EL, Stockholm, 6-8-'13
It's not easy to become and be an esoteric and it wouldn't be possible if it were easy, strange as this may sound. One of the most necessary things for an esoteric is to follow the wise Greek word: Know yourself. It sounds strange but it is nevertheless true that a man basically knows everything else on the physical plane better than he knows himself. The reason self-knowledge is so difficult is that the one who begins to practice it soon makes discoveries that are unpleasant for him; then one would rather leave it alone and doesn't go into it. But one should also practice a self-knowledge of man in general. If one does this one soon makes three discoveries. The first is that a man as he is in his physical incarnation doesn't want to recognize the spirit — he denies it, secondly he wants to run away from the spirit and is really afraid of it, and thirdly he doesn't love the spirit at the bottom of his soul — he really hates it.
Men don't want to recognize the spirit when it comes to meet them in its true form on the physical plane. For instance if someone sees a rose he'll say that he forms an idea of the rose, but he'll think that this idea also comes from the outer world. This is a non-recognition of the spirit, for in reality our ideas, our thoughts don't come from the outer world at all but are given to us directly from the spiritual world. When men hear that they say: No, I don't want the spirit in this form. — But basically they don't want the spirit at all; they would rather run away from it as far as possible.
Let's say that two lectures are announced on a bulletin board — one is about a theosophical theme, so that one knows right away that one will have to think about what is said, will have to work with one's spirit, and the other lecture is with slides. Where do most people go? In the lecture with slides they don't have to be independently attentive, for their attention is forced to stick to the subject. But it's this compulsion that brings it about that it's Ahriman who's thinking, and not oneself. In a theosophical lecture everyone is called upon to be active; in a lecture with slides Ahriman is summoned to think for the people.
Materialists are the greatest conjurers of spirits. Every materialistic gathering is nothing else than a conjuring of Ahriman, because basically people are afraid of the spirit in their soul. Men run away from the spirit because they can't love it. It's a good thing today that there are a few people who feel instinctively that they should get into what theosophy has to give, and who thereby arrive at the spirit. Nobody would arrive at it through their usual inclinations in physical life. Men just don't love the spirit.
How do things really stand with love? When a clairvoyant investigates this he can arrive at bitter experiences, as long as he doesn't look at these experiences in the light of a still greater whole. Suppose that two human beings are born whose karma has it that they are supposed to love each other in this life. Then a clairvoyant can often observe that these people hated each other in the spiritual world before their birth. Or a mother gets a child whom she raises with love in accordance with the wise arrangement of the world order. But before she was born she may have hated the child. Here we come to an area where the wise world direction has proceeded in an especially wise way. For what binds men to each other in love is egoism in by far the most cases. One loves someone because one feels that it's pleasant to be near the person one loves. The good Gods had to use egoism to teach men about love. Without grasping this device of egoism — after the luciferic influence had come — no one could have been induced to work out karmic obligations through loving relationships; a mother wouldn't want to bring the child who's karmically connected with her into the world, and so on.
This is said here to point to the following. Esoteric pupils often come and complain about thoughts that attack them during meditation. It's really a sign of progress that one senses these thoughts; it shows that we don't just have Lucifer and Ahriman in us any more, but that we begin to see them outside us as powers, for thoughts that arise like this are entirely from Lucifer and Ahriman. If everything had remained as originally intended then after the luciferic temptation a man wouldn't have been able to forget his thoughts. He would always have had access to the Akashic records, but it would have been Lucifer and Ahriman who wrote up this chronicle for him. That's why the good Gods had to arrange things so that a man can also forget his thoughts. Everything that sinks into the unconscious like this is dead and Lucifer and Ahriman eat it up. They make it a part of their being and it comes out again in men's meditation as luciferic and ahrimanic things. As soon as someone starts to meditate the hope arises in Lucifer: Maybe I'll be victorious in the world yet. And then he attacks the man with his discarded thoughts. A man really loves to go from one thought to another, and he doesn't love to remain filled with one thought-content in reflection.
Just look at how long a non-esoteric continues to thank the sun for rising, like Essene pupils did, if he decides to do it voluntarily. Few will do it for a week.
A man doesn't really love the spirit at all. He must force himself to keep certain thoughts in his soul for an extended period. A man really loves Lucifer and Ahriman. As a protest against this fact we have our rosicrucian verse: