Instrument of higher Beings

In the introductory lecture yesterday our attention was drawn to the fact that certain events in the more ancient history of mankind can be rightly understood only when we not merely observe the forces and faculties of the personalities themselves, but when we realise at the outset that through the personalities in question, as through instruments, Beings are working who allow their deeds to stream down from higher worlds into our world.

We must realise that these Beings cannot take direct hold of the physical facts of our existence because, on account of the present stage of their development, they cannot incarnate in a physical body which draws its constituents from the physical world. If, therefore, they desire to work within our physical world, they must make use of the physical human being — of his deeds, but also of his intellect, his powers of understanding.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 126 – Occult History: Lecture 2 – Stuttgart, 28th December 1910

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Charles Davy

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The thought of reincarnation and karma will essentially transform modern life

What is of particular importance for the modern anthroposophist is the gaining of conviction with regard to reincarnation and karma. The way in which men gain this conviction, how they succeed in spreading the thought of reincarnation and karma — it is this that from now onwards will essentially transform modern life, will create new forms of life, an entirely new social life, of the kind that is necessary if human culture is not to decline but rise to a higher level. Experiences in the life of soul such as were described yesterday are, fundamentally speaking, within the reach of every modern man, and if only he has sufficient energy and tenacity of purpose he will certainly become inwardly convinced of the truth of reincarnation and karma.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – Reincarnation and Karma: Lecture IV – Stuttgart, 21st February 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Charles Davy

Previously posted on April 5, 2014

Our life in the higher worlds

As here we live rhythmically between waking and sleeping, so in the other world life alternates between withdrawal into ourselves and sociable intercourse with other souls. As I have described above, our life in the higher worlds depends on how we have prepared ourselves here on earth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – XV: Intercourse With the Dead – Düsseldorf, April 27, 1913

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on April 4, 2014

Inhibiting forces

For certain reasons, there are opposing, inhibiting forces interwoven in the world plan that want to prevent development. Because we try to develop ourselves through meditation for the advancement of humanity, it is exactly during meditative work that these opposing powers try to interfere in a harmful way: with beginners by pushing to the fore memories of everyday happenings; with advanced seers, by bringing animals or tempting figures in their field of view. These images look like beings one can encounter on the physical plane – one sees mice or rats – but they all stem from a sub-physical region.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 266a – Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden – Munich, March 8, 1909 (page 458)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on 25 oktober 2016

Karma – Much that in ordinary life seems to be quite insignificant is of very great importance when we begin to consider destiny

We shall not easily find our way into the innermost nature of karmic connections if we do not pay attention — with the eye of the soul, of course — to the particular mannerisms of an individual. Believe me, for the study of karma it is just as important to be interested in a gesture of the hand as in some great spiritual talent. It is just as important to be able to observe — from the spiritual side (astral body and ego) — how a man sits down on a chair as to observe, let us say, how he discharges his moral obligations. If a man is given to frowning, to knitting his brow, this may be just as important as whether he is virtuous or the reverse.

Much that in ordinary life seems to be quite insignificant is of very great importance when we begin to consider destiny and observe how it weaves its web from life to life; while many a thing in this or the other human being that appears to us particularly important becomes of negligible significance,

Generally speaking, it is not, as you know, very easy to pay real attention to bodily peculiarities. They are there and we must learn to observe them naturally without wounding our fellow-men — as we certainly shall do if we observe merely for observation’s sake. That must never be. Everything must arise entirely of itself. When, however, we have trained our powers of attention and perception, individual peculiarities do show themselves in every human being, peculiarities which may be accounted trifling but are of paramount importance in connection with the study of karma. A really penetrating observation of human beings in respect of their karmic connections is possible only when we can discern these significant peculiarities.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships, Volume I: Lecture IX – Dornach, 15th March 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on April 3, 2014