Not what you do, but also what you are

You can only become good teachers and educators if you pay attention not merely to what you do, but also to what you are. It is really for this reason that we have Spiritual Science with its anthroposophical outlook: to perceive the significance of the fact that man is effective in the world not only through what he does, but above all through what he is.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man – Lecture I – Stuttgart, 21st August 2019

Translated by Harwood Fox

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Steiner at a christening

“I would next like to relate what happened at the Christening of my son Christward Johannes because that too shows so much of Dr. Steiner‘s character. It was in our room that the ceremony was enacted in the house of Frau Wirz which is the present `Schiefer’ boarding-house. We had decorated the room very beautifully with flowers and the altar stood beneath the ‘Milan’ Christ picture. My son wore a traditional light blue Christening gown and was in a ‘carrying-cushion’ of the same colour. It had been worn in our family for generations and looked very festive and splendid. 

To my dismay the child cried a lot during the service and afterwards Dr Steiner Said to me: ‘Yes, he was hungry.’ I told him that he had had his bottle just before the Christening but Dr Steiner said, ‘Nevertheless he was hungry. Get him another bottle straight away.’ I was a little afraid that it might not be good for him because the ward sister had told me not to give him too much to drink. 

But when the bottle was ready Dr Steiner took the child on his lap, sat down comfortably in the armchair and fed it himself f and the bottle was empty in no time. ‘You see, he is happy now and is laughing. Give him an extra bottle from me every day.’ It did the child a lot of good and he throve splendidly.” 

(this was approximately 1923)

Reminiscences of Rudolf Steiner and Marie Steiner-von Sivers by Ilona Schubert – Temple Lodge Press, London 1991

Steiner at a christening

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Powers are awakened which otherwise remain dormant

Every moment that we set ourselves to discover in our consciousness whatever there remains in it of adverse, disparaging and critical judgement of the world and of life; every such moment brings us nearer to higher knowledge. And we rise rapidly when we fill our consciousness in such moments with thoughts evoking in us admiration, respect and veneration for the world and for life. 

It is well known to those experienced in these matters that in every such moment powers are awakened which otherwise remain dormant. In this way the spiritual eyes of man are opened. He begins to see things around him which he could not have seen before. He begins to understand that hitherto he had only seen a part of the world around him. A human being standing before him now presents a new and different aspect.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – How to know higher worlds – 1. How Is Knowledge of the Higher Worlds Attained? – Conditions

Translated by George Metaxa

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Veneration and Devotion

If we do not develop within ourselves this deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve to something higher. The initiate has only acquired the strength to lift his head to the heights of knowledge by guiding his heart to the depths of veneration and devotion. The heights of the spirit can only be climbed by passing through the portals of humility. You can only acquire right knowledge when you have learnt to esteem it. Man has certainly the right to turn his eyes to the light, but he must first acquire this right. 

There are laws in the spiritual life, as in the physical life. Rub a glass rod with an appropriate material and it will become electric, that is, it will receive the power of attracting small bodies. This is in keeping with a law of nature. It is known to all who have learnt a little physics. Similarly, acquaintance with the first principles of spiritual science shows that every feeling of true devotion harbored in the soul develops a power which may, sooner or later, lead further on the path of knowledge.

The student who is gifted with this feeling, or who is fortunate enough to have had it inculcated in a suitable education, brings a great deal along with him when, later in life, he seeks admittance to higher knowledge. Failing such preparation, he will encounter difficulties at the very first step, unless he undertakes, by rigorous self-education, to create within himself this inner life of devotion. In our time it is especially important that full attention be paid to this point. Our civilization tends more toward critical judgment and condemnation than toward devotion and selfless veneration. Our children already criticize far more than they worship. But every criticism, every adverse judgment passed, disperses the powers of the soul for the attainment of higher knowledge in the same measure that all veneration and reverence develops them.

In this we do not wish to say anything against our civilization. There is no question here of leveling criticism against it. To this critical faculty, this self-conscious human judgment, this “test all things and hold fast what is best,” we owe the greatness of our civilization. Man could never have attained to the science, the industry, the commerce, the rights relationships of our time, had he not applied to all things the standard of his critical judgment. But what we have thereby gained in external culture we have had to pay for with a corresponding loss of higher knowledge of spiritual life. It must be emphasized that higher knowledge is not concerned with the veneration of persons but the veneration of truth and knowledge.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – How to know higher worlds – 1. How Is Knowledge of the Higher Worlds Attained? – Conditions

Translated by George Metaxa

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Heart and head

It is extremely harmful for our time that many of the men who hold high and responsible positions in public life have had to study as one does today. There are whole branches of learning that are taught in such a way that throughout the entire school year the student will be unable to spend his time and energy really thinking through what he has heard from his professors. As a result, when he is faced with an exam, he is forced to cram for it. This cramming, however, is dreadful because it provides no real connection of interest of the soul with the subject matter that the student is to be examined in. No wonder the prevailing opinion of the student often is one of wanting to forget as soon as possible what he has just had to learn!

What are the consequences of these educational methods? In some respects, men are no doubt receiving the training needed to take part in public life. But, as a result of their schooling, they are not inwardly united with their work. They feel remote from it. Now there is nothing worse than to feel remote in your heart from the things you have to do with your head.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Overcoming nervousness – Munich, January 11, 1912

Translated by R. M. Querido and Gilbert Church

Previously posted on October 7, 2014

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