Monday, January 7, 2019

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Rudolf Steiner:

We have evolved to our present condition because beings we call luciferic and ahrimanic have affected us. Through their forces, our essential being became worse than it would have been if only the forces of the spiritual guides of the world, those who want to advance our development in a straight line, had worked on us. Indeed, suffering, disease, and death can be traced to the fact that, in addition to the beings who advance our development in a straight line, luciferic and ahrimanic beings are also at work and continuously thwart our progress.
What we bring with us at birth contains something that is better than anything we can make of it in later life. In early childhood, the luciferic and ahrimanic forces have only a limited influence on our being. Essentially, they are active only in what we make of ourselves through our conscious life. If we retained the best part of ourselves in its full force beyond the first phase of childhood, its influence would be too much for us because the luciferic and ahrimanic forces opposing the part of ourselves that is better than the rest would weaken our whole being. Our constitution as human beings in the physical world is such that, once we are no longer soft and malleable as children, we can no longer stand to have the forces of the spiritual world continue to affect us directly. The forces that underlie our orientation in space and the formation of the larynx and the brain would shatter us if they continued to influence us directly in later life. These forces are so powerful that our organism would waste away beneath their holiness if they continued to work on us. However, for the activity that brings us into conscious contact with the supersensible world, we have to call upon these forces again.
This leads us to a realization that is very significant if we understand it rightly. In the New Testament it is put thus: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) What then seems to be the highest ideal for a human being if the above statement is correctly understood? Surely that our ideal must be to approach ever closer a conscious relationship with the forces that worked on us, without our awareness, in the first years of childhood. At the same time, we must realize that we would collapse under the power of these forces if they were immediately and too easily to affect our conscious life. That is why a careful preparation is necessary to achieve the capacities that lead to a perception of supersensible worlds. The goal of this preparation is to enable us to bear what we simply cannot bear in ordinary life.
Our passing through successive incarnations is significant for the overall evolution of our essential being, which has undergone successive past lives and will continue to go through future lives. The evolution of the earth runs parallel to our own. At some point in the future, the earth will have reached the end of its course; then the planet earth, as a physical entity, will have to separate from the totality of human souls — just as when we die the body separates from the spirit, and the soul, in order to live on, enters the spiritual realm between death and rebirth. From this point of view, our highest ideal must be the striving to make all the fruits to be gained in earthly life truly our own before we die.
The forces that make us too weak to bear those forces that work on us in childhood originate in the organism of the earth. By the time this separates from humanity, we must have advanced to the point of giving over our whole being to the forces that presently work on us only in childhood. Only when we have reached this level can we claim to have attained our goal. Thus, through successive earthly lives, we must gradually make our entire being, including our consciousness, an expression of the forces that work on us under the guidance of the spiritual world in early childhood. This is the purpose of evolution.
After such considerations, the realization that we are not alone takes hold of our soul. This realization imbues us with humility, but also with a proper consciousness of our human dignity. We realize at the same time that something lives in us that can prove at all times that we can rise above ourselves to a self that is already surpassing us and will continue to do so from one life to the next. As this realization assumes a more and more definite form, it can have a very soothing, heartwarming effect and, at the same time, imbue the soul with the appropriate humility and modesty. What lives within us is truly a higher, divine human being, and we can feel ourselves pervaded by this being as by a living presence of whom we can say, This is my inner guide in me.
Given this, the thought easily arises that we should strive in every way possible to achieve harmony with that part in us that is wiser than our conscious intelligence. Thereafter, our attention will no longer be directed to the conscious self but will be focused instead on an expanded self, and from this perspective we can then combat and eradicate all our false pride and arrogance. From this feeling we will gradually come to a right understanding of our present incompleteness. We shall come to see that we will become complete when the comprehensive spirituality at work in us has the same relationship to our adult consciousness that it had to our unconscious soul life in early childhood.