Posts Tagged Astral Body
🔸Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
🔸It was one of those evenings when men feel that truth, goodness and beauty are one.
— Aldous Huxley
🔸The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth.
— Albert Einstein
This is an extract of Rudolf Steiner’s lecture on Truth, Beauty and Goodness, and it’s an alternate way to look at the soul:
From the heading: “Rudolf Steiner stated that the primary function of education is to exercise the students’ faculties of thinking, feeling and willing. These basic human qualities manifest in civilization as the “eternal verities” of truth, beauty and goodness, and these in turn in science, art and religion.”
From Steiners Truth, Beauty and Goodness:
The True, the Beautiful, the Good — through all the ages of man’s conscious evolution these words have expressed three great ideals: ideals which have instinctively been recognized as representing the sublime nature and lofty goal of all human endeavour.
In epochs earlier than our own there was a deeper knowledge of man’s being and his connection with the universe, when Truth, Beauty and Goodness had more concrete reality than they have in our age of abstraction.
Anthroposophy, or Spiritual Science, is able once again to indicate the concrete reality of such ideals, although in so doing it does not always meet with the approval of the times.
For in our age men love to be vague and nebulous whenever it is a question of getting beyond the facts of everyday life.
Let us try to understand how Truth, Beauty and Goodness are related, as concrete realities, to the being of man…
In his pre-earthly existence man lives in a world of pure Spirit, where, in communion with higher Beings, he is engaged in building up the spiritual prototype, the spirit-form of his physical body. The physical body here on earth is but an after-copy of the spirit-germ that is elaborated, in a certain sense, by man himself in pre-earthly existence.
In earthly life the human being is conscious of his physical body, but does not know what this implies. We speak of Truth, little realizing that a feeling for truth is connected with our consciousness of the physical body.
When man is confronted by a simple fact, he may either form an idea that harmonizes strictly with it and thus is true, or, from inaccuracy, laziness or positive aversion to truth, he may evolve an idea that does not coincide with the fact.
- When he thinks the truth, he is in harmony with the feeling he has of his physical body, nay also with his sense of the connection between this physical body and pre-earthly existence.
- If out of laziness or untruthfulness he forms an idea that is not in accordance with the fact, it is as if he cut the thread that binds him to pre-earthly existence. Untruth severs this thread.
In pre-earthly existence a delicate spiritual wool is spun, and this is concentrated into an after-copy — the physical body. Many threads connect this physical body with pre-earthly existence, and they are severed by untruthfulness.
The purely intellectual consciousness that is a characteristic quality in the early stages of the epoch of the consciousness Soul does not realize that such a severance takes place. And that is why man is subject to so many illusions as to his connection with cosmic existence.
For the most part to-day, man regards his bodily health from a purely physical point of view. But when, through untruthfulness, he severs the threads that bind him with pre-earthly existence, this works right down into his physical body, and especially into the constitution of the nervous system.
The feeling he has of his physical body gives him his “spiritual sense of being” in the universe. And this spiritual sense of being depends upon maintenance of the threads proceeding from the physical body to pre-earthly existence.
If they break, man must create a substitute for his healthy sense of being — and he does so, unconsciously. He is then led, unconsciously, to ascribe to himself a sense of being “out of the common.” But even here he has fallen into an inner uncertainty that makes itself felt even in the physical body….
What is it that can strengthen man in this sense of being? In earthly existence we live in a world that is but a copy of true reality. Indeed, we only understand this physical world aright when we realize it to be this copy of reality.
It behooves us, however, to feel the true reality within us; we must be aware of our connection with the spiritual world. And this is only possible if the bond that links us with pre-earthly existence remains intact.
This bond is strengthened by a love of truth and Integrity. Nothing establishes man’s true and original sense of existence so firmly as a feeling for truth and truthfulness.
To feel himself in duty bound first to “prove all things” he utters, to set due restraint on all his words — this helps to consolidate the sense of existence that is worthy of his being.
To be aware of the spirit within the physical body — with this, indeed, the sense of being is connected. There is, in effect, an intimate kinship between the physical body and this ideal of Truth.
We acquire the etheric body (or body of “formative forces”) only a short time before the descent from pre-earthly to earthly existence. We draw the forces of the etheric world together, as it were, to build up our own etheric body.
The sense of the reality of the etheric body is strengthened by the experience of Beauty. When truth and truthfulness enter the realm of real experience, we are, in a sense, living rightly in the physical body. A highly developed sense of beauty gives us a right relation to the etheric body of formative forces. Whereas Truth is connected with the physical body, Beauty is connected with the etheric body.
If we try either through sculpture, painting, or drama — indeed, through any art — to portray a human being, we endeavour to create a figure that is sufficient and complete in itself — one that contains a whole world, just as man contains the whole universe within himself in his etheric body. For he draws together the etheric forces from the whole universe to mould his etheric body within earthly existence.
An intense feeling for beauty — as it was then conceived — existed in earlier ages. Nothing of the same kind is present in modern civilization, Man cannot be truly man if he has no sense of beauty. It is so, indeed; for to possess a sense of beauty is to acknowledge the reality of the etheric body. To have no sense of beauty is to disregard, to disown, the etheric body.
Enthusiasm for truth and truthfulness can kindle in man — in the unconscious depths of his soul at any rate — a feeling for pre-earthly existence. …. But when this sense is highly developed, it binds man strongly to the pre-earthly past, and his more immediate experience of the earthly present must needs cause a certain sadness to arise within him.
It is a sadness that can only find consolation if the sense of beauty is awakened in the soul. Beauty gives us joy once more, even in the presence of a sadness that must always accompany great enthusiasm for truth.
In a delicate, subtle way this enthusiasm tells us: Truth, alas, is only really present in pre-earthly existence. …. Only enthusiasm for truth can help us to maintain intact our relationship with pre-earthly existence.
We ought never to undervalue the significance of beauty in education and in outer culture. A civilization that is filled with ugly machines, with chimneys and smoke, and dispenses with beauty, is a world that makes no efforts to forge a link between man and pre-earthly existence; indeed, it tears him asunder.
The world of spirit in which we live during our pre-earthly existence is always present. We have but to stretch out our arms, as it were, to this pre-earthly world of spirit.
Although it is always there, a link can only be forged in the depths of unconscious life when man glows with enthusiasm for truth and truthfulness.
And when his heart thrills with love for the beautiful, this too forms a bond with pre-earthly existence. …. To glow in response to beauty means that in his soul man must create in a picture, at least, a new link with pre-earthly spirituality.
A good man is one who can bear his own soul over into the soul of another. Upon this all true morality depends, and without morality no true social order among earthly humanity can be maintained.
When this true morality develops into momentous impulses of will which then pass to reality in moral acts, it begins to be a quickening, all-pervading impulse in the soul, inasmuch as a man can then be moved to real sympathy at the sight of care on the face of another — his own astral body feels pain at the sight of suffering in others.
Truth, then, is related to the physical body, Beauty to the etheric body, Goodness to the astral body. Here we have the concrete reality of the three abstractions of Truth, Beauty, Goodness.
These ideals show us how far man is able to fulfill his whole human nature, when, to begin with, as he lives in his physical body, he is filled with a real sense of truth instead of conventional opinions.
Again, full “humanity” is only afforded a worthy existence when a man can quicken his etheric body into life through his feeling for beauty. …. One can merely gaze at beauty or one can experience it. …. To gaze at beauty is not to experience it. The moment we experience beauty, however, the etheric body is quickened.
A man may do good because of some convention, or because punishment is in store for serious wrong-doing — or, again, because other people will respect him less if he does wrong.
He can, however, also do good from sheer love of goodness. … Such an experience of goodness will always lead to a recognition of the reality of the astral body. Indeed, only this recognition will teach man anything about the essence of goodness.
There can only be abstract knowledge of and inconsequent chatter about goodness, if loving enthusiasm for goodness in its essence does not lead to actual experience of the astral body.
▪️The sense of truth is a heritage from pre-earthly existence.
▪️The sense of beauty will create an image, at least, of pre-earthly connection with spirit.
▪️Experience of goodness is a link, leading directly to the world he enters after death.
To be true is to be rightly united with our spiritual past. To sense beauty means that in the physical world we do not disown our connection with spirit. To be good is to build a living seed for a spiritual world in the future.
Past, present, future — these three concepts, as they play their part in human life, assume far-reaching significance when we understand the concrete reality of the other three concepts — Truth, Beauty, Goodness.
The man who is untruthful denies his spiritual past; the liar severs the threads between himself and his spiritual past. He who disregards beauty is building himself an abode on earth where the sun of spirit never shines, where he wanders in spiritless shadow. The man who belies the good renounces his spiritual future; and yet he would like this future to be bestowed on him, may be by means of some outer remedy.
It was, indeed, out of a profound instinct that Truth, Beauty and Goodness were held to be the greatest ideals of human striving. Yet they have faded away into shadowy words, and it is only our present age that can bestow concrete reality upon them.”
This text by Rudolf Steiner look at karma from a different view than normally, he looks at the underlying beings and processes behind or below karma:
“Human beings and animals differ from each other through the fact that they have their consciousness on different planes. Now there are also other beings besides minerals, plants, animals and human beings.
There are beings who have their consciousness on the physical plane and their body in the astral. Such a being is, as it were, an animal in reverse. Such beings actually exist; they are the elemental beings. In order to make their nature comprehensible let us be clear about what belongs to the physical plane.
Physical is: Firstly the solid earth, secondly water, thirdly air, fourthly ether (warmth ether, light ether, chemical ether, life ether). Let us keep to the four lower forms of our physical plane and separate the etheric world from them.
States of consciousness can lie in all four forms of the physical plane while the body of such a being lies in the astral.
We must think of the consciousness in the solid Earth, the body in the astral; or a being that has its consciousness in the water and its body in the astral; then such a being with its consciousness in the air and its body in the astral and one with its consciousness in fire and its body in the astral.
Present-day man knows but little of such beings; in our time it is only through poetry that they are known. Miners (of minerals) however know such beings very well. A gnome is only visible to someone who can see on the astral plane, but miners frequently possess such an astral vision; they know that gnomes are realities.
Thus, on our Earth there exist various forms of consciousness, and what the natural scientist today calls laws of nature are the thoughts of beings who think on the physical plane but have their bodies on the astral plane. [Like the electromagnetic bindings.]
When in physics we have to do with laws of nature we can say: these are the thoughts of a being who has its body on the astral plane. The forces of nature are creative beings and natural laws are their thoughts.
[We can say they live in our inner world and we live in their inner world!]
In the Middle Ages the alchemist tried to make use of these spirits. Goethe knew this very well; Faust wished to have fire air; this was to be produced by the salamanders which have their body on the astral plane.
Thus we have around us beings who actually have their consciousness in fire, to whom we cause pain when fire is kindled, for by so doing we actually cause a certain alteration in the body of the being in question on the astral plane.
When one kindles fire one alters this astral being. In the same way when one brings about alterations in other spheres of the elements and the forces of Nature one alters something in these astral beings.
When we do this or that we are continuously peopling the astral plane. If we think these thoughts through clearly, we have the meaning of church ritual: that is, not to make use of any kind of substances on the physical plane, except such as have meaning, whereby meaningful beings arise on the astral plane.
When for instance one kindles the smoke of incense one does something which has purpose; one burns a particular substance and creates beings of a particular kind. When one passes a sword through the air in four directions one creates a definite kind of being.
It is the same with the priest, when he makes definite movements with his hands, to accompany definite sounds o, i, u, intensified by repetition: Dominus vobiscum.
The sound is regular, the air is brought into definite vibrations intensified by definite movements of the hand, and a sylph is called into existence.
Sign, grip and word of the freemasons also bring about definite forms which manifest in accordance with definite laws in the physical world. Through a purposeful use of these words a link is formed from one person to another, one is enwrapped in an astral substance which is created through sign, grip and word.
Naturally man continually does all this in ordinary life, but he does it in an unsystematic way, creating contradictory beings.
Art consists in working harmoniously upwards from the physical to higher planes.
In rituals, through definite acts, the aim is to produce not contradictory but harmonious beings. At present man is not in a position to bring these things into harmony.
But for everything man creates in this way on the astral plane there are certain directing beings. So we have a world of elemental beings around us with a king.
- Among the Indians the king of the gnomes is called Kshiti, the highest of the gnomes;
- the highest being among the undines: Varuna;
- the highest being among the sylphs: Vayu,
- and everything having its consciousness in fire is directed by the king of fire: Agni.
In all activity connected with fire, water and so on we have to do with these particular Deva-beings. All the fire we have here on Earth is the substance that is woven out of the beings which belong to Agni.
Ceremonial magic is the lowest kind of sorcery and consists in making use of certain specially devised tricks on the physical plane in order to create definite forms and beings on the astral plane.
Schools exist today in which ceremonial magic is still exercised. Such usages cause great attraction towards the astral world and very frequently result in suicide, because then a person is almost exclusively active in the astral world and has become unaccustomed to using the physical world for its rightful purpose. He has developed a partiality for the other world and the physical body is often a hindrance.
Now you will also comprehend the connection with fire worship which has appeared in the history of religion. The followers of Zarathustra sought, through the sacrificial fire of the priests, actually to create definite forms on the astral plane.
On the Earth today everything takes place physically. But from what has been said, one can see that astral beings are continually created under the influence of our deeds. All deeds are accompanied by astral beings.
These are our Skandas which bring about our Karma. But also all physical deeds leave astral beings behind on the astral plane.
For instance Cologne cathedral corresponds to a definite being on the astral plane. Through everything that happens on the Earth, when all physical matter is worked over and the Earth has dissolved, through this the next astral Globe will arise of itself. It will simply be there as astral beings, as the effects of all the earlier physical processes. [The Earth as planet with mountains, lakes and oceans, is the result of the Angels life on the previous Earth incarnation, the old Moon. In the same way are we building the next incarnation of the Earth, the new Jupiter.]
This is why man must continually work with Karma. In his next life he must put right again the grotesque astral beings that he has bungled, otherwise they would produce meaningless creatures for the next Globe. This is Karma that he must rectify. [So handling karma is not just an ego project, it’s for the good of the karmic beings and for the whole of creation.]
What takes place on a large scale on the Earth, takes place in a small way in man. Let us think of a child. He is wrongly brought up, spoiled with sweets and so on. This not only brings about processes in the physical body but continually imparts them to the astral, so that in fact the astral body also is changed.
What one gives physically to the infant goes over into his astral body, it is present in the shape of definite forms.
What is thus worked in, is however gradually worked out again. In advanced age the sins against the child take their revenge. These sins remain throughout the whole life and have great importance particularly in the final years.
After the middle period a sort of reversal takes place; the astral then works into the physical plane.
In childhood the foundation of what man will have in old age is implanted into the astral.
When a person perceives how he has been sinned against and works upon himself with this in view, then he can eliminate the damage in the astral body, otherwise he will break down in old age under the weaknesses of his childhood.
Only what man works into it consciously has a balancing effect on the astral body. If later in life the opposite qualities are not called up consciously, one cannot rid oneself of the failings.
[In our childhood all our karma from earlier life is collected from our surroundings, if we don’t handle the karma up through life we will be confronted with it.
Old or new karma we become conscious about and handle will not become a problem, but karma we create unconsciously will be difficult to handle in the same life.
Late in life we are confronted with rest of the unhandled karma, in what’s called the Dark Night of the Soul. If we do well, we may handle it all, and ascend to the light again.]
The Holy Grail is a central symbol known up through time under different names.
The Holy Grail
The grail is symbolized with the triangle pointing down, it’s the microcosm we develop in. Its the lower three hierarchies known as angels, archangels and archai in the Christian terminology.
Here more traditions are combined into one drawing. The ego is the old center of the body from when we were animals, here symbolized with a caterpillar. The day the ego accepts the new center, the ‘I’ of the soul, as a co-worker and not an enemy, the caterpillar dies and resurrects into a butterfly.
In the drawing we have the 4 lower bodies of man. Here the
ages the bodies typically are developed are written for each period. Each period corresponds to a chakra. After 28 we begin developing the higher bodies, the higher chakras.
The grail goes long back, the following picture is an example from a vast Cetho Temple complex that is located on the western slopes of Lawu Mountain, precisely in Gumeng Village, Jenawi District, Karanganyar Regency, Central Java Province.
The Lingga Yoni have strong similarities with the Ankh, the Tree of Life and the Grail, all describing the same reality.
The Lingga Yoni shown in the upper pictures look very much like a chalice when seen from the bottom, but seen from the side the symbolism behind the chalice is more clear. The chalice top is the uterus from where the new universe will grow, fructified by the old spiritual world symbolized by the stalk of the chalice.
Kali is also connected to the lower triangle, the Grail is symbol for the feminine.
In the lower and middle right pictures the Lingga Yoni looks like a chalice with the Sun as the hostie.
Artemis gives prana to all living beings in the physical world, ie that have an etheric body. The Grail is the Life Force behind the created.
From Anna May Triptychon where Joseph of Arimathea fils the Grail
with the blood coming from Jesus.
Artemis symbolizes the Mother, the creator of mankind, but the mother is hidden in most religions, as it was the masculine power that was needed to get man down into the physical. In this figure Apollo, the sun god, is shown hiding the moon god Artemis, mother nature, but she is the main power behind of our development.
Here a number of forms we know the Grail, including the human soul, up left:
The Crown Chakra is also the chalice of the etheric world in which we as physical being lie, as an inverted plant.
According to Steiner, human beings incarnate by infolding the higher bodies into the physical universe/body, so that, instead of permeating the spiritual worlds, they become enclosed in a little fold into the physical universe. It seems to be a standard procedure within the biological world:
The illustration below shows how Steiner describes it, with each enclosure representing a human being, Animals would not have the group soul in the enclosure: it would be outside.
When we sleep, our astral body and soul leaves the enclosure and when we die the ether body unfolds too.
Here some examples of the aura, kind of egg-shaped, resembling the Grail, especially the open one in fig. 8. where the folding has been opened and the cocoon is empty. At initiation the cocoon will open at the top, at the crown chakra, but without the soul leaving the cocoon.
The more pure our soul, the more it is filled with light and the more connected it is at the top. I believe that it opens fully at initiation, when the crown chakra opens.
These drawings are by Eli Wamberg of his students auras, from his private diary.
Fig 5. a male student, fig. 6. same student, four month later, fig. 7. a female student
and fig. 8. a male student after death.
The following table shows the bodies we had in the four Earth-incarnations we have had until now, how much had been infolded into the physical in each period.
In the old Saturn incarnation we were as today’s minerals, at old Sun as today’s plants and on the old Moon as today’s animals, and today the soul are incarnated too, with the I.
The infolding may be connected to the morphogenesis:
“We all start life as a small ball of cells. These cells proliferate and organize into tissues, which in turn grow and fold into the complex form that defines a human being. The process that leads from a formless ball to a functional organism—known as morphogenesis …”
Love and Thinking as described by Rudolf Steiner
This is the central theme all esoteric traditions try to describe, but it’s an extremely difficult subject as thinking and soul are invisible, not possible to describe through pictures.
I have described Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Adyashanti, Chögyam Trungpa, Eckhart Tolle, and Socrates in the same way, although in Danish, and found that they say the same, but with very different words, and I hope their different descriptions of the soul makes it easier to recognize the thinking in ourselves, understanding our soul, and beginning to understand what love really is.
I will use the following terminology in the following, Ego or sentient soul is the mind for the body where our speculative word thinking takes place based on opinions and feelings, where our ‘I‘ or intellectual soul thinks wordlessly, and the higher I or Consciousness soul interfaces the wisdom in Spirit Self or Manas.
The ego creates the illusion through it’s opinions, and the veil of illusion covers the wisdom from the souls thinking.
But it is explained more detailed below.
|Rudolf Steiner||My Comments|
|Thinking… is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear.Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.||This is more related to hearing than seeing as we can’t see the thoughts of the soul, they are invisible, but we know the thoughts, and we may know them in three dimensions, like looking at a structure.|
|To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.||when we look into ourselves we can study our lower physical organisation, astral, etheric and physical bodies. Clairvoyants even in pictures others through understanding, but we can’t see our soul, it’s invisible, we can only see it though the mirrors of other souls.|
|Theosophists also often tend to turn away from the outer world.
But a loving interest in our surroundings is absolutely necessary if one wants to make progress.
One doesn’t have to neglect what one is striving for theosophically thereby.
|We shall live fully, not in the past, not in the future but here and now.|
|The first condition is the cultivation of absolutely clear thinking.
For this purpose a man must rid himself of the will-o’-the-wisps of thought, even if only for a very short time during the day – about five minutes (the longer, the better).
He must become the ruler in his world of thought.
He is not the ruler if external circumstances, occupation, some tradition or other, social relationships, even membership of a particular race, the daily round of life, certain activities and so forth, determine a thought and how he works it out.
|To make peace in our thoughts they should be absolutely clear, no noise from the bodily organisation, from the ego of the astral body, the sentient soul.|
|A person who darts from one impression of the outer world to another, who constantly seeks distraction, cannot find the way to higher knowledge.
The student must not blunt himself to the outer world, but while lending himself to its impressions, he should be directed by his rich inner life.
|We should be attentive on the outer world, but we should let our inner wisdom from the consciousness soul guide us.|
|This life of the soul in thought, which gradually widens into a life in spiritual being, is called by Gnosis, and by Spiritual Science, Meditation (contemplative reflection).
This meditation is the means to supersensible knowledge. But the student in such moments must not merely indulge in feelings; he must not have indefinite sensations in his soul. That would only hinder him from reaching true spiritual knowledge.
His thoughts must be clear, sharp and definite, and he will be helped in this if he does not cling blindly to the thoughts that rise within him.
Rather must he permeate himself with the lofty thoughts by which men already advanced and possessed of the spirit were inspired at such moments.
|The noise from the ego of the astral body should be stilled, the thoughts of the I of the soul should be come through clear and pure.
We should orient our thoughts against the esoteric, and not think about practical things like food or money, as it involves the ego.
|After Atlantis was destroyed by water, continued evolution resulted in our contemporary fifth race, during which deductive reasoning was a special achievement.
This enabled the human race to bring art and science to a high level of development, which previously had not been possible.
|Word thinking became first mandatory after Kali Yuga, when dreamtime stopped, what we know through the history of the Tower of Babel. Here we began speaking and thinking in words instead of the shared dream language.|
|Reality is not contained in the abstract concept; it is, however, contained in thoughtful observation, which does not one-sidedly consider either concept or percept alone, but rather the union of the two.||To live in the now is to join the physical reality with the wisdom of the soul.|
|We must especially acquire a sympathetic interest for the things which to us are important.
Previously we developed a more mechanical memory, and the working of this mechanical memory was fully reliable for a time, even without any particular liking for the things observed; but this ceases.
It will be noticed that when undergoing a theosophical or esoteric development it is easy to forget things. But only those things fly away for which one has not a sympathetic interest, which one does not particularly care for, which do not become part of one’s soul, as it were.
|Our word memory will become less and less and it’s function will be taken over by the wordless thoughts of the soul, although it works a little different, as trivialities are not remembered easily.|
|Being thinking men, we live in light. We see the external light with physical senses; the light which becomes thought we do not see, because we live in it, because as thinking men, it is ourselves.
You cannot see that which you yourselves are. If you emerge from this thought and enter upon Imagination and Inspiration, you put yourself opposite to it and can see the thought-element as light.
So that in speaking of the whole world, we may say: We have the light in us; only it does not appear to us as light because we live within it, and because while we use the light, while we have it, it becomes thought within us.
You control the light, as it were, you take up the light in yourself which otherwise appears outside you. You differentiate it in yourself. You work in it.
This is precisely your thinking, it is a working in light. You are a light-being. You do not know it, because you live within the light.
But your thinking which you unfold, is living in the light. And I you look at thought from the outside, you see, altogether, light.
|We are beings of light, our soul, our thinking, is light, and as we are light we can’t see our own light.
If we could see our own beauty we risked falling in love with our own glory, like old Lucifer, but we can mirror ourselves in others souls beauty.
|In earthly existence we live in a world that is but a copy of true reality [Astral world transformed holographically through the wisdom of the Etheric world into the physical.]
Indeed, we only understand this physical world aright when we realize it to be this copy of reality.
It behooves us, however, to feel the true reality within us [Astral world]; we must be aware of our connection with the spiritual world. And this is only possible if the bond that links us with pre-earthly existence remains intact.
|The physical world is the lower worlds outer manifestation, the astral world is it’s inner cause.
The outer mirrors in practise our inner!
|We nurture and sharpen the thinking especially by the development of characteristics which seem to have nothing whatever to do with thinking, with concepts.
The best method of developing good thinking is by complete absorption and insight, not so much through logical exercises but by observing one thing and another, using for this purpose processes in nature, in order to penetrate into hidden mysteries.
Through absorption in problems of nature and of humanity, through the endeavour to understand complex personalities, through the intensifying of attentiveness, we grow wise.
Absorption means striving to unravel something by thinking, by conceiving. In this connection, we shall be able to see that such mental absorption has a wonderfully good effect in later life.
|We develops our thinking through understanding, not through speculative thinking. Through observation we recognize the patterns.
We should not interpret what we see, not create opinions, just registrate what we see, as we see it, keeping our observations as puzzle pieces until we find a place for them.
|Love is higher than opinion. If people love one another, the most varied opinions can be reconciled.
Hence it is deeply significant that in Theosophy no religion is attacked and no religion is specially singled out, but all are understood, and so there can be brotherhood because the adherents of the most varied religions understand one another.
This is one of the most important tasks for mankind today and in the future: that men should learn to live together and understand one another.
If this human fellowship is not achieved, all talk of occult development is empty.
|Love is part of the soul, opinion is part of the astral body.
The soul is part of humanity, and if we can talk soul to soul, then there will be no conflicts, we are accessing the same wisdom.
|Where knowledge exists, knowledge is imparted and there is no particular desire for discussion.Where there is desire for discussion, however, there is as a rule no knowledge of the truth.
Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge, and it is always and everywhere the sign of a decline regarding the seriousness of a subject when it is discussed. Disintegration of a particular trend is always proclaimed by discussions.
It is important that in spiritual science we come increasingly to understand that the wish for discussion may really be taken as a sign of ignorance.
|True knowledge are in the soul and here is no need of discussions.
The knowledge of the ego are opinions, strings of words it has heard from others and not fully understood, if it had understood it would have been transformed into wisdom in the soul.
Only the ego wants to fight for it’s opinions, those who know don’t have such desires.
|The Christ says in the very highest sense: ‘You will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free.’||We will know the truth, we will not learn the truth, it will not be part of us, but we will have access to it.|
|The evolution of language has already passed its zenith. Language has indeed become an abstract thing; and all the efforts that are being made to classify societies in accordance with the languages of peoples represent merely a wave of deepest untruthfulness now passing over the earth.
For men no longer have that relationship to language which sees through the language to the human being — to the inner being of man.
|When i have talked with others, soul to soul, the words were only a kind of carrier, the deeper meaning went from soul to soul, giving an immense deep thought exchange. When you sometime later look at the text it contain nothing from the deep conversion.|
Loneliness and solitude are two different things.
When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely.
But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.
~ Shams Tabrizi
Rudolf Steiner on Heart thinking
In ordinary life we have the feeling that we think with the head. That of course is a pictorial expression, for we actually think with the spiritual organs underlying the brain; but it is generally accepted that we think with the head. We have a quite different feeling about the thinking that becomes possible when we have made a little progress. The feeling then is as if what had hitherto been localized in the head were now localized in the heart. This does not mean the physical heart but the spiritual organ that develops in the neighborhood of the heart, the twelve-petalled lotus-flower. This organ becomes a kind of organ of thinking in one who achieves inner development and this thinking of the heart is very different from ordinary thinking. In ordinary thinking everyone knows that reflection is necessary in order to arrive at a particular truth. The mind moves from one concept to another and after logical deliberation and reflection reaches what is called ‘knowledge’. It is different when we want to recognize the truth in connection with genuine symbols or emblems. They are before us like objects, but the thinking we apply to them cannot be confounded with ordinary brain-thinking. Whether they are true or false is directly evident without any reflection being necessary as in the case of ordinary thinking. What there is to say about the higher worlds is directly evident. As soon as the pictures are before us we know what we have to say about them to ourselves and to others. This is the characteristic of heart-thinking.
Soul and Love
|Rudolf Steiner||My Comments|
|The sensory world is the school, without which the human being would never come to the spirit.||The wisdom of the soul are created through the physical world.|
|An advanced stage of development must have been reached before the soul can experience joy in performing deeds of love from which there is nothing to be gained for itself. The impulse for this is not strong in humanity…..||The soul should be highly developed and the soul should have been drawn down into the heart before love can work into the physical world.|
|Our egoism gains nothing from deeds of love – but the world all the more.
Occultism says: Love is for the world what the sun is for external life.
No soul could thrive if love departed from the world. Love is the “moral” sun of the world.
To disseminate love over the earth in the greatest measure possible, to promote love on the earth – that and that alone is wisdom.
|The soul with the I have a special connection to the physical world, it’s also why we are conscious in the physical world, why we sense the physical world.
The more love we can channel down into the physical world the more the physical world come in accordance with our soul.
Love is the creative power!
|A Spiritual Science without love would be a danger to mankind. But love should not be a matter for preaching; love must and indeed will come into the world through the spreading of knowledge of spiritual truths.||Spirituality that don’t connect to the soul would be a catastrophe.
Black magic and satanism tries to master the soul, try to keep it from gaining power through the heart.
|Love mediated by way of the senses is the wellspring of creative power, of that which is coming into being.
Without sense-born love, nothing material would exist in the world; without spiritual love, nothing spiritual can arise in evolution.
When we practise love, cultivate love, creative forces pour into the world. Can the intellect be expected to offer reasons for this?
The creative forces poured into the world before we ourselves and our intellect came into being.
True, as egoists, we can deprive the future of creative forces; but we cannot obliterate the deeds of love and the creative forces of the past.
We owe our existence to deeds of love wrought in the past. The strength with which we have been endowed by these deeds of love is the measure of our deep debt to the past, and whatever love we may at any time be able to bring forth is payment of debts owed for our existence.
In light of this knowledge we shall be able to understand the deeds of a man who has reached a high stage of development, for he has still greater debts to pay to the past. He pays his debts through deeds of love, and herein lies his wisdom.
The higher stage of development reached by a man, the more does the impulse of love in him increase in strength; WISDOM ALONE DOES NOT SUFFICE.
|Love is the creative power in the universe!
Through creativity love pours into the physical world.
The creative hierarchies poured creative love into the universe before we became co-creators.
When we pours our love into the world we help the original creators with their development, the wisdom we create becomes part of them and it will give form to the new Earth incarnation.
|LOVE IS THE CREATIVE FORCE IN THE WORLD.||Love is active wisdom, wisdom transformed to creative activity.|
|Besides love there are two other powers in the world. How do they compare with love?The one is strength, might; the second is wisdom. In regard to strength or might we can speak of degrees: weaker, stronger, or absolute might – omnipotence.
The same applies to wisdom, for there are stages on the path to omniscience.
It will not do to speak in the same way of degrees of love. What is universal love, love for all beings? In the case of love we cannot speak of enhancement as we can speak of enhancement of knowledge into omniscience or of might into omnipotence, by virtue of which we attain greater perfection of our own being.
Love for a few or for many beings has nothing to do with our perfecting. Love for everything that lives cannot be compared to omnipotence; the concept of magnitude, or of enhancement, cannot rightly be applied to love.
|There are three powers in the universe, Strength, Wisdom and Love.
Love develops in the field between strength and wisdom, Tao between Yin and Yang, the Son between the Mother and the Father, between Ahriman and Lucifer.
Love is different than wisdom and strength, it’s pure being, as it is what our soul is, just as our body is physical in the physical world.
|The all-encompassing attribute of the God-head is not omnipotence, neither is it omniscience, but it is LOVE – the attribute in respect of which no enhancement is possible.
God is uttermost love, unalloyed love, is born as it were out of love, is the very substance and essence of love.
God is pure love, not supreme wisdom, not supreme might.
God has retained love for himself but has shared wisdom and might with Lucifer and Ahriman.
He has shared wisdom with Lucifer and might with Ahriman, in order that man may become free, in order that under the influence of wisdom he may make progress.
|God or the Son is love.
Lucifer is wisdom and ahriman is strength.
God has shared wisdom and strength with Lucifer/Yang and Ahriman/Yin and by that given man possibility to develop in freedom.
Lucifer symbolizes the spiritual world, Ahriman the physical world and God or the Son the soul world, lover Devachan.
|Let us imagine that there is a man who knows nothing of the name of Christ Jesus, nothing of what is communicated in the Gospels, but that he understands the radical difference between the nature of wisdom and might and that of love. Such a man, even though he knows nothing of the Mystery of Golgotha, is a Christian in the truest sense.||One who understands soul and love is an initiate.|
|To understand the nature of love – that is to be a Christian!||The initiate have love in his heart.|
|A good man is one who can bear his own soul over into the soul of another.||When the noise from the ego is purified, the soul can merge with another soul.|
|Love starts when we push aside our ego and make room for someone else.||When we have learned the ego that it’s cravings don’t make it happy, and thereby stopped it’s noise.|
|But let us take the Ideal; the man’s ‘I’ has voluntarily, with complete free will, allowed the Christ’s force to flow into him.
When the I has progressed so far that it has filled itself with the Christ, then this Christ force irradiates the astral body also.
In that same astral body, into which the Luciferic powers had formerly implanted their deeds, the Christ power is now radiating from within outwards.
|This means that the soul enters the heart (chakra), and for many old souls it happens around 27-29, but sometimes we press the soul out again, giving rise to The Dark Night of the Soul around 49.|
|The Christ is a God whose action is such that one is not absolutely forced to follow His Impulse, one follows it only when one understands it, and in freedom.
He is, therefore, the God who never seeks to hinder the free development of the I in this or that direction.
|Love can only be developed in freedom.|
It’s one of the best descriptions on the subject, on what each chakra is and does in us at our development, and how our life influences the chakras.
This is not an incentive to use some of the methods that are elsewhere in the book, most readers of this have no need for these methods, fate are giving us what we need, only one method may be of interest to all, and that is contemplation, but most will intuitively use it, as a ‘remembrance’ from earlier lives.
Lotus Flowers – Chakras
The further the student advances in his inner development, the greater will be the organic differentiation introduced into his astral body. The latter is confused and undifferentiated in the case of a person of undeveloped inner life; yet the clairvoyant can perceive even the unorganized astral body as a figure standing out distinctly from its environment. It extends from the centre of the head to the middle of the physical body, and appears like an independent body possessing certain organs.
These organs, now to be considered, are apparent to the clairvoyant near the following parts of the physical body:
- the first between the eyes;
- the second near the larynx;
- the third in the region of the heart;
- the fourth in the so-called pit of the stomach;
- the fifth and sixth are situated in the abdomen.
These organs are technically known as wheels, chakrams or lotus flowers. They are so called on account of their likeness to wheels or flowers, but of course it should be clearly understood that such an expression is not to be applied more literally than when the lungs are called wings. Just as there is no question of wings in the case of lungs, so, too, in the case of the lotus flowers, the expression must be taken as a figurative comparison.
In undeveloped persons these lotus flowers are dark in colour, motionless and inert. In the clairvoyant, however, they are luminous, mobile, and of variegated colour. Something of this kind applies to the medium, though in a different way; but this question need not here be pursued.
Now when the student begins his exercises, the lotus flowers become brighter; later on they begin to revolve. When this occurs, clairvoyance begins. For these flowers are the sense organs of the soul, and their revolutions express the fact that the clairvoyant perceives supersensibly. No one can perceive the supersensible until he has developed his astral senses in this way.
Thanks to the spiritual organ situated in the vicinity of the larynx, it becomes possible to survey clairvoyantly the thoughts and mentality of other beings, and to obtain a deeper insight into the true laws of natural phenomena.
The organ situated near the heart permits of clairvoyant knowledge of the sentiments and disposition of other souls. When developed, this organ also makes it possible to observe certain deeper forces in animals and plants.
By means of the organ in the so-called pit of the stomach, knowledge is acquired of the talents and capacities of souls; by its means, too, the part played by animals, plants, stones, metals, atmospheric phenomena and so on in the household of Nature, becomes apparent.
The organ in the vicinity of the larynx has sixteen petals or spokes; the one in the region of the heart twelve, and the one in the pit of the stomach ten.
Thanks to the spiritual organ situated in the vicinity of the larynx, it becomes possible to survey clairvoyantly the thoughts and mentality of other beings, and to obtain a deeper insight into the true laws of natural phenomena.
The organ situated near the heart permits of clairvoyant knowledge of the sentiments and disposition of other souls. When developed, this organ also makes it possible to observe certain deeper forces in animals and plants.
By means of the organ in the so-called pit of the stomach, knowledge is acquired of the talents and capacities of souls; by its means, too, the part played by animals, plants, stones, metals, atmospheric phenomena and so on in the household of Nature, becomes apparent.
The organ in the vicinity of the larynx has sixteen petals or spokes; the one in the region of the heart twelve, and the one in the pit of the stomach ten.
Now certain activities of the soul are connected with the development of these organs, and anyone devoting himself to them in a certain definite way, contributes something to the development of the corresponding organs.
The 16-petalled Lotus
In the 16-petalled lotus, eight of its sixteen petals were developed during an earlier stage of human evolution, in a remote past. Man himself contributed nothing to this development; he received them as a gift from nature, at a time when his consciousness was in a dull, dreamy condition.
At that stage of human evolution, they were in active use, but the manner of their activity was only compatible with that dull state of consciousness. As consciousness became clearer and brighter, the petals became obscured and ceased their activity.
Man himself can now develop the remaining eight petals by conscious exercises, and thereby the whole lotus flower becomes luminous and mobile. The acquisition of certain faculties depends on the development of each one of the sixteen petals.
Yet, as already shown, only eight can be consciously developed; the remainder then appear of their own accord.
The development proceeds in the following manner. The student must first apply himself with care and attention to certain functions of the soul, hitherto exercised by him in a careless and inattentive manner. There are eight such functions:
– The first is the way in which ideas and conceptions are acquired. In this respect people usually allow themselves to be led by chance alone. They see or hear one thing or another and form their ideas accordingly. While this is the case, the sixteen petals of the lotus flower remain ineffective. It is only when the student begins to take his self-education in hand, in this respect, that the petals become effective. His ideas and conceptions must be guarded; each single idea should acquire significance for him; he should see in it a definite message instructing him concerning the things of the outer world, and he should derive no satisfaction from ideas devoid of such significance. He must govern his mental life so that it becomes a true mirror of the outer world, and direct his effort to the exclusion of incorrect ideas from his soul.
– The second of these functions is concerned with the control of resolutions. The student must not resolve upon even the most trifling act, without well-founded and thorough consideration. Thoughtless and meaningless actions should be foreign to his nature. He should have well-considered grounds for everything he does, and abstain from everything for which no significant motive is forthcoming.
– The third function concerns speech. The student should utter no word that is devoid of sense and meaning; all talking for the sake of talking draws him away from his path. He must avoid the usual kind of conversation, with its promiscuous discussion of indiscriminately varied topics. This does not imply his preclusion from intercourse with his fellows. It is precisely in such intercourse that his conversation should develop to significance. He is ready to converse with everyone, but he does so thoughtfully and with thorough deliberation. He never speaks without grounds for what he says. He seeks to use neither too many nor too few words.
– The fourth is the regulation of outward action. The student tries to adjust his actions in such a way that they harmonize with the actions of his fellow-men and with the events in his environment. He refrains from actions which are disturbing to others and antagonistic to his surroundings. He seeks to adjust his actions so that they combine harmoniously with his surroundings, with his position in life, etc. When an external motive causes him to act, he considers how he can best respond. When the impulse proceeds from himself he weighs with minute care the effects of his activity.
– The fifth function includes the management of the whole of life. The student endeavours to live in conformity with both Nature and spirit. Never over-hasty, he is also never indolent. Excessive activity and laziness are equally alien to him. He looks upon life as a means for work and disposes it accordingly. He regulates his habits, the care of his health, etc., in such a way that a harmonious whole is the outcome.
– The sixth is concerned with human endeavour. The student tests his capacities and proficiency, and conducts himself in the light of such self-knowledge, He attempts nothing that is beyond his powers, but seeks to omit nothing that is within their scope. On the other hand he sets before himself aims that coincide with the ideals and the great duties of a human being. He does not mechanically regard himself as a wheel in the vast machinery of mankind, but seeks to comprehend the tasks of his life, and to look out beyond the limit of the daily and trivial. He endeavours to fulfil his obligations ever better and more perfectly.
– The seventh deals with the effort to learn as much from life as possible. Nothing passes before the student without giving him occasion to accumulate experience which is of value to him for life. If he has performed anything wrongly or imperfectly, he lets this be an incentive for repeating the performance later on, but this time rightly and perfectly. When others act, he observes them with the same end in view. He tries to gather a rich store of experience, and ever to turn to it for counsel; nor indeed will he ever do anything without looking back on experiences from which he can derive help in his decisions and affairs.
– Finally, the eighth is that the student must, from time to time, glance introspectively into himself, sink back into himself, take himself carefully to task, form and test the fundamental principles of his life, run over, in his thoughts, the sum total of his knowledge, weigh his duties, reflect upon the content and aim of life and so on.
The better the student’s thoughts and speech harmonize with the processes in the outer world, the more quickly will he develop this faculty. Whoever thinks and speaks what is contrary to truth destroys something in the bud of his 16-petalled lotus. Truthfulness, uprightness and honesty are in this connection creative forces, while mendacity, deceitfulness and dishonesty are destructive forces.
The student must realize, however, that actual deeds are needed, and not merely ‘good intentions’. If I think or say anything that does not conform with reality, I kill something in my spiritual organs, even though I believe my intentions to be ever so good. It is here as with the child which needs must burn itself when it falls into the fire, even though it did so out of ignorance.
The regulation of the above activities of the soul in the manner described, causes the 16-petalled lotus to ray forth in glorious hues, and imparts to it a definite movement. Yet it must be noted that the faculty of clairvoyance cannot make its appearance before a definite degree of development has been attained. It cannot appear so long as it is irksome for the student to regulate his life in this manner. He is still unfit, so long as the activities described above are a matter of special pre-occupation for him. The first traces of clairvoyance only appear when he has reached the point of being able to live in the specified way, as a person habitually lives. These things must then no longer be irksome, but must have become a matter of course. There must be no need for him to be continually watching himself, and urging himself on to live in this way. It must all become a matter of habit.
Now this lotus flower may be made to develop in another way by following certain other instructions. But all such methods are rejected by true Spiritual Science, for they lead to the destruction of physical health and to moral ruin. They are easier to follow than those here described. The latter, though protracted and irksome, lead to the true goal and cannot but strengthen morally.
The distorted development of a lotus flower results not only in illusions and fantastic conceptions, should a certain degree of clairvoyance ensue, but also in errors and instability in ordinary life. Such a development may be the cause of timidity, envy, vanity, haughtiness, wilfulness and so on in a person who hitherto was free from these defects. It has already been explained that eight of the sixteen petals of this lotus flower were developed in a remote past, and that these will reappear of themselves, in the course of esoteric development.
Faulty training may easily result in the reappearance of the earlier petals alone, while the new petals remain stunted. This will ensue especially if too little logical, rational thinking is introduced into the instruction. It is of supreme importance that the student should be a rational and clear-thinking person, and of further importance that he should practice the greatest clarity of speech. People who begin to have some presentiment of supersensible things, are apt to wax talkative on this subject, thereby retarding their normal development. The less one talks about these matters the better. No one should speak about them until he has achieved a certain degree of clarity.
On premature judgment
Suppose I hear a piece of news and thereupon immediately form an opinion. Shortly afterwards I receive some further news which does not harmonize with the previous information. I am thereby obliged to reverse my previous judgment. The result is an unfavorable influence upon my 16-petalled lotus. Quite the contrary would have been the case had I, in the first place, suspended my judgment, and remained silent both inwardly in thought and outwardly in word, concerning the whole affair, until I had acquired reliable grounds for forming my judgment.
Caution in the formation and pronouncement of judgments becomes, by degrees, the special characteristic of the student. On the other hand his receptivity for impressions and experiences increases; he lets them pass over him silently, so as to collect and have the largest possible number of facts at his disposal, when the time comes to form his opinions. Bluish-red and reddish-pink shades colour the lotus flower as the result of such circumspection, whereas, in the opposite case, dark red and orange shades appear.
See also Buddhas Eightfold Path: The Eightfold Path
The 12-petalled Lotus
The 12-petalled lotus situated in the region of the heart, is developed in a similar way. Half its petals, too, were already existent and in active use, in a remote stage of human evolution. Thus these six petals need not now be especially developed in esoteric training; they appear of themselves, and begin to revolve when the student sets to work on the other six. Here again he learns to promote this development by consciously controlling and directing certain inner activities in a special way.
It must be clearly understood that the perceptions of each single spiritual organ bear a different character. The 12- and 16-petalled lotus flowers transmit quite different perceptions. The latter perceives forms. The thoughts and mentality of other beings and the laws governing natural phenomena become manifest, through the 16-petalled lotus, as figures, not rigid motionless figures, but mobile forms filled with life. The clairvoyant in whom this sense is developed, can distinguish, for every mode of thought and for every law of Nature, a form bearing their impression. A revengeful thought, for example, assumes an arrow-like, pronged form, while a kindly thought is often formed like an opening flower, and so on. Clear-cut, significant thoughts are regular and symmetrical in form, while confused thoughts have wavy outlines. Quite different perceptions are received through the 12-petalled lotus. These perceptions may be in a sense likened to warmth and cold, as applied to the soul. A clairvoyant equipped with this faculty feels this warmth and cold streaming out from the forms discerned by the 16-petalled lotus.
– The 12-petalled lotus, when developed, reveals to the clairvoyant a deep understanding of the processes of Nature. From every manifestation of growth and development there issue rays of soul-warmth, while everything that is encompassed by decay, destruction, ruin, presents an impression of cold.
The development of this sense may be furthered in the following manner:
To begin with, the student applies himself to regulating his sequence of thought (control of thought). Just as the 16-petalled lotus is developed by cultivating thoughts that conform with truth and are significant, so, too, the 12-petalled lotus is developed by inwardly controlling the trains of thought. Thoughts that dart to and fro like will-o’-the-wisps, and follow each other in no logical or rational sequence, but merely by pure chance, destroy its form. The latter is developed to ever-increasing perfection, the closer thought is made to follow upon thought, and the more strictly everything of illogical nature is avoided. If the student hears illogical thoughts, he immediately lets the right thoughts pass through his mind. He should not, however, withdraw in a loveless way from what is perhaps an illogical environment, in order to further his own development. Neither should he feel himself impelled to correct all the illogical thoughts expressed around him. He should rather co-ordinate silently the thoughts as they pour in upon him, in a way conforming with logic and sense, and himself endeavour, in every case, to retain this same method in his own thinking.
– An equal supervision in his actions forms the second requirement(control of actions). All inconstancy, all disharmony of action conduces to the destruction of the lotus flower here in question. When the student performs some action, he must see to it that his succeeding action follows in logical sequence, for if he acts from day to day with variable intent, he will never develop the faculty here considered.
– The third requirement is the cultivation of endurance.(perseverance). The student is impervious to all influences which would divert him from the goal he has set himself, so long as he can regard it as the right goal. For him, obstacles contain a challenge to surmount them, but are never a reason for restraining his progress.
– The fourth requirement is forbearance (tolerance) towards persons, creatures and also circumstances. The student suppresses all superfluous criticism of everything that is imperfect, evil and bad, and seeks rather to understand everything that comes under his notice. Even as the sun does not withdraw its light from the bad and the evil, so he, too, does not refuse them an intelligent sympathy. Should some trouble befall him, he does not proceed to condemn and criticize, but accepts what necessity has brought him, and endeavours to the best of his ability, to give the matter a turn for the best. He does not consider the opinions of others merely from his own standpoint, but seeks to put himself into the other’s position.
– The fifth requirement is impartiality towards everything that life brings. In this connection we speak of faith and trust. The student encounters every human being and every creature with this trust, and lets it inspire his every action. Upon hearing some information, he never says to himself: ‘I don’t believe it; it contradicts my present opinions.’ He is far rather ready to test and rectify his views and opinions. He ever remains receptive for everything that confronts him, and he trusts in the effectiveness of his undertakings. Timidity and scepticism are banished from his being. He harbours a faith in the power of his intentions. A hundred failures cannot rob him of his faith. This is the ‘faith which can move mountains’.
– The sixth requirement is the cultivation of a certain inner balance (equanimity). The student endeavours to retain his composure in the face of joy and sorrow, and discards the tendency to fluctuate between the seventh heaven of joy and the depths of despair. Misfortune and danger, fortune and advancement alike find him ready armed.
The reader will recognize in the qualities here described, the ‘six attributes’, which the candidate for Initiation strives to acquire. The intention has been to show their connection with the spiritual organ known as the 12-petalled lotus flower. As before, special instructions can be given to bring this lotus flower to fruition, but here again, the perfect symmetry of its form depends on the development of the qualities mentioned, the neglect of which results in this organ being formed to a caricature of its proper shape. In this case, should a certain clairvoyance be attained, the qualities in question may take an evil instead of a good direction. A person may become intolerant, timid or contentious towards his environment; may, for instance, acquire some feeling for the sentiments of others, and for this reason shun them or hate them. This may even reach the point that, by reason of the inner coldness overwhelming him, he is unable to listen to repugnant opinions, or he may behave in an objectionable manner.
The 10-petalled Lotus
An inner training of a particularly intimate character is necessary for the development of the l0-petalled lotus flower, for it is now a question of learning consciously to control and dominate the sense-impressions themselves. This is of particular importance in the initial stages of clairvoyance, for it is only by this means that a source of countless illusions and fancies is avoided. People, as a rule, do not realize by what factors their sudden ideas and memories are dominated, and how they are produced.
Consider the following case. Someone is travelling by railway; his mind is busy with one thought; suddenly his thought diverges; he recollects an experience that befell him years ago, and interweaves it with his present thought. He did not notice that in looking through the window, he had caught sight of a person who resembled another intimately connected with the recollected experience. He remains conscious, not of what he saw, but of the effect it produced, and so believes that it all came to him ‘of its own accord’. Now much in life occurs in such a way! How great is the part played in our life by things we hear and learn, without our consciously realizing the connection! Someone, for instance, cannot bear a certain colour, but does not realize that this is due to the fact that the school-teacher who used to worry him many years ago, wore a coat of that colour. Innumerable illusions are based upon such associations.
Many things leave their mark upon the soul, while remaining outside the pale of consciousness. The following may occur. Someone reads in the paper about the death of a well-known person, and forthwith claims to have had a ‘presentiment’ of it ‘yesterday’, although he neither heard nor saw anything that might have given rise to such a thought. And indeed it is quite true that the thought occurred to him ‘yesterday’, as though of its own accord, that this particular person would die; only one thing escaped his attention: two or three hours before this thought occurred to him yesterday, he went to visit an acquaintance; a newspaper lay on the table; he did not actually read it, but his eyes unconsciously fell on the announcement of the dangerous illness of the person in question. He remained unconscious of the impression he received, and yet this impression resulted in his ‘presentiment’.
Reflection upon these matters will show how great a source of illusion and fantasy is contained in such associations. It is just this source which must be dammed up by all who seek to develop their l0-petalled lotus flower. Deeply hidden characteristics in other souls can he perceived by this organ, but their truth depends on the attainment of immunity from the above-mentioned illusions. For this purpose it is necessary that the student should control and dominate everything that seeks to influence him from outside. He should reach the point of really receiving no impressions beyond those he wishes to receive. This can only be achieved by the development of a powerful inner life; by an effort of the will he only allows such things to impress him to which his attention is directed, and he actually evades all impressions to which he does not voluntarily respond. If he sees something, it is because he wills to see it. And if he does not voluntarily take notice of something, it is actually non-existent for him. The greater the energy and inner activity devoted to this work, the more extensively will this faculty be attained.
– The student must avoid all vacuous gazing and mechanical listening. For him only those things exist to which he turns his eye or his ear. He must practise the power of hearing nothing, even in the greatest disturbance, if he does not will to hear; and he must make his eyes unimpressionable to things of which he does not particularly take notice. He must be shielded as by an inner armour against all unconscious impressions.
– In this connection, the student must devote special care to his thought-life. He singles out a particular thought and endeavours to link on to it only such other thoughts as he can himself consciously and voluntarily produce. He rejects all casual fancies, and does not connect this thought with another until he has investigated the origin of the latter.
– He goes still further. If, for instance, he feels a particular antipathy for something, he will combat it and endeavour to establish a conscious relation between himself and the thing in question. In this way the unconscious elements that intrude into his soul will become fewer and fewer. Only by such severe self-discipline can the l0-petalled lotus flower attain its proper form. The student’s inner life must become a life of attention, and he must learn really to keep away from himself everything to which he should not or does not wish to direct his attention.
If this strict self-discipline be accompanied by meditation prescribed in esoteric training, the lotus flower in the region of the pit of the stomach comes to fruition in the right way, and light and colour of a spiritual kind are now added to the form and warmth perceptible to the organs described above.
The talents and faculties of other beings are thereby revealed, also the forces and the hidden attributes of Nature. The coloured aura of living creatures then becomes visible; all that is around us manifests its spiritual attributes.
It will be admitted that the very greatest care is necessary at this stage of development, for the play of unconscious memories is here exceedingly active. If this were not the case, many people would possess this inner sense, for it comes almost immediately into evidence, when the impressions delivered by the outer senses are held so completely under control, that they become dependent on nothing save attention or inattention. This inner sense remains ineffective so long as the powerful outer senses smother it and render it insensible.
The 6-petalled Lotus
Still greater difficulty attends the development of the 6-petalled lotus flower situated in the centre of the body, for it can only be achieved as the result of complete mastery and control of the whole personality through consciousness of self, so that body, soul and spirit form one harmonious whole. The functions of the body, the inclinations and passions of the soul, the thoughts and ideas of the spirit, must be tuned to perfect unison. The body must be so ennobled and purified that its organs are impelled to nothing that is not in the service of the soul and spirit. The soul must not be impelled, through the body, to lusts and passions which are antagonistic to pure and noble thought. The spirit, however, must not stand as a slave-driver over the soul, dominating it with laws and commandments; the soul must rather learn to follow these laws and duties out of its own free inclination.
The student must not feel duty to be an oppressive power to which he unwillingly submits, but rather something which he performs out of love. His task is to attain an equilibrium of soul between body and spirit, and he must perfect himself in this way, to the extent of being free to abandon himself to the functions of the senses, for these should be so purified that they lose the power to drag him down to their level. He must no longer require to curb his passions, inasmuch as they of their own accord follow the good.
When esoteric development has progressed so far that the lotus flowers begin to stir, much has already been achieved by the student which can result in the formation of certain quite definite currents and movements in his etheric body.
The object of this development is the formation of a kind of centre in the region of the physical heart, from which currents and movements, in the greatest variety of colours and forms, radiate. This centre is, in reality, not a mere point, but a most complicated structure, a most wonderful organ. It glows and shimmers with every shade of colour, and displays forms of great symmetry, capable of rapid transformation. Other forms and streams of colour radiate from this organ to the other parts of the body, and beyond it, to the astral body, which they completely permeate and illumine. The most important part of these currents flows to the lotus flowers. They permeate each petal and regulate its revolutions; then streaming out at the points of the petals, they lose themselves in outer space. The greater the development of a person, the greater the circumference to which these rays extend.
The 12-petalled lotus flower has a particularly close connection with this central organ. The currents flow directly into it and through it, proceeding, on the one side, to the 16- and the 2-petalled lotus flowers, and on the other, the lower side, to the flowers of eight, six and four petals. It is for this reason that the very greatest care must be devoted to the development of the 12-petalled lotus, for an imperfection in the latter would result in the irregular formation of the whole structure.
Continued practice enables the student to determine for himself the position of his etheric body. Hitherto this position depended upon the forces proceeding from without or from within the physical body. Through further development the student is able to direct his etheric body to all sides.
This faculty is effected by currents moving approximately along both hands, and centred in the 2-petalled lotus in the region of the eyes. All that is made possible through the radiations from the larynx assuming round forms, of which a number how to the 2-petalled lotus, and thence form undulating currents along the hands. As a further development these currents branch out and ramify in the most delicate manner, and become, as it were, a kind of web, which then encompasses the entire etheric body as though with a network.
Whereas hitherto the etheric body was not closed to the outer world, so that the life currents from the universal ocean of life flowed freely in and out, it now becomes necessary that these currents should pass through this membrane. Thus the individual becomes sensitive to these external streams; they become perceptible to him. And now the time has come to give the complete system of currents and movements its centre situated in the region of the heart.
This again is effected by persevering with the exercises in concentration and meditation; and at this point also the stage is reached when the student becomes gifted with the ‘inner word.’ All things now acquire a new significance for him. They become as it were spiritually audible in their innermost self, and speak to him of their essential being. The currents described above place him in touch with the inner being of the world to which he belongs. He begins to mingle his life with the life of his environment and can let it reverberate in the movements of his lotus flowers.
At this point the spiritual world is entered. If the student has advanced so far, he acquires a new understanding for all that the great teachers of humanity have uttered. The sayings of the Buddha and the Gospels, for instance, produce a new effect on him. They pervade him with a felicity of which he had not dreamed before. For the tone of their words follows the movements and rhythms which he has himself formed within himself. He can now have positive knowledge that a Buddha or the Evangelists did not utter their own personal revelations, but those which flowed into them from the innermost Being of all things.
To separate truth from opinions
In esoteric training, there is question of four attributes which must be acquired on the socalled probationary path for the attainment of higher knowledge.
- The first is the faculty of discrimination in thoughts between truth and mere semblance or opinion.
- The second attribute is the correct estimation of what is inwardly true and real, as against what is merely apparent.
- The third rests in the practice of the six qualities already mentioned in the preceding pages: [see above] thought-control, control of actions, perseverance, tolerance, faith and equanimity.
- The fourth attribute is the love of inner freedom.
A mere intellectual understanding of what is included in these attributes is of no value. They must become so incorporated into the soul that they form the basis of inner habits. Consider, for instance, the first of these attributes: the discrimination between truth and semblance.
The student must so train himself that he quite as a matter of course distinguishes, in everything that confronts him, between the non-essential elements and those that are significant and essential.
He will only succeed in this if, in his observation of the outer world, he quietly and patiently ever and again repeats the attempt. And at the end he will naturally single out the essential and the true at a glance, whereas formerly the nonessential, too, could content him. ‘All things corruptible are but reflection’ – is a truth which becomes an unquestionable conviction of the soul. The same applies to the remaining three of the four attributes mentioned.
The Great Initiates
It will be clear from the above that the instructions given in esoteric training exert a determining influence reaching the innermost depths of human nature. Such are the instructions regarding the four qualities mentioned above. They can be found in one form or another in all the great religions.
The founders of the great religions did not give mankind these teachings from some vague feeling. They gave them for the good reason that they were great Initiates. Out of their knowledge did they shape their moral teachings. They knew how these would react upon the finer nature of men, and desired that their followers should gradually achieve the development of this finer nature.
The founders of the great religions are therefore the great Initiates. Their teaching flows into the soul of men, and thus, with humanity, the whole world moves forward. Quite consciously did they work to further this evolutionary process of humanity. Their teachings can only be understood if it be remembered that they are the product of knowledge of the innermost depths of human nature. The great Initiates knew, and it is out of their knowledge that they shaped the ideals of humanity. Yet man approaches these great leaders when he uplifts himself, in his own development, to their heights.
The Guardian of the Threshold
Were the student to obtain an insight into these higher worlds without sufficient preparation regarding their nature, he would find himself confronted by the picture of his own soul as though by an enigma. There his own desires and passions confront him in animal or, more seldom, in human forms. It is true that the animal forms of this world are never quite similar to those of the physical world, yet they possess a remote resemblance. Inexpert observers often take them to be identical.
Now upon entering this world, an entirely new method of judgment must be acquired. For apart from the fact that things actually pertaining to inner nature appear as outer world, they also hear the character of mirrored reflections of what they really are. When, for instance, a number is perceived, it must be reversed, as a picture in a mirror; 265 would mean here in reality 562. A sphere is perceived as though from its centre. This inner perception must then be translated.
The qualities of the soul appear likewise as in a mirror. A wish directed towards an outer object appears as a form moving towards the person wishing.
Passions residing in the lower part of human nature can assume animal forms or similar shapes, that hurl themselves against the individual. In reality, these passions are struggling outward; they seek satisfaction in the outer world, but this search in an outward direction appears in the mirrored reflection as an attack on the individual from whom they proceed.
If the student, before attaining insight into higher worlds, has learnt by quiet and sincere self-observation to realize the qualities and defects of his own character, he will then, at the moment when his own inner self confronts him as a mirrored image, find strength and courage to conduct himself in the right way.
People who have failed to test themselves in this way, and are insufficiently acquainted with their own inner self, will not recognize themselves in their own mirrored image, and will mistake it for a reality foreign to themselves. Or they may become alarmed at the vision, and, because they cannot endure the sight, deceive themselves into believing the whole thing is nothing but an illusion which cannot lead them anywhere. In either case the person in question, through prematurely attaining a certain stage of inner development, would himself fatally obstruct his own progress.
The 2-petalled Lotus
This is the moment when the 2-petalled lotus in the region of the eyes is required. If it now begins to stir, the student finds it possible to set his higher Ego in connection with higher spiritual beings. The currents from this lotus flower flow towards the higher entities in such a way that the movements in question are fully apparent to the individual.
Just as the light renders the physical objects visible, so, too, these currents disclose spiritual beings of higher worlds.
Through inward application to the fundamental truths derived from Spiritual Science, the student learns to set in motion, and then to direct the currents proceeding from the lotus flower between the eyes.
The Higher ‘I’
It is at this stage of development especially that the value of sound judgment, and a training in clear and logical thought, is proved. The higher self which hitherto slumbered unconsciously, in an embryonic state, is now born into conscious existence. This is not a figurative, but a positive birth in the spiritual world, and the being now born, the higher self, if it is to be capable of life, must enter that world with all the necessary organs and aptitudes. Just as Nature must provide for a child being born into the world with suitable eyes and ears, so, too, the laws of self-development must provide for the necessary qualities, with which the higher self can enter existence.
These laws governing the development of the higher spiritual organs are none other than the laws of sound reason and morality of the physical world. The spiritual self matures in the physical self as a child in the mother’s womb. The constitution of the spiritual self is similarly conditioned by the laws of common intelligence and reason that govern physical life. No one can give birth to a soundly constituted higher self, whose life in thought and feeling, in the physical world, is not sound and healthy.
Natural, rational life is the basis of all genuine spiritual development. Just as the child when still in the maternal womb, lives in accordance with natural forces to which it has access, after its birth, through its organs of sense, so, too, the human higher self lives in accordance with the laws of the spiritual world, even during physical existence. And even as the child, out of a dim life-instinct, acquires the requisite forces, so, too, can man acquire the powers of the spiritual world before his higher self is born. Indeed he must do this if the latter is to enter the world as a fully developed being. It would be quite wrong for anyone to say: ‘I cannot accept the teachings of Spiritual Science until I myself become a seer,’ for without inward application to the results of spiritual investigation, there is no chance whatever of attaining genuine higher knowledge. It would be as though a child, during gestation, were to refuse the forces coming to it through its mother, and proposed to wait until it could create them for itself. Just as the child in its incipient feeling for life, learns to appreciate what is offered to it, so can the non-seer appreciate the truth of the teachings of Spiritual Science.
An insight into these teachings, based on a deeply rooted feeling for truth, and a clear, sound, all-round critical and reasoning faculty, is possible, even before spiritual things are actually perceived. The esoteric knowledge must first be studied, so that this study becomes a preparation for clairvoyance. A person attaining clairvoyance without such preparation would resemble a child born with eyes and ears but without a brain. The entire world of sound and colour would display itself before him, but he would be helpless in it.
- At this stage of his esoteric development, the student realizes, through personal inward experience, all that had previously appealed to his sense of truth, to his intellect and reason.
- He has now direct knowledge of his higher self.
- He learns how his higher self is connected with exalted spiritual beings, and forms with them a united whole.
- He sees how the lower self originates in a higher world, and it is revealed to him how his higher nature outlasts his lower.
- He can now distinguish the imperishable in himself from the perishable; that is, he learns, through personal insight, to understand the doctrine of the incarnation of the higher self in the lower.
- It will become plain to him that he is involved in a great spiritual complex, and that his qualities and destiny are due to this connection.
- He learns to recognize the law of his life, his Karma.
- He realizes that his lower self, constituting his present existence, is only one of the forms which his higher being can adopt.
- He discerns the possibility of working down from his higher self on to his lower self, so that he may perfect himself ever more and more.
- Now, too, he can rightly distinguish the great differences between human beings, in regard to their level of perfection.
- He becomes aware that there are others above him, who have already traversed the stages which still lie before him, and he realizes that the teachings and deeds of such men proceed from the inspiration of a higher world. He owes this knowledge to his first glimpse into this higher world. The so-called great Initiates of humanity now become vested with reality for him.
These, then, are the gifts which the student owes to his development at this stage: insight into his higher self; insight into the doctrine of the incarnation of this higher being into a lower; insight into the laws by which life in the physical world is regulated according to its spiritual connections, that is, the law of Karma; and finally, insight into the existence of the great Initiates.
From Belief to Knowledge
Thus it is said of a student who has reached this stage, that all doubt has vanished from him. His former faith, based on reason and sound thought, is now replaced by knowledge and insight which nothing can undermine. The various religious cults have presented, in their ceremonies, sacraments, and rites, externally visible pictures of the higher spiritual beings and events. None but those who have not penetrated to the depths of the great religious cults, can fail to recognize this fact. Personal insight into spiritual reality explains the great significance of these externally visible cults. Religious service, then, becomes for the seer an image of his own communion with the higher, spiritual world.
It has been shown how the student, by attaining this stage, becomes, in truth, a new being. He can now mature to still higher faculties, and, by means of the life-currents of his etheric body, control the higher and actual life-element, thus attaining independence, to a high degree, from the restrictions of the physical body.
There is more on the etheric body here: The Three Spiritual Principles of the Universe
On Alcohol, Meat and physical exercises
Although one can’t eat one’s way into the spiritual world, eating the wrong things can make spiritual development difficult or impossible.
Alcohol only arose after the Atlantean epoch to help men to become individualized. It closes man off from his higher capacities and encloses him in himself. That’s why alcohol was used in the Dionysian mysteries. But now all civilized people have reached that stage so that alcohol is an unnecessary evil today.
Through its use one loses the ability to get along with others and to understand them. Alcohol is especially harmful for esoterics since its use changes all developed higher forces into forces of the personal ego, repeatedly locks it into itself, and tears the astral body apart through the opposing streams of the higher and lower I forces. The principle through which everyone can consciously attain his individualization was brought through the coming of Christ to the earth. That’s why Christ Jesus says: I am the true vine.
By consuming alcohol one prepares a fertile soil for hosts of spiritual beings, just as a dirty room gets filled with flies.
The meat (but not milk and eggs) that we eat is permeated by the animal’s astral body, and so our astral body has to work to digest it. This takes it away from its real task of creating pictures. Also at night it’s held fast by the etheric body so that it can’t leave it properly. This hinders it from its nightly task of restoring vital forces.
Vegetarian food that consists of physical and etheric things support the creation of large, comprehensive pictures and so gives a greater insight that lets one oversee things better without much deliberation. The greater force doesn’t exhaust us, but summons spiritual forces.
Vegetarian food is excellent for doctors and lawyers who will find it easier to see through their patients or their clients’ affairs, but it’s not the right thing for bankers, industrialists, salesmen and others who have a lot of calculating, for one loses the ability to make physical combinations.
People who inherited a body that can’t stand vegetarianism should not undertake an esoteric training.
The jogging, exercising and bathing that are often recommended are wrong for an esoteric; they pull him down into his physical body. He should try to move his limbs as little as possible.