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Articles by Martinus

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by Martinus


1. Notions of eternal rest, an eternal hell and an eternal kingdom of heaven are superstition; only life exists as an eternal rhythm based on the principle of contrast

One often hears nowadays that people are tired of living. The thought of an "eternal life" seems to be nothing less than horrifying. "If one only could get away from all the difficulties of life, sleep and never wake up again", they say. They are in a situation where the thought of total annihilation seems preferable to them than anything else. Rest is, of course, absolutely necessary for the living being, even if it cannot occur in the way that these very tired people would like at the moment. "Eternal rest" cannot exist; if it could no expressions of life would ever have been manifested in the universe. So when one says about people who die that "they go to eternal rest", it is merely an expres sion concealing human ignorance. Dogmatic Christianity has usually the view that after death human beings "rest in the grave" until the day of judgment, after which they will get their long since decomposed physical bodies again and rise from the grave to be judged by Christ, and sent either to the eternal bliss of the "kingdom of heaven" or the eternal torment of "hell". When one thinks about how difficult and painful life in this physical world often is for human beings, how they must often toil and drudge in order to earn daily bread for themselves and their families, it is understandable that they long for rest and for "bliss" too, where they will no longer have to live under "slave-like conditions" similar to those that they had in this physical world. It is also understandable that human beings would prefer "eternal sleep" to the risk of being sentenced to "hell"; but all these notions of "eternal rest", "eternal hell" and an "eternal kingdom of heaven" are superstition from which thinking human beings will gradually free themselves. It will therefore believe for a while in an "eternal annihilation", but it will gradually become apparent to human beings that this view is superstition, to human beings with a growing ability to think and logical sense that gain insight into the eternal rhythm of life, where the principle of contrast is unfolded not merely as light and darkness, sowing and reaping, cold and heat, day and night, summer and winter, but also as work and rest.

2. Work and rest are cosmic principles. For every normal desire there is a corresponding satisfaction

Work and rest are cosmic principles. The one cannot exist without the other. We know how wonderful it is to go to bed after a hard day's work; we have then a very strong desire to rest. It is a natural desire, and for every natural or normal desire there is a corresponding satisfaction. Desire is actually the same as hunger, and for every hunger there is a satiation, that is when life follows a normal course. After every heavy expenditure of both physical and mental energy, fatigue and what we call sleepiness follow, which are alleviated by our night's sleep. Normally after sleeping one should long to expend one's energy and creative force again. It should indeed be so that one’s desire to expend energy is just as great as one's desire to go to bed and rest in the evening. But often people have no longing at all to get go-ing again in the morning. They are tired and listless. The cause of this can be that they have not slept well during the night; their desire for rest has not been satisfied. But why could it not be satisfied when all natural desires can be satisfied? It must therefore be because this desire has not been natural. Indeed, there is a fatigue that cannot be alleviated by a night's sleep, the fatigue that expresses itself as depression, which in the worst case leads to suicide. This kind of fatigue is very widespread among people today. The rest that can remove it is not sleep but knowledge and insight into the laws of life.

3. The principle of reincarnation is merely a repetition of the principle of day and night, but on a larger scale

One often says about people who are tired of life that they "become old before their time", and there is an element of truth in this. The only difference is that old people are tired of life in a natural way, they are "full of days" and long for a rest that cannot be satisfied by a night's sleep. They are tired after a "very long day", after the "day" that their whole life constitutes, when one sees it in a cosmic perspective. Now they long for the "cosmic night" that quite naturally follows their life, which has been a "cosmic day". This fatigue and its alleviation divide our eternal life into incarnations. The principle of reincarnation is in reality merely a repetition of the principle of day and night on a larger scale. Just as we need a night's sleep after a day's expenditure of energy, we also have to have a form of rest after a terrestrial life's expenditure of energy. Every expenditure of energy demands rest, and after a really rested state the living being quite naturally wants to use its energy for work and creativity again. It is a universal law that holds true in all areas of consciousness and leads to higher and higher forms of manifestation of consciousness or creation. Without rest, there could be no work, no creation, no evolution and thereby no experience of life.

4. Even though no physical manifestation of consciousness occurs during sleep and death, these do not, however, represent an unconscious state

 "Sleep is the little brother of death" is an old saying. Is there really such a relationship between the two forms of rest? How do these two forms of rest manifest themselves? They certainly do not manifest themselves, as many people think, as a cessation of consciousness. Although people in general do not comprehend this as reincarnation, it being concealed from them by the superstition called “death”, we are obviously not lifeless when we sleep. But if we are not dead when we sleep, there must be a part of us that is still alive and working. This something is thus not at rest, even if its manifestation is perhaps reduced to a certain extent. The rest that the being has during a night's sleep actually consists merely of the temporary cessation of a lot of the functions through which the physical manifestation of consciousness takes place, while some other functions continue to work. Since this working part leaves no impression on the physical brain or sensory function, the being in its waking state has no recollection of this side of the workings of its consciousness. The being in question regards therefore sleep as an unconscious state. Only glimpses of dreams show that we can also experience something when we sleep. But these dreams are most often very confusing, because they are merely leftovers from or fragments of experiences in the night-consciousness that are mixed with day-conscious experiences in the brain. This does not occur during completely natural sleep and rest, which is dreamless and promotes health, since all the fine nerve fibres that are broken during the day's manifestations of consciousness are repaired and healed so they can be used for the following day's work and creativity.

5. Night-consciousness is manifested on a spiritual or ray-formed plane, while the physical nervous system is repaired during sleep

When someone feels tired and sleepy it is actually not the consciousness that is tired; it is the body, the nervous system in particular, that is worn and needs repair; for this reason we long to go to bed and sleep so that our consciousness can leave our brain and nervous system in peace. When the consciousness is not tired there is no reason why it should rest. And it does not do so either; it is transferred to another state of experience, the night-conscious state, which is manifested entirely on a spiritual or ray-formed plane, where everything is just as realistic as in the physical world, only not built up of physical matter but of ray-formed matter or thought matter. Even if we are asleep we are all the same in the world of thought, and that part of us that does not feel tired can work and experience. There is nothing unnatural in this principle. On the contrary, this principle is as true of other natural forms of fatigue as it is of sleepiness. If, for example, one carries a heavy burden one will also get tired and will have to rest now and then. This fatigue does not manifest itself as sleepiness but as aching in the limbs or the parts of the organism that have been particularly strained by the burden. When one puts it down the aching in the limbs is eased; it feels pleasant when the muscles have a rest from their burden. But at the same time as the person rests his limbs, he can talk, see and hear, he can eat and drink, indeed, he can even do other work, if only it does not disturb or overstrain the limbs that need rest. It is in reality the same principle that holds true during a night's sleep; then it is the nervous system that has to rest because it is overstrained, but, despite this, the being can use its consciousness, which is not tired, most of its vital force being transferred to that part of the living being that is not accessible to physical sensing. Only so much vital force is left behind as is necessary for the maintenance of the blood circulation, breathing and certain glandular functions, as well as the regeneration of the fine nerve fibres. When the person wakes up, that is when its consciousness is again coupled to its physical organism, this organism should be a usable instrument for the coming day’s work and creativity.

6. Death is the "cosmic night", a lovely "holiday" from the physical existence

When we die, in principle the same happens as when we sleep; the consciousness is transferred to the ray-formed plane, where we also have organs, but then the connection to the physical body is completely lost, and it becomes a corpse. Then the "cosmic night" begins, that which people call "life after death". What one experiences there is dependant on how one has worked on developing one's humane thoughts, one's love for one's neighbour and one's intellectual creative faculty. The I transfers all of this to the ray-formed plane, where it really has the possibility of having a good rest on a lovely "holiday" without all the resistance it has had on the physical plane. What is it that rests when the consciousness is still working, and the physical body has become a corpse and can no longer be used? During the "cosmic night" between two physical incarnations what rests is the power or energy that is concentrated in specific spiritual organs that at one time created the physical organism and joined the spiritual energies to the physical forces. When these power centres have been at rest for a while, while the being has experienced as much as it can with other energies in the spiritual or ray-formed worlds, they begin to work again, and a natural longing arises in the being to overcome resistance and to work and create on the physical plane. The being, however, now begins to get tired of its experience in the spiritual worlds, because, with its very limited abilities, it can experience only a little part of what can be experienced and manifested there. Its "cup runneth over" because the "cup" or consciousness is very small. Now it longs to expand its consciousness, to grow in wisdom and love, to test its abilities and overcome the difficulties through which experiences are made, and knowledge and an overview of the laws of life are won. For this reason the centres or talent kernels that have now rested for a while are put to work again, and the result is the building up of a new physical organism, which begins as the creation of an embryo in the womb. Gradually as the being's organism grows, first inside the womb and later outside it, the consciousness is transferred to the physical plane without recollection of life in the spiritual worlds, but with longings and ideals that are stimulated there, and with the abilities and talents that were developed in previous incarnations.

7. I have made my analyses of the universe, of the living being's identity as a son of God and an eternal being only in order to show God's love for all living things

This outline has given a brief account of what happens during sleep and between two physical incarnations, through which the living being's fatigue disappears and it longs once more to expend its energy and manifest its creative force in this physical world. But what about the fatigue that cannot be alleviated by natural rest and sleep, and which can sometimes lead to suicide? This unnatural fatigue, which manifests itself as depression, bad nerves and so on, can be overcome only by particular kind of rest, an inner peace and balance that can be attained through insight and understanding of the laws of life, both as they manifest themselves in the universe that surrounds us, and as they manifest themselves within us. Very often a form of suffering, unhappiness, desperation or disappointment brings people into contact with spiritual science — and this is no coincidence. Through spiritual science the person who wants to work seriously on himself can overcome many difficulties and problems. What many unhappy people long for is in reality not annihilation, as they themselves often think, but another state than their present one. But our present state is much more dependent on our thoughts and feelings that we ourselves think. The renewal of life must come from within, then the outer circumstances will also change over time. Through spiritual science the human being learns that no one has anything to blame others for. We reap what we ourselves have sown. The basis for getting angry, hot tempered, bitter and hateful thereby disappears. There is nothing that is more destructive to the nerves than such thoughts. One learns too that one can sow a new seed at every moment with one's thoughts and actions; one can thereby in time create an entirely different and better existence for oneself. It demands willpower and patience, but one is not alone. If in one’s prayer to Providence one concentrates on getting enough strength, patience, joy in living and love to get through the difficulties, one will also gradually get help. One has to have confidence that help will come. I have made my analyses of the universe, of the macrocosmos, the mesocosmos and the microcosmos, of the living being's identity as a son of God and an eternal being only in order to show God's love for all living things and in order to create confidence in the Godhead who has brought all living beings forward to the form and state that they have today, and that will bring them further to far higher states and manifestations of the creative faculty. The human being has now a free will to work on himself. If he opens his mind to the Godhead in confidence he will find the best rest; he will feel at one with the Father. Then life will be transformed through the thoughts, feelings and actions that radiate out from such a human being it its daily activities. The rhythm of its life is then united with the rhythm of the universe.


From a lecture by Martinus at the Martinus Centre, Klint 29th May 1944. Manuscript for the lecture revised by Mogens Møller. Revision approved by Martinus. First published in the Danish edition of Contact Letter no. 4/1958. Original Danish title: Hvile. Translation: Mary McGovern, 1994, revised 2010.

Article ID: M0735

© Martinus Institut 1981,

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