The entrance into the spiritual world will definitely be achieved by those who tread the path I have characterized. When? One of the most outstanding participants in the theosophical movement, Subba Row, who died some time ago, has spoken fittingly about this. Replying to the question of how long it would take, he said, “Seven years, perhaps also seven times seven years, perhaps even seven incarnations, perhaps only seven hours.”
It all depends on what the human being brings with himself into life. We may meet a person who seems to be very stupid, but who has brought with himself a concealed higher life that needs only to be brought out. Most human beings these days are much further than it seems, and more people would know about this if the materialism of our conditions and of our time would not drive them back into the inner life of the soul.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – Esoteric Development: Lecture I – Berlin, 7th December 1905