18. Earthbound

The word is used a lot. But who really understands what one is saying? “Earthbound” sounds like a terrible punishment. Most people feel a mild horror, are afraid of those who are still earthbound. But the meaning of this word is not so bad. Certainly, there are many dark things that make someone or other become earthbound. Most of the times, however, it is mainly very simple things that must lead to being earthbound.
Let us take a case in point: The sins of the fathers avenge themselves down to the third and fourth generation!
A child asks some question in the family about the afterlife or about God that he has heard in school or church. The father briefly dismisses it with the remark: “Oh, go away with that stupid stuff! When I die, it’s all over.” The child is puzzled, becomes doubtful. The dismissive remarks of the father or mother are repeated, he hears the same thing from others, and finally he adopts their views.
Now the hour comes for the father to cross over. He realizes to his dismay that he has not ceased to exit. Now the ardent wish will awaken in him to let his child know this realization. This wish binds him to the child. But the child does not hear him and does not feel his nearness; for he now lives in the conviction that the father no longer lives, and this stands like a solid, impenetrable wall between him and the efforts of his father. The father’s anguish at having to observe that the child, through his impulse, is now following the wrong path which drives it further and further away from the truth, the fear that the child is unable to avoid the dangers of sinking deeper on this wrong path and, above all, is much more easily exposed, now acts at the same time as a so-called punishment for him, for leading the child on this path. Seldom does he succeed in teaching the child knowledge in any way. He has to see how the child’s wrong idea is transmitted to his children, and so on, all as a consequence of his own wrongdoing. He does not get away until one of the children’s offspring recognizes the right path, goes, and also exerts influence on the others, whereby he is gradually released and can think of his own ascent.
Another case: A habitual smoker takes the strong urge to smoke over with him; because it is a
sensation, therefore spiritual. This urge becomes a burning desire, and the thought to satisfy the urge keeps him where he can obtain satisfaction.... on earth. He finds it by running after smokers and also indulging with them in their sensation. If no such heavy karma binds them elsewhere, they feel quite at ease, they very seldom become aware of any actual punishment. Only those who survey the whole of existence recognize the punishment in the inevitable reciprocal effect, which is that the person concerned cannot reach higher as long as the desire for satisfaction, constantly vibrating in “experience”, binds him to other people on earth still living in flesh and blood, through whose sensation alone he can attain co-gratification.
So also it is with sexual gratification, with drinking, even with a special fondness for food. Here too, many are bound by this preference to rummage around in kitchens and cellars, to be present when others enjoy the food and to be able to experience at least a small part of the pleasure. Taken seriously, of course, it is “punishment”. But the urgent desire of the “earth-bound” does not let them feel it, but drowns out everything else, and therefore the longing for something nobler, higher, cannot become so strong that it becomes the main experience, thereby freeing and elevating it from the other. They are not aware of what they are actually missing until this desire for satisfaction, which can only ever be a small partial satisfaction through others, wears off and fades away like a slow withdrawal, so that other sensations still dormant in it, with less strong power of desire, gradually comes to the same and then into the first place, whereby they immediately obtain the experience and with it the power of reality. The nature of the sensation that has come to life then brings him to where the homogeneous kind is, either higher or lower, until this too, like the first, is gradually released by withdrawal, and the next comes to the fore which is still present. And so, in time, comes the purification of all the many drosses that he took over with him. Does he not stop somewhere at one last sensation? Or become impoverished in intuition? No! For when at last the lower feelings have been gradually worn out, or discarded, and it goes higher, the permanent longing for ever higher and purer things awakens, and this drives steadily upwards. Such is a
normal course! But now there are a thousand incidents. The danger of falling or getting stuck is much greater than in flesh and blood on earth. If you are already higher and give yourself over to a lower sensation, only for a moment, this sensation becomes immediate experience and thus reality. You are condensed and become heavier, sink down into similar regions. Your horizon narrows with it and you must slowly work your way up again if it does not happen to you that you sink still deeper, ever deeper. “Watch and pray!” is therefore not an empty phrase. Currently the ethereal in you is still protected by your body as by a firm anchor. But when the detachment comes in the so-called dying and decay of the body, you are without this protection and are irresistibly attracted ethereally by the same species, whether deep or high, you cannot escape it. Only a great driving force can help you upwards, your strong desire for the good, the high, which becomes longing and feeling, and thus also experience and reality according to the law of the ethereal world, which knows only intuitive perception. Therefore, prepare yourself to begin now with this volition, so that it will not be drowned out by too strong an earthly desire during the transition which can strike you at any hour. Keep yourself safe, human being, and keep watch!