Through intuitive knowledge, the whole relationship in which the human being as “soul” finds himself with respect to his bodily organization is altered for the direct observation of the inner being of the soul. Before the faculty of spiritual vision, the etheric body appears, in a sense, as a supersensible organism differentiated within itself. And one recognizes its differentiated members as adapted in a definite way to the members of the physical bodily organization. The etheric body is experienced as the primary entity and the physical body as its copy, as something secondary. The horizon of consciousness appears to be determined through the law-conforming activity of the etheric body. The coordination of the phenomena within this horizon results from the activity of the differentiated members of the etheric body striving toward a unity. The etheric body rests upon an all-embracing cosmic web of laws; basic in the unification of its action is the tendency to relate itself to something as a center. And the image of this uniting tendency is the physical body. Thus the latter proves to be an expression of the World Ego, as the etheric body is an expression of the macrocosmic web of laws.
What this road then leads to further can only be suggested here, of course, since a thorough exposition would require a comprehensive treatise. The inner being of the soul becomes for the spiritual researcher the producer, the builder, of that which constitutes the single human life in the physical world. And this producer manifests in itself that it has — interwoven into its life as realities — the forces not only of the one life, but of many lives. That which may be considered as evidence of reincarnation, of repeated earthly lives, becomes a matter of actual observation. For what one learns of the inner core of the human life reveals, one might say, the telescoping together of interrelated human personalities. And these personalities can be sensed only in the relationship of the preceding and the succeeding. For one which follows is always manifested as the result of another. There is, moreover, in the relationship of one personality to another no element of continuity; rather, there is such a relationship as manifests itself in successive earthly lives separated by intervening periods of purely spiritual existence. To the observation of the soul's inner being, the periods during which the core of the human being was embodied in a physical corporeal organization are differentiated from those of the supersensible existence through the fact that, in the former, the experience of the content of the mind appears as if projected against the background of the physical life, while in the latter it appears as merged in a supersensible element which extends into the indefinite.