Why we do not remember our former incarnations?

People often ask why we do not remember our former incarnations. I have often answered this question, which is like saying that because a four-year-old child cannot do arithmetic, human beings cannot do arithmetic. When the child reaches ten, he or she will be able to multiply with ease. It is the same with the soul. If it cannot remember our former incarnations today, the time will come when it will be able to do so. Then it will possess the same capacity initiates have.

This new development is happening today. There are numerous souls nowadays who are so far advanced that they are close to the moment of remembering their former incarnations, or at least the last one. A number of people are at the threshold of comprehensive memory, embracing life between birth and death as well as previous incarnations. Many people will remember their present incarnation when they are reborn in their next life. It is simply a question of how they remember. The anthroposophical movement is to help and guide people to remember in the right way.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The ego – Lecture 1 – Munich, December 4, 1909

Translated by Gilbert Church

Previously posted on Eebruary 16, 2018

The best way to educate children is through self-education   

It is no exaggeration to say that the one who, in the environment of the child, as far as this is before the age of seven, from his inner being tries very hard to be a good person, a person who has a good attitude to life, who conscientiously decides not to do anything wrong in his thought life, his emotional life, towards the child, not even unspoken, has the most substantial influence on the child because of the imponderable features of life. 

In this respect, there is still much to be looked at, which – if I may say so – still exist between the lines in life. As we have gradually encapsulated ourselves in a more materialistic life, especially as far as the finer things in life are concerned, we have become more accustomed to finding such things unimportant. Only when they are valued again will there be the definite impetus that pedagogy needs, especially in an age that wants to call itself social, a socially-minded age. You cannot correctly assess specific life experiences if you do not appreciate those things that underlie man’s spirit and soul.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297 – Idee  und  Praxis der  Waldorfschule – Bazel, 27 november 1919 (bladzijde  163-164)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Power of judgment / Memory in the next incarnation

If that is really to come to pass which ought to come to pass, namely, that in the course of ensuing incarnations a sufficiently large number of people have a memory of this present incarnation, then provision for this must be made beforehand. Develop, therefore, your power of judgment; then you are candidates for the memory, in your next incarnation, of the present one. See to it that you are able to follow the world with your thoughts. For however much you can see m a visionary way, it will give you no help in remembering back to the present incarnation. 

And it is the mission of Spiritual Science to prepare the way for what must needs come — namely, that there may be a sufficiently large number of people who out of their own knowledge can look back to this present incarnation. How many come to the point in this incarnation of accompanying their knowledge of Spiritual Science with clairvoyant powers depends on the karma of each individual. 

There are certainly many sitting here whose karma will not allow them to see the world clairvoyantly in this incarnation. But all those who acquire what is given in true Spiritual Science, clothed as it is in the forms of thought, will reap the fruits of it in the next incarnation; for in this one they will have laid the right foundation. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The Tasks and Aims of Spiritual Science – Stuttgart, November 13, 1909

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Previously posted on February 10, 2018

A thousand times better

It is a thousand times better to have grasped the ideas of Spiritual Science with thought first of all, and then — sooner or later, each according to his karma — to be able oneself to ascend into the spiritual worlds; a thousand times better than to have ‘seen’ straight-away and not to have grasped with thought the knowledge that is imparted in the Movement known as the Anthroposophical. A thousand times better it is indeed, to know spiritual science and to see nothing as yet, than to see something and not be able to penetrate it with thought, for that is how unreliability is introduced.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 117 – The Tasks and Aims of Spiritual Science – Stuttgart, November 13, 1909

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Previously posted on February 9, 2018

Intellectual humility

We must acknowledge with intellectual humility our impotence to penetrate the universe with understanding by means of the natural gifts with which we are born; and we must then admit that there may be ways of self-development and of unfolding the inner powers of our being to see in that which lies spread out before the senses the living spirit and the living soul. 

My writings to which I have referred show that it is possible to put this in practice. This must be said, because intellectualism, the fruit of evolution of the last few centuries, is no longer able to solve the riddles of life. Into one region of life, that of inanimate nature, it is able to penetrate, but it is compelled to halt before human reality, more especially social reality.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 332a – IV – CULTURAL QUESTIONS. SPIRITUAL SCIENCE (ART, SCIENCE, RELIGION). – THE NATURE OF EDUCATION. SOCIAL ART – Zurich, October 28, 1919

Translation by Henry B. Monges

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1891 by Otto Fröhlich