Initiation, Eternity, and the Passing Moment. Lecture 5 of 7.
Rudolf Steiner, Munich, August 29, 1912:
Yesterday, in such words as are possible for these matters, I tried to characterize how the withdrawal from the physical body and feeling and experiencing oneself in the etheric and astral bodies take place. I pointed out that this experience takes place in such a way that living oneself into the etheric body seems like a flowing out, as it were, into cosmic space, during which one is continually conscious of streaming out into infinity in all directions from one's own body as a central point. Experience in the astral body, however, appears as a springing out of oneself into the astral body. It is at this moment that one begins to feel outside one's physical body in such a way that everything in the physical body that was called oneself is now experienced as something external to one, something existing outside. One is inside something else. I pointed out to you yesterday that the world then confronting us must be called, in conformity with my book Theosophy, for instance, the spiritland. It might also be called the lower mental plane. It would be wrong if something derogatory is implied by imagining that when one selflessly and in the right way reaches the point of living in the astral body, one is then in the astral world.
Now, there is a great difference between life, observation, and experience in sensory existence, and experience in the astral body in face of the spiritland. In the life of the senses we are confronted with substances, forces, objects, processes, and so on. We are also confronted with beings, and besides the beings of the other kingdoms of nature, insofar as we are justified in calling them so, we are confronted in particular with our own fellow beings. In sensory existence we confront these other beings in such a way that we know how they take up into themselves the substances and forces of the world of the senses, permeate themselves with these, and thereby live the life that runs its course by means of external natural forces within the laws of nature. In short, in the life of the senses we must distinguish between the course of nature, and the beings who live out their lives within this natural course and permeate themselves with the substances and forces there. We have, then, the course of nature and also the beings. But when in the astral body we are seeing into the spiritual world, we can no longer make this distinction. In the spiritual world we are confronted with beings alone, but over against these beings there is no such thing as the so-called course of nature. Everything to which you are guided in the way indicated in our last lecture, everything you meet, is being. Wherever there is anything, it is being, and you cannot say as you do in sensory life that there is an animal and here the external substances it is going to eat. There is not this duality there, for whatever is, is being.
I have already told you how you stand with regard to these beings, that this is mainly the world of the hierarchies, and we have often described it from other points of view. You learn to know the world of the hierarchies in their order of succession, from those beings whom you learn to know first as angels, and archangels, up to those who seem to be almost vanishing, so indistinct do they become — the Cherubim and Seraphim. But one thing is possible when you find yourself in these worlds: you can succeed in entering into relation with these beings. Whatever you are in sensory existence you must have left behind you, in the sense of the way we described this before, but, as I have already said, you still bear it in memory. Into these worlds you carry the memory of what you have left behind and, as in physical life we look back into our memories, so you look back from the higher worlds on to what you have been in sensory existence. You still possess it in memory pictures.
Now as you ascend the first steps of initiation into higher worlds, it is good to learn to distinguish between the first step and those that follow. It is not good to neglect this. It really amounts to this, that you will best learn to find your way in higher worlds if, among the first memory pictures you carry across there, which remind you of your sensory existence, you do not have the image of your own physical body and of its form. It is indeed a matter of experience that this is so. Anyone who has to give advice as to the exercises to be undertaken in order to bring about the first steps of initiation will see to it that, after crossing the threshold, after passing the Guardian of the Threshold, the first memory images have nothing to do with the perception of the physical bodily form. They are essentially such as can be included under the heading of a moral-intellectual perception of the self. What you should first experience is how to estimate your own moral qualities. You should perceive what moral or immoral tendencies you have, what sense of truthfulness, or superficial feeling, and also realize how to assess your value as a being of soul.
This is what must first be felt. This does not arise in such a way that it can best be expressed in the words we use in physical life. When you enter the spiritual world, experience is far more intimately bound up with you than anything of the kind in sensory existence. When you have done something that does not satisfy you morally, your entire inner life feels that there is something bitter, that there is something as it were poured out into the world to which you have now accustomed yourself that fills it with an aroma of bitterness — but aroma should not here be understood in the physical sense. You feel yourself soaked through with this aroma of bitterness. What can be morally justified is filled with a pleasant aroma. One might say that the sphere you enter when you are not satisfied with what you have done is dark and gloomy, but light and clear is the part of the universe into which you come when you can be at peace with yourself. Therefore, if you are to find your way about, this should be the kind of moral or intellectual valuation to which you should submit yourself, that, like the atmosphere, fills for you the world into which you are entering. So it is best to feel this world with your soul, and after having made yourself familiar with this feeling of the soul for spiritual space, only then should the memory arise that may have the very form and shape of your physical bodily form in sensory life, as long as this form comes before you like an interpenetration into your newly acquired moral atmosphere.
What I have here been describing may not, however, only arise out of the midst of daily life, coming like an entrance into the spiritual world when the appropriate steps toward initiation have been taken. It may also occur in another way. However it arises, it depends fundamentally on the karma of the individual human being and on the way he is constituted. It cannot be said that one way of arising is better or worse than the other; it is simply that either one or the other may occur. In the midst of his daily life man may feel himself drawn into the spiritual world, but it may also happen that his experience during sleep becomes different. In the ordinary experience as soon as a man falls asleep he becomes unconscious, regaining his consciousness on re-awaking, and in his life during the day, except for remembrance of his dreams, he has no memory of his sleeping life. He lives through sleep in a state of unconsciousness. Now in the first stage of initiation it may also happen that something else is extended over man's sleeping life so that he begins to experience another way of falling asleep. With the approach of sleeping life another kind of consciousness is then experienced. This lasts, interrupted more or less by periods of unconsciousness, for various lengths of time according to the progress the person has made. Then as morning approaches it dies away. During this experience, in the first period after falling asleep, there arises what can be called a memory of one's moral attitude, of one's qualities of soul. This is particularly vivid just after going to sleep and it gradually dies away toward the time of waking.
Therefore, as a result of the exercises for the first stages of initiation, the usual unconsciousness of sleep can become lit up and transfused with consciousness. Then one rises into the actual worlds of the hierarchies and feels oneself to belong there. But this living within the world in which all is being must, as compared with ordinary life in the world of the senses, be described somewhat as follows. Suppose that someone in the sensory world is standing before a pot of flowers and looking at it. The plant is outside, external to him; he observes it as he stands there looking at it. Now the experience in the higher world of which we have just been speaking can in no way be compared with this kind of observation. It would be quite wrong to imagine that there one went about looking at the beings thus, from outside, placing oneself before them, as one would observe a flowerpot in the world of the senses. It is not so. If you would compare anything in sensory existence with the way in which you stand as regards the world of the hierarchies, it could only be in the following manner. This, of course, will be only a comparison, but it may help you to have a clear idea.
Let us assume that you sit down somewhere and instead of thinking laboriously of some special thing, you set yourself to think about nothing in particular. Some uncalled-for thought may then arise within you, of which, to start with, you were not thinking at all. It may occupy your soul so completely that it altogether fills it; you feel you can no longer distinguish the thought from yourself and that you are entirely one with the thought that thus suddenly arises. If you have the feeling that this is a living thought, it draws your soul with it, your soul is bound up with the thought, and it might just as well be said that the thought is in your soul as that your soul is in the thought, then you have something in sense life similar to the way in which you get to know the beings of the higher hierarchies and the way you behave toward them. The words “I am beside them, I am outside them,” lose all meaning. You are with them, just as your thoughts live with you. Not that you might say “The thoughts live in me.” You have rather to say “A thought thinks itself in me.” The beings experience themselves, and you experience the experience of the beings. You are within them; you are one with them, so that your whole being is poured out into the sphere in which they live. You share their life, all the time knowing quite well that they, too, are experiencing themselves in this. No one must imagine that after the first steps on the path of initiation he will immediately have the feeling of experiencing all that these beings experience. Throughout he need know nothing beyond his being in their presence, as in sensory existence he might be confronted by somebody he was meeting for the first time. The expression “The beings live and experience themselves within you” is justified, yet you need know nothing more of them to begin with than you would know of a man on first acquaintance. In this way, therefore, it is a co-experience. This gradually grows in intensity, and you penetrate ever further into the nature of these beings.
Now, something else is bound up with what has just been described as a spiritual experience. It is a certain fundamental feeling that rests in the soul like the actual result of all its separate experiences. It is a feeling that perhaps I can picture to you by means of a contrast. What you experience in the world of the senses when standing at some particular spot looking at what is around you is the exact opposite of this fundamental feeling. Imagine someone standing here in the middle of the hall, seeing everything that is here. He would say that here is this man, there that man, and so on. That would be his relation to the surrounding world. But it is, however, the opposite of the prevailing mood in the world we have just been describing. There, you cannot say “I am here, there is this being, there that one,” but you must say “I am this being.” In reality that is the true feeling. What I have just said as regards all the separate beings is felt in face of the world as a whole. You are really everything in yourself. This being within the beings is extended over your whole mood of soul. It is in this mood of soul that you experience consciously the time between falling asleep and waking. When you live through this consciously, you cannot but have a poured-out feeling toward all that you experience. You feel yourself within everything to the very limit of the world that you are at all able to perceive.
I once made the following experiment, and I should like to cite it here as an episode — not as anything remarkable, but in order to make myself clear. Some years ago it suddenly struck me that certain more or less supersensible states come before us in the great poetic works of the world as a reflection, an echo. What I mean is that if a clairvoyant becomes clear about the fundamental mood of his soul in certain supersensible experiences and he then turns to world literature, he will find that such moods of soul run through certain chapters, or sections, of the really great poetic works. These moods are not necessarily the poet's occult experiences, but the clairvoyant can say to himself that if he wishes to live over again as an echo in the sensory world what he experienced in this mood of his soul, he can turn to some great poem and find there something like its shadow picture. When in the light of his experience the clairvoyant reads Dante, for instance, he sometimes has the feeling that there in the poem is a reflection, or shadow, that in its original state can only be experienced clairvoyantly.
Now I once made a search for certain states capable of description in poetic works, in order to set up some sort of concordance between experiences in higher worlds and what is present as a reflection of these in the physical world, and I asked myself “Is it not possible that this particular mood poured out over the soul during fully conscious sleep (that I have described as a being in the higher worlds, but a being to be apprehended in the mood), might not this be found echoed in some mood of soul in the literature of the world?” But nothing came from this direct approach.
When the question was put differently, however, something was forthcoming. Experience shows that it is also permissible to ask “How would a being who was not a human being — for instance, some other being of the higher hierarchies — feel this mood of soul, this living within the higher worlds?” Or, to put it more exactly, man feels himself within the higher worlds and sees beings of the other hierarchies. Now just as in the world of the senses you can ask “What does another person feel about something that I myself feel?” so this same question can be put to a being of the higher hierarchies, and it will then be possible to gain an idea of the experience of some other being. Just as it would be possible for us in fully conscious sleep, we can form an idea, as in the case of man himself, of a definite kind of higher experience in face of life in the higher worlds, but of experience that plays a large part in the soul of man.
One can imagine, therefore, a being belonging to a higher hierarchical rank than man on Earth, who is able to feel what human beings feel, but in a higher way. If the question is put in this way, if you reflect not on an ordinary but on a typical man, and then picture the mood of soul, it becomes possible to find something in world literature from which one can form this concept, that such a mood is poured out as an echo of what can really only be represented in its original state correctly by translating oneself into the world we have just been describing. But there is certainly nothing to be found in European literature of which it might be said: “One can here trace the mood of what pours itself out over a soul when it feels itself within the spiritual world and all that belongs there.” It is wonderful how you begin to understand in a new way and to feel fresh delight and admiration when you let this mood work on you like an echo coming from the words of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. Quite a new light floods these lines of the Gita when you realize that all I have just been describing is contained not in the words, but in the echo of the mood that fills the soul. I wanted to give this merely as an illustration of clairvoyance; to picture it in such a way that you can now take up this poem and try to discover the mood flowing into it. Starting from that you may get a feeling of the clairvoyant's corresponding experience, when from his daytime existence he is transposed into these worlds in full consciousness, or when his consciousness is extended during sleep.
Something else, however, is mixed with this mood, this basic feeling; something else accompanies it. It is only by means of a concept that I can try to picture what is here experienced in words, because one must always have recourse to words in physical life. What is experienced is something of this nature: So far as you feel anything at all of a world, you feel yourself poured out into it. At first you do not really feel anything external anywhere, you only feel the one point in the world in which you were beforehand. That is the only external thing you feel. You find whatever harm you have done and whatever good you have done crowded into that one point. That is external. For the rest, you feel yourself with all that you have achieved in the world poured out over the whole world. You have indeed the feeling that it would be nonsense to apply certain words natural in sensory existence to this experience of your connection with the world. For instance, the words before and after cease to have meaning, because as you go to sleep you do not feel that it is before, and that waking comes after. You only feel certain experiences that begin as you go to sleep, and continue to happen. After living through a number of experiences, in a certain respect you are at the same point again, but not in the same way as before going to sleep.
You have rather the feeling: “I have been to sleep,” and the feeling that the word "then" can no longer justifiably be used. There have taken place a number of experiences during which before and after have ceased to have meaning. If I now use the expression after a certain time (though it is not correct) — “after a certain time one again stands where one stood before” — it must be imagined that you are standing opposite yourself, as it were, as though you were out of your body, walking around and looking at yourself. So you stand at about the same point where you stood on leaving the body, but you are now standing opposite yourself; you have changed your direction. Then (again using “then” in a merely comparative sense) events continue to take place, and it is as if you had returned to your body and were inside it once more. You do not experience any before or after, but what you can only describe as a revolving, about which the words “beginning,” “middle,” and “end” can only be used together.
In this kind of experience it is just the same as when you say about any point of the whole circumference of a circle “Here it begins” and, having made the whole round, “Here it ends.” You have no feeling of having lived through a period of time, but rather the feeling of making a round, of describing a circle, and in this experience you completely lose the feeling of time that you normally have in sensory existence. You only feel that you are in the world that has the fundamental characteristic of being round, of being circular. A being who has never walked the Earth, who has never lived in the world of the senses but has always lived in the world of which we are speaking, would never be struck by the idea that the world once had a beginning and could be coming to an end. He would always think of it as a self-enclosed, round world. Such a being would have no inducement to say that he strove for eternity for the simple reason that everything around him is eternal, that nowhere is there anything beyond which he could look from the temporal into the eternal.
This feeling of timelessness, this feeling of the circle, appears at a certain stage of clairvoyance, or in the conscious experience of sleep. With it is intermingled a certain yearning, a yearning that arises because in this experience in the higher world you are never really at rest. Everywhere you feel yourself in this revolving movement, always moving, never staying still. The longing you have is: “If only a halt could be made, if only somewhere one could enter time!” This is just the opposite, one might say, of what is experienced in sensory existence, in which we always feel ourselves in time while yearning after eternity. In the world of which I have been speaking, we feel ourselves in eternity with this one desire: “If only at some point the world would stand still and enter time existence!” This is what you realize to be the very fundamental feeling: the everlasting movement of the universe, and the longing for time; this experience of eternal becoming, this becoming that is its own surety, and the longing, “Ah, if only one could but somewhere, somehow, come to an end!”
Yes, when the conceptions of the life of the senses are applied to these things one is fully justified in thinking them strange. But we must not let this impede us. That would imply that we do not wish to accept a real description of the higher worlds. If that is really what we want on setting foot in them, all ordinary descriptions of the world of the senses, and everything else besides, must be abandoned. I beg you to look upon this feeling I have just pictured as an experience that one has in oneself and for oneself, and it is important that one should experience this in oneself and for oneself, because that belongs to the first stages on the path to initiation. This feeling may arise in two ways. In one way it may be expressed by saying “I have a longing for what is transitory, for existence concentrated in time; I do not wish to be poured out into eternity.” If you have this feeling in the spiritual world (I ask you to consider this well) you do not necessarily bring it back with you into the world of the senses. On the contrary, it need not be present there at all when you return; it may only be in the spiritual world. You may say you have this feeling in the spiritual world — that you would like to experience yourself right within time, you would like to be concentrated in independence at some point of world existence. You would like to do this so completely that you could say “Why should I bother about eternity that extends itself out in the rest of the universe! I want to make this something independent for myself, and to live in that.”
Just imagine this wish, this feeling, experienced in the spiritual world. We have not yet expressed this exactly, but have still to describe it in another way to make it precise, and then to combine it with something else. If we want to bring this down into human sensory existence, we have to describe it — if we still wish to do so at all — by what is reminiscent of the world of the senses. You will remember that I have just said “Up above, everything is being and we cannot speak of it in any other way.” But that is not the whole truth. When in the world of the senses some desire takes possession of us, we may say “You feel yourself driven on by some being who works in you and causes you to express this wish to make sure of some particular point.” If one has understood the wish to make sure of one point, the wish to be concentrated in temporal things, as an impulse given by a being of the spiritual world — it can only be such a being — then one has to grasp what influence Luciferic beings have in that world.
Having reached this conception, we may now ask “How can one speak about being confronted with a Luciferic being?” When in the world of the higher hierarchies we feel thus influenced to draw away from eternity to a state of independent concentration in the world, then it is that we feel the working of Lucifer. When we have experienced that, then we know how the forces that are Luciferic can be described. They may be described in the way I have just shown, and only then does it become possible to speak with reality of a contrast that even finds an echo in our world of the senses. This contrast simply arises from the realization that in sensory existence it is quite natural for us to be placed into the temporal, whereas in the spiritual world which lies — to speak from a transitory point of view — above the astral world, it is natural for us no longer to perceive what is temporal, but only what is eternal. This devachanic experience that appears there as a longing for temporal life is echoed here in the longing for eternity. The interplay of actually experienced time — time experienced in the passing moment — with the longing for eternity, arises because of the penetration of our world of the senses by the devachanic world, the world of spiritland. Just as for ordinary sense perception the spiritland is hidden behind our physical world, so the eternal is hidden behind the passing moment. Just as there is no point where we can say “Here ends the world of the senses, and here begins the spiritual world,” but everywhere the spiritual world permeates sensory existence, so each passing moment, in accordance with its quality, is permeated by eternity. We do not experience eternity by coming out of time, but by being able to experience it clairvoyantly in the moment itself. We are guaranteed eternity in the passing moment; in every moment it is there.
Wherever you go in the world, when speaking from the standpoint of clairvoyant consciousness, you can never say of beings that one is temporal and another eternal. To say that here is a temporal being or there an eternal being has no meaning for spiritual consciousness. Real meaning lies in something quite different. What underlies existence — the passing moment and eternity — is everywhere and forever, and the only way to put the question is: “How comes it that eternity sometimes appears as the passing moment, that the eternal sometimes appears temporal, and that a being in the world assumes a form that is temporal?” It simply comes from this: that sensory existence, wherever it occurs, is interspersed with Luciferic beings, and to the extent that these beings play into sensory existence, eternity is rendered temporal. It must therefore be said: “A being appearing anywhere in time is eternal insofar as it has power to liberate itself from the Luciferic existence, but insofar as it is subject to it, it remains temporal.”
When we begin to describe things in a spiritual way, we leave off using expressions of ordinary life. In ordinary life, if we apply the teaching of religion and of anthroposophy, we should say: “Man has his body as an outer sheath, and within he has his soul and spirit being; his body is mortal, but his being of soul and spirit is immortal and eternal.” This is how it should be expressed, insofar as we are in the world of the senses and want to describe what is there. It is no longer correct if we wish to apply the standpoint of the spiritual world; then it must be put in this way: “Man is a being in whose nature as a whole, progressive, divine beings must work together with Luciferic beings; to the extent that progressive, divine beings are in him, part of his being wrests itself away from all that is Luciferic, and so comes to participate in the eternal. Insofar as divine beings work in man, he shares in the eternal; insofar as the Luciferic world works in him, all that is bound up with the temporal and transitory becomes part of his very being.”
The temporal and eternal thus appear as the working together of diverse beings. In the higher worlds there is no longer any sense in speaking of abstract opposites such as the temporal and the eternal, because there they cease to have any meaning. There we have to speak of beings. We speak, therefore, of progressive, divine beings and of Luciferic beings. Because these beings are present in the higher worlds, their relation to one another is reflected in the antithesis of time and eternity.
I have said that it is good if a man, on rising to the world to which we are referring, should at first experience memories of a more moral kind rather than his external physical form. Persevering with the exercises for the first steps in initiation, he should gradually become so clairvoyant that there will then appear the memory picture, too, of his physical form. There is something else, however, connected with the arising of this memory picture of one's physical form, and that is that actually from this time on (and it is right) he feels as a memory not only his life of soul in general, not only in general his good and bad deeds and his moral and his foolish ones, but his entire ego. It is his whole self that he feels as a memory in the moment when he can look back on his body as form. He then feels his being as if split in two. He beholds the part he left behind with the Guardian of the Threshold, and he beholds what, in the sense world, he called his ego. Now, on looking back on his ego, he feels that there also is a cleavage, and quite calmly says to himself: “Only now are you able to remember what you formerly called your ego. You now live in a more highly organized ego that bears the same relation to the former ego that you as thinker bear to memories of life in the world of the senses.” At this stage one sees for the first time what man, earthly man, actually is; one looks down on one's ego-man.
At the same time, however, one is raised to a still higher world that may be called the higher spiritland or, if you will, the higher mental world; a world that differs somewhat from the others. We are in this higher spiritland when experiencing the splitting of the ego and the ordinary ego in memory only. It is here that one is first able to form a true estimate of man on Earth. As one looks back one begins to know what man is in his inmost being. There, too, it is first possible to come to an experienced judgment concerning the course of history. Human evolution that has been experienced becomes for us the progress of the soul as an ego being. Standing out from the general progress are the beings who are leaders in the advancement of humanity. Here one actually experiences what I described in the second lecture, that is, the impulses that are continually flowing into human evolution through the initiates, those initiates who, wherever they may be, have to leave the life of the senses and go to spiritual worlds so that they can give out these impulses. When you reach the point of experiencing man as an ego being, you also experience for the first time a true insight into the human being as such. To this there is only one exception.
Let us recapitulate all that has been said. When a man goes through the first stages of initiation, he can raise himself clairvoyantly to the world of the lower spiritland; he experiences conceptions of what has to do with the soul, of what is moral and what is intellectual. He looks down on all that is going on in souls, even if they do not comprehend themselves as ego beings. This comprehension of one's being as an ego being, together with all the blossoming of spiritual life in the initiates, is experienced in the higher spiritland — with one single exception, that is right and good if it can happen as an exception that breaks through the general rule. From the lower spiritland one sees the whole being of Christ Jesus! So that, looking back in a purely human way, and holding fast to what is present in remembrance, you have a memory of Christ Jesus and of all the events that have taken place in connection with Him — that is, if the other condition of which I spoke in the second lecture has already been fulfilled. The truth about the other initiates, however, you experience for the first time in the higher spiritland.
There we have a vastly important distinction. When a man rises into the spiritual world, on looking back he perceives what is of the Earth. But he sees it first with its soul quality unless he can remember in such a way that, looking back on earthly existence, he remembers physical man and the shape and form in which he goes about. That is a thing he should only experience at the higher point described. It is only Christ Jesus that he may and should see at the first steps on the path of initiation. This he can do when on going forward he sees himself surrounded by nothing but what is of a soul nature, that at first has nothing in it of the ego. But then, within, as a kind of central point, is the Christ Being, fulfilling the Mystery of Golgotha and permeated by the ego.
What I have just told you cannot, of course, be understood as coming from any of the world conceptions of existing Christian religions. I hardly imagine that you would find it described anywhere. You can, indeed, find what may be called the reverse of what I have said in a certain special way that one first lights upon when looking occultly and precisely into the matter, because up to the present, Christianity has not reached the goal it has finally to attain. Perhaps some of you will know that there are many among the official representatives of Christianity who have a mortal dread of what is known as occultism, and look on it simply as the work of the devil that can only do man harm. Why is this so? Why do we repeatedly find when we speak to the representatives of any particular priesthood and the conversation turns to occultism or anthroposophy that they shy away from it? If you point out to them that the Christian saints have always experienced the higher worlds, and that their biographies tell us so, you get the reply: “Oh yes, that may be so, but these things should not be striven after. There is no harm in reading the lives of the saints, but you shouldn't copy them if you want to keep away from the wiles of the devil.”
Now, why does this occur? If you take all that I have told you into consideration, you will understand that what here finds expression is a kind of fear, a strong feeling of fear. Ordinary people do not recognize its origin, but the occultist can do so.
As I have said in the second lecture, in the higher worlds there can only be this memory of the Christ when a man has rightly understood Him on Earth, in the physical world of the senses. It is important to have this memory of the Christ in the very next world you enter, where you still keep a memory image of the rest of humanity. On the one hand, it is necessary to have the memory image; on the other, you can only have it down here if it has already permeated you. Hence it happens that those who know something of occultism, but have not thoroughly assimilated certain important and outstanding facts, think it is all one whether man, when today he presses on into spiritual worlds, has become acquainted or not with this image of the Christ. They do not consider that what is above depends to any great extent on what has been experienced below, although in other respects they are continually emphasizing it.
But the kind of position in which you find yourself with regard to the Christ in the higher worlds does indeed depend on how you relate yourself to Him in the physical world. If in the physical world you do not try to call up the right conception of Him, you are not in a certain respect sufficiently developed for the higher worlds, and in spite of the fact that you should find Him there, you cannot do so. So that if you have not concerned yourself about this matter that is full of splendor and so significant, on rising to higher worlds you may completely miss this image of the Christ. If, then, anyone when still in sensory existence were to reject the idea of forming a relationship to Christ, he might even become a great occultist and yet, through his perceptions in the higher worlds, have no knowledge of the Christ; he would not find Him there, nor be able to learn anything from Him. There would always be something wanting in his conception of the Christ. That is the significant thing.
I am not here giving out anything that is merely a subjective opinion, but what is the common objective result of those who have made the relevant investigations. Among occultists it can be said objectively that it is so, but in anyone who does not feel impelled to become an occultist, and who is simply a faithful follower of his particular religious creed, the same thing is expressed in that unconsciousness that I have just described as a state of fear. Then if anyone would embark upon the path into higher worlds, this is said to be devil's work; it is thought that perhaps he cannot have found the right relation to Christ, and therefore ought not to be led beyond the ordinary world. In a certain sense this fear is well-grounded. These men do not know the way to Christ, and if they then enter higher worlds, Christ is lost to them. This feeling among certain priestly orders can be understood as a kind of fear, but there is no way of meeting it. I beg you to give this little digression your serious attention, and to go on thinking about it in life. It is interesting as a piece of historical culture, and will help you to understand much that plays itself out in life.
I have shown you different aspects of the Christ from two different points of view, and have tried to throw light on His being. But all that I have previously said would be just as valid and comprehensible without these two points of view. It is necessary, however, to meet the facts objectively and, without the bias of any religious tendency, to grasp them objectively as cosmic facts.
Thus we have tried to throw a certain light on the concepts of the temporal, the transitory, the passing moment, and eternity on the one hand, and on the other of mortality and immortality. We have seen how the concepts ‘transitory’ and ‘temporal’ are bound up with the Luciferic principle, and how, bound up with the Christ principle we shall find such concepts as ‘eternity’ and ‘immortality.’ Anyone might believe — at least to a small extent — that this constituted a kind of undervaluing of the Luciferic principle and its rejection in all circumstances because by it we are directed to the temporal, the more transitory, and to the concentration upon one point. For today, I should like just to say this: that in all circumstances it is not right to look upon the ‘Light-bearer’ as one of whom we should be afraid, nor is it right to think that we must turn our back on Lucifer as from one whom we must always escape. If one does that it is to forget the teaching of true occultism, namely, that here in the world of the senses there is a feeling analogous to that in the supersensible world. In sensory life man feels “I live in the temporal and yearn after the eternal; I live in the passing moment and crave for eternity.” In spiritual life there is the feeling: “I live in the eternal and long for the passing moment.” If you now turn to the book Cosmic Memory: Atlantis and Lemuria, was man's development in old Lemurian times a kind of transition from such a state as we have in sleep into a waking state? Follow attentively what happened in Lemurian times, and you can say that since man passed through a transition out of a state of spiritual sleep into the waking state that we have on Earth, the whole of evolution passed over at that time from the spiritual into the physical. There is the transition. Since Lemurian times our sensory existence has acquired meaning. Do you think it unnatural that when he gradually slipped away from higher worlds to be seized upon by Luciferic powers, man should have taken with him something like a longing for eternity? Again, in respect to what is Luciferic, you have a kind of memory of a pre-earthly state, a memory of something that man had before he came into sensory existence that should not have been preserved, namely, a longing for the passing moment and for all that has to do with time. How far this takes part in the evolution of man we shall speak of tomorrow.
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