By Dennis Klocek
have been approached a number of times by students who say they
feel the closeness of a departed friend or relative and ask, "Sometimes
they seem so far away and sometimes they feel near. How can I maintain
my relationship with this person? I know they haven't just disappeared
from existence. How can I cultivate the nearness?"
Consciousness of those who have departed continues
on into the lives of the living in many ways. One of the most available
sources of linking is through the moods of nature. Imagine a departed
soul to whom you would like to be closer. Imagine this person doing
something characteristic that they thoroughly enjoyed. It may be
that they loved to tell a joke. Try to imagine the way that they
moved their arms as they told the joke. Then imagine yourself moving
your arms that way. Then try to imagine that you are hearing the
tone and cadence of their voice or maybe their laugh. Hear this
and then imagine yourself speaking in this way or laughing this
way. Then imagine that you can see their shining eyes or their soft
curling hair or their particular nose or the veins on their hands.
Whatever stands out at a distinctive physical characteristic of
theirs. Imagine that you are looking down at your own body and you
see your hands look like theirs or you can feel the softness of
the ringlets of their hair as if it were your own. On a deeper level
you could imagine your own eye or nose transforming into theirs.
When your soul is permeated by these impressions
consciously dissolve them systematically into silence. That is,
start with the last impression of their physiognomy and dissolve
it. Then move on to the inner picture of their tone of voice or
cadence of speaking and dissolve it. Then move on to the feeling
that you are making the motions of their limbs with your own limbs
and dissolve these images. Pay attention into the silence so that
your intent in your will is strongly focused on the place where
the images have gone but the mood of your soul is devoid of expectation.
You are simply extremely focused on the silent awareness that is
left after you have systematically dissolved the images of yourself
When these exercises are continued for a week or
so a subtle sense of the mood of the departed soul begins to be
present as the exercises are begun. A feeling that is a kind of
composite or extract of the images in the exercises is noticeable
as the exercises begin. This feeling waxes and wanes during the
exercises. Once this extract feeling is perceptible a short summary
type image of the composite images can be developed like a movie
on fast forward but not jerky or hectic just gliding faster through
the images than usual. The mood is serene but focused on the particular
essential character of the flow. Working with the forward flow of
distilled images should be separated from working with the backward
flow by short periods of silence so that the two soul forces do
not interfere with each other.
Over time, depending on the intensity and the frequency
of the practice it is possible to have an experience that the inner
flow of the mood of the departed is recognized as having the same
soul configuration as a mood in a natural event. We might realize
that the rhythm of the departed soul¹s laugh is very similar
to the sudden bursting of a summer breeze on a hot day. We might
suddenly see that the gesture that the departed soul made with their
hands while telling something humorous to another is very similar
to the inner feeling when seeing the color vermilion. We might see
that the way in which a cloud forms in the sky puts us in the same
mood as when we visualize the departed soul¹s way of answering
a delicate question. There are very many ways that the soul forces
of the departed soul can be experienced as an analog of the forces
Are there possible pitfalls? The greatest of these
is the tendency to believe that whatever imagery comes to us as
an inner picture is a direct communication from the departed soul.
The safeguard against this error is to consistently think whatever
comes to us backwards into silence again and again until a clear
and certain experience of the imagery is attained. One way to enhance
this certainty is to make drawings or poems of the inner images
and put these works in some form of journal. Then in the evening
think the image making process backwards as part of the practice.
Another way is to try to go out into nature and closely observe
the natural phenomenon that is being used as the form of communication.
Take notes on the true sequences of the phenomenon and go to texts
where some degree of intellectual understanding can be formed to
support the inner imaginative experiences.
Eventually it is possible to understand that the
images that seem to come to us from the other side are actually
questions that we are asking of the departed! Likewise it is possible
to have the experience that the questions that we form as a result
of the practice of dialogue with the departed are really answers
that we are being given from the other side. They only appear as
questions because we believe that we do not know. On the other side
all is revealed, there is just an extreme lack of referential benchmarks
from physical reality with which to make a conclusion. The conscious
transformation of memory pictures of the motions of the departed
soul provides a sort of Rosetta Stone for the language of the dead.
It is a form of dream consciousness that is consciously cultivated
by the esotericist to be permeated with the forces of the day awake
consciousness. The images of nature provide both the departed soul
and the practicing alchemist with a common vocabulary for the important
work on the soul.
The idea of maintaining and enhancing our relationships
with those who have died was a fundamental part of Rudolf Steiner's
work. One published volume that gathers together many of his printed
lectures on this topic is entitled Staying Connected. Published
by Anthroposophic Press, it can be ordered through local or online
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