Rudolf Steiner: "When one becomes acquainted with the fact that the ego with its spiritual world lives outside the body and that it, therefore, carries the experiences of the external world to the physical body, one will find one's way to a truly spiritual understanding of the riddle of human destiny. A man's inner life is deeply connected with his experiences of destiny. Just consider the state of a man at the age of thirty. The real content of his inner being would be entirely different if he had lived a different kind of life in his preceding years. His “ego” is inconceivable without the experiences of these years. Even if they have struck him serious blows of fate, he has become what he is through them. They belong to the forces that are active in his “ego.” They do not merely strike him from outside. As man lives in his soul and spirit with color that is perceptible only by means of its mirror-effect of the body, so he lives in union with his destiny. With color he is united in his soul life, but he can only perceive it when the body reflects it. Similarly, he becomes one with the effect of a stroke of destiny that results from a previous Earth life, but he experiences this blow only inasmuch as the soul plunges unconsciously into events that spring from these causes. In his ordinary consciousness man does not know that his will is bound up with his destiny. In his newly acquired body-free consciousness he finds that he would be deprived of all initiative if that part of his soul that lives in the spiritual world had not willed its entire fate, down to the smallest details. We see that the riddles of human destiny cannot be solved merely by theorizing about them, but only by learning to understand how the soul grows together with its fate in an experience that proceeds beyond the ordinary consciousness. Thus, one will gradually realize that the causes for this or that stroke of destiny in the present life must be sought in a previous one. To the ordinary consciousness our fate does not appear in its true form. It takes its course as a result of previous earthly lives, which are hidden from ordinary consciousness. To realize one's deep connection with the events of former lives means at the same time that one becomes reconciled with one's destiny."
|"The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt|