8. We may consider the nature of man in so far as it results from his physical and his etheric body. We shall find that all the phenomena of man's life which proceed from this side of his nature remain in the unconscious, nor do they ever lead to consciousness. Consciousness is not lighted up but darkened when the activity of the physical and the etheric body is enhanced. Conditions of faintness and the like can be recognized as the result of such enhancement. Following up this line of thought, we recognize that something is at work in man — and in the animal — which is not of the same nature as the physical and the etheric. It takes effect not when the forces of the physical and the etheric are active in their own way, but when they cease to be thus active. In this way we arrive at the conception of the astral body.
9. The reality of this astral body is discovered when we rise in meditation from the thinking that is stimulated by the outer senses to an inner act of vision. To this end, the thinking that is stimulated from without must be taken hold of inwardly, and experienced as such, intensely in the soul, apart from its relation to the outer world. Through the strength of soul thus engendered, we become aware that there are inner organs of perception, which see a spiritual reality working in the animal and man at the very point where the physical and the etheric body are held in check in order that consciousness may arise.
10. Consciousness, therefore, does not arise by a further enhancement of activities which proceed from the physical and etheric bodies. On the contrary, these two bodies, with their activities, must be reduced to zero — nay even below zero — to ‘make room’ for the working of consciousness. They do not generate consciousness, they only furnish the ground on which the Spirit must stand in order to bring forth consciousness within the earthly life. As man on Earth needs the ground on which to stand, so does the Spiritual, within the earthly realm, need a material foundation on which it may unfold itself. And as a planet in the cosmic spaces does not require any ground beneath it in order to assert its place, so too the Spirit, when it looks — not through the senses into material — but through its own power into spiritual things, needs no material foundation to call its conscious activity to life.