Rudolf Steiner: "As the beings of love which we are in the supersensible world, we experience ourselves among beings who can do no other than draw their own essence out of love, and live their existence of love in a shared cosmic existence of love."
Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
In the Initiation-science of today, the real facts that distinguish sleep from waking come to be known when we advance from Imagination to Inspiration. What a man himself is as soul, as spirit, from falling asleep until he wakes, becomes clear only to Inspired knowledge, whereas the advance to Imaginative knowledge gives a man the tableau of his life. When this life-tableau unfolds for him in his waking state and with empty consciousness he is wrapped in cosmic stillness — as I have described — there enters his soul from the Cosmos, as Inspiration, the life before birth. And then his own true being appears to him in the form he lives in as a being of soul and spirit between going to sleep and waking.
Through Inspiration we become conscious of that which remains unconscious during sleep. We learn to perceive what we do as soul and spirit while asleep, and we become aware that on falling asleep the soul and spirit leave the physical body and the etheric body. The physical body is left in bed and also the etheric body — or body of formative forces, as it is seen to be in Imagination, and as I have described it. The higher members of man's nature, the astral body and the ego-organization, leave the physical and etheric bodies, returning to them when the time of waking comes. This cleavage of our being, which comes about in the rhythmical alternation of sleeping and waking, can be seen in its real nature only through Inspiration. We then perceive that everything absorbed in ordinary waking life through our thinking, through our world of thought, is left behind. The thoughts we work upon, the thoughts we struggle with at school, whatever we have done to sharpen our earthly intelligence — all this has to be left behind with our physical body and etheric body every time we sleep. Out of these two bodies we take into the spiritual world, where as ego and astral body we pass the time of sleeping, something quite different from anything we experience in our waking state. When we pass from waking to sleeping we experience what is not normally brought into consciousness. Hence, in speaking to you of these experiences, I have to clothe them in pictorial concepts, so that they can be reflected on with healthy human understanding. These pictorial concepts, which are mere shadows of really living thoughts, we leave behind when we fall asleep; and we then come to live in a world where thinking is not as it is here on Earth, but where everything is inwardly experienced. During sleep, in fact, we experience light unconsciously. In waking life we think about the effects of light — how it makes shadows and colors appear in relation to objects. All these thoughts, as I have said, we leave behind. In sleep we enter into the weaving, living light; we pour ourselves out into the light. And as in daytime here on Earth we carry our body with us, and also our soul and spirit, and go about on the surface of the Earth through the air, so there, as sleeping man, we enter the weaving, waving light, becoming ourself a being, a substance, of the living light. We become light within the light.
When a man comes to Inspired knowledge of what he actually is each night, when this rises up into his waking consciousness, he at once realizes that during sleep he lives like a cloud of light in cosmic light. This does not mean, however, living simply as the substance of light, but living in the forces which in waking life become thoughts, are grasped as thoughts. The light then experienced is everywhere permeated by creative forces, the forces which work inwardly in the plants, in the animals, besides existing independently as spiritual worlds. Light is not experienced in the same way as in the physical world but — if we may express it figuratively — the weaving, living light is the body of spiritual weaving, as it is also the body of each spiritual being.
Here, as men of the physical world, we are enclosed in our skins, and we see our fellow-men so enclosed. But in our sleeping state we are light within the light, and other beings are also light within the light. We do not, however, perceive it as light in the way it is perceived in the physical world, but — again figuratively — the clouds of light that we ourselves are, perceive other clouds of light. These clouds of light are either another man, or some kind of being giving new life to the plant world, or a being who, never incarnating in a physical body, dwells always in the spiritual world. Light, accordingly, is not experienced there as it is in earthly life, but as living, creative spirituality.
Now, you know how, as physical men here on Earth, we live in something besides light — in the warmth our senses perceive. We feel and experience heat and cold. If, now, on going to sleep, we pass out of our physical body and etheric body, we live as substance of the warmth in the cosmic substance of warmth, just as we live as light in the light. Thus we are not only what I have called a cloud of light, but a cloud of light permeated by weaving waves of warmth; and what we perceive also bears warmth within it. Just as when we are asleep and as beings of soul and spirit we experience light not as light but as living spirit, and when through Inspiration we realize ourselves and other beings also to be living spirit — so it is in the case of warmth. It is impossible to make any headway in the spiritual world, even with Inspiration, if we cling to ideas acquired here on Earth. We have already found it necessary to get used to a different conception concerning the distance between two points, and we must do likewise for everything else. And just as when experiencing ourselves as light within light we actually experience ourselves as spirit in the spiritual world, so when experiencing ourselves as warmth within the cosmic warmth, we do not experience this as warmth in the usual way of the sense-world, but as weaving, strength-giving love. As the beings of love which we are in the supersensible world, we experience ourselves among beings who can do no other than draw their own essence out of love, and live their existence of love in a shared cosmic existence of love. Thus do we experience ourselves, to begin with, between going to sleep and waking, in a spiritual existence imbued through and through with love.
Therefore, if we wish really to enter the world in which we are every time we go to sleep until we wake, we must enhance our capacity for loving; otherwise this world is bound to remain an unknown world. Here in our earthly world it is not spiritualized love that holds sway, but a love in which the impulse of the senses prevails. In the spiritual world, however, it is spiritualized love — as I have been picturing it. Hence, whoever aspires to enter consciously the world he experiences every night has to develop his capacity for loving in the way described yesterday.
A man cannot find his true self without this capacity for love; for all that he really is during sleep — during a third part of his life on Earth — remains a closed book for him unless he can find his way into it through the training and enhancement of love. All that is experienced during sleep would have to remain an unsolved riddle for earthly beings if they had no wish to enhance their capacity for love, so as to be able to gain some degree of knowledge about their own existence, their own being, in the changed condition between going to sleep and waking.