Thursday, August 25, 2011

Up is down, left is right, front is back — but the Word is as it sounds

From an Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner in Karlsruhe, October 10, 1911:
...We'll now pass on to several images that we can use for our esoteric training because they have a very strong effect. We know that the path to higher worlds first goes through Imagination and then via Inspiration and Intuition. The pictures that shall now be given strengthen the organs that lead to imaginative perception.
In our theosophical teachings we've often heard that the world is maya, that we ourselves are nothing but maya, and if even outer science is beginning to explain the world in this way, we should then take this saying even more seriously.
If we look at this rose, then, it has an upward-directed flower and a stem directed downwards. But what seems to be there is no true image. Science has taught us that what we see comes about through a crossing of light rays, so that the upside-down image of the rose appears in our eye, whereas we see the outer picture of the rose with the flower up. That's the mirror image of the real light phenomenon in us. From this we see that what we perceive outside is maya, and it's a reverse maya, where down is up. That's the way it is with everything around us; the whole world whose surface we think we see — and ourselves also — is really standing on its head. If we want to perceive the true shape of the world then we mustn't look for mirror images but we must look for the realities behind them before they become reflected in the outer world. Practically everything is the opposite of the way we imagine it. What seems to be up is down; what seems to be behind us is in front; what seems to be left is right, they're really coming from the left; if we see objects standing before us, then in reality forces are there that press towards us from behind. The same is true of the starry heavens. We see it before us when we look up; in reality, it's reflected to our eyes by forces that are behind us.
If we want to arrive at the truth in the world, we must ascend from the Spirits of Form to the Spirits of Movement, so that the latter can help us to see what is placed before us as a mirror image by Spirits of Form as the inversion of reality. We can use the following as a symbol to gain practice in this. When we see a rose with a flower on top, we move it down in our thoughts and therewith make a movement that the forces of the Spirits of Movement can symbolize for us.
But there is one thing in man that is no mere sensory illusion, that's no maya. This is the word that resounds from men, the living Word, the Logos. The word doesn't come to us from outside, it's something alive in us, it's our real being. It streams out of our soul life; we who let the word stream out over our lips are it ourselves with all of our feelings. And if we stop to think that the word is the Logos and that everything that's spoken in the world is spoken out of this source, we'll then feel a deep responsibility toward the word.
Only what men have said in their words will survive the Earth and pass over to the next planetary condition. As we said, what we hear from the left comes from the right, but the sound that we utter is the only thing that's no different from what it seems to be. It sounds forth from within and it really comes from within. Divine beings, the Logos, speak to us out of it.

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