We owe all our wisdom to our suffering and pain during past lives on earth

It is important and of great interest to realise that everything which we have experienced in the course of one life — our feelings concerning the world, pleasure, pain, etc. — that in the spiritual world all this surrounds us as an external world. We need not feel sad that there our sufferings lie spread out before us. This is not sad at all, for there, all our sufferings exist in the same way in which storms exist in the physical world and in the spiritual world all our joyful experiences appear to us like wonderful cloud-phenomena. In Devachan our own inner experiences do not exist within us, as here on earth, but they live in our environment in an external form, in the same way in which a picture of Nature lies spread out before us. Our inner experiences live round about us, as if they were images, sounds or atmospheric phenomena; they have become objectified, as heavenly forms.

I have told you that it is not sad if our sufferings come raying towards us; just as little sad as lightning or thunder in physical life. Those who perceive these connections know what they owe to their sufferings in particular. Just those who have passed through pain and suffering will always say that they gratefully accept joy and pleasure, but that they would never wish to do without suffering and pain. We owe all our wisdom to our suffering and pain during past lives on earth. A man whose physiognomy bears upon it the mark of wisdom in this life, owes this to the fact that in former lives he experienced the world’s connection as suffering.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture V: Metamorphoses of Our Earthly Experiences in the Spiritual World – Kassel, 20th June 1907

rudolfsteinerlecture2011_13-2013_08_19-08_19_05-utc

 PAINTING BY DAVID NEWBATT

Previously posted on April 1, 2016

Fear of the spiritual world

The soul life of man, as well, is entirely accommodated to space and time. If you enter a world to which you are not adapted, the lack of adaptation implies sensations of pain and suffering; so that the first entrance into the spiritual world is not won without the vanquishing of pain and suffering. […] There are indeed few people today who have sufficient inner courage to venture themselves, as it were, into the bottomless and timeless in actual experience. Certain people, however, are bound by their destiny to cross over the threshold; and without the wisdom which can be brought over from beyond the threshold no further progress is possible.

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

Translated by Frances E. Dawson 

rudolf-steiner-german-austrian-philosopher-260nw-1663000651

Previously posted on May 31, 2018

Karma / Joy / Pain

In human life joy is usually something one has not deserved through previous actions. When we investigate karma by occult means, we always discover that in most cases joy has not been earned, and we should accept it gratefully as sent to us by the gods, as a gift of the gods, and to say to ourselves: The joy which comes to meet us today ought to kindle in us the will to work in such a way as to take into ourselves the forces streaming to us through this joy, and to apply these usefully. We must look upon joy as a sort of prepayment on account for the future.

In the case of pain, on the other hand, we have usually merited this, and we always find the cause in our present life or in earlier lives. And we must then realise with the utmost clarity that we have often failed to conduct ourselves in our external life in accordance with this karmic mood. We are not able to conduct ourselves always in external life in the presence of what causes us pain in such a way that our conduct shall seem to be an acceptance of our destiny. We do not generally have an insight into such a thing at once — into the law of destiny. But, even though we are not able to conduct ourselves outwardly in such a way, yet the principal thing is that we shall do this inwardly.

And even if we have conducted ourselves outwardly in accordance with this karmic mood, yet we should say to ourselves in the depths of our souls that we ourselves have been the cause of all such things. Suppose, for instance, that someone strikes us, that he beats us with a stick. In such a case it is generally characteristic for a person to ask: ‘Who is it that strikes me?’ No one says in such a case: ‘It is I that beat myself.’ Only in the rarest cases do people say that they punish themselves. And yet it is true that we ourselves lifted the stick against another person in days gone by. Yes, it is you yourself who then raised the stick. When we have to get rid of a hindrance, this is karma. It is karma when others hold something against us. It is we ourselves who cause something to happen to us as recompense for something we have done. And thus we come to a right attitude toward our life, to a broadening of our self, when we say: ‘Everything that befalls us comes from ourselves. Our own action is fulfilled outwardly even when it seems as if someone else performed it.’


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on March 3, 2018

768x1200

The greatest wisdom is acquired by the quiet endurance of pain and suffering

Knowledge of the connection between the physical and the astral world enables us to have a clear understanding of the world in its inner process of development; things are often connected in quite a different way from what people like to imagine. Many people deplore pain and suffering, but from a higher point of view this is quite unjustified, for if they are overcome and the person is ready for a new incarnation, suffering and pain are the sources of wisdom, prudence and comprehensiveness of vision. 

Even in writing emanating from the modern, materialistic standpoint, we find it stated that there is something like “crystallised pain” in the face of every thinker. What this materialistically minded author says here has long been known to the occultist, for the greatest wisdom of the world is acquired by the quiet endurance of pain and suffering; this creates wisdom in the next incarnation.

Source: GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – VI. The Law of Destiny – Munich, 30th May, 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on February 19, 2018

41s67aXthoL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

Deadening of the soul

We only need to look at certain details in present-day education to appreciate the great difficulties in the way of progress. Those who today consider themselves well-versed in the problems of education say again and again that all instruction, even in the lowest grades, must be in the form of object lessons. In the teaching of arithmetic, for instance, mechanical aids to calculating are introduced. The greatest value is placed upon having the child see everything first, and then form his own inner concepts about it. To be sure, the urge for such objectivity in education is in many respects fully justified. 

Nevertheless, it raises the question, what becomes of a child if he only receives object lessons? He becomes psychically dried up; the inner dynamic forces of his soul gradually die out. His whole being unites with the objective surroundings, and what should sprout from his inmost soul is gradually deadened. The way material is presented in much of our education today is connected with this deadening of the soul. People do not realize that one kills the soul, but it really happens. 

And the consequence is what we experience with people today. How many are problem-laden personalities! How many are unable in their later years to produce out of their own inner resources that which could give them consolation and hope in difficult times and enable them to cope with the vicissitudes of life! We see at present many shattered natures. At important moments we ourselves are doubtful as to the direction we should take.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 296 –Education as a Social Problem: Lecture IV: Education as a Problem Involving the Training of Teachers – Dornach, August 15, 1919

41FU9L9BPeL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_