Wednesday, November 6, 2019

On a Columnar Self

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live."   — Goethe 

On a Columnar Self—
How ample to rely
In Tumult—or Extremity—
How good the Certainty

That Lever cannot pry—
And Wedge cannot divide
Conviction—That Granitic Base—
Though None be on our Side—

Suffice Us—for a Crowd—
Ourself—and Rectitude—
And that Assembly—not far off
From furthest Spirit—God—

      — Emily Dickinson

Rudolf Steiner:

When we are in contact with the cosmic All and see the emergence of the crystals out of the manifestations of the crystal-mineral kingdom, we feel a sense of satisfaction. But very soon that state of anxiety and fear which I have already mentioned, returns again. Before discovering the divinely ordered world of crystals, we had been filled with fear. When we are aware of that divinely inspired world, this feeling of uncertainty vanishes; but after a time a strange sensation overtakes us and the fear returns, the feeling that the whole process of crystal formation is unsubstantial and provides only partial support.
Let us take the example of the two kinds of crystal already mentioned, a salt crystal and a pyrite, a metal crystal. The pyrites gives the impression that it can provide us with solid support, that it is firm and durable. The salt crystal, on the other hand, appears to offer no support; it seems unsubstantial and we feel as if we might fall through it.
In brief then: in relation to certain forms, the fear that once possessed us, the fear that we are suspended over an abyss because the Earth has become a void, has not finally been overcome. This sensation of fear has definite moral implications. When we feel a recurrence of this fear, then, at that moment, we become aware, not only of all our past sins, but of those of which we are potentially capable.
All this acts upon us like a leaden weight that drags us down and threatens to plunge us into the abyss which the mineral crystals open up before us and which is ready to engulf us. At this point we must be prepared for an additional experience. We realize that the sum of our experiences demands of us courage and we confidently proclaim: I am firmly anchored, I cannot drift from my moorings; the center of gravity of my own being now lies within myself.
Never in the whole course of life do we need more confidence, more moral courage, than at the moment when, confronted with the crystal world, the leaden weight of egotism — and egotism is always a sin — weighs upon the soul. That transparent void over which we are suspended now holds a terrible warning for us. If we stand firm and remain self-reliant, we can say: a spark of the divine is within me; I cannot perish, for I partake of the divine essence. If this becomes a concrete experience and not mere theoretical belief, then we have the courage to be self-sufficient, to stand on our own feet. We are now ready and determined to press on further.


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