From The Book on Life Beyond, 1978. Translated from Das Buch vom Jenseits, second edition, published in German in 1929.
The following three chapters are to give you an idea—to the extent one can by means of words—of what you will encounter once your present life has ebbed away and you will be set free from this domain of physical perception.
Like a traveler's guide book, which can tell you much about a country of this earth that you have never seen, the present volume, too, was written to provide you with the most important facts concerning that—to you still unknown—world in which you one day shall awaken, capable of feeling and experience, no matter whether you at this time can believe that such a future life exists, or not.
This book shall, at the same time, clear your mind of many errors, by which your thoughts are still misled when you reflect on those who once were dear to you in life on earth, but whom you had to bury.
Anguish-ridden faith and rampant superstition, both of old and modern times, have brought forth such a host of mental phantoms regarding the "beyond" that now there is great need to sift through this confusion, so that baseless fictions may no longer cloud your mind.
The only human beings who truly have authentic things to say concerning life after "death"—man's separation from the mortal organism—are the few exceptions who already know and live that other life, which has no need of a material body. And those few know it from reliable, direct experience, while at the same time, in their mortal form and nature, they also still experience the joys and sorrows of this present life, like you.
As one of those who are already fully conscious in that life beyond, I shall relate what can be told in words; for we can feel the longing of this age, which rightly may expect that factual experience of spiritual life, though it have reached the consciousness of but a few, ought not to be kept secret knowledge any longer.
May you benefit from what I have to tell you!
May my words be able to awaken your awareness of your inmost self, so that you will discover—within your proper consciousness—that kind of inner certitude which best will guard you from falling prey to either sterile skepticism or to a blind belief in every sort of fantasy created by confused or overly excited mortal minds.
Within yourself alone you are to find the touchstone by which you always shall be able to determine how much truth and how much fiction the various ideas contain which mortal man created for himself, from his beginnings, to give himself the strength he needed to endure the dark and awesome mystery which opened up before his eyes each time he stood beside a lifeless human form.
. . .
All things encountered in the world of spirit are experienced as being just as tangible and solid as anything you know in physical existence, through your mortal senses. Indeed, you should be very much mistaken if you thought that in the realm of spirit one finds only fleeting dreams devoid of shape and substance.
What you perceive in spiritual life are not hallucinations, visions, or other self-created concepts. Nor is it your inherited experience, emerging out of your subconscious in the form of visual "projections."
The things that one perceives by means of spiritual senses are, in all respects, existing as objectively as anything that mortal senses can perceive. The spiritually apprehended forms thus correspond completely—even at the very highest level of the spirit's self-representation—with forms existing in the world of matter. In the spirit's world, however, these forms are modified according to the laws that govern this domain.
In the world of spirit, too, you will find lands and seas, majestic canyons and lofty peaks. There, too, are glaciers covered with eternal snow, and gentle, spacious valleys of graceful beauty and profound serenity.
If this sounds too "material"—too "this-worldly"—the reader should consider that, in his present life as well, all his physical perceptions are likewise only caused by certain patterns of impressions, brought forth by external means. He should further bear in mind that his combined perceptions only represent the physically observable effects of certain energies. Thus, all the "names" that we attach to things only signify, strictly speaking, given combinations of individual impressions, which we perceive in fixed, related patterns. For example: the human eye receives the optical impression "white"; the hand notes the impression "cold" while sensing the consistency peculiar to the object touched; and if the mass is stepped on, the ear receives impressions of a crunching sound. And now we signify this complex of impressions—which further may include the observation that the mass will quickly melt, and that its flakes show crystal patterns—by the name of "snow."
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