Monday, October 11, 2010
Anger and Sleep
Rudolf Steiner, in a lecture given November 12, 1921 [Cosmosophy, vol. 2, pp. 191-192]:
When you know that going to sleep means you are putting a question to the world of the spirit and that waking up is the answer to your question, you will be able to say to yourself: The answer you receive from the world of the spirit and take into your physical body as you wake up will be different if you moderated your anger the night before, or reduced the offence you felt, than if you take the feelings of offence into sleep and put your question out of injured feelings or in such anger that the fire of your anger fills the whole question. If you take an angry mood into the world of the spirit it is as if a stream of volcanic fire were to pour into that world. The soul world outside then has to color this stream of volcanic fire. This is very different from the situation where you have let your anger go down before going to sleep.
The effects of much of what I have said here can be seen not only in the human heart and mind but also in the way physical life and the life of the internal organs is tuned. The caues of many diseases lie in the answers we receive to the questions we unconsciously put to the spiritual world as we go to sleep. In the waking state, our physical and etheric organs have to deal fully with everything the will-related I and the feeling-related astral body bring with them from the world of the spirit as we wake up.
It is quite wrong to think we have lots of experiences when awake but none in our sleep. When awake we experience processes that mostly take place between ourselves and the physical outside world. Satisfaction felt about these processes accompanies our clear perception of our relationship to the world rather like an inner dream in heart and mind--you will remember that the feeling element only has dream-level intensity of consciousness. When we are between going to sleep and waking up, however, considerable inner activity goes on in I and astral body: The will-related I is given form, the feeling-imbued astral body is imbued with the powers of the outside world of soul and spirit. These real, factual processes penetrate and stream through the physical and ether bodies, and the way we behave in the physical world is determined by this. We do more for our inner life during sleep than we do in our waking hours. On the other hand, what we do when asleep depends on those waking hours. I'd say that the whole significance of sleep essentially lies not only in physical experience but in the moral structure of our inner nature.