If we were always only to encounter what we wish for ourselves, such a life would make us weaklings

The whole feeling and attitude of soul that must emerge from a true understanding of karma, is one which makes us realise when, perhaps some misfortune befalls us as consequence of an earlier weakness in the life of soul — that if this misfortune had not come about, the weakness would have persisted. Looking into the depths of our soul, we must realise: It is good and right that this misfortune has come upon me, because it has enabled a weakness to be eliminated. […] That man alone faces misfortune aright who says to himself: ‘If it has occurred because of an earlier weakness, it is to be welcomed, for it will make me conscious of the weakness (which expressed itself perhaps in some definite failing); I will now eradicate the weakness, I will be strong again.’ […] In a case, on the other hand, where a misfortune befalls one as the first step in karma, the right attitude is to say to oneself: If we were always only to encounter what we wish for ourselves, such a life would make us out and out weaklings! One or two earthly lives might continue to be comfortable and easy through the fact that only that would befall us that we desired for ourselves — but in the third or fourth life a kind of paralysis of soul and spirit would supervene, and no effort to overcome obstacles would arise in us. For, after all, obstacles would not be there for us to overcome unless the unhoped-for, the undesired came upon us.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 224 – The Forming of Destiny in Sleeping and Waking – Bern, April 6, 1923

Previously posted on March 30, 2014

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