Above all you must get rid of the notion that your opinion is worth more than that of other people

Self-knowledge is one of the hardest things to acquire, and it is precisely those who think they know themselves best who are most likely to be deceived: they think too much about themselves. You should get out of the habit of fixing your attention on yourself and constantly using the word “I” — “I think, I believe, I consider this right”. Above all you must get rid of the notion that your opinion is worth more than that of other people. Suppose, for instance, that someone is very clever. If he displays his cleverness in the company of people who are not so clever, his behaviour will be very ill-timed; he will be doing it only to please his own egoism. He ought to adapt his response to the needs and capacities of others.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture XIV: Rosicrucian Training – The Interior of the Earth – Earthquakes and Volcanoes – Stuttgart, 4th September 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

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Painting David Newbatt

Previously posted on August 7,  2018

How am I to know that what is presented by anyone as the science of initiation is correct, when I cannot myself see into the spiritual world?

It is true, not everyone today can cross the threshold to the spiritual world; but no one would be prevented from perceiving the truth of what is said by those who have crossed that threshold. It is false reasoning when it is said again and again by one or another: How am I to know that what is presented by anyone as the science of initiation is correct, when I cannot myself see into the spiritual world? That is false reasoning. Common sense which is not led astray by the erroneous ideas of our time in the natural or the social sphere can decide of itself whether the element of truth rules in what anyone says. If someone speaks of spiritual worlds, you must take account of everything: the manner of speaking, the seriousness with which things are treated, the logic which is developed, and so on, and then it will be possible to judge whether what is presented as information about the spiritual world is charlatanism, or whether it has foundation. Anyone can decide this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth – Lecture III: Historical Occurrences of the Last Century – Dornach, 14th December 1919

Translated by Frances E. Dawson

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Previously posted  on August  5, 2018

Stop using the word spirit, spirit, spirit… in every sentence

What matters to-day is not merely to believe in the spirit, but to be so filled with the spirit that through us the spirit is carried directly into material existence. It is useless to-day to say. Believe in the spirit … what is necessary is to speak of a spirit which is in truth able to master external reality  […].

For the cause of the unspiritual character of the present day is not that men do not believe in the spirit, but that they cannot reach such a relationship with the spirit as would enable the spirit to seize hold of matter in real life. All this gives us further warning not to think merely of belief in the spirit, but to try above all to make such an encounter with the spirit that it gives us strength to see through the reality of the material, external world. Then indeed people will stop using the word spirit, spirit, spirit… in every sentence. […]

This is what matters to-day: that people should see things in the light of the spirit, and not keep on talking about the spirit.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 193 – INNER ASPECT OF THE SOCIAL QUESTION: Lecture III – Zurich, 9 March 1919 

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MARIE VON SIVERS AND RUDOLF STEINER

One Man’s Joy is Another Man’s Punishment

Someone who takes great pleasure in nightly visits to the girlie shows or enjoys downing his eight glasses of beer, may encounter people who take joy in something of a higher level and remark how they punish themselves. What he does not realise is that their true punishment would be to sit with him in the music hall. Whoever enjoys the girlie shows and such belongs there, and it would be absurd to deprive him of the enjoyment. […] 

One should work to ennoble one’s pleasures, one’s gratifications in life. It is not so that anthroposophists come together because they suffer when talking about higher worlds, but rather because it is their heart’s deepest enjoyment. It would be the most terrible deprivation for them to sit down and play poker. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Illusory Illness and the Feverish Pursuit of Health – 2 – THE FEVERISH PURSUIT OF HEALTH – Munich, 5th December 1907

Translated by Sarah Kurland

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Previously posted  on July 18, 2018

Rudolf Steiner about Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

One thing that can be said of the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is this: Only someone who does not understand them can underestimate them. But someone who finds the key to what is great in these works will come to admire her more and more. That is what is significant about these works — the more one penetrates them the more one admires them. It is not the case that there are no mistakes to be found in them. But those who really take hold of life know, if they strive to evermore penetrate these works, that what is therein expressed could only have come from the great spiritual beings who are now guiding world evolution. This is how we must read Isis Unveiled, a book containing truths which, although sometimes caricatured like a beautiful face seen in a distorting mirror, are truly great.

A person who would merely like to speak out of a critical spirit might perhaps say: It would have been better not to give any such distortion. But anyone seeing matters in the proper light will say: If someone places their weak spiritual forces at the disposal of spiritual powers who wish to reveal themselves, and knows that these forces will produce only a distorted picture but that there is no one else who could do it any better, then that person, through their devotion, is making a great sacrifice for the world. All renderings of the great truths are distortions. If someone wanted to wait until the whole truth could be manifested, then they would have a long wait. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104a – Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse: Part 1: Lecture Three – Munich, May 8, 1907

Translated by James H. Hindes

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HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY

Previously  posted on August 8, 2016