|Ex Deo Nascimur In Christo Morimur Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus|
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Watch and Pray
From an Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner in Cologne, January 2, 1913:
Before we begin our actual esoteric study we should say that we in our esoteric stream must separate ourselves completely from the other one that goes through the world and that's promoted by Ms. Besant. For reasons of truthfulness we can separate ourselves from the deeds of a personality, but we must not change our love for the personality and should direct even more sympathy towards her, precisely because we must reject her deeds. As Ms. Besant wrote in 1906: “Judge has fallen on this perilous path of occultism, Leadbeater has fallen on it, very likely I too shall fall ... If the day of my fall should come I ask those who love me not to shrink from condemning my fault, not to attenuate it, or say that black is white; but rather let them lighten my heavy karma as I am trying to lighten that of my friend and brother ...” For occultism is indeed a perilous path, and everyone should consider that forces can slumber in the depths of the human soul that may not appear in ordinary life, but that come to light if one treads the perilous path. That's why one should constantly watch one's own soul and remember the word: “Watch and pray.”
Anyone who wants to enter spiritual worlds must practice strict self-knowledge. The Essene order, whose teachers also taught the Jesus of the Luke Gospel, had two rules that can show us how far away moderns are from spiritual things. One rule said that no Essene should speak about worldly things before the sun rose or after it set. And for those who had gone up to higher grades this rule was reinforced by one that forbade one to even think profane things at the indicated times. Another rule said that before the sun comes up every Essene should ask that this might happen and that the sun's power might shine over mankind every day ... These rules show us how important the connection of our being is with the events in the spiritual world from which we emerge in the morning, and in which we submerge when we go to sleep in the evening.
How little moderns live in accordance with these laws of outer and inner cycles is no doubt shown by an outer cycle like the transition of New Year's Eve into the new year. Everything that people do there and undertake before going to sleep seems to be designed to connect oneself particularly deeply with material things, whereas people should be doing a retrospect at this moment. Corresponding to this outer cycle is an inner one in man: that of waking and sleeping. In the evening a man draws his astral body and ego out of the physical and etheric bodies and lives in a purely spiritual world. Let's take a look at the moment of going to sleep, until unconsciousness gradually sets in. An ordinary man has no consciousness in the spiritual world at night. It may happen that clairvoyant moments occur and he then sees pictures of what he's left lying behind. What he sees will depend on his temperament and character. A man who feels that his stay in his bodies is like living in a house will see the physical and etheric bodies as a house with a portal through which he has to go when he wakes up. A melancholic who experiences the perishable side of earthly existence will see the image of a coffin in which a dead man lies. One who has a strong feeling that Gods built the house of his body during the old Saturn and Sun periods may see an angel or light form that hands him a chalice, representing an ancient, primal word of mankind: We are born from God. [Ex Deo Nascimur]
What the Essenes did in the morning before sunrise can't be done any more today, so when a modern esotericist comes back into his physical and etheric bodies he should permeate himself with the holy feeling that sublime Gods prepared and built up these bodies during Saturn and Sun evolution so that we can develop consciousness in them. With this consciousness an esoteric will ask the God — the spiritual sun that the physical sun represents — to maintain and leave him this physical and etheric body each morning when he steps out of the spiritual world to develop consciousness in the physical world. For where would we be if someone would take away this physical and etheric body overnight? We would then be overpowered by a feeling of unconsciousness. If we permeate ourselves with the fact that the Gods have built us this physical and etheric body we'll then have the experience that our brain, or any other organ, is not just bound to our physical body, but that it expands to a hollow sphere in which stars are imbedded that run in their orbits, and that these stars that are traveling in orbit are our thoughts. Thereby the microcosm becomes the macrocosm. The mighty forces of the whole cosmos are compressed in our brain, and we feel their connection with us. We can describe everything that led us through Saturn, Sun, and through the hereditary line to our present birth with the saying: We are born from the Gods.
Just as we would have to remain unconscious if we couldn't dive down into our physical and etheric body in the morning, so passage through the portal of death extinguishes all conscious life. Before the Mystery of Golgotha a man received a consciousness after death from reserve forces that were given to men on their way that gave him consciousness in the spiritual world. But this gift of the Gods had gradually been used up, and a Greek knew that it was his lot to live in the realm of the shades after death. This was in accordance with the will of the Gods. Consciousness was shadowy and dim, and that's why Greeks had one of their greatest men say: Better to be a beggar in the upper world than a king in the realm of the shades.
A new substance was created through the Mystery of Golgotha that could give consciousness to men when they were in the spiritual world after death. This substance flowed out of the Mystery of Golgotha. A man can develop consciousness in the spiritual world after death through an immersion in this Christ substance. That's why every evening when we go to sleep and into the spiritual world we should remind ourselves of this and permeate ourselves with the feeling: We die in Christ. — For only the Christ impulse can keep us conscious in the spiritual world after death through its death-overcoming vital force. But there's nothing in the physical world that's great and holy enough to enable one to understand this Mystery that was given through Christ Jesus, so one shouldn't use anything that belongs to the world, not even the words of language in order to refer to this Mystery, the great unfathomable secret that's contained in what flows out from the Mystery of Golgotha. That's why an esotericist is silent in word and thought at the place where the sacred, unspeakable name would have to be said. He just feels the sacredness of this moment: In ... morimur.
But even if a man has consciousness after death, he doesn't have self-consciousness yet, that through which he recognizes himself as an individual being in the spiritual world and finds himself together again with the brothers and sisters he was with in the physical world. The only thing that can help us to find our being again and to awaken with self-consciousness after we were immersed in Christ substance is our experience of our higher I that's given to us by the Holy Spirit, through whom we have to hope: We'll be resurrected in the Holy Spirit and will awaken to self-conscious life.