It has often
been emphasized that one must distinguish between progress in
esoteric development and noticing the progress. Every esoteric gets
ahead if he does his esoteric exercises faithfully and
regularly, even if he's dissatisfied with the success of the same.
Honest endeavour is the important thing. We actually become different
men through these exercises. This definitely happens even if we don't
notice it. For the forces that loosen the etheric body and pull it
out of the physical body are in all of these exercises, whether
they're given orally or in books. But it's another matter to also
notice these changes. A soul may actually have organs
already, but it makes a difference whether it's sleeping or waking in
its spiritual surroundings. It requires a strong force and
preparation to wake up and become conscious. That's why descriptions are
given in these lectures of what a soul experiences on waking up in the
spiritual world. Many make it difficult for themselves to
become conscious because they keep on thinking that the
spirit land is like a second physical world, only finer and more
diffuse. This is a big hindrance, because then they don't notice the
fine symptoms of awaking. Such prejudices must be
eliminated. One who still has them is like a man who goes up in
a balloon and thinks that he can get out up there at any time and
rest on a mountain top. But one who takes in esoteric explanations
rightly can understand how the spiritual world is experienced when
the soul awakens. To get to this point one has to ask oneself
the question: What is thinking really? What thinks in me? A
materialist who denies the existence of the spiritual world
says: The body, the brain thinks. But one should ask him: Have you
ever perceived thinking with your senses? Of course he hasn't. No one
has ever heard or seen or felt thinking as warmth or the like.
Therefore it's not corporeal. For what belongs to the body is
sense perceptible. And so thinking is super-sensible. So the
materialist would either have to accept the spiritual world or
he should give up thinking because it's an absurdity — which
might even be good. So we're always in the super-sensible world with
our thinking, but in such a way that we don't experience it. With
man's thinking it's as if someone went out to sea but didn't see
himself and his boat. We don't experience it directly, for the
thoughts we experience are reflections of thinking in the body. Just
as someone facing a mirror sees his reflection, so a thinking soul
sees the mirror image of its thinking. The brain is a mirror.
esoteric training a man is supposed to experience thinking and not
just thoughts. Just as someone standing before a mirror sees the
mirror's reflecting surface when he steps to one side, so the
soul must learn to look upon the body as a reflecting
apparatus. Then the man knows how thoughts come into being, and
he experiences himself in the world from which thinking
projects into the sense world as thought. All of this can be
understood by every healthy intellect. And it's important for a
theosophist to make it quite clear to himself to be armed against the
objection that theosophy is based on belief, that one must believe in
the existence of the super-sensible world. That's not true. Everyone
can understand this existence if he uses his thinking properly.
One who can't understand it is foolish, even if he's a
philosopher. But it's still a big step from this possibility of
experiencing thinking and the super-sensible world to a knowing
of the latter. This can only be attained if the soul works on itself
for a long time, but it is attained.
first sign of an awakening in the spiritual world is a feeling of
expansion, as if one were spreading and flowing out. In the sense
world I'm here, the object is over there and it makes an impression
on me. Consciousness comes about when we bump into objects
through the organs of touching, hearing, seeing. However in the
spiritual world the condition of being closed off in oneself
ceases. One feels as if one were spread out in other beings. In the
physical world we experience everything inside our skin, as for
instance the prick of a needle. Not so in the spiritual world. There
thinking and feeling flow out. One experiences pleasure and pain in
others. For instance if one runs into a deceased person who's in
pain, one has to experience the pain with him as long as one is in
spiritual contact with him. One's relation to the sense world also
becomes quite different through this change. The way in which we
ordinarily experience the physical world is conditioned by the fact
that the body through which we experience things is sensorial. If we
hit our head against a hard object we feel it because the head
doesn't yield, that is, because it's hard or similar to the object.
But no impression is made if one confronts the sense world with
super-sensible experience. Spiritual organs are too soft and
flexible, as it were. That's why all physical things seem like
empty spaces. A comparison can give one a perception of this.
The water in a glass is invisible. The gas pearls in soda water are
visible even though the bubbles are much more rarefied than water;
they're nothing in comparison with the denser fluid. So the
nothing is visible and the something is invisible. For a
spiritual gaze that's the way things really are with the
physical world. Like these pearls in water, all atoms are holes or
empty bubbles in the spiritual world. All physical things are
composed of countless numbers of such holes. When we touch things we
bump into these holes, this nothing. That's the way things are with
man's body also. Seen spiritually, for instance, the brain is a
spiritual form. There are countless empty pearls or holes in it, and
they make up what a scientist investigates with his
instruments. Another thing is that a man feels that all the
good, right and true things that he thinks stream out from him. He
feels as if they're growing into the future, that they're
germ-forming for the future. But the wrong, bad, ugly things that he
thinks and feels also grow out like this. He really feels them
streaming out of him, and he knows that the bad thoughts
streaming from him will later serve as food for the good ones. So
they're also necessary. Then he begins to understand why so many bad,
wrong and ugly thoughts and feelings assail him during meditation.
When he knows that they're necessary forces and food for the future
he'll also assess them correctly. He won't have to complain about
them if he's strong enough to not let them flow into his willing and
action. There is a big secret connected with this. The same forces
that underlie our bad thoughts were rayed out by hierarchical
beings on old Moon, from angels up to Spirits of Form. Thereby they
brought about Moon existence. But Lucifer and Ahriman remained
behind and are only raying out these forces now. They now work into
physical things that have condensed further, right into man's
physical blood, and that's how evil arises. They're not evil in
themselves; an esoteric must let them work on him but not let them
become physically condensed. Then they remain of value for
future good thoughts.
following formulas are given to promote an experience of
these first steps into the spiritual
world. Budding esoterics should do the first one in the AM, the
second after the day's retrospect and the third once every few days.
More advanced esoterics should only do them occasionally, the first
and second together and the third maybe only on Sundays.
7-line form of the verses arose by itself, that is, the spiritual
material reveals itself in such a way that it presses into this form.
(The verse in the lesson from March 5th 1914 in Stuttgart, is included
here for reference.)
things I turn myself
I turn myself with ray senses; —
Sense existence, you deceive me! —
What flees existence as nothing:
For you it's existence and reality;
May what must seem like nothing to you
Be disclosed to my inner life. —
attain this: it's the taking of a position towards the new, outer world.)
light warm me
Let me feel myself volitionally in you.
Well thought, truly known things
How does shining I experience you
May weaving of error, badly thought things
Show itself to shining soul
That I may be weaving in myself.
questioning and experiencing in the new existence within.)
I and luminous soul (- oneself -)
Floats over real developing being
What was thought, what was known
Now becomes dense spirit existence
And what seems like existence to the senses
Lives in the ocean of divine reality
Like aery existential bubbles.
anticipation of truth. It's a guessing, a feeling of the new self.)
elaborated each of these strophes contains the same thing that's
successively compressed in our rosicrucian verse in the ten words:
In Christo morimur,
Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus
one and two of the third formula
give one much to think about. They were revealed like that, although
it seems to be grammatically incorrect, since it says floats instead
of float. Later it became clear that this is intended. “Shining
I and luminous soul” should be thought of as a single entity.
Likewise “what was thought, what was known” are treated
as one. Thinking and knowing are not one in the physical world,
but in the spiritual one they flow together. Something that's thought
is either wrong — then it destroys itself — or it's right
— then it's also something that's revealed: knowledge.
like these or the ones in Occult Science, for instance, are not made
up or fabricated. The intellect isn't involved in this at all to
begin with. A seer gets things revealed to him. They stand there.
Only then does he elaborate them with his intellect. The first
formula describes the experience where physical things seem to
consist of nothing, like bubbles in water. The soul sees that
ordinary sensory existence is an illusion, and it tries to gain
knowledge of what is truly real.
second formula describes the experience of the raying out of good
and bad thoughts.
formula should be used as a test of the progress one has made. When
one meditates it one must speak the words inwardly so that everything
resounds meaningfully. With these lines one tries to see how
far one has gotten; whether for instance one already experiences
thought, what was known
becomes dense spirit existence.
this must be continued patiently and without flagging week after
week. One can also look upon these formulas as a different form
of what's always said at the end of these classes. The first one
describes how sensorial things become non-existent when one grows
into the spiritual world, and spiritual reality is seen to be what we
Ex Deo nascimur.
formula describes the experience of good and bad thoughts as forces
that'll work in the future. This is only possible if the soul is
embraced and illumined by spiritual light — Christ —
after it has released itself from the physical world:
In Christo morimur.
third formula describes how real knowledge becomes revealed to the
soul that's waking up in the spirit:
Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.