The Spiritland – The person with spiritual vision is as familiar with spirit beings as he is with his dog or his cat

It must above all things be emphasized that this world is woven out of the substance of which human thought consists. The word “substance,” too is here used in a far from strict or accurate sense. Thought, however, as it lives in man, is only a shadow picture, a phantom of its true nature. Just as the shadow of an object on the wall is related to the real object that throws this shadow, so is the thought that makes its appearance through a human brain related to the being in the spiritland that corresponds to this thought.

When his spiritual sense is awakened, man really perceives this thought being, just as the eye of the senses perceives a table or a chair. He goes about in a region of thought beings. The corporeal eye perceives the lion, and the thinking directed to the sensibly perceptible thinks merely the thought, “lion” as a shadow, a shadowy picture. The spiritual eye sees in spiritland the thought “lion” as really and actually as the corporeal eye sees the physical lion.

Here we may again refer to the analogy already used regarding the land of the soul. Just as the surroundings of a man born blind operated upon appear suddenly with the new qualities of color and light, so do the surroundings of the person who learns to use his spiritual eye appear as a new world, the world of living thoughts or spirit beings. In this world there are to be seen, first, the spiritual archetypes of all things and beings that are present in the physical and soul worlds. Imagine a painter’s picture existing in his mind before it is painted. This gives an analogy to what is meant by the expression archetype. It does not concern us here that the painter has perhaps not had such an archetype in his mind before he paints and that it only gradually develops and becomes complete during the execution of the picture.

In the real world of spirit there exist such archetypes for all things, and the physical things and beings are copies of these archetypes. It is quite understandable when anyone who only trusts his outer senses denies this archetypal world and holds that archetypes are merely abstractions gained by an intellectual comparison of sense objects. Such a person simply cannot see in this higher world. He knows the thought world only in its shadowy abstraction. He does not know that the person with spiritual vision is as familiar with spirit beings as he himself is with his dog or his cat, and that the archetypal world has a far more intense reality than the world of the physical senses.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy -Chapter III: The Three Worlds: 3. The Spiritland

Previously posted on August 26, 2014

Control of Thought

How difficult it is for a person to push away intruding thoughts time and again. Often thoughts keep on intruding – especially the unpleasant ones – for days on end. One cannot get rid them. It gets even more difficult once we have taught ourselves to concentrate our thoughts. The thought content on which we have concentrated, takes hold of us and we need to summon up tremendous effort to eliminate it again.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 305 –Die geistig-seelischen Grundkräfte der Erziehungskunst – Oxford, 20 August 1922 (page 87)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 29, 2014

The placebo effect

The immense difference between the effect of abstract concepts and that of imaginative knowledge is easiest to see in an incident where the effect was painful in nature: A man was present when his brother had a leg amputated. As the bone was cut it made a strange sound; at that moment the man felt a fierce pain in his leg at the place corresponding to where his brother’s Operation was taking place. For a long time he could not rid himself of the pain, even when his brother no longer felt any. The sound emitted from the bone had, through the Power of imagination, impressed itself deeply into the man’s ether body and produced the pain.

A physician in Bern once made an interesting experiment. He took an ordinary horseshoe and connected to it two wires of the type used in electrical machinery. Everyone thought the gadget must be electrified, and those who touched it were certain they felt an electric current; there were even some who were convinced they experienced a violent shock. All these effects were produced simply by what the persons concerned imagined to themselves; no remonstration convinced them otherwise. People became rich by manufacturing pills from ordinary bread. The pills were supposed to cure all kinds of illnesses, but were especially popular for curing sleeplessness. A lady, a patient in a sanatorium, took such a pill regularly every evening and enjoyed sound sleep. One night she decided to take her own life and swallowed as many of these pills as she could lay her hands on. It was discovered, and the doctors were greatly alarmed; she showed all the signs of someone dying. One doctor remained calm, the one who had manufactured the pills.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Supersensible Knowledge: Lecture IX: Wisdom and Health – Berlin, 14th February 1907

Translated by Rita Stebbing

Previously posted on October 11, 2014

Modesty

It is just as one begins to discover the spiritual world, that he becomes aware of how little he actually knows about it. We have no reason to fear those with deep spiritual knowledge becoming arrogant. Pride may only overcome those who speak in phrases about the spiritual world, who talk about the spirit without having any knowledge of it, and refer to it in purely philosophical terms. But those who penetrate into the spiritual world, become certain that neither arrogance nor stubbornness will ever touch them, because they realise how insignificant they are compared to that world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 329 – Die Befreiung des Menschenwesens als Grundlage für eine soziale Neugestaltung – Bern, 6 November 1919 (page 278-279)

Anonymous translator

A much more magnificent work than all earthly cultural activity

It is doubtless justified to sing the praises of all that human beings are doing for civilization, for culture, on earth. Far from condemning this singing of praises, I declare myself, once and for all, in favor of it when it is done in a reasonable way. But a much more encompassing, a much more exalted, a much more magnificent work than all earthly cultural activity is performed by heavenly civilization, as it might be called, between death and a new birth: the spiritual preparation, the spiritual weaving of the human body. For nothing more exalted exists in the world order than the weaving of the human being out of the world’s ingredients. With the help of the gods, the human being is woven during the important period between death and a new birth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 226 – Man’s Being, His Destiny and World-Evolution: Lecture II – Kristiana, 17th May 1923

Translated by Erna McArthur

Previously posted on September 8, 2014