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From the Contents of Esoteric Classes

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

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

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From the Contents of Esoteric Classes

On-line since: 15th January, 2011

101. EL, Stuttgart, 2-22-'12

When one comes into an esoteric stream, it's quite natural to ask oneself: How do I bring my soul forward, how do I develop it upwards? Here it's of the greatest importance for us to stand firmly at an esoteric center from which we look at life and let it be irradiated from there. We should open ourselves to the streams from the spiritual world that are in accordance with our time. It has absolutely no value to flirt with other lines of thought because they seem to be theosophical — to work with them superficially. This directly hinders our progress. It would be much better to join a mostly wrong line of thought if we think that it gives us more, for then we'll get the corresponding things from it. A true esoteric must look at life with alert eyes from his firm, immoveable standpoint, for life will become increasingly complicated. These complications are created by Luciferic beings who remained behind in their development at the Mystery of Golgotha, that is, they didn't accept the consequences of this Mystery. What's happening now in spiritual worlds is shocking in many respects for one who can see into them. Lucifer brought it about that we moved into our physical and etheric bodies and didn't remain floating above them, and this was actually good for us, for this enabled our ego to attain cognitional power and memory. To be sure, memory is also something that holds us back. But in the way we're in our bodies we would not be able to do without it — mainly we wouldn't be able to distinguish between reality and illusion. For instance, if we would think of a man we knew 20 years ago and would confront this memory picture and greet it, we would have to call that a hallucination. But we would succumb to this hallucination if we would look upon a thing that remained behind as something that was appropriate for our time, and that's something that will often be the case in the near future. The Luciferic beings who remained behind at the Mystery of Golgotha have created a kind of a vanguard for themselves out of people they overpowered after their last death. These are souls who lived at the time of Tauler and Eckhart in the 13th century and who belonged to the Beghard community. They'll try to confuse souls soon by means of Brahmanism and Buddhism, those old religions. They were the right thing for their age when they were given to the ancient Indians, and especially Brahmanism was a much more spiritual religion than Christianity is now. But that's because Europeans since medieval times passed by opportunities for rightly developing what came to them. Then, too, a tidal wave of spiritual culture from Culture will greatly impress Europeans, for since it goes back to Atlantis, it's superior to present Christianity. What just happened in China may be of external political importance, but an esoteric must regard Kun Hung Ming's book, China's Defense Against European Ideas, as something that has much greater spiritual significance. Ku Hung Ming is a bright man. What he says isn't wrong, and there's a lot in there that should give an esoteric food for thought. He says that Christian missionaries came to China to bring their Christianity into an ancient, high culture. Did they succeed? No. Something else happened instead. The missionaries brought Chinese culture back to Europe, and since the French Revolution Europe has been Chinafied much more than it realizes. This Chinaman knows exactly that his people watches over mankind's memory and that this fact makes a deep impression on Europeans. But as we said, memory is Lucifer's gift. Through him, we descended into our physical body on being driven out of the paradise of spiritual worlds. We must now revoke Lucifer's deed, but we shouldn't think that it wasn't necessary.

But now we should increasingly look upon this as an instrument only. Of course if we manage to leave it through meditation and concentration and see it lying before us, its organs aren't active. The eyes don't see and the ears don't hear. The body has the value of a plant, but of a highly developed one. We must get rid of the habit of speaking of the lower physical and etheric bodies, for they have a marvelous structure. The physical body is a temple that the lower Gods made for us, and anything bad or defective about it can only be ascribed to our own deeds. And when we dwellers in this temple look at ourselves, we become aware that our spiritual part has the shape of a dragon or worm. A clairvoyant sees many a man who thinks that he's living selflessly for his fellow men with protruding jaws and the receding forehead of a worm as a sign of his egoism. Our soul still has this worm shape, and so that we don't always see it the good Gods have placed the Guardian of the Threshold before it. But now we should set ourselves the task of bringing a transformed dragon up to the upper Gods. We should be working on this continually. When an ancient Egyptian walked between the rows of sphinxes in the temple at his initiation, he told himself that this temple was a physical copy of the perfect home of a God, and that he had to attain this divinity in order to live worthily in the temple of his body.

So when one leaves the body one's eyes can no longer see. They no longer see the physical sun or what it illumines. Instead, a man illumines his environment himself and perceives the spiritual world's colors and sounds. The capacities of his spiritual part increase. Of course if one overdoes the leaving, one's physical eyes can suffer from it. They then see everything surrounded by an aura, and not clearly. They now have instruments in England with which they can see auras, but this is harmful for eyes and a healthy leaving of the body has no need of such practices.

An ancient Atlantean couldn't see things clearly either. He didn't have to, because the sun was still veiled by dense fog banks, and near the end of Atlantis one could see it over the whole heavens like a huge, colored circle with a pale, veiled center.

In ancient Egyptian initiations physical means were used to enable pupils to see the sun through the earth. To see the spiritual sun today, one is supposed to do spiritual exercises only.

Last Modified: 17-Oct-2020
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