Serenity and acceptance of our destiny

What characteristics must we specially cultivate if we wish to work in a beneficial way on our will life?

Most beneficial of all in our will nature is the influence of a life directed in its entire character towards a comprehension of karma. We might also say a soul life which strives to develop, as its primary characteristic, serenity and acceptance of our destiny. And what better way can one find of developing this acceptance, this calmness of soul in the presence of one’s destiny, than by making karma an actual content in one’s life?

What do we mean by this? It means that — not merely theoretically but in a living way — when our own sorrow or the sorrow of another comes upon us, when we experience joy or the heaviest blow of fate, we shall really be fully aware that, in a certain higher sense, we ourselves have given the occasion for this painful blow of fate.

Our serenity, our acceptance of our karma in all occurrences, strengthens our will. We grow stronger in facing life with serenity, never weaker. Through anger and impatience we become weak. In the face of every occurrence we are strong when we are serene. On the contrary, we become continually weaker in will through moroseness and an unnatural rebellion against destiny.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted in two parts, on 8 and 9 December 2013

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Spiritual darkness

In the thirteenth century spiritual darkness fell for a time upon all human beings, even the most enlightened, and also upon the initiates. Whatever knowledge of the spiritual worlds existed in the thirteenth century came from tradition or from men who in still earlier times had been initiates and were able to call up memories of what they had then experienced. But for a brief space of time it was impossible even for these men to have direct vision of the spiritual world. Darkness had to fall for this short period to prepare for the intellectual culture which was to be characteristic of our modern age. The important point is that we have this kind of culture today in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. Culture in the Greek epoch was quite different. Instead of the modern, intellectual kind of thinking, direct perception was then the dominant faculty; the human being was one, as it were, with what he saw and heard, even with what he thought. He did not cogitate and reason as he does today, and needs must do, for this is the task of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch. In the thirteenth century it was necessary for especially suitable personalities to be singled out for initiation, and the initiation itself could only take place after that brief period of darkness had come to an end.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 1 – Cassel, 27th January 1912

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on July 8, 2014

The best method of developing good thinking

We nurture and sharpen the thinking especially by the development of characteristics which seem to have nothing whatever to do with thinking, with concepts. The best method of developing good thinking is by complete absorption and insight, not so much through logical exercises but by observing one thing and another, using for this purpose processes in nature, in order to penetrate into hidden mysteries. Through absorption in problems of nature and of humanity, through the endeavour to understand complex personalities, through the intensifying of attentiveness, we grow wise. Absorption means striving to unravel something by thinking, by conceiving. In this connection, we shall be able to see that such mental absorption has a wonderfully good effect in later life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on June 16, 2014

We can speak of Karma not only in the case of individual persons

We can speak of Karma not only in the case of individual persons, for man should not consider himself as a single being. If the individual were to rise even a few miles above the earth, the result would be the same as if the finger severed itself from the body.

If we penetrate into spiritual science we are literally forced to admit through this knowledge that we should not delude ourselves to the extent of insisting that we are single beings. This applies to the physical world and even more to the spiritual world. Man belongs to the whole world and his destiny is involved with that of the entire world. Karma touches not only the individual, but also the life of whole nations.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture VII: The Law of Karma – Kassel, 22nd June 1907

Habits, Actions and Destiny

A bad habit in itself does not mean that I have done something; but if this bad habit leads to an action, this action changes the external world. In fact, everything which thus exercises an influence upon the physical world returns to us during our next life as our external destiny in the physical world. Thus the deeds of our physical body during this life become our destiny in the next. We learn this through being placed in this or in that life-situation. Whether a person is happy or unhappy in one or other condition of life depends upon his actions during his preceding life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture VII: The Law of Karma – Kassel, 22nd June 1907