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

The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

Highlight Words

The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy

Schmidt Number: S-1198

On-line since: 15th August, 2016

Inner Development

Berlin, 7th December 1905

In a series of talks, I have spoken of the ideas about the supersensible world and its connection with the sensuous world. It is only a matter of course that the question appears repeatedly, where from does the knowledge of the supersensible world come? Today we want to deal with this question, or with other words, with the question of the inner development of the human being.

Inner development of the human being is meant here in the sense that the human being advances to such abilities that he must acquire to himself if he wants to make that supersensible knowledge his own. Do not misunderstand the intention of this talk. This talk is remote from establishing rules or principles that have something to do with general human morality or with the demands, which belong to the general zeitgeist. I must note this expressly because over and over again in our time of equalisation where one does not accept any difference between human being and human being the misunderstanding appears, as if anybody who speaks of occultism establishes any general human demands, moral principles or the like which apply to everybody without distinction. This is not the case. This talk must not at all be confused with a talk on general principles of the theosophical movement. Occultism is unlike theosophy. The Theosophical Society has not only and indeed not exclusively the task to maintain occultism. It could be even possible that anybody who joins this Theosophical Society considers occultism as something completely unacceptable.

Among those matters that are maintained in the Theosophical Society to which also a general ethics belongs is also occultism, which encompasses the knowledge of those principles of our existence that escape from the usual sensory observation in the everyday human area of experience. However, by no means the principles are those, which have nothing to do with this everyday experience. “Occult” means: concealed, mysterious. However, I emphasise again and again that occultism is something that needs certain preconditions. As incomprehensible as higher mathematics is for the usual farmer who has never heard of it, it is occultism for many people of our time.

However, occultism stops being occult if one has taken possession of it. With it, I have strictly limited the field of this talk. Thus, nobody can object — and this must expressly be emphasised after the millenniums-old experiences and often performed experiments — that the demands which occultism puts up could not be fulfilled, they would contradict a general human culture. The fulfilment of it is required from nobody. If, however, anybody comes to me and wants to get the convictions which occultism conveys, but refuses to deal with occultism, he is in the very same situation as the schoolchild who wants to make a glass rod electric, but refuses to rub it. It will not become electric without friction. Somebody who behaves like that who has to make any objection to the methods of occultism.

Nobody is asked to become occultist; everybody must come voluntarily to occultism. Someone who objects that we do not need occultism does not need to deal with it.

Occultism does not appeal to the general humanity today. Moreover, in our present civilisation, it is exceptionally difficult to fulfil the demands of a life, which makes the supersensible world accessible.

Two preconditions are completely absent in our civilisation. The first demand is the isolation, that which esoteric science calls the higher human loneliness. The second one is the overcoming of an egoism that has risen high concerning the innermost soul qualities, in large part unaware to humanity.

The lack of these preconditions makes the developmental way of the inner life almost impossible today, because life is dispersed more and more, demands external sensuousness. In no other culture, the human beings lived in the exterior in this way as just in ours. Now I ask you again not to take anything that I say as criticism but only as a characteristic.

Of course, someone speaking that way as I do today knows exactly that this cannot be different, that just the great advantages and significant achievements of our time are based on these qualities. However, that is why our time is without any supersensible knowledge and without any influence of supersensible knowledge on our culture. In other cultures — and there are some — the human being is able to maintain his inner life more and to withdraw from the effects of the outer life. Then, within such cultures, that prospers which one calls inner life in the higher sense. In the Eastern cultures, there is something that one calls yoga and those who live according to the rules of yoga yogis. Therefore, a yogi is someone who aims at the higher spiritual science, but only, after he has looked for a master of the supersensible for himself. Nobody looks for yoga in another way than under the tutelage of a master, a guru. If he has found him, he must use a big part of the day regularly, not irregularly, to live completely in his soul. All forces that the yogi has to develop are already in his soul, they are there as certain as it is true that the electricity in the glass rod appears by friction. It is true that no one knows on his own how to cause these forces as also no one knows on his own that he can make the glass rod electric by friction.

One has to use the observations made in millenniums and the esoteric methods developed thereby to evoke the soul forces. This is very difficult in our time, which demands from every human being because of the struggle for existence that he splits himself. He does not come to the big inner contemplation, not even to a concept of contemplation, which one had in yoga. No consciousness is there of the deep loneliness which the yogi must search for. He has to repeat the same thing rhythmically, even if only for a short time, with tremendous regularity every day, with complete seclusion of anything that lives in him otherwise. It is necessary and essential that all life, which surrounds us, dies down before the yogi that his senses become unreceptive to any impression of the outside world. The yogi has to make himself blind and deaf to the environment for the time, which he dictates to himself. He must be so composed — and he has to acquire the practise in this contemplation — that one may shoot a gun beside him, and he is not disturbed directing his attention upon his inner life. In addition, he has to become free from any memory of the everyday life.

Consider now how exceptionally hard these preconditions are to be produced in our civilisation, how little one has an idea of such isolation, of such spiritual loneliness. You have to achieve all that on one condition, namely on that never to lose the harmony, the complete balance compared with the outside world in any way. This is exceptionally easy with such a deep sinking in your inside. What settles down deeper and deeper in your inside has to produce the harmony with the outside world even more distinctly at the same time. Nothing that is reminiscent of estrangement, of distance from the outer practical life is allowed to appear with you, otherwise you go astray, and otherwise, perhaps, you are not able to distinguish your higher life from insanity to a certain degree. It is really a kind of insanity if the inner life loses its relations to the outer one. Imagine once — to give you an example — you are clever concerning our earthly conditions; you have all experience and wisdom that can be collected on earth. You fall asleep in the evening, but you wake in the morning not on the earth, but on Mars. However, on Mars are conditions quite different from those on the earth. Any science, which you have collected on earth, benefits you by no means. There is no longer any harmony between your inner life and that, which takes action outside you. Hence, you would be probably put into a Mars lunatic asylum already after an hour because you cannot find the way in the new conditions. To such a road, anybody can be easily directed who loses the connection with the outside world developing his inner life. One strictly has to pay attention to it that this does not happen. All that causes big difficulties in our civilisation.

The other obstacle is a kind of egoism concerning inner soul qualities, an account of which the present humanity normally gives to itself. This is tightly connected with the spiritual development of the human being. For it belongs to the preconditions that one does not strive for it from egoism. Who strives for it from egoism cannot come far. However, our time is selfish until the inside of the human soul. You can hear repeatedly: on the other hand, how useful are these teachings to me which occultism propagates if I myself cannot experience them?

Who starts from this condition and also does not desist from it, can hardly get a really higher development, because the most intimate consciousness of human community belongs to the higher development, so that it is irrelevant whether I myself or another experience this or that. Hence, I must meet somebody whose development is higher than mine is with boundless love and full trust. First, I have to bring myself to this consciousness, to the consciousness of infinite trust towards my fellow man if he says I have experienced this and this. Such trust must be a condition of the community life, and wherever such occult abilities are used more extensively, there it is unlimited trust; there one has the consciousness that the human being is a personality in which a higher individuality lives. The basis is trust and confidence at first because we are searching not always only in ourselves for our higher selves, but also in our fellow men. Everybody who lives round us is according to his inner nature in undivided unity with us.

As long as it depends on my lower self, I am separated from other human beings. However, if it concerns my higher self — and only this can ascend to the supersensible world —, then I am no longer separated from the fellow men, I am a uniform being with my fellow men, then is that who speaks to me of the higher truth: I myself. I must drop this difference between him and me completely, I must overcome the feeling completely that he has something over me. Try to settle down in this feeling completely, so that it penetrates till the thinnest little fibres of the human soul and any egoism disappears, and the other who is farther than you stands like your own self before you, then you have understood one of the preconditions that are necessary to wake the higher spiritual life.

You can hear just where the instructions of the occult life are given — often very incorrectly and erroneously —: the higher self lives in the human being, he only needs to let his inside speak and the highest truth is revealed. — Nothing is more correct on the one hand and, on the other hand, more infertile than this assertion. If the human being tries once to let his inner human being speak, he will see that as a rule his lower self speaks, even if he imagines ever so much that his higher self appears. We do not find the higher self in ourselves at first. We have to look for it outside ourselves first. From anybody who is farther advanced we can learn a piece, because we keep it in sight as it were. We can never profit anything from our own selfish ego for our higher self. Where anybody is who has farther advanced than I have, there I am in the future. According to my disposition, I really bear the seed in myself of that which he is. However, first the ways to Mount Olympus must be illumined, so that I can pursue them.

A feeling is the basic condition of any esoteric development, you may believe it or not — every practical occultist who has experience confirms it to you —, a feeling which is mentioned in the different religions. The Christian religion calls it with the known sentence that one must understand as an occultist completely: “Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15, Matthew 18:3). Only that understands the sentence who has learnt reverence in the highest sense of the word. Assume once that you would have heard of an adorable person in your earliest youth, a personality by which in you the highest idea has been woken in a direction, and the opportunity is offered to you to get to know this personality closer. A holy shyness of this personality lives in you during the day, which should bring you the moment where you see him in person for the first time. Standing before the door of this person, you can have the feeling to be afraid to touch the handle and to open the door. If you look to such an adorable personality this way, you have understood the feeling approximately which also Christianity means if it says that one should become like the little children to participate in the kingdom of God. It depends not so much on whether that to whom the feeling is directed deserves it in full measure, but it depends on the fact that we have the ability to look up reverentially at something from our inside. This is the important aspect of admiration that you yourselves are drawn up to that at whom you look up.

The feeling of admiration is the raising force, the magnetic force that pulls us up to the higher spheres of the supersensible life. This is the principle of the occult world that everybody who looks for higher life has to write into his soul as with golden letters. From this basic mood of the soul, the development has to begin. Without this feeling, one can generally attain nothing. Then that who looks for inner development must be clear in his mind that he does something tremendous concerning the human being. What he looks for is nothing more and nothing less than a new birth, namely in the proper sense. The higher soul of the human being should be born. As well as the human being was born with his first birth from deep inner reasons of existence as he came to the sunlight, somebody who looks for inner development steps out of the sunlight, out of that which he can experience in the sensory world, to a higher spiritual light. Something is born in him that rests in the usual human being, who represents the mother, as deeply as the child in the mother before it is born. Who is not aware of the far-reaching consequences of this fact does not know what is called occult or esoteric development. The higher soul that is deep in the whole human nature at first and is interwoven with it is got out. If the human being stands in the everyday life before us, his lower and higher natures are closely related, and this is a piece of luck in the everyday life.

Somebody, who lives among us, would perhaps bring evil, bad qualities to light if he followed his lower nature, but within him, mixed with the lower nature, the higher one lives which keeps it in check. You can compare this mixture with a mixture of a yellow liquid and a blue one in a glass, resulting in a green liquid in which we can no longer distinguish yellow and blue. The lower nature is mixed with the higher one in the human being that way and both are not to be distinguished. As you can extract the blue liquid from the green liquid by chemical means, so that only the yellow fluid remains, and the uniform green is separated into a duality, in blue and yellow, you separate the lower nature from the higher one by means of the esoteric development. You pull the lower nature out of the body like the sword from the scabbard, which remains alone then for itself. This lower nature comes out in such a way that it appears almost nightmarish.

When it was still mixed with the higher nature, nothing of it was to be noticed. Now, however, when it is separated, all evil, bad qualities come out. Human beings who had seemed benevolent before often become quarrelsome and envious. These qualities sat already in their lower nature, however, were controlled by the higher one. You can observe this with many people who are led on anomalous ways. The human being becomes a liar very easily when he enters the supersensible world. He easily loses the ability to distinguish true from wrong. It belongs inevitably to the esoteric training that the strictest training of the character is paralleled by it. What history tells of the saints as their temptations is not a legend but literal truth.

Someone who wants to develop in any way to the higher world is easily exposed to this temptation if he has not developed the strength of character and the highest morality in himself to be able to hold down everything that approaches him. Not only that desire and passions grow, this is not even so much the case, but — and this seems miraculous at first — also the opportunities increase. Like by a miracle, opportunities of the evil, which were concealed to him before, lie in wait of someone who ascends to the higher world. In every fact of life, a demon lies in wait for him which tries to lead him astray. What he has not seen once, he sees now. The splitting of his nature conjures up such opportunities as it were everywhere from the secret sites of life. Therefore, the so-called white magic — that school of esoteric development which leads the human being to the higher worlds in good, real and true way — demands a particular development of character as essential. Every practical esoteric says to you that nobody should dare to pass that narrow gate — one calls the entrance to the esoteric development that way — without practicing these qualities repeatedly. They are a necessary pre-school of the esoteric life.

The first ability that the human being must develop is to separate the unimportant from the significant, the transient from the imperishable on all his ways through life. One can demand this easily, but it is often difficult to carry it out. It is, as Goethe says, indeed, easy, however, the easy is difficult. Have a look, for example, at a plant or at a thing.

You learn to recognise that everything has an important and an unimportant side and the human being mostly is interested in the unimportant, in the relation of the thing to him or in a subordinated quality. Someone who wants to become an esoteric has to get into the habit of seeing and looking for a being in everything. Seeing a watch, for example, he has to be interested in its principles. He must be able to disassemble it in the minutest detail and develop a feeling of its principles. Suppose further that a mineralogist looks at a rock crystal. He gets already by an external view to a significant knowledge of the crystal. However, the esoteric must take a stone in hand and can vividly feel what is indicated in the following monologue: in certain respect, you are below humanity, but in certain respect, you outrank humanity by far. You are below humanity because you cannot conceive ideas of human beings because you do not feel. You cannot imagine, you cannot think and you do not live, but you have something over humanity, you are chaste in yourself, you do not have any wish and desire. Every human being, every living being has wishes, cravings, desires; you do not have them. You are perfect and contented with that which was bestowed on you, a model for the human being with which he has still to connect his other qualities.

If the esoteric can feel this rather deeply, he has grasped the significant that the stone can say to him. Thus, the human being can take something important from everything. If this has become a habit that he separates the significant from the unimportant, then he has appropriated another of the feelings, which the esoteric must have. Then he must connect his own life with the significant. The human beings are deceived in that in particular very easily in our time. The human beings believe very easily that the place on which they stand is not commensurate with them. How often are people inclined to say, my destiny has put me in a place in which I do not fit. I am, we say, for example, postal clerk. If I were put to another place, I could provide high ideas to the people; I could give great teachings and so on.

The mistake of these human beings is that they do not connect their lives with the significant of their occupations. If you see anything significant in me because I can talk to the people here, you do not see the significant in your own life and occupation. If the postmen did not carry away the letters, the whole exchange of letters would come to a standstill, a lot of work, which has already been performed by others, would be in vain.

Hence, everybody is of extraordinary importance for the whole on his post, and nobody is higher than the other is. Christ tried to indicate this the nicest in the downright marvellous way in the thirteenth chapter of the St. John's Gospel with the words: “a servant is not greater than his master, nor a messenger than the one who sent him” (13:16). These words were spoken, after the master had washed the disciples' feet. With it, he wanted to say, what would I be without my disciples? They must be there, so that I can be there in the world, and I have to pay tribute to them degrading myself before them and washing their feet. — This is one of the most significant hints to the feeling, which the esoteric must have towards the significant. One is not allowed to confuse the externally significant with the internally significant. One has to pay strict attention to that.

Then we must develop a number of qualities. First, we have to become masters of our thoughts, of the chains of our thoughts in particular. One calls that the control of thoughts. Consider once how in the human soul the thoughts are bustling about, how they are wandering around aimlessly: here appears an impression, there another, and every single one changes the thought. It is not true that we control the thoughts; rather the thoughts control us completely. However, we must advance so far that we are engrossed in a certain thought during a certain time of the day and say to ourselves, no other thought is allowed to enter my soul and to control me. — With it, we ourselves lead the reins of the thought life for some time.

The second quality is that we behave in a similar way to our actions, that is that we control our actions. It is necessary that we reach so far at least to commit such actions now and again to which we are caused by nothing that comes from outside. Nothing that is induced by our state, our occupation, and our position leads us deeper into the higher life. The higher life depends on such intimacies, for example that we make the decision to do something for the first time, something that arises from our very own initiative, and even if it is a quite unimportant fact. All other actions contribute nothing to the higher life.

The following, the third quality is endurance. The human beings alternate between joy and grief, once they are on top of the sky, then they are down in the dumps. Thus, the human beings drift on the waves of life, of joy and grief. However, they have to attain equanimity, calmness. The biggest grief, the biggest joys must not confuse them, they must stand firm, get endurance.

The fourth quality is the understanding of any being. What it means to understand any being is nowhere better expressed than in a legend about Christ Jesus, which has been preserved to us not in the Gospels, but in a Persian story. Jesus walked with his disciples overland, and they found a rotting dog on the way. The animal looked awkward. Jesus stopped and glanced admiring at it, saying, “However, what nice teeth has this animal.” Jesus spotted the beautiful of the awkward. Strive for approaching the marvellous everywhere in such a way, and then you see something in everything outdoors to which you can say yes. Make it like Christ who admired the beautiful teeth of the dead dog. This direction leads to great tolerance and to the understanding of anything and any being.

The fifth quality is the complete impartiality towards everything new that faces us. Most people judge something new according to something old that they know already. If anybody comes to say anything to you, you immediately answer: I am of another opinion about that. — However, we are not allowed to confront a communication, which we get with our opinion immediately, we must be on the lookout for something new that we can learn. We can still learn something from a little child. Even if one is the wisest human being, he must be inclined to restrain his judgment and to listen to others. We must develop this ability of listening to anybody, because it enables us to face the things with maximal impartiality. In esotericism, one calls this “confidence,” and this is the strength to maintain the impressions, which the new makes on us, by that which we hold against it.

The sixth quality is that which everybody receives by itself after he has developed the cited qualities. This is the inner harmony. The human being who has the other qualities has the inner harmony. Then it is also necessary that the human being who looks for the esoteric development has developed the feeling of freedom to the highest degree. This feeling of freedom which enables him to look for the centre of his being in himself and to stand firm on own feet so that he does not need to ask anybody what to do, but that he stands straight and acts freely. This is also something that one has to acquire.

If the human being has developed these qualities in himself, he is above any danger that could cause the splitting of his nature in him. Then the qualities of his lower nature can no longer work on him, and then he can no longer lose his way. Hence, these qualities must develop very exactly. The esoteric life comes then whose expression causes a certain rhythmisation of life. The term rhythmisation of life expresses the corresponding ability. If you look at nature, you find a certain rhythm in it. You will consider it as a matter of course that the violet blossoms annually at the same time in the spring that the grain on the field, the grapes on the grapevine become ripe at the same time. This rhythmical succession of the phenomena is found everywhere outside in nature. Everywhere is rhythm; everywhere is repetition in regular sequence. If you go up to the higher beings which, you see this rhythmical sequence more and more decreasing. You also see with the animal, still in a higher degree, all qualities rhythmically arranged. At certain time of the year, the animal gets particular functions and abilities. The higher the being is developed, the more life is given in own hands of the being, the more this rhythm ceases. You must know that the human body is only one of the members of his being. Then the etheric body comes, the astral body, and finally, the higher members, which form the basis of those.

The physical body is highly subject to the rhythm to which the entire external nature is subjected. As the plant life and animal life proceed in their external form rhythmically, the life of the physical body proceeds. The heart beats rhythmically, the lung breathes rhythmically and so on. Everything proceeds so rhythmically because it is ordered by higher powers, by the wisdom of the world, by that which the scriptures call the Holy Spirit. The higher bodies, and in particular the astral body, are left, I would like to say, by these higher spiritual powers in a certain way and have lost their rhythm. Can you deny that your activity is irregular concerning wishes, desires, and passions that it cannot be compared with the regularity that prevails in the physical body? Who learns the rhythm of the physical nature finds the model of spirituality in it. If you look at the heart, this marvellous organ with the regular beat and its implanted wisdom, and compare it to the desires and passions of the astral body that release all possible actions against the heart, then you recognise how disadvantageously the passion works on its regular way. However, the functions of the astral body must become as rhythmical as the performances of the physical body are.

I want to state something that will seem absurd to most people, namely concerning the fasting. We have completely lost the consciousness of the importance of fasting. However, from the point of view of the rhythmisation of our astral body, fasting is something exceptionally meaningful. What is fasting? It means to control the desire of eating and to eliminate the astral body concerning the desire of eating. He who fasts eliminates the astral body and has no appetite. This is in such a way, as if you switch off a force in a machine. Then the astral body sleeps, and the rhythms of the physical body and its implanted wisdom work on the astral body and make it rhythmic. As well as the seal is imprinted by a signet, the harmony of the physical body is imprinted in the astral body and it would be transmitted much more permanently if it were not always made irregular by the desires, passions and wishes, also by spiritual desires and wishes.

The modern human being needs more than in former times to bring in rhythm to his entire higher life. Just as God planted rhythm into the physical body, the human being must make his astral body rhythmic. The human being must dictate the course of the day to himself; arrange it for the astral body in such a way as the spirit of nature arranges it for the lower realms. Early in the morning, at a particular time, one must do a spiritual exercise, at another time, which must be again observed strictly, another exercise, in the evening another exercise again. These spiritual exercises must not be chosen arbitrarily, but must be suitable to the continuing development of the higher life. This is a kind to take charge of life and to control it. Determine an hour in the morning where you concentrate. You must observe this hour. There you have to produce a kind of calm, so that the great esoteric master can wake in you. There you have to meditate on big contents of thought, which have nothing to do with the outside world, and to liven these contents of thought up in you.

A short time is enough, maybe a quarter of an hour, even five minutes if one does not have more time. However, it is worthless and useless if one exercises irregularly. If one exercises regularly, so that the activity of the astral body becomes regular like a clock, then these exercises have value. The astral body gets another appearance if you exercise regularly. Sit down in the morning and exercise; the forces develop which I described to you. However, it must happen regularly because the astral body expects that the same is carried out with it at the same time, and it gets into a mess if it does not happen. One must have a mind to exercise regularly at least. If you make your life rhythmic in such a way, you perceive the results in not too long a time, namely the spiritual life, which is hidden to the human being at first, becomes apparent to some extent.

As a rule, the human life changes between four states. The first state is the perception of the outside world. You look with the senses and perceive the outside world. The second state is that which we can call imagination which is somewhat related to the dream life, even belongs to it. There the human being is rooted not in the surroundings, but is detached from them, there he has no realities before him, memories at the most. The third state is the dreamless sleep. There the human being has no consciousness of his ego, and the fourth state is that in which the human being lives in his memory. This is different from perception; this is something abstract, spiritual. Had the human being no memory, he could not get any spiritual development generally.

Inner life starts developing by means of tranquillity and meditation. The human being notices then eventually that he is no longer dreaming chaotically, but that he dreams in extremely significant way and that to him strange things manifest, which he recognises gradually as manifestations of spiritual truths. Of course, one can easily raise the trivial objection: all that is just dreamt, what does this concern to us? — However, if anybody invented the dirigible airship in his dreams and carried out it, this dream would just have revealed the truth. Thus, an idea can be grasped still in a way different from the usual, and then the truth of it must be found in the realisation. We have to be convinced of its inner truth from the outside.

The next stage of the spiritual life is that where we grasp truth using our own qualities and direct our dreams consciously. If we start directing the dreams regularly, we are on that level where truth becomes transparent to us. One calls the first stage the material knowledge where the object must be there. The other stage is the imaginative knowledge. One develops this by meditating, organising life rhythmically.

It is laborious to gain it. If it is obtained, the time also comes when there is no longer any difference between the perception in the usual life and the perception in the supersensible. If we live among the things of the everyday life, in the sensuous world, and change our spiritual state, we experience the spiritual supersensible world perpetually if we have exercised enough in this way. This is the case, as soon as we are able to become blind and deaf compared with the sensory world, to remember nothing of the everyday life and still to have a spiritual life in us. Then our dream life starts becoming conscious. If we are able to pour something of it in our everyday life, then also that quality appears which makes the spiritual qualities of the beings round us perceptible.

Then we do no longer see the outside of the things only, but then we also see the inside, the concealed essence of the things, the plants, the animals, and the human beings. I know that most people say: these are other things. — This is quite right; these are always things quite unlike those, which the human being sees, who do not have such senses. The third state is usually completely empty, but starts to be animated if the continuity of consciousness occurs. The continuity comes completely by itself, and then the human being does no longer sleep unconsciously. He experiences the supersensible world during the time when he sleeps otherwise.

What does sleep consist of, otherwise? The physical body lies in the bed and the astral body lives in the supersensible world. In this supersensible world, you are strolling. As a rule, the human being of the present disposition cannot go far away from his body. If anyone has now developed organs of the astral body, strolling during sleep, by the rules which spiritual science gives, he starts realising during sleep. The physical body would be blind and deaf if it had no eyes and ears, and the astral body that strolls at night is blind and deaf because it still has no eyes and ears. However, these develop by meditation; it is the means of forming its organs. This meditation must then be performed regularly. It is performed in such a way that the body of the human being is the mother and the spirit of the human being is the father. The body of the human being, as it stands physically before us, is in every member, which it shows to us, a mystery, namely in such a way that any member belongs in certain but concealed way to a part of the astral body. The esoteric knows these matters. He knows, for example, where to the point between the eyebrows belongs in the physical body. It belongs to a certain organ in the astral organism. While the spiritual scientist indicates how to direct your thoughts, feelings and sensations to the point between the eyebrows, you connect something that develops in the physical body with the corresponding part of the astral body and you get a certain sensation in your astral body.

However, it must happen regularly, and one must know how. Then the astral body starts being structured. It develops from a lump to the organism in which the organs form. I have described the astral senses in the magazine Lucifer-Gnosis. One also calls them lotus flowers. These lotus flowers develop using certain formulae. If they have developed, the human being is able to perceive the spiritual world. This is the same world, which he enters when he walks through the gate of death. The saying by Hamlet is then wrecked that from that unknown land no traveller has come back.

You can go or, better said, you can slip from the sensuous world into the supersensible world, and live here and there. This is no life in a cloud-cuckoo-land, but a life in that area which only makes the life in our area explicable and clear. As well as a usual human being who has not studied the principles of electricity goes into an electrically powered factory, sees the miraculous activities and does not understand them, he also does not understand the activities in the spiritual world.

The ignorance of the visitor of this factory exists as long as he does not know the principles of electricity. Thus, the human being is also ignorant in the fields of the spiritual, as long as he does not know the principles of the spiritual. There is nothing in our world that does not depend on the spiritual world wherever one goes. Everything that surrounds us here is an external expression of the spiritual world. There is no material. Every material is compressed spirit. To somebody who looks into the spiritual world, the whole material, sensuous world, the world generally spiritualises itself. As the ice melts before the sun to water, everything sensuous melts to something spiritual before the soul, which looks into the spiritual world. The primal ground of the world reveals itself bit by bit before the spiritual eye and the spiritual ear.

In reality, this life, which the human being gets to know in this way, is the spiritual life that the human being has already led inside perpetually about which he knows nothing because he does not know himself until he has developed the organs for the higher world. Imagine once that you would be a human being with the qualities, which you have now, however, you would have no senses. You would know nothing about the world round you, you would have no understanding of the physical body, and, nevertheless, you would belong to the physical world

Thus, the human soul belongs to the spiritual world, however, it does not know it because it does not hear and see. As our body is taken from the forces and materials of the physical world, our soul is taken from the forces and materials of the spiritual world. We do not recognise ourselves in ourselves, but only in our surroundings. As true as you cannot see the heart and brain, without perceiving them with your fellow men by your senses — even with the help of the X-rays your eyes can only see the heart —, it is true that you cannot see or hear your own soul, without recognising them by the spiritual senses in the environment. You can recognise yourselves only by your environment. There is no inside knowledge in reality, no introspection, there is only a knowledge, a revelation by organs of the physical as well as of the spiritual life around us. We belong to the worlds around us, to the physical, astral, and spiritual worlds. We learn from the physical world, if we have physical organs and from the spiritual world, from all souls if we have soul organs, spiritual organs. There is no other knowledge than world knowledge.

It is idle and empty tranquillity if the human being is brooding in himself and believes to be able to reach anything by mere introspection. The human being finds God in himself if he wakes the divine organs in himself and then finds his higher divine self in his environment, as he can only find his lower self in the surroundings using his eyes and ears. We understand ourselves as physical beings by the contact with the sensory world, and we understand ourselves in a spiritual respect while we develop spiritual senses in ourselves. Developing the inside means opening ourselves to the divine life in the outside world round us.

You understand now why it is necessary that someone who ascends to the higher world experiences an infinite consolidation of his character first. The human being can get to know by himself at first how the world is because his senses are already opened. For a benevolent divine spirit that had seen and heard in the physical world stood beside the human being aeons ago, before he could see and hear, and opened his eyes and ears. Just from such beings, the human being has to learn to see spiritually, from the beings, which are already able to what he has to learn. We must have a guru who says to us how to develop our organs who says to us what he did to develop the organs. Who wants to instruct has to acquire a basic quality: absolute veracity, and this is also a main demand, which must be made on the student. Nobody is allowed to be trained as an esoteric, unless he has acquired this basic quality of absolute veracity before.

Concerning the sensuous experiences, one can examine what is said. However, if I tell you anything of the spiritual world, you must have confidence because you are not yet so far that you can check it. Who wants to be a guru must have become so true that it is impossible for him to take such statements slightly with regard to the spiritual world and the spiritual life. The sensuous world immediately corrects the mistakes, which we do concerning this world, however, in the spiritual world, we must have that guideline in ourselves, we must be rigorously trained, so that we are not forced to control by the outside world, but have the control in ourselves. We can only acquire this control, while we appropriate the most rigorous veracity already here in the world. Therefore, the Theosophical Society also had to accept the principle: no law above truth, when it began revealing some elementary teachings of esotericism to the world.

A few understand this principle. Most people are content with it if they can say to themselves, I am aware that it is true, and if it is wrong, they say, I have erred. The esoteric is not allowed to insist on his subjective honesty. There he is on the wrong track. He must always comply with the facts in the outside world and he must regard an experience, which speaks against it as a mistake, as an error. The esoteric is no longer responsible or not. He must absolutely harmonise with the facts of life. He must start feeling responsible in the strictest sense of any statement, which he makes. Then one educates himself to the unconditional assurance that that must have for himself and others who wants to be a spiritual guide.

Thus, you see that I had to indicate — we have to speak about this subject once again to add the higher parts — a number of qualities and procedures. They seem to you too intimate to speak about them with others, every soul has to sort them for itself and they may seem to you inappropriate to attain the great aim, which should be attained, namely the entrance of the supersensible world. That will absolutely arrive at the entrance who walks on the way, which I have characterised.

When? About that, one of the most superior members of the theosophical movement, our long since deceased member Subba Rao (Tallapragada S. R., 1856-1890), appropriately expressed himself. He answered to the question, how long it lasts: seven years, maybe also seven times seven years, maybe also seven incarnations, maybe also only seven hours. — It completely depends on that which the person brings into life along with him. A person may face us, who is apparently quite silly who has brought a higher life along with him, which is concealed now and must only be got out. Today, most human beings are farther advanced in esoteric relation than it seems, and this would become known to many people if our material conditions and our material time did not strike back so much into the inner soul life. A big percentage of modern humanity advanced rather far in earlier times. It depends on different matters whether that which is in the human being comes out. However, one can give some help. Imagine that a human being faces me. In his former incarnation he was a far advanced individuality, however, he has an undeveloped brain now. An undeveloped brain may sometimes conceal great spiritual talents. However, if one teaches him the usual profane abilities, it is possible that also the inner spiritual ones come out. However, it does not depend only on this, but also on the surroundings in which the person lives.

In quite significant way, the human being is a reflection of his surroundings. Assume that a human being is a highly developed personality, but lives in surroundings, which only wake and form certain prejudices in him that work so vigorously that the higher disposition cannot come out. If such a human being does not find anybody who gets out it, then it just remains concealed in him.

I could only give you a few indications about that; however, we speak again about the other and deeper matters after Christmas. The one idea I wanted to wake is that the higher life develops not tumultuously but quite intimately, in the deepest soul, and that the great day when the soul awakes and enters the higher life really comes like the thief at night.

The development of the higher life leads the human being into a new world, and after he has entered this new world, he sees the other side of existence, so to speak, then that presents itself to him, which was hidden to him before. Everybody should say that to himself, perhaps, not everybody is able to do this, maybe only a few are able. However, this should not discourage him from entering that way which at least is open to everybody to hear something of the higher worlds. The human being is destined to live in community, and who separates himself cannot get to spiritual life. However, it is a seclusion in the higher sense if I say, I do not believe this, this is not related to me, this may have validity for the other life; this does not apply to the esoteric. The esoteric has the principle to regard the other human beings as a revelation of his own higher self because he knows then that he has to find the others in himself.

A subtle difference exists between both sentences “find the others in yourself” and “find yourself in the others.” That is in the higher sense: you are that. In the highest sense, it means, you recognise yourself in the world and understand the word of the poet, which I quoted some weeks ago in another connection: “Somebody was successful to lift the veil of the goddess of Sais. — But what did he see? He saw — miracle of miracles — his self!” You do not find true self-knowledge in your selfish inside but unselfishly in the world.

© 2021 Steiner Online Library. All rights reserved.

Steiner Online Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, EIN 85-2621701. Donations are tax-deductible.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Contact Us