Curative conception  

The spiritual conception of the world is a curative conception. Many people will say in answer to this assertion: Are all Anthroposophists healthy people? Are there no invalids among them? We must understand that fundamentally the individual can do very little for his health and his sickness. A large proportion of the causes of disease lies outside the individual personality. 

A person may have the healthiest ideas, which, if he were to live under quite healthy conditions, would result in his never being ill from internal causes; but there are other causes lying outside the power of the individual of today, the secret causes of heredity for example, the influences passing from one human being to another, the influences of unnatural environment, etc. 

All these influences, which, in a hidden way, are external causes of disease, can only be done away with gradually by a healthy Anthroposophical method of thought. Although we may observe that a person who is inwardly most healthy may fall ill, even dangerously ill, we must not regard this as a sign that Spiritual Science will fail to act curatively upon humanity in the course of centuries — I say centuries, not thousands of years.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 105 – Universe, Earth and Man: II – Stuttgart, 5th August, 1908

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Previously posted on October 23, 2017

Advice after the death of Anna Wagner

On December 31, 1905, Rudolf Steiner wrote to his esoteric pupil Paula Stryczek, who had turned to him for advice after the death of Anna Wagner (1847-1905):

Dear Miss Stryczek, 

Let me say this to you on the occasion of this unhappy event.
When a person dear to us crosses into the other worlds, it is especially important to send our thoughts and feelings without in any way giving the impression that we want her back, which would make life difficult for her in the new spheres she is entering.  What we would send into her worlds is not our own sorrow, but our love for her. Don’t misunderstand me; I do not mean that we must be hardened or indifferent.  But it should be possible for us to look toward the dead person and think, “May my love accompany you and surround you.”  According to my insights, such feelings give wings to the dead person, whereas the feelings of many mourners (such as, ‘Oh, if you were only still here with us’) become obstacles in her path. This is a general suggestion about how we ought to direct our feelings in such cases.  

In this particular case, let me advise you to take up some thoughts based on ancient occult traditions, although they are not yet fully accessible to me in good German.
In inner stillness, say them to yourself three times a day, one of which should be immediately before you fall asleep, so you take them with you into the spiritual world. Ideally, you should fall asleep with the thoughts:
May the offering of my love envelop you, cooling all heat, warming all cold.
May my gift of light carry you upward on wings of love. 
It is important to have the right feelings when it comes to the words “heat” and “cold”. They do not mean physical heat and cold but rather warmth and coolness of feeling, although it is not easy for someone still embedded in the physical heath to get an idea of what these qualities signify to the disembodied.  A recently deceased person must first become aware that the astral element is still effective even though it cannot make use of physical tools. Many of our earthly aspirations are fulfilled by physical tools, and now those tools are no longer there. The soul experiences not having physical organs as something similar to – but only similar to – a burning thirst. That is the strong sensation of “heat” upon becoming disembodied. The same applies to what our will wants to do: it is accustomed to using physical organs it no longer has. On the soul level, this “deprivation” is comparable to a sensation of cold.
Intervention by the living can be especially helpful with regard to these feelings, which are not exclusively the results of an individual life but are related to the mysteries of incarnation. That is why it is possible for us to come to the aid of a disembodied friend.
There is still one more thing that I would ask of you: precede the above sentences by directing a few thoughts toward Mr. Wagner. Their content should be something like this:
“her true love surrounded you until now and continues to surround you, unchanged.
May she continue to hold you, in strength of spirit, just as she illumined you through her visible presence.”
I wanted to write to you today, but physical work obscures spiritual experience,
and at the moment I have so much work to do on the physical plane that I cannot give you anything more specific than this general advice. Of course you should feel free to share these lines with anyone you see fit. I hope that many hearts will turn towards this personality who is dear to us.
Please give my best regards to our dear Doctor and be assured of the same for yourself.
Yours truly, Dr. Rudolf Steiner.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904 – 1914 (page 101-103)

This translation is from Peter Selg’s book The Path of the Soul After Death, translated by M. Saar

It is in the end of book notes (note 37)

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Previously posted on October 24, 2017

Spiritual Knowledge/Selflessness

We do not, as a rule, find that the pursuit of purely intellectual knowledge has any specific effect on character; but when a man has probed to the heart of spiritual knowledge, he knows that he cannot apprehend such knowledge without its affecting his character, without its entering — to speak in a paradox — into the flesh and blood of his soul, developing in him an inclination to selflessness, to love.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – Spiritual Knowledge: A Way of Life – The Hague, November 16th, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams

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Previously posted on October 20, 2017

Instrument of higher Beings

In the introductory lecture yesterday our attention was drawn to the fact that certain events in the more ancient history of mankind can be rightly understood only when we not merely observe the forces and faculties of the personalities themselves, but when we realise at the outset that through the personalities in question, as through instruments, Beings are working who allow their deeds to stream down from higher worlds into our world. 

We must realise that these Beings cannot take direct hold of the physical facts of our existence because, on account of the present stage of their development, they cannot incarnate in a physical body which draws its constituents from the physical world. If, therefore, they desire to work within our physical world, they must make use of the physical human being — of his deeds, but also of his intellect, his powers of understanding.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 126 – Occult History: Lecture 2 – Stuttgart, 28th December 1910

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Charles Davy

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Previously posted on October 19, 2017

Easier said than done

It is often said light-heartedly that, after all, a man need only know himself, need only try to be a good and righteous human being — and then he is a sufficiently good anthroposopher. Yes, my dear friends, but precisely this gives us the deeper knowledge that there is nothing more difficult than to be a good man in the real sense and that nothing needs so much preparation as the attainment of this ideal.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – The Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz: III. THE TRUE ATTITUDE TO KARMA – Vienna, 8th February 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

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Previously posted on October 11, 2017