Saturday, February 28, 2015

Exercises of Thought, Feeling, and Volition

Philosophy, Cosmology, and Religion. Lecture 2 of 10. Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, September 7, 1922:

Philosophy did not arise in the same way in which it is continued in modern times. In these days it is a connection of ideas which are not experienced in one's inner being, in the soul, in such a manner that a man, conscious of self, feels himself in these ideas as in a reality. Therefore we seek after all possible theoretical means to prove that the philosophic content does refer to a reality. But this way leads only to different philosophic systems, and of these one can say they are right to a certain extent; for mostly the grounds on which they are refuted are of as much value as those on which it is sought to prove them.
Now, with Anthroposophy it is a question not of attaining the reality of the philosophical content by theoretical thought, but by the cultivation of a method which on the one hand is similar to that by which in ancient times philosophy was won, and on the other, is as consciously exact as the mathematical and natural scientific method of more recent times.
The ancient method was semi-conscious. Compared with the condition of full consciousness of the modern scientific thinker it had something almost dreamy. It existed not in such dreams as concealed indirectly by their very nature their real content, but in waking dreams, which pointed to reality precisely by means of this content. Nor had such a soul-content the abstract character of the modern presentation, but rather that of picture-making.
Such a soul-content must be regained, but in full consciousness, according to the modern stage of human evolution; exactly in the same sense of consciousness as we find in scientific thought. Anthroposophical research seeks to attain this in a first stage of supersensible knowledge in the condition of ‘imaginative consciousness’. It is reached through a process of meditation in the soul. This leads the entire force of the soul-life to presentations which are easily visualized and held fast in a state of rest. By this means we finally realize, if such a process is constantly repeated over a sufficient period of time, how the soul in its experience becomes free from the body. We see clearly that the thought of ordinary consciousness is a reflection of a spiritual activity which remains unconscious as such, after having become so by the incorporation of the human physical organism in its course.
All ordinary thinking is dependent on the supersensible spiritual activity which is reproduced in the physical organism. But at the same time we are conscious only of what the physical organism allows us to be conscious of. The spiritual activity can be separated from the physical organism by meditation, and the soul then experiences the supersensible in a supersensible way; no longer the physical but the etheric organism is the background of the soul's experience. We have a presentation before our soul's consciousness with the character of a picture. We have before us in this kind of presentation pictures of the powers which, coming from the supersensible, are the basis of the organism as its powers of growth, and also as the very powers which function in the regulation of the processes of nourishment. We gain in these pictures a real vision of the life-forces. This is the stage of ‘imaginative cognition’. This is life in the etheric human organism, and with our own etheric organism we live in the etheric cosmos. There is between the etheric organism and the etheric cosmos no such sharp distinction relating to subjective and objective as there is in physical thought about the things of the world.
This ‘imaginative knowledge’ is the means whereby we can recall the very substantial reality of ancient philosophy, but we can also conceive a new philosophy, and a real conception of philosophy can only come into being by means of this imaginative knowledge. And when this philosophy is once there, it can be grasped and understood by the ordinary consciousness; for it speaks out of ‘imaginative’ experience in a form which springs from spiritual (etheric) reality, and whose reality-content can, through the ordinary consciousness, be recalled in experience.

A higher activity of knowledge which is forthcoming when meditation is extended is required for cosmology. Not only is intensive quietness cultivated on a soul-content or subject matter but also a fully conscious stationary condition of the quiet, content-less soul. This is after the meditative soul-content or subject matter has been banished from the consciousness. The stage is reached where the spiritual content of the cosmos flows into the empty soul — the stage of ‘inspired cognition’. We have in part of us a spiritual cosmos, just as we have a physical cosmos before the senses. We succeed in seeing, in the powers of the spiritual cosmos, what takes place spiritually between man and the cosmos in the process of breathing. In this and the other rhythmical processes of man we find the physical reproduction of what exists in the spiritual sphere in human astral organization. We attain to the vision of how this astral organism has its place in the spiritual cosmos outside the life on Earth, and how it takes on the cloak of the physical organism through embryonic life and birth, to lay it down again in death. By means of this knowledge we can distinguish between heredity, which is an earthly phenomenon, and that which man brings with him from the spiritual world.
In this way, through ‘inspired knowledge’, we attain to a cosmology which can embrace man in respect of his psychic and spiritual existence. Inspired knowledge is cultivated in the astral organism because we experience an existence outside our bodies, in the cosmos of the spirit. But the same thing happens in the etheric organism; and we can translate this knowledge into human speech in the images which present themselves in this sphere, and we can harmonize it with the content of philosophy. So we get a cosmic philosophy.

For religious cognition a third thing is necessary. We must dive down into those existences which reveal themselves in picture form as the content of ‘inspired knowledge’; and this is attained when we add ‘soul-exercises of the will’ to the kind of meditation which we have till now been describing. For instance, we attempt to present to ourselves events which in the physical world have a definite course, but in reverse order, from the end to the beginning. Doing this we separate the soul-life — through a process of will which is not used in ordinary consciousness —  from the cosmic externals, and let the soul sink into those beings which manifest themselves by inspiration. We attain true intuition, a union with beings of a spiritual world. These experiences of intuition are reflected in etheric and also in physical man, and produce in this reflection the subject matter of religious consciousness.
Through this ‘intuitive cognition’ we gain a vision of the true nature of the ego, which in reality is sunk into the spiritual world. The ego which we know in ordinary consciousness is only a quite faint reflection of its true proportions. Intuition provides the possibility of feeling the connection of this faint reflection with the divine primal universe, to which in its true shape it belongs. Moreover, we are enabled to see how spiritual man, the true ego, has his place in the spiritual world, when he is sunk in sleep. In this condition the physical and etheric organisms require the rhythmic processes for their own regeneration. In a waking condition the ego lives in this rhythm and in the metabolic processes that are a part of it; in the condition of sleep, the rhythmic and the metabolic processes of man have a life of their own as physical and etheric organisms; and the astral organisms and the ego then take their place in the spirit world. The translation of man into this world by inspired and intuitive knowledge is conscious; he lives in a spiritual cosmos, just as by his senses he lives in a physical cosmos. He can speak of the content of the religious consciousness from knowledge, and he can do this because what he experiences in the spiritual sphere is reflected in the physical and etheric man. Moreover, the reflected pictures can be expressed in speech, and in this form have a meaning which throws religious light on the human disposition of ordinary consciousness.

Thus we reach the heart of philosophy by imaginative cognition, of cosmology by inspiration, and of the religious life through intuition. Besides that already described, the following soul-exercise helps toward attaining intuition. One tries so to grasp the life, which otherwise unconsciously unfolds itself from one human age to another, that one consciously contracts habits which one did not have before, or consciously changes such as one had. The greater the effort that such a change necessitates, the better it is for gaining intuitive knowledge; for these changes bring about a loosening of the will-power from the physical and etheric organism. We bind the will to the astral organism and to the true form of the ego, and consciously immerse both of them into the spirit world.
What we may call ‘abstract thought’ has been perfected only in the modern spiritual development of mankind. In earlier periods of evolution this kind of thought was unknown to man, though it is necessary to the development of human spiritual activity, because it frees the power of thought from the picture-form. We achieve the possibility of thinking through the physical organism, though such thinking is not rooted in a real world, only in an apparent world where the processes of Nature can be copied without man himself contributing anything to these pictures. We attain a copy of Nature, which, qua copy, can be genuine, because the life in the thought-copy is not in itself reality, but only apparent reality. But the moral impulses can also be taken up into this pseudo-thought, so that they exercise no compulsion on man. The moral impulses are themselves real because they come from the spirit world; the manner in which man experiences them in his apparent world enables him to adapt himself in accordance with them, or not. They themselves exercise no compulsion on him either through his body or his soul.
So man strides on; thought which was in ancient times completely bound to the unconsciously imagined, inspired, and intuitive knowledge, thought in which the subject matter was laid as open as Imagination and Inspiration and Intuition themselves, becomes abstract thought conducted through the physical organism. In this thought, which has a pseudo-life, because it is spirit substance translated into the physical world, man has the possibility of developing an objective nature-knowledge and his own moral freedom.
More details on this subject you will find in my Philosophy of Spirit Activity, my Knowledge of Higher Worlds and How to Attain it, Theosophy, Occult Science, etc. What is necessary in order to return to a Philosophy, a Cosmology, and a Religion that embrace all man, is to enter upon the province of an exact clairvoyance in Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition; and this consciously — that is in contradistinction to the old dreamlike clairvoyance. Man attains to his full consciousness in the province of a life of abstract presentations. It remains to him, in the further advance of humanity, to bring this full consciousness of the spiritual world to bear on his daily life.
In this must true human progress in future consist.


"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Gandhi:  "To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politices; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Be Patient

"The good effects that confidence can bring are driven away by impatience; the enlightenment that comes through confidence is darkened by impatience. Nothing is worse than letting impatience conjure up a mist before the soul."  — Rudolf Steiner

What happens to you happens for you

Rudolf Steiner: "It is difficult sometimes to draw a sharp line of demarcation between judging and letting ourselves be taught by reality. When, however, the difference has once been grasped and when judgment is only employed for the ends of practical life, while for an approach to reality the attitude is taken of allowing ourselves to be taught by the things of the world, then we gradually arrive at a mood of soul which can reveal to us the true meaning of “surrender.” Surrender is a state of mind which does not seek to investigate truth from out of itself, but which looks for truth to come from the revelation that flows out of the things, and can wait until it is ripe to receive the revelation. An inclination to judge or form opinions wants to be continually arriving at truth at every step; surrender, on the other hand, does not set out to force an entrance, as it were, into this or that truth; rather do we seek to educate ourselves and then quietly wait until we attain to that stage of maturity where the truth flows to us from the things of the world, coming to us in revelation and filling our whole being. To work with patience, knowing that patience will bring us further and further in wise self-education — that is the mood of surrender."


The Three Steps of Anthroposophy

Philosophy, Cosmology, and Religion. Lecture 1 of 10. Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, September 6, 1922:

It is a great pleasure to me to be able to give this series of lectures in the Goetheanum, which was founded to promote Spiritual Science. What is here called ‘Spiritual Science’ must not be confused with those things which, more than ever at the moment, appear as Occultism, Mysticism, etc. These schools of thought either refer to ancient spiritual traditions which are no longer properly understood, and which give in a dilettante manner all kinds of imagined knowledge of supersensible worlds, or they ape outwardly the scientific methods which we have today without realizing that methods of research which are ideal for the study of the natural world can never lead to supernatural worlds. And what makes its appearance as Mysticism is also either mere renewal of ancient psychic experiences or muddled, very often fantastic, and deceptive introspection.

As opposed to this, the attitude of the Goetheanum is one which, in the fullest sense, falls in with the present-day view of natural scientific research, and recognizes what is justified in it. On the other hand, it seeks to gain objective and accurate results on the subject of the supersensible world by means of the strictly controlled training of pure psychic vision. It counts only such results as are obtained through this vision of the soul, by which the psychic-spiritual organization is just as accurately defined as a mathematical problem. The point is that at first this organization is presented in scientifically indisputable vision. If we call it ‘the spiritual eye’, we then say: as the mathematician has his problems before him, so has the researcher into the spirit his ‘spiritual eye’. The scientific method is employed for him on that preparation which is in his ‘spiritual organs’. If his ‘science’ has its being in these organs, he can make use of them, and the supersensible world lies before him. The student of the world of the senses directs his science to outward things, to results; but the student of the spirit pursues science as a preparation of vision. And when vision begins, science must already have fulfilled its mission. If you like to call your vision ‘clairvoyance’ it is at any rate an ‘exact clairvoyance’. The science of the spirit begins where that of the senses ends. Above all, the research student of the spirit must have based his whole method of thought for the newer science on the one he applied to the world of the senses.
Thus it comes about that the sciences studied today merge into that realm which opens up Spiritual Science in the modern sense. It happens not only in the separate realms of natural science and history, but also e.g., in medicine; and in all provinces of practical life, in art, in morals, and in social life. It happens also in religious experiences.
In these lectures three of these provinces are to be dealt with, and it is to be shown how they merge into the modern spiritual view. The three are philosophy, cosmology, and religion.
At one time philosophy was the intermediary for all human knowledge. In its Logos man acquired knowledge of the distinct provinces of world-reality. The different sciences are born of its substance. But what has remained of philosophy itself? A number of more or less abstract ideas which have to justify their existence in face of the other sciences, whose justification is found in observation through the senses and in experiment. To what do the ideas of Philosophy refer? That has today become an important question. We find in these ideas no longer a direct reality, and so we try to find a theoretical basis for this reality.
And more: philosophy, in its very name, "love of wisdom," shows that it is not merely an affair of the intellect, but of the entire human soul. What one can "love" is such a thing, and there was a time when wisdom was considered something real, which is not the case with "ideas," which engage only reason and intellect. Philosophy, from being a matter for all mankind which once was felt in the warmth of the soul, has become dry, cold knowledge: and we no longer feel ourselves in the midst of reality when we occupy ourselves with philosophizing.
In mankind itself that has been lost which once made philosophy a real experience. Natural science (of the outer world) is conducted by means of the senses, and what reason thinks concerning the observations made by the senses is a putting-together of the content derived through the senses. This thought has no content of its own; and while man lives in such knowledge he knows himself only as a physical body. But philosophy was originally a soul-content which was not experienced by the physical body, but by a human organism which cannot be appreciated by the senses. This is the etheric body, forming the basis of the physical body, and this contains the supersensible powers which give shape and life to the physical body. Man can use the organization of this etheric body just as he can that of the physical. This etheric body draws ideas from the supersensible world, just as the physical body does, through the senses, from the sense world. The ancient philosophers developed their ideas through this etheric body, and as the spiritual life of man has lost this etheric body and its knowledge, philosophy has simultaneously lost its character of reality. We must first of all recover the knowledge of etheric man, and then philosophy will be able to regain its character of reality. This must mark the first of the steps to be taken by Anthroposophy.

Cosmology once upon a time showed man how he is a member of the universe. To this end it was necessary that not only his body but also his soul and spirit could be regarded as members of the cosmos; and this was the case because in the cosmos things of the soul and things of the spirit were visible. In later times, however, cosmology has become only a superstructure of natural science gained by mathematics, observation, and experiment. The results of research in these lines are put together to make a picture of cosmic development, and from this picture one can no doubt understand the human physical body. But the etheric body remains unintelligible, and in a still higher sense that part of man which has to do with the soul and the spirit. The etheric body can only be recognized as a member of the cosmos if the etheric essence of the cosmos is clearly perceived. But this etheric part of the cosmos can, after all, give man no more than an etheric organization, whereas in the soul is internal life; so we have to take into consideration also the internal life of the cosmos. This is just what the old cosmology did, and it was because of this view of it that the soul-essence of man which transcends the etheric was made a part of the cosmos. Modern spiritual life fails, however, to see the reality of the inner life of the soul. In modern experience, this contains no guarantee that it has an existence beyond birth and death. All one knows today of the soul life can have its origin in and with the physical body through the life of the embryo and the subsequent unfolding in childhood and can end with death. There was something in the older human wisdom for the soul of man of which modern knowledge is only a reflection; and this was looked upon as the astral being in man. It was not what the soul experiences in its activities of thinking, feeling, and volition, but rather something which is reflected in thinking, feeling, and volition. One cannot imagine thinking, feeling, and volition as having a part in the cosmos, for these live only in the physical nature of man. On the other hand the astral nature can be comprehended as a member of the cosmos, for this enters the physical nature at birth and leaves it at death. That element which, during life between birth and death, is concealed behind thought, feeling, and volition — namely the astral body — is the cosmic element of man.
Because modern knowledge has lost this astral element of man, it has also lost a cosmology which could comprise the whole of man. There remains only a physical cosmology, and even this contains no more than the origins of physical man. It is necessary once more to found a knowledge of astral man, and then we shall also again have a cosmology which includes the whole human being.
So the second step of Anthroposophy is marked out.

Religion in its original meaning is based on that experience whereby man feels himself independent not only of his physical and etheric nature, the cause of his existence between birth and death, but also of the cosmos, insofar as this has an influence on such an existence. The content of this experience constitutes the real spirit-man, that being at which our word ‘ego’ now only hints. This ‘ego’ once connoted for man something which knew itself to be independent of all corporeality, and independent of the astral nature. Through such an experience man felt himself to be in a world of which the one which gives him body and soul is but an image; he felt a connection with a divine world. Now knowledge of this world remains hidden to observation according to the senses. Knowledge of etheric and astral man leads gradually to a vision of it. In the use of his senses man must feel himself separated from the divine world, to which belongs his inmost being: but through supersensible cognition he puts himself once more in touch with this world. So supersensible cognition merges into religion.
In order that this may be the case, we must be able to see the real nature of the ‘ego’, and this power has been lost to modern knowledge. Even philosophers see in the ‘ego’ only the synthesis of soul experiences. But the idea which they have thereby of the ‘ego’, the spiritual man, is contradicted by every sleep; for in sleep the content of this ‘ego’ is extinguished. A consciousness which knows only such an ‘ego’ cannot merge into religion on the strength of its knowledge, for it has nothing to resist the extinction of sleep. However, knowledge of the true ego has been lost to modern spiritual life, and with it the possibility to attain to religion through knowledge.
The religion that was once available is now something taken from tradition, to which human knowledge has no longer any approach. Religion in this way becomes the content of a Faith which is to be gained outside the sphere of scientific experience.
Knowledge and Faith become two separate kinds of experience of something which once was a unity.
We must first reestablish a clear cognition and knowledge of the true ego if religion is to have its proper place in the life of mankind. In modern science man is understood as a true reality only in respect of his physical nature. He must be recognized further as etheric, astral, and spiritual- or ego-man, and then science will become the basis of religious life.
So is the third step of Anthroposophy worked out.

It will now be the task of the subsequent lectures to show the possibility of acquiring knowledge of the etheric part of man, that is to say, of clothing philosophy with reality; it will be my further business to point out the way to the knowledge of the astral part of man, that is to say, to demonstrate that a cosmology is possible which embraces humanity; and finally will come the task to lead you to the knowledge of the true ego, in order to establish the possibility of a religious life that rests on the basis of knowledge or cognition.


A Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin Mother

Rudolf Steiner:   "The quieter we are, the more can happen through us in the spiritual world. We simply cannot say that anything happens in the spiritual world as a result of hurry and excitement. We need to develop loving participation in a mood of soul calmness for what is to happen, and then wait patiently to see how things come to pass. This calmness of soul, which in the spiritual world is creative, does not quite have its equal in ordinary physical life. It is similar on higher levels of earthly existence to the sphere of knowledge and of the arts. Here we have something analogous. The artist who cannot wait will not be able to create the highest he is capable of. For this, he needs patience and inner calmness of soul until the right moment dawns, until the intuition comes. One who seeks to create according to a schedule will produce only works of inferior quality. He who seeks to create, be it the smallest work, prompted by an outer stimulus will not succeed as well as if he had waited quietly with loving devotion for the moment of inspiration — we might say: for the moment of grace. The same is true of the spiritual world. In it there is no rush and excitement, but only calmness of soul."


Thursday, February 26, 2015

We shall overcome

Revelation 3

1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

How a desolate man ought to commit himself into the hands of God. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 50


Chapter 50: How a desolate man ought to commit himself into the hands of God.

O Lord, Holy Father, be Thou blessed now and evermore; because as
Thou wilt so it is done, and what Thou doest is good. Let Thy
servant rejoice in Thee, not in himself, nor in any other;
because Thou alone art the true joy, Thou art my hope and my
crown, Thou art my joy and my honour, O Lord. What hath Thy
servant, which he received not from Thee, even without merit of
his own? Thine are all things which Thou hast given, and which
Thou hast made. I am poor and in misery even from my youth
up, and my soul is sorrowful unto tears, sometimes also it is
disquieted within itself, because of the sufferings which are
coming upon it.
I long after the joy of peace; for the peace of Thy children
do I beseech, for in the light of Thy comfort they are fed by
Thee. If Thou give peace, if Thou pour into me holy joy, the
soul of Thy servant shall be full of melody, and devout in Thy
praise. But if Thou withdraw Thyself as too often Thou art wont,
he will not be able to run in the way of Thy commandments, but
rather he will smite his breast and will bow his knees; because
it is not with him as yesterday and the day before, when Thy
candle shined upon his head, and he walked under the shadow of
Thy wings, from the temptations which beset him.
O Father, righteous and ever to be praised, the hour cometh
when Thy servant is to be proved. O beloved Father, it is well
that in this hour Thy servant suffer somewhat for Thy sake. O
Father, evermore to be adored, as the hour cometh which Thou
foreknewest from everlasting, when for a little while Thy servant
should outwardly bow down, but always live inwardly with Thee;
when for a little while he should be little regarded, humbled,
and fail in the eyes of men; should be wasted with sufferings and
weaknesses, to rise again with Thee in the dawn of the new light,
and be glorified in the heavenly places. O Holy Father, thou
hast ordained it so, and so hast willed it; and that is done
which Thou Thyself hast commanded.
For this is Thy favour to Thy friend, that he should suffer
and be troubled in the world for Thy love’s sake, how often
soever, and by whomsoever and whosoever Thou hast suffered it to
be done. Without Thy counsel and providence, and without cause,
nothing cometh to pass on the earth. It is good for me, Lord,
that I had been in trouble, that I may learn Thy statutes,
and may cast away all pride of heart and presumption. It is
profitable for me that confusion hath covered my face, that I may
seek to Thee for consolation rather than unto men. By this also
I have learned to dread Thine unsearchable judgment, who
afflictest the just with the wicked, but not without equity and
Thanks be unto Thee, because Thou hast not spared my sins, but
hast beaten me with stripes of love, inflicting pains, and
sending troubles upon me without and within. There is none who
can console me, of all things which are under heaven, but Thou
only, O Lord my God, Thou heavenly Physician of souls, who dost
scourge and hast mercy, who leadest down to hell and bringest up
again. Thy discipline over me, and Thy rod itself shall teach
Behold, O beloved Father, I am in Thy hands, I bow myself
under the rod of Thy correction. Smite my back and my neck that
I may bend my crookedness to Thy will. Make me a pious and lowly
disciple, as Thou wert wont to be kind, that I may walk according
to every nod of Thine. To Thee I commend myself and all that I
have for correction; better is it to be punished here than
hereafter. Thou knowest all things and each of them; and nothing
remaineth hid from Thee in man’s conscience. Before they are,
thou knowest that they will be, and Thou needest not that any man
teach Thee or admonish Thee concerning the things which are done
upon the earth. Thou knowest what is expedient for my profit,
and how greatly trouble serveth unto the scrubbing off the rust
of sin. Do with me according to Thy desired good pleasure, and
despise not my life which is full of sin, known to none so
entirely and fully as to Thee alone.
Grant me, O Lord, to know that which ought to be known; to
love that which ought to be loved; to praise that which pleaseth
Thee most, to esteem that which is precious in Thy sight, to
blame that which is vile in Thine eyes. Suffer me not to judge
according to the sight of bodily eyes, nor to give sentence
according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men; but to
discern in true judgment between visible and spiritual things,
and above all things to be ever seeking after the will of Thy
good pleasure.
Oftentimes the senses of men are deceived in judging; the
lovers of the world also are deceived in that they love only
visible things. What is a man better because by man he is
reckoned very great? The deceiver deceiveth the deceiver, the
vain man the vain, the blind man the blind, the weak man the
weak, when they exalt one another; and in truth they rather put
to shame, while they foolishly praise. For as humble St. Francis
saith, “What each one is in Thine eyes, so much he is, and no

Recommended version:

My soul magnifies the Lord

Philippians 1:20
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

T. S. Eliot, Anthroposophist

“I see the path of progress for modern man in his occupation with his own self, with his inner being, as indicated by Rudolf Steiner.”  —T. S. Eliot

The conclusion to "Little Gidding" from Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot:

. . . .
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching.


The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one dischage from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
     Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre—
     To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
     We only live, only suspire
     Consumed by either fire or fire.


What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"I am thy fellowservant"

Rudolf Steiner

Revelation 19:5-10

And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Of the desire after eternal life, and how great blessings are promised to those who strive. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 49


Chapter 49: Of the desire after eternal life, and how great blessings are promised to those who strive.

“My Son, when thou feelest the desire of eternal happiness to be
poured into thee from above, and longest to depart from the
tabernacle of this body, that thou mayest contemplate My glory
without shadow of turning, enlarge thine heart, and take in this
holy inspiration with all thy desire. Give most hearty thanks to
the Supreme Goodness, who dealeth with thee so graciously,
visiteth thee so lovingly, stirreth thee up so fervently, raiseth
thee so powerfully, lest thou sink down through thine own weight,
to earthly things. For not by thine own meditating or striving
dost thou receive this gift, but by the sole gracious
condescension of Supreme Grace and Divine regard; to the end that
thou mayest make progress in virtue and in more humility, and
prepare thyself for future conflicts, and cleave unto Me with all
the affection of thy heart, and strive to serve Me with fervent
“My Son, often the fire burneth, but the flame ascendeth not
without smoke. So also the desires of some men burn towards
heavenly things, and yet they are not free from the temptation of
carnal affection. Thus therefore they are not acting with an
altogether simple desire for God’s glory when they pray to Him so
earnestly. Such, too, is oftentimes thy desire, when thou hast
imagined it to be so earnest. For that is not pure and perfect
which is tainted with thine own self-seeking.
“Seek thou not what is pleasant and advantageous to thyself,
but what is acceptable and honourable unto Me; for if thou
judgest rightly, thou must choose and follow after My appointment
rather than thine own desire; yea, rather than anything that can
be desired. I know thy desire, and I have heard thy many
groanings. Already thou longest to be in the glorious liberty of
the children of God; already the eternal home delighteth thee,
and the heavenly country full of joy; but the hour is not yet
come; there remaineth still another season, even a season of
warfare, a season of labour and probation. Thou desirest to be
filled with the Chief Good, but thou canst not attain it
immediately. I AM that Good; wait for Me, until the Kingdom of
God shall come.
“Thou must still be tried upon earth, and be exercised in many
things. Consolation shall from time to time be given thee, but
abundant satisfying shall not be granted. Be strong therefore,
and be thou brave both in working and in suffering things which
are against thy nature. Thou must put on the new man, and be
changed into another man. Thou must often do what thou wouldst
not; and thou must leave undone what thou wouldst do. What
pleaseth others shall have good success, what pleaseth thee shall
have no prosperity. What others say shall be listened to; what
thou sayest shall receive no heed. Others shall ask and receive;
thou shalt ask and not obtain. Others shall be great in the
report of men, but about thee shall nothing be spoken. To others
this or that shall be entrusted; thou shalt be judged useful for
“For this cause nature shall sometimes be filled with sadness;
and it is a great thing if thou bear it silently. In this and
many like things the faithful servant of the Lord is wont to be
tried, how far he is able to deny himself and bring himself into
subjection in all things. Scarcely is there anything in which
thou hast need to mortify thyself so much as in seeing things
which are adverse to thy will; especially when things are
commanded thee to be done which seem to thee inexpedient or of
little use to thee. And because thou darest not resist a higher
power, being under authority, therefore it seemeth hard for thee
to shape thy course according to the nod of another, and to
forgo thine own opinion.
“But consider, My Son, the fruit of these labours, the swift
end, and the reward exceeding great; and thou shalt find it no
pain to bear them then, but rather the strongest solace of thy
patience. For even in exchange for this trifling desire which
thou hast readily forsaken, thou shalt always have thy will in
Heaven. There verily thou shalt find all that thou wouldst, all
that thou canst long for. There thou shalt have all good within
thy power without the fear of losing it. There thy will, ever at
one with Mine, shall desire nothing outward, nothing for itself.
There no man shall withstand thee, none shall complain of thee,
none shall hinder, nothing shall stand in thy path; but all
things desired by thee shall be present together, and shall
refresh thy whole affection, and fill it up even to the brim.
There I will glory for the scorn suffered here, the garment of
praise for sorrow, and for the lowest place a throne in the
Kingdom, for ever. There shall appear the fruit of obedience,
the labour of repentance shall rejoice, and humble subjection
shall be crowned gloriously.
“Now therefore bow thyself humbly under the hands of all men;
nor let it trouble thee who said this or who ordered that; but
take special heed that whether thy superior, thy inferior, or thy
equal, require anything from thee, or even show a desire for it;
take it all in good part, and study with a good will to fulfill
the desire. Let one seek this, another that; let this man glory
in this, and that man in that, and be praised a thousand thousand
times, but rejoice thou only in the contempt of thyself, and in
Mine own good pleasure and glory. This is what thou art to long
for, even that whether by life or by death God may be ever
magnified in thee.”

Recommended version:

"Light on the Path" by Mabel Collins. Part 1

Mabel Collins

These rules are written for all disciples: Attend you to them.

Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears. Before the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitiveness. Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the power to wound. Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.

1. Kill out ambition.

2. Kill out desire of life.

3. Kill out desire of comfort.

4. Work as those work who are ambitious.

Respect life as those do who desire it. Be happy as those are who live for happiness.

Seek in the heart the source of evil and expunge it. It lives fruitfully in the heart of the devoted disciple as well as in the heart of the man of desire. Only the strong can kill it out. The weak must wait for its growth, its fruition, its death. And it is a plant that lives and increases throughout the ages. It flowers when the man has accumulated unto himself innumerable existences. He who will enter upon the path of power must tear this thing out of his heart. And then the heart will bleed, and the whole life of the man seem to be utterly dissolved. This ordeal must be endured; it may come at the first step of the perilous ladder which leads to the path of life: it may not come until the last. But, O disciple, remember that it has to be endured: and fasten the energies of your soul upon the task. Live neither in the present nor the future, but in the eternal. This giant weed cannot flower there: this blot upon existence is wiped out by the very atmosphere of eternal thought.

5. Kill out all sense of separateness.

6. Kill out desire for sensation.

7. Kill out the hunger for growth.

8. Yet stand alone and isolated, because nothing that is imbodied, nothing that is conscious of separation, nothing that is out of the eternal, can aid you. Learn from sensation and observe it, because only so can you commence the science of self-knowledge, and plant your foot on the first step of the ladder. Grow as the flower grows, unconsciously, but eagerly anxious to open its soul to the air. So must you press forward to open your soul to the eternal. But it must be the eternal that draws forth your strength and beauty, not desire of growth. For in the one case you develop in the luxuriance of purity, in the other you harden by the forcible passion for personal stature.

9. Desire only that which is within you.

10. Desire only that which is beyond you.

11. Desire only that which is unattainable.

12. For within you is the light of the world — the only light that can be shed upon the Path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere. It is beyond you; because when you reach it you have lost yourself. It is unattainable, because it for ever recedes. You will enter the light, but you will never touch the flame.

13. Desire power ardently.

14. Desire peace fervently.

15. Desire possessions above all.

16. But those possessions must belong to

the pure soul only, and be possessed therefore by all pure souls equally, and thus be the especial property of the whole only when united. Hunger for such possessions as can be held by the pure soul, that you may accumulate wealth for that united spirit of life which is your only true self. The peace you shall desire is that sacred peace which nothing can disturb, and in which the soul grows as does the holy flower upon the still lagoons. And that power which the disciple shall covet is that which shall make him appear as nothing in the eyes of men.

17. Seek out the way.

18. Seek the way by retreating within.

19. Seek the way by advancing boldly without.

20. Seek it not by any one road. To each temperament there is one road which seems the most desirable. But the way is not found by devotion alone, by religious contemplation alone, by ardent progress, by self-sacrificing labor, by studious observation of life. None alone can take the disciple more than one step onward. All steps are necessary to make up the ladder. The vices of men become steps in the ladder, one by one, as they are surmounted. The virtues of man are steps indeed, necessary — not by any means to be dispensed with. Yet, though they create a fair atmosphere and a happy future, they are useless if they stand alone. The whole nature of man must be used wisely by the one who desires to enter the way. Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth, and the life. But he is only so when he grasps his whole individuality firmly, and, by the force of his awakened spiritual will, recognizes this individuality as not himself, but that thing which he has with pain created for his own use, and by means of which he purposes, as his growth slowly develops his intelligence, to reach to the life beyond individuality. When he knows that for this his wonderful complex separated life exists, then, indeed, and then only, he is upon the way. Seek it by plunging into the mysterious and glorious depths of your own inmost being. Seek it by testing all experience, by utilizing the senses in order to understand the growth and meaning of individuality, and the beauty and obscurity of those other divine fragments which are struggling side by side with you, and form the race to which you belong. Seek it by study of the laws of being, the laws of nature, the laws of the supernatural: and seek it by making the profound obeisance of the soul to the dim star that burns within. Steadily, as you watch and worship, its light will grow stronger. Then you may know you have found the beginning of the way. And when you have found the end its light will suddenly become the infinite light.

21. Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm: not till then.

It shall grow, it will shoot up, it will make branches and leaves and form buds, while the storm continues, while the battle lasts. But not till the whole personality of the man is dissolved and melted — not until it is held by the divine fragment which has created it, as a mere subject for grave experiment and experience — not until the whole nature has yielded and become subject unto its higher self, can the bloom open. Then will come a calm such as comes in a tropical country after the heavy rain, when Nature works so swiftly that one may see her action. Such a calm will come to the harassed spirit. And in the deep silence the mysterious event will occur which will prove that the way has been found. Call it by what name you will, it is a voice that speaks where there is none to speak — it is a messenger that comes, a messenger without form or substance; or it is the flower of the soul that has opened. It cannot be described by any metaphor. But it can be felt after, looked for, and desired, even amid the raging of the storm. The silence may last a moment of time or it may last a thousand years. But it will end. Yet you will carry its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. It is only for an interval that Nature can be still.

These written above are the first of the rules which are written on the walls of the Hall of Learning. Those that ask shall have. Those that desire to read shall read. Those who desire to learn shall learn.