Moral thinking/Esoteric development

There is nothing more disturbing for the knowledge of the supersensible worlds than filling the human soul with immoral impulses. That is why it is deeply founded to demand a kind of moral thinking in the most eminent sense as a preparation of the esoteric development. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 159 – The Mystery of Death - Nuremberg, 14th March 1915

Nothing can be truly understood if it is looked at from one side only  

Nothing can be truly understood if it is looked at from one side only. Everything which appears to us in one condition was quite different in earlier times; only by relating the present to the past can it be understood. Similarly, if you do not look beyond the physical world of the senses, you will never understand illness, or the mission of evil.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VIII: Good and Evil. Individual Karmic Questions. – Stuttgart, 29th August 1906

Example and imitation

In the first period of life, from the first to the seventh year the child is mainly an imitating being. But we have to understand this in the broadest sense of the word. […] In relation to these things people sometimes ask for advice at one or the other event. So, for example, a father once complained to me about his five-year-old child. ‘What did this five-year-old child do? ‘I asked. ‘It stole ‘, said the father unhappily. I told him: ‘ then one must first consider how the theft actually took place.’  Then he told me, that the child had not actually stolen out of wickedness. He had taken money from the drawer of his mother and purchased sweets. Afterwards he divided the sweets among the children in the street. So it was not bare selfishness. What actually took place then? Now, every day the child  sees the mother take money from the drawer. At the age of five years the child is an imitator. It did not steal; it simply did what he had seen his mother do daily, because the child instinctively considers what the mother does as right. – This is a typical example of the subtleties which one should be aware of when one wants to educate in accordance with the true being of man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Education towards Life: Self Education and the Practice of Pedagogy – Utrecht, 24th February 1921

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Utrecht, 24 februari 1921 (p. 19-20)

Translated by Nesta Carsten

Reincarnation – Beginning and ending  

It is a wrong conception when theosophists believe that reincarnation had no beginning and will have no ending. Reincarnation started in the Lemurian Age and will cease again at the beginning of the sixth Root Race or Age (about 7893 after Chr.). It is only a certain period of time in earth evolution during which mankind reincarnates. It was preceded by a most spiritual condition which precluded any necessity for reincarnation and there will follow again a spiritual state which will likewise obviate the necessity for reincarnation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Temple Legend – Lecture 1 – Berlin, 23rd May 1904

Egoism and worry

Along the Way of Initiation there is a secret connection between all that a man’s egoism can make him do and that attitude of soul which is expressed by the word ‘Care’ (maybe the word ‘worry’  is better here. R.v.D.). In that man who is far enough to look selflessly into the spiritual world, there is no care. Care is the companion of egoisms. And as little as some can perhaps believe that when Care is present, egoism has not disappeared, so true is it that on the long, self-denying path into the spiritual world, egoism must completely vanish. If man steps into the spiritual world and brings with him into it any trace of egoism, Care comes and reveals itself as a disturbing power.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – The European Mysteries and their Initiates – Goethe’s Secret Revelation – Berlin, 12th March 1909

Logic is the same on all three planes

Parallel with the occult training, there is a definite development of thinking, without which no occult training can be carried through. This is because there is something about thinking which does not apply to anything else. When we are on the physical plane, we perceive with the physical senses only what is to be found on that plane. Astral perceptions are valid for the astral plane; devachanic hearing is valid only in Devachan. Thus each plane has its own specific form of perception. But one activity — logical thinking — goes through all worlds. Logic is the same on all three planes. Thus on the physical plane you can learn something which is valid also for the higher planes.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture XII: Occult Development – Stuttgart, 2nd September 1906

The memory fades, the fruits remain

The impressions that man acquires from his experiences fade gradually from memory. Not so, however, their fruits. We do not remember all the experiences lived through during childhood while acquiring the arts of reading and writing. Yet we could not read or write had we not had such experiences, and had not their fruits been preserved in the form of abilities. Such is the transmutation that the spirit effects in the treasures of memory. The spirit consigns to its fate whatever can lead to pictures of the separate experiences, and extracts therefrom only the force necessary for enhancing its abilities. Thus not a single experience passes by unutilized. The soul preserves each one as memory, and from each the spirit draws forth all that can enrich its abilities and the whole content of its life. The human spirit grows through assimilated experiences, and although one cannot find past experiences in the spirit as if in a storeroom, one nevertheless finds their effects in the abilities that man has acquired.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy – Chapter II: Re-Embodiment of the Spirit and Destiny