Building the house for the spirit 

Margarete van den Brink

We live on earth to develop our individuality, or in other words to develop in our 'I', in our personality, the forces of our spiritual self. In each new life on earth we work on ourselves to reveal something more of the divine centre in us.

This working on ourselves can be compared to building and then inhabiting a house.

A house on earth is built with earthly materials: stone, cement, wood etc. What the house is to be like, in other words its design and the architectural plans, are drawn up in the architect's office. The house of our body is built on earth but the design and the structural plan must be sought in the spiritual world.

Incidentally, this is why God is sometimes referred to as the Supreme Architect of the Universe.

When we have completed a life on earth, our divine core, the inhabitant of the house, must always return to the spiritual world to consult the divine beings and the spiritual building plan and find new strength and inspiration for further work in the physical world, just as a building contractor will constantly return to the plans, and discuss them with the architect.

So when, after every life on earth, we return to the spiritual world, we look back at the life we have just lived and see what we have become, comparing this with the original plan or drawings to find out what still needs to be done…

The design for the next life, with all its tasks and requirements, is based on this. In this way we work slowly towards perfection in each of our lives on earth.

How does this divine core or divine centre actually develop in us on earth?

Our higher self is part of the spiritual world of light and consists of, in fact is consciousness, wisdom and love. It develops in us when we become conscious of things, acquire insights and knowledge and develop warmth and love that we show in our actions. The more we do so the more the strength of our higher self, of our divine centre, works in us and manifests itself through us.

This high aim, the development of the spark of God in us, starts with very simple tasks in daily life on earth, in the material world. Even something as ordinary as driving a car is part of this. When I am driving, I constantly have to be alert, i.e., conscious of myself. I not only have to know where I am driving to, but I must find the way and drive without causing any accidents or making too many detours. In addition, I constantly have to take other drivers, cycles and pedestrians into account.

All of our daily life is full of these sorts of unnoticed exercises and opportunities. They awaken us, for they give us insight into ourselves, our own behaviour, the behaviour and needs of other people and the way we deal with them.

In the spiritual world these exercises do not exist. We only find them on earth. Only the world of matter provides the resistance we need to awaken.

It would be wrong to think that because something is 'mundane' (literally 'of the world') it is of little consequence, and that spiritual development only follows from lofty thoughts and ideals. The real practice of awareness needs the ordinary situations of daily life.

People who have had near-death experiences can tell us a lot about such growth of knowledge and love. For example, they frequently tell us that the figure of light whom they encountered on the other side, showed them that life is all about two things: learning to love other people, and acquiring knowledge and insight. Knowledge and insight into oneself, life, other people, and the development of the earth and the cosmos.

Such knowledge and insight does not have to mean knowing all sorts of learned facts, but knowledge based on insight. Knowledge based on insight makes us whole and therefore enables us to achieve true human understanding. This sort of knowledge can only be acquired if it is not limited to the intellect, rational thinking, but is also connected with feelings and the heart. When that happens, knowledge becomes an inner experience of truth, which is the spirit self's substance.

The following story illustrates this.

One theologian who had a near death experience told a researcher that he had seen what an arrogant fellow he was with all his theology and the way in which he looked down on people who were not members of his Church and did not have the same theological views as he did. The figure of light with whom he looked back at his life appeared to be completely uninterested in his theology.

The theologist explained:

'In fact, he seemed to find it rather amusing, because he had no interest at all in the Church of which I am a member. He wanted to know what was going on in my heart, not what was going on in my head.'

In other words, pure intellectual, rational knowledge, is of no importance at all after death. What remains is what you have experienced, understood in a deeper sense and what you have consciously added to your heart.

One woman who had a near-death experience describes that everything she had achieved, seen externally, everything she had owned and knew as an external fact, disappeared in the presence of the spiritual being of light. However, she said:

'On the other hand, the acts in which I had shown any unselfish love and an interest in my fellow human beings, were glorified and laid down forever in the register of my life, no matter how fleeting or insignificant those moments might have been.'

The fusion of insight, knowledge and love, which allows the strength of the spiritual self to increase in us, is perfectly expressed by the woman we quoted in chapter 3. We would like to repeat her words once again:

But since I died, all of a sudden, right after my experience, I started wondering whether I had been doing the things I had done because they were good, or because they were good for me. Before, I just reacted off the impulse. Now I run things through my mind first, nice and slow. Everything seems to have to go through my mind and be digested first.

I try to do things that have more meaning, and that makes my mind and soul feel better. And I try not to be biased, and not to judge people. I want to do things because they are good, not because they are good to me. And it seems the understanding I have of things is so much better.'

This woman's experiences of the spiritual world and the process of consciousness which followed them, led to her spiritual awakening. From then on she questioned her own motives and first had, as she says, to 'assimilate and digest everything' in her spirit.

This is the process of knowledge which leads to insight and this insight means that she wants ' to do the right thing' in a much more conscious way. Doing good out of your own will and consciousness, is the strength of love in a real spiritual sense, and has a good and healing effect on other people, on oneself and also, ultimately on the whole earth and the whole of humanity.

All this 'building of the house of the spirit' awakens people and lets them develop the forces of the spiritual self in their 'I'.

* * *

This article is a chapter from the book A Christian book of the Dead. Accompanying their journey after death by Margarete van den Brink and Hans Stolp (Hawthorn Press, UK).

More about the content of this book can be found in the section Books on this website.


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