From the Contents of Esoteric Classes
Rudolf Steiner, August 30, 1909:
After Parzival stood before Titurel and had the experiences of which we spoke, an intimate and deep feeling of shame arose in him. This feeling of shame permeated him completely. He had gone through catharsis and had thought that he was now so good and pure that he could become one of the followers of the Master of all masters, the Christ. In this feeling of shame he was reminded of Christ's words: “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God.” He now knew how very imperfect he was still and how much he still had to take into his striving for the good, how much he was still lacking in order to be good.
And a second feeling, a feeling of fear, overcame him. He thought that he had gotten rid of that a long time ago. But it was a different kind of fear from the ones he'd known previously. It was a feeling of his own smallness and weakness as a man compared with the sublime Godly being when he let a second word of Christ live in his soul: “Become perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” These two words should live in the soul of every esotericist.
An esotericist should kindle full devotion for divine beings in his soul. Thereby the consciousness develops that what one does isn't so good, but that one should always try to become more perfect. We should look at what's developing in our soul. God lives in developing things. If we get to the point where we're acting in a good and noble way, then it's God in us who's good. The God who lets us act in a good and noble way is our archetype itself, that created us. We must become a complete copy of this archetype.
Be it ever so hidden, there's a selfish motive in everything we do. We must realize that we can't be selfless. It's a world karma that lets us act egoistically. But world karma is God. Everything that God is and does in the way of good is better than we could do it. An esotericist should tell himself: Let me do something that I have made it my duty to do, let me do it as hard as I can and in such a way that I tell myself that the divine element that's at work in me is doing this and I'm only the instrument of this godly element — then the higher self in its striving toward perfection is revealed to him.
There are three revelations of the higher self: Through a dream, an inkling, and through meditation. If an esotericist has lived in his meditations, if he has tried to repeatedly live in his thoughts, words, and deeds in accordance with the perfection principle, if he has repeatedly tried to be good — then at some point he'll realize: If I would place all the joy and suffering that I previously thought was in me outside me, then it would be as if it surrounded me like a soul-spiritual thing; I no longer live in what I have placed outside, I'm no longer touched by the waves of pain and joy. Then a pupil must learn to stand fast in the center of his existence by living entirely in the power of the mantra: Ex Deo nascimur. Thereby the pupil inserts the higher self into his humanness; this second I isn't in us and can't be found by brooding into oneself but only by growing out beyond oneself.
Through the exercises we stimulate a force in us that otherwise works more as a memory force in us and reawakens the ideas, feelings, and sensations that were aroused by past things and happenings in the outer world. The pupil gets to know this as a force only; he learns how to organize it up into the brain, so that it eventually grows toward the higher self that floats above us. The pupil now lives in this newly acquired force. All outer pains and joys now seem to be outside of his center. He stands there firmly enclosed in himself against all outer influences; he feels free in himself and free of all external things.
And the pupil feels something else. Previously he had learned the teachings about karma. Now he knows that he stands under the necessity of the effects of karma. He experiences the higher self that places him into existence through birth in this newly attained force, and he sees how what develops in his destiny in the outer world must be brought about through the active necessity of karmic force. This gives him a certain joy with respect to pain and suffering. He confronts everything with equanimity.
If a pupil has progressed this far, he then gets to contemplation and thereby to consomatio of the higher self. And now spiritual eyes and ears are organized into him and begin to function when he devotes himself to the exercises with patience, persistence, and concentration. He learns to see the light world of spiritual beings and the spiritual will being who resounds toward him, audible to his opened spiritual ears. And he knows that he can't have these spiritual experiences by means of his physical organism. In his experience of the pentagram he feels that he's placed into the whole etheric and spiritual world. This drawing and occult script has a soul-awakening and a spirit-liberating effect. The pupil should repeatedly place it before his soul and he'll experience that ever new forces grow in his soul thereby. We saw that Parzival who stood before Titurel in solitude had the experiences that come to expression in this occult script. The whole Christian wisdom and mystery that winds around the Grail is expressed in it.
Cf. also https://www.facebook.com/notes/john-barnwell/whom-does-the-grail-serve/3042588062465809/
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