If one compares the life, as it should be in the anthroposophical circle with the life of a worldly circle, which says one must not dedicate himself to asceticism, then I answer that the anthroposophist does not withdraw because he wants to escape from life, but because he wants to get to the true, real life.

Those who are interested in spiritual science experience no bigger asceticism, no bigger privation than dedicating themselves to the activities that one calls “life” in many circles. If one calls this “life:” getting up in the morning, reading his newspaper, doing this or that which has a practical use, taking part in this or that banal activity in the evening — if one calls this “life,” indeed, it is “asceticism” for the anthroposophist, an awful privation, namely if one makes him participate this life. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Knowledge of Soul and Spirit: Lecture VI: The So-Called Dangers of Initiation – Berlin, 12 December 1907

Painting by David Newbatt