The more wisdom a person gains, the humbler he or she becomes

Whoever does not believe in all humility that his wisdom is the sum of all wisdom – that his judgement represents the highest judgement – will soon be able to observe that there are people apart from himself who have more wisdom and judgement [than himself], and he will listen to these beings and allow himself to be instructed by them. He will, when he gains some insight, become aware that he still has a path to follow that others have gone long before him. The more understanding a person obtains, the humbler he becomes. The clearer the realisation how much he still has to learn, the more he will be inclined to find those he can still learn from.

Anyone who thinks that he has nothing to learn from others only proves thereby that he or she has still not advanced very far. The more advanced a person is, the more he comes to recognise that human beings are on different levels of development and that there have always been those who were more advanced than their brethren – the spiritual leaders of humanity who are more advanced in their development, the highly developed, the most advanced individualities of humankind.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904–1914 (page 353-354)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on March 5, 2016

Good thoughts and feelings give wings to the dead

It is very important to send our thoughts and feelings to a loved one who has died and is now in the spiritual worlds. Our thoughts must not contain yearnings to have the departed back with us, as this complicates his life in the spheres in which he must now enter. What we need to send to the spiritual worlds is not the suffering we endure but the love we bear towards the departed. […] Spiritual research has shown that feelings of love give wings that bear the dead up, whereas longings like: “Oh how I wish you were still with us” create obstacles in his path. This is a general indication of how to direct our feelings in such events.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – From a letter to Paula Stryczek – Berlin, 31 December 1905 (page 101)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on February 12, 2016

Habits, Actions and Destiny

A bad habit in itself does not mean that I have done something; but if this bad habit leads to an action, this action changes the external world. In fact, everything which thus exercises an influence upon the physical world returns to us during our next life as our external destiny in the physical world. Thus the deeds of our physical body during this life become our destiny in the next. We learn this through being placed in this or in that life-situation. Whether a person is happy or unhappy in one or other condition of life depends upon his actions during his preceding life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture VII: The Law of Karma – Kassel, 22nd June 1907

Previously posted on April 21, 2016

Helping the dead

A person has died. During his lifetime for [one] reason or another he did not concern himself with spiritual science. The one who remains behind on earth can know by means of spiritual science that the deceased has a burning thirst for spiritual science. Now if the one who remains behind concerns himself with thoughts of a spiritual nature as if the dead were there with him, he performs a great service to him. We can actually read to the dead. That enables the gulf that exists between the living and the dead to be bridged. The two worlds, the physical and the spiritual, are severed by materialism. Consider how their union will take hold of life itself! When spiritual science does not remain mere theory but becomes a life impulse as it should, there will not be separation but immediate communication. By reading to the dead we can enter in immediate connection with them and help them. The one who has avoided spiritual science will continue to feel the anguish of longing for it unless we help him. We can assist him from the earth if such a longing is at all present. By this means the living can help the dead.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth: VII: The Working of Karma in Life After Death – Bern, December 15, 1912

Egoism and worry

Along the Way of Initiation there is a secret connection between all that a man’s egoism can make him do and that attitude of soul which is expressed by the word ‘Care’. In that man who is far enough to look selflessly into the spiritual world, there is no care. Care is the companion of egoisms. And as little as some can perhaps believe that when Care is present, egoism has not disappeared, so true is it that on the long, self-denying path into the spiritual world, egoism must completely vanish. If man steps into the spiritual world and brings with him into it any trace of egoism, Care comes and reveals itself as a disturbing power.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – The European Mysteries and their Initiates – Goethe’s Secret Revelation – Berlin, 12th March 1909

Previously posted on July 21, 2014