Departed this life!
Perplexed and lonely, a soul stands in the chamber of death! Perplexed because the human being lying on the death-bed refused while on earth to believe in the continuity of life after the death of the physical body! He had therefore never seriously considered the matter and ridiculed all who spoke of it.
Confused, he looks around! He sees himself lying on his death-bed, sees people he knows standing about it weeping, hears the words they speak, and senses their grief as they lament his passing. He would like to laugh and call out that he is still alive! He does so, but is surprised to observe that they do not hear him. He calls again and again, louder and ever louder. The people do not hear it, but go on lamenting. Fear begins to arise within him, for he himself hears his own voice quite clearly, and is also distinctly aware of his own body.
Again he calls out in anguish, but nobody pays any attention to him! Weeping, they gaze upon the lifeless body, which he recognises as his own yet suddenly regards as something strange that is no longer part of him, for he now stands beside it in a body free from all the pain he had suffered up till then!
Now he lovingly calls the name of his wife who is kneeling beside the death-bed, but her weeping does not cease and there is no word or movement to show that she has heard him. In desperation he walks up to her and shakes her shoulder vigorously. She does not notice it. He does not know that he is only touching and shaking the ethereal body of his wife, not the physical one, and that the woman, who like him never gave a thought to the existence of anything beyond the physical body, therefore cannot feel his touch upon her ethereal body.
An unspeakable feeling of dread makes him shudder! A feeling of being utterly forsaken makes him so weak that he sinks to the floor and loses consciousness!
The sound of a voice he used to know gradually awakens him again. He sees the body he used on earth surrounded by flowers. He would like to fly away, but he finds it impossible to sever himself from this cold, lifeless body. He distinctly feels he is still connected to it. Again he hears the voice which awoke him from his slumber. It is his friend speaking to another person. They have each brought a wreath and are talking together while laying them down. No one else is in the room.
His friend! He wishes to attract his attention, also that of the other man; they were often welcome guests together in his home. He must tell them that strange as it may seem he is still alive, that he can still hear what they are saying! He calls out! But his friend calmly turns to his companion and goes on talking. But what he says gives him a shock! Is that his friend? Is that the way he talks about him now?
Petrified, he listens to the words of these people with whom he had so often drunk and laughed, and who only flattered him while sitting at his table enjoying the hospitality of his home!
They left and others came. How clearly he could now see through people! So many whom he had highly valued now filled him with disgust and anger, and several whom he had always disregarded he would like to shake hands with gratefully. But they neither heard nor sensed him, although he shrieked and raved at them to prove he was still alive!
In a great procession the body was carried to the grave. He sat astride the coffin! Embittered and desperate, he could now but laugh and laugh! But his laughter quickly gave way to deepest despondency, and a great feeling of desolation assailed him. He became tired and fell asleep.
When he awoke darkness surrounded him. How long he had been asleep he could not tell, but he felt that he could no longer be connected to his physical body, for he was free! But free in a strangely oppressive darkness!
He called out, but no sound came. He could not hear his own voice. He sank back groaning, and in so doing struck his head hard against a sharp stone. When after a long time he awoke once more there was still the same darkness, the same sinister silence. He wanted to jump up, but his limbs were heavy and refused to do their work. With all the strength born of fearful desperation he struggled to his feet, staggering and groping his way to and fro. He often fell down and injured himself, and bumped against corners and edges to right and left, but he was allowed no respite – for a strong urge drove him to grope onwards unceasingly and to seek. To seek! But what? His thinking was confused, tired and without hope. He was seeking something that he could not comprehend. He was seeking!
It drove him onward, ever onward, until he again sank down, only to rise once more and resume his wanderings. Years passed in this way, decades, till finally tears welled up in his eyes and sobs shook his breast and ... a thought arose in him, a petition, the outcry of a tired soul yearning for an end to this condition of dark hopelessness!
This outcry of utter despair and hopeless suffering, however, gave birth to the first thought of longing to escape from this condition. He tried to understand what had brought him to this terrible plight, and what had so cruelly forced him to wander in darkness. Around him he could feel nothing but stark rocks! Was this the earth, or perhaps after all the other world in which he had never been able to believe?
The other world! Then he must be physically dead and yet alive, if he could call this condition being alive! He found thinking the greatest difficulty. And so he groped onwards in his seeking. Again years passed. Oh, for a way out of this darkness! The wish grew into a powerful urge, which gave way to longing. Longing, however, is the purer intuition born out of the coarse urge, and out of this longing very timidly a prayer arose.
Finally this prayer of longing burst forth from him like a spring, and a feeling of soothing, comforting peace, humility and submission, entered his soul. When he arose to continue his wanderings he experienced a warm glow coursing through his body, for now twilight surrounded him and he could suddenly see!
Far away in the distance he recognised a light, like a torch that greeted him. Jubilantly he stretched forth his arms towards it, and filled with deep happiness he again sank down, his heart overflowing with gratitude, and gave thanks to Him Who had granted him this light! With renewed strength he then strode towards the light. It came no nearer to him, but after his experiences he still hoped to reach it even if it should take centuries. What had now happened to him might happen once again, and thus finally lead him out of this stony desert into a warmer and lighter region, if he humbly prayed for it!
“My God, help me in this!” broke forth from his hope-filled breast. And, what joy, he could again hear his own voice! Even though at first quite weak, still he could hear it! His happiness at this gave him new strength, and full of hope he again went forward.
Such is the story of the initial experiences of a soul in the Ethereal World! This soul could not be called bad, on earth he had even been considered very good. He had been the head of a large industrial establishment, always busy and meticulously concerned to comply with the mundane laws.
Let me add an explanation to this case! The man who in his life on earth refuses to acknowledge that there is also life after death, and that sooner or later he will be forced to render account for all that he has done and all that he has left undone, is blind and deaf when he one day has to pass over into the Ethereal World. Only during the days and weeks while he still remains connected with his discarded physical body will he be able partially to observe what goes on around him.
However, once he is free from his disintegrating physical body this possibility is lost to him! He no longer sees or hears anything. That, however, is not punishment, but quite natural, because he did not want to see or hear anything of the Ethereal World. His own will, which can quickly form ethereal matter corresponding to it, prevents his ethereal body from seeing as well as hearing until gradually a change takes place in his soul. Whether this takes years or decades, perhaps even centuries, is the concern of each individual. He can exercise his free will untrammelled. Help will only come to him when he himself longs for it. Not before! It will never be forced upon him!
The light which this soul greeted with such great joy when it started to see again was always there, but previously the soul was unable to see it. This light is also clearer and stronger than it appears at first sight to the hitherto blind soul. How the soul sees it, whether strong or weak, depends entirely on the condition of the soul itself. The light does not come closer of its own accord, but it is there! The soul can enjoy it at any time, if it humbly and earnestly wishes to do so.
However, what I am explaining here applies only to this particular kind of human soul. It does not necessarily apply to others. In the region of darkness and its planes there is no light. There it is impossible for him who advances inwardly to be able suddenly to see the light, for he must first be led out of the surroundings which hold him.
The condition of the soul depicted here may surely be called miserable, because it is filled with a great fear and is void of all hope, but it did not wish it otherwise. It now receives only what it forced upon itself. It had refused to believe in a conscious life after physical death. But the soul cannot abolish this continuation of life for itself, because it has no jurisdiction over it. It only builds for itself a barren ethereal plane, paralysing the senses of the ethereal body, so that it can neither see nor hear ethereally until ... the soul itself finally changes its attitude.
These are the souls which can be found by the million on earth today. Apart from the fact that they refuse all knowledge about God and eternity, they can still be called decent. The fate of the evil-minded is naturally much worse, but we shall not speak about them here, only about the so-called respectable people.
When it is said that God will stretch forth His Hand to help, this is done in the Word which He sends out to mankind, showing them how they can redeem themselves from the guilt in which they have become entangled. From the very beginning He has shown His Mercy in all the great possibilities placed freely at the disposal of human spirits in Creation. This is so overwhelming that the man of today cannot even conceive it because he never concerned himself with it seriously enough! Wherever he did, however, it was only as a pastime or for the purpose of vain self-aggrandisement!
“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” ― David Mitchell