Sensitivity to the spiritual must be judged correctly. One must distinguish carefully: Is there really sensitivity to the spiritual, or is this sensitivity still physically explainable? If a person is not critical, he cannot talk acceptably about these things. I would also like to give you another example of this.
Once upon a time, a patient lived on the fourth floor of a house. The doctor had to visit her daily, even when she was already on the mend, because the case was quite dangerous. However, the doctor did not come at the same time every day but at very different hours; still, the sick person knew precisely when the doctor was coming – even if he was still downstairs. If he was still outside the house at the door, she already knew: Now the doctor is coming. – Mainly, however, she knew, when he was still in the hallway of the house, even before he had gone up a flight of stairs. People told the doctor about this, saying, “She is clairvoyant.”
Now, the doctor was a little edgy. Doctors don’t immediately believe such things. But when they told him over and over again, “Yes, our daughter is clairvoyant, she knows when you’re down there,” he said, “I’ll check this story!” And he carefully took off his boots before entering the house through the door. And then she didn’t know!
Now, you see, there are, of course, such cases, and they must be carefully checked because this patient had simply developed a sensitive hearing due to the prolonged lying down and had heard the steps, which one would not otherwise hear upstairs. If one immediately assumes that something is due to clairvoyance, one has no right to state that it is a spiritual phenomenon. One must distinguish very precisely between what can be perceived with the senses and what can’t.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 350 – Rhythmen im Kosmos und im Menschenwesen, Wie kommt man zum Schauen der geistigen Welt? – Dornach, June 13, 1923 (page 90-91)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger