Saturday, August 7, 2010
"Higher knowledge is attainable only through pain"
Rudolf Steiner, from a lecture given May 27, 1922:
Higher knowledge is attainable only through pain. I can well imagine people today who want to embark upon the path leading to higher worlds. They make a start and the first delicate spiritual cognition appears. This causes pain so they say they are ill: when something causes pain one must be ill. However, the attainment of higher knowledge will often be accompanied by great pain, yet one is not ill. No doubt it is more comfortable to seek a cure than continue the path. Attempts must be made to overcome this pain of the soul, which becomes ever greater as one advances. While it is easier to have something prescribed than continue the exercises, no higher knowledge is attained that way. Provided the body is robust and fit for dealing with external life, as is normally the case at the present time, this immersion in pain and suffering becomes purely an inner soul path in which the body does not participate. When someone allows knowledge to approach them in this way, then the pain they endure signifies that they are attaining those regions of spiritual life out of which the great religions were born. The great religious truths which fill our soul with awe, conveying as they do those lofty regions in which, for example, our immortality is rooted, cannot be reached without painful inner experiences. The great truths do indeed demand an inner courage of soul which enables it to say to itself: If you would experience these things you must be prepared to attain knowledge of them through deprivation and suffering. I am not saying this to discourage anyone, but because it is the truth. It may be discouraging for many, but what good would it do to tell people that they can enter higher worlds in perfect comfort when it is not the case. The attainment of higher worlds demands the overcoming of suffering.