The hidden side

In the physical world we always have to take into consideration a revealed side, the phenomena, and a hidden side, the forces. When we are active on the physical plane, in the first place we bring about phenomena, but every action does in fact reach up also into the Arupa plane (the higher regions of the spiritual world) and has there its counter-action. Deeds on the physical plane impress themselves into the Arupa plane, like a monogram into a seal and there remain. The substance of the Arupa plane is delicate, soft and enduring; it is Akasha and human actions remain inscribed there.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – THE FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM: Lecture XXI – Berlin, 19th October 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett



The pupil can sometimes be more brilliant than the teacher

As a teacher, one has a variety of individualities before one, and one should not stand in front of the class with the feeling: The way I am, is the way these pupils should all become through my teaching and education. This is how one should absolutely not feel. Why not? Now there could be, if we are lucky, among the students that we have in our class, apart from those who are not very clever, two or three who may be exceptionally talented. And you will have to admit that it is not possible to have only geniuses for teachers and that in fact it will not infrequently occur that the teacher does not have the capacities that those they are teaching and educating will perhaps develop in the future. But the teacher does not only need to teach those who have the same capacities as he has himself, he must also educate and teach those who are far more talented and would surpass him in time. However, he will only be able to do this if he does not try to educate the pupils as if they should become similar to what he is himself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 306 – Pädagogische Praxis – Dornach, April 20, 1923 (p. 130-131)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Previously posted on  27 september 2018

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

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Previously posted on 26 september 2018

Passionless thinking

There is usually only one area where we have pure thoughts, that is in mathematics. When people calculate, their passions are usually very little involved. Because the majority of people everywhere wish to exercise their feeling and critical faculty they have no love for mathematics. Here one cannot vote in parliamentary fashion. Mathematical truth is recognised by man through truth itself; a problem can only have one solution. Whether one or a million people hold their own view about it, the problem must find the same solution. Nowhere should we need majority decisions, if it were possible in all spheres to make decisions in a way as free from emotion, as objectively, as in mathematics. In Europe one can only point to this as to an ideal, in the hope that one day, in other spheres of life, judgements will be, reached equally objectively and free from emotion.

Thinkers would not disagree so violently if they would take all the factors into consideration completely objectively, for truth cannot approach man in different ways. People hold different opinions because with their instincts and passions they are involved in their ideas in different ways. […..] No philosophy dealing with human matters was expressed so objectively, with such pure mathematical thinking, as the Vedanta philosophy which is truly philosophical in the highest sense of the word. Whoever imbues himself with this, knows what the following means: ‘I need no other person in order to know whether something is true.’ Whoever actually raises himself to this clear, passionless thinking, needs no other opinion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93a – THE FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM: Lecture XXI – Berlin, 19th October 1905

Translated by Vera and Judith Compton-Burnett


Exercises / Health

In our present cycle of humanity, occult training may not go so far as to lead to the injury of the physical body — still there is, however, a degree of occult development which leads to the possibility that the physical body and the etheric body may draw to themselves inwardly destructive forces; [….] but every true occult development provides the remedies at the same time, and these remedies are given in that which you find described in my book, Occult Science, as the six auxiliary occult exercises: Concentration of thought; that is, strenuous exertion of thought, the concentrated gathering together of thoughts; the development of a certain Initiative of Will; a certain Equilibrium of joy and sorrow, a certain Positivity in relation to the world, a certain Impartiality. (Steiner does not mention the sixth exercise here, but it is called Harmony, the balanced combination of the exercises.)

The student who endeavours to develop these qualities in his soul parallel with his occult development, on the one hand certainly produces in himself a sort of effort to break the physical and etheric bodies to pieces, that is, under the influence of occult development to take in the seed of death; but to the same extent that this develops it is annulled, so that it is never really active when a person develops the qualities mentioned, or when through his moral development he already possesses the qualities equivalent to these six. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 145 – THE EFFECT OF OCCULT DEVELOPMENT UPON THE SELF AND THE SHEATHS OF MAN: Lecture X – The Hague, 29 March 1913