Macrocosm and Macrocosm. Lecture 4
Rudolf Steiner, Vienna, March 24, 1910:
The lecture yesterday concluded with an allusion to the two frontiers within which man's normal consciousness is enclosed, and today we will begin by speaking of the regions lying beyond these frontiers. Man finds these regions when, as the result of inner development, he passes either the Lesser or the Greater Guardian of the Threshold.
Today we shall try to make clear what kind of experiences come to a man when, after passing the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold, he descends consciously into his own inner being. We know that in ordinary life this descent occurs every day and that at the moment of waking it becomes impossible for us to perceive or be aware of our own inner being. To understand this it is necessary to have clearly in mind something that is essentially and inwardly connected with the whole of man's development.
In the course of his life man develops from one stage to another. Even during his life between birth and death he undergoes development which leads him beyond the initial stages of life when his faculties and capacities are of little account, to others when they are considerably enhanced. How does this development proceed in everyday life? Sleeping and waking play an essential part. When we think of the daily experiences man has in his youth in connection with learning and picture how these experiences are transformed into faculties, we must turn our minds to the condition of sleep which alone makes this transformation possible.
Every night on going to sleep our souls take with them something from daily life; what we take with us — the fruit of our experiences — is transformed during sleep in such a way that it becomes our abilities and capacities. To take a concrete example. What efforts we were obliged to make day after day when we were young, in order to learn to write! But we are not in the least aware of those past experiences when we take up a pen today to give expression to our thoughts. All our earlier efforts to shape the letters have been transformed into the capacity to write. The power which has transformed all these daily experiences into the faculty of writing is actually present in the depths of the soul but can operate only when we ourselves are not consciously there.
From this we may conclude that in our souls there is something that is higher than all our conscious life. Forces higher than those available in our conscious life become active during sleep; experiences are transformed into faculties and the soul becomes more and more mature. A deeper being is working within us at our further development; when we go to sleep, this being receives the day's experiences and re-moulds them, so that in a later period of life they are at our disposal in the form of faculties.
But we bring out of sleep much more than we ourselves brought into it through our conscious experiences. During the day we use up forces by participating in what is going on around us. In the evening we feel fatigue because these forces are exhausted, and during sleep they are replenished; many forces flow into us during the night other than those we have acquired as the result of our daily activity. Our life during sleep is therefore the source of innumerable forces we need for waking life.
Thus we develop from stage to stage, but there is a definite limit to this development. Every time we wake in the morning we find the same physical and etheric bodies, and we know that fundamentally speaking we can do very little by means of our own forces to transform these two bodies or to develop them to a higher stage. Admittedly, anyone with knowledge of life realises that it is possible even for the physical body to be transformed to a certain extent. If we observe a person who for ten years has devoted himself to acquiring deeper knowledge which he has not allowed to remain mere theory but which had laid hold of his inner life, then after those ten years we can form an idea of the inner metamorphosis that has taken place by comparing his present with his earlier appearance and perceiving how the knowledge acquired has produced a change even in his features; the development which proceeded in his soul has also helped to shape his bodily appearance. But this outer development is very limited, for we are confronted every morning with essentially the same physical and etheric bodies, possessing the same aptitudes as at birth. Whereas, relatively speaking, we can do a great deal to develop our powers of intellect, of mind and of will, we can transform our outer sheaths, our physical and etheric bodies only to a slight extent. Nevertheless inner forces must be active through the whole of life between birth and death, and these forces must be continually re-kindled if life is to continue. We see at the moment of death what becomes of the physical body when the etheric body is no longer working in it. The physical and chemical forces inherent in the physical body as such assert themselves from the moment of death onwards and dissolve, disintegrate, it. That this cannot happen during life is due to the etheric body, which is a faithful fighter against the disintegration of the physical body. At every moment our physical body would be ready to disintegrate if fresh forces from the etheric body were not continually supplied to it. The etheric or life-body in turn receives what it needs in this respect from still deeper inner forces, from the astral body, which is the vehicle of happiness and grief, of joy and sorrow. Thus the corresponding inner body is perpetually working at the outer body. The outwardly visible part of us is sustained all the time by the inner forces. How the astral body works on the etheric body and the etheric body on the physical-that is what a man would see if he were able to descend consciously into the physical and etheric bodies on waking; but he is diverted from this perception by external objects and happenings.
However, by developing his soul to the stage enabling him to experience consciously the moment of entry into the etheric and physical bodies on waking, a man can acquire a certain knowledge of what actually works creatively on his inner being during sleep.
We become conscious of the driving forces of our manhood when we are able to descend into our inner being. What must we do if this is to be achieved with conscious awareness? We must prepare ourselves in such a way that at the moment of waking external impressions transmitted by the eyes, ears, and so forth, do not disturb us, do not immediately force themselves upon us. We must train ourselves to be able to pass out of the state of consciousness prevailing in sleep, in such a way that we are able to ward off all external impressions. When we can do that we pass the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold.
What is it that we see if we pass through the portal leading into our own inner being? As genuine mystics we learn to know something of which hitherto we had no notion. The descriptions given in most theosophical manuals of the astral, etheric and physical bodies are hardly more, if viewed from an inner point of view, than very approximate indications, although these can serve as pointers. Genuine knowledge of these bodies into which we descend on waking is only possible as the result of a patient and prolonged approach from every angle to the great truths of existence. We will endeavour today to penetrate into these mysteries from one particular side.
Although man does not need to see the external forces which work on him, he learns to know by instinct that what is usually called the ‘soul’ is quite different from current ideas of it. He learns to realise that the human soul is indeed little, but that it can be compared with something very great; also that the individual capacities which the soul may possess are very slight compared with the capacities of that great Being with whom, however, it may feel itself akin. The knowledge acquired on descending into the physical and etheric bodies is that on waking we emerge from another world in which there is a Being akin to our own soul, only infinitely mightier. Thus on waking the human soul feels insignificant after passing the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold and may say to itself: I am paltry indeed, for if I now had within me nothing more than I have imparted to myself, if I had not been outpoured in the spiritual world, and if the beings of that world had not let forces stream into me, I should be in a state of dire bewilderment. The soul realises its need of the forces which have streamed into it the whole night long; and that what has thus streamed into it is akin to its own three inherent forces. They are: firstly, the Will. Everything of the nature of Will is one of the fundamental forces of the soul, the force which guides us in this way or that; secondly, Feeling. This is the force which brings it about that the soul is attracted by one thing, repelled by another, experiences joy or pain as the case may be; thirdly, Thinking: the capacity to form ideas of things.
These three basic forces of the soul are the really valuable assets which we can develop and elaborate between birth and death. By strengthening our will we become capable of taking vigorous and effective hold of life. If we develop the force of feeling, we shall realise with ever greater certainty what is right and what is wrong; to witness justice and righteousness will give us joy and we shall feel pain at the sight of wrong-doing. If we develop our power of thinking we shall acquire wise understanding of the phenomena of the world.
Through the whole of our life we must work at these three basic forces of the soul. But when we wake in the morning in the condition that has been described, having passed the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold, we realise that whatever qualities of willing, feeling and thinking we can develop in our lives are trifling compared with the powers of Thinking, of Feeling and of Will pervading the spiritual world out of which we pass at the moment of waking. We realise too that we need what our soul has absorbed during the night, for what we ourselves are able to develop consciously during the life of day would not take us very far. As a gift from spiritual worlds, from the higher forces of Cosmic Thinking, Cosmic Feeling and Cosmic Will, there must stream into us all night long what must descend with us into our inner being. When we first become conscious of having absorbed Cosmic Will, Cosmic Feeling and Cosmic Thinking, we realise that it is not we ourselves who have acquired these three basic forces but that without our co-operation they stream into us during sleep. Furthermore, these three forces are transformed in our soul and assume different aspects.
We become aware that what we know in our souls as will is only a faint reflection of the Cosmic Will that we bring with us; we know that this, as it streams into us, is transformed into the force which enables us to move about, to have mobile limbs. There streams into us the faculty which can be observed in external manifestation when we see somebody performing his daily work. What we draw into ourselves from the Cosmic Will becomes visible in the movement of our limbs, in our mobility. It reveals itself as an inner force, streaming into us. We now know in very truth that Cosmic Will streams through the universe and through us, that we become mobile beings and have independence because this Will has streamed into us during sleep. Then throughout the day we use up this Cosmic Will. In ordinary life we do not feel the in-streaming of the macrocosmic Will but when we have passed the Guardian of the Threshold we feel it working on within us, we feel that we have become one with the Cosmic Will, that we are membered into the Will of Cosmic Worlds.
What we know in everyday life as the power of feeling has also been drawn from an infinite reservoir of Cosmic Feeling; this too streams into us and is so transformed as to become inwardly perceptible to us, provided we are sufficiently mature; it is as if this Cosmic Feeling were permeating us with something comparable only with what is called light. We become inwardly illumined; what streams into us as this working of Cosmic Feeling is inner light, although without clairvoyance it is not outwardly visible as light. But a man who has passed the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold realises that what is needed for his life of inner experience, namely light, is nothing else than a product of Cosmic Feeling absorbed by him during sleep. From this it is evident that when a man is given up to his own inner life and being, he experiences something quite new about his soul, namely what his inner self is able to be as a result of all that streams to him out of the Macrocosm. And it is only when he feels the forces of Cosmic Feeling streaming into him that the astral body is there before him as a reality.
The forces of thinking are such that they work as a regulator between what streams to us as the power of movement and the inner light. A certain equilibrium must be established between the inner light (feeling) and the will. If the right relationship between the urge to activity and the inner light were disrupted, the bodily nature of man would not be properly provided for from within. A man would be doomed to perish if either the one or the other were present in excess. Only if the true equilibrium has been established can man so unfold his faculties that the right forces serve his outer existence.
So we see that the effects of sleep work upon our inner being and through our outer sheaths from morning until evening, enabling us to cope with the demands of existence. With this in mind we can say: in truth our soul is paltry as compared with what there is in the Macrocosm into which our being pours during sleep, yet our soul is akin to it. The great universe is pervaded by Cosmic Will, Cosmic Feeling, Cosmic Thinking, and thinking, feeling and willing unfold to higher and higher stages within our own soul.
Another, immediately following, experience can be expressed by saying: Even though today my soul is paltry as compared with the great Cosmic Soul, it will eventually grow to be like it. My soul and its faculties of thinking, feeling and willing are still insignificant but will eventually grow to be comparable with this mighty Cosmic Thinking, Feeling and Will.
This experience is followed by another which gives us the certain knowledge that what confronts us as the mighty Macrocosm was once like our own soul; the Macrocosm too has developed out of small beginnings into this stupendous greatness.
A fruit of these two feelings in the soul of the true mystic is a thought that can be expressed as follows: How would it have been if those Beings who have created what is today outspread in the universe, who bestow so much upon us — how would it have been if they had done nothing in the past to promote their own development? Once, in the infinitely distant past, their forces of thinking, feeling and will were just as trivial as our own and today their power is such that they no longer need to receive strength from the Macrocosm; they give, only give. What should we ourselves have become if they had done nothing to develop to these lofty stages? — Without them we could not have existed! If we know how to value our existence, a feeling of infinite thankfulness towards these great Beings is born in our souls and streams through and through us. Every true mystic knows this experience as a reality. It cannot be compared with what is felt in everyday life as gratitude and is an experience of the very greatest significance. What the outer world now calls Mysticism really amounts to nothing more than a collection of phrases. The genuine mystic knows this experience well and asks himself: What would you be if the Beings who existed before you and were once like you had not raised themselves to such heights that at night they are able to let stream into you the forces you need in the bodily existence into which you will pass when you wake in the morning? Nobody who has not in the deepest ground of his heart this feeling of thankfulness to the Macrocosm has become a true mystic.
And another feeling follows. — If we today stand at the beginning, as those Beings themselves once stood, in order to achieve the goal of our existence must we not work at ourselves and do everything possible so to transform our paltry thinking, feeling and willing that some day we need not only take, but also give, and become able to pour out forces such as are poured into us when we are given over to the Macrocosm during sleep? This feeling is then transformed into an overwhelming obligation to promote the development of the soul. As genuine mystics we have the feeling: You are neglecting this duty unless you try with all your might to develop the lowly powers of your soul to the height revealed to you as an attainable ideal when you gaze consciously into the macrocosmic source of those powers. If you do nothing for your own development, if you resist it, then you will be helping to prevent other beings from developing as you have developed; you will be contributing to the decline of the world instead of to its progress.
From this we realise that the ordinary experiences of our soul — desires, impulses, urges, passions, and so on — are transformed in a remarkable way, that what we commonly know as gratitude becomes immeasurable thankfulness to the Macrocosm and what we commonly feel as duty becomes a feeling of infinite obligation.
These are the feelings that stream through us when we pass the Guardian of the Threshold and enable us to recognise the astral body as a reality. If these feelings are really alive in a man and he gives himself up with greater and greater intensity to the feelings of thankfulness and obligation towards the evolving world, if he lets these feelings pulsate through his soul, then the eyes of seership open in him; the true form of his own astral body, which on waking in his ordinary consciousness was hitherto hidden from him, stands before big eyes — the astral body that was born out of the Macrocosm. If we are to see all this and to realise with sufficient strength the truth that spirit lies behind all material existence, then we must pass the Guardian of the Threshold.
We must also become aware of the reverse side of what has been described as the good or light side.
We have heard that the Cosmic Will streams through us as the power of activity, of movement, that Cosmic Feeling streams through us as light. If this were not so we should not exist, nay we could not exist, as men. And now let us compare these cosmic forces with those of the thinking, feeling and will which have been developed by the soul up to the present. To the eyes of spirit the extent to which we have fallen short of achieving strength of will, intelligence in thinking, sound and healthy feeling, becomes clearly evident, especially at the moment of waking from sleep. It is found that everything we have done in the way of acquiring intelligence may be united with what streams into us as light out of the Cosmic Feeling, and that what we have neglected in the development of our own intelligence acts like a brake. The stream of Cosmic Feeling flowing into us is diminished to the extent we have neglected to work at the development of our own powers of thinking. If we are to make progress, our thinking must have the right relationship to what we absorb into ourselves from Cosmic Feeling.
Theoretical reflection might easily be tempted to believe that what our human intelligence acquires for itself corresponds to what streams into us from Cosmic Thinking. Only a theorist would speak in this way, for it is not in accordance with the reality. Many mistakes are made by combining like with like. Human intelligence actually corresponds to Cosmic Feeling as absorbed in sleep. The greater human intelligence becomes, the more is it illumined by the inner light that has its source in Cosmic Feeling. But darkness streams into this light of Cosmic Feeling if we neglect the development of our thinking, of our intelligence. If a man is too lazy to develop his thinking properly the punishment for such sins of omission will be that darkness streams into the inner light. Whatever a man neglects to do in the way of developing his intelligence brings upon him the punishment that he himself draws something from his inner light and promotes darkness in it.
Thus does the spirit work at our inner being. But someone may say: It is a cause of great uneasiness that attention is beginning to be directed to such things. Have human beings not hitherto existed quite happily between the two frontiers, in the span of life that stretches between the Lesser and the Greater Guardian of the Threshold? After all, the spiritual Powers of whose existence people have hitherto had no inkling, have taken good care of their welfare; could not this continue as it is? — Even if they do not put it into words, people think today that they would prefer to let life remain just as it has been hitherto. They say: If we were to look into ourselves we should become aware how light and darkness mingle within us. Up to now the spiritual Powers have taken care that all this proceeds as it should; if we now try to take a hand, we may do harm, so we had better leave it alone. — The attitude of many people today is that they will go on eating and drinking and leave everything else to the gods.
In point of fact there would be something in this attitude if conditions had remained as they were originally. Until their present stage of evolution men could draw adequate forces out of sleep; these were macrocosmic forces, stored up by great spiritual Beings. So it was hitherto. But in these matters we must not be content with abstractions; we must keep strictly to reality. And the reality is that the fundamental, spiritual conditions of our life change from epoch to epoch. Those Cosmic Powers to whom we are given over every night during sleep have from the beginning of human existence counted upon the expectation that light will also stream upwards from human life itself to the light that streams down from above. The Cosmic Powers have no inexhaustible reservoir of light; their reservoir is one from which the stream of forces will constantly diminish unless from human life itself, through efforts to transform thinking, feeling and willing and to rise into the higher worlds, fresh forces, new light, were to flow back into the great reservoir of Cosmic Light and Cosmic Feeling. We are now living in the epoch when it is essential for men to be conscious that they must not merely rely upon what flows into them from Cosmic Powers but must themselves co-operate in the Process of world-evolution.
It is no ordinary ideal that Spiritual Science is now setting before itself; it does not work in the same way as other movements where people enthuse about some ideal but are only capable of preaching about it to others. No such impulse is working in those who regard Spiritual Science as a world-mission; they are prompted by the knowledge that certain forces in the Macrocosm are beginning to be exhausted, that we are moving towards a future when too little would flow down from above if men did not themselves work at the development of their souls. Such is the epoch in which we are living. For that reason Spiritual Science must come into existence in order to induce men to replenish, from their side, the down-streaming forces that are becoming exhausted. This knowledge is the source from which Spiritual Science draws its impulse and if it were not for these facts, Spiritual Science would leave human evolution to take care of itself. But Spiritual Science foresees that if in the coming centuries there are not enough human beings who strive to reach the higher worlds, this would result in the human race receiving less and less forces from above. Human life would wither and dry up, just as a tree lignifies when no more living sap flows through it. Until now, forces from outside have been instilled into the human race. Those people who live on unthinkingly, recognising only the outer world of the senses, know nothing about the changes that are taking place behind this material world, one of which is that because the spiritual forces are becoming exhausted, it is necessary for such forces to be produced by men themselves. If the further evolution of mankind were left to those who cling to the outer physical world alone, universal desolation would be the result. Spiritual Science must now be promulgated in order that men may be able to decide themselves whether they wish or do not wish to co-operate in the necessary work.
We will now look back upon all our sins of omission, upon everything that acts as an impediment in our soul to the forces flowing into us from above. All sins of omission in thinking penetrate into the inner light in the form of darkness. The same applies to sins of omission in respect of feeling and of will. Force and strength derived from Cosmic Will, light derived from Cosmic Feeling, order and harmony from Cosmic Thinking — all this is impaired by our sins of omission in respect of feeling, thinking and willing.
Thus we become aware of what is working within us. Into all this there is interpolated what we ourselves are with all our impotence — which is due to our failure to do better. In this way we reach true self-knowledge. What we have become on account of our sins of omission and that for which compensation has to be made, appears like a dark shadow in a radiant picture. What we have failed to become stands before the eyes of our soul and reveals itself clearly in that it sends out its rays in three directions. The hindrances we cause to the evolutionary process through what we have neglected in respect of our will, in respect of our thinking and in respect of our feeling — all this is revealed. In these three directions our imperfections become manifest. Each has something definite to say to us.
Firstly, there is the obstacle raying from our own will into the stream of Cosmic Will flowing through us; what we have neglected to do in respect of our own will now confronts us as an obstacle. We must say to ourselves: By everything you have left undone you are fettered to the Earth's forces of decline, to all that is driving the Earth towards destruction. — Of our sins of omission in respect of thinking, we say to ourselves: Because of these sins of omission you will have no possibility of establishing harmony between your will and your feeling. — And of our sins of omission in respect of feeling, we say to ourselves: The march of world-evolution will pass you by as if you were not there. You have done nothing to help world-evolution and it will therefore take back what was once bestowed upon you.
Thus we see before us, distinct from each other, all the forces through which we are fettered to the Earth, and we see cosmic evolution pass us by because we have contributed nothing towards it through our own efforts. Then we feel how these forces which chain us to the Earth and the forces which pass us by, are tearing our true being asunder. In this moment of passing the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold we feel our sins of omission to be the destroyers of our soul's existence.
There is only one means of counteracting this destruction, only one means can at this crucial moment enable us to stand firm. It is that we ourselves must take a vow that nothing shall be neglected in future. After all, the indications are plain enough. They tell us, at the moment we are passing the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold: These forces are dragging you down; therefore you must work to develop your will, to develop your powers of thinking and of feeling. — We may even feel grateful to this terrifying vista for it makes possible the eventual fulfillment of our vow.
Having spoken of the necessity of the feeling of thankfulness and the feeling of obligation, we can now speak further of what is called the mystic vow. Before the spectacle of his own inadequacy, everyone must register the vow that in future he will work at his soul to his utmost capacity in order to make up for past negligence. This vow gives life a new content, in keeping with true and effective self-knowledge; a man no longer broods but works actively at his own self. This experience can take a twofold form. As long as we are only aware of it as a mental process, something is still lacking in us, is still fettering us, and there is still reason for cosmic evolution to pass us by. In such a case the experience has been in the astral body only. But if the feelings of thankfulness and duty are experienced over and over again, they will be transformed ultimately into definite vision which becomes an inner experience, and then a force, a power. This force arises through the astral experience being mirrored in the etheric body and reflected to us by the latter. An image of ourselves is now before us as an external reality, standing out as it were from a background. The background shows us how the forces of light and activity in which we are immersed during sleep work into our sheaths. What we have made of ourselves stands out from this background. Just as in outer reality, animals, plants, minerals, confront us, so now our own self confronts us in its true form. Our own inner being becomes as it were perceptible in the outer world. Hitherto when we descended into our own being, our attention was diverted to the outer world. The impressions from this world flowed into us, making it unnecessary for us to see what we are now obliged to see, if we resolve to take our share in working for the progress of mankind.
Our own inner self is portrayed as it were against this background. All that fetters us to the Earth, all that binds us to the perishable, appears to us in astral vision as a definite image, the image of a distorted bull, dragging us down. All the forces which otherwise produce harmony, reveal in the image of a distorted lion the disharmony consequent upon our sins of omission in feeling. Everything that passes us by as the result of our sins of omission in thinking, appears to us in the image of a distorted eagle. These three images are permeated by the distorted image of our own self, indicating what we have to correct and put right in the future in order to contribute to world-evolution what it requires of us. Three distortions of animal forms and one of ourselves — how these three separate images or pictures are related to one another reveals the measure of the work lying ahead of us.
Thus when we pass the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold we have true self-knowledge, for there stands before us an image of what we have become; this self-knowledge is a stimulus for our whole future life. We shall only shrink from this experience — as would otherwise be very probable — if we hold the belief that what we do not see is not there. There are people who, when a slate falls from a roof, close their eyes instead of moving out of the way. Such people — they are like those who say they would prefer to avoid the experiences described by Spiritual Science-do not want to see what is happening, but nothing is altered by the fact that they do not see it! The one and only help at this stage is self-knowledge. Hitherto the Cosmic Powers were able to check the utter distortion of the image of our manhood, but in the future these Cosmic Powers will no longer suffice. We ourselves, in our image, are the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold. It is we ourselves who hinder the possibility of descent into our inner being; we ourselves must work at our own development. This knowledge alone makes it possible for the future decline of humanity into enfeeblement to be avoided, as well as the failure to fulfil its mission on the Earth.
We have now been led in thought through the region that may be called the region of our own Sentient Body into which we descend on waking from sleep. But in normal existence we are not aware of it because our consciousness is diverted. If, on waking, we refuse to admit the impressions from outside, we experience what has been described. We have spoken-but only very briefly-of our astral body. What has now been described is the inner aspect presented by part of our human nature, namely, our Sentient Body (Empfindungsleib). We have reached the boundary where the Sentient Body borders on the Etheric Body. The image or picture we behold shows us what we truly are. The form we there behold is only an image but it is all that is needed. Discussions about the non-reality of a mirror-image are worthless. If a man wants to know what he really looks like, discussion about this is futile. What we behold is of course only a reflection, a mirror-image, in the etheric body, but it helps us to acquire self-knowledge, and therein lies its value. Error would begin only if the clairvoyant were to believe the mirror-image to be another entity, another reality coming towards him, if he were unaware that it is only a picture revealing his inner self. Were the clairvoyant to take the picture to be a real bull, or some four-headed creature, he would be like a man whose nose displeases him and who, on seeing it in a mirror, tries to punch it! Things must not be taken to be what they are not. A man who does not rightly understand the mirror-image lends himself to hallucinations. Whoever regards the image as being something in space and not a mirror-image which in fact it is, has succumbed to hallucination. Before seership begins it is therefore important to have acquired the faculty of grasping the true values of things through reason. Clairvoyance should not be induced in anyone who would be liable to take for reality what is merely a reflection, or to confound spiritual realities with the realities of outer, physical space. Hence it is of great importance that nobody should embark upon genuine spiritual training without possessing the faculty of intelligent thinking which enables him always to form a correct estimate of what he is seeing. It is not vision alone that is important, but also the power to appraise what is seen. We shall encounter Beings who really do exist outside us, but to begin with we experience only our own astral world; the pictures that have been described today are only mirror-images of our own inner being which is revealed to us as an external world. To realise this is the outcome of self-knowledge. As soon as a man descends into his own inner being he is bound to see images; but it would be hallucination if what is simply a reflection of one's own inner being were taken to be something different.
Along the path to be described tomorrow we shall encounter spiritual Beings, for this path reaches down into the etheric body; the same holds good for the path that leads past the Greater Guardian of the threshold.
Today, then, we have reached the point of considering the stream which passes into the realm of our experience at the moment of waking. We have described the consciousness that deviates from the normal and is experienced by the mystic when at the moment of waking he diverts his attention from everything outside him in the world of the senses and penetrates into his inner being.