1. The Christian dogmatic view of life after death
We all know that we are born into this world and that one day we will die. Usually this is not something we go around thinking about, but, now and again, the thought crops up, mostly when we experience the death of others, but more especially when the dead person was someone we were attached to, and whom we will miss in our daily life. In most cases it is with fear and sorrow that people then think about death. The thought of utter extinction, and perhaps also the thought that one may one day have to answer for sinful actions committed during one's life, actions one has long regretted, contribute to making the thought of death a gloomy, sad and unpleasant one. Through the materialistic view of life one is led to believe that there is no life after death, for, according to the materialistic view, consciousness is merely a result of combinations of matter. But as nobody wishes to cease to exist — even if there may be certain types of life on earth that might well be dispensed with — the idea of complete extinction makes one feel ill at ease, indeed it fills one's mind with fear and horror. Through religion we are told that after death we are to remain in our graves "till the last day", when Christ will come to judge between "the quick and the dead", and to separate "the sheep from the goats". The "sheep", or those Christian believers who have blindly believed that God had redeemed their sins because Christ sacrificed himself on the cross for their sake, will then enter into the eternal bliss of Paradise, while the "goats" — the unbelieving sinners — will be made to suffer the torments of an everlasting hell! There are immense numbers of people nowadays who find this dogmatic view of life after death difficult to accept. They find it easier to believe that death is "the end of life" — not only as regards their organism, but also as regards thought and consciousness. They talk about entering the "eternal sleep" or "eternal rest".
2. During sleep one lives totally in the world of thought and imagination
There are many people who are so tired of the hurry and worry of life that they feel a certain kind of relief at the thought of such rest and quiet. But eternal rest is, however, not rest; it is annihilation and complete cessation of life. Rest is a condition we enjoy for a time as a contrast to activity and thereafter become satiated with, and once again we long to be active, to create and experience, because we now feel rested. When we have slept well at night we awake feeling refreshed and in good spirits for the duties of the coming day. After such a deep, dreamless sleep we often remark, "I have been far away", and there is far more truth in such an expression than the person uttering these words may be aware of. When asleep we are indeed out of our physical body, and are living entirely in the world of thought and imagination This world is an electrical one consisting of rays and waves. But even if man has some knowledge about electricity, rays, waves and magnetic forces, it is but very little he knows when it comes to the question of those forces and rays that constitute his own consciousness and mentality. When we feel tired and sleepy it is because, in the course of the day, our nervous system has been exposed to so much wear and tear that it now needs repair and renewal. But such renewal cannot come about if energy is still streaming through it. The "current" must be switched off for a time, and we lie down to rest. We cease to receive impressions from the outer world through our sensory organs — we try to compose our organs for sleep. The latter may, however, sometimes prove a little difficult. It is a good plan to recapitulate and take stock of the events of the day, and consider how one may possibly improve one's less fortunate actions, and thus in doing so gradually let go of them and drop off to sleep. When the energy of our day-consciousness for a while does not pour through the nervous system, the necessary restoration can come about, so that everything will be ready for the life-unfoldment that will take place during the coming day in interaction with the outer world. But where is our consciousness while we are asleep, when there is only just sufficient life left in the organism to keep certain automatic functions going?
3. Our memory is near its winter stage in the cycle; we have therefore no recollection of our experiences during sleep
When we are asleep, our "I" finds itself still able to experience but, as all sensory impressions made by the outer physical world have been shut off, it is naturally no longer this world that we experience. In the same way that our physical body is surrounded by a physical world where the physical bodies of other living beings are present, so that an interaction between the beings is made possible by means of their physical organisms, so too our world of consciousness is surrounded by a larger world consisting of radiant matter. In this radiant world surrounding us we are also able to meet the worlds of consciousness of other living beings, if we are on the same wavelength as the thoughts and views they contain. But is it not then necessary to have a body to be able to experience? Most decidedly it is. But a body need not consist, of course, of physical matter. There are bodies that are built up of far finer matter or energies - the so-called spiritual bodies. These are purely electrical in character, and we all have such bodies in addition to our physical body. Through the process we call sleep our consciousness and thus our ability to experience is transferred from the physical body to the spiritual bodies, so it is thus true when one says that while asleep one was "far away", for the ability to experience while in this condition is not limited by time and space in the same way as when experiencing through the physical body. But why is it then that we are usually unable to remember what we have experienced while our physical body was asleep? It is because our faculty of memory is a very degenerated faculty, which is very near its latent stage in its cycle. There are quite other energies and abilities that are at present dominant in terrestrial man's consciousness. As a rule you cannot remember your former incarnations, indeed, you cannot even remember everything you have experienced in your present incarnation. Can you remember what happened on a certain day only a fortnight ago at half past two in the afternoon? It is an exception if you can. Our memory is at the "winter stage" in its cycle. Considered from the point of view of memory, terrestrial man is like a leafless tree in winter time. But after winter comes spring and summer. There will even come a day when this same being, by means of his memory, will be able to move thousands, even millions of years back in time and see what he then experienced. But by then he will naturally no longer be a terrestrial human being. Then he will be conscious of his cosmic origin as being one with the Godhead, and thus identical with Eternity, and will recognize himself as a master of time and space. By then the primitive replacement of organisms through the process we call "death" is a stage long over and done with since the being on the step in evolution on which it then finds itself will be able to rule all-powerfully over all matter in the universe; indeed, he will need but a thought to change the form of matter by his mere word of command.
4. Over and above a certain limit the living beings cannot grow in knowledge and ability without growing simultaneously in morals and love
But for a living being one day to be able to experience such a wonderful existence it will, of course, first have to learn to think in one-hundred-per-cent conformity with the Laws of Life. Imagine what would happen if present-day terrestrial man had the same sovereign power over matter as the aforesaid being! What a terrifying Armageddon could not be the result? Fortunately such a thing is totally impossible. Over and above a certain limit living beings cannot grow in knowledge and ability without growing simultaneously in morals and love. Terrestrial man's repeated incarnations into the physical world may be likened to attendance at a school where he will be trained to be able, one day, to fully experience and create in spiritual matter. But cannot, then, the being learn all this in the spiritual worlds? No, he cannot, he must experience a world where matter offers resistance and must therefore be conquered, in order to develop his thought capacity, and he must learn to meet and associate with beings to whom he does not feel attuned with tolerance understanding and with neighbourly love. All this can be experienced only in a physical world, and as all physical energies are subservient to the law of cycles, the living being must attend the "school" or the physical world in the way that, through alternating periods, he creates a physical organism for himself which, in a way, may be likened to "a cosmic school uniform" through which he can create and experience on the physical plane. This "school uniform" can last a certain time — the period we know as terrestrial man's average lifetime — if not laid open to too many, or too severe, injuries. In such case, it will be worn out before its allotted time, and its usefulness will be reduced, sometimes so much so that it must be completely discarded. Accidents and illness may cause the death of terrestrial man long before he has reached the "threescore and ten" when he would normally leave this physical world, ripe in years and well satisfied to abandon an organism which is now so worn out that a proper manifestation and experience of life in it can no longer be enjoyed.
5. Insufficient sleep gives bad nerves and reduced ability to experience and work
One of the contributory factors enabling our organism to be kept going and to remain not only a useful but an ingenious instrument for our living spirit is that we get the necessary and needful amount of sleep. As mentioned above, the nervous system is exposed to wear and tear every single day, and as it constitutes the "wiring system" forming the connecting link between our spiritual or electrical structure and our physical structure, it is very important as regards our ability to experience, and create in the physical world, that this wiring system is in order. Without sufficient sleep we soon develop "bad nerves", we lose our good form, and both our ability to experience as well as our working capacity will be reduced. It may be some physical illness, e.g. indigestion that is the reason for our getting too little sleep, but there may also be mental reasons. When we lay down to sleep we shut out the impressions from the outer world. But it is not always possible to shut out impressions we have already received. Our thoughts circle around the events of the past day, among which there may be annoyances and unpleasant occurrences, or people who have irritated us. Or it may be something we have done or said that we now regret or are annoyed at. Many people can lie worrying for hours on end with such thoughts in their consciousness, thus preventing themselves from relaxing and giving their nervous system a chance of being reorganized. They doze intermittently only to wake up again every moment, and continue sliding back and forth between sleep and wakefulness in such a way that, in truth, they ruin both their physical as well as their spiritual state. They ruin their physical state by laying their nervous system open to further wear and tear, instead of giving it peace to repair the previously incurred deterioration. And they ruin their spiritual existence, i.e. the experiences they might otherwise have enjoyed on the psychic plane while their organism was resting, by continually disturbing or suspending its enjoyment, as they glide back into the half-awake condition. It is under such abnormal conditions that we experience dreams which are either pure nightmares or some terrible mess. The reason for this is that certain glimpses of the experiences gained on the spiritual plane have become mixed up with the worries, annoyances or the agony or irritation with which our consciousness was filled at the moment just before falling asleep. What then can we do to avoid this? Here, as in so many other cases, it is a matter of concentrating on the Godhead in prayer just before going to rest, then we can regain our peace of mind. We can for instance pray for help in meeting and overcoming in coming days the difficulties which have been the cause of our worries and annoyances.
Every time we fall asleep at night we "die", even if it is only for a single night that we are to be away from the physical world. Our physical body is kept going by means of certain automatic forces and function, but our consciousness should have nothing to do with the body at night, and the only real difference between sleep and death is that the automatic maintenance and renewal process that is carried out during sleep from the spiritual plane ceases when death occurs. By learning to fall asleep in the right way we learn, in fact, how to die in the right way, for, just as we may have nightmares and bad dreams at night if we allow our thoughts to run around in a vicious circle from which it seems impossible to extricate oneself, we may also, when we fall asleep never to wake again in this physical world in the same physical body, be plagued by such unpleasant mental thought grooves that, for a time, they will create a kind of "hellish" experience or "purgatory" for us.
6. "Death" is a sleep which lasts somewhat longer than ordinary sleep
In the process which we here in the physical world call "death", we also sleep away from the experiences of the physical world, and this sleep lasts somewhat longer than that which we are accustomed to understand as "sleep". But just as it is only our physical body that must rest when we sleep "the little sleep" — while our consciousness is fully active in the spiritual world — so too are there certain faculties and talents that must rest for a time while we are "dead" from the physical world, to which we are to wake again later, though this time in a completely new physical body through which we obtain new possibilities for experiencing and creating things which, in our previous incarnation, we only got as far as to dream of.
7. What we call death can be like a glorious sunset from the physical world and a wonderful sunrise in the spiritual world
Irritation, disappointment, resentment, fear, guilt and similar mental climates may give rise to bad dreams and nightmares during sleep if one has not previously overcome such thoughts and feelings in one's mind. Here prayer is an immense power because, by learning to fall asleep in the right way, we actually teach ourselves how to die in the right way, that is to say without any "vicious circle" of negative thoughts. If we honestly try to cast out all dark thoughts from our mind, and pray for help to go through our difficulties, we shall not only come to realize that our daily life will feel far easier and brighter, but, when the time comes to leave our physical organism entirely, the process of doing so will be like a glorious sunset from the physical world and a radiant sunrise in the spiritual world.
8. Every human being can do a lot to make his departure from this world both harmonious and beautiful
We know how a sunset may be so completely enveloped in dark clouds that one cannot see the glorious scenery of golden colours which, for many people, constitutes the loveliest sight that can be experienced in Nature. In the same way, the mental sunset we call death may be so darkly obscured that it lacks all pretension to beauty, peace or harmony. I do not say this to frighten anyone, I would rather emphasize that everyone can do quite a lot to make his departure from this world both harmonious and beautiful, and to make his "birth" into the spiritual world a happy welcome, where the being is received by relations and friends he was fond of, and who have previously passed through the Gates of Death. But to be able to prevent death from being a dark and gloomy occurrence it is important to know what kind of thought combinations might be the cause of a possible "purgatory" or a "hellish experience" during the initial period after one has abandoned one's physical body, and before one passes through the cycle of the spiritual worlds which every living being — even the worst criminal — will come to pass through before he is once again to incarnate into the physical world. Naturally, I am unable to say what each individual being will experience in detail. That will depend completely upon the kind of thoughts and feelings that occupy his mind, upon the level of development his intuition has reached, and upon the special faculties and talents he has particularly developed during his life in the physical world. But I can tell something about the laws governing these experiences, and can roughly describe some of the possibilities awaiting various categories of human beings after death, depending on whether they leave the physical world while they are still children, or die in early youth, or whether they pass over in the prime of life, or as elderly people ripe in years.
9. Death is not something the human being should fear
When a human being has experienced cosmic consciousness, and has thus extended his ability to experience to such a degree that he is able not only to experience day-consciously on the spiritual plane, he will also be able to experience death in such a way that he is fully aware of its structure, as well as its mission. Considered from this cosmic experience of death, the process may be defined as a great gateway leading into a new form of life or experience. All physical beings must pass through this gateway - something everybody knows with certainty, even if it is not something one bothers much about in everyday life. As long as death remains something human beings think of with nothing but awe and terror, it is, of course, only good that most people can put the thought of it so lightly away from them. But the consequence of this unconcern is that when the same being is confronted by the irrevocable fact that one of his immediate circle - or he himself perhaps - is about to die, he is quite unprepared for death, which may make it all the harder for him to get through this process. Yet, in actual fact, death is not anything we should fear. If we try to accustom ourselves to the thought that one day it will be our turn to leave the physical world — a process which, incidentally, we have been through numberless times before, even if we cannot day-consciously remember it — and if, at the same time, we try day by day to cleanse our consciousness of dark thoughts, then death cannot be anything but one of the most beautiful experiences we can meet with.
10. In the main entrance to the spiritual worlds there are four smaller gateways
Though the Gates of Death we are able to reach many greatly varying worlds or spheres. They are not localities in the same way as those we know here in the physical world, they are conditions or wavelengths, for the spiritual world is an entirely electrical world. This is why we will all meet the kind of conditions in the spiritual world to which each of us, according to his or her state of consciousness, can attune. Neither more nor less. Christ's words "In my Father's house are many mansions" are thus an exact expression of all the possibilities there are in life after death in agreement with the longings, wishes, beliefs, thoughts, imagination and creative ability of every individual being. One could say that in the great Main Entrance leading into life in the spiritual worlds there are four smaller gateways: one for beings who die in childhood, one for those who die in early youth, one for those dying in the prime of life, and one for old people who die a natural death, ripe in years in the physical world. From each of these four gateways the living beings can pass on to the various zones or spheres to which, by virtue of their individual mental state, their character, talents and faculty of love, they are attuned.
11. The laws and principles which become effective in the case of the death of a child and its life in the spiritual world
The reasons why a human being leaves his physical organism already in early childhood may be many, and here I will mention only a few. In some of his former incarnations he may have destroyed his ability to build up a new healthy and normal physical organism, so that the body he now manages to evolve in his mother's womb is rapidly impaired by illness, if indeed the child is not actually stillborn. He may also have created a fate for himself which entails that he is not protected against accidents, and thus loses his life in this way, or he may himself once have been the cause of other children's deaths. There are many possibilities. But whatever the fateful cause of someone's death in early childhood, the unpleasantness he has created for himself is not to be found in the actual process of death. Naturally, there may be fear in a child's mind if it suddenly gets killed, but any such fear will instantly be suggestionized away by beings on the spiritual plane. No, the unpleasantness is to be found in the fact that the person in question, who had recently created a physical organism for himself through which he was to experience, create and make new experiences for the benefit of his further development, suddenly has all such possibilities cut off, and after a comparatively brief stay in the spiritual worlds, must again burden his talent kernels by creating a new physical organism in order to make the necessary experiences in the physical world where the beings must incarnate again and again, as it is here they must all learn how to think. But the actual process of death, when in connection with the death of a child, is not a gloomy one. It is usually free from any "purgatory", for the child has no dark thoughts in its consciousness, and if there are any such, they are usually of such an ephemeral character that the guardian spirits will immediately be able to suggestionize them away.
The principle of "guardian spirits" is a universal principle. It applies both in the physical as well as in the spiritual world and, just as there are midwives or obstetricians at hand when we are born into the physical world — a process which is, in fact, a death from the spiritual world — there are also "birth assistants" present when we die from the physical world and are born into the spiritual world. These helpers, guardian spirits or guardian angels — or whatever you prefer to call them — are beings who particularly have the talents and the desire to help others, and, in conformity with the universal principle of attraction and repulsion, they come to help just those beings who they are specially suited to help. In others words, the spiritual beings who, immediately after the process of death, take care of a child that has left its physical organism, are beings radiating an intense love of children, and who exhibit a special ability in guiding and helping such beings. The child's world is a world of games and fairy-tales, and that will also characterize the child's first experiences after it has left its physical body. It will arrive at a kind of kindergarten where loving beings will care for it, and where games and fairy-tales will dominate its existence. But while the child in the physical world had to have fairy-tales read to it from a book, the experience of fairy-tales in the spiritual world is far more alive and realistic. In the spiritual world conditions are such that matter obeys the power of thought or will. The story-teller need only imagine his fairy-tales, and there they are as large as life before the children, not merely as pictures, but in mobile and plastic states, surrounded by the most wondrous landscapes and scenery. Among these guardian spirits who care for the children there may be some who have been great authors or narrators of fairy-tales in the physical world. While they "tell" their fairy-tales their thought-concentrations may sometimes be so powerful that they themselves vanish behind their own thought energies, and all that can be seen are the changing mental images in the narrator's imagination. This sphere of fairy-tales is naturally not only for children, but for all beings on the spiritual plane who are freed from darkness and "purgatory", and whose thoughts, feelings and interests are in tune with such a world. And this sphere borders so closely on the physical plane that its energies may well affect receptive people here e.g. poets and creators of animated cartoons who are thus often inspired from this mental world, which certainly is anything but dull. To the child, however, there will come a time when it becomes satiated with the experiences in this playground and fairy-tale world, and then, with the assistance of its guardian spirits, it will be guided through the intellectual spheres where it does not have so much to experience, but where everything experienced will be bright and radiant. Thus the child will soon come to experience the sphere of memory or the kingdom of bliss, from where it will once again incarnate into the physical world. Memories of its former physical lives will fill its consciousness with bliss and its "energy of longing" will be more and more concentrated on the physical existence. These energies of longing and bliss will then join up with the radiance of bliss emanating from the two physical beings experiencing the culmination of their mutual love. It is of course not decided by mere chance which man and woman will be the being's parents in a new physical incarnation, for here also the universal law of attraction and repulsion applies between the energies radiated by living beings, deciding the fate of both parents as well as that of the being for whom they are now to be guardian spirits in the physical world, until such time that the said will be able to fend for itself.
12. How the process of death will shape itself for the being who dies in the middle of his youth
If a human being dies in the middle of youth, what he comes to experience during the initial period immediately after his death will, of course, be somewhat different from what would have been the case if he had left his physical body in early childhood. A young person's consciousness is filled with quite other kinds of thoughts and feelings than those of a child, and this will also influence his or her experiences on the spiritual plane. As youth can often be at a difficult age when one's consciousness is filled with opposition and criticism, and can, at the same time, be strongly concentrated on the physical world, making a career, being in love with the opposite sex, etc., a breaking off of the physical existence at that early age may well entail some difficulties, especially if death comes suddenly. If this death is caused by illness the young person will have time to get prepared for it. Even though one may not notice it directly through the person's day-consciousness, it will take place at night on the spiritual plane. But in cases of sudden death, e.g. through a traffic accident or some similar cause, quite some time may elapse before the person in question realizes that he or she has died. What happens in detail in each individual case is naturally specific, but the same laws and principles will hold true for every single person's passage through the Gates of Death. Young people can often differ greatly in spiritual maturity, and there may be young people who are far more advanced in spiritual matters than many much older people, and to such young people the passing over to the other world will not prove very difficult, for they will quickly pray for help, and the helpers will come at once to their aid. But in the case of young people whose entire consciousness is occupied with physical matters, without the slightest belief in a life after death, their thoughts may continue to circle for some time around the latest events that took place before they died, just as may often be the case in an unpleasant dream. They are surrounded by their own world of thought, like a mental prison from which they are unable to escape. Possibly, for instance, in their concentration of thought, they drive along the road towards the site of their accident over and over again, in order, as it were, to attempt to reconstruct events, and determine what has happened. On the physical plane people with the power of clairvoyance will be able to see the victim of the accident driving towards the site of his accident where he suddenly vanishes from sight, because his concentration of thought comes to an end just there. This is what people normally call a "ghostly vision", which is based on special laws and principles, which science will one day come to understand. The young person in question will finally come to realize that something has happened which he cannot understand. A succession of thoughts from his physical life will pass through his consciousness, not as something within himself, but as something surrounding him. And however materialistic or atheistic the young fellow may imagine he was, he will pray for help in his distress — and help will be there instantaneously. The guardian spirits have been waiting all the time, only too ready to help and aid him, but he must himself attune his own mind to their wavelength. Only then can the desired help be released. Now, how do these guardian spirits reveal themselves to those they are about to help?
13. Guardian spirits show themselves in the guise that will be most helpful in any given situation
Do they show themselves to the being they are about to help as the white-robed angels we saw pictured in the illustrated Bibles of our childhood, with luminous haloes, draperies and angels' wings? Only if the person to be helped expects them to look like that will they do so, but not if he or she does not realize what has really happened. In the spiritual world psychic matter obeys the commands of will and thought, and thus the ministering spirit, by the power of its will and thought, is able to shape its spiritual body and show itself in the guise that in the given situation will be most suitable and helpful. Possibly a guardian spirit may be someone who knew the person to be helped when they were both alive in the physical world together, and in such a case, he will show himself in his old familiar aspect, so as to be able to comfort, help and guide his friend in the best possible way. There is also the possibility that the person needing help feels that a doctor, a nurse or similar helpers from the physical world, would be the right kind of help. Beings resembling the desired category will therefore show themselves, and they will suggestionize away the dark thoughts from the consciousness of the unhappy person. In doing so, they will gradually acquaint him or her with what has actually happened, and they will help the person and guide him or her to the spiritual sphere, which for the moment will be attuned to the same wavelength as the thoughts and feelings which dominate the state of mind of the person in question. In our time when so many young soldiers die on the battlefields with their consciousness filled with terror, where events have occurred so quickly that they do not know that they are dead, the ministering guardian spirits will in many cases appear in the guise of Red Cross orderlies, nurses or doctors and they will wake up in a hospital, where they will gradually realize that there is in fact nothing wrong with them as long as they don't think so themselves. Something similar happens in the case when a person dies after a long protracted illness. In the initial period after their death, they may also experience the atmosphere and surroundings of a hospital and being surrounded by loving nurses and doctors, until they discover that the illness exists only in their own imagination. Once such thoughts have been overcome, the guardian spirits will no longer need to appear in the guise of nurses etc. in order to be able to tune in to the wavelength of those that need their help and guidance.
14. The religious conceptions of Paradise
If conditions are such that a person's religious feelings are awakened when he realizes that he is experiencing the state after death, his consciousness may possibly concentrate on his childhood faith, if he had one, and on conceptions of angels and a paradise. Such spheres do exist and they are just as colourful and beautiful as any depicted by the old masters in their wonderful religious paintings. In such pictures God the Father is often seen seated on his throne surrounded by a throng of angels and holy men and women, all arrayed in splendour and glory. Christ is sitting at his Father's right hand and the Holy Ghost is floating above them in the likeness of a dove. The person experiencing all this will himself be one of the great white flock which is playing harps or waving palm branches amid chanting and rejoicing, until this beautiful scene becomes tiresome for want of renewal. Then it is no longer paradise, but would actually be hell if it were to continue for all eternity. Just imagine doing the same kind of thing over and over again for all eternity. Or to experience the selfsame conditions, however beautiful they may be, for ever and ever? Such a heaven would be anything but a paradise, it must be a hell. But things are not like this. Life is incessant renewal and transformation.
15 The collective paradisiacal states will disappear in favour of the creation of a "Kingdom of Heaven"
The above-mentioned kind of heaven is but a single sphere among many, and it is not part of the advanced spiritual worlds, but is only a condition to be found in the forecourts leading into these worlds, an intermediary condition where man's consciousness is still strongly dominated by the ideas he once entertained with regard to the world to come, when he was living in the physical world. In this way there are also beautiful paradises for Mohammedans, Hindus, Buddhists and for people still belonging to more primitive religions, just as there once was a sphere where those who believed in Odin, Thor and Valhalla sat at meals with gods and heroes. These collective paradisiacal states based upon dogmatic faith will, however, gradually disappear; they are based upon man's religious instinct and religious feelings. But as creative thought is developed in terrestrial man in conjunction with more humane conceptions and neighbourly love, a "Kingdom of Heaven" will be evolved in his consciousness, a kingdom which will gradually be created on earth too, a world of intellect, art, logic, peace, liberty and brotherly love, in short, a truly human kingdom. Such a world could never come to exist in physical matter, if it did not previously exist in spiritual matter. However it does, and it constitutes the body of feeling of the earthly globe-being, and in this world terrestrial man now experiences everything purely human which, at his stage of consciousness, he can tune in to. It is also from this sphere that the guardian spirits come and man himself can become a guardian spirit to the extent that his qualities of neighbourly love and his intellectual and creative abilities have been developed.
16. The experience of the process of death for the person who dies in his mature age
In the case of people in the prime of life or of mature age who have left the physical world, their experiences in the forecourt or intermediary stage will be characterized by the thoughts and feelings possessed by a man or woman of that age. But this is, of course, quite individual and hence can be portrayed only in broad outline. In mature years things are often so that the being is very strongly occupied with physical activities, and most of its consciousness and love is concentrated on such matters. A man may be the driving force in an important concern — the result of many years' hard work — or he is just in the middle of some intellectual creative activity — behind which there is also many years' work and concentration - when suddenly he dies and finds himself deprived of the physical means which connected him with the world in which his creative work took place; but he is still fully occupied with the thoughts which bound him to the work in question, with its development and its success in the physical world. It is not difficult to imagine that when a person's consciousness is filled with plans and with an urge to carry them into physical effect, he will feel bewildered when he suddenly loses the only means by which that work can be carried out. In principle it is the same as if a craftsman suddenly loses both his hands here in the physical world. It is nothing less than a catastrophe. We have, however, brilliant examples here in the physical world of how people who have become invalids nevertheless manage to get along, by virtue of an indomitable will coupled with untiring patience and, of course, also by other people's loving help and understanding. Is a person an "invalid" then, when he loses his physical body? Certainly not, but he may well feel like one if his mind has been centred almost wholly on the activities of the physical world and on his own physical happiness and career. If, on the other hand, his activities have not been particularly coloured by egoistical feelings, but have had a strong tinge of altruism through the desire to do good to others, the transition will not prove difficult, for these activities will be well attuned to the wavelengths of the spiritual world, and they can be performed through the spiritual bodies. But if his activities have been based mainly on an urge to gain power and riches — maybe even at the expense of others — or if his desire for distinction, fame and titles through intellectual research, has been stronger than his need for finding the truth, or his desire to create something beneficial or pleasurable for others, he is likely to meet considerable difficulties until he accustoms himself to the spiritual state. With clairvoyant powers one will be able to see him "haunt" the places of his physical activities, because he is bound to very definite lines of thought from which he will, of course, be released the moment he prays for help, because he realizes that everything is different from what it was before.
In the case of a woman leaving the physical world in the prime of life, she must also learn to understand that she needs no longer bother about cooking and cleaning, or many other household activities she was accustomed to carrying out. Her greatest problem will probably be worries about her children, who may not yet be able to fend for themselves. But guardian spirits will help her to see that they are being taken care of; she may even herself be enable to show them her loving care and interfere from the spiritual world; it is also possible for her to become their guardian spirit.
On coming through the gates of death terrestrial man first passes through an intermediary stage or forecourt to the spiritual worlds. His experiences here are a process of weaning him from his all too materialistic thoughts and feelings, or from fear, wrath, resentment, an uneasy conscience and similar thought climates, all of which are vibrations that cannot possibly attune to the wavelengths of the vibrations of the higher worlds, while at the same time, it is a period of accommodation to the principles and laws governing the spiritual worlds and applying also to the spiritual bodies which are now to carry his consciousness. His experiences in this forecourt may take the shape of a kind of purgatory or hell if the being who has left his physical body has conflicts in his mind, or if he is very strongly bound to physical thought-habits. But in any case, after a shorter or longer period — through the help of guardian spirits — these conditions will come to an end and terrestrial man will, as a cell in the spiritual bodies of the earth experience a wonderful holiday away from the difficulties of the physical world. He will, in proportion to his abilities and interests, be able to experience the highest spheres of the art of living and the beings indigenous to these spheres and at the same time he will be able to be together with beings he has known and been fond of in the physical world.
17. Man's natural death due to old age
The most beautiful form of death that can be experienced by terrestrial man is a natural death on account of old age. He is ready for the spiritual existence, for there is nothing more here in the physical world to hold back his thoughts. Naturally all old people do not enjoy peace of mind, and when such peace is lacking they will have to go through their own particular form of purgatory, but it is an exception. As a rule most human beings are mellowed by old age. They are more tolerant and able to resign. Life has even prepared them for what is about to come when they leave the shell that is worn-out and can no longer be used. It is a relief for them; the natural function of death for terrestrial man is to be relieved of an instrument which can serve them no longer and to give them an opportunity to use the abilities and talents they have developed in their physical existence for wonderful experiences in the spiritual worlds. When they have experienced as much as is possible at their present stage of development, they will obtain a new organism on the physical plane with which to continue their "studies in learning how to think in conformity with the laws of life", for this is the true object of physical existence. When the old person has abandoned his worn-out body — quite often in such a way that he has passed quietly away in his sleep — he will experience something which — if he had any possibility of waking up again to tell us what he had seen — he would describe as a wonderful dream. The details of this "dream" will naturally be individual, but they may well be something like this: the old person will suddenly feel himself in a hitherto unknown state of complete liberation, freed from all weight, both physically as well as mentally. He sees brilliantly illuminated gateway — which he now remembers having seen many times before when he was asleep, only then he was unable to come quite close to it. But he was able to observe how this portal opened to admit other beings who had been liberated completely from their connection with their physical bodies and were therefore able to pass through. On such former occasions he had nearly been able to glimpse how a brilliantly shining flood of light streamed out towards the beings who were about to pass in through the portal. This time he himself is illuminated by this flood of brilliance and he sees that he no longer has an old worn-out body but a new and youthful body shimmering in luminous iridescence. Within the portal he sees even more radiantly lustrous beings welcoming new arrivals, surrounded by glorious scenery set in resplendent sheen of morning and eventide skies, and the newcomer discovers that the beings he first took for angels are old friends and dearly loved relations he has known, possibly through many incarnations. Throughout all this there has been the sound of beautiful music and on the far side of the gateway, wondrous landscapes are to be seen stretching away into the distance. There are woods and lakes, a rich vegetation and many songbirds whose twittering rises towards the sky harmonizing with the music of the spheres. The old dying person from the physical plane has turned into a radiant angel and for a time is to enjoy the world of such beings, he will also become a guardian angel for beings on earth, or for those in their own purgatories who are in need of help. But the above vision is but a view of the gateway of death. It is the initiation into life in the spheres of light. From it, roadways lead to beautiful divine worlds where the being will come to experience the highest forms of true joy, happiness and peace than can be experienced at his or her stage of development. They will be allowed to experience the presence of the Godhead more strongly than they have ever been able to before within the present spiral, and from here their path will lead to a new physical incarnation, where new possibilities will be revealed for furthering their development. Thus the spheres of light will one day be not merely worlds they visit between two physical incarnations, but their permanent home where they can experience and create for the good of everything and everybody.
From three lectures given by Martinus at the Martinus Institute, Copenhagen on 16th, 23rd and 30th October 1949.
Manuscripts for the lectures revised by Mogens Møller
Revision approved by Martinus
First published in Contact Letter no. 23-25/1959
Original Danish title: Gennem dødens port — søvnen og døden
Translated by Harald Berglund, 1982
© Martinus Institut 1981,
May be reproduced stating the copyright and the source of the material.