[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

Highlight Words

The Effect of Occult Development Upon the Self and the Sheaths of Man

Schmidt Number: S-2742

On-line since: 31st August, 2012


To a theosophist the effects of Esotericism or Theosophy on the etheric and astral bodies and the Self are naturally much more important than the effects produced on the physical body. Nevertheless, we shall gain a foundation for the next lectures, when we have to consider the more spiritual principles of the nature of man from this point of view, if we also bear in mind what may be said about the changes in the physical body. It should, however, be expressly noticed that the changes dealt with here do not refer to the highest stages of initiation, but rather to the early stages of the esoteric or theosophical life, and are therefore of a certain general importance.

You will have gathered from the last lecture that under the influence of Esotericism, or the serious study of Theosophy, the physical body of man becomes more alive, in a certain way, more filled with movement inwardly; and it may on that account become more uncomfortable. It is more felt than in the external, exoteric, so-called normal life of man. We shall have to speak later of the difference between vegetable and animal food in connection with the other sheaths; but in the construction and organisation of the physical body, the difference between vegetable and animal food is greater to an amazing degree. Emphasis must always be laid upon the fact that it cannot be our mission to make propaganda for any particular system of diet, but only to state what is right and true on this subject; and as the soul develops, the matters now under consideration become matters of personal experience. Above all, it becomes a matter of experience that when meat is eaten our physical body has more to bear, more to drag about, as it were, than when we eat vegetable food.

We emphasised in the last lecture the fact that in the course of development the physical body seems to shrink; it separates from the higher, spiritual principles. Now, when animal food is taken, this is felt — as was described in the last lecture — in the human organism as something like a foreign substance, as a thorn in the flesh — if we may use a common expression. In an esoteric or theosophical development we feel the weight of the earth in animal food more than we usually do, and above all, we experience the fact that animal food inflames the instinctive life of the will. This more unconscious life of the will, which flows more in emotions and passions, is inflamed by animal food. Hence the observation is an absolutely correct one which declares that warlike peoples are more inclined to animal food than peaceful peoples. But this need by no means lead to the belief that vegetable food must take away all courage and energy. Indeed, we shall see that all that a man loses in the way of instincts, aggressive passions and feelings through refraining from animal food — all of which will be dealt with when we speak of the astral body — all this is compensated for from within the soul. These things are all connected with the whole position of man and the other kingdoms of nature towards the Cosmos, and we gradually gain — though perhaps not yet through higher clairvoyance — a sort of proof, a sort of confirmation of what the Occultist affirms regarding the relation of human life to the Cosmos. We gain a sort of proof of this when, through experiencing the more mobile and living processes of the physical body, we ourselves learn to a certain extent the nature and properties of those substances of the earth which are used for food.

It is interesting to compare three kinds of food with respect to their cosmic significance. These are: milk and all connected with it; the plant world and all connected with that, and the foods prepared from it; and animal food. We may learn to compare milk, plants and animals as nourishment when, through theosophical or esoteric development, we become more sensitive to the effects of these foods; and it will then also be easier for us to observe the verification obtainable from a rational observation of the outer world.

If you were to investigate the cosmos as an occultist, you would find milk-substance on our earth, but on no other planet in our solar system. That which is produced in a similar manner within the living beings on other planets in our solar system would appear as something quite different from earthly milk. Milk is specifically earthly; and if you wished to speak about milk you would have to say that the living beings on each planet have their own special milk.

If the plant system belonging to our earth be investigated by the occultist, and compared with that of other planets, with what there can be compared with it, we must admit that the forms of the plant nature on our earth do indeed distinguish them from the plant nature on other planets in our solar system, but yet the inner being of the plants on the earth is not merely earthly, but belongs to the solar system; this means that the plant nature on our earth is related to that of the other planets of our solar system. Thus there is in our plants something that can also be found on other planets of our system.

As far as the animal kingdom is concerned it follows, indeed, from what has been said about milk, and, apart from that, it can easily be proved by the occultist, that the animal kingdom of our earth is radically different from any corresponding kingdom to be found on other planets.

Now let us consider the experience of milk-food. To the vision and experience of the occultist this milk-food appears in such a way that to the human body — we will only consider man — it signifies that which binds him, as it were, to the earth, to our planet; it connects him with the human race on the earth as a member of it belonging to a common family. Owing to the production of nourishment by the living for the living in the animal nature, mankind, as regards the physical system of sheaths, forms one whole. And we may say that all that is carried into the human organism through milk prepares man to be an earthly human creature, it unites him with earthly conditions, but it does not really chain him to the earth. It makes him a citizen of earth, but does not hinder him from being a citizen of the whole solar system.

It is different with animal-food. Animal-food which is taken from the kingdom that is specifically earthly, and which is obtained not, like milk, directly from the life-processes of the human or animal living being, but from that part of the animal substance which is already prepared for the animal — this animal-food chains man specially to the earth. It makes him into a being of earth, so that we have to say: To the extent that a human being fills his own organism with the effects of animal-food, he deprives himself of power to become free from the earth at all. Through animal-food he binds himself in the highest degree to the planet earth. Whereas milk renders him capable of belonging to the earth as the temporary scene of his development, animal-food condemns him — unless he is uplifted by something else — to make his sojourn on earth permanent, a residence to which he adapts himself exactly. The resolve to live on milk diet means: ‘Though I will stay on the earth, and fulfil my mission there, I will not be attached exclusively to the earth.’ The will to eat meat means: ‘I so pledge myself to the earth-existence that I renounce all heaven, and prefer to be wholly and solely engrossed in the conditions of earthly existence.’

Plant diet is of such a nature as to bring into action in the organism those forces which bring man to a certain cosmic union with the whole of the planetary system. That which a human being has to accomplish when he continues the assimilation of plant nourishment in his own organism is to call forth forces contained in the whole solar system, so that in his physical sheath he becomes a partaker of these solar forces; so that he does not become alienated from them, he does not tear himself away from them. This is something which the soul developing theosophically or esoterically is really able gradually to experience within; with the vegetable food it takes into itself something not pertaining to the heaviness of the earth, but in a certain sense the peculiar property of the sun, that is, of the central body of the entire planetary system. The lightness in his organism which he obtains through a plant diet lifts a man above the heaviness of earth, and gradually develops a certain inner perception of taste in the human organism, so that it is as though the latter really in a way shared with the plant the enjoyment of the sunlight, which accomplishes so much work in the plant.

From what has been said you will gather that in the case of occult, esoteric, or theosophical development, it is extremely important not to chain oneself to the earth, as it were, not to make the heaviness of earth a part of our nature through the enjoyment of an animal diet, if, according to individual conditions and conditions of heredity, it can be dispensed with; the actual decision can, of course, only be made according to the personal conditions of the individual.

It would facilitate the whole evolution of a man's life if he could refrain from eating meat. On the other hand, serious consequences might ensue if a person were to become such a fanatical vegetarian that he avoided milk and all milk-products. In the development of the soul towards the spiritual, certain dangers may easily step in, because in avoiding milk and all milk-products, a person may very easily acquire a love of striving to get away from the earth and lose the threads uniting him to his human tasks upon the earth. Therefore it should be carefully noticed that in a certain sense it is well if the earnestly striving theosophist does not allow himself to become a fanatical spiritual dreamer by creating the difficulty in his physical sheath, which will separate this physical sheath from all that relates it to what is earthly and human. In order that we may not become too eccentric when striving for psychic development, in order that we may not become estranged from human feeling and human effort on the earth, it is well for us to load ourselves in a certain way like travellers upon the earth, by the use of milk and milk-products. And it may even be a really systematic training for a person who is not in the position to be always living only in the spiritual world, as it were, and thereby becoming estranged from the earth, but who, besides this, has to fulfil his duties upon the earth, it may be part of his training not to be a strict vegetarian, but to take milk and milk-products as well. He will thereby relate his organism, his physical sheath, to the earth and to humanity, but not chain it to the earth, and weight it with earthly existence, as he would were he to enjoy meat.

Thus it is interesting in every way to see how these things are connected with cosmic secrets, and how through the knowledge of these cosmic secrets we can trace the actual effect of food substances in the human organism.

As people interested in occult truths, you must gradually realise more and more that that which appears on our earth — and our physical body belongs above all to our earthly existence — is not merely dependent on the forces and conditions of the earth but is also absolutely dependent on the forces and conditions of supra-mundane life, of cosmic life. This comes about in various ways. Thus, for example, if we consider the animal albumen contained, let us say, in hens' eggs, we must clearly understand that such animal albumen is not merely what the chemist finds by analysis, but that it is in its structure the result of cosmic forces. When we speak of albumen, this in its construction is the product of cosmic forces. Essentially, the cosmic forces really only work upon this albumen after they have first worked upon the earth itself, and, moreover, chiefly upon the moon which accompanies the earth. Thus the cosmic influence upon animal albumen is an indirect one. The cosmic forces do not work directly upon albumen, but indirectly; they work first upon the earth, and the earth reacts upon the construction of animal albumen with the forces it receives from the cosmos. Chiefly the moon takes a share in it, but only in such a way that it first receives the forces from the cosmos, and only then, with these forces that it rays forth from itself, reacts upon the animal albumen. In the tiniest cells of animals, and thus also in albumen, one who is able to look into these things with occult vision can see that not merely the physical and chemical forces belonging to the earth are to be found there, but that the smallest cell in a hen's egg, let us say, is built up of the forces which the earth first obtains from the Cosmos. Thus the substance we call albumen is indirectly connected with the cosmos, but this animal albumenous substance as we know it on the earth would never come into being if the earth were not there. It could not originate directly out of the cosmos; it is absolutely a product of what the earth has first to receive from the cosmos.

Again, it is different, for example, with what we know as fatty substance of earthly living beings, which also forms part of the foods of those who eat meat. We are speaking of animal fat. What we call fatty substance, whether a person eats it or whether it forms part of his own organism, is formed according to entirely different cosmic laws from those forming albumen. While the cosmic forces proceeding from the beings of the Hierarchy of Form are concerned with the latter, pre-eminently those beings whom we call the Spirits of Motion are concerned with the building-up of fatty substance. Now, it is important to relate these things, because only in this way does one really gain an idea how complicated is such a matter, which external science may conceive of as infinitely simple. No living being could have either albumen substance on the one hand or fatty substance on the other if the Spirits of Form and the Spirits of Motion did not work from the cosmos — even though indirectly.

Thus we can trace the effects proceeding from the beings of the various Hierarchies even into the substance of which our physical sheath consists. Therefore, in the experience which comes when the student undergoes a theosophical development, the experience which he has in respect of the albumen and the fat which he bears in his physical sheath becomes more differentiated, more mobile in itself. This is one perception. The forces which in a man living the ordinary life are combined in a single sensation, namely, that which in his organism makes the fat and that which makes the albumenous substance, are now felt separately. As the whole physical organism becomes more mobile, the evolving soul learns to distinguish two different sensations in his own body, one which so pervades him inwardly that he feels: ‘This constructs me, and gives me stature’ ... he is then perceiving the albumenous substances within him. When he feels: ‘This makes me callous to my inner limitations, this uplifts me in some sense, above my form, this makes me more sluggish with respect to my inner human feelings,’ when he disdains those perceptions of his feelings (in theosophical development these perceptions differ very greatly) — this last sensation is aroused by his experiencing the fatty substance in his physical sheath.

Thus his inner experience, even as regards his physical body, becomes more complex. This is perceived very strongly when the experience of starch or sugar is in question. Sugar has especially distinct characteristics. In a classification of tastes, sugar stands out very strongly amongst other substances. This appreciation of difference can easily be observed in ordinary life, not only in children, but also very often in older people, in their preference for sweet substances; but usually this does not go beyond the taste. When the soul undergoes development, it then experiences all the sugar it takes into its body, or already has within it, as something giving it inner firmness, supporting it inwardly, permeating it to a certain extent with a sort of natural sense of selfhood. And in this respect a sort of eulogy might even be pronounced on sugar. In passing through a soul development a person may even often notice that he needs to take sugar, because the psychic development inevitably tends to make him become more and more selfless. Through an orderly theosophical development the soul of itself becomes more selfless. Now, in order that a man — by virtue of his physical sheath, having an earthly mission — may not lose, as it were, the connection of his Ego-organism with the earth, it is well to create an counterpoise in the physical, where, indeed, realisation of the Ego is not of such great importance as in the realm of morals. It might be said that, through eating sugar, a sort of blameless ego-sense is produced, forming a counterpoise to the necessary selflessness in the spiritual realm of morals. Otherwise there might all too easily be the temptation not only to become selfless, but also dreamy and fantastic, to lose the healthy capacity for judging earthly conditions. An addition of sugar to the food gives the power, in spite of the ascent into the spiritual world, to stand firmly on the earth with both feet, and to cultivate a healthy estimate of earthly things. You see that these matters are complex; but everything grows complex when one begins to penetrate the actual secrets of life. Thus to the student as his soul progresses in theosophy it becomes evident now and then that in order not to acquire a false selflessness — namely, a loss of his personality — it is necessary at times to eat sugar; and then his experience when eating sugar is such that he says: ‘Now I am adding to myself something that, without lowering myself morally, gives me, as though automatically, as though by higher instinct, a certain firmness, a certain sense of my Ego.’ On the whole, we may say the consumption of sugar intensifies physically the character of the human personality. We may be so certain of this that we may even say that it is easier for those who take sugar to imprint the character of their personality upon their physical body than for those who do not; but it stands to reason that this must be kept within healthy limits.

These things may even lead to the understanding of something that can be observed externally. In countries where, according to statistics, little sugar is eaten, the people have less character as personalities than where more sugar is eaten. If you go to countries where the people have more personality, where each one is conscious in himself, as it were, and then from there go into countries where the people have more of the common race-type and have less personality as external physical beings, you will find that in the former a great deal of sugar is consumed, and in the latter very little.

If we wish to have still more obvious ideas of this experience of various substances we can do so by considering the so-called luxuries, such as coffee and tea, of the effects of which we have already become vividly aware in external life. The experience of a normal person is greatly heightened in a theosophical student. As said already, all this is not an agitation either for or against coffee, but simply a statement of things as they are, and I beg you to take it only in this sense. Even in an entirely normal human life, coffee and tea act as stimulants, but these excitations are felt more vividly by the soul that is undergoing a theosophical development. Of coffee, for example, it may be said that it so works as to cause the human organism to lift its etheric body out of the physical body, but in such a manner as to feel the latter as a solid foundation for the former. That is the specific action of coffee. When coffee is taken, the physical body and the etheric body are felt as differentiated, but in such a way that the physical body — especially in its qualities of form — seems under the influence of coffee to radiate into the etheric body, like a sort of solid basis for what is then experienced through the latter. Truly this ought not to be considered as an agitation for the use of coffee, for it rests upon a physical basis; a person relying too much on the use of this substance would become a completely dependent being; we are only concerned with describing the influence of this food or stimulant. But as logical, consecutive thinking depends very much upon the structure and form of the physical body, so through the peculiar action of coffee, which, as it were, gives a sharper emphasis to the physical structure, logical accuracy is assisted physically. By drinking coffee logical accuracy, the arrangement of facts in logical sequence is promoted by physical means. And it can be said that even though there may be healthy doubts about drinking much coffee, yet for those who wish to ascend to the higher regions of spiritual life, it is not amiss; it may be very good, occasionally, to obtain logical accuracy by means of coffee. We might say that it seems quite natural for one whose profession necessitates a good deal of writing, and who cannot readily find the logical sequence from one sentence to another, and has to get it all out of his pen, to make use of the stimulus of coffee. This seems quite comprehensible to one who understands how to observe these things in their secret occult foundations. Though such a drink may be necessary for us for a time as citizens of the earth, according to personal and individual conditions, it must also be emphasised that the use of coffee, with all its faults, can contribute a great deal towards the acquisition of stability. Not that it is to be commended as a means of developing stability, but it must be said that it has the power of so doing, and that if, for example, a student's thoughts have a tendency to stray in the wrong direction, we need not take it amiss if he makes himself somewhat more stable by drinking coffee.

It is different in the case of tea. Tea produces a similar effect — viz., a sort of consciousness of difference between the physical nature and the etheric nature; but the structure of the physical body is disconnected in a certain way. The etheric body appears more in its own fluctuating nature. Thought becomes volatile when tea is taken, less fitted to keep to the facts; indeed, fancy is stimulated by it, very often in a way neither sympathetic to nor in conformity with truth or with sound proportion. Hence one may say that it is comprehensible that in gatherings where flashes of thought and the development of sparkling mentality are in question, the stimulus of tea might be preferred; on the other side, it is also comprehensible that when tea-drinking gets the upper hand, it gives rise to a certain indifference to the demands arising through the healthy structure of the physical earthly body. So that dreamy fancy and a certain careless, nonchalant nature, a nature that likes to overlook the demands of the sound external life, is awakened by tea-drinking. And in the case of a soul undergoing a theosophical development we feel tea less suitable, as a beverage, than coffee, since it leads more easily to shallowness. The latter tends to soundness, the former more to charlatanry, although this word applied to these things is much too severe.

All these are things which — as we have said — are experienced through the mobility acquired by the physical sheath of the student undergoing a theosophical development. Only I might add — you may meditate further upon this afterwards or try really to experience such things — that while coffee-drinking promotes something like stability in the physical sheath, and tea-drinking favours shallowness, chocolate promotes prosaic thought. Chocolate can be felt by direct experience as the true beverage of the commonplace merry-maker, when the physical sheath becomes more mobile in itself. Therefore, chocolate may well be recommended for commonplace festivities, and thus we can now understand very well — excuse this aside — that at family festivals, birthday festivals, christenings, especially in certain circles, on certain festive occasions, chocolate is the beverage.

Then when we bear in mind these things which are means of enjoyment, the case appears to us still more significant, because that which usually is experienced concerning the means of nourishment throws its rays upon the ordinary so-called normal life; moreover, not only in such a way as to bring to notice the material substance from which the body is constructed and continually renewed, but also — as was mentioned in the last lecture — the inner disconnection, the separation of the organs from each other. That is important; that is significant.

And here we must bring specially into prominence the fact that occult observation makes clear the experience of the relation between the physical sheath and the physical heart. The physical human heart is to the occultist an extremely interesting, an extremely important organ; for it can only be understood when we bear in mind the entire mutual relationship, including the spiritual relationship, of the sun and the earth. Even at the time when, after the Saturn period, the ancient Sun was a sort of planetary predecessor of the earth, even then began the preparation, as it were, of the relation which now exists between these two heavenly bodies, the Sun and the Earth. And we must so bear in mind this relation between Sun and Earth that we thereby really comprehend how the earth of to-day, being nourished, as it were, by the solar activities, takes in these solar activities and transmutes them. What the solid substance of the earth takes in as solar forces, what the earth takes up in its envelopes of air and water, in its changing conditions of heat, what it takes up in the light that encompasses the earth, what it takes up in that part of the earth which is now no longer physically perceptible in any way — the Earth-part of the harmony of the spheres — what the earth receives as life-forces directly from the sun — all this is in connection with the inner forces that work upon the human heart through the circulation of the blood. In reality all these act upon the circulation of the blood, and through this upon the heart. All external theory with respect to this process is radically wrong. External theory calls the heart a pump that pumps the blood through the body, so that one has to look upon the heart as the organ regulating the circulation of the blood. The reverse is the truth. The heart-circulation responds to the impulse given by the circulation of the blood, which is the original source of action. The blood drives the heart; not the reverse, the heart the blood. And the whole of this organism just described, which is concentrated in the activity of the heart, is none other than the human microcosmic reflection of the macrocosmic activities first received by the earth from the sun. The impulse received by the earth from the sun is reflected in that which the heart receives from the blood.

It is different with the brain. Some details of the correspondence of the brain were given in the last lecture. The human brain has very, very little to do directly with the solar activities on the earth. Directly, I say. Indirectly, as an organ of perception it is concerned with them; it perceives the external light and colour, for instance; that, however, is only perception. But directly, in its construction, in its inner mobility, in the whole of its inward life, the brain has little, scarcely anything, to do with the effects of the sun upon the earth; it is much more concerned with all that streams to the earth from outside our solar system; it is concerned with the cosmic relationship of the whole starry heavens, but not with the narrower relationships of our solar system. However, in a more limited sense, what we have to describe as the brain-substance is connected with the Moon, though only in so far as the Moon does not depend upon the Sun, but has preserved independence of it. So that what goes on in our brain corresponds to activities lying outside the forces which are imaged microcosmically in our heart. Sun dwells in the human heart; all else besides the sun in the cosmos dwells in the human brain.

Thus man, as regards these two organs, is a microcosm, because through his heart he is given up to the influences exercised by the sun on the earth, and reflects these, as it were; but through his brain he has an inner life directly connected with the cosmos outside the sun. That is a connection of extreme interest and significance. The brain is only connected with the effect of the sun on the earth through external perception. But just this very thing is overcome in theosophical development. Theosophical development surmounts the external sense world.

Hence the brain is set free for an inward life so cosmic that it is unsuitable for the specialised influence of the sun itself. When the student surrenders himself in meditation to some imagination, processes take place in his brain which have nothing at all to do with our solar system, but correspond to the processes outside it. Hence, in fact, the relationship between the heart and the brain is like that between the sun and the starry heavens, and this manifests, in a certain respect, in the experience of the soul developing through theosophy through the fact that while this soul is devoted seriously and deeply to purely theosophical thought, the heart forms, as it were, an opposite pole, and comes in opposition to what one might call the starry-brain. This opposition is expressed in the fact that the student learns to feel that his heart and brain begin to go different ways; while previously he had no need to give attention to both separately, because they were indistinguishable, he must now begin so to do — if he is developing through Theosophy.

It gives us an accurate idea of man's place with regard to the whole Cosmos when we thus consider the physical sheath, and bear in mind the position of man here upon the earth. Through his blood-system and heart there is within him the whole relationship between the sun and the earth, and when his inner powers are devoted solely to that for which on earth he needs the brain as his instrument, then in that brain there are cosmic processes at work extending beyond our solar system. It will be evident that the pupil has an entirely new experience with respect to his heart and brain. His sensations really classify themselves, so that in the serene course of the stars displayed in the heavens at night he learns to feel the processes of his brain, and he feels the movements of the solar system in his heart. In this you see at the same time a path which becomes more important at a higher stage of initiation; you see the doors, as it were, which open from man to the cosmos. The student who, through higher development, steps out of himself — as has been described even in exoteric lectures — and looks back at his own body, learns to recognise all the processes in his physical body; in the circulation of the blood and the activity of the heart a reflection of the hidden forces of the solar system, and in the processes of his brain, which he then sees spiritually from the outside, the secrets of the cosmos.

The matters expressed in this last sentence are connected with an observation which I once made in Copenhagen, and which then appeared in my book, The Spiritual Guidance of Man. From this you may gather that, in a certain respect, even the structure of the brain is a sort of reflection of the position of the heavenly bodies at the time of a man's birth as seen from that part of the earth where he is born. It is profitable to approach such things from time to time from a different aspect, for in this way you may appreciate the method of occult science and the narrow-mindedness that many critics show when such an observation is made from one aspect or another. Of course, one may explain important facts like this of the mirroring of the world of stars in the human brain from a definite point of view, and it may appear arbitrary. But when other points of view are added, these all support one another. Later you will become aware of what I might call other streams of occult science which combine and flow together, and their meeting will show you more and more clearly what you feel to be a complete proof, even to external reason, of things which, if they were expressed from one aspect only, might often seem open to question.

From this also you may gain an idea of the delicacy of the whole human structure. And if now you reflect that man, in the taking in of food, binds himself completely to earth, and only through some substances, such, for instance, as vegetarian food, releases himself again, if you reflect that precisely through taking in food does man make himself a citizen of the earth, you will then comprehend the threefold division of man with respect to his physical sheath. Through his brain he belongs to the whole of the starry heavens, through his heart and all connected with it to the sun; through all his digestive system and all appertaining to that, he is, in another sense, an earthly being. This also may be experienced, and is experienced, when the external physical sheath of man becomes more mobile within. Through what comes into him from the earth alone, a man may very greatly sin against what is reflected in him through the pure forces of the cosmos. By producing disturbances through his bodily food, by the purely earthly laws which act in the digestion and which work further as sun-laws in the activity of the heart, and as the cosmic laws outside the solar system in the activity of the brain — a man can, because through external nourishment he causes disturbances, sin very deeply against the cosmic activities in his brain; and this can be experienced by the theosophically developing soul, particularly at the moment of waking. During sleep it also comes about that the digestive activity extends to the brain, flashes into the brain. On waking, the power of thought works upon the brain; and the digestive activity in the brain then withdraws. When thinking is at a standstill during sleep, the digestive activity then works into the consciousness; and when a man awakes and notices an after-effect of it, his experience may then very well be a true barometer for the suitability or unsuitability of his food. He feels this extension of his organism, as it were, into his brain as deadening, stabbing sensations, sensations which — if he has eaten something unsuitable — may often seem like little benumbed centres in his brain. All this is experienced in the most delicate manner, particularly by the theosophically developing soul. And the moment of waking is tremendously important, I mean as regards the perception of the conditions of health in the physical sheath depending upon the digestion. In perceptions which gradually become finer and finer, localising themselves in the head, the student perceives whether in his digestion he is placing himself in opposition to the cosmic laws outside our solar system or in harmony with them. Here you see the wonderful relationship of this physical sheath to the whole cosmos, the moment of waking as a barometer showing the student whether through his digestion, he is setting himself against the cosmic conditions or placing himself in harmony with them. These observations will gradually lead us to the changes which take place in the etheric body and astral body through esoteric or theosophical development.

The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com