THIS WORD IS often used, but who really understands what it
means? “Earthbound” sounds as if it were some terrible punishment.
Most people have a rather uncanny feeling about those who
are still earthbound and fear them. Still, the significance of the word
is not so bad after all!
Certainly there is much that is dark to make this or that soul earthbound,
but more often than not quite simple matters inevitably lead
to this condition.
Let us, for instance, take the case of: “The sins of the fathers revenge
themselves unto the third and fourth generation!”
A child puts some question or other to the family concerning the beyond,
or about God, something it has heard in school or church. The
father curtly dismisses it with the remark: “Stop such stupid nonsense!
When I am dead it is all over!”
The child is startled and begins to doubt. The disdainful remarks of
father or mother are repeated. The child also hears the same from others,
and finally accepts their opinion.
The hour now arrives when the father must pass on. He realizes to his
dismay that with this he has not ceased to exist. The ardent wish will
now awaken within him to impart this knowledge to his child. This
wish binds him to the child.
But the child neither hears him nor feels his nearness; for it now lives
in the conviction that its father has ceased to exist. This stands like a
firm, impenetrable wall between it and the father’s efforts. The father
is obliged to witness how through him his child now takes the wrong
path, which leads further and further away from the truth. To his anguish
is added the fear lest the child may not be able to avoid the

danger of sinking still further, a danger to which it is now more than
ever exposed. At the same time all this forms the father’s so-called
punishment for misleading his child.
Very seldom will he be able to bring this knowledge in any way to
the notice of the child. He must witness how his wrong idea is conveyed
from the child to his grandchildren and so on, all as a result of
his own failing. He cannot be released until one of his descendants
recognizes and follows the right way and also influences the others,
whereby he will gradually be freed and can begin to think about his
own ascent.
Here is another case! A habitual smoker takes over with him the
strong craving to smoke, for this craving is a propensity which verges
on the intuition, on that which is spiritual, although only at its outermost
edge. It becomes a burning desire and holds him where he can
obtain gratification — on earth! He finds this by pursuing smokers
and enjoying their inner sensations with them.
If no heavy karma binds such persons to any other place, they feel
quite pleasant and very seldom become conscious of the fact that
this is really a punishment. Only he who can survey the whole complexity
of existence can recognize the punishment in the inevitable
reciprocal action, which prevents the person in question from rising
higher as long as the perpetual desire for gratification by “experiencing”
binds him to people still living on earth in the flesh, through
whose sensations alone he can find satisfaction.
This is also the case with sexual gratification, with drinking, yes, even
with a pronounced love of eating. Here, too, many are bound by the
latter propensity to rummage in kitchens and cellars, and to be present
when the food is being enjoyed by others so as at least to sense
a small part of their enjoyment.
Taken seriously, of course, this is “punishment”. But the craving of
these “earthbound” souls, which overshadows all else, prevents them
from perceiving it. Therefore, the yearning for something nobler and

higher cannot grow so strong as to become the principal experience,
which would then free them from the baser desire and uplift them.
They never realize the opportunity they are missing until this desire
for gratification, which at best can only be a part gratification, enjoyed
through others, on this account slowly wanes and dies out.
Then other sensations accompanied by lesser craving, which he still
carries with him, come forward and rise to first place, as a result of
which they immediately become experience and with that attain to
the power of reality.
The nature of the sensation which has come to life brings him to the
place where there are similar types, either higher or lower, until this,
too, like the first one, is overcome and gradually disappears, only to
be followed by the next one to be dealt with.
This purification of all the dross he took over with him will be achieved
in due course. But will he not come to a standstill somewhere at the
last sensation? Or will the power of the intuition be diminished? No!
For when at last base sensations are gradually outlived or discarded,
and ascent begins, then the constant yearning for what is higher and
purer awakens and steadily drives him upwards.
This is the normal course! But there are a thousand variations. The
danger of a fall or of remaining stationary is much greater than when
in the flesh on earth.
If you have already attained a certain height and yield but for a moment
to a base intuition it will immediately become an experience
and thereby reality. You become denser and heavier and you will sink
down into analogous regions. Thus your horizon narrows and you
will gradually have to work yourself upwards again, if it does not happen
that you sink lower and lower.
“Watch and pray!” is therefore no empty phrase. At the present moment
the ethereal part in you is still protected by your body as if held
with a firm anchor. But when severance comes with so-called death
and dissolution of the body, you are then without this protection and,

being ethereal, will be irresistibly attracted by similar species, whether
high or low. You cannot escape it! Only one great driving power
can help you upwards, your strong volition towards that which is
good and sublime. This will develop into a yearning and an intuitive
perception, becoming also an experience and a reality, in accordance
with the law of the Ethereal World, which knows only intuitive
Therefore, prepare yourself now to start with this volition so that
when you are called away, which can happen at any hour, it is not
overruled by a more powerful earthly desire! Be on your guard, man,
and keep watch!

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