Monday, March 21, 2022

Attaining conscious clairvoyance


Rudolf Steiner:

Let us suppose that a clairvoyant consciousness has reached the point where the spiritual-and-soul part can really leave the physical bodily part in a way similar to what is usually done unconsciously during sleep; and he leaves it with the definite purpose, the definite impulse, to become acquainted with, to feel really confronted with, the inner life of man. He will meet with what I shall now try to describe.
The first thing that the clairvoyant consciousness meets with is in fact a complete reversal of his entire mental outlook. As long as we are in the body we look around us with our senses and think about what we see with our intellect. We look upon a world of mountains, rivers, clouds, stars, etc., and at one point in this world we see ourselves as a very small thing compared with this great world. When the clairvoyant consciousness begins to act outside the body, this relationship is exactly reversed. The world which ordinarily is outspread before our senses and which we reflect upon with the intellect that is connected with our brain — this world disappears from our view. It no longer provides us with thoughts, but one feels as if poured out into this world, one really feels as if one has left one's body.
This perception is correctly expressed when we say to ourselves: Thou art now poured out into the world which previously thou didst look upon; thou art in it, thou fillest the whole space up to a certain limit, and yet thou thyself livest in time. This is a sensation to which one has to become accustomed; it is at first a sensation which may be expressed by saying that what previously was outer world has now become inner world. Not as if one now carried within one this former outer world, but one has the feeling it has become one's inner world; one feels: thou art living in the space in which formerly thy sense impressions were outspread, and art regarding the objects and processes of which thou didst think. Thou art living in it.
And when one develops clairvoyant consciousness to a certain extent, the tiny being, the man, who formerly seemed to stand in the center of the sensible horizon, now really becomes the world, and we look on it as we formerly looked on the whole of the outer world which was outspread in space and ran its course in time. To a certain extent we have become the world. Only imagine what a reversal of the human way of considering the world it is, when that which previously was not world, that to which one had said ‘I’ — when this now really becomes the world outside, toward which everything tends. It is as if from every point of space one were to look toward a single center and there behold oneself. It is as if one floated back and forth in time and at a certain point, on a wave of this stream of time, one found oneself. One has oneself become the world.
That is the first impression received when — and I once more lay stress on this — when with the intention to learn to understand the inner life of man, one develops clairvoyant consciousness; that is the first impression. Is it not remarkable that one goes out of the body with the intention to learn about the inner life of man and the first thing that meets one is the human form itself? But how changed is this human form! One cannot say it often enough: that one must go out of the body with the intention of becoming acquainted with the inner life of man and then all that I now tell you takes place. Naturally, it does not necessarily always appears the same. How differently does this human form present itself! One knows: ‘That which thou art now looking at, is thyself; yea, it is thee. Thou who formerly didst feel thyself within thy skin, within thy blood, art now outside.’
At first one sees only what one might call the outer form of that which stands there, though changed. These eyes, those parts which were eyes, shine like two suns, but suns which inwardly vibrate with sparkling light, suns which sparkle, whose light shines out and fades, giving forth radiant light — thus do the eyes appear in the changed human form. The ears begin to sound in a certain way. One does not see the ears as one does in the physical world, but one feels a certain resonance. The whole skin shines with a sort of radiation, which one feels rather than sees. In short, the human form appears to one as something which gives forth light, sound, and magnetic, electric radiations. These expressions are naturally inappropriate, because they are taken from the physical world. Thus does the world stand before us, and this is our world at the beginning of the clairvoyant experience we have described. One sees the human being which sparkles with light, the whole skin sparkles so that one can feel it, the eyes can be seen, the ears heard. And when one has this impression, one knows: Thou hast seen thy physical body, from outside the body. One knows: seen from the standpoint of the spirit the physical body is like this.
If one then tries to exercise an inner activity out there, outside the body, which may be compared to reflection — though this differs somewhat from ordinary thinking, for it is the exercise of an inner creative soul-force — if one does this, one sees something more in this shining being; one sees forces moving within it, something like a circulation of force permeating this shining form. Then one knows: That which thou seest like a separate part within thy light body is thy thought-life seen from outside. One may call that of which one now sees part, the etheric body. One sees the etheric body as the weaving thought-life. It is like a circulation of dark waves, a spiritual blood circulation, one might describe it as dark waves in the light-body, giving a peculiar appearance to the whole and constraining one to acknowledge:  there in thy physical body pulses and weaves the etheric body, which thou now seest from outside, which now becomes visible to thee.
You see, therefore, that outside the body one gains the knowledge that the physical and etheric bodies really exist, and how they appear when seen from outside.
But this inward strengthening may go still further....

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