Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Philosopher's Stone: The Breathing Human Being [Atman = Atmen]

Rudolf Steiner:

"If we become aware of how we live in the air element, we see how all thinking is actually nothing more than a refined breathing process — except that people don't know this. Thinking is refined breathing. The thoughts we live in are actually a refined breathing process. Breathing in, holding it in, and then breathing out work in a coarse way upon the blood circulation and in a finer, contrasting way upon the vibrations of the brain. Breathing is thinking in the physical world. Sublimated breathing is thinking.
     One who has advanced to Imagination no longer believes in the abstract thinking that lives tenuously in the brain. Someone who has advanced to Imagination feels the in-breath, the expansion of the breath, in their brain. They feel how the breath expands. If the breath expands in this way and closes in upon itself, then closed concepts are formed, closed ideas. If the breath surrounds something else with undulating waves, then ideas that move arise. What we describe as the forming of mental pictures, as thinking, is only a refined breathing process surging and modulating through us.
     In the same way that you feel "I breathe in; I draw a breath up into my brain and let it strike my ear," so you feel that you hear a tone as a sound that lives in you as thought. I let the breath strike my eye and it lies in me when I see color. The inner language of breathing works in me as ideas and mental pictures. When the highly refined breath strikes the sense organs, it makes mental pictures. But if you become aware of this, if you become more aware of yourself as a thinker and a breather, so to speak, then you feel this breathing process as something refined into thinking — a thinking that fills you like an organized mineral, like an organized stone.
     You know that oxygen is changed into carbon dioxide inside human beings. The uptake of carbon dioxide by the finer branches of breathing appears in the human head like carbon dioxide is being captured. It is a mineralizing process. The more one is in a position to perceive inwardly the capture of carbon by oxygen, the more one is conscious of this mineralizing process. We take up carbon, the coal substance, into ourselves. Carbon is the Philosopher's Stone. But carbon is the Philosopher's Stone only when it is inside human beings."


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