The dead are perpetually working into our physical world

You must remind yourselves that as well as living through his life here between birth and death, man passes again and again through the life between death and a new birth. Just as here on earth we have experiences through the instrumentality of our body, we also have experiences between death and a new birth, and these experiences are by no means without significance for what we do during our earthly existence in the physical body. But neither are they without significance for what happens on earth as a whole. 

For only part — and indeed the rather lesser part — of what happens on the earth originates from those who are living in the physical body. The dead are perpetually working into our physical world. The forces of which man is unwilling to speak today in the age of materialism are nevertheless at work in the physical world. Our physical environment is fashioned and permeated not only by the forces emanating from the spiritual world, from the Beings of the higher Hierarchies, but forces proceeding from the dead also penetrate into what surrounds and overtakes us here. So that a full and complete survey of man’s life is possible only if we look beyond what can be told us by knowledge obtained through the senses and through history, here on earth. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, 18th January 1920

Previously posted on March 27, 2017

Asleep

I have often said that although men are awake, they actually sleep through the most important concerns in life. And I can give you the not very heartening assurance that anyone who goes through life with alert consciousness to-day finds numbers and numbers of human beings who are really asleep. They let events happen without taking the slightest interest in them, without troubling about them or associating themselves with these happenings in any way. Great world-events often pass men by just as something that is taking place in the city passes a sleeper by … although people are apparently awake.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – The Work of the Angels In Man’s Astral Body – Zurich, 9th October, 1918

Translated by D. S. Osmond with the help of Owen Barfield 

Previously posted on March 24, 2017

The principle “I believe” has to be replaced with “I believe what I know.”

Truly spiritual thoughts nourish our soul and maintain it. It would be the death of our soul if it always had to live in thoughts taken only from the physical world. In earlier times, religious beliefs were such spiritual thoughts human souls need. That phase of our development has been completed, and we live now in a time when we on earth will gradually lose the ability to take in what speaks only to our emotions, our faith. 

We can still preserve this faith for a time, galvanizing it, so to speak, but we cannot keep it for the future. The principle “I believe” has to be replaced with “I believe what I know.” People will begin to feel that this new principle must be applied. Otherwise we deny ourselves any possibility of knowing something about the life between death and a new birth. Then we would return to pitiful conditions in our next incarnation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE SIX: FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE – Prague, April 17, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

The power of the fairy tales

Materialists say myths and fairy tales originated in the childhood stage of the human race. But in its childhood, humanity was taught by the gods. In the process of our evolution, myths and fairy tales are gradually lost, but children should not grow up without them. It makes a tremendous difference whether or not children are allowed to grow up with fairy tales. The power of the fairy tale images, which give wings to the soul, becomes apparent only at a later age.

Growing up without fairy tales leads later to boredom, to world-weariness. Indeed, it can even cause physical symptoms — fairy tales can help to prevent illnesses. The qualities that seep into our soul from fairy tales later emerge as a zest for life, enthusiasm for being alive, and an ability to cope with life, all of which can be seen even in old age. Children have to experience the power of the content of fairy tales while they are young and can still do so. People who cannot live with ideas that have no reality on the physical plane will be dead to the spiritual world. Philosophies based only on the material world are the death of our soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE SIX: FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE – Prague, April 17, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Common sense

Even the Initiate, if he has not developed his reason in the right way, gains nothing whatever from his super-sensible experiences. When someone today — please take what I am now saying as a really serious matter — has learnt to think in a way perfectly adapted to meeting the demands of school examinations, when he acquires habits of thought that enable him to pass academic tests with flying colours — then his reasoning faculty will be so vitiated that even if millions of experiences of the super-sensible world were handed to him on a platter, he would see them as little as you could physically see the objects in a dark room. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Some Conditions for Understanding Supersensible Experiences – Dornach, 18th January 1920

Previously posted on March 22, 2017