What could be more uplifting?

What could be more uplifting than to know that we can discover the fount of our life between death and rebirth. We can discover our kinship with the whole universe! What could give us greater strength for our duties in life than the knowledge that we bear within us the forces pouring in from the universe and must so prepare ourselves in life that these forces can become active in us when, between death and rebirth, we pass into the spheres of the planets and of the Sun.

One who truly grasps what occultism can reveal to him about man’s relation to the world of the stars can say with sincerity and understanding the prayer that might be worded somewhat as follows, “The more conscious I become that I am born out of the universe, the more deeply I feel the responsibility to develop in myself the forces given to me by a whole universe, the better human being I can become.”

One who knows how to say this prayer from the depths of the soul may also hope that it will become in him a fulfilled ideal. He may hope that through the power of such a prayer he will indeed become a better and more perfect man. Thus what we receive through true spiritual science works into the most intimate depths of our being.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: III – Hanover, November 18, 1912

Translated by Rene Querido

Knowledge of the spiritual world can only be acquired on earth

The fact that the dead live in the spiritual world does not necessarily give them knowledge of the world, although they can see it. The knowledge which can be acquired through Spiritual Science can only be acquired on earth; it cannot be acquired in the spiritual world. If, therefore, the beings in the spiritual world are to possess it too, they can only gain it from the beings still on the earth. That is an important secret of the spiritual worlds. We may live in them and be able to perceive them, but the necessary knowledge concerning these worlds can only be acquired on earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Descriptive Sketches of the Spiritual World: Lecture I – Bergen, 10th October 1913

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on February 17, 2015

Experiences are transformed and become capabilities, skills and talents

The way in which the experiences here on earth are processed, is such that only a very small portion of these experiences are retained; every ability one acquires needs much more than what is retained in the end. For example, one does not remember how one has learned to write. Acquiring the ability to write was accompanied by a variety of experiences. These experiences contract, as it were, into a single power, the skill of writing. What at first is outer experience turns into a skill. In all experiences there lies such a possibility, such an opportunity: the experiences one gains in life can later on transform into abilities, talents. The conversion takes place after death. When the person is born again they will appear as talents, as capabilities. This is the basic feeling in devachan: that all experiences are transformed to capabilities, life-skills. That results in a feeling of bliss…. a stream of happiness permeates the people. All creative activity evokes a feeling of bliss. The relationships that have been spun in the world are much more intense in devachan than here on Earth. The limitations of space and time fall away. One can in fact penetrate other people.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft – Berlin, 22nd October 1906 (page182-183)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on February 5, 2016

Only who knows nothing about the real life can do vivisection

Vivisection originated from the materialistic way of thinking which is destitute of any intuition which cannot look in the works of life. This way of thinking must look at the body as a mechanical interaction of the single parts. Then it is quite natural that one takes the animal experiment where one believes that the same interaction takes place as with the human being to recognise and combat certain illness processes. Only who knows nothing about the real life can do vivisection.

A time comes when the human beings figure out the single life of a creature in connection with the life of the whole universe. The human beings get reverence for life. Then they learn to realise: any life that is taken away from a living being, any harm that is caused to a living being lessens the noblest forces of our own human nature because of a connection which exists between life and life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 53 – Origin and Goal of the Human Being – Lecture XXII – Berlin, 25th May 1905

Previously posted on August 12, 2015

Anecdote

There is a lovely anecdote about how the different peoples study natural history, say, for example, studying a kangaroo, or maybe some animal from Africa.   

The Englishman makes a trip to Africa – as Darwin once did, to acquire scientific knowledge, travels around the world and considers the animal in the environment where it really lives. Then he can see how it lives, what his natural circumstances are.  

The Frenchman brings the animal from the wilderness into the zoo. He studies it at the zoo; He does not consider the animal in its natural environment, but in the zoo.  

And what does the German do? He does not interfere with the animal at all, what it looks like, but he sits in his study and begins to think. The thing in itself does not interest him – in line with the Kantian philosophy, as I have told you recently – but he is only interested in what is in his head.  There he thinks about it. And after he has thought about it long enough, he says something. But what he has to say is not in accord with reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 353 – Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker – Dornach, May 20, 1924 (page 273)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger