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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: 30th May, 2007

EL, Muenchen, 8-30-'09

After Parzival stood before Titurel and had the experiences of which we spoke, an intimate and deep feeling of shame arose in him. This feeling of shame permeated him completely. He had gone through catharsis and had thought that he was now so good and pure that he could become one of the followers of the Master of all masters, the Christ. In this feeling of shame he was reminded of Christ's words: “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God.” He now knew how very imperfect he was still and how much he still had to take into his striving for the good, how much he was still lacking in order to be good.

And a second feeling, a feeling of fear overcame him. He thought that he had gotten rid of that a long time ago. But it was a different kind of fear from the ones he'd known previously. It was a feeling of his own smallness and weakness as a man compared with the sublime Godly being when he let a second word of Christ live in his soul: “Become perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” These two words should live in the soul of every esoteric.

An esoteric should kindle full devotion for divine beings in his soul. Thereby the consciousness develops that what one does isn't so good, but that one should always try to become more perfect. We should look at what's developing in one's soul. God lives in developing things. If we get to the point where we're acting in a good and noble way, then it's God in us who's good. The God who lets us act in a good and noble way is our archetype itself, that created us. We must become a complete copy of this archetype.

Be it ever so hidden, there's a selfish motive in everything we do. We must realize that we can't be selfless. It's a world karma that lets us act egoistically. But world karma is God. Everything that God is and does in the way of good is better than we could do it. An esoteric should tell himself: Let me do something that I have made it my duty to do, let me do it as hard as I can and in such a way that I tell myself that the divine element that's at work in me is doing this and I'm only the instrument of this godly element — then the higher self in its striving towards perfection is revealed to him.

There are three revelations of the higher self: Through a dream, an inkling, and through meditation. If an esoteric has lived in his meditations, if he has tried to repeatedly live in his thoughts, words and deeds in accordance with the perfection principle, if he has repeatedly tried to be good — then at some point he'll realize: If I would place all the joy and suffering that I previously thought was in me outside me, then it would be as if it surrounded me like a soul-spiritual thing; I no longer live in what I have placed outside, I'm no longer touched by the waves of pain and joy. Then a pupil must learn to stand fast in the center of his existence by living entirely in the power of the mantra: Ex Deo nascimur. Thereby the pupil inserts the higher self into his humanness; this second I isn't in us and can't be found by brooding into oneself but only by growing out beyond oneself.

Through the exercises we stimulate a force in us that otherwise works more as a memory force in us and reawakens the ideas, feelings and sensations that were aroused by past things and happenings in the outer world. The pupil gets to know this as a force only; he learns how to organize it up into the brain, so that it eventually grows toward the higher self that floats above us. The pupil now lives in this newly acquired force. All outer pains and joys now seem to be outside of his center. He stands there firmly enclosed in himself against all outer influences; he feels free in himself and free of all external things.

And the pupil feels something else. Previously he had learned the teachings about karma. Now he knows that he stands under the necessity of the effects of karma. He experiences the higher self that places him into existence through birth in this newly attained force, and he sees how what develops in his destiny in the outer world must be brought about through the active necessity of karmic force. This gives him a certain joy with respect to pain and suffering. He confronts everything with equanimity.

If a pupil has progressed this far, he then gets to contemplation and thereby to consomatio of the higher self. And now spiritual eyes and ears are organized into him and begin to function when he devotes himself to the exercises with patience, persistence and concentration. He learns to see the light world of spiritual beings and the spiritual will being who resounds towards him, audible to his opened spiritual ears. And he knows that he can't have these spiritual experiences by means of his physical organism. In his experience of the pentagram (8–27) he feels that he's placed into the whole etheric and spiritual world This drawing and occult script has a soul-awakening and a spirit-liberating effect. The pupil should repeatedly place it before his soul and he'll experience that every new forces grow in his soul thereby. We saw that Parzival who stood before Titurel in solitude had the experiences that come to expression in this occult script. The whole Christian wisdom and mystery that winds around the Grail is expressed in it. The mystery wisdom is like a greenhouse plant that was only revealed to a few mature people; what the rest of mankind received was the faith content of the various religions. The Christian wisdom of the Grail is a mystery that was revealed to all as knowledge but to no one as a content to be taken on faith. All pupils of western esotericism are Parzivals.

Lohengrin is a son of Parzival. He's a personality that doesn't come fully to expression in a body. The swan is the expression of the higher individuality that radiates above him. Lohengrin unites himself with Elsa, the human soul. She doesn't ask him where he comes from, she doesn't ponder about his nature — she takes him the way he is with thanks and humility for his gifts. But when someone maliciously suggests that he's not of noble birth, she asks him about this. Thereupon, Lohengrin has to withdraw from her. He disappears up into the spiritual world. A pupil should mainly have a feeling of thankfulness for what is given to him from higher worlds in this incarnation. He should not investigate and search or interpret these talents with his ordinary intellect. For this induces the higher self to withdraw from his soul. There's a big warning for us in Elsa's fate. We shouldn't let any outer thoughts, no feelings and sensations from the outer world into the sanctuary of our mediation and concentration, otherwise that source of strength through which we attain the growing out and up of our human forces to the higher self isn't stimulated, we can't find the higher self, it repeatedly retreats before us. We should observe the projection of the spiritual world's effects into us in contemplation, closed off from all outer impressions, alone in the deepest quiet and immersion; resting in the deepest solitude we should let them work in us quietly and chastely in order to eventually become knowers of truth, to become an instrument for the work of spiritual beings.

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