About thinking and not thinking

It is a very important principle to let the organ of thinking work in yourselves. You are practicing this best of all if you try not to think for a while, howsoever short. 

A big, immense decision belongs to it to sit or to lie somewhere without letting thoughts go through the head. It is much easier to let your thoughts surge up and down in yourselves, until you are released from them by a good sleep than to tell yourselves: now you are awake and, nevertheless, you do not think, but you think nothing at all. If you are able to sit or to lie quietly and to think nothing with full consciousness, then the organ of thinking works in such a way that it gains strength in itself, accumulates strength. 

Who puts himself in the situation over and over again not to think with full consciousness notices that the clearness of his thinking increases, that in particular repartee grows because he does not only leave his apparatus of thinking to itself by sleep, but that he lets this apparatus of thinking itself work under his guidance.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – WHERE AND HOW DOES ONE FIND THE SPIRIT? – X. The Practical Development of Thinking – Berlin, 11 February 1909

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How can Anthroposophy prove what it claims?

Often the question is put: how can anthroposophy prove what it claims? People ask for proof because the usual way to prove facts is not available for Anthroposophy. Therefore, some people dispute the scientific validity thereof; they do not take into consideration the following – I can explain these things only approximately, but they apply in the most accurate, exact way -: the person who needs proof, thus shows that what must be proven, is not sense-perceptible. We need proof whenever we have no perception. Should I need evidence that there was a man in this room yesterday, it will only be because I did not see the man myself.

Thus, it is with everything, concerning the historical development of humanity, we always need the evidence as well. When people still had an instinctive knowledge, they had a natural inner experience of what they called the Divine Being, did not need proof. The evidence for the existence of God only started to be required when during the development of humanity this spiritual perception was lost. The evidence is only needed where understanding is not available.

The Anthroposophical method, however, prepares the human soul to discover the spiritual. When it is described – that is the peculiarity about Anthroposophy-, it can be explained with healthy common sense and understood in the way a non-artist can recognise a work of art, although he cannot create it. One can therefore not object to the fact that only the seer can investigate Anthroposophy. For even if another person cannot examine it, it can be understood by anyone, who wants to use his healthy common sense without bias.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 82 – Damit der Mensch ganz Mensch werde – The Hague, 12 April 1922 (page 200-202)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on 1 november 2018

A definition can never explain the essence of a thing

The big mistake, the great illusion, of the materialistically minded people, is that they believe a definition or a description can fully explain the essence of a thing.

I have often illustrated the grotesque nature of this belief in the past by pointing out the fact that a school of Greek philosophers once sought to define a human being and finally found that a human being is a creature with two legs and no feathers. Now, that is undoubtedly true. One can say that it is an absolutely correct definition. The next day, someone who understood the definition brought with him a plucked rooster and said: “This is a creature with two legs and no feathers, so it must be a human being.”

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 253 – Probleme des Zusammenlebens in der Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft – Dornach, September 11, 1915 (page 33)

Anonymous translator

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Previously posted on 30 October 2018

Connection between the spiritual and moral way in which a man lives during one earthly life, and his physical constitution in the next earthly life

Take for instance, a man who ponders much in one incarnation — who thinks and ponders a great deal. In his next incarnation he will be a thin, delicately made man. A man who ponders little in one earthly life, but lives a life more concerned with grasping the outer world, tends, in the next life, to accumulate a good deal of fat. This, too, has a significance for the future. Spiritual “slimming cures” cannot well be managed in one earthly life; for this one must resort to physical cures — if indeed they are of any help! But for the next earthly life it is certainly possible to undergo a “slimming cure” if one ponders and thinks a great deal, especially if one thinks about something that calls for effort, of the kind I described yesterday. It need not be meditated, but simply pondered about a great deal, with the willingness to make many inner decisions.

There is an actual connection of this kind between the spiritual and moral way in which a man lives during one earthly life, and his physical constitution in the next earthly life. This cannot be emphasised sufficiently.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 236 – KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS II – Lecture VIII – Dornach, 10 May 1924

Translated by George Adams with revisions by M. Cotterell, C. Davy and D. S. Osmond

 

Health / Attitude / Epidemics

There is nothing material that does not originate from the spirit. What people experience in health and disease stems from their inner attitude, their thoughts. It is undoubtedly a true proverb: What you think today, you will be tomorrow. It should be clear to you that if an era has evil, depraved thoughts, the next generation and the subsequent period must pay the price physically. It is a true saying: The sins of the fathers will be visited on the future generations. It will not be without consequence that the people of the 19th century began to think in such a grossly materialistic way, to turn their minds away from everything spiritual.

What people have thought then will have consequences. Thus, we are not so far removed from the time when peculiar diseases and epidemics will occur in human life! What we call nervousness will happen, at the latest within half a century, in a severe measure. Just as plague and cholera and leprosy in the Middle Ages once were rife, so there will be psychic epidemics, diseases of the nervous system in epidemic form. These are the consequences of the fact that people lack a spiritual core in their lives. Where awareness of this spiritual core as the centre of life is present, there people will become healthy under the influence of a healthy, correct worldview.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft – Berlin, January 29, 1906 (p. 18)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted on October 14 , 2018