The Order and Diversity of the Spiritual Worlds—The Process of Reincarnation

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 12 | September 17, 1957


I bring you divine blessings, my dear friends.

One hears people say again and again, “If God exists, and there is indeed a divine order, how can it be that so many terrible things happen on earth?”  You all know, you have all learned that human beings forge their own destinies. That you have to carry such heavy burdens is the result of breaking spiritual laws, often unconsciously. Still, this will not sufficiently explain to you events like wars, in which, through the decision of a few, many who seem innocent have to suffer a heavy fate. To this I reply:  First of all, even in mass or group disasters, an individual will never need to experience anything that does not fit into his or her own destiny. Second, every person, except those very few who have already reached a higher state of purification, is also sharing the responsibility for wars and other mass disasters. Not only the politicians or those few who visibly and publicly shape world history are to be made responsible for wars, but every single person who, with impure thoughts and emotions, pollutes the cosmic “reservoir,” and this, one day, must have its effect.

Each thought of hate, of separation, of egoism, of injustice, of discrimination, of wanting more for oneself than for one’s neighbor, in short, each thought that breaks God’s laws, is a building block in that enormous spiritual structure—war—which must first be formed in spirit before it can manifest destruction on the material plane. If only a small part of humankind sowed the seeds of peace, wars would not exist, in spite of a few unscrupulous politicians. Most people, including you, my friends, harbor thoughts of anxiety, and if not thoughts of hate, then of mistrust and separation, such as between one group and another—and all of these violate the law of brotherhood. Each thought of this kind, each emotion is a significant contribution to the outbreak of war.

This does not apply to thoughts and feelings only, or to individual reactions to general political issues and opinions. Even when people are free of false reactions concerning society in general, but react in their private lives in erroneous negative ways, this energy will contribute to precipitate a war or another mass catastrophe. Only when you purify yourself from within, cleanse your emotions and thoughts and so best fulfill your destiny wherever you are placed, can you become also a carrier of peace. Indirectly, by living spiritually, people can do more for or against war than politicians or statesmen, my dear friends.

Question yourself honestly, feel into it, examine yourselves when you send out—perhaps until now unconsciously—such “poison” that aids and abets the powers promoting war. Look at some of your fellow humans with whom you might have difficulties. They might have hurt you and you cannot get over it or understand it. Yet try looking at the issue from another point of view. Try to see that the other person has perhaps reacted to you only from blindness, ignorance, and a great inner insecurity, erroneously attempting to protect himself. Consider how often you have had a similar reaction yourself and may have wounded a fellow human being, not because you wanted to but because in your own blind insecurity you thought that this was the best way to protect yourself. To the extent you do this yourself, it will be inevitably done to you by others, although not always by the same person. To the extent you recognize and understand this state of affairs, you will recognize the so far inexplicable behavior of the other for what it is, just in the way I have explained here.  With this understanding the hurt will leave you and then the understanding for the other party will increase steadily because you have experienced it yourself and it has become part of your consciousness. From the understanding comes empathy and that is the way of love. With it you build your happiness, you gain knowledge and wisdom, you fulfill your life and so contribute to the cause of peace. Complete this little task, my friends, every single one of you; take it seriously, not superficially, and then you will feel a great liberation. You will free yourself of a burden.

So try not always to focus on yourself and your pain. Try to see the other. Forget yourself for the moment, attempt to understand the other in the sense I explained before. See his or her pain, not yours, see his or her insecurity, not yours. And ask God to give you the light of truth and knowledge to look at the whole situation as it really is, not the way you are trying to present it from your point of view. I can promise you, my loved ones, that if you are truly desirous to understand the need and the loneliness of others, then you will not experience their erroneous acts as painful to you. You can liberate yourself from your suffering by concentrating on the “thou” instead of the “I” and by asking God to give you the full vision of the truth. If this desire is genuinely present, it will be fulfilled. But we know full well that one must make up one’s mind to be truly motivated by a genuine desire. Consider this an occasion to test yourself.

And now, my dear friends, I would like to fulfill a wish of some of my friends and, as an exception, talk about life in the worlds of spirit. I will come back to it in the future when the opportunity arises, because in this short time I can only say little about the immeasurable complexity of the spirit worlds and their different conditions and interrelationships.

When human beings hear about the spheres of the beyond, they often think that all this is too much like conditions on earth and they cannot believe it. But truly, my dear ones, everything you have in your world is also in the spiritual world, and much more. For earthly objects are only a reflection, an imitation of the corresponding spiritual forms. They actually could not exist in your world unless they first existed in spirit. Thus spiritual things are not, as human beings often think, symbols. It is the other way round:  the earthly things are symbols standing for spiritual reality. There is much material in this to meditate upon. However, the things of the spirit world are in a different relationship to the spirit entities than an earthly thing, an earthly landscape, is to human beings. In the spirit world, the landscapes or objects are the mental expression, the product of the mentality of the respective spirit being; in the human world the objects or landscapes seem to have nothing to do with the individual. They are perceived to exist independently of the individual, are purely functional, so to speak. Of course, for human beings this is difficult to understand. But in time, your knowledge will increase.

There are an infinite number of spheres from the highest and purest to the deepest and most impure, with—for you—unfathomable gradations in-between. Not all the beings who are no longer subject to the incarnational cycle are already in the highest spiritual spheres. They have to develop further, a development which will take place in the spirit world. The highest world is what we call “the house of God” even though this is not to be understood literally. Spirits of higher development who do not yet live in the highest sphere are given occasional access to these highest splendors. These worlds consist of subtle matter of such immeasurable harmony and beauty that you, my friends, cannot possibly imagine. The most beautiful landscape on earth is tainted with impurity and disharmony compared to this beauty. The most beautiful and most masterfully executed music on earth is dissonance compared to the spiritual sounds—and so on. I lack the words to describe it and you lack the concepts. Everything is created from rays, all is in movement, in change, and yet in equilibrium. This apparent contradiction cannot be squeezed into your verbal concepts, just as it is impossible for me to convey to you even an approximation of the splendors to be found in the high and highest spheres.

The beings living there have to fulfill their tasks in the Great Plan, until all beings have returned to God. A wonderful order and organization reigns. The most diverse spheres exist here. I can only tell you very little today about these. There are spheres of music and color, where the sounds are colors and the colors are sounds—and at the same time they are also fragrances. On earth everything is separated, there is no oneness.

One sphere in the spirit world could be called the sphere of science. Yet it is not like your human science. All the knowledge that exists, which humankind discovers only partially and gradually, is openly displayed. There is the sphere of history, if I can call it so. It does not merely deal with the history of the earth but also with the history of Creation, and here everything can be observed. You only have to imagine a movie. Everything is etched in that breath of God, and you can review it again. Spirits sufficiently advanced in their development and having a specific interest may take on a particular task. They are then guided to this sphere by expert spirit beings, and, with their help, study for some time to learn what is necessary and advantageous for the chosen task. They learn the Plan of Salvation, the history of Creation, and all that pertains to it. Here are also the roughly outlined plans for the future, always only as a framework giving each soul enough space to determine the time and the outcome with its free will. This sphere too is of unimaginable beauty. Then there is the sphere where the spirits of the dead children live to be trained and educated. This sphere is also of great beauty. And there are many, many more.

The spheres which no longer belong to these heights contain also wondrous beauty. And there, too, the beauty is much greater than what is most beautiful on your earth. Many possibilities and varieties of the spheres I just mentioned exist also here. But their perfection is not as complete as those of the similar spheres among the highest heights. Everything depends on the entities’ developmental stage. Receptivity for happiness, harmony, and completion depends entirely on the developmental state.

There are spheres of purification of which the earth is one. Those purification spheres exist on various levels of development. There are, further, many kinds of schools and universities. There are hospitals, my dear ones, where ailing souls are taken care of and healed. There are places of rest, also in different degrees, all corresponding to their development, for spirits who have left their bodies behind and also for spirits who have come to rest in the spiritual world after the completion of a great task. These beings need rest for a certain amount of time.

Other spheres could be called reception spheres. They are also beautiful and often more so than your earth sphere, for spirit entities who are perhaps not yet on a level to deserve continuous bliss. However, they have fulfilled their lives well within the limits of their possibilities, and need and deserve a time of recovery before they can resume their path of development.

Within an extensive sphere with different departments, there are specific places where the incarnations are prepared. In hospitals of a very specific kind spirits entities who are medically trained work on preparing the fluids, as I have explained already. They draw the fluids together, rendering the entity unconscious for the time. In another part of this sphere the incarnations are discussed. Here specifically trained higher beings know exactly the laws and the past incarnations of an individual soul, have studied the load still to be carried, the merits, the abilities, what has been completed and what still remains. They know the entire path of the individual soul’s destiny, so that they are capable of ascertaining and planning the most advantageous circumstances and conditions for the next life on earth, including the merits and hindrances which each entity is to bring to earth in order to make the most progress. The being who is about to be incarnated discusses the coming life with the higher beings, speaks its wishes and listens to advice.

Then there are the different spheres of purification, each according to developmental stages. In the future I will talk more about how the destinies of the entities unfold, how the unfoldment influences the purification process, and in what this process consists. Then you will understand the functions of the different spheres of purification. Here I will only say very briefly that there is one specific sphere where a life is viewed, sometimes even several lives. At times the last life is connected with the one that preceded it and only comparing the two brings about full understanding. Now the spirit who has just concluded its earthly life sees its life with such clarity that it can no longer pretend and make excuses the way humans like to do. They are prone to displace their real motives and wear a mask so that their pure currents are polluted by the unpurified qualities. But here everything is clear and open.

This is not to be confused with the well-known phenomenon after dying when one sees one’s life unroll in front of one’s eyes in a very brief sequence. That is another thing. It always occurs, but in this case it happens very briefly and the human spirit sees the picture of the past life almost indifferently, so to speak. It seems to concern the life of someone else. You are not affected, not emotionally moved. You see it objectively. In the sphere of purification the process is much more extended and lasts as long as is necessary to understand what up to now you have refused to understand. This can be painful. You really come to feel that this is about you. You re-experience your life. And then it turns out that earthly life is quite differently evaluated here than on earth, where you are still in your body. As long as the body encloses the spirit and imprisons it, the suffering about each trial and blow of fate is great. To experience something difficult seems frightening to you. But as long as everything goes well on the outside you are happy.

Already in these realms of purification—which are by no means high spheres—the experience of looking at the unfolding pictures of your last life is entirely different. It is possible that a heavy fate you suffered on earth made you very sad then, but since from the spiritual point of view you have come through it well, it gives you now, as you experience it again, looking at the film, a feeling of endless peace. It gives you a sense of happiness because you passed the test and learned what there was to learn. However, a pleasant time passed in contentment may cause you great disquietude if during it the spiritual task was not completed. You will re-experience your life often quite soon after you have left the body, and this is important to understand, but you will feel and judge it differently. The happy times on earth may therefore not coincide with feelings of happiness when, one day, you look again at your life. The person who can achieve already on earth this same deep understanding of his or her life and indeed experience and feel it as he or she will in the sphere of purification, has accomplished much. His or her purification will be much shorter and less painful and will give peace and satisfaction. This is the truth behind the human misunderstanding that the person who carries the heaviest burden on earth can experience great joy in the spiritual world, and vice versa. Now I do not say that this will always happen. A person may not meet a difficult fate well and may not prove himself, but only become more embittered and more separate from God. Another person may prove herself worthy during periods of good fortune, working even more actively on her spiritual development. But this is rarer. Fully experiencing a heavy fate often already brings an advancement and an evening out of karmic debts and helps to undertake your further development with a diminished burden.

So in the purification sphere you see your past life from a point of view which is often completely different from the earthly perspective. And this point of view corresponds to the truth. Again and again we must observe sadness and remorse as so many beings regret that they did not react differently in this or that situation. Again and again they ask themselves:  “Why was I not able—or willing—to see this?  Now it all makes sense.”  Or: “Why did I not understand the help that was offered?  Why did I close myself against it?  Why did I not want to see the true meaning of life, fulfilling the task for which I came?  Why did I refuse to believe that this life was not the only reality, that there is more to it,  that it was only a link in the chain?”  And much of what the person has pushed away as unimportant or accidental becomes clear in this phase of purification. Deep within, the spirit entity will understand the causes. The meaning will open up clearly from these life scenes, which do not only reflect the outer life but also the soul currents and reactions.

You will understand that it was you who refused other choices because they were too uncomfortable, preferring to convince yourself that “everything is senseless anyhow, so why do anything at all?”  You human beings do not want to make the effort involved in developing yourselves and often you, or at least a part of you, refuse to accept this fact.

Some spheres serve to train spirits for tasks in the spiritual world that are concerned with humans, spirits, and much else.  Special spirits are trained to be what one may call mission spirits. They are divided into different groups. Let us take a misfortune on earth, for example a train accident. It is not the task of these mission spirits to protect the people destined not to die. This is always the task of the guardian spirit. The mission spirits fulfill the task of receiving the beings who come to us so suddenly and completely unprepared. Other mission spirits are specifically trained to receive people who die in a different way, to lead them and offer them help. Another kind of mission spirits go from time to time into the depths, into the spheres of darkness, to bring light and help certain beings, if their attitude warrants it. If the outlook of these entities changes, the mission angels can lift them to a higher sphere. Other specialists among the mission spirits take care of those who have left their bodies in a state of complete unbelief. They offer them help and guidance, which these entities can accept or reject with their free will. There are many more possibilities. I have given you only a small general outline and a few examples.

Certainly, for those who have not yet concerned themselves with spiritual questions, all this must seem strange and peculiar. The understanding can come only when the internal obstacles are eliminated and self-knowledge has come about, when you are willing to examine yourself honestly as to whether there still remains any resistance against accepting these truths. Again and again we observe the resistance. It may be, as I said before, that people shy away from knowing themselves truthfully, developing themselves on the path, and overcoming their resistances. They rather push away what is unpleasant to recognize in themselves. Yet this is a requirement of spiritual development for everyone, not only for those who stand at the beginning of the path.

It may also be that their reluctance is caused by fear of disappointment, that perhaps it cannot be this way, a fear to hold on to the hope that this difficult life is not the last, the only and final one. This is another attitude that may be at the bottom of the resistance to accepting the greater reality. Both motivations can exist simultaneously in the same person.

Faith is higher understanding, faith is knowing, and this knowing is grace. Grace has to be earned. It is earned when the person’s goodwill becomes manifest and conquers the unconscious cross-currents which attempt to deny the truth. For if the person’s goodwill does not relax, the unconscious negative currents will eventually penetrate into consciousness. Here they can be dealt with, transformed, and thus aligned with the outer good intention. If the intent to know and overcome one’s lower nature is decisive, the basis for receiving the grace of deeper knowledge and experience of reality is established. For your earthly world is not the reality, my friends, but the spiritual world is imperishable and the only truth you can always trust.

[Q&A not translated.]


Now, my dear ones, I have given enough for today. I would like to say to all of you that we are happy if you progress and persevere on this path. All of you receive the blessings of God. Be in peace, walk your path with courage and the knowledge that all your efforts are of the greatest benefit. Nothing that you undertake in the spiritual realm can dissolve or will ever be in vain. Nothing!  And again, God’s blessing goes out to you and to all my friends, close and far. Be in God!