from an Esoteric Lesson given by Rudolf Steiner in Christiania, Norway, June 9, 1912:
Last time we gave the inner reasons for why we're in the school. Today we'll speak more about the outer conditions.
The first quality that one needs is truthfulness, the will to be true. Belief in the master should never be dictated. One who treads the path conscientiously will certainly be led to him or at least to the concept, the knowledge, that he exists. But if this would be a condition right from the start it would be a lie. The existence of the master should be known through inner reason; the truth can be found from what is communicated exoterically, and so the path from the exoteric to the esoteric can be found. An esotericism that wanted to dictate belief in the masters is none.
But a student isn't just supposed to be given teachings, he's supposed to discover forces in himself which are there, and he's supposed to learn how to use them; he just does not know that he has them.
What is the school there for? Advice is given for faster and easier progress, because humanity needs that. An unavoidable result is an appeal to a man's egoism. The side exercises are there to combat what one adds to one's egoity. If a pupil doesn't do them, pride and vanity will unavoidably arise in him. One should not tolerate them in oneself.
When we come together each one should watch himself, and should ascribe conscientiousness and honesty to the others. One should begin with one's own pride and ambition and not ascribe them to people who are supporting something. Anyone who engages in obsequious praise of others harms them and himself. One should always remain factual. One should let the truth speak in one out of what is given exoterically and experience it from the latter.
Memory and the ability to think will disappear from a man if he devotes himself to meditation with all his might. That's supposed to be like that. But they should function all the better in everyday life.
Improperly done exercises can lead to megalomania or one can become subservient to another's megalomania. Or one's memory or reason can get worse. One should try to be dutifully truthful to counteract this. One should observe oneself, should study theosophy, should not only try to be truthful oneself, but should investigate the truth in everything that comes to meet one.
Four rabbis wanted to enter the garden of maturity. The first lost his mind, the second went berserk, the third got sick — which can never happen through our exercises — and died; only the fourth entered the garden when he acquired a love for nature as a good result of his striving.
One can also experience this love in small, insignificant things, and not just in big mountains and oceans. The gods made the former also. They were glad about their environment and took it down into the physical world to make men glad. Such feelings continue to work in men. Everything that's in men will someday become manifest, even if it's only in a later incarnation.
Nothing ever became known about the previous incarnation of leading personalities until a hundred years after their last death; when this did happen here or there it was only confidentially as a communication in a small circle, but never publicly, as A. Besant is doing now.
When one comes in contact with occult sects, occult progress is always possible there also, but the question is: How does one get into the spiritual world? On the right path one gets ever more humble and modest.
One should let everything that was said here work upon one's feeling. One shouldn't do exercises like one does outer work. One shouldn't bustle around and look for truth, but should be able to wait quietly.
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