We must always bear in mind that we should not imagine men living on in the spiritual world as they last were, when here

We must always bear in mind that we should not imagine men living on in the spiritual world as they last were, when here. The trivial ideas that people hold, as, for instance, that those who die as children continue to live on as children, are naturally incorrect. The imagination may picture the dead as we last saw them here, but that is not their true form; it is rather the expression of it. A child may die, but the human entity incarnated in the child may be a highly evolved soul, and continue its life after death as a highly evolved soul. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death – Lecture 3 – Berlin, 20th November 1915

About selfishness and early aging

Another interesting karmic relationship is between an habitually selfish attitude and a loving sympathy with others. Some people are hardened egoists — not only in their acquisitiveness — and others are unselfish and sympathetic. Both attitudes depend on the etheric body and may even find expression in the physical body. People who in one life have been habitually selfish will age quickly in their next life; they seem to shrivel up. On the other hand, if in one life you have been ready to make sacrifices and have loved others, you will remain young and hale. In this way you can prepare even the physical body for the next life.

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

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