Suppose you experience something that affects you very deeply (1 of 3)

Suppose you experience something that affects you very deeply, some event that moves you to joy or sorrow. Now you know that the whole of life runs its course in such a way that we can separate it into periods of about seven years in length. Roughly speaking, the first is from birth to the change of teeth, the second to the age of puberty, the third to the beginning of the twenty-first year, and so on. All these boundary lines are of course only approximate. Here then we have one division that shows itself in the course of human life.

The turning-points in the development of the human being which we arrive at by this method are clearly marked in the earlier part of life — change of teeth, and puberty — but later are more or less concealed, although they can be distinctly noted by one who knows what to look for. That which takes place in the soul and spirit of the human being about the twenty-first year of life is, for one who can observe it, just as clearly perceptible as the change at puberty is for external physiology. The division into seven-year periods holds true, in fact, for the whole course of human life.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – ELEMENTAL BEINGS AND HUMAN DESTINIES – Dornach, December 6, 1919

Translation revised by Charles Davy

Previously posted on May 1, 2020

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The dead do not judge

As to the way in which the dead person sees the human beings who are here on earth, there is one thing of outstanding importance. Let us not imagine that the dead has not a keen and living interest in the world of human beings. He has, indeed, for the world of human beings belongs to the whole cosmos. Our own life belongs to the cosmos. And just as we, even in the physical world, interest ourselves in the subordinate kingdoms, so do the dead interest themselves intensely in the human world, and send their active impulses into the human world. For the dead work through the living into this world. We have only just given an example of the way in which they go on working soon after their passage through the Gate of Death.

But the dead sees one thing above all, and that most clearly. Suppose, for example, that he sees a human being here following impulses of hatred — hating this person or that, and with a merely personal intensity or purpose. This the dead sees. At the same time, however, according to the whole manner of his vision and all that he is then able to know, he will observe quite clearly, in such a case, the part which Ahriman is playing. He sees how Ahriman impels the person to hatred. The dead actually sees Ahriman working upon the human being. On the other hand, if a person on earth is vain, he sees Lucifer working at him. That is the essential point. It is in connection with the world of Ahriman and Lucifer that the dead human being sees the human beings who are here on earth. Consequently, what generally colours our judgement of people is quite eliminated for the dead. We see this or that human being, whom in one sense or another we must condemn. Whatever we find blameworthy in him, we put it down to him. The dead does not put it down directly to the human being. He sees how the person is misled by Lucifer or Ahriman. This brings about a toning-down, so to speak, of the sharply differentiated feelings which in our physical and earthly life we generally have towards this or that human being. To a far greater extent, a kind of universal human love arises in the dead. This does not mean that he cannot criticize — that is to say, cannot rightly see what is evil in evil. He sees it well enough, but he is able to refer it to its origin — to its real inner connections.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 168 – On the Connection of the Living and the Dead – Berne, 9 November 1916

Previously posted on April 26, 2020

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Stars: Outer sign and symbol of spiritual worlds which look down upon us

We know [for I have often spoken with you of these things] how, when man has gone through the gate of death, he enters the world of the stars. What we are accustomed to call “stars” in the external, physical sense are no more than the outer sign and symbol of spiritual worlds which look down upon us and take their share and part in all the deeds of the evolution of mankind.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 238 – The Last Address By Rudolf SteinerDornach, Michaelmas Eve, September 28, 1924

Translated by George Adams

Previously posted on April 18, 2020

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Egoistic love must also exist

Where the cause of love lies not in the one who loves but in the object of love, this form and kind of love in the sense world is absolute proof against every luciferic influence. But now if you observe human life, you will soon see that another kind of love is playing its part, in which a person loves because he himself has certain qualities that feel satisfied, or charmed, or delighted, when he can love this or that other being. Here he loves for his own sake; he loves because his disposition is thus or so, and this particular disposition finds its satisfaction in loving someone else.

This love, which one can call egoistic love, must also exist. It really has to be present in mankind. Everything we can love in the spiritual world, all the spiritual facts, everything that love can cause to live in us as a longing for and an impulse upwards into the spiritual world, to comprehend the beings of the spiritual world, to perceive the spiritual world: all this springs naturally from a sentient love for that world. This love for the spiritual, however, must — not may but must — come about necessarily for our own sake. We are beings whose roots are in the spiritual world. It is our duty to make ourselves as perfect as we can. For our own sake we must love the spiritual world in order to draw as many forces as possible out of it into our own being. In spiritual love a personal, individual element — we can call it egoistic — is fully justified, for it detaches man from the sense world; it leads him upwards into the spiritual world; it leads him on to fulfill the necessary duty of continually bringing himself further and further towards perfection.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 147 – Secrets of the Threshold – Lecture 2 – Munich, 25th August 1913

Translated by Ruth Pusch

Previously posted on april 9, 2020

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Tiredness need not stand in the way of concentration and meditation

A healthy condition of tiredness doesn’t have to prevent us from carrying out concentration and meditation with great willpower. On the contrary. Nature does one part of the work for us, since it dulls the outer sense organs and lessens our ability to take in sense impressions. For the goal is to see without physical eyes, to hear without physical ears and to think without a physical brain. It’s precisely when we are tired that we can illumine and warm our being with the luminous thoughts of meditation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes: Esoteric Lessons – Part II: Cologne, May 9, 1912

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