Saturday, September 21, 2019

Knocking on Heaven's Door

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

—Matthew 7:7

Rudolf Steiner:  "Man must first find himself, but then again must also surrender himself. He must surrender himself to what makes thought a reality."


Rudolf Steiner:

It is perfectly possible nowadays to take the path to higher knowledge in such a way that the active thinking required will not be unjustifiably encroached on by any other power. This is essential for present-day mankind. In the course of these lectures we shall see how necessary it is for people today, especially when they wish to make progress on the path to higher worlds, to respect and treasure their own free will. For how, otherwise, is any inner activity to be developed? Directly anyone becomes dependent on someone else, his own will is frustrated. And it is important that meditation today should be carried through with inner activity, out of the will in thinking, which is hardly at all valued today, with modern science putting all the emphasis on passive observation of the outer world.
In this way we can win through to active thinking, the rate of progress depending wholly on the individual. One man will get there in three weeks, if he perseveres with the same exercises. Another will take five years, another seven, and someone else nineteen, and so on. The essential point is that he should never relax his efforts. A moment will come when he recognizes that his thinking has really changed: it no longer runs on in the old passive pictures but is inwardly full of energy — a force which, although he experiences it quite clearly, he knows to be just as much a force as the force required to raise an arm or point a finger. We come to know a thinking that seems to sustain our whole being, a thinking that can hit against an obstacle. This is no figure of speech, but a concrete truth that we can experience. We know that ordinary thinking does no such thing. When I run up against a wall and get hurt, my physical body has received a blow through force of contact. This force of contact depends on my being able to hit my body against objects. It is I who do the hitting. The ordinary passive thinking does not hit anything, but simply presents itself to be hit, for it has no reality; it is only a picture. But the thinking to which we come in the way described is a reality, something in which we live. It can hit against something, as a finger can hit the wall. And just as we know that our finger cannot go through the wall, so we know that with this real thinking we cannot fathom everything. It is a first step. We have to take this step, this turning of one's own active thinking into an organ of touch for the soul, so that we may feel ourselves thinking in the same way that we walk, grasp, or touch; so that we know we are living in a real being, not just in ordinary thinking which merely creates images, but in a reality, in the soul's organ of touch which we ourselves have become.
That is the first step — to change our thinking so that we feel: Now you yourself have become the thinker. That rounds off everything. With this thinking it is not the same as with physical touch. An arm, for instance, grows as we grow, so that when we are full-grown our proportions remain correct. But the thinking that has become active is like a snail — able to extend feelers or to draw them in again. In this thinking we live in a being certainly full of force but inwardly mobile, moving backwards and forwards, inwardly active. With this far-reaching organ of touch we can — as we shall see — feel about in the spiritual world; or, if this is spiritually painful, draw back.
All this must certainly be taken seriously by those with any desire to approach the true being of man — this transformation of one's whole nature. For we do not discover what a man actually is unless we start by seeing in him something beyond what is perceived by our earthly senses. All that is developed through the activity of thinking is a man's first supersensible member — later I shall be describing it more fully. First we have man's physical body that can be perceived by our ordinary sense-organs, and this offers resistance on meeting the ordinary organs of touch. Then we have our first supersensible member — we can call it the etheric body or the formative forces body. It must be called something, but the name is immaterial. In future I will call it the etheric or formative forces body. Here we have our first supersensible member, just as perceptible for a higher power of touching, into which thinking has been changed, as physical things are perceptible to the physical sense of touch. Thinking becomes a supersensible touching, and through this supersensible touching the etheric or formative forces body can be, in the higher sense, both grasped and seen. This is the first real step, as it were, into the supersensible world.

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