Thursday, February 6, 2020

"Is this not love?"

Rabindranath Tagore and Helen Keller

Helen Keller, The Story of My Life, chapter six:

I remember the morning that I first asked the meaning of the word "love." This was before I knew many words. I had found a few early violets in the garden and brought them to my teacher. She tried to kiss me; but at that time I did not like to have any one kiss me except my mother. Miss Sullivan put her arm gently round me and spelled into my hand, "I love Helen."

"What is love?" I asked.

She drew me closer to her and said, "It is here," pointing to my heart, whose beats I was conscious of for the first time. Her words puzzled me very much because I did not then understand anything unless I touched it.

I smelt the violets in her hand and asked, half in words, half in signs, a question which meant, "Is love the sweeetness of flowers?"

"No," said my teacher.

Again I thought. The warm sun was shining on us.

"Is this not love?" I asked, pointing in the direction from which the heat came. "Is this not love?"

It seemed to me that there could be nothing more beautiful than the sun, whose warmth makes all things grow. But Miss Sullivan shook her head, and I was greatly puzzled and disappointed. I thought it strange that my teacher could not show me love.

A day or two afterward I was stringing beads of different sizes in symmetrical groups--two large beads, three small ones, and so on. I had made many mistakes, and Miss Sullivan had pointed them out again and again with gentle patience. Finally I noticed a very obvious error in the sequence and for an instant I concentrated my attention on the lesson and tried to think how I should have arranged the beads. Miss Sullivan touched my forehead and spelled with decided emphasis, "Think."

In a flash I knew that the word was the name of the process that was going on in my head. This was my first conscious perception of an abstract idea.

For a long time I was still--I was not thinking of the beads in my lap, but trying to find a meaning for "love" in the light of this new idea. The sun had been under a cloud all day, and there had been brief showers; but suddenly the sun broke forth in all its southern splendour.

Again I asked my teacher, "Is this not love?"

"Love is something like the clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out," she replied. Then in simpler words than these, which at that tiime I could not have understood, she explained: "You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything. Without love you would not be happy or want to play."

The beautiful truth burst upon my mind — I felt that there were invisible lines stretched between my spirit and the spirits of others.


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Light Dawns

You could look at the course of my life as wrestling all night with the angel of the Lord, the messenger of the Word of God, until now, with the advent of old age, the light is beginning to dawn: I'm beginning to understand the message. The Word is indeed Love.

Related post:

Cosmic Beings of the Spiritual World

Rudolf Steiner:  "When clairvoyant consciousness comes to life in the elemental world, it finds beings there who are able to develop a life in that world which man only acquires within the physical world. These beings do not feel their self — their ego — as man feels his in the physical world; they permeate that self with their will much more than man does his; they will their own existence, as it were, and feel their existence as something which they give to themselves through their will. On the other hand, with regard to their thinking, they have not the feeling that they are creating their thoughts, as man creates his; they feel all their thoughts as suggestions, as something which is not in them but in the universe, and which is streaming out of the universe into their being. Thus in these beings no doubt can ever arise but that their thoughts are the reflection of the thought-order poured forth into the universe. They do not think their own thoughts, but cosmic thoughts. With their activity of thought they live in cosmic thoughts; but they will their existence. Their life of feeling is shaped in accordance with this will and thought of theirs. They feel themselves to be a link in the whole cosmic system; and they feel the necessity of willing their existence in a manner corresponding to that system."

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Here's to all the pleasant-minded, kind-hearted, good-willed gentle persons: I fink you freaky and I like you a lot!

My Heart Leaps Up

William Wordsworth

My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold 
   A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began; 
So is it now I am a man; 
So be it when I shall grow old, 
   Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

Emerson's Blessed Dream

"I dreamed I floated at will in the great ether, and I saw this world also not far off, but diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel took it in his hand and brought it to me and said, 'this must thou eat.' And I ate the world."  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

No photo description available.

Rudolf Steiner:

We read [in Matthew 5:5]: "Blessed are the gentle in spirit, for they will own the Earth." Two forces are active in the world: on the one hand, egotism; and on the other, love and compassion. If love is to be developed, egotism must diminish. Sensual love must be developed to a higher, spiritual love. The third sentence of Mabel Collins' Light on the Path speaks about the same thing that is meant by "gentle in spirit": "Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters, it must have lost the power to wound." One should encounter all people with a loving disposition so that the voice no longer wounds; in this way, we are gentle in the way spoken of in the Sermon on the Mount. Love is the goal of the evolution of the Earth; it will own the Earth.

Source: 1/19/1907. From The Christian Mystery, p. 268

The Astral Body and Luciferic Beings; the Nature of the Etheric Body

Rudolf Steiner: The Threshold of the Spiritual World

Chapter 6

There is another group of spiritual beings, who from the world of the spirit are seen to be active in the physical world (and also in the elemental world), as in an adopted field of action. These are the spirits who desire to liberate the feeling soul entirely from the physical world, and therefore in a certain way to spiritualize it. Life in the physical world is part of the cosmic order of things. While the human soul is living in the physical world, it is passing through a development which is part of the conditions of its existence. Its being woven into the physical world is a result of the activity of beings whom one learns to know in the higher world. That activity is opposed by the beings who desire to wrench the feeling soul free from physical conditions. These latter beings may be called the Luciferic beings.
The Luciferic beings stand in the physical world searching, as it were, for everything of a psychic nature (feeling) which is to be found there, in order that they may draw it out of the physical world and incorporate it in a cosmic sphere of their own, adapted to their nature. Seen from the higher world, the activity of these Luciferic beings is also observable in the elemental world. Within this they strive to obtain a certain sphere of power which they want to disconnect from the grossness of the physical world, although that sphere has been preordained by the beings of the higher world to be connected with the lower world. Just as the Ahrimanic beings would be keeping to their own sphere if they were only to bring about the temporary annihilation of existence which is based on the order of the cosmos, so the Luciferic beings would not be crossing the boundary of their own kingdom if they imbued the feeling soul with powers which would continually stimulate it to rise above the urgent necessities of the physical world, and feel itself, with regard to those necessities, a free and independent being. But the Luciferic beings go beyond the limits of their domain when they desire, in the face of the universal order of the higher world, to create a special spiritual kingdom for which they wish to remold the psychic beings in the physical world.
We can see how the influence of Luciferic beings in the physical world expands in two directions. On the one hand it is owing to them that man is able to rise above the bare experience of what is physically real. He is able to derive his joy, his uplifting, not only from the physical world, but can also take pleasure in and feel elated by that which exists merely in semblance, that which, as beauty, transcends the physical. From this point of view the Luciferic beings have cooperated in bringing about the most important, and especially the artistic, features of civilization. Moreover, man is able to enjoy unfettered thought; he need not merely describe physical things and portray them slavishly in his thoughts. He is able to develop creative thought beyond the physical world, and to philosophize about things. On the other hand, the exaggeration of the Luciferic forces in the soul is the source of much extravagance and confusion, for they try to develop the activities of the soul without adhering to the conditions of the higher cosmic order. Philosophizing which is not based upon a thorough adherence to the cosmic order, headstrong indulgence in arbitrary ideas, excessive forcing of one's own personal predilections: all these things are the dark side of the Luciferic activity.
The human soul belongs, through its other self, to the higher world. But it also belongs to existence in the lower world. Clairvoyant consciousness, if it has passed through adequate preparation, feels itself as a conscious being in the higher world. The facts of the case are not altered, but to those facts which hold good for every human soul there is added, in clairvoyant consciousness, the knowledge of the facts. Every human soul belongs to the higher world, and when man is living in the physical world he is associated with a physical body which is subject to the processes of the physical world. The soul is also associated with a subtle, etheric body, which lives subject to the processes of the elemental world. The Ahrimanic and Luciferic forces which are spiritual and supersensible work in both these bodies.
Insofar as the human soul lives in the higher or spiritual world, it is what may be called an astral being. One of the many reasons which justify this expression is that the astral being of man as such is not subject to the conditions which prevail within the sphere of Earth. Spiritual science recognizes that within man's astral being are working not the “natural” laws of Earth, but those laws which have to be taken into account in considering the processes of the world of the stars (astra). On this account the term may appear justified. Thus the recognition of a third or astral body is added to that of the physical body and the subtle, etheric body of man. But it is necessary that the following should be borne in mind. As regards its original essence, man's astral body has its origin in the higher world, in the spiritual world proper. Within that sphere it is a being of the same nature as other beings whose activity is exercised in that world. Inasmuch then as the elemental and physical worlds are reflections of the spiritual world, the etheric and physical bodies of man must also be looked upon as reflections of his astral being. But in those bodies forces are working which originate from the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings. Now, since those beings have a spiritual origin, it is natural that within the region of the etheric and physical bodies themselves there should be found a kind of human astral essence. And a degree of clairvoyance which merely accepts the pictures of clairvoyant consciousness, without being able rightly to understand their meaning, may easily take the astral admixture in the physical and etheric bodies for the astral body proper. Yet that human astral essence is just that principle of human nature which opposes man's conforming to the laws really suitable for him in the order of the cosmos. Mistakes and confusions are more easily made in this domain because a knowledge of the soul's astral being is at the outset quite impossible for ordinary human consciousness. Even during the first stages of clairvoyant consciousness such knowledge is not yet attainable. The consciousness is attained when man experiences himself in his etheric body. But in this body he beholds the reflected images of his other self, and the higher world to which he belongs. In this way also he beholds the reflected etheric image of his astral body, and at the same time the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings which that body contains.
It will be shown later in this work that the ego too, which man in ordinary life looks upon as his entity, is not the real ego, but only the reflection of the real ego in the physical world. In the same way the etheric reflection of the astral body may, in etheric clairvoyance, become an illusory image mistaken for the real astral body.
When one penetrates further into the higher world, clairvoyant consciousness also succeeds in gaining a true insight as regards human beings into the nature of the reflection of the higher world in the lower. It then becomes supremely evident that the subtle, etheric body, which man bears about him in his present earthly existence, is not really the reflected image of that which corresponds to this body in the higher world. It is a reflected image altered by the activity of the Lucerific and Ahrimanic beings. The spiritual archetype of the etheric body is not able to reflect itself fully in us on Earth because of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic powers in terrestrial naturre. If clairvoyant consciousness betakes itself beyond the Earth to a region in which a perfect reflection of the archetype of the etheric body is possible, it finds itself carried back to a remote past, previous to the present condition of the Earth, before even the “Moon condition” which preceded it. It arrives at an insight into the manner in which the present Earth was evolved out of a “Moon condition,” and the latter again out of a “Sun condition.” Further particulars as to why the terms “Sun” and “Moon” condition are justified will be found in my Occult Science.
The Earth, then, was once in a Sun condition, out of which it evolved to a Moon condition, and afterwards became Earth. During the Sun condition the etheric body of man was an absolute reflection of the spiritual events and beings of the world from which it originates. Clairvoyant consciousness discovers that those Sun beings were made up of pure wisdom. Thus we may say that during the Earth's Sun condition, in a remote past, man received his etheric body as a pure reflection of cosmic beings of Wisdom. Later, during the Moon and Earth conditions, the etheric body has become changed into that which it now is as part of the human being.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Man Now Speaks to the Stars

Rudolf Steiner, Christmas Day, 1922:

The Stars once once spoke to Man.
It is World Destiny that they are silent now.
To be aware of this silence
Can become pain for Earthly Man.
But in the deepening silence
There grows and ripens
What Man speaks to the Stars.
To be aware of this speaking
Can become Strength for Spirit Man.

I and the Father are one

Rudolf Steiner:  "Because the transformation of the physical body originates in the breathing, takes place through rhythmizing the breathing process, the physical body illuminated by consciousness is called Atman. Christian esotericism calls it the Father."

Source: March 25, 1907. In The Christian Mystery, p. 73

Understanding of the Spirit; Conscious Experience of Destiny. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts

Rudolf Steiner:

This week something will be given in the communications addressed to members in these columns which may serve to bring us to a further understanding of the weekly ‘Leading Thoughts.’
The understanding of anthroposophical truth can be furthered if the relation which exists between man and the world is constantly brought before the human soul.
When man turns his attention to the world into which he is born and out of which he dies, he is surrounded in the first place by the fullness of his sense-impressions. He forms thoughts about these sense-impressions.
In bringing the following to his consciousness: ‘I am forming thoughts about what my senses reveal to me as the world,’ he has already come to the point where he can contemplate himself. He can say to himself: In my thoughts ‘I’ live. The world gives me the opportunity of experiencing myself in thoughts. I find myself in my thoughts when I contemplate the world.
And continuing to reflect in this way, he ceases to be conscious of the world; he becomes conscious of the ‘I.’ He ceases to have the world before him; he begins to experience the self.
If the experience be reversed, and the attention directed to the inner life in which the world is mirrored, then those events emerge into consciousness which belong to our life's destiny, and in which our human self has flowed along from the point of time to which our memory goes back. In following up the events of his destiny, a man experiences his own existence.
In bringing this to his consciousness: ‘I with my own self have experienced something that destiny brought to me,’ a man has already come to the point where he will contemplate the world. He can say to himself: I was not alone in my fate; the world played a part in my experience. I willed this or that; the world streamed into my will. I find the world in my will when I experience this will in self-contemplation.
Continuing thus to enter into his own being, man ceases to be conscious of the self, he becomes conscious of the world; he ceases to experience himself, he becomes feelingly aware of the world.
‘I send my thoughts out into the world, there I find myself; I sink into myself, there I find the world.’ If a man experiences this strongly enough he is confronted with the great riddles of the World and Man.
For to have the feeling: I have taken endless pains to understand the world through thinking, and after all there is but myself in this thinking — this gives rise to the first great riddle. And to feel that one's own self is formed through destiny, yet to perceive in this process the onward flow of world-happenings — this presents the second riddle.
In the experience of this problem of Man and the World germinates the frame of mind in which man can so confront Anthroposophy that he receives from it in his inner being an impression which rouses his attention.
For Anthroposophy asserts that there is a spiritual experience which does not lose the world when thinking. One can also live in thought. Anthroposophy tells of an inward experience in which one does not lose the sense-world when thinking, but gains the spirit-world. Instead of penetrating into the ego in which the sense-world is felt to disappear, one penetrates into the spirit-world in which the ego feels established.
Anthroposophy shows, further, that there is an experience of destiny in which one does not lose the self. In fate, too, one can still feel oneself to be active. Anthroposophy points out, in the impartial, unegoistic observation of human destiny, an experience in which one learns to love the world and not only one's own existence. Instead of staring into the world which carries the ego on the waves of fortune and misfortune, one finds the ego which shapes its own fate voluntarily. Instead of striking against the world on which the ego is dashed to pieces, one penetrates into the self, which feels itself united with the course of events in the world.
Man's destiny comes to him from the world that is revealed to him by his senses. If then he finds his own activity in the working of his destiny, his real self rises up before him not only out of his inner being but out of the sense-world too.
If a person is able to feel, however faintly, how the spiritual part of the world appears in the self, and how the self proves to be working in the outer world of sense, he has already learned to understand Anthroposophy correctly. For he will then realize that in Anthroposophy it is possible to describe the spirit-world which the self can comprehend. And this will enable him to understand that in the sense-world the self can also be found — in a different way than by diving within. Anthroposophy finds the self by showing how the sense-world reveals to man not only sense-perceptions but also the after-effects of his life before birth and his former earthly lives.
Man can now gaze on the world perceptible to his senses and say: It contains not only color, sound, warmth; in it are active the experiences passed through by souls before their present earthly life. And he can look into himself and say: I find there not only my ego but, in addition, a spiritual world is revealed.
In an understanding of this kind, a person who really feels — who is not unmoved by — the great riddles of Man and the World can meet on a common ground with the initiate, who in accordance with his insight is obliged to speak of the outer world of the senses as manifesting not only sense-perceptions but also the impressions of what human souls have done in their life before birth and in past earthly lives, and who has to say of the world of the inner self that it reveals spiritual events which produce impressions and are as effective as the perceptions of the sense-world.
The would-be active members should consciously make themselves mediators between what the questioning human soul feels as the problems of Man and the Universe, and what the knowledge of the initiates has to recount, when it draws forth a past world out of the destiny of human beings, and when by strengthening the soul it opens up the perception of a spiritual world.
In this way, through the work of the would-be active members, the Anthroposophical Society may become a true preparatory school for the school of initiates. It was the intention of the Christmas Meeting to indicate this very forcibly; and one who truly understands what that Meeting meant will continue to point this out until sufficient understanding of it can bring the Society fresh tasks and possibilities again.
May the Leading Thoughts to be given in this number proceed, therefore, out of this spirit.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Easter and the Awakening to Cosmic Thought

Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, April 12, 1907:

Goethe often described, in many different ways, a feeling of which he was persistently aware. He said, in effect: When I see the irrelevance manifesting in the passions, emotions, and actions of men, I feel the strong urge to turn to all-powerful Nature and be comforted by her majesty and consistency. In such utterances Goethe was referring to what since time immemorial humanity had brought to expression in the Festivals. The Festivals are reminders of the striving to turn away from the chaotic life of men's passions, urges, and activities to the consistent, harmonious processes and events in Nature. The great Festivals are connected with definite and distinctive phenomena in the Heavens and with ever-recurring happenings in Nature. Easter is one such Festival. For Christians today, Easter is the Festival of the Resurrection of their Redeemer; it was celebrated not only as a symbol of Nature's awakening but also of Man's awakening. Man was urged to awaken to the reality underlying certain inner experiences.
In ancient Egypt we find a festival connected with Osiris. In Greece a Spring festival was celebrated in honor of Dionysos. There were similar institutions in Asia Minor, where the resurrection or return of a God was associated with the re-awakening of Nature. In India, too, there are festivals dedicated to the God Vishnu. Brahmanism speaks of three aspects of the Deity, namely, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The supreme God, Brahma, is referred to as the Great Architect of the World, who brings about order and harmony: Vishnu is described as a kind of redeemer, liberator, an awakener of slumbering life. And Shiva, originally, is the being who blesses the slumbering life that has been awakened by Vishnu and raises it to whatever heights can be reached. A particular festival was therefore dedicated to Vishnu. It was said that he goes to sleep at the time of the year when we celebrate Christmas and wakes at the time of our Easter Festival. Those who adhere to this Eastern teaching celebrate the days of their Festival in a characteristic way. For the whole of this period they abstain from certain foods and drinks, for example, all nod-producing plants, all kinds of oils, all salt, all intoxicating beverages, and all meat. This is the way in which people prepare themselves to understand what was actually celebrated in the Vishnu Festival, namely, the resurrection of the God and the awakening of all Nature.
The Christmas Festival too, the old festival of the Winter solstice, is connected with particular happenings in Nature. The days leading up to this point of time become progressively shorter and the Sun's power steadily weakens. But from Christmas onwards greater and greater warmth again streams from the Sun. Christmas is the Festival of the reborn Sun.
It was the wish of Christianity to establish a link with these ancient Festivals. The date of the birth of Jesus can be taken to be the day when the Sun's power again begins to increase in the heavens. In the Easter Festival the spiritual significance of the World's Savior was thus connected with the physical Sun and with the awakening and returning life in Spring.
As in the case of all ancient festivals, the fixing of the date of the Easter Festival was also determined by a certain constellation in the heavens. In the first century A.D. the symbol of Christianity was the Cross, with a lamb at its foot. Lamb and Ram are synonymous. During the epoch when preparation was being made for Christianity, the Sun was rising in the constellation of the Ram or Lamb. As we all know, the Sun moves through all the zodiacal constellations, every year progressing a little farther forward. Approximately seven hundred years before the coming of Christ, the Sun began to rise in the constellation of the Ram (Aries). Before then it rose in the constellation of the Bull (Taurus). In those times the people expressed what seemed to them important in connection with the evolution of humanity, in the symbol of the Bull, because the Sun then rose in that constellation. When the rising Sun moved forward into the constellation of the Ram or Lamb, the Ram became a figure of significance in the sagas and myths of the people. Jason brings the golden fleece from Colchis. Christ Jesus Himself is called the Lamb of God and in the earliest period of Christianity He is portrayed as the Lamb at the foot of the Cross. Thus the Easter Festival is obviously connected with the Constellation of the Ram or Lamb. The Festival of the Resurrection of the Redeemer is celebrated at the time when, in Nature, everything awakens to new life after having lain as if dead during the Winter months.
Between the Christmas and the Easter Festivals there is certainly a correspondence, but in their relation to the happenings in Nature there is a great difference. In its deepest significance, Easter is always felt to be the festival of the greatest mystery connected with Man. It is not merely a festival celebrating the re-awakening of Nature but is essentially more than that. It is an expression of the significance in Christianity of the Resurrection after death. Vishnu's sleep sets in at the time when, in Winter, the Sun again begins to ascend. It is precisely at this time that we celebrate our Christmas Festival. When the Easter Festival is celebrated the Sun is continuing its ascent which had been in process since the Christmas Festival.
We must penetrate very deeply into the mysteries of man's nature if we are to understand the feelings of initiates when they wished to give expression to the true facts underlying the Easter Festival. Man is a twofold being — on the one side he is a being of soul-and-spirit, and on the other side a physical being. The physical being is an actual confluence of all the phenomena of Nature in man's environment. Paracelsus speaks of man as the quintessence of all that is outspread in external Nature. Nature contains the letters, as it were, and Man forms the word that is composed of these letters.
When we observe a human being closely, we recognize the wisdom that is displayed in his constitution and structure. Not without reason has the body been called the temple of the soul. All the laws that can be observed in the dead stone, in the living plant — all have assembled in Man into a unity. When we study the marvellous structure of the human brain with its countless cells cooperating among themselves in a way that enables all the thoughts and sentient experiences filling the soul of man to come to expression, we realize with what supreme wisdom the human body has been constructed. But in the surrounding world too we behold an array of crystallized wisdom. When we look out into the world, applying what knowledge we possess to the laws in operation there, and then turn to observe the human being, we see all Nature concentrated in him. That is why sages have spoken of Man as the Microcosm, while in Nature they beheld the Macrocosm.
In this sense Schiller wrote to Goethe in a letter of 23rd August 1794: “You take the whole of Nature into your purview in order to shed light upon a single sentence; in the totality of her (Nature's) manifold external manifestations you seek the explanation for the individual. From the simple organization you proceed, step by step, to the more complex, in order finally to build up genetically from the materials of Nature's whole edifice the most complex organization of all: Man.” The wonderful organization of the body enables the human soul to have sight of the surrounding world. Through the senses the soul beholds the world and endeavors to fathom the wisdom by which that world has been constructed.
With this in mind let us now think of an undeveloped human being. The wisdom made manifest in his bodily structure is the greatest that can possibly be imagined. The sum-total of divine wisdom is concentrated in a single human body. Yet in this body there dwells a childlike soul hardly capable of producing the most elementary thoughts that would enable it to understand the mysterious forces operating in its own heart, brain, and blood. The soul develops slowly to a higher stage where it can understand the powers that have been at work with the object of producing the human body. This body itself bears the hallmark of an infinitely long past. Physical man is the crown of the rest of creation. What was it that had necessarily to precede the building of the human body, what had to come to pass before the cosmic wisdom was concentrated in this human being? The cosmic wisdom is concentrated in the body of a human being standing before us. Yet it is in the soul of an undeveloped human being that this wisdom first begins to manifest. The soul hardly so much as dreams of the great cosmic thoughts according to which the human being has evolved. Nevertheless, we can glimpse a future when people will be conscious of the reality of soul and spirit still lying in man as though asleep. Cosmic thought has been active through ages without number, has been active in Nature, always with the purpose of finally producing the crown of all its creative work: the human body.
Cosmic wisdom is now slumbering in the human body, in order subsequently to acquire self-knowledge in man's soul, in order to build an eye in man's being through which to be recognized. Cosmic wisdom without, cosmic wisdom within, creative in the present as it was in the past and will be in future time. Gazing upwards we glimpse the ultimate goal, surmizing the existence of a great soul by which the cosmic wisdom that existed from the very beginning has been understood and absolved. Our deepest feelings rise up within us full of expectation when we contemplate the past and the future in this way.
When the soul begins to recognize the wonders accomplished by the cosmic wisdom and when clarity and illumination have been achieved, the Sun may well be accepted as the worthiest symbol of this inner awakening. Through the gate of the senses the soul is able to gaze into the external world because the Sun illumines the contents of that world. Fundamentally speaking, what man perceives in the external world is the result of the Sun's reflected light. It is the Sun that wakens in the soul the power to behold the external world. An awakening soul, one that is beginning to recognize the seasons as expressions of cosmic thought — such a soul sees the rising Sun as its liberation.
When the Sun again begins its ascent, when the days lengthen, the soul turns to the Sun, declaring: To you I owe the possibility of discerning, outspread around me, the cosmic thought that sleeps within me and within all other human beings.
Such an individual is now able to survey his earlier existence — one which preceded his present understanding of the activities of cosmic thought. Man himself is more ancient than his senses. Through spiritual investigation we are able eventually to reach the point in the far past when man's senses were in process of coming into existence, when only their very earliest beginnings were present. At that stage the senses were not yet doors enabling the soul to become aware of the environment.
Schopenhauer realized this and was referring to the turning-point when man acquired the faculty of sensory perception, when he stated: This visible world first came into existence when an eye was there to behold it.
The Sun formed the eye for itself and for the light. In still earlier times, when as yet man had no outer vision, he had inner vision. In the primeval ages of evolution, outer objects did not give rise to ideas or mental conceptions in man, but these rose up in him from within. Vision in those ancient times was vision in the astral light. Men were then endowed with a faculty of dim, shadowy clairvoyance. It was still with a faculty of dim, hazy vision that they beheld the world of the Germanic Gods and formed their conceptions of the Gods accordingly. This dim clairvoyance faded into darkness and gradually passed away altogether. It was extinguished by the strong light of the physical Sun whereby the physical world was made visible to the senses. Astral vision then died away altogether.
When man looks into the future, he realizes that his astral vision must return, but at a higher stage. What has now been extinguished for the sake of physical vision will return and combine with physical vision in order to generate clairvoyance — clear seeing in the fullest sense. In the future, a still more lucid consciousness will accompany man's waking vision. To physical vision will be added vision in the astral light, that is to say, perception with organs of soul. Those whom we have called the leaders of men are individuals who through lives of renunciation have developed in themselves the condition which later on is established in all mankind — these leaders of men already possess the faculty of astral vision which makes soul and spirit visible to them.
The Easter Festival is connected spiritually not only with the awakening of the Sun but with the unfolding of the plant world in Spring. Just as the seed-corn is sunk into the soil and slumbers in order eventually to awaken anew, so the astral light in man's constitution was obliged to slumber in order eventually to be reawakened. The symbol of the Easter Festival is the seed-corn which sacrifices itself in order to enable a new plant to come into existence. This is the sacrifice of a phase in the life of Nature in order that a new one may begin. Sacrifice and Becoming are interwoven in the Easter Festival.
Richard Wagner was conscious of the beauty and majesty of this thought. In the year 1857 in the Villa Wesendonck by the Lake of Zurich, while he was looking at the spectacle of awakening Nature, the thought came to him of the Savior who had died and had awakened, the thought of Jesus Christ, also of Parsifal who was seeking for what is most holy in the soul.
All the leaders of humanity who know how the higher life of man wakes out of the lower nature have understood the Easter thought. Dante too, in his Divine Comedy describes his awakening on a Good Friday. This is brought to our attention at the very beginning of the poem. It was in his thirty-sixth year, that is to say, in the middle of his life, that Dante had the great vision he describes. Seventy years being the normal span of human life, thirty-five is the middle of this period. Thirty-five years are reckoned to be the period devoted to the development of physical experience. At the age of thirty-five the human being has reached the degree of maturity when spiritual experience can be added to physical experience. He is ready for perception of the spiritual world.
When all the waking, nascent forces of physical existence are amalgamated, the time begins for the spiritual awakening. Hence Dante connects his vision with the Easter Festival.
Whereas the original increase of the Sun's power is celebrated in the Christmas Festival, the Easter Festival takes place at the middle point of the Sun's increasing power. This was also the point when, in the middle of his life, Dante became aware of the dawn of spiritual life within himself. The Easter Festival is rightly celebrated at the middle point of the Sun's ascent; for this corresponds with the time when, in man, the slumbering astral light is reawakened. The Sun's power wakens the seed-corn that is slumbering in the earth. The seed-corn is an image of what arises in man when what occultists call the astral light is born within him. Therefore, Easter is also the festival of the resurrection that takes place in the inner nature of man.
It has been thought that there is a kind of contradiction between what a Christian sees in the Easter Festival, and the idea of karma. There seems at first to be a contradiction between the idea of karma and redemption by the Son of Man. Those who do not understand very much about the fundamentals of anthroposophical thought may see a contradiction between the redemption wrought by Christ Jesus and the idea of karma. Such people say that the thought of redemption by the God contradicts the fact of self-redemption through karma. But the truth is that they understand neither the Easter thought of redemption nor the thought of the justice of karma. It would certainly not be right if someone seeing another person suffer were to say to him: you yourself were the cause of this suffering — and then were to refuse to help him because karma must take its course. This would be a misunderstanding of karma. What karma says is this: help the one who is suffering, for you are actually there in order to help him. You do not violate karmic necessity by helping your fellow man. On the contrary, you are helping him to bear his karma. You are then yourself a redeemer of suffering.
So too, instead of a single individual, a whole group of people can be helped. By helping them we become part of their karma.
When a being as all-powerful as Christ Jesus comes to the help of the human race, His sacrificial death becomes a factor in the collective karma of mankind. He could bear and help this karma, and we may be sure that the redemption through Him plays an essential role in its fulfillment.
The thought of Resurrection and Redemption can in reality be fully grasped only through a knowledge of Spiritual Science. In the Christianity of the future there will be no contradiction between the idea of Karma and Redemption. Because cause and effect belong together in the spiritual life, this great deed of sacrifice by Christ Jesus must also have its effect in the life of mankind.
Spiritual Science adds depth to the thought underlying the Easter Festival — a thought that is inscribed and can be read in the world of the stars.
In the middle of his span of life the human being is surrounded by inharmonious, bewildering conditions. But he knows too that just as the world came forth from chaos, so will harmony eventually proceed from his still disorderly inner nature. The inner Savior in man, the bringer of unity and harmony to counter all disharmony — this inner Savior will arise, acting with the ordered regularity of the course of the planets around the Sun. Let everyone be reminded by the Easter Festival of the resurrection of the Spirit in the existing nature of man.


The Three Kingdoms of the Spirit. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts #59, #60, #61

Rudolf Steiner:

59. Open-minded contemplation of Thinking shows that the thoughts of the ordinary consciousness have no existence of their own, but arise only as the reflected images of something. Man, however, feels himself to be alive in his thoughts. The thoughts are not alive, but he himself is living in them. This life has its source in Spirit-beings, whom we may describe (in the sense of my book Occult Science) as the beings of the Third Hierarchy — a kingdom of the Spirit.

60. Extended to the life of Feeling, the same open-minded contemplation shows that the feelings, though they arise out of the body, cannot have been created by it. For their life bears in it a character independent of the bodily organism. With his bodily nature man can feel himself to be within the world of Nature. Yet just in realizing this with true self-understanding, he will feel that with his world of Feeling he is in a spiritual kingdom. This is the kingdom of the Second Hierarchy.

61. As a being of Will, man's attention is directed not to his own bodily nature, but to the outer world. When he desires to walk he does not ask ‘What do I feel in my feet?’ but ‘What is the goal out there, which I desire to reach?’ In willing, man forgets his body. In his Will he belongs not to his own nature, but to the Spirit-kingdom of the First Hierarchy.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

13 ways of looking at my guru. #1 of 2

I divide everyone I've ever met in person into two groups of people:

Swamiji, and everybody else.

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