it brings from its central experience. So there comes into being, through life and death, another life upon the earth.
Just as there was a reliving of life at death, so just prior to birth there is a reliving of death. ‘He sees a tableau which this time displays all the hindrances he must remove, if his evolution is to make further progress. And what he sees becomes the starting point of forces that he must carry with him into a new life.